Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My boy is going to heaven IN STYLE...

Storytime at night is always a precious time. One of us takes the girls in one room, while the other takes Caleb in his (we switch every other night to get "facetime" with all the kids), and we try to forget the rush to get them in bed and have "us" time, instead focusing on getting in those last few snuggly moments of the day. At least, it's that way on the days they haven't acted like monsters. :)
Last night was an especially snuggly night, and as I read Caleb's Bible story for the evening, he listened more intently than usual. We read Bible stories to the kids and pray before their library-selected story each night, and typically, Caleb is about as interested in his Bible story as he is in any food that is not pizza or mac-n-cheese. He acts like its a serving of brussell sprouts he has to choke down before the main course. But last night he learned about how Jesus loves the little children. After the story, we sang "Jesus Loves the Little Children," and then he looked up at me with those big grey eyes and asked, "Momma, where is Jesus?" I explained how Jesus is in heaven, but he gave us the Holy Spirit to live in our hearts so we can talk to Jesus whenever we want and be close to HIM. Big stuff for such a little guy, I know, but what can I say, I'm not great at explaining major theological issues with three year olds on the fly.
Caleb's, ever concerned with matters of transportation, then asked, "Momma, how'r we gonna get to heaven with Jesus?"
"When it's time, he's gonna come get us and fly us off to heaven with him"
"But how?"
"He just can, Buddy. I'm not sure how it works really."
And then he presented his Grand Plan...
"Well Momma, what's gonna happen is, I'm gonna save a seat on my Space Shuttle for Jesus, and when we go to heaven I'll drive and Jesus will sit next to me n' Daddy, and you and Sissies will sit in the back. But you won't be scared cuz I'll give you flashlights."

And there you have it: Caleb's grand plan for how to get to heaven. Thousands and thousands of years of theology, and my boy solved all the problems in a second or two. Ah, the sweet perfect faith of a child.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The 6 a.m. wake-up call...

I LOVE my sleep. I LOVE to lay dreaming and resting, and when I wake, I like to wake just after 7. I know others like to wake earlier, but others. are. crazy! And by others, I mean my little early-rising peanuts. Apparently their internal alarm clock is set to 6, but I can't figure for the life of me why.
I remember being that age and having the same issue... 5:30 am would roll around and I'd just be laying their waiting to be allowed out of my room to go take over the world, but now I guess I'm out of touch because I just want them to be quiet and leave me the heck alone at that time. You don't poke a sleeping bear, do you? So don't BUG me!
Mean, I know.
Last night, we told Caleb not to bother Mommy at night (for about the 400 thousandth night in a row, sigh), since he spent the previous evening calling me to play from 1 am till 4 am when he finally diegned to fall asleep again. Our instructions last night were as follows: "Do NOT call for Mommy unless you are hurt or on fire. Got it Caleb?"
"When can you call Mommy?"
"If I'm hurt or on Fi-er" (add adorable eyelash batting and your mental picture is complete)
"Good, Night night!"

6:15 a.m. this morning I hear in a lowing, plaintive voice:
"Mooooooommmmmmyyyyyyy! I'm on FIIIII-EEEEERRRR! "
Knowing full-well he was not on fire, I snickered and endeavored to ignore him and return to dream land.
But he continued. The boy repeated that he was on fire about 30 times before I finally lost my schmidt and stomped off to his room.

"Is it wake up time yet? I'm on fi-er. (eyelashes: bat bat)"

And so the battle continues, until either I win, and he begins a kinder-gentler sleep cycle (see: teenage years), or I give up and allow him and his sisters (who while away their morning time singing (screaming??) garbled versions of radio tunes) to wake up and take over the world according to their wishes. I think they're winning. Dammit.

"What're we going to do today, Brain?" ... "Try to take over THE WORLD!"

Sunday, December 4, 2011

It's the little things I'll miss...

My little buddy Caleb turned three this past Friday. Something about that rings of sadness for me. Not a baby anymore. Not gonna need me so much soon.

I know, I should be jumping and shouting, I mean, the boy didn't even sleep thru the night consistently until he was 2 1/2, so I should be utterly thrilled he does that now. And he's fully and completely potty trained, which is just awesome. I'm tickled to get rid of his diaper pails, his extra wipes containers, etc. And he's riding a "big boy bike" he got for his birthday... so no more stashes of tricycles hogging space in the garage. I could go on for the benefits,...


I also have to sell my glider rocker. The one I so lovingly (and at times grudgingly with tears of sleep deprivation) rocked my downy-haired boy on night after night during feedings. We just don't need it anymore. But there in that chair, I conjure remembrances of his sweet baby aroma, his adorable coos, and his wiggly games as he attempted to escape my lap during bedtime stories.

Already long gone are his crib, his onesies, his baby spoon/fork sets... and on the chopping block now are added his strollers, smaller carseats, and various baby toys. His board books went to a friend this week. Sigh.

As a trade, I now have this wonderfully independant, immensly charming little stinker. He's just an awesome kid, and not a day goes by that Ryan and I don't share a glance across the room at each other and find each other beaming when we've seen him doing something hilarious, something new, or something brilliantly mischevious. He's crossing into worlds of imagination that I relish joining him in to get away from the adult world. Worlds where superhero's reign supreme and all dragons are either vanquished, or squashed to their end by an even more Terrible Caleb-Monster, depending on which part in his mind-stories he has chosen to play in that day. Race cars bring adventure, and fires beg to be quenched with sisters to be rescued.

And he's trying so hard to care like his sisters about learning new things in school, though his interest still lasts a mere 5 minutes. He'll joyfully declare "I know all my (colors, numbers, etc.) now!" after getting just one right, only to go woefully wrong with the next question, with sisters and Mommy snickering nearbye but still cheering him on all the more for the next attempt. He's shy like his sisters were at this age at first with new folks... but then after about 5 minutes around people, he'll open up with some of the most charming, hilarious conversation topics- the boy can really work a room with is humor and sparkling eyes.

His boundless energy is unbelievable. The boy never actually requires a nap, though he gets one each day so I can keep up with him... it's Mommy who needs the break, not him, and we both know it. And, like the lovely three-nager his sisters were, he's boldly and unashamedly trying defiance on for size, now shouting "NO! I. Don't. Want. To. and I'm. NOT. Gonna!" when told to do things with an adorable but maddening little foot stomp accompanying each syllable. He always backs down still, but it's funny because he always puts up a good fight first.

Maybe not so much for "Daddy-big-spanking-hands", but he at least works a good fight for "Mommy-butterfly-kisses-style-pitiful-spankings". ;)

He's such a little GUY, too, which brings so many humorous smiles to my life. He's delighted that he can now pee standing up like a man, relishes any-and-all guy role models (superheros, especially Spiderman, are the awesomest, to him), farts with joyous glee, and rapturously tortures his sisters to no end.

And much to Ryan's chagrin, he's definitely left-handed like his Mommy (tee hee).

I can't wait to see what my little guy will be like in the years to come, but it's just so tough to say goodbye to baby stages.

Until I remember the sleep deprivation.


Now could you please do it past 7 am? Just once in a while?

Monday, November 14, 2011

My child is an Evil Genius...

Or I'm really dumb- you choose. Either way, an almost-three-year-old bested me tonight...

Caleb and I were having our usually dinnertime exchange tonight after his first 2 bites of dinner..."Mommy, can I be done now?"
"Pleeeeeease, I wanna be done. How many more bites?"
"No! Eat your food, I'm not doing this again tonight (I said, knowing full well that we do this same routine every.single.night)...
(1 minute later)
"Can I be done?"
(20 minutes of the same routine repeated over and over again later)
"Can I be done NOW?"
"Caleb, you are going to make me so mad I turn purple. Do you want that?" (I asked, in perhaps my stupidest moment yet)
"YES! Purple Mommy, Purple!"
(Hand to face, Mommy's shoulders sink in failure)
"Caleb, that was not a goal, that was a threat. I'm not going to turn purple. Your going to make Mommy so mad that it's gonna make Mommy nuts. That's not a good thing Bud. Now EAT!"
"NO! Turn purple!"
"No, I'm not turning purple, and that's final!"
"PLEEEEEASE turn purple Mommy!"
(1 blissfully quiet minute later)
"Can I be done now? How many more bites?"

... then, from the living room I hear Ryan chime in: "Wow, he's good! Manipulative like his Daddy. You turned right purple there"

Yes, my boy is an evil genius. He has learned just how to make me change color on cue.

