Saturday, May 31, 2008

Little Bear

Nathan plays rough, and he wiggles and squiggles and runs and jumps and moves even when he's standing still. Which is why going to sleep is so hard for him. He is also sometimes scary to be around, because the movement of his limbs is unpredictable, and at any moment one of them might whack you.

But yesterday while I was feeding Andy he came over and crawled up next to me. "You my Mother Bear?" he asked.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Nicholas is 4 today


This doesn't sound very fair, but somehow Nick's birthday has always been a bigger deal than Nate's. Maybe it's because Nathan has only had two of them so far, or maybe it's that Nathan's comes right after Christmas...

I'm not sure if other people feel this way. And I hope it changes in the future to make things fair for the two other boys.

But for me, personally, Nicholas's birthday will always be a little bit different than the others. Because Nicholas was the first. And when Nick was born, Steve and I became parents.

With each of the other boys we just became busier parents. More frazzled parents. Crazier parents.

Happy Birthday Nicholas. You are a very loved and cared about young man.


And you make all of our lives richer.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Feedin' Time

Andy doesn't really like to open his mouth for the spoon full of food. Instead, when I start feeding him, he starts shoving his fists in his mouth. If I give him an extra spoon he'll chew on that. But he doesn't get that the food is on the spoon and that it comes from the bowl I'm holding.

Nick used to think the food came right from the spoon and would clench his gums on it and cry while I spooned up more mush. Nate just needed to eat from his own fingers. But I think what might be confusing Andy is... his bib. See, after the first few spoonfuls there is usually a good amount of food on his bib. Instead of looking at the spoon and eating food from it, he puts the dirty bib in his mouth and starts sucking.

I guess it doesn't matter as long as he's getting it in his body.

.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Pre-post Fantabulous

When the ability to write blog posts and arrange to have them posted later came out on blogger, I was glad. Because that gives me a little more flexibility. If I go on vacation I can write posts ahead of time and the evil stalkers of the internet won't know that my house is vacant. Or, I can use it to pre-post things like Holiday posts or Birthdays (and I still never mentioned Winston's Birthday - there is no cure for human error.)

So overall I like the function. But now... well, I used to just post whenever, but then I started posting more regularly, each morning. And then it became routine. Every morning. But with this post-ahead deal I've started writing my posts at night. But arranging to have them posted in the morning. Every evening. Every morning. You see the issue? It's created an extra step. For no reason except that I'm a lunatic. It's night. I am posting at night. But this will not actually be visible on my blog until 6am tomorrow morning. Because I said.

On a different note... Steve told me he read somewhere that when a woman gets married, it adds an extra six to seven hours of housework to her week. The same article mentioned that getting married only saves men one hour of housework a week. Steve told me. So it must be true.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Tire Swing

video

We used to have a tire swing in our backyard, when I was a kid. It was a million times more fun than THIS tire swing.

But this tire swing, this yellow one in the video, is still fun. When I was in school, one of the parks we visited during recess had two swings like this, and they were ALWAYS in high demand. But your class had to get to the park first, or they would be taken. Also, you had to be one of the lucky three or four to get ON the swing.

Nick was very taken with the swing. He ends up drooling. And you should check out Nate's trick at the very end. He came out unharmed.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Day Off

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Three day Weekends really throw me off. I used to look forward to them with gleeful anticipation, imagining all the things I would do with my day off. But these days three day weekends are just torture. Because our entire routine is thrown off. Nick doesn't have school. The mail doesn't come. Any trip to the store means fighting the billions of shoppers that have a day off. Steve is around, and even though that's supposed to help, it doesn't because the kids will sense he is not working, and will run back and forth from him to me, making it impossible to know which one of us will be responsible when one of them breaks an arm or punches a hole in the floor.

The worst part of it is, everyone else in the world is on Day Off mentality, and I am not. I am working. I am doing exactly what I usually do, except my support staff, the teachers and the postal workers and the TV schedules, have all decided to play hooky.

By the way, I have no idea who "Michael" is. I think it was one of the other kids at the park Nick just decided to play with.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Yesterday we had mulch delivered and we spread it in the front of the house. We also (with Lillian's help) painted the swing set. And I finished raking up leaves from the front of the house, and did a load of laundry while Steve mowed the lawn.

What makes each of these things so difficult is that the kids refuse to just let you DO them. Before I could begin working on the swing set, the boys, who had planned on helping, had each grabbed a paint brush and were slopping paint... on the seats of the swings. Well... I guess that's what the swing set IS to them. I don't imagine they even SEE the beams and supports. They also, while I was raking the leaves in the front, alternated between running inside the house to let out the cat, and scooping up the mulch Steve had just spread to sprinkle it on the walkway. Oh, and ALL of this was done in seven minute spurts, because Andrew will let me put him down for two minutes before he begins crying, and after about five I need to pick him up or go mad from the screaming.

