Thursday, April 29, 2010

Dear Emory,

You are a nut.  I love that about you.  With one breath you announce, "I am Sleeping Beauty." and demand that we all refer to you by the name Aurora.  In the next breath you'll tell me the rules of a new game you invented called Fishing in the Potty.  You've watched workmen fell trees in our yard, entranced by the buzz of the chainsaw, and when you've had enough of that ask to go inside to paint our fingernails.  I have never been able to figure you out, which is so much fun.

You love your baby brother and no one can make him laugh as hard as you can.  You're so cool.  For the most part, you enjoy him.  Except for when he touches your stuff.  I hate to tell you, Baby, but this is the easy part.  Just wait until he starts crawling.  Enjoy it now.  Your favorite activity is Feed the Baby, which you've discovered keeps Mama distracted from the fact that you are not eating.  You're so sly.

I've recently noticed how very attuned to details you are.  I can't tell yet if this is part of your personality that will stay with you, or if it is because you aren't as distracted by life as I am.  Yesterday when we were at the zoo, I asked if you wanted to see the hippos and you corrected me, "There is only one hippo, Mommy.  You said hippos."  You're so smart. 

Your life is a muscial.  When you want more juice, you sing it.  When you are putting on your socks and shoes, you sing out each step of completing the task, "First you put on this sock, then that sock.  Then goes on this shoe, and that shoe."  You love the silly songs I make up to make mundane activities a trifle more fun, and nothing gets your blood pumping more than a family dance party.  You've got soul.

You crave "schoolwork" and anything else that smacks of being big.  I've had to start printing out worksheets for you to do and you're completely pumped that they say K5 on them.  You love the fact that you wear 4T clothing, even though you are only 3.  You are troubled at night by growing pains in your legs, but in the morning you think it's cool that you had them again since it means you're getting taller.  You're so independent.

I am so glad you're our girl.  I'm glad we get to be your parents.  I try to remember to tell you this several nights a week as we put you to bed.  And by the way, when we sing your songs at night you love to have your back "tickled".  I love this since you usually shun any kind of cuddle.  One night, a couple of weeks ago, as I tucked you in I kissed you and told you, "I'm so glad God chose us to be your family."  To which you replied, "Because I do so many cute things?"  Baby, that doesn't even scratch the surface as to why I'm glad you're my kid.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

tricycles, pb&j, and a snow cone...

... were the ingredients for one incredible Sunday evening.  At about 5, we slapped together a couple of pb&j's, loaded the kids up, remembered the tricycle, and headed 2 minutes away to a quaint little botanical garden for some walking, riding, and eating.  Emory has so much fun "leading" the way, while Ethan is beside himself with joy watching this big sister creature whip around on her tryke.  Eric and I get to stroll and chat, which is so rare, and is so enjoyable when we get to indulge ourselves.

After a dinner of pb&j, doritoes, grapes, and Mountain Dew (diet for me, the real thang for the daddy) we took up our stroll again.  We happened upon some great pals of ours, and whilst the mamas visited a side-splitting game of freeze tag erupted between the daddies and our big girl.  At some point, along came a bigger kid, child of an aquaintance who also happened to be at the gardens, and more hilarity ensued. 

When the park attendant came by in his handy dandy golf cart letting us know that we had 15 minutes left, my rule abiding beloved gave me "the look" -  the one that says, "It is most considerate to abide by the stated rules.  I plan to be considerate and so will you."  See me, left on my own, would have waited 15 minutes before feeling the need to exit.  Eric knows that what the attendant really wants is be getting into his car in 15 minutes, which means, we need to start moving towards the exit. Now. 

So, we did, and got kids loaded up in record time.  I have no idea how we got it done that quickly.  Knowing that we were taking her someplace for a surprise probably added to Emory's cooperativeness.  You should have seen her face light up when she realized we were getting a snow cone.  Bubba was too tired to care we were somewhere new.  He was resting his head on my shoulder, trying to decided whether or not to fall asleep, while we ordered, and protested quite a bit when I repositioned him in my lap for a taste of my chocolate covered cherry snowcone.  The protesting ended rather abruptly when he got a taste of the sugary, cold goodness I spooned into his mouth.

First there was confusion as he tried to decided whether or not he appreciated me spooning something ice cold into his mouth, then there was the dawning of recognition on his face ("Hey.  This is sugar.  I like sugar!"), and then the ear-piercing squeal and full body lunge for more towards my cup.  After loading 2 filthy children up, we arrived at home and wiped the soot and snot off their bodies, popped them into jammies, and threw them into their respective beds.   AHHH.....  that was my idea of fun.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

just because...

It's my online journal and one day I'm gonna want to remember what my days looked like.