(What Mommy imagined happened next. )

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Lost in Translation

This evening we were listening to the holiday music channel while cleaning the dinner table (Christmas music already, Oh bliss!), when I looked up at the crawl at the bottom of the screen and learned something interesting I wanted to share with the kids...
"Neat! Did you know that legos were named LEGO after the danish words 'Leg Godt' which means 'Play Well'? I never knew where they got their name."
Hannah: "What's Danish?"
Mom: "It's the language people speak in Denmark."
Hannah: "What's Denmark?"
Sarah (in her "duh!" voice): "Ugh, you know, that place we go shopping all the time."
Mom: ??
Mom: "Sarah, do you mean 'Walmart?'"
Sarah: "No Mommy, I think it's called 'Denmart,'... I'm pretty sure. Right, Hannah?"
Hannah: "Yup!"

It's seems I'm wrong. Two against one- it's only fair, right?

Friday, October 28, 2011


This last weekend at church my Pastor talked about Entropy and the laws of Thermodynamics (don't fear, he's more interesting that it sounds :))... I never really knew what the term meant, since I have mentally blocked out that portion of my high school years, but apparently, entropy is a principle relating to how much chaos there is in a system. (*Now hunny, if you read this and I got that wrong, suck it. I can live with my wrong-ness until I have to teach the kids high school science. It's the beauty of homeschooling, I get to re-learn everything anyway.). So I was pondering Chaos yesterday while doing housework, and I realized that I now have something to blame for my housework woes (other than my family, that is). Here's the short list of examples of how entropy is making my life more difficult each day:

-With laundry, as soon as you get used to righting inside-out shirts before folding them, inevitably you'll pick up a right-side-out shirt, turn it inside-out, and then have to switch it back again. Entropy.

- As soon as you clean floors, milk WILL be spilt. And yes, I do cry over it thank-u-very-much. Entropy.

- As soon as the kitchen's clean, dishwasher unloaded, and sink is empty, it's time to cook again and mess the dang thing up again. Entropy.

- Laundry all done and put away? Someone's gonna pee their pants. Why? ENTROPY.

- As soon as your hands are covered in cooking goo (eggs, bread dough, flour breading, etc.) someone WILL need hollar, "Mommy, I gotta go POO POO right now!" - Damn you entropy!

And don't even get me started on crumbs and sand on my floor.

"You threw up where!?? Suuuuuuper!"

And my kids... definitely experts on entropy. Heck, I'd even go so far to call them AGENTS of entropy. Their weapons in the fight against orderliness? Playdough, peanut-butter-and-Jelly sandwiches, kazoos, glitter, tempura paint, full milk glasses, and, lest we forget, poorly timed digestive outbursts.

So in sum, thank you Pastor Frank, for giving name to the force that shapes my days, keeps me addicted to caffienated drinks, and sucks the nice-mommy-ness out of me. I also plan to blame entropy for my fluffy midsection, the need for padded bras, and those white hairs I keep pulling out. Believe me, it's much nicer to blame (poorly understood) thermodynamic principles than to go on a compulsive cleaning rampage, swearing at my family and digging thru closets full of stuff better off buried anyway. And in the meantime, I'll keep singing this song, cause it sums up what gets me thru the toughest days, when Entropy carries a sledgehammer thru my otherwise peaceful world...

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Sarah's got a new name...

This last weekend we were camping at Lake Gaston, and what a lovely weekend it was! On the first evening, while we were huddled around the campfire and the kids munched marshmallows, my dad decided to try to give the kids new nicknames because he' s silly and a bit wierd and funny that way. "I'll call you 'Peanut'," he christened Hannah. "I'm PEANUT!," she announced proudly to the rest of us. Sarah, not to be outdone or left out, couldn't quite wait for her Papaw to name her. She squirmed in her chair as best she could waiting while Papaw pointed at her and mused, "Hmmm... what should I call you?"
"Pinch-nut!" she declared. "Call me PINCH-NUT!"
Somewhere behind her was the sound of my mother, Ryan, and I falling out of our chair with giggles. Papaw was, as yet, unawares, since he can't hardly hear a word they say. He giggled too, though, once we hollered it to him. ;)
Meanwhile, after about a million "Pinchnut" jokes throughout the weekend and a day or so, Sarah offered up the evening blessing before our meal. Her Nonnie, as we call my mom, was so impressed with Sarah's prayer that she declared, "She's my little evangelist, that one."
"Just call her 'Pastor Pinchnut'!," I stated.
And so, "Pastor Pinchnut," she is.
The End. Snort.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

All Sugar and Spice and... Dynamite?

I fear that I may have misrepresented my girls' innocence in the little war we have daily in my house when I wrote this post (click for link). So I felt I should set the record straight, lest someone think that Caleb is the only troublemaker in our home. In truth, all three of them are prone to behaving like small arab terrorists on a jihad-like quest to make their enemy bleed or make Mommy's head explode as a random side-effect of their *terrorism.
So I've compiled a list of the girls' tricks and trouble-making for your further enjoyment. They usually work as a team at most of this, with Caleb as their target. In my little Buddy's defense, I figured I should even out the scale a bit by recording a little sampling of his sisters' favorite torture-tactics:

1. Sister-Gate:
Like an amped up, meaner version of "red-rover," the girls will band together as a team to play keep away with Caleb's most favored toys. Poor kid doesn't stand a chance... like the kid from The Shining gazing down the hall at the creepy ghost twins (wanted to post a picture but it scared me too much, so I'll just leave you with your own mental image ;)) In the end, he usually just squeals and runs off, but he has been known to hurl heavy objects at their twin Berlin Wall, which just makes me feel bad when I have to punish both the girls AND Caleb.

2. Bunkbed Shut-Out:
Caleb is not allowed on the top bunk of the bunk beds in either his or his sisters' room, and the girls know it and take full advantage. So on those occasions where Mommy makes the girls allow their little brother in on the action in their rooms, they will just flee to a higher altitude for their play, making it impossible for him to join in the fun. For extra brother-torturing fun, they will hurl stuffed animals and pillows at him, which at first is kinda fun to the little guy, until he realizes he can't hurl them back. He has the perfect revenge, though, because while the Rapunzel twins are up in their tower, he can ravage the lower parts of their room and wreak havoc upon their toys ;)

3. Death by Volume:
It's a well-known fact that a five year old girl can achieve heights of vocal volume and pitch that would shock even the most-skilled opera go-er. So when Caleb invades one of the diva's space, the offended girl will usually use her sound forcefield as a weapon, deploying a bone-shattering, angry rant that makes curse words unnecessary. When needed, this weapon can be deployed from the time-out spot across whole clusters of rooms, and does not diminish during a spanking, making it one of the girls' most trusted and oft-used strategies of brother-torture.

I have WRATH!

4. Tattle-torture:

It's kinda not fair that Caleb has to live his life like a parolee with his parole officer breathing down his neck. The sisters feel that it is their job in life to report him for every offense, no matter how trivial, so that Mommy can be the one to inflict pain and punishment. It's their way of making the job of driving Caleb crazy simpler without actually having to lift a finger.

They look sweet and innocent, I know, and usually they're just cute little chuckleheads who sing loud hymns out of tune and dress themselves and their dolls in outlandishly mismatched outfits, but occasionally a dark side appears. I'll never pretend to understand sibling rivalry, having been an only child, but I know God has a sense of humor giving me three kids after spending my childhood up my Mom's rear-end driving her crazy all the time begging for siblings. I think even if Jesus himself were standing right in front of them, one of them would be trying to elbow out the other two to be first in line to meet him. It's just a sibling thing, I guess ;)

*Ok, now I guess I have homeland security flagging me and reading this because of my wording... hi there big tough guys, it's just lil' ole' me spouting my usual snarky mommy-nonsense. No real bad stuff here, I pinky swear!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Overheard in my kids room this morning...

If you are a mom or dad, don't you just love listening to your little ones over the baby monitor sometimes? It's sanctioned eavesdropping, and the stuff that your kids say when they don't think you're listening is often hilarious. This morning I overheard this conversation between Hannah and Sarah as they were "Teaching" their twin baby dolls:

Sarah, singing to the tune of B-I-N-G-O: There are 7 Continents, Antarctica's the cold one. North America, South America, Australia, Europe, Asia, Africa.

Hannah: Ok, this time you say Koala when I say Australia. This time you say Koala when I say Australia. LISTEN TO MEEEEEEE! THIS TIME SAY KOALA SARAH! SAY IT! SAY IT! SAAAAAYYYYY ITTTTT! SARAH!
Sarah (At the same time Hannah is squealing the above orders to Sarah): I'm gonna sing and not listen to you LA LA LA. North America, South America. LA LA LA. Not listening to youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuhahahahahahahahahahaha! Australia, EUROPEASIAAFRICA!

Sarah: I'm not gonna talk to you or play with you ever again!
(5 second pause)

In unison: Ok, now listen kids, "[both kids break into a song rendition of the Lord's Prayer]"

Sarah: Ok, now this time, we're gonna learn another song about God so you can know about God, and Hannah, if they don't sing, you smash their heads together.
Hannah: Oooh, I'll smash em and send em to jail.