But Steve says the swing set now looks much safer, and I for think that the work in the front makes our house look much neater.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Calling Dr. Jones

video

Today we took Nate to Burger King... not because we always do, but because my lust for fast food fats and fries hadn't been entirely satiated four or five times during our travels. (that's sarcasm, folks.)

We ordered Nate a kid's meal, because he's a kid. And each kid's meal comes with a toy. Usually the toy is a crummy plastic thing that either looks like it's supposed to do something, but does nothing, or says it does something, then brakes. And usually the toy has some connection to some sort of movie, because THAT is MARKETING, Ladies and Gentlemen! It's how the MONEY is MADE. By BRAINWASHING YOUR CHILDREN!

Anyhow, the toys that come in these things are usually for ages three and up, but if you don't specify, they just throw whatever in there. And that's what they did in this case.

These days, the movie Burger King is pushing is the Indiana Jones movie, which I am excited about despite the fact that THAT BOY is in it. The one from Transformers and Disturbia, and if you don't know why that worries me you probably haven't seen either of those movies.

The toys in the kids meals were based on that new movie. And that irritates me because Indiana Jones is not, strictly speaking, for kids. I mean, I've seen the other movies. There were EYEBALLS in SOUP! And ROTTING CORPSES! And FACES MELTED RIGHT OFF PEOPLE just because they didn't know they were supposed to CLOSE THEIR EYES! I mean... they were kind of scary. Unless this movie is vastly different, I'm assuming that I wouldn't want my kids to see it unless they were, oh, thirty. So the fact that my two year old was suddenly aware of the movie and pointing to Indie's hat and the rolling boulder... well... I wasn't happy.

But then I saw the toy. Know what it was? A WHIP! IT WAS A WHIP! OK, so it wasn't a real one, it was a fake one with paper, and I couldn't even work it, and Nate promptly unrolled the paper and went around pretending it was a pressure washer (except he called it his 'special washer') But the point is... THE WHIP? Why not just put a rock in there and tell the kids it's the boulder? Or a stick? As long as we're giving them things to hit things with!

I just don't get it.

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Boxes Came!

I sent myself two boxes of stuff from Tennessee. I sent one of them media rate. It was supposed to take weeks for them to get here. But I left my garage door open today and when I went to close it, there were the boxes!

So now I have lots of dolls and a box of fabric my Aunt embroidered, and the complete leather bound collection of the Anne Of Green Gables series - all eight books. And also a bunch of journals that used to be my gramma's. And that's cool.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Southern Fried Cleaning

The news on my Aunt Betty is that - get ready for this - she has a fractured vertebrae. She broke her back moving furniture, and we then dragged her halfway across the state and back. And made her go to the park. And pull the boys in the wagon.

Not true - the dragging part. Betty is stubborn and did all of that of her own free will, crazy as it is. But she also spent a lot of time resting in bed. And while she was in bed, we did the following:

packed up over a hundred dolls and gave then to goodwill

cleared out a cupboard full of canned goods that expired in 2001

moved bound copies of Awake and Watchtower magazines from one set of shelves to another

threw out all of Mary's old prescription medications

cleaned a fish tank which was full of water, but no fish (and was really gross, by the way)

looked at a bunch of old family photos of people I am related to

did three loads of laundry, just to make myself feel at home

The house there still seems full of stuff, but it's a bit better, I guess. Not that it really matters, one way or another, beyond Betty being able to use the space. I suppose, when someone dies, we're torn between wanting to keep all of their things exactly as they were, or getting rid of anything that might remind us of them. All I can say is, after that week, I started wondering who would be going through my personal items when I died. Would someone read my journals, or just throw them away? What would happen to my unfinished quilts? My dolls? The letters and photos I've saved over the years? Who would go through my cabinets and my useless stuff? Who would use the rest of my shampoo? Would anyone keep a shirt of mine to remind them of me?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

From Nashville To Memphis

Actually, it was from not-quite Nashville to not-quite Memphis. In Tennessee, we took the three hour drive out to our family cemetery to visit the graves of my family members, including my Aunt Frances.

It's a strange thing, having a family cemetery. In a regular cemetery you don't know anyone, or you know only a few people. And the dates seem to progress in some sort of order... in THIS cemetery... well, I still knew only a few people. Two of them, actually. The other family members whose names I recognize died before I was born. But still, I know that I am somehow related to every single person buried there. Including the young man with a giant cowboy boot full of flowers on his grave, and the plaque honoring his achievements as a hunter.

It was rough trip out, mainly because Betty had decided to move heavy furniture herself just before we arrived, and hurt her back. So after visiting Frances we had to find a motel so she could lie down. This meant that we were kind of stuck there, with nothing for the boys to do, until the next morning.

Anyway, next time I go I might actually take some pictures. It just never occurs to me while I'm there. A bit morbid and I'm usually distracted...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Kathleen's Curse


I took a lot of time and care selecting out flights to Tennessee. It was frustrating because there are no direct flights from Manchester to Nashville, and there are certain airports I would prefer to avoid, and certain airlines I also prefer to avoid. I also wanted to make sure we wouldn't have too little or too much time waiting for our second flight, because the boys would be with me. After much thought and discussion with my Mom, who was flying with me, I chose to fly Continental, and chose to stop over in Newark.

I wish I could tell you what it was like to fly Continental, or even describe the Newark airport. But I can't. Because in all our travels we did not step foot on a Continental plane.

The first woman I spoke to quickly informed me that one of our flights had been canceled due to weather. She then quickly called a different airline and told us we could fly to Laguardia and then to Nashville if we hurried over to that counter. So we did. But the ladies THERE told us the second of those flights were already oversold, so we ended up flying to DC, waiting there for five hours for our departure time, waited an additional hour and a half for the delay, saw John Kerry in a tete-a-tete with a bunch of suits, and made it to Nashville about three hours after we were scheduled to.

What really got to me, though, was that the Continental lady? The one who quickly shooed us over to the other airline to get us on one of their grossly overbooked flights? That one? Well, she erased our return reservation.

That's right. I really hate her.

So we showed up to get on a plane to fly home, hoping that whatever bad luck I had flying in the past would let up and we could just get on a plane and go where we were supposed to go when we were supposed to go there. But instead this man, who was as helpful as he could be and very nice and apologetic, told us our reservation had been erased. And there was no more room on the flights. In fact, there were no more room on ANY flights, not even from other airlines. Not four tickets together, anyway. So we would have to split up. And we would have enormous layovers. But we got meal vouchers, so... whatever.

What I want to know is... what are those people DOING ON THOSE COMPUTERS? This nice Continental guy types for twenty minutes, then sends us over to the other airline counter, where we repeat our story, and over the printed sheet of paper, and then answer the same series of questions while THIS guy types for twenty minutes.

The security lady sent me back because my ticket failed to specify Andy as a lap child. At the counter, one of the airline folks picked up a pen, wrote Andy's name and birth date on it, and sent me back. How high tech. But this time security let me through. I should have just asked to borrow her pen.

Then we were informed that we won a million dollars! Well, no. We were informed that our party had been randomly selected for the special security search, but the tone of voice suggested that we should be thrilled. I know, I know, I should be thankful our country is keeping us safe. But I can't tell you what it's like watching someone pat down your two year old... your FIVE MONTH OLD. The security people should feel stupid. I hope they feel stupid. Honestly, what are they proving by putting people through this? Babies. They are patting down babies. The people with weapons are sneaking them onto the planes along with the luggage. I don't feel any more safe. I feel a lot more hassled and inconvenienced and bossed around.

I know this is long, and I'm complaining and I've said it all before, etc. I just wish I could have one trip without this nonsense. Steve flies all the time on regularly scheduled, non-delayed flights. I think it's me. I don't know why I bother buying a ticket at all. I may as well just show up and say "send me there however you like." Seriously, you can't do it, though. They make you choose your own flights, your own layover... and then it doesn't matter because they change it anyway. It's the illusion of choice.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Home Now

In case you didn't know it, last week I was in Tennessee with the boys visiting my Aunt Betty. And just in case you haven't heard, as in my voice wasn't actually loud enough to carry, we had nightmare travel times both getting there and coming home. I will detail these in later posts because you WOULD NOT BELIEVE ME if I just spat it out, and the telling requires attention and care so that nothing is left out.

I will say that, despite the travel, the airlines, etc, and despite the fact that parts of this visit were sad, IT WAS WORTH IT. To see Aunt Betty, and to visit Frances's gravesite, and my Grandmother's. Not to mention the super duper playground we visited twice.

Details in later posts. Today I have too much catch up work to do, not to mention planning for Nick's birthday party.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Taa Daaa!

So... Blogger has come out with this new function: pre-publishing. Or maybe it's officially called something else. In any case, it allows me to write a post and arrange to have it published at a specific date and time. So I can, for example, write something in the evening and have it published the next morning. Or even, say, write a bunch of posts and have one published each morning, even if I happen to be in Tennessee all week long! Now no one from the internet world needs to know I'm not at home!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Sunhat

I can't tell if he's eating the fabric or looking at his reflection in the little mirror.

video

Friday, May 16, 2008

He Sleeps Like This

Really. He pulls the blanket up right over his head.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

So, really...

How

Do

They

Move

The

Rug

?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Brotherly Love


The other day I finally felt as though I were getting some stuff done around the house. Making it look better. We bought paint for one of the rooms, stain for the swingset, I hemmed a bunch of curtains that have been too long for years, and I ended by raking up leaves from the front bushes and trimming the hedges.

Then I picked up Andy and walked around to the back of the house where Steve was sitting on the hammock with the boys. I had just reached them when Nicholas, who was bouncing up and down, gave a particularly enthusiastic bounce. And the hammock went right to the ground with all three of them in it.

No one was hurt - not seriously. But I do have to say it is a little depressing how, when you get one thing fixed, another thing breaks. Even if it is just a hammock.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Monday, May 12, 2008

Stay Cool

Nick likes to pretend he's the Fonz. But instead of saying "Aaaayyy!" he says "EEeeeeeeeee!"

Sunday, May 11, 2008

WANT AD

Job Opportunity

Wanted: someone to work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. No vacations, no salary. Patience a must. Intense interview period of 40 weeks. Blood tests will be taken and body type changed indefinitely. Job begins with intense physical pain and discomfort. Applicants must then be willing to forgo a good night's sleep for days at a time and to give up all privacy. Job requirements include dressing, feeding, educating, and caring for another human being. Employees will be exposed to bodily fluids and wastes of all kinds. Job requirements may also include heavy housework, cooking, and laundry. Employees subject to intense and possibly fierce feelings of love and protectiveness indefinitely. No Experience Necessary.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Friday

I need underwear with the days of the week on them.

Not because I need more underwear.

Because every morning I have at least one moment where I'm staring into space wondering what day it is.

The underwear would help. Maybe.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

How To Start Your Day

I know I talk about poop a lot on this site. More than people would like, in any case. But you have to understand that I have two kids in different stages of potty training, and one two years away from it. I end up thinking about poop a lot.

Yesterday morning I changed the boys' diapers when they woke up as usual. Then we went down to eat breakfast. About an hour after I changed them the first time I walked up the stairs with a crying Andy in my arms. Nick and Nate were upstairs running around. I walked into their room to find Nate with no pants on. And no diaper. And a poopy bottom. "I changed Nate's diaper, Mom!" Nick said proudly. "But now he wants to wear underwear!" He held up a pair of Bob The Builder underpants.

But before I could address the underpants issue I realized Nate was climbing onto his bed. "Stay off the bed!" I shouted. I then tried to corral Nate back to the bathroom with one arm, Andy in the other, while trying to get Nick to tell me where he put the poopy diaper. Nick was not interested in the diaper, and was intent on telling me that he already wiped Nate's bottom.

In the bathroom the first thing I did was put Andy down on the bath mat. It was then that I realized he had also pooped. Because most of the poop had gone right up the back of his diaper - the rest of it down his leg. It had soaked right through his jammies and was all over the arm of my sweatshirt. And now all over the bathmat and - oh, he rolled over - the floor. Nate was also sitting on the floor. I no longer wanted to be standing on the floor.I had no idea where to even start cleaning up the boys, the mess... and they were still moving around.

So, seven am. I had to give the boys a bath and wash the bathroom floor. And the toilet. And the tub.

Note to self - it only seems like a good idea to let Nathan eat as many blueberries as he wants.
It

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Special Storytime

Yesterday the library had a special storytime. It was held at the elementary school, giving the kids a chance to go inside, to meet the librarians, and to hear stories and do a craft in a different setting.

The mothers got a chance to hear one of the teachers talk about reading, the steps kids usually take to learn to read, things parents can do to encourage learning to read, and what they look for in first graders.

It was interesting, even if it was a little muddled. Because there is no public Kindergarten in our town. But there will be. In fact, Nick's age group will be the first to have the option of public Kindergarten. So it isn't clear how testing and screening will go for his class, let alone where they are going to put the around 250 extra kindergarten kids.

The whole screening process is interesting - even if it is a bit intimidating. But I think our kids are doing a great job.

Now if I could just get them to go to sleep at bedtime and pick up their toys.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Andy

Once again, I have no pictures. I am too lazy to recharge my camera battery.

But I just have to say that Andy has the best toes, and I love to put them in my mouth.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Two Faced

Yesterday Nick went to a birthday party which specified "Dropping Your Child Off" at a specific time. He hasn't been going to parties long, but this was the first time I ever dropped him off anywhere that wasn't, say, school, at least without a family member.

And suddenly I didn't want to leave him. I mean, I had never been to the party location. I hardly knew the parents of the birthday kid. They hardly knew my son. What if something happened?

At the same time, I was thrilled to have a whole 90 minutes to myself.

I went to the bookstore, and kept checking the time. I wondered if I would look suspicious sitting in the car reading outside the party location.

Then I got into the car and realized I would be late if I didn't move. I was sad my ME time was over.

But I was so happy to see Nick.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Forbidden Subject

Today I wanted to link to THIS POST and say a few words about it. It is rather long, so I understand if you don't want to read it. But yesterday, as I went through it, I found myself nodding and shaking my head.

See, it's about blogging, and specifically, blogging about one's child. Because the internet is dangerous. Monsters, real ones, might actually be able to see pictures and videos of my children, might gain information about our lives. Strictly speaking, it isn't a wise thing to do. Not to mention the fact that some topics might be embarrassing to my kids. They might not appreciate my posting information about potty training, or videos of them playing with dolls, or dancing, or whatever.

And I just want to say that I know this, and I do it anyway.

Why? Well, I read the article I linked to above, and I share some of the same reasons. Not the one about supporting my family, because I do not make a red cent off this site. But the part about linking to people? Well, yes. Quite honestly I don't know a lot of people up here, and posting gives me the illusion of making contact. Being a mom is a hard job, harder than I could have imagined, and that's with all of the information I gathered over years of taking education and child development classes, babysitting, and working with kids in child care, etc. I was talking to my sister yesterday and we were joking that they should make you sign a contract at the hospital, a disclaimer, wherein you here and forevermore waive your rights to ever get an uninterrupted hour of sleep, to use the bathroom alone, to do anything without being interrupted, to speak on the phone without kids fighting about who gets to stir the pudding... my point is that the actual TASKS of feeding and clothing and watching a child are simple. But the emotional toll that kids actually take on you is huge. At least the toll they take on ME is. I imagine that parents who find parenting a breeze either have someone else doing it for them or aren't doing it right.

As much as I like to think I am inspirational and share this information with a number of mothers, in reality I know only a handful of people read this site. So why do I do this? Put my kids in danger my posting their most sensitive moments ONLINE? Well... I do it for me. Might sound selfish. But it keeps me from throwing the baby out the window at 4am. And I AM actually selective and careful about what I post. I did NOT, for example, post the photo of Nick's bum in his cute Diego underpants, or of Andy in the onesie that says "My Social Security Number is 002-56-3489." (This is not actually his social security number, but it IS made up of digits that can be found in the social security numbers of his family members, in no particular order.)

And finally, I do this to keep in touch with my family. Because I AM alone up here, and my family doesn't get to see the boys very often. They get to see them grow in pictures and videos. And I think that is a wonderful thing. I don't think I am doing anything groundbreaking. I just feel like I need someone to talk to. And you, internet, are it.


video

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Deer oh deer

It's kind og like the photo that Steve took of that moose in the woods... the one where it looks like a fuzzy bunch of trees, but he swore that the branch right there, that was part of the moose. Well, the deer are there, walking through my backyard, if you can find the fuzzy little brown spots. They are more impressive in person. But for some reasmn every time I point a camera at them they end up looking like ants.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Fancy Nancy

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We take many books out of the library each week. This past week we ended up taking out a book called "Fancy Nancy: Bonjour Butterfly" It turns out this book is part of the Fancy Nancy series. Fancy Nancy, apparently, is a little girly girl who likes frilly things. She constantly overdresses, over reacts, and uses large vocabulary words like "exquisite" and "gorgeous." So you can see the draw this character would have on my two boys. I picked this book because it was closest to my hand.

But the truth is, Nick and Nate both LOVE this book. I think, at first, they liked the occasional French words and the dresses or the butterflies... but then.. well, then, at the end of the book, during the very exciting part where the butterfly flies right up to Nancy and flutters there, right in front of her, while I was using my most excited quiet voice... Nate farted. Loudly. And all three of us dissolved in a fit of inappropriate giggles.

And now, in our house, this is the sound butterflies make. Which is too bad, because I really have a thing for butterflies.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Winter Again

It is no longer raining.

But it is 29 degrees outside. My tulips are frozen.

Happy First Day Of May.