6:15am - Bubba starts making a racket and I reach over and turn off the monitor and go back to sleep.
6:30 - Sister appears and climbs into bed with us.
6:35 - Sister starts "I'm hungry.  I want pancakes and bacon.  Can I watch a cartoon?  What are we going to do today?  Mommy, I'm hungry.  Can I have pancakes and bacon?  I want to get up.  Will you please wake up?"  while I try to tune her out and get just 5 more minutes,
6:40 - I drag myself out of bed, tell her to go potty, pick out 3 books, and meet me in daddy's chair.  I pour myself a big cup of coffee, get her juice, and meet her back at daddy's recliner where she is waiting with 5 books.
7:00 - We can no longer ignore the fact that the baby is awake and he gets a 6 ounce bottle while sister watches a cartoon.  Or snuggles with daddy.  Her choice.
7:30 - Baby is fed and placed in the living room with his basket of toys.  TV goes off and sister directs brother's play.  For right now, he's completely cool with this.  I'm sure this will change.  Mommy's in the kitchen.
8:00 - BREAKFAST!  Sister gets pancakes and bacon.  Every day.  Brother gets oatmeal and 2 fruit cubes.  I get a yogurt and another cup of coffee.  This is when we do catechism, memory verse, and daily Bible reading.  We're currently reading through the story of the Israelites deliverance from Egypt. 
8:30 - Emory brushes her teeth, gets herself dressed while I get dressed and dress Bubba. 
9:00 to 10:00 - Brother goes down for his morning nap.  Emory gets Sesame Street, outside playtime, or sometimes we just play and read books. 
10:00 - snack time for Emory
10:00 to 12:00 - Play time with kids, errands, chores, meet up with friends.
12:00 - LUNCH!  Emory wants turkey, cheese cubes, and a fruit every single day.  Brother prefers 3 veggie cubes and 3 fruit cubes or a yogurt.
12:30 - Daddy comes home for his lunch and all sorts of chaos breaks loose.  If Emory is going to play a computer game it is usually now when I am trying to clean up from our lunch and get daddy his lunch.  Ethan jumps and bumps like a fool in his bumper jumper.
1:30 - Daddy heads back to work, Ethan goes down for his afternoon nap with another 6 ounce bottle, and Emory gets books and a yogurt shake while she winds down in her bed.
2:00 to 3:30 - Emory and Ethan both sleep!
3:30 - kids are up, afternoon snacks are consumed, and mommy hustles everyone out the door to head to the gym.
4:00 to 5:00 - Ahhh... gym time.  Sometimes I get the pleasure of working out alongside my BFF, but usually, I. am. alone.
5:30 - the mad rush of getting supper on the table, daddy getting home, kids crying because I haven't fed them all day, or so they would have you believe.
6:00 to 7:00 - Family dinner.  This time is becoming more pleasant the older Ethan gets.  I'm actually getting to sit for most of this time.  My dinner is usually cold, we're engaging in the normal song and dance it takes to get Emory to eat, while I am literally shoveling food into Ethan's mouth.  Generally, not at all quick enough for his liking.
7:00 to 7:30 - The kids take a bath together.  This is so stinkin' cute.  They laugh and giggle, splash each other, and just really enjoy being together.  If no bath is needed then it is family dance party time in the kitchen.
7:30 - Ethan hits the wall, collapses in exhaustion, gets an 8 ounce bottle and blessed bedtime.  He will literally dive into his bed, snuggle up with his night-night and if he could he would tell me, "Bu-bye now."
8:00 - after 2 books, 3 songs, multiple kisses and hugs, Emory is bedded down for the night as well. 
10:00 - Mom and Dad hit the sack try to get 8 full hours before it all starts over again tomorrow at 6:15!


I have recently been feeling weary.  I'm so tired.  There's this insomnia thing that has reared it's ugly head once we got the baby sleeping through the night.  If I weren't so tired, I'd laugh.  But, the thing about lack of rest, is that it kind of makes you crazy.  And, if you have small children, you don't the luxury of giving into the crazy.  So, you keep it at bay which makes you really really grumpy.  So, you either stare at the wall, humming to yourself, rocking in the fetal position, or you snap at your poor daughter for turning the kitchen faucet too high, which slashes water all over the wall, and I DO NOT HAVE THE ENERGY TO WIPE IT UP. 

So, I've been begging God for sleep, which He has not granted... yet.  I'm still going to pray until He grants my request.  I get a little panicky sometimes, like when I let myself dwell on how long this might go on, but that really does no good at all.  For anyone.  I began this week knowing I was terribly low on sleep and then the big girl got sick with a cough.  And coughing can be worse than puking because at least if there is puking there is sleeping in between the puking.  With a cough, there is no sleep at all. 