I had to stop listening at this point from giggling so hard in the hall outside their door (I moved from my spot at the monitor so I could hear better). I swear I've never smashed a head or even threatened them mildly for not participating in lessons, so where do they come up with this stuff? My kids are nuts!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Communication breakdown

Communicating with a 2 year old boy is an experience akin to speaking English to someone who speaks Swahili. Not to brag, but my little guy has better than average communication skills for his age, not by any wonderful-speech-therapy-mommy methods of my own, but rather out of his own cleverness and need to make himself heard. Nevertheless, he still has his moments. Today, while trying to usher the littles outside for playtime, Caleb just insisted that he needed to bring his ball outside. "No problem Buddy," I replied, "which one?"
"My ball"
"Ok, which one Caleb?"
"The bally-ball!"
"What bally ball?!"
"The round one."
"...(Stunned, stifled-laugh silence)...Can you be more specific?"
"The one that bounces!"
"Ohhhkayyy, that's closer to helpful, but they all bounce... just tell me which ball you want... do you want the tennis ball?"
"The Basketball?"
"What color ball was it? Wait a minute... you call everything purple... let's see... was it the one with Buzz Lightyear?"
"No! The one that goes in the street!"
(four minutes of frustrated guesses later...)
"Let's just look in the toybox for it" We shuffled thru the toybox for about 5 seconds before he noticed the same foam basketball that he was looking at 5 seconds before this all started...
"Der it Is! I got it Mommy!" and off he trotted happily outdoors.
As I shuffled outdoors, bitterly I thought of all the wonderful things I could have done with those 5 minutes of my life while trying to sort out what my adorable little imp was wishing for ;) Reminds me of an old skit I loved of Abbot and Costello...

Abbot & Costello Who's on First by jwj

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

First day of School 2011!

We're up and rolling for the 2011-2012 school year, and off to a good start. This week we are beginning by reading "Papa Piccolo," a story about an Italian cat in Venice who adopts 2 wayward kittens, so naturally we're starting out by learning lots of fun stuff about Italy. Meaning, ITALIAN FOOD! Today we started lapbooks for our book-of-the-week, then created a map of Italy and the girls drew pictures of themselves in a gondola. Then we made Pizza, which included great lessons related to the science of making dough and identification and use of simple common fractions (1/2, 1/4, 1/8), as well as learning the difference between "teaspoon", "tablespoon" and "cup". For the remainder of the week we'll be learning new vocabulary (like "gondola," "canal," and "barge"), becoming familiar with a few simple italian words, making spaghetti, and learning about perserverance (a trait highlighted in the story) with related bible verses. The kids also started their reading and mathematics lessons, and I was excited to see how much they recalled from last year.

On the down side, I've already noted a few challenges to our beginning year...

For one, I've got to figure out how to keep our school time short enough so that everyone also gets time outside to play and Caleb can have the attention he needs during and after school time.

Also, I'm noticing the kids are going to have to learn patience and waiting skills, as today was pretty much a free for all of interrupting, "mommy can you ____?" and "MY TURN!"

And lastly, to be honest, my patience level is going to need a major overhaul. I notice I get so easily overloaded when everyone is talking (loudly), calling out for me or whatever is needed, and demanding my attention. I know regular teachers deal well with up to 30 kids at a time, so I figure 3 IS do-able, but I've got to just persistantly pray for more patience and a longer fuse :)

All in all, though, it was a positive first day of kindergarten for the girls, and even Caleb had some fun times helping to make pizza, coloring with us during lapbook time, and listening (a little) to the story. I'm excited to see what the rest of the year brings!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Excuses, Excuses

I suck, I know. I'm the worst blogger ever. I just haven't had the time or the inspiration to write much lately. Summer's been such a blast with the kids that we've just been using all our time enjoying life. Silly me. ;)
And now with school starting next week, who knows when I'll find the time to pop in and write, but I promise I'll try, really I will. Even if it's just to update what we're up to with school. So here's the scoop on us lately: the kids are great... all three have taken to the water this summer like little ducklings, whether it's in the pool or at the lake. And our friends and church buddies must think we've been kidnapped after not seeing us much of the summer, but really, who can resist camping when we do it in such glamorous style (really, we call it "glamping"... you can't call it camping when you have a/c, cable, and hot water on demand, and you do nothing but lay around on a floaty in the middle of the lake all day whilst children whoop with glee and swim endlessly around you).
When we weren't at the lake, we've been either frolicking in the sprinklers out back, splashing in friends' pools, or at the zoo. This is the life.
And now school is ramping up, and though I can't say I'm stoked, I am looking forward to it. This year, in addition to learning at home, the kids are in preschool/kindergarten classes at Grace Academy, a lovely local co-op we discovered last year, and I and my good buddy Lamanda will be teaching the girls' class of romping, stomping 5 year olds. I'll be teaching more of the "Five in a Row" curriculum at home, and supplementing with Math-U-See and reading instruction. Sarah starts 2nd Grade Hooked on Phonics, while Hannah is working on improving her phonemic awareness skills and simple sight word recognition with some kindergarten level readers thrown in. Sarah just sails thru reading and math instruction, while Hannah seems to have a slower pace, but that's just the beauty of homeschooling them, no pressure. I want Hannah to develop a LOVE for reading, at the pace that's developmentally right for her, while not holding Sarah back from her voracious appetite for devouring books whenever they're given to her. I'd also love to start adding in a little Spanish here and there, but I'm not sure where to begin there, so that's a work in progress... for now, Dora, Diego, your my team. Don't let me down.
And many folks have asked what I'm doing with Caleb all this time. I plan on sticking him in the closet on a coathook while I teach, just to keep him out of the way.
Ok, well, while we're not doing anything formal during school time for him, I am going to encourage him to join us at the table whenever he desires for storytime, crafting, songs, etc. If he's interested, great. If not, that's ok too. I'll keep working informally on getting him to know his colors, shapes, and letter/numbers (Gah! He's so close on his colors and shapes, and just when I think he's got it, he yells, "TRIANGLE!" when I ask him what color grass is... I think at this point he must be messing with me). And when he's not working, my little buddy does just great playing with his toys nearby, smashing and crashing about and destroying the room while we work at the table. During breaks, he gets lots of Mommy time, too, for stories, cuddles, snacks, or whatever else he might want. It's a rough life that boy has, I tell ya.
The cool thing for us, though, is P.E. includes frolicking in the sprinkler while it's still warm out, riding bikes around the block, and chasing after each other in hide and seek. Field trips are whenever and wherever we want, with no stupid permission slips needed. And when we're all just feelin' funky, skip it, it's kindergarten and they need to be outside playing and learning about life more than they need to be filling out worksheets and answering rote questions. I'm in seventh heaven at home teaching these kids, even if they drive me batty on a frequent and consistent basis. Friends always say, "Good for you, I'd never be patient enough to teach my kids." I hope someday I'll be patient enough, too, but for now I'm just covering us in prayer and hoping God guides them more than I do, because if this blog proves one thing, it's that I could work a bit on the "patience" dept. And the "not cursing" dept. But I got the "shower your kids with love and teach them about grace and maybe some worldly stuff along the way," dept. covered. ;)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Two Face...

Caleb has really been maturing these last few weeks, and it's keeping me on my toes. He is potty trained now, needing diapers only at night in case of the rare evening accident, and he's starting to dress himself and peddle his own bike now, so that's less he needs me for now. And my goodness can that boy talk! He is a chatterbox, and in the most absolutely adorable and endearing ways. The other day when getting on the potty, he fell off the front and then said, "Mommy, I guess that means I have to sit backwards on the potty"- I about fell out. For a two year old to verbalize a plan to solve a problem like that just cracked me up. When he pretends, it's delightful:

"Mommy, I have a baby alligator. I caught it in my hands and it's name is George... do you wanna kiss it? Can you hold it for me while I catch him some food with my fishin' pole?"

And when he sucks up, it's both hilarious and powerful:

(Daddy comes home with strawberries in hand) "Daddy, your the BEST Daddy ever!"

But he has a dark side, too...

Ryan and I often sit and wonder over our sweet kids at night after putting them to bed, talking about how neat their personalities are and discussing what they did new that day, and a common theme for us is, "He's just so CUTE!... but so BAD!" You see, one minute he's a cherub- all sweet blue eyes and silliness and "Tickle me MOMMY!" and the next, he's intent on driving someone completely crazy. He's devious in a million brilliant and troublesome ways about how to make his sisters weep and wail and me pull my hair out. For example, at the kitchen counter yesterday, he found a wooden spoon and was tapping it to a beat on the counter and singing a horribly mispronounced version of "Blessed be your name"- cute huh? Next thing you know, I turn my attention slightly toward the sink and away from him, when in my periphery I spy my darling cutie rearing back his arm over his sisters head (who was not facing him and completely unaware of the danger) so as to bap her over the head with the spoon. My arm shot out like a cannon to catch the blow before Hannah had her lights put out, but Caleb just looked at me, giggled, and took off running from Mommy-the-Punisher.

