Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tis the season

Ah, bug hunting. The kids have been avidly collecting creepy crawlies lately. One afternoon last week they came inside wondering if I had any bug houses for them.
Oh yes, I always keep a few of them on hand. 
{Well. Maybe not before, but we do now.}
So, we got out a few jars, chopped up an old screen (I knew I was saving that for something), and hot glued the screen to the ring part of the lid. And wa-lah: bug houses.

This guy was somewhat annoyed that his sister found an awesome 'cal-i-pitter' while he had to settle for a dorky little spider.
Not nearly as cool at all.
He quickly dumped it back out and we searched the parameter of the yard again for a caterpillar.
With each multi-legged insect they would scoop up, they'd come running to show me.
Mom, look!
And I'd instinctively back away.
Yeah. Uh-huh. Cool.

Later, Lydia decided Jack could have the caterpillar after all and they transferred it form her jar to his.
And then, later still, they decided to let it go so it could go back to it's real home.
She's looked for the caterpillar several times since.
Smart little fella is probably high-tailing it as far from this yard as he can get.

Monday Rambles

I can finally breathe in this house.

Usually I resist the window air conditioner window unit for as long as possible (and then I always wonder after why I did.) I'm just stubborn like that and I like to pretend I'm all tough and can handle the heat without the AC. After all, we typically don't have many days up here that we actually need it anyways. (I think I always fear that if we can just flip on the air we won't be as likely to head out to the lake. But with a little baby in the house... The lake is not always a possibility).

Tonight I practically begged my hubby to go fetch it out of the basement and put it in the living room window to which he gladly obliged. And ahhh... What a difference it makes. I can actually breathe. I can actually hold the baby without feeling little trails of sweat racing down my forehead.

On another completely random note: does anyone have any sandals that they absolutely love? I'm looking for recommendations for a good, supportive pair of sandals comfortable enough to wear daily. I'm a shoes person- I don't like walking around the house barefoot- makes my feet ache. But in the warmer months I struggle. Shoes are too warm and confining, yet no shoes is uncomfortable. Any suggestions for a good pair of sandals?

And- since it appears this is a rambling post I'll ramble a bit more- we broke a new record today: We made it to the camp for the 3rd time before Memorial Day! Not sure we were there 3 times before the Fourth of July last year!

Hello, summer!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Apparently I talk just to hear my own voice

I know I need to appreciate these days when my children are little. But some days... My patience is paper thin with gaping holes in which my temper flares through.

Today Lydia & Jack asked for scissors to cut the long grass next to the fence in the backyard. I'm not completely stupid so I agreed they could ONLY if I was out there with them. I gave strict warnings about how the scissors would be taken away if they cut anything else besides the grass, blah, blah, blah. They both promised like good little children they would only use the scissors for grass. So I went out with them to drink my morning coffee (yes, at 11:30 a.m.) on the back steps while they made there way around the backyard cutting the grass.

Five minutes later, the phone rang and I ran inside to answer it. When I came out approximately seventy-five seconds later I found them cutting large holes in a tarp in the yard. I know it could be worse. I know this is just a minor detail. I know I need to relax a bit and I know it was my fault to give them the scissors in the first place. But still!

So, we put the scissors away and I told them it would be a long time before they could have them back again.

They just came in a few minutes ago asking if they could have them back now.

I told them to try again in fifteen years.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Backyard Swimming

Aware of the beautiful weather in the forecast for today, I cheerfully announced to the kids as they munched down their cereal, "Today we'll set up the kiddie pool!" to which I was met with a chorus of cheers.

So, once the wild animals were fed and watered, Er... Once the children's bellies were full and the diapers were changed, the baby was settled into her swing, and the monitor was set up next to her, the dash began. (Because when the baby sleeps, we're on the time clock)

 It all happened a bit like this:

Quick, get your swimsuits on!
Shh! Quietly so you don't wake the baby!
Can someone get me a swim diaper? 

Yes, Jack, for the seventeenth time we are going to set up the pool.
Just please... be patient. 

Has anyone seen the bottom to Hannah's suit?
What? When are we going out? When everyone is ready we will go out.
No, I don't know when that will be.
Why is your suit still not on?
No we are not having snacks now- do you want to go or don't you?!
Are we finally ready?
Okay. Everyone out.
Quietly! let's go.

So out we trooped into the backyard, lugging the two dollar and fifty cent inflatable bargain bin pool I'd picked up last fall from Wal~Mart. I clicked on the monitor and stood it on the steps while a debate began over where to set up the pool. Finally with the ideal location determined, the rest of the pool was inflated, the hose was turned on, and pool began to fill. A quick toe-test and they all declared the water was freezing and pleeeeeease, could I just dump in one bucket of hot water? So back in I went to run some hot water in a bucket and peek at the baby who was still peacefully asleep while the lullabies humming on her swing droned on.

Back outside, I dumped in the hot water and all was right again with the kids' world. And then I realized we'd forgotten about sunscreen so back in I went shouting my warnings to stay out of the water till I returned. Baby was still asleep, sunscreen was located and slathered on little noses and backs. I retrieved my lounge chair from the back porch, settled in, kicked my feet up and breathed. Ahhh, I thought, how nice to just relax for a bit.

