Saturday, March 30, 2013

Blast from the Past

Littles likes looking at old pictures during breakfast if we're not getting to Skype with someone. Evidently, he is not satisfied by the scintillating conversation provided by Tiny and his mom. Anyway, I like to show him pictures from the same time of year but a year or two earlier. The fabulous thing about this is that since Tiny is exactly two years younger than Littles, I get to do the whole, "See, when you were Tiny's age, you did such and such." It's fun.

I'm rambling, but not purposefully. Mostly because Littles keeps coming in here to put stickers on me and Tiny insists on climbing on the couch and threatening to jump while grinning at me cheekily, and that's extremely distracting.

So this morning, I was showing Littles pictures from Easter two years ago, which was a great Easter. On Good Friday, the Man came home from work and said, "Let's go to the beach!" So we threw our stuff in bags and drove to the beach where he proposed to me so many years ago and the spontaneity was almost as wonderful as being at the ocean again. I showed Littles this picture:

And this picture:

And told him about how the Man and I had the hardest time keeping him from nose diving into the icy cold waves.

And how I got food poisoning while we were there, and that we somehow didn't realize that was the first signs of Tiny in evidence.

And we made it home to celebrate Easter with our church family (and man, I miss all that green and the fact that the ocean was only two hours away--and isn't that little boy adorable?)

Here we all are. Tiny got cut out of the picture, but in our defense, we didn't know he was in existence until two weeks later.

Can I tell you that I am just as thrilled to be celebrating Easter this year, green or no green, ocean or no ocean, because Christ's love does not change and the incredible gift of who He is and what He did is just as true and exciting and relevant today as it is yesterday?

I'm hoping to have some new Easter pictures to put up that actually include Tiny, who is only one day older than Littles was in that picture and has significantly less hair but is just as cute in his own way. But first, I need to get Saturday's show on the road.

Thanks for joining me on my walk down memory lane. Sometimes it's good to remember the grace and joy of past gifts, even as we celebrate new ones, like purple tulips and homemade bread and the chance to serve.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Lies from the Laundry Basket

Laundry baskets are the worst.

Not, of course, when they're actually holding dirty laundry--then I feel like they're serving some kind of useful purpose--but when they've been refilled with a bunch of neatly folded, clean laundry. Then they are the devil. Because at that point, all they do is whisper sweet seduction in my ear:

"You don't have to put these clothes away."
"I can be your pretend extra dresser. You know that would be so much more fun. And so much less effort."
"Your husband uses the recliner as an extra closet. You deserve to be in this relationship with me."
"Putting away clothes is only for boring perfectionists. Embrace your creative, artistic self and keep your clothes on display, off-set by the clean plastic lines that define my style."

My laundry basket is crazy, man.

And that's why, when I am in my right mind, I fold the laundry and leave it in stacks on our bed. Because at some point I'll realize that I either have to put the laundry away or sleep on the couch. And I just don't like bunking with the dog.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Crayoned Wodehouse

Our masterpiece
We've had a lot of at home time lately, as I'm aware I've told you all repeatedly. The truth is, if I can force you to listen to my trauma, then it's like I'm sharing it, and sharing always means you have less of something, so essentially, I'm decreasing my level of trauma by shoving it down your throats. Don't you feel sorry for me? And aren't you grateful?

Anyway, we've had a lot of at home time lately, and the boys and I are exhausting our usual store of things to do around the house. Which led to pinterest art projects--which were almost, but hopefully not quite, pinterest fails--and fun with crayons! At the very least, the boys were entertained, and I've discovered how to hold Tiny in my lap while melting a crayon with a hair dryer. Someone should give me credit for that.

In the meantime, I've been trying to take it easy myself, since I don't want to get sick either. So yesterday while the boys played, I sat with them, oohed and aahed at appropriate times, and read some P. G. Wodehouse. I love Jeeves and Wooster. I have loved Jeeves and Wooster for a very long time. I plan to love Jeeves and Wooster for the rest of my life. So when the Man lovingly downloaded the kindle app on the smart phone he forced me to buy and then painstakingly walked my technologically challenged self through how to use it, I asked him to find some Wodehouse for me. Free Wodehouse, because I don't like paying for things. It's an illness.