Another example: The kids all made drums at their recent VBS out of various plastic containers with lids. My girls have been using those drums as containers again to carry around little trinkets and treasures they find, carefully sealing the lids to hold in whatever flotsum they deem precious for the day. Caleb, though, whenever he enters the living room, makes a bee-line for those drums, opening them swiftly and steathily to dump out the treasure and then, like a creature that destroys merely for the pleasure of toying with it's victim, moves on to the other sisters' toy to do the same. He wasn't at all curious or interested in what's inside, but rather wanted merely to see his sisters gnash their teeth for the millionth time today and proclaim, "Caleb, why did you DO that!?"

It's like the boy lives a double life... that of a cute and cuddly little sweetheart who can melt my heart on a moments notice, and that of a devious criminal master, stealthy like a tiny ninja. A tiny ninja with strawberry jelly stains on his lips, Captain America undies and a tendancy to piddle on my carpet when not properly monitored. And he has such POWER. Watch out for little Two Face... lest he bring down the spoon while you marvel over his cuteness!

My headgear makes me impervious to my sister's poundings. Tomorrow, I'm going to take over the world.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Chip off the old block

I have had the week alone with Caleb while the girls have been at VBS this week, and it's been loads of fun having Mommy-Caleb dates each day. Today it was too hot to go outside for long, so he and I headed to the mall to chill out at the play area indoors (and coffee, carousels, and cookies may have been involved as well, but our lips are sealed). He had a blast as usual, but I found one moment particularly noteworthy.
In our play area, there is a water theme... so there are little whale playseats, slides in various shipwreck and sea animal shapes, and little ride-ons like turtles and boats. Caleb claimed one boat for his own (much to the dismay of two watching little girls... that's it buddy, Mommy is the only girl for you!), and was happily pretend fishing when I heard him remark, "There's something wrong with the motor! The boat won't start, I'm gonna have to get out and fix it!" He then continued to repeat this little drama about 10 more times before giving up and surrendering his boat to the waiting girls, who were all to happy to snatch up the broken boat for their own.
For those of you who don't quite get Caleb's reference to the broken boat...
Ryan has a boat. A boat that almost assuredly never actually starts when you need it to. And guess what Daddy says every time we're marooned on his boat? It's so funny what they pick up when you don't intend for them to be listening... :)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

How to drive your sisters crazy...

Take these simple tips from Caleb, the the Master at driving his sister up a wall. He's a veritable savant, at just 2 years old, and he's willing to give you advice for the low low price of a cookie, or other likewise valued sugary treat. Just look and listen to a few choice methods he enjoys:

1. The Voice of Insanity-

Caleb has the ability to make Hannah blow her top just by calling her name. "Her name?," you ask... why, yes. Names should be harmless, unless you add a few extra flourishes afterward, as Caleb demonstrates while in time out for the 50 millionth time today.

Caleb: "Hannah Bobanna!"

Mommy: "Hannah, just ignore him. If you ignore it he'll stop."

Caleb: "Hannah Bobanna!"

(Hannah turns purple but remains silent)

Caleb: "Hannah Bobanna!"

(Hannah stomps, but remains silent, giving Caleb the Glare of Death)


(Hannah turns green, grows ten-fold, and hulks-out on Caleb in an unleashing of Hannah-fury...Mommy rolls eyes and tells Caleb to shut it lest he get ANOTHER spanking)

2. The Destroy and Brag

Say said sisters have created something wonderful and amazing with Daddy the night before, like an awesome tinkertoy robot. Stalk the robot throughout the day with your eyes, just passing near enough to drive sisters nutty with anxiety... but wait. Wait patiently until afternoon, milking these opportunities at every chance, and then 10 minutes before Daddy walks in, while Mommy is busy cooking, do this to the beloved Robot:

3. The Toss Across

Wait for Mommy to leave the room on a short errand, believing that all are playing quietly and nicely with Little People, then once she's gone, chuck it all at sisters' heads until they sqeal like little piggies and run for the hills crying for Mommy. Rejoice in having toys all to self for the 30 seconds it takes Mommy to decipher sisters' gibberish cries and run upstairs for the next beating.

4. Merman's Revenge

Wait for Mommy to drop you off in the tub with a sister, then leave the room (are you seeing a theme here?) to dry off another sister after finishing her bathtime. Let Mommy believe all is peaceful in the tubby for a few precious seconds, then proceed to dump cup after cup of water on the tub-sister's head until she's near-drowned. Then, to distract Mommy, dump a couple of cups of water on the floor so she's slowed down in her approach and thus delay the next round of whoopins.

These are just a few of his time-tested methods. Caleb says send cookies if you'd like to hear more. You can find him here:

in his trusty time out chair. Again. With his foot in the electrical plug to drive mommy crazy. Again.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Why Sarah Would Make A Terrible Monkey...


are meant for these...

not these.

Well, my Sarah broke her arm this week, and let me say I'm predicting it's probably going to be the first of many such orthopedic mishaps for Sarah. She is definitely from my end of the gene pool, as clumsy as a bull in a china shop, as she well proved with her many attempts to achieve this break...

Her first fall was from the monkey bars at the park. Ryan says I should have known it was coming because apparently he has noted a pattern that she can only go three bars before falling, however I was not clued into her penchant for falling, and so I was sunscreening myself and looked up just in time to see my daughter's face making contact with the ground with an awful "thud". Gotta give the girl credit, though, she's a tough cookie. She cried a while and complained her arm hurt, but was soon up and using it to play and bearing weight on it, so we figured we got by with a close call.

Then came the 2nd mishap: while playing out back with Hannah, the two ran at the huge inflated sprinkler ball I had out for them and rolled over it. Like moss on a stone, Sarah clung to the outside of the ball and rolled forward into a handspring... right onto the wrist that was already hurt. But did I take her to the E.R.? No, because I'm thick and it takes me almost as long to catch on as it takes Sarah to break her arm good and well. Soooooo...

After about 24 more hours of fun and silliness with very little complaint from Sarah, while I was folding laundry upstairs, my dear ballerina was twirling with her sister and brother downstairs during that last-blast-of-daily-energy that is the witching-hour right before bed. Parents know this is when their kids have the most destructive and difficult to contain energy, and for Sarah, this led to a dizzying spin to the floor with a landing on, you guessed it, her right arm. So I finally caught on that, hmmm, maybe she might need to have her arm seen. I still never guessed it was really broken, though, until the doc showed me the x-ray and said, "and here's the fracture"... He must have thought I was a little coo-coo because I actually laughed out loud at that. It was more at the surprise and irritation at myself for not checking it earlier that I laughed, but doc must have been wondering a bit, because here I am with this adorable little pixie who just happens to have a black eye (from whacking her head against Hannah's on another occasion), a missing tooth (lost by natural causes, I assure you), and now a broken arm, and here I am laughing at the poor dear's misfortune.

Nevertheless, Sarah is adjusting to her newly-casted limb well, and no one has called CPS on me yet, so I think we'll make it past this incident. She shocked us when she picked red for the color of her cast (Sarah is famous for wanting everything to be blue... I even get confused when she and Hannah occasionally swap shirts and wear different colors because my brain is now hardwired to call whoever is in blue "Sarah"), but then she explained that she wanted red so that it would show better when people signed and drew pictures on her cast. We were blessedly able to obtain permission for a waterproof cast, and I'm so glad, because she has been loving the water this summer and making progress with swim lessons. And now, to look on the bright side, she has a lovely red hammer attached to her arm with which to crack nuts, crush her brother, or hammer nails if she should wish to do so.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Chop-Stick Incident...

Just after leaving from a visit with my family this evening, Hannah called out from her back seat, "Momma, did you remember to get my chop-stick Nonnie gave me?"
I searched the dusty, Barney-brainwashed files of my brain and could find no reference to chop-sticks, so I challenged, "Hannah, Nonnie never gave you a chop-stick... what on Earth are you talking about?"
Hannah's voice ramped up about three million decibles and at least 2 octaves, "THE CHOP-STICK! Mommy, you didn't forget it did you! I neeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeed my CHOP-STICK!"
"Hannah, have you lost your mind? We haven't had chinese food or sushi in ages- I. have. no. idea. what. you. are. talkingabout!"
"MOOOOOOOMMMMMMYYYYYYY! I gotta have my chop-stick! Can we go back to Aunt Catherine's to look for it?"
"Um, No. I'm sorry, you must have lost it but I'm not going to go looking for a chop-stick. Why did Nonnie give you one, anyway!?"
Hannah replied in glass-shattering staccato notes:"My lips are dry, Mommy! I need my chop-stick!!!!"
"OOOOOOoooooohhhh! I have your CHAP-stick in my purse, Hannah. CHAP-stick... not chop-stick."
", you have it?"
"(Sigh) yes dear. You can have it when we get home."