So the kids splashed and squealed, I picked up my book, slid my sunglasses over my eyes, and flipped open to the dog-eared page where I'd left off.

And over the monitor came the cries of the baby whose nap was now over and whose belly was once again empty.

We might try again this afternoon. I might have to work up my courage first.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

summer slips in on wishes attached
to dandelion fluff
and the simple dreams of little children,
quieting the chatter in our souls
and teaching us to just be still

Monday, May 17, 2010

Here Comes the Sun!

Don't you love the satisfied feeling you get when you arrive at the close of a productive day (productive translating to one in which you were able to both get some work accomplished as well as soak up the beautiful weather by lounging in the backyard with a book by the author you've been away from for far too long)? Today was blissfully productive.

With the clean laundry waving in the breeze on the clothesline, the back porch finally tackled and cleared out (you can actually walk, like walk normally through it now- no more twisting sideways past the desks- don't ask, please- no more turning this way and then bending that way to avoid tipping the precariously stacked boxes that accumulated there through the winter). With the baby (and the two two year olds) at last taking a decent nap inside, with the supper cooking in the oven (yeah, so it was just a casserole pulled from the freezer), with the children playing happily under the sprinkler (okay so the term 'happily' is used lightly in this situation as there were plenty of squawks and squabbles with a couple of extra girls here for the day putting a severe crimp into my son's already outnumbered male status. He thought it would be hilarious to spray the girls with water when they were most unaware; personally I thought it was pretty funny myself- they, uh, didn't). So, with the promise of summer curling itself sweetly around the afternoon, I sat and got through an entire chapter of my book. And then I got way too warm and spent some time ducking under the sprinkler with the kids.

And then when my nieces were gone home for the day, when the older three were tucked in bed right up to their sunkissed noses, and the baby was contentedly laying on the couch cooing at her dad, I slipped right out the door and met two of my girlfriends for a rather large slice of grasshopper pie overflowing with hot fudge, some good chats, and an overdue catch-up session.

No, this wasn't exactly a typical day- especially with a sometimes-sort-of-a-bit-of-a-fussy baby calling the shots while she slips into, and then so quickly out of, her 45 minute catnaps. But today... ah, sweet summertime, how I've missed you! It was the perfect balance of relaxation and accomplishment. How easily I've slipped into the routine of not really having a routine.

I have a feeling we'll all sleep well tonight.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Four Years Old

Today my son turns four. So much has changed for him in the past year- he's grown up so much and has leaped from a toddler straight into boyhood. Amidst all the ruffles and pink in our house I'm so thankful for this guy who leaves his trucks lined up on the kitchen floor and his tools on the couch cushions. At four years old he's debating- when he grows up he could be a working guy... or maybe a mailman... or maybe a hockey player. He's not quite sure just yet.
His smile never fails to make me grin, his innocent sayings crack me up. Just the other day when the baby was crying he said to me, "But Mom! There's not even water squirting from her eyes!" Jack, you make us laugh.
At four he's persistent and stubborn and knows what he wants. He knows what bugs his sisters and teases them with a mischief glinting in his eyes. He loves his sports- always on the lookout for someone to play hockey or catch with him. He loves cars and racetracks (and has requested a racetrack cake) and he can't stop thinking about just what might be wrapped inside his presents. (We're having his party tomorrow night).
So my little boy- may this next year be filled with frogs to catch and trails to explore, wishes to make and dreams to come true. Happy fourth birthday, Jack! Now, let's have that party already!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

For My Children

One day as my daughter was playing
With one of her very best friends
I overheard them talking
And I couldn’t help listening in

“Why isn’t your dad at work?”
Was the question that was asked
I quickly wanted to intervene
And smooth things over fast

But being four at the time,
My little girl was not at all phased
And she answered her friend so proudly,
“My Dad goes to school in the day!”

This is just one moment
Amidst a collection of memories I store
Answers to the times I questioned
What are we doing this for?

My children, I admit feeling guilty
For all the ramen noodle meals
And for the very early bedtimes
So some extra studying I could steal

Sometimes it felt impossible
Like one day as I backed out of the drive
And the little one stood in the window
Smiling and waving good-bye

That day was one of the overnights
For a clinical out of town
I wouldn’t return till the following day
Yet I just wanted to turn back around

In the moments I thought would break me a apart
You children carried me through
You weathered the bumps we had to take
Getting Dad and Mom through school

A little hand drew me a picture
Of a happily smiling family
I kept it in my notebook
And as promised it made me less lonely

Lydia, I’ll never forget when you said,
“When I go to school we can study together!”
My daughter, you’ll never know
How that comment made me feel better

Jack, one day I was so excited
To find school was canceled
And you, in turn were so disappointed
Because it meant you weren’t going to Grandma and Grandpa’s

You’ve all been such good travelers
On this journey we’ve been on
It’s been three years since it all began
And now, kiddos, we’re done

Hannah, you’re the one
Who always has hugs for me
Born during my first year back at school
You became my quiet reprieve

Adalie, my littlest one
You arrived when our lives were so busy
But holding you close I could let it all go
And everything seemed less crazy

So congratulations, my children
You made this easy to do
I know it’s been quite the adventure
And for that we’ll forever thank you