We found My Man Jeeves available for a grand total of $0.00, and I set to reading. Turns out it's a collection of short stories, which is perfect for my current attention span and the fact that I rarely have more than 5 consecutive moments in which to sit down and read. And I loved being back with Bertie Wooster and his proper English valet, the inimitable Jeeves. We hadn't spent time together since college, and, these days, that seems like a long time ago.

As I read I could hear Hugh Laurie's fantastic voice foppishly narrating the tale. For those of you who think Hugh Laurie is an American actor whose greatest accomplishment was playing House, I pity you. And I will be frank enough to say that in this one case I find the TV series (Jeeves and Wooster, not House) just as wonderful as, if not better than, the books (...waiting for lightning to strike...). Now if only Stephen Fry would come be our family's valet...

All that to say, I've been thoroughly enjoying My Man Jeeves, though I was disappointed that not all the stories are about Jeeves and Wooster (and why name a short story collection My Man Jeeves when Jeeves is in only half the stories?). At the very least, I'm now wanting to say such thrilling phrases as "what ho!", "jolly chap," and "old scout" with startling regularity. I also discovered that "streets ahead" is a legitimate British saying, so Pierce was wrongfully if hilariously mocked in that one episode of Community. And then last night when I was getting back in bed after changing Tiny's vomit-encrusted bedding, I heard my internal voice grumble in the Man's general direction, "The bally blighter's pinched the covers again."

Either I'm losing it after ten days of house arrest or the crayon fumes are getting to me (do crayons have fumes?) or I've been reading too much Wodehouse.

Monday, March 18, 2013


In the in between, right now, I'm studying. The in between of taking care of sick children that is.

Studying a little bit of this and that, and I'm hoping one day, when I'm not recovering from ten days of nasty and gearing up for however many more, to share it with you. If you'll just be patient and hang in there with me, I want to meet you on the other side of this.

In the meantime, a few blurbs for you:

  • Do not teach your children to sing. Not anything. Because if you innocently teach them the words to "Rejoice in the Lord always! And again I say rejoice!", they will sing it at you after a long day of cleaning up diarrhea when you have retreated into well-deserved grumpiness. Then you will want to throttle them.
  • "Order is the shape upon which beauty depends," says Pearl Buck. Most of the time I agree in my obsessive need for structure, neatness, and scheduling, but what about the need to revel in a wild storm? wind-swept hair? a tangle of what some call "weeds"?
  • Do you ever ask yourself who you really are, at the end of the day? Am I really a mother or am I just going through the motions of parenting? Am I really a homemaker or am I just sweeping the crumbs under the kitchen rug? Am I really a writer or am I just shoving words together in the hopes that someone is listening?
  • In the course of the gazillion loads of laundry, I accidentally pinked our two cream coloured pillow cases. They are a lovely, perfect shell pink now. They are just crying out for creativity, and there will (hopefully) be more on that later. Unfortunately, in that same load of wash was one of the Man's very masculine t-shirts that had some manly saying written on it in what used to be white lettering. He has graciously not said a word. In my defense, this is the first load of laundry I've ever pinked...and I blame Little's red-trimmed Thomas shirt. Thomas pinked the laundry!
  • Saturday night I took the boys and dog for a walk, and we pointed out spring nests and loose down feathers drifting beside the creek. I love learning as you live.
On that note, taps has played and I need sleep before I attack whatever tomorrow brings. More crackers, applesauce, and toast, I anticipate. My military brats do love that BRAT diet.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Spring Sick

It's been a long week. And just as we were seeing the light at the end of the tunnel with Littles, it seems that Tiny has descended into a violent vortex of vomiting. The best thing is that he is a trauma hugger, and throwing up is extremely traumatic for a fourteen month old. Needless to say, there have been multiple outfit changes for everyone involved.