I'll never get to eat Chinese without a little giggle to myself again. :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


We had a lovely day at the beach today, with lots of fun with friends from our homeschool group, however, I did notice a few snags in our day...

For one, since when did I become a glorified sand-sherpa, schlepping huge amounts of kid gear over the dunes while people moan about how far our spot is from the car? Also, Caleb still refuses to go near the ocean water and so it makes for a hot day hanging with my little buddy on the towel and begging him every few seconds to go in the water with me (my revenge on the constant "are we there yet?" assaults in the car, hee hee). Furthermore, I would like it noted that I very much dislike the way the beach seems to follow me home... I think we had at least a bucketful of sand stuck to our clothes/towels/toys on the way home. So today, upon returning home, all items which had been used in the sand were dumped on the porch to dry before washing so I could shake off the sand outdoors, rather than in my home. As I returned outside to get the clothes, I heard a shriek from indoors...

"MOMMA, YOU LET IN A WASP!"... "Crap! No Ryan to kill this thing," I thought to myself, "now I hafta look tough and get it out or kill it myself." I pretended an air of confidence that would have won me an Oscar, chasing the bug around with a thick junk-mail envelope, my weapon of choice for stalking errant bugs since cancelling my daily newspaper subscription. The air of confidence came to a sharp halt, though, once a missed strike led to me losing where the bug was in my sights. "Where is IIIIIIITTTTT?! I can't find IIIIITTTT!," I hollered in a panic. Suddenly, the bug reappeared and was no more after a swift swipe of my American Express pre-approval envelope (hey, it is good for something!). After I left to drop the carcass outside and returned indoors, my children hollered triumphantly, "Yay! Momma, you got it!" Sarah, who is a hopeless t.v. addict, added, "Yeah, Momma, you saved the T.V.!"

It's all about priorities.

Sarah's are apparently to save the t.v. above all else :)

"You can take my family (esp. the little brother), but I'll be darned if you're getting my cartoons!"

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Another Homeschool Fail...

On our way to the campsite for our Memorial Day fun this weekend, Ryan and I were discussing the kids while the children watched DVD's in the back (no judging!). Ryan was teasing me about Caleb and what an awesome job I've done of teaching him his letters, colors, shapes, and numbers... as in, he doesn't know even one of 'em. Not for lack of trying, I asserted, as I reminded Ryan that even though we're done with school for the year, I still spend lots of time reading to and playing with the kids, and I always make sure that those more scholarly goals are addressed while we play. "Hmmph! Yeah, some teacher you are!," he jibed. This is not the first time we've had this discussion, by the way, about my homeschooling prowess. Mutually, we know that the boy would have no difficulty learning these things if he just cared, but it's just not Caleb's thing to care about those things when he could be memorizing the names of the million different dinosaurs and construction vehicles there are out there. But I digress...

Just as I was about to jibe back at Ryan for being a turd and giving me a hard time about my homeschooling skills, Sarah (who has timing) chimes in from the back, "Momma! Look! I saw a really big GOAT with horns!!!!" Meanwhile, this is what Sarah really saw...

I hung my head in shame while Ryan corrected the dear in-between giggles. And by the way, the child has seen and interacted with both cows and goats before... unfortunately though, she's got more of my genes than I thought because as smart as she is, she still has a little dingbat in her at times, too ;)

And just to prove the boy knows his stuff when it comes to construction...

The boy was on a bit of a "cherry picker" bent today, but believe me, he's done the whole book before flawlessly without prompts. Cracks me up!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Things I've noticed about my children and mealtimes:

It's another day of action and adventure in the Johnson household, and that means the endless cycle of cooking, serving, and cleaning meals has begun. Each day I start my day so well intentioned, only to be an angry, broom-wielding mess by the end of breakfast. In between, my children look like ordinary, adorable children (most days); however, at meals I've noticed a few universal laws take effect which lead me to the point where I talk to myself and require dark chocolate and coffee to continue the day. These universal laws include:

1. The law of enhanced gravity- My table is surrounded by a high-gravity field, much like a black hole, or the bermuda triangle effect that goes on in my house. Drinks, utensils, bread slice fragments smeared with sticky jam... all are affected and lead to frequent mopping and Mommy muttering curse words under her breath.

2. The Booster Rule- My girls are five now. That's old enough to dress themselves, read, play outdoors without me, and wash themselves in a tub. Unfortunately, though, it does NOT mean they can sit in a forward position in a chair. No matter that the food is in front of them, their bodies must for some reason wiggle any other direction but forward. For this reason, they will be in booster chairs till high school. Boosters at least have sides which make it more difficult to wiggle over, which dramatically reduces "falling-out-of-chair" incidents at my house. Otherwise, I would have to hang them by their toes and drop food into their mouths to ensure they can't wiggle out of anything at the table.

3. The Law of Diminishing Utensils- Everyone at my house gets an average of 2 utensils per meal. Somehow at least 5 forks and/or spoons are on the floor after each meal and at least one person is crying due to multiple utensil dropping incidents due to the "now you get to eat with your hands cuz I'm not getting out ANOTHER FORK!" rule. In fact, before food is ever served, I can guarantee you at least one person will drop their fork/spoon. Caleb especially likes using his to scratch his back, while Sarah likes to rub hers all over her face without food on it... sigh.

4. The Paralysis Paradigm- My son has two very functional arms. Just observe him moving thru the house when I'm in a hurry to get out the door somewhere and you'll marvel at the number of things he can reach and pull down, squirrel away in his clothes for the trip, or shove in his mouth before you can say,"Time to go!" For some reason, though, at the table his arms cease to function once my butt hits a chair with hot food. Before my seating myself, he happily sits and feeds himself (or throws food everywhere else, or cries with disdain over the meal... you never can tell which way the appetite pendulum will swing, really), but after my behind makes contact with the wood of my chair, something inside him snaps and his arms can no longer serve him. "Feed me!" he yowls. "I need HEEEELLLLLPPPP!" Unfortunately, I'm a sucker who usually ends up feeding him because that almost guarantees he'll eat more and hopefully someday grow out of the 18 month old clothes he's been wearing FOR THREE SUMMERS.

5. The Time Vortex- Time functions normally most of the day, but at the meal table time dramatically slows down for Mommies. The first few moments of the meal are seemingly normal, however, after the first tenth of their tummies are filled, my children find anything and everything possible to do other than actually eating. All joyful parts of the day are then erased from our memories, and people begin bickering over whose leg hit whose or who gets the purple Flinstone vitamin or "how many more bites must I eat?! 'bout now? how 'bout now?" At breakfast, Caleb has also taken to asking me before every bite whether the bite size is correct because he's developed a weird perfectionist habit of making sure it's neither too big or too small a bite of cereal before he can eat it. And have I mentioned the strange resonating properties of Sarah's mouth? When that child eats, it's like a herd of cows in a field chomping away. Add to that 48 trips to the paper towel roll to clean spilled material, and you've got a dramatic slowing of time that results in Mommy wishing they would JUST FINISH ALREADY!!

And it's not just me! I know I seem like the grumpiest Mommy on Earth after reading this, but I've discovered I'm not alone. Mommies everywhere cry foul at mealtimes. Once upon a time, meals were lovely sweet together times, however, according to many of my friends, my house is not the only one hosting a cage match with rabid howler monkeys three times a day (and a varying number of snacktimes). Daddies, I think it's time to take the Momma's out for a date night!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Congratulations! You broke your toddler...

Caleb has a remarkable talent for mimicking other people. He can nail the wording, facial expression, and intonation of those around him exceptionally well... to a fault really. For instance, I'm not sure who he got this from, but I'm sure he didn't make it up himself, this afternoon when asked what type of candy he wanted, he replied, "I'm a skittles man, Mommy"... I almost fell over it was so funny. He even leaned in a little and propped his elbow on the table thoughtfully for the delivery.

Also, one time at the grocery store, he was flirting with the cashier with his eyes while waiting for the line to advance, and when we got to the counter, leaned in and asked, "How you doin'" ala Joey from "Friends" (which he's never seen... please don't call the Mommy police on me). The cashier then couldn't help but fall in love with my little 2 foot romeo, but alas, he knows where his skittles and potty training star stickers really come from, and in the end, I convinced him that Mommy is still the better girlfriend for him.