I've been begging God for patience.  And then it hit me.  I don't need patience, I need to have fun.  When I'm having fun, patience comes easy.  So, I began to ask God for laughter.  And boy has He granted it.  And nothing makes us laugh more around here than a silly song.  I know I get this insane delightful talent from my mother.  If you made the mistake of complaining around her, she would somehow turn it into a whimsical ditty that made you ever so sorry you opened your mouth. 

Here are some songs I've whipped up the last few days.  See if you can guess the tune....

While wiping a nose:                                           
Who's got the snots?    
Ethan's got the snots.                                                       
Oh!  Who's got the snots?                                                 
Ethan's got the snots!

While putting a grumpy big girl down for a nap:
What do you do with a grumpy princess?
What do you do with a grumpy princess?
What do you do with a grumpy princess?
Give that girl a kiss!

While checking a diaper:
Looky, looky, looky
Who's got poopy?
Ethan's buns are clean!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

some kind of wonderful...

... this whole momma of 2 thing.  Slowly, slowly, I am finding my groove.  And most of it involves living with more chaos, more mess, and more letting things go.  I mean the whole clothes even matching thing is so for the birds when the big girl dresses herself.  But, you know what?  It was one less thing I had to do.  Don't worry.  If we're headed to church she gets her clothes laid out for her.  So, I do draw the line somewhere.

I was feeding Ethan his night-night bottle tonight and was struck by how small Emory really still is.  She does so much for herself, including writing her own name on her security tag for church this past week (when did she learn to do that?), but she's still just a baby in so many ways.  She was following her daddy around, talking a mile a minute, and I noticed how very far up she has to look when she wants to see his face.  It was a delightful sight.  Is there anything more warming than seeing your children seek after and enjoy their daddy?  Maybe a nice gin and tonic, but we're out of limes.

  I was rocking Ethan, soaking in that bit of sweet baby-ness, the kind that you get after you've let a baby roam in the yard in his diaper, eating watermelon and a popsicle, and enjoying making himself so very very dirty.   And then you bathe that very dirty baby, rub him down with some good smellin' Burt's Bees lotion, put freshly laundered jammies on him (from the drawer!), and he collapses exhaustedly in your arms for some milk, a rock, his night-night, and then to be laid down in the crib.  Plus, he's just so stinkin' kissable.  Even after I've exited the room, I can guarantee that Emory and her daddy will take their turns sneaking in for one last kiss.  The baby sleeps through it all.

Both kids have a security blanket.  And did either of them have the courtesy to attach to the small fabric squares, perfect for small hands to tote about, I landed for them?  Nope.  Both of them have decided it must be the biggest blanket either of them owned.  Granted, they are both the softest things to cuddle.  Emory has her "blankey" and Ethan has his "night-night".  Obviously, I've handled the naming of Ethan's lovey, but Emory came up with her terribly creative name all on her own.  I wonder what he will decide to shorten it to?  When they sleep, it's interesting how they each position their blanket for optimal comfort and security.  Emory wears her around the top of her head, with the ends touching her shoulders.  Ethan pulls his over his face.  Like a good mommy, I sneak in after about 20 minutes and pull it off.  You know, so he can breathe and all.

And currently, there is a 12-pack of toilet paper still sitting in my hallway waiting for someone to take the 1.2 seconds to put it in it's home.  I bought the TP 3 days ago.  There is a paci, a night-night, various artistic creations, a glue stick, and a popsicle stick on my kitchen floor.  I found 3 used diapers on the second shelf of the changing table.  (How did I get that lazy distracted?)  BUT, all the beds have sweet smelling sheets because I have a thing for clean linens and it was at the top of my priority list today for everyone to sleep in a bed that smelled delicious tonight. 

And for now, I leave you with some images of the wee ones who are teaching me to let the small things go, take a step back, re-group, and embrace the beauty of our family.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

where does she get this stuff?

Today I was packing Emory's lunch for school.  As I packed she was asking me to include various food items that her friends bring to school.  Most recently, it is carrot sticks and ranch dip because her friend Anna brings it too.  Since Emory tends to shun anything that could possibly have any nutritional value, I am all too happy to oblige.  Even if it is for one of the sweetest vegetables available.  As I was working I asked her, "Emory, does anyone ever bring their vitamins to school for lunch?"  You see, I am a bit neurotic about the vitamins.  Especially since her diet is so lacking in them.  And it's gotten kind of old this having to remember to give her the vitamins when she gets home from school.  It's out of my routine, you see, and therefore takes a lot of mental effort to remember it.  But that's a whole other post....

She replies to me, "No, not usually."  Not usually?

And currently, we are in the kitchen, Emory and Ethan are playing school.  Ethan, of course, has no clue what they are doing, but he is thrilled with his big sister's attention for the moment.  It's fleeting since Ethan doesn't play right, in her estimation.  Emory is pretending to be a preschool teacher and is welcoming children to her classroom.  Periodically, she will walk to the kitchen doorway and "greet" a child, by name mind you, and then proceed to mime carrying them into the "classroom".  I think she's an infant teacher this morning.  Sometimes she is a two-year-old teacher, but usually she is a music teacher.  Signs of things to come?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

time to vote!