In the meantime, I've been taking joy in the little things that get us through. Like, the get well card that came from Little's class at Mother's Day Out. You should've seen his face light up. And running into three different friends while out walking yesterday afternoon (real live conversations with people who aren't threatening to throw up on me! The novelty factor was unparalleled...). But mostly, I've been enjoying spring.

We've been kind of cabin fevered since we don't want to spread germs: no library, no play dates, worst of all, no playground. So we've been spending a lot of time in the yard enjoying the sunshine and going for long walks to find signs of spring. Tiny gleefully busted out the year's first pair of sandals:

We had a muffin picnic in the backyard:

And we discovered the first tree on base to burst into bud. At least, we maintain that it was the first tree. We then broke off a couple branches to bring home so we could have a little Spring in the house along with all the sickness. The Man thought we were horrible, defacing the tree like that for our own enjoyment, especially it being the First Tree on Base to Bloom, you know, but there are so many branches and the two we took were very little and how many other crazy people do you know who would take one for themselves?

At any rate, the moral of the story was encompassed in the first moments of my day: in the middle of de-barfing the crib, I happened to check my phone's verse for the day, and it read: This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it! So I'm going to get on that. Right now. Seriously. Right. Now. Barfy babies and all.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Being the MOM

How you like me now?
Check out my super snazzy photography, man.
Sometimes I like to remind myself of who I really am underneath my secret identity of the MOM. This week, being the MOM has deserved all capitals. That 24 hour virus that hit over the weekend has turned out to not be a 24 hour virus. Add to that, the fact that Littles tried to give himself a concussion (and failed) on Monday, flooded the bathroom with toilet water (allegedly an accident) on Tuesday, and relapsed with barfiness on Wednesday (wait, that's today!), and I am the MOM.

Also known as the BOSS.

And the AWESOME.

And this is just my day job, guys. When I take off my nerdy glasses and slick back my hair, that's when I really get to work.

At the very least, I am seeing that glass as half empty. The benefits of having a child with the stomach flu (or whatever it is that he has) are legion. I have now culled the herd of plastic grocery bags that were taking over my kitchen. The grout on the bathroom floor has been religiously sanitized. I have the theme song to Thomas memorized and in my head 24/7. I'm not gaining weight from resting my knee since all the food I cook still smells like barf to me. What else? Oh yeah, everyone's sheets are very, very clean since they have had to be washed multiple times. And the list goes on. It's a pot of gold, I tell you!

By the way, I have now reached the point where I can do eight full loads of laundry in a day and not lose my mind. Somebody get this girl an award!

Anyway, I do have serious stuff to write in here later, but I'm saving it for a day when I wouldn't rather be eating chocolate chips and watching JAG.

One final note, and he'll probably kill me for this, but I'd like to make a special shout out to my side kick and partner-in-crime, the Robin to my domestic Batman, the Ricky to my Lucy, the Barney Fife to my Andy Taylor (haha, just kidding on that last one): The Man sure had my back the last few days. And I appreciate him. The End.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sick Sunday

We stayed home from church today with a sick Littles. There was an exquisite amount of barfing going on. Well, most of it happened last night, and then the stomach problems progressed from there. But here we are today: Littles has been curled up in bed watching Thomas with a trash can ready for our next excitement, and the rest of us are just enjoying having more family here (the Man's brothers and dad). I wasn't going to write, but then we all sat down to watch Hook together while the boys nap (and hopefully sleep off whatever yucky virus is going around), and all of a sudden I started wondering what other people did when they were sick as kids. The Man watched loads of Disney movies, but since we didn't have a TV growing up, I remember lots of books. Lots and lots of books. In all honesty, growing up in our family was no fun until you learned to read, which is why we all learned so quickly. Anyway, point being, what did you do when you were little and sick? Now that I'm big--can you tell I'm watching a movie about Peter Pan--when I get sick all I want to do is sleep and con my family into waiting on me hand and foot. Why does that not work better? Oh yeah, I'm a mom of toddlers.