Then today, I see my sweet blonde angel playing on the floor with tinkertoys when suddenly one doesn't quite fit the way he wanted. So out from my cherub's mouth comes this little doozy: "DAMMIT!" With a side of "Dammit dammit!" After picking my jaw up from the floor and disciplining him, the guilt set in. "Caleb baby," I said, "that was a horrible no-no word you said, and it's never ok to say it. I know Mommy says it sometimes when I'm mad, but that's wrong. I'll make a deal with you, if Mommy says that word, you tell Mommy that it's a no-no word and that it's bad and that Mommy should never say it. You are not to ever say that word again, you hear me?" "Yes Maam. Sorry Momma"...

So now I'm realizing just how much my toddler has in common with the dementia patients I used to take care of. They could swear up a blue streak, but ask them to remember simple things, like how to remember to shower or not pee in the trash can, and they get a little stumped. Same thing with toddlers. Caleb can apparently remember a curse word I've used, oh maybe a dozen times, without difficulty, but ask the boy to name his colors, numbers, shapes, or letters (which we go over at least eleventy gabillion times a day) and he's at a loss, left only to patently shout out "green!" or "b!" randomly here and there in the incorrect context. I have no doubt he'd pee in a trash can before choosing to go potty in a toilet, as well...just ask my mom what he did in her brand new tub (haha you just told me not to post it on facebook :) ).

I will now accept my "shame on you, you horrible Mommy" award... yes, I broke my toddler. But he's got an excellent chance of making millions with a career in standup comedy or public radio even if he never learns those minutia of academia I keep bugging him about.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Code B at the Walmart

I've written before about how I detest dragging my sweet little terrorists to Walmart before; however, yesterday something happened that really made me turn from a nice Christian woman to a Tasmanian devil in PMS. My little lovelies have been suffering from a virus that's like a three for one deal... pink eye, ear infection, and flu-like symptoms all rolled up into one big ball o' fun, so at their checkup yesterday at Chez Doctor, they prescribed an antibiotic for Hannah, who, despite the fact that they were all deaf from infections, was the only one who required aggressive treatment. So off we trecked to the local Walmart at 10:30, and when they told me it would be a 45 minute wait, I cringed at the thought of coming back for another visit there, but decided it would be better than wandering around the place trying to contain my voice to low tones whilst threatening three little howler monkeys (who, mind you are deaf, and therefore exponentially louder than usual) in the cart to "Stop touching each other! We do NOT spit at people, especially family! Do NOT lick the shopping cart handle! No we are not going to buy pork rinds simply because we don't have any! Puhleeeeeze stop 'Not touching!' your sister!" etc. etc. So we left for lunch and naps to return later.

At 3:30 we ventured back, with the promise to my deafened little dears that if they behave I would let them have extra-fun playtime activities when they got home. I was almost chipper... we'd get the rx, go home, have some fun, and I'd get dinner on and all would be perfect and Suzy-homemaker-y and happy. Then the checkout lady looked me straight in the face and without a smidge of apology in her voice said, "oh, we're out of stock for that drug"...

Now, please understand, I have a reputation with my husband for being a major wuss. My dear Ryan can make sales associates pee their pants with a word of dissapointment from him, but I am the sort to back down from any and all confrontations... most of the time. However, when I heard the pharmacy lady say this, I turned from this:

to this:before you could say, "Oh Snap!"


At this point the checker stepped back and you could almost hear her signalling, "Code B at the checkout counter! Alert! Alert! We have a CODE B! Crazy -itch at the checkout counter!"

The manager appeared, and I explained my ploit: "I'm told you are out of stock for Augmentin. How is it I had to schlep three sick kids down to the Walmart pharmacy, which I'm pretty sure is one of Dante's CIRCLES OF HELL, not once but twice in one day, only to find out you couldn't pick up the phone and call me in the 6 hours you've had my prescription sitting out."

Her reply, "Um, are you part of our auto-text program, because we can tell you this info by text in the future if this ever happens again"

"Happens AGAIN!? Are you saying this is a normal occurance?! And yes, so you know, I am a part of that program, but even if I weren't, you have like a MILLION copies of my information on that little computer of yours and you're saying you can't call me at home instead of texting if there's a problem?! Did I mention I have THREE sick kids here in this cart, and that this has RUINED my evening. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to manage three small people on a good day, let alone manage to keep them from sucking up every rogue germ in this place while in the pharmacy section here?"

"Yes, maam. I know it must be hard, I have a kid myself so I know it's tough"...

At this point I had to restrain myself not to put my shoe up her nose. Please don't get me wrong, Mom's-of-one, but it is exponentially harder wrangling two or more people in a shopping cart, let alone the overly-loud, virus-crazed grumps I had yesterday.

"Maam, I'm going to call another Walmart and see if they have this in stock."... this was followed by 20 minutes of Walmart-hell-waiting while she whispered frenzily over the phone to someone else. "Maam, they have this Rx at another Walmart (which is a half hour away)... they'll have it ready for you in a half hour when you get there. Again, so sorry."

I might have cried at this point.

I loaded three sad, dissapointed little grumpies into the car for another trip in rush hour traffic, only to repeat the same routine of "Please, you can't all hold my hand in the parking lot at once, please stop wrestling your sister's hand, no we can't visit the bathroom just to see if they have awesome auto-flush toilets, please be good I'msorryIcan'tgetyouhomeintimetoplayyyyyyy!" a half hour after the origional version in another Walmart parking lot. At the front of the line, I'm told, "Oh, we told them (the other Walmart pharmacy people) we'd have to contact your doctor before we can begin filling this." I definitely cried at this point. Then I explained my situation and begged for help because I knew this was not THIS pharmacy's fault, but what I needed now was mercy, assistance, Augmentin, and a big fricken bottle of xanax for my nerves. My Rx was done after another 30 mins in the waiting area, whilst my children mopped up every germ in the place and the people in line scowled angrily at me for making their wait longer by insisting my stuff be pushed to the front of the que.

We left at 3:30, and arrived home to my parent's house, who were kind enough to prepare dinner, at 6. Needless to say I'm transferring my prescriptions elsewhere and having words with higher-ups today, but since this blog is here for me to vent occaisionally, please allow me to do so. And please feel free to vent along with me... I know we've all been there! It's just rare for me to turn from a confrontation-hating wimp to an angry she-wolverine who could have made Kim Jong Il or Kadhaffi piss themselves and retreat, but I guess all of us have a breaking point. Oh snap!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

At least I win at SOMETHING

Hannah, while sitting on her Daddy's lap this morning, wrinkled her nose and exclaimed, "Daddy, did you TOOT?" "Nope" "Are you sure, it smells like you tooted!" "Nope, maybe it was Mommy" "No Daddy! This one REALLY smells. Mommy's don't smell that BAD!... it smells like a Daddy toot." Well, I can't cook as well, and I can't throw them for miles into the air, but at least I win at something in our house :)

Birthday girls!

Happy 5th birthday to my precious little girls! We've had a wonderful weekend of celebrating, especially during their big birthday party surrounded by some of our closest friends (families from our Mom's for Christ playgroup). This weekend we were reminded how many wonderful, supportive, loving friends and family we have, and how thankful we are for these two beautiful girls. They light up our lives and bless us in so many ways. I am so overjoyed when I think about how these two little beauties shine forth each day, and all the silliness and fun they bring into my days. They seem to bounce thru each day, giggling and goofing off all the while. Sarah is still my happy-go-lucky, t.v. addicted, bull-in-a-china shop kid, with a gorgeous, oft-seen smile and a love for building/constructing things and playing outdoors, while Hannah brings us her sweet & silly, rolly poly, attitude-subject-to-change-at-a-moments-notice personality with a love of all things craftyand fashionable and a generous side of cuddliness. I'm amazed at what wonderful little people they're growing up to become, and can't wait to spend the rest of our days enjoying their smiles and watching them continue to blossom! Happy 5th birthday Hannah and Sarah... Mommy, Daddy, and Caleb all love you very much!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

According to Sarah

(she's no expert, but she did stay at a holiday inn once...)

For a (almost) five year old, Sarah really has become quite authoritative on a few subjects lately. The topics in my van today really demonstrated her know-how on some really deep stuff...

On farming:

Hannah: "Do eggs come from chickens?"

Mommy: "Yes"

Hannah: "Do they come out when they poo?"

Sarah: "That's silly Hannah, of course not! They shoot out their poo-poo holes when they're not pooping! If they did it when they poo, it would be gross!"

On Undertaking:

Sarah: "What's that place over there?"

Mommy: "A cemetary. It's where they bury dead bodies after someone dies"

Hannah: "What?!"

Mommy: "Some people want to have their bodies preserved after they die, so they have their bodies put in a special box called a coffin and then they're buried underground"

Sarah: "Yeah, and it's real hard. You have to be REAL careful to put the bodies in the boxes cuz they're real fragile. If you're not careful, the bodies will break apart into lots of little peices, then it's real messy and you have to put each peice in the box one at a time before you bury it."

On Zookeeping:

Mommy: "We're going into the petting zoo, but be careful not to run after the animals because you'll scare them"

Sarah: "I know Mommy, there's a special way to go up to the animals... you have to tiptoe and sneak up on 'em, and then when you're close enough, grab 'em and run before they freak out!"

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Gardening FAIL

Should I be allowed to raise people when this is what I do to plants?? I can't even keep baby tomatos and cucumbers alive. Seriously, I did my very best with these... watered them only when the soil got dry, let them get plenty of sun, even encouraged the wee ones to talk to them for crying out loud! Guess we're making a trip to home depot for the fully formed versions, which thankfully I have kept alive in the past. Really, though, how hard is it to keep seedlings alive for 4 measily weeks?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Babies: Little Mysteries Wrapped in Diapers

Caleb has had a strange problem since last Wednesday that has been confounding Ryan and I. The boy suddenly won't eat. And it's wierd because he won't even eat food he likes, like bread and pizza. What's even stranger is we can find no rhyme or reason behind it. Once every other day or so since Wed. he will binge on something, usually something totally non-nutritive, like waffles or cereal, but then for the rest of the day will eat practically nothing, not even his most beloved foods. He seems to have zero appetite, and even gags upon putting food into his mouth and either pockets it like a squirrel or spits it out immediately. It's very strange, and we can't find a single reason why. He doesn't appear to have any other symptoms of trouble... no evidence of teething, no constipation, no complaints of feeling sick to his stomach or having a sore throat, no acting under-the-weather, etc. And what's worse, we can't wring a single clue from him as to why he won't eat. It's like talking to the Scandinavian operator "Peggy" from the Discover Card commercials...

"Hi, my name is Peggy..."

You ask him, "Does your tummy hurt?"..."*Djess (*yes)" (he nods emphatically, pie eyed and with a goofy grin)

"Does your throat hurt?!"..."Djess"

"Why aren't you eating?!"..."Djess"

"Can you fly?"... "Djess"

"Is your name Fred?"... "Djess"

It really is maddening. I'd love to find out whats up with the boy, but I'm afraid I'll probably never get an answer and a day or two from now he'll just mysteriously start eating again (I hope).

And this isn't our first go round in the nut-case infested waters of parenting. I remember the first time Sarah ever had a real temper tantrum. She was about 18 months old, and one minute she's playing happily on the floor with her sister, and the next minute she stood up, opened her mouth, and began a keening wail that continued for what seemed like an eternity. We tried and tried to figure out what could be wrong with the little pixie... "Did your sister hurt you?" ..."Waaah!" "Are you hurt?!" "Waaah!" "Sad?!" "Waaah!" "What the heck is wrong, Sarah?!" "Waaah!" ... this continued on for a good 45 minutes before we threw up our hands and decided to take her to the nearby E.R. for an exam because we figured there had to be something bodily wrong for a person to continue crying hysterically for that long for no discernable reason. Luckily for our pocketbooks, by the time we got into the parking lot of the E.R. it was like a switch was suddenly hit and she all of the sudden stopped crying and started sweetly singing "Amazing Grace" in her babyish version of slurred chinese with her sister accompanying next to her from her carseat. We never did find out what caused the breakdown, but we soon learned that this was just the first of many episodes of emotional hysterics which came to be Sarah's norm for when she had tantrums at that age.

I remember another episode when Hannah was just 5 weeks old, still a squirming, wriggling mound of angry pink mush in a onesie (the angry part, alas, continues still today, sigh...that girl has a blazing temper!)... she hadn't pooed in two days, which was really unusual for her, since she was still a tiny infant, and she had also gone from an angry ball of pink mush to a completely furious ball of kicking screaming mush. Being new parents we threw up our hands and drove her to the E.R. at 10:30 at night to try to see what was causing the back-up. We were also so severly sleep deprived, which can drive even the most rational person to thinking up the strangest scenarios for their baby's woes ("Did her stomach explode?! Are her bowels twisted and deformed and she'll never lead a normal life and I'll have to feed her that $9000 formula that that kid on the Discovery Channel Medical Mysteries show needed because they had the same diseased bowel problem?? Will she never lead a normal life?? Oh woe is us!")... by the way, let me digress here and say, if you are expecting a child or are a new parent, NEVER WATCH THAT SHOW!... The Discovery Health people seem to make a sport out of convincing normal, well-educated parents that their child could have any number of unpronounceable, unheard of diseases just becuase they seem to cry at a different pitch or, say, haven't pooped in 2 days... Also, never ever Google your child's symptoms. They will have you convinced your child has one foot in the grave in no-time.

So $600 in X-rays later, the Dr. in the E.R. walks in with good news. "Well, I can't find anything really wrong with her, but she really is full of crap." I'd love to see the diagnosis code for that one. It's definitely a genetic disorder, though.

So we took our angry squirming princess home and after about an hour spent bicycling her teensy little legs, she erupted like Mt. Vesuvius all over the wall, the carpet, her blankets, and her Mommy, after which all was once more right with the world.

Don't get me wrong, kids are soooooooo worth it, but I know now why parents' hair seems to gray faster than couples without kids. Any insight into what's up with Caleb would be much appreciated, because for now he remains my little "mystery wrapped in a diaper". He may be able to talk, but it's not much more informative than "Mr. Peggy" at the moment.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

What I meant to say was...

"I do not think that word means what you think it means" (Inigo Montoya, "The Princess Bride")

I have a nasty habit of answering trivia questions way too quickly, and being so completely sure I'm right that I hardly wait to fact check myself. The other night during bible study time with Ryan, we stopped for a question of his...

"What was that word for when people used to whip themselves as an act of humility and worship? I can't remember..."


(silence and a smirk from Ryan)

"I don't think that's quite it, hunny"

"No, really, it was called 'flatulation'" (I say with a perfectly straight face and no inkling of what just came out of my mouth... happens all too often, unfortunately)

As Ryan begins to giggle... I realize my error and correct myself...

"Flagellation... I meant flagellation!"

"Oh good, I was beginning to worry that people were worshipping by letting it rip over and over... 'I love God!...toot toot!'"

It's nice that we can still have a good giggle over something as simple as fart-humor... that's what really cements our marriage together ;)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Best Buds

At the end of naptime today I was summoned to Caleb's room by the sound of loud shouting from inside. As I got closer to the door I heard, "Hannnnnaaaaaah! Haaaaaannnnnnaaaaaah! Hannah!"... this is unusual, as typically Caleb wakes up calling my name, no matter the hour of day or night. When I came in, I entered with the question on my lips, "Caleb, why are you calling for Hannah?" His answer was just too precious... "Cuz Hannah wuvs me." "Don't I love you, Buddy?" (in my feigned "jealous girlfriend" voice) "Yep. You wuv me and Hannah wuvs me and Daddy wuvs me!" "What about Sarah?" (silence...doesn't surprise me, the two are like oil and water) "Sarah loves you, too Buddy, we all do." "Yep. Hannah wuvs me too." Too cute... wish everyone was as secure in their family's love for them as my little Buddy is.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Lunch Lady vs. Superdaddy

Here at our little pajama-wearing homeschool, I am the lunch lady, and my family is all the poorer for it. I have never been a lunch person... lunch was always more of a throw-away meal, a time to toss together the fastest prepared foods together hastily and scarf them down before moving on to the next to-do. Ryan, on the other hand, loves cooking, no matter the time of day or occasion, so lunch for him is just another opportunity to show off his culinary skills and make something "fah-boooo-lous". When I'm in charge, then, the kids have to suffer thru meals such as hunks of cheese, plain bread, a cut up apple, and some pepper slices... sounds like something they served up at the Oliver Twist orphanage, right?

Please Lunchlady, may I have some more?

But when Daddy is home, well it's baked apple slices with cheese melted on top, brie topped crackers, and chicken tenders with a homemade honey mustard dipping sauce. For our children, this results in a titanic battle between "Superdaddy" versus "Lunchlady."

Me: What kind of cold cereal do you prefer?

Him: I'll save you! Here, have some Baked Alaska!