One of these is landing on my bathroom wall as "art".  You tell me which one!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

WFMW and a compliment...

I'm resurrecting "Works For Me Wednesday"! I'd love to hear your tips too! I'm always on the lookout for a more efficent way of housekeeping (or parenting). Today's edition involves the television. Everyday Ethan takes a morning nap from 9 to 10. If I'm lucky. Now, the problem is not that he's a poor napper, he's actually a superb sleeper, the problem is the loud energetic big kid in the house. After too many mornings of being awakened early from his nap, which led to cranky baby and a suprememly messed up schedule in which the kids would not be taking an afternoon nap at the same time (and it's really all about the kids sleeping at the same time in the afternoon), I decided Emory would be getting her day's allotment of TV in one chunk.

It just so happens that this is the blessed hour when Sesame Street is on. And what childhood is truly complete without Sesame Street? As a former preschool teacher and a lover of God who strives to be freed from the bonds of the law, this has been a process of dying to an idol for me. The idol of being the mom who is so good at entertaining her kids that TV is a completely unneccessary item. But, it is necessary to make life work in our tiny home and it keeps the peace. Which, pleases the God I love so much more than a grumpy momma doing an art project with a wiggly three-year-old (who, let's face it, would much rather be watching TV) and a crying infant.

Today, after laying Ethan down, I walked into Emory's room and announced, "Sesame Street is on!" "Can I have popcorn?" Emory asked. It just so happens that I bought a box on Monday! "Yes, we still have some left." And just because I can't let a teaching moment just sit there unattended I added, "Do you know how many bags I bought? I bought 10. You had one on Monday, so there are 9 left. That's a lot! You're going to get to have popcorn for lots of days." To which my babe replied, "That's great, Mom. You're awesome at that."

Thanks kid. I aim to please.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

a funny little tale...

... about this afternoon. The daddy had a LONG list of things to accomplish outside. The kind of list where he was going to get the things that I've been nagging about asking politely for two years, accomplished. He has a half day, so we were optimisitic. After not one but two trips to Home Depot, he sets out to begin his projects. Mind you, he's already behind schedule since all the necessary goods took 2 trips to procur.

He comes into the kitchen, where I am checking e-mail after getting the babes down for their naps. He starts looking through drawers and my atennae begin to twitch. "Where are the keys to the shed?", he demands purrs. "They aren't in the box?" I get THE SIGH. You know the one. We all have it. The would-I-really-be-asking-if-they-were-where-they-should-be sigh. "You had them last." I declared triumphantly. He disappears to our room to look, and returns shortly to ask, "Did you wash the pants I was wearing when I got the chairs out of the shed?" "I don't know", I reply with my I-really-don't-know-everything-although-everyone-who-lives-here-seems-to-think-I-hold-the-very-secrets-of-the-universe sigh. He disappears again.

And then I remember I was in the shed yesterday to get the hose out so the big kids could play in the sprinkler. I start racking my brain, where are they, where are they? He's gonna have a duck fit if I can't find them. I walk outside to the shed and stand in front of it. Retracing my steps, I walk to the outside water spout and there they are! On the outside window sill above the dog's 5-gallon bucket of water, and the water spout. "I found them!" I do my victory dance while he shakes his head. You see this isn't funny to him yet. Our marriage is still too young for him to roll with my kind of insanity just yet. Wow! Our marriage really is young, even though it feels old. I guess that's what happens when you have two offspring to show for your time together.

Speaking of which, giving birth is about the most vulnerable thing one human can do in front of another. And, I've done this twice in front of this man. Twice. There's a reason why having babies is limited Biblically to couples legally obligated to each other. But, back to our story...

With the shed keys found, he gets to work. Only to come back in to inform me he won't be building the sand box he promised the big girl she could play in after naptime after all. Both batteries for the cordless drill are dead, and we have no nails so he can't go to plan B. I guess going back to Home Depot was out of the question. And, what kind of household has no nails?!

At this point, I exited stage right to my bedroom with a 150 calorie, sugar free Klondike bar and my book, for a snack, read, and a nap. After all, I'm the momma and I've been up for whole lot longer today than all these clowns blessings. When I emerged, he was transplanting an azalea. He'd planned to do 3 today, but after 2 hours of work it is now 6:00pm and he's still at it. So, I've made his favorite lasagna which, as Providence would have it, was on the menu for the week.

Poor daddy.

Monday, April 5, 2010

another morsel from C.S. Lewis...

"We must try to take life moment by moment. The actual present is usually pretty tolerable, I think, if we only refrain from adding to its burden that of the past and the future." (emphasis mine)