Informational aside: it's really hard to get vomit chunks out of a mattress cover. There must be something about the material that causes things to stick. Aren't you glad I shared this with you?

Anyway, last two things. May I show you my new throw pillows? My wonderful in-laws re-gifted some pillow cases I'd given them and they were just the thing I needed for the couch. Now I only have four more hideously fringed pillows to replace. I'm not much of a decorator, but I try to make our home cozy and functional. Picking up shedding fringe does not equate functional. I know there are pictures of said fringe pillows elsewhere in the blog if you feel the deep need to go look for them. In fact, in the past, that fringe provided a really ugly head of hair for a bald newborn Tiny. I say that like he has hair now, which is barely true. Point being that I love my new pillows and they make the living room a much happier place. It drives me crazy that the big couch's pillows don't match yet, but one step at a time, right?

And lastly, I know I've been talking about the garden a lot lately, but it makes me happy, and I also know I've been including a lot of blurry phone pictures lately, but I'm still getting a hang of the new camera phone. But here's a picture of our new flowers in all their happiness and joy. Yay for spring! Yay for rain! Yay for a kid with a green thumb! (Incidentally, I had a dream that my Pathetic House Plant burst into luxurious blooms under Little's tender ministrations--if only this would come true.) At any rate, we had more bulbs push brilliant green spikes up through the dirt last night, probably checking in on Littles who is the only one who remembers to water. It was fun to tell Littles this morning that there were more flowers waiting for him to dump more water on them. Spring makes even the sick smile.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Mom of Boys

You know how boys seem to be born with a death wish? Yes. I've noticed that too.

Yesterday afternoon the boys and I entertained ourselves by climbing up a five foot high concrete ledge and jumping off. They were doing the climbing and jumping; I was doing the catching. May I clarify that when I say "boys" I am including the fourteen month old commonly referred to in these parts as Not-So-Tiny (and occasionally Tantrum Tiny). He now has two tiny little holes in the tiny little knees of his tiny little pants from the times he decided to crawl instead of teeter precariously on his own two feet. Both boys were endlessly enamored.

And I just kept singing to myself: Be brave, little one... Make a wish for each sad little tear...

Just kidding. I really didn't morph into Penny from The Rescuers, but I did keep reminding myself of this article by Jen Hatmaker and telling myself that if I wanted brave kids, I'd better man up and be a brave mom. Still, don't you ever wish that they would wait until they've mastered basic skills like not falling before they start being brave?

Death wish, I tell you.

On that note, I want to share this horribly embarrassing story so that when Littles grows up and graduates college and becomes a stand up adult we all have plenty of dirt on him. Last night, he was exuberantly singing the clean up song as he picked up his bath toys. He put the last toy in the bucket, trilled out an expressive "Everybody do your share!!!" as he lifted both fists to the sky in a victory V, grinned proudly, and let out a beautiful string of farts. The timing could not have been more perfect. I died. I died. I really, really did.

And that is why I am a mom of boys. Because I have never moved past my middle school appreciation for potty humour.

On a more serious note, Easter is just around the corner, and in case you (like me) wonder why we go crazy and decorate for Christmas but let Easter pass with only a few cheap plastic eggs, I thought I'd share this with you:

Don't mock my pitiful little house plant. The fact that it's still alive is a miracle. I don't ask for much more. But if you're interested in the print, I found it here, and I love it. I used a frame that usually holds a Christmas picture, but, obviously, I'm not decorating for Christmas, so why waste the frame, right? If you're interested in the cat, he is free to a semi-decent home. Just kidding. But if Oswald wakes me up at four in the morning one more time (he's going on four weeks straight), we might be serving cat sate for Easter instead of the rabbit sate I had once (we ate the Easter bunny!).

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Books and Anti-Rodent Snobbery

I haven't done a children's book post in a couple months, so I thought I'd whack one out really quickly while Tiny finishes his naps and Littles snuffles beside me (these colds will never end) and watches Thomas. We picked some good ones this week, and I really do credit Tiny. And since we've already read them all multiple times, we're headed back to the library this afternoon. Dinner's in the crock pot so it doesn't matter that Tiny is busting out a three hour nap of wonderfulness on what's supposed to be library day. We'll get there when we get there, and get home when we get home, and not have to worry about anything else in between.

A few of the fun books we got this week are:

OH NO, Little Dragon! by Jim Averbeck about a baby dragon who loses his internal fire spark while taking a bath. Precious illustrations and lovable story. I want a little dragon of my own now. Or the ability to incinerate my own bath toys. Maybe just the latter.

Little Cloud by Eric Carle. A friend of mine once said that all Eric Carle books are the same, and certainly he overdid the Brown Bear, Brown Bear theme, but Little Cloud was a fun way to start a conversation with the boys about the rain cycle. Tiny especially got into it... Joking. Still, Eric Carle's books are classics for a reason. All of that aside, the part of the book when Little Cloud is a clown creeped me out.

The Three SILLY Billies by Margie Palatini with illustrations by Barry Moser. The illustrations were quirky and fun with little details (Mama Bear's toe claws were painted red) that sold it, and the writing was entertaining. There were a lot of punny bits I laughed at that totally went over the boys' heads (Little Red Riding Hood says to the troll: "Oh my goodness! What a big toll you have!") plus it gave my brain a workout as I added up Jack's two cents, a wooden nickel, a thin dime, and the rest of the currency for the troll's toll. Plus, in my head, I just kept hearing my aunt saying, "Pay the troll!" as she demanded kisses from her unsuspecting nieces and nephews.

Final note, I picked up a book of Renoir paintings that the boys really enjoyed looking at with me. It's never too early start developing art snobs. That way I have reinforcements to help me gang up on The Man the next time he wants to bring home a mounted squirrel and hang it on our wall.

Never mind.

I have boys. I realize that is a fight I will lose if I try to win by majority rule. No amount of early childhood brain-washing will get them on my side. Good thing the Man loves me and recognizes the fact that I spend a lot more time hanging out between our still rodent free walls than he does.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Springness with Exclamation Points

We have buds in the garden!

And I wore shorts today!

And weeded(ish)!

And the windows were thrown open to let in buckets of sunlight and fresh air!

And there's a wreath of happiness on the front door! (That's what I was doing this weekend instead of writing, and let me tell you, I am not crafty, but that was surprisingly fun.)

And there was walking and rolled down car windows and playground time and sunny hair!

And when I picked up dog poop today it was dry instead of mushy!

...yeah...I should've skipped that one...

But anyway, it's spring! At least for today. And I will have you know, I made today count. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Friday Favourites

Today, because it is Friday and because February has been duly survived (onwards to Spring!), I thought I'd share a few favourites with you:
  • Mismatched sheets. I'm obessessed. In fact, I'm not sure I'll ever match again. Ever. Ever, ever, ever.

  • Patched up joy (it's a wiggly worm!). This is what happens when Little's favourite blanket gets caught under the stroller wheels: creativity ensues at the price of one of his poo stained baby onesies that I couldn't let go of for sentimental reasons. Now, I'll have a memory of that onesie forever.

  • No more diaper genie! I'm not saying no more diapers (unfortunately), only that the diaper genie bit the dust today, and really: it's just as easy to throw a diaper in the kitchen trash which gets taken out more regularly. I once heard a full diaper genie bag referred to as a plastic cover poo sausage. I've never gotten over that. I will also never get over the fact that I'm pretty sure old pee leaked out on me en route to the trash bin this morning. Shudder.
  • The Easter Bunny arrived early, and then stayed put long enough so I could get three kids out of the car to see him and then take this somewhat shaky picture. He deserves a pay raise.
  • Finally, for now, today I'm celebrating being a Security Forces spouse. Our squadron won best SF squadron in the AETC this year (that means nothing to you non-military people), and man, I am proud. I wanted to get a picture for you of the guys and girls in their squadron t-shirts today shoving hamburgers in and playing cornhole, but I was too busy helping Tiny dance on a table and dump water all over himself. On occasion, