Monday, September 29, 2008

Cleaning cupboards leads to unnerving discoveries

I cleaned out my cupboards Saturday. It's safe to say this job is not one that happens very often. There's really no point as far as I can see:

Empty cupboards
Wipe down shelves
Neatly re-align boxes of pasta, cans of tuna, and baby fruit on the shelves
Stand back
Congratulate self
Realize there's still a pile of stuff lying on the counter
Lose patience
Start cramming the leftover stuff in on top of previously neatly aligned items
Stand back

No point. Except I did find one interesting thing. It was almost worth the whole project. I unearthed an extremely detailed set of instructions about what Lydia should eat and do the first time we left her overnight at her grandparents. I had such a good time reading it- the list for what she could have for breakfast was longer than the choices my kids get in an entire day now.

I was standing there reading it, my eyes growing wider by the second, going, "Heyyyy. Good ideaaaa. Cut up apples with her oatmeal. Who would have thought?" Now my kids get two choices: Marshmallow Mateys or Wait-Till-Lunch. I'm starting to sense that I've gone downhill. Lost control, spiraling downward. What was once a healthy, hearty breakfast of oatmeal and fruit is now... sugar coated cold cereal?! And I wonder why my kids act the way they do? I cringe to think of what I'll be doing in all my laziness a few years down the road. I have this sinking vision of me standing there starring blindly into my cupboards that haven't been cleaned since September 2008 going... So. Um. You guys just want some syrup or what?

Ah, well.

Maybe what I should do is begin consulting that list of instructions for ideas. In fact maybe I'll tape it right inside my cupboard door where even in a sleep-deprived stupor I should still be able to locate it.

But, seriously. Who was that woman who wrote that list? It appears at one time she knew what she was doing. I think I'd like to meet her. I have a few other questions I'd like to ask. Like... Was her daughter really satisfied with rice puffs and banana slices for a snack?!?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Teething Baby + No Sleep = Lazy Sunday

So I'm eating my words over here, feeling a bit sheepish. I was so satisfied with the fact that this "bug" went in & out of our house in a matter of hours... Only to spend all of last night awake with the baby. I'm thinking she's teething. Which also is ironic because I'm always the first to say that my kids aren't bothered by teeth coming in. Usually they just pop through. I've never understood the big ordeal here. Until now. Now I'm realizing that people aren't kidding when they talk about the high fevers, the whining, the inability to sleep. Hah. Now I know. And I promise not to ever say again that my kids weren't reallly affected by their teeth coming in.

It's all coming back to haunt me. Kind of like the way I used to stand by the couch and pry my mom's eyes open when I was just a little one and she'd try to take a nap. "MOM! Can you see me?" I'd keep asking. My own haven't done quite that yet, but if they see me headed for the couch, It's a sure bet they'll drop what they're doing and think it's a big game to pile on mom.

Aside from that it's a beautiful, sunny fall day. Perfect day for a Sunday afternoon car ride. And since they're practically giving gas away now, why not? Hah. Never mind the fact that if I actually was to be a passanger in a moving vehicle, I'd fall promptly asleep and miss all the crisp fall colors. Argh.

Okay, okay. I'm getting a little cranky here. I promise, I'll go fill my coffee cup now and be quiet.

Enjoy your Sunday. And your Monday too since we all know that's on it's way.

Friday, September 26, 2008


The flu hit our house last night. Thankfully, it ran it's course in about seven hours or so. High fevers, aches, and a little throwing up...Very short lived. Whew!

I was sitting there holding Hannah, my cheek warm from pressing it against her forehead every few seconds to see if she was still burning up, and I recalled the time- just a week after her birth- when Ryan thought he was coming down with the flu.

He wasn't feeling well so he went upstairs to lay down- telling me not to worry he was not bringing the flu into our house with a brand new baby. He was willing himself not to get sick. I sat downstairs holding Hannah tight- she was so tiny as she had arrived in this world three weeks early. And as I sat there, all I could think is: this baby cannot get sick. She can NOT get sick. She's too little.

It was smack-dab in the middle of flu season and when I had brought her in for her check-up only a few days after birth, the nurse hurried me down the back halls so I could bypass the germ-infestd waiting room and rushed me out just as quickly afterwards. Do NOT stop to make an appointment, she warned, just call when you get home. The flu and RSV are running crazy.I rushed out of the hospital with those words ringing in my ears and a blanket completely covering my baby in an effort to keep away airborne illness.