When I cook, it's all, "oh, ok, I guess I can eat peanut butter and jelly with a banana again." But when he cooks, I swear there's a hallelujah chorus sounding somewhere in the background after he hands the food over to the little ones. Everyone rejoices, except Lunchlady, who sounds off thusly:
First, I fume... "This is going to make a huge mess and we have so much more to do. The kids have about 3 minutes before they need a nap, and you're making a 40 minute meal...and I'm gonna be stuck wiping up the trail of muck you leave behind you while you're happily blasting away people and things on your Wii.... Huff huff huffity huff."
Then, I relish..." mmmmmmm tasty vittles! This is amazing! Can I have seconds?"
Then I fume again... "Crap! Do you see this place? It looks like my pantry exploded, and I'm pretty sure I'll never get the stovetop cleaned from all the baked on yuck and blah blah blahbitty blah... "
Meanwhile the kids are all, "Daddy this is great! How come you never make stuff like this Mommy?" And so Ryan triumphs on his weekend cooking days at winning the children's love and affection once more.
But I get even.
On the weeknights, I make his lunch. Poor Superdaddy usually gets whatever is left over for dinner, and if there's not enough, I supplement with whatever happens to be leftover in the fridge from other meals. One time I remember we came up a bit short after dinner, but I forgot to supplement his meal, so he got a teensy chicken breast with about 3 tablespoons of lima beans, and nothing else. And I forgot to salt or pepper anything. Let me say I could totally make due with that by grabbing a handful of whatever was floating around the office kitchen drawers (usually saltine packets and jelly containers are enough to satisfy) but the culinary Wonderboy was somewhat less satisfied. He called me and said, "Hey hunny, I think you should know, we had a food fight in the lunch area and it was a total slaughter. All I could do was throw my three lima beans and run for it. Can you please pack a little more next time?" Ok, hint well taken. The Lunch Lady needs to work a little harder for her hard workin man. But if you show me up on the weekends again, I'm giving you saltines and jelly packets, and you can just suck it up and take it like a man ;)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Degrees of "Mom"

As so many of you well know, kidspeak is a language unto itself, and at times needs a translation. Like, for instance, when my son asks to see my "boo-boos" and I say yes in public, I better be prepared to have my shirt yanked down and be publicly exposed because he is not talking about wanting to see the cuts on my fingers that I got skewering meat the day before. Then there's the degrees of Mom. That is, when my kids want my attention, they will use different terms to indicate the version of Mom they want to attend to them:

"Mommy"= I love you or am super-thankful for something you did

"Mommy" (extra long vowel version)= what I call you if I'm tattling, or if I want your attention at 3:00 am

"Mommy" squared (aka "Mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy...!")= what I call out when you are on the phone or don't answer the first time at 3:00 am

"Mom"= neutral ordinary Mom... I neither love you or hate you at this particular moment, but I must call out this name before everything I say because your sanity is not my priority (i.e. MomIfinisheddinnerMomI'mwashingmyhandsMomdad'shomenowMom...")

"Mom" (extra long vowel version, or alternatively, "!")= What I say before I'm going to complain about something you said, did, or thought.

"Ma"= Southern version of Mom... also what I'll call you when I'm a teenager and don't wan't my friends to know I care about you in the least

"Mama"= This ALWAYS gets an extended vowel at the end, and at times, in the middle. What I say when I want to whine about something to you. Can also be used as a neutral term, esp. in the South.

and finally...

"Ugh"= What I'll call you when you are just the most uncool, unfair, awful Mommy on the planet. Accompanied by eye rolls and turning away from you to stress my irritation. With the girls turning 5 soon, that's the one I get called more and more often. I figure it will crecendo in the preteen years and become no more than a sullen muted growl. Again I stress... time, please stop now! I wanna be Mommy forever!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Caleb's Argument-Ender

Caleb's hit his terrible two's, and as usual, he's doing it with his own flair for the dramatic. He's ramping up his sister-terrorizing, his "No Mommy!"s, and I think his lip couldn't pout out much further if we popped him in the mouth with a hammer drill. He's like a cute, tiny dictator (mini Mussolini?) trying to take over the household. And now he's figured out his argument-ender.

Frequently when we're on car rides, my children, much like all other children of the world (must be in their handbook), decide to get into arguments about whatever flotsam floats into their little brains. For example... Hannah: "Policemen hide to catch criminals!" Sarah: "No, criminals hide from police!" Caleb: "No! NO KIMINALS, I YIKE POLEEEEEEES!" then one of the girls has to begin the real crux of the argument by trying to convince Caleb they weren't even talking to him and he doesn't understand the argument. This angers Caleb, as most things do lately, and his volume rises, and then Mommy has to stop the argument. Lately my hard and fast argument-ender is "STOP ARGUING WITH THE TWO YEAR OLD! THAT JUST MAKES NO SENSE... HE'S TWO, LET IT GO GIRLS!" Then, with a huff, the argument ends and silence reigns once more in my car.

Then today, from my car I hear this conversation:

Hannah: I'm glad we're going home.


Hannah: Caleb, I'm not saying you can't watch your movie, I'm saying we're going home.


Hannah: Caleb, I'm not sayeeeeeeing that. I'm sayeeeeeeeeing...


And so the argument ended.

I think he's gonna be a lawyer. He seems good with loopholes.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Mommy's "Happy Pills"

We were walking down the candy aisle at Walmart when the kids got all excited. "Are we gonna buy some candy Mommy?" asked Hannah, obviously with heart aflutter. "No, honey... I'm buying something for me this time," I answered her. Looking chagrined, she murmered, "you're buying kisses, aren't you?" (imagine the tone a woman uses when she's referring to her lover's "other woman"). "Yes, baby." "But whyeeeeee can't weeeeeeee have any of your kisses?!" "Because, baby, they're like Mommy's happy pills... when I'm needing to calm down or just have a happy moment, I eat one and feel a little better. You have your cookies and your lolipops you get for being good, and, well, these are just Mommy's special treat." "Oh, ok... I get it," she answered me, with a look of new understanding once her treats were mentioned... she knows Mommy doesn't eat her goodies, and got the connection.

Fast forward to the next day, I'm driving in the car and I get cut off by some guy who apparently didn't notice me coming down the road he was turning onto, and without looking, the driver pulled right out in front of me, making me have to brake harder than usual to accomodate him rather than end up wedged in his driver's side door. "Moron!," I (ashamedly) exclaimed. "What's wrong Mommy?" my darlings asked in unison. "Sorry kids, it's just that bad drivers put Mommy in a very bad mood and make me angry. I shouldn't have name-called though." Next remark was priceless: "That's ok, Mommy. When we get home you can have one of your happy pills and feel all better"...

If only it were that easy, baby. Now I have to brainwash the events of the last few days so they don't think mere substances can erase heartaches and pain. But first I'll have a good giggle at their sweet humor :) But I got the lesson... my snide sense of humor can sometimes teach them the wrong ideas, and maybe (ok, certainly) I need to keep a tighter reign on my tongue around them.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The up-sides of stomach flu?

This week my sweet Hannah and I caught the stomach flu... and I'm really trying to see the bright side of it because, in general, the last 4 days have been a major suck fest, but there has to be a silver lining, right? So here's what I've dug up to be the good points of the last 4 days...

Firstly, You could now perform surgery in my house. That's right, the surfaces in my house are now sparkly clean and perfectly germ free. If someone's touched it in the last week, it's been swiped with a hefty bleach-water solution. I don't mess around. Even while I was sick, the procedure was to hurl... muster & clean myself... then head on over to the bleach bucket and get to work while the endorphins did their work and kept me standing before the next wave of nausea. The downside of such cleanliness is that while you could perform surgery in here, you may not be able to because the level of bleach fumes in here might make the uninitiated pass out.

(Editor's note: that last part is in jest... don't worry, the littles are safe and in no danger of dying from bleach fumes...DO NOT call the authorities :))

Secondly, I am now a martyr. Someone grab me a halo cuz I just did my good deed for the year. Hubs has an important event (that which I will not publish for the blog-stalker world) which would have made it a very poor time to get the stomach flu, and so I sent him to stay at my father's whilst I managed Hannah, and then caught her germs. And since my Mommy is out of town (she who normally manages my puke-age loveingly as only a Mommy can), that officially makes me a sacrificial martyr... all hail me. After the quarantine lifts from my house, that is. Later, Ryan can throw me a party and gift wrap that halo with a big box of chocolates and a nice evening out with my girlfriends at Starbucks thankyouverymuch.

And finally, in this quest to find the good in this germ encrusted, miserable tale, I guess you could say the last up-side would be that I had a genuine excuse to let a few things go that I otherwise wouldn't have. For instance, for the last 4 days I've let my kids watch t.v. till their little hearts almost burst from the joy of their Dino Dan/Mickey Mouse Clubhouse love-fest. I also got to forgo cooking for a couple days in favor of ordering in pizza and having meals delivered by hubs, who slipped dinner in and ran out of the house like a frightened girl in sheer germaphobic terror. And sweeping... well, our food consumption was cut by half while Hannah and I decided we'd rather be flayed alive rather than ever consume anything ever again... meaning the crumbs levels were cut in half for a couple days. And I actually got to read a book in my spare time, Ha!

Take that stomach flu... I've bested you with bleach AND with a more positive attitude. Although, if you show your ugly face in this house again, it may do me in, so hit the road, Jack. We've seen more of you than we care to for a long loooooooong time.