And yet, here we were at home a few days after that, and Ryan was feeling sick. I went crazy. I pulled out the bottle of Lysol and sprayed and wiped down every surface possible. I slathered my hands with anti-bacterial gel until they were raw, dry, and burning. And I did the same for the other two kids. Whenever they'd walk by, I'd make them smear hand sanatizer on. Lydia began to call it "Hannahtizer."

Thankfully, whatever it was, it did not settle in our house. It was not meant to be and for that we were so relieved. Looking back on my outburst of fear, made me realize how strong that need is to protect our children. As any mother who has given birth and loves her children can relate- with the birth of a child also comes the fierce determination to do whatever we can to gaurd those precious ones from harm. It's overpowering, even when we know the end result is not up to us.

Kids will drive us crazy sometimes, they test our patience on a daily basis... they say things we'd rather they didn't every now and then... They fight with each other until we feel like we'd like to run away, they tattle, they taunt, they make us understand what our own mothers went through.

But that need to keep them safe... it never goes away. No matter what.

Anyways... If your house is getting hit with this bug, just know it's short-lived.

Enjoy your weekend. We're off to visit with some couples after awhile and I'm really looking forward to it. Beautiful evening for a bonfire!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What I'm missing rignt now...

I'd settle for five minutes.
To sit on that beach, in the warmth of the sand,
and breathe.
To feel the spray of the waves,
to hear the whisper of summer's laughter,
to quiet the world around me.
Just five minutes.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Just some random thoughts...

Why is it that...
  • every time I start to study I also feel like eating? (and not stuff that's good for me either)
  • whenever the phone rings my kids chose that moment to poke the other one in the eye? or stand at my leg yelling "MOM!" over and over and over?
  • whenever one kid has a rough night, the other two do too?
  • whenever the baby goes for a nap, my three year old decides she needs something from her bedroom and goes "quietly" to get it... thus waking up the baby?
  • information goes into my brain, gets me through the tests, and then immediately seems to be lost? As in... not even retrievable a few hours later?
  • I can be exhausted to the point of dragging myself up the steps, barely staying awake to brush my teeth... and then I can't fall asleep?
  • whenever I'm in a hurry to get somewhere... that's also the day I can't find someone's shoes, we're missing a pacifier, and the keys are nowhere in sight?
  • kids pick up on the things you think you're keeping secret... but can't hear you when you tell them to pick up their toys?
  • I'm finding any way I can to put off studying?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sometimes... You just do what you gotta do.

In our tiny little kitchen is a tiny little table and four sticky chairs- one of them with a broken rung. (Rung... funny word.) It wobbles when you sit down it it. It shakes, it teeters, and it feels like it's going to leave you sitting in a heap on the floor. That chair has been fixed. And fixed. And fixed. And it has fallen apart again, and again, and again. So we gave up fixing it.

Well. Everynight I brew up a wonderful home-cooked meal and my family comes walking from their various locations around the house with smiles on their faces and pleasantly take their places at the table. Okay, so that's not exactly how it goes but it wouldn't sound quite as nice if I said I stand at the microwave burning hotdogs and yelling "I saaaiid supper. is. ready!" and then admited that they come shoving their way into the kitchen, fighting over those three good chairs while I'm left portioning out the mac-n-cheese.


As it always turns out, I'm always the last to get my food, and coincidently, the last one standing. (Which means it's "easier" for me to get the forgotten napkins, the extra fork, the milk, etc, etc. You know....Since I'm still standing.) Which means... by the time I get to the table with my cold supper... the three good chairs are long-since occupied and once again I get to climb my into the broken chair (which is wedged between the baby swing and the wall... so getting to that broken chair does require some athletic ability and delicate maneuvering).


One day, I came to my senses. As I turned from the stove with my plate of cold supper and saw my family gobbling down their meals on the three good chairs, I announced, "Yes! I get the broken chair!!" like it was some kind of reward or something. Well, let me tell you: never, never, my friends, underestimate the power of a little reverse psychology. All it took was to do that a couple of times and suddenly... Sitting on the broken chair is a luxary. Okay, okay. I didn't convince my husband... And Jack hasn't really caught on... But, Lydia? She now proudly announces, "I get the broken chair!" To which I reply, "Ooh! Lucky!"

And then? And then I sit down with my cold, burned supper in a sticky, unbroken chair. Ah, the simple pleasures in the life of a mother.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Fixing up an old friend

Well... Today finds me doing reconstructive/surgical repair to Lydia's ratty, tattered old bear. It's flattened from little arms clutching it, breaking open at the seams from being loved, and it's fabric is so soft and smooth I forget what it originally looked like. Now, some may say let it go! She is, afterall, almost four. Some may think I'm crazy to put a little more stuffing in it, stitch up the gaping holes, and even attempt to give it some new eyes. But... This mom is too much of a softie to heed that advice. Yes, it would be easier to just let the thing fall apart completely... but, without much consideration I've realized simply: I can't do that. I'll admit, I just don't have it in me to let this bear wither away like that.

You see, this bear has slept with Lydia every night except one since she was ten months old. It was a gift from her Granmda H. and once she took a liking to it, she never let it far from her sight. She clutched it as she learned to walk, held it as she toddled around on usnturdy legs. She's reached for it whenever she's sad, kept it under her arm when she's been sick.

At one point, "Bear" went everywhere she did. To Grandma's, to the store, to church even. And more than once we've had to turn back and retrieve it when it's been left behind. Eventually we had to get past that stage and she learned that Bear couldn't always be dragged along. And she was okay with that- as long as she could still have it when she snuggled into bed at night.

Well, lately Bear has been looking rather sad. Two nights ago when I was tucking her in she said, "Mom, maybe you could wash bear and sew him up tomorrow." And because she said it so sweetly, and because she was clutching it so tightly, and becuase I know she loves this old bear... I knew I would.

And so here I am. Sewing the seams tight, stiching a smile back on it's face, giving it some new fluff... And feeling like this could be the most important thing I've done all week.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tuesday Morning... and the coffee's hot

It's a quiet morning over here. Lydia and I are up, the other two are still snoozing. Looks a lot like November out there today with the heavy gray clouds. The heat is running, coffee's brewing... Feels like a cozy day to stay inside and get some things accomplished. It's an organizing kind of day, I think. The kind of day to pull out the rest of the warmer clothes and surrender to the fact that the shorts can probably get packed away for the season. I'm no meteorologist but by the way things have been going, I'm not really forcasting any weather that warm. Just gray, November clouds. And there's your five-day forcast, folks.

I'm enjoying these quiet, peaceful moments this morning and realizing how so much in life is a trade-off. Often in a good way... But, take this past few weeks for example. Lydia's moving away from always requiring someone to play with her to making up more on her own. But then there's Hannah. Giving me a run for my money with her disrupted sleep schedule and the fact that she's started army-crawling all around the house. Did I mention that? I know that children must grow, and we're glad when they do becasue it means they're healthy, but... I'm thrown off balance here again. Now there's her to chase. Get that away from Hannah! What does she have in her mouth? You can't play with that puzzle right there, you'll have to block it off somehow! And she does cruise. I don't remember my other kids doing this, but maybe my memory is just that shot. Seems to me they sat like chubby little lumps until they were around nine months old and then started crawling. Not her. She's got places to go and things to see... leaving mom feeling just a bit frazled.

But... It's going to be a good day. And I hear the coffee has finished brewing so I'm off to pour myself a steaming cup. No better way to start the morning.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

And just like that... There goes the weekend.

Well, we're on to Monday again tomorrow. Hope you're all ready for it. Honestly, I'm not sure that I am. It's just that it's... Monday. I guess it's best to get the most dreaded day of the week over with first, huh? Now, there's the bright side I was searching for.

It was a wild weekend over here. Didn't get out much so we are all feeling a bit cooped up. Ryan hit the books all weekend preparing for a busy week of tests ahead. I'm begining to see how much work that full time program is (and I'm quite happy to be doing this part time, thank-you-very-much.... There's enough days when I think even part time isn't possible!)

To add to the excitement... Hannah decided... She doesn't like the new crib we put her in. Or something. Because she has been an excellent sleeper. Twelve (or more) hours a night, three naps a day, no complaints going to sleep. Loved going to sleep. Until now. Last weekend we put her in Lydia's old crib because Lydia got a new bed (which her dad and cousin Dave built-- I'll have to post pictures when I get a chance.) Up until then, Lydia had been sleeping in her crib with one of the sides off and Hannah was still in a pack-n-play. I was feeling bad that she was still sleeping on that thin little mattress and assumed she'd love the crib. Hahaha. Joke's on me. Suddenly she's waking up at night. Huh? I'm not programmed for going backwards. It's not supposed to work that way.

Oh well. I've been spoiled because she has been so good... But...this can't continue forever. Right???!

Have a happy Monday.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Three year old logic strikes again

The two older kids went to Grandma's this morning so I could get some studying done. When she brought them back she said she told the kids she was going to have to take all the toys away and put them upstairs if they wouldn't clean up when they were through playing.

It is an ongoing struggle to get these kids to pick up their toys, their crayons, their play-doh.

So. After Grandma left, I told them I needed to talk to them. I gave them a little lecture about how it's important to clean up our messes after ourselves. When we're through with our toys, we pick them up, I explained patiently, whether we're at Grandma's, Auntie Trudy's, home, wherever. Because, the next time you don't clean up, Grandma's going to take all your toys and put them upstairs. Okay? They nodded as though they understood perfectly and they would never leave a single toy out again.

Feeling accomplished, I gave them a quiz. So, what will you do next time you go to Grandma's? I asked. Without hesitation, Lydia replied, "I'll go upstairs and play with the toys."

Monday, September 8, 2008

Monday evening musings

Pondering. Wondering. Reflecting.
It's Monday. Possibly the longest day of the week. Early a.m. clinicals, a good old case of the blahs, a test to study for, two fighting kids, and a husband who has class all day and all evening. One feeds off the next, and then the next, and so on and so forth. Gives me the shivers. It's so tempting to go pull out a book from my garage sale stash, make some coffee, and imerse my brain cells in a thoughtless plot. Instead I'll continue struggling my way through the efects of phosphorous imbalances and acid-base disorders. Wa-hoo. But, Tuesday's right around the corner. And Tuesdays typically make up for Monday's so it's all good.

I'm still not giving up on fall being long and warm... but my hopes have diminished greatly. Summer more or less shut off like a switch last week. It came on Friday (or was it Saturday?), left on Tuesday, and pretty soon I'm going to pull out the Christmas music. Nah, not really. But I will let you know when that debuts. I have been known to start listening to it before the leaves are done falling off the trees. It scares some people. I just like the songs. Relaxing. Reminds me of waking up at home as a kid, eating cream-of-wheat, feeling the heat of the woodstove radiating up from the basement. Pure comfort. But I am not a fan of winter, so I promise I'll wait till October to pull out the tunes. Just so chilly out there today, I couldn't help but let the thought cross my mind. (Now I've really shocked some of you: Christmas music? Summer is just walking out the door and she's already talking Christmas music? Wah. Nuts.)

Just to redeem myself- I'm not a fan of the all the Christmas stuff out in the stores in, like, September. I just like Christmas music... And how did I get on this subject?

Note: In the few minutes it took my to type this blog entry my kids emptied out the entire contents of the toybox, smeared chapstick all over their faces, gave the end table a spit-bath, and retreated upstairs giggling about something. This is not good. They're moving too fast for me again.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Jumper cables & Lost microwaves

As we were taking off this evening to go to my sister's, I looked in the rearview mirror and there's Ryan standing on the middle of the road waving his arms. (We were going in two seperate vehicles in case I felt like staying later than he.) So... I reversed down the road to see what the issue was. The hood on the car was already up, so I pulled in right along side of him, hopped out and without a word went to retrieve the jumper cables from the back of the van. Something felt much to routine about that whole act. Too well cheoreographed for me. Like... Maybe we've done this one to many times recently? Ryan said we were like a regular pit crew. Huh. Not sure that's real great, but, okay. It's always good to work as a team, I figure. And if jump starting our lousy cars seems to be our specialty... well... at least we can do something right.

Okay. Gotta go find a microwave for Mark & Emily. Remeber not so long ago I was questioning how we could lose towels? That suddenly doesn't seem so bad anymore. I've now lost our old microwave in my upstairs. It's like quicksand up there. Put something down and SCCHLLOOOP! Gone. Never to be seen again. I'm begining to think it would be pretty great to have personalized GPS to navigate my way around. Make a left turn at the next basket of unfolded socks. Go straight over the crayons lying on the floor.

No... I'm pretty sure the microwave is part of the massive leanging tower in my craftroom, but one can only guess. Is it the base...? Or the lump halfway up? Searching for something is always an adventure in this house. Never know what you might come across. Maybe while I'm at it I'll find a birthday present for my sister who's birthday was this past week. Hey. You never know until you've seen my upstairs.

And, I believe I should stop right there. I've exposed enough of my true habits for now. G'night.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Garage saling, McDonalds, and sugar-loaded cosmic brownies

In a weaker moment of parenting, we decided it would be fun to take the kids garage saling tonight. That led to McDonald's for supper, to Wal-Mart, and then to a playground. Aside from Grandma & Grandpas, I'm pretty sure this covers all of their favorite places to go. So the brilliant ones we are, we decide to cram it all into one evening.

Garage saling was a hit. The second sale had been going on since 10 a.m. so at quarter to five it was rather dismal. However. Let me tell you: the free bins were gold mines to the kids. We let them go at it for a few minutes selecting things like broken cameras and plastic jewelry boxes. They tore through the boxes hardly able to believe their good luck. It was a chorous of: Mom! Can I take this? to which I'd reply, Oh, sure... why not? So as we tell them it's time to go, Ryan fills his arms with Jack's treasures and I turn around to take Jack's hand to lead him out to the van. There he is, busy grabing whatever else he can possibly fit into his hands as fast as he possibly can. I wished I had my camera because it was... great.

Then it was on to McDonald's. I sat there in amazement as my kids marched right in, knew exactly what they wanted (cheeseburger happy meals, thank-you very much) and proceded to find a booth for us to sit in. It got better. When Ryan came back with the food, they proceded to lay out their meals in front of them, plop their straws in their cups, and divide up the ketchup with no help from me. Okay. Backtrack. I think the last time I was at McDonald's with these two Jack was sitting in a carseat sucking on french fries making sour faces from the salt. Yet here they were: as comfortable with the whole scene as if we were eating pb & js in the backyard. I believe Grandma and Grandpa might have a hand in that one. Considering Hannah was the one in the carseat chewing on fries tonight I came to the prediction that the next time I'm in their with my kids will be, oh, I'd say 2 years from now? (Note: this does not mean I haven't eaten there since then. But my idea is a trip through the drive through with 1$ cheeseburgers all around, an order of value menu fries to split, and a few waters. This particular experience was all new for me.)

Wal-mart turned out to be much the same. I rarely step in that store with kids anymore, but apparently my kids frequent the place at the same time they're off eating at McDonald's. And then on to the playground- my three-year old gave us directions how to get there. Something tells me that wasn't her first time there.

So. After an event-filled evening, we made it home and ate sugar-loaded-cosmic brownies for a snack. Kind of fun to play Grandpa & Grandma. Every once and awhile.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

If you don't listen...

As a mother, I find myself throwing out cautions to my kids on a daily basis. You know, things like- If you don't eat your vegetables, you won't grow tall like Dad. Or... If you leave the caps off your markers one more time I'm throwing them all in the garbage... OKAY. Next time, I'm throwing them ALL in the garbage. And that's a promise. And then there's the good old things uttered in moments of little patience like, If you don't brush your teeth, they will fall out... You're gonna get a bellyache if you eat anymore candy... see? What did I tell you?

Oh, as mothers we just can't help sending out warnings- even if we see those warnings simply rolling off our tounges and onto the floor at our children's feet. Huh? All I heard her say was something about eating more candy! Yessss!! Yet... it's one of our greatest duties to keep firing those warnings out. Don't run with a sucker in your mouth- you'll choke. You need your shoes tied- you'll trip. Ah. It gets exhausting, all this warning.

But one thing I find myself saying far too often and much more than anything else is: You're going to fall and crack your head open. Hm. I think I was told this a lot myself as a kid. So now it just spills out of my mouth without control as my kids are climbing on the table, jumping on the couch, slithering over the arms of the chair, standing at the top of the slide, balancing on the side of the sandbox. It's like the ultimate warning to a kid. The top-of-the-line, can't-be-outdone, better-listen-because-I-think-this-is-serious warning. And oh, what images it must conjure in a three-year-old's brain. Because lately the favorite response to that open-ended threat is: "I didn't crack my head open, mom! See! It's still there!"- and then she pats the top of her head as if to prove to me and herself that it's still there. And that, I believe, is my cue to breathe a sigh of relief. Whew.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

So, with Monday outta the way

... We're on to Tuesday. And Dad's been gone all day and won't be home until the kids are in bed. And it's a humid, hot afternoon which leaves me feeling lazy, tired, and... well... lazy. I did manage to wash some clothes but my washer and dryer are located on the second floor- and since the upstairs feels like a sauna- welllll- I used that as a good excuse to stay as far away from there as possible.

Instead, I pulled out some material... looked at it for awhile... debated, considered, imagined... and then left it there and read a book instead. Wah. Productive, eh? I can't even get inspired to sew on a day like today.

School started today for many. We have a bit longer before that becomes a part of our routine which is okay with me. But I do have a bored almost-four year old over here who... loves my continuous, undivided attention. "Mom, wanna help me do this? Mom can you play with this with me?"

Okay, I'm smelling smoke... I've deteremined it's not coming from my house (pretty sure anyways) but I think I gotta go check this out.

Allright, checked it out, and as far as I can tell it's probably just my neighboor burning supper. Hopefully. Nothing major.

Time to go start our supper. Hm. Pancakes? Dad's not home, sounds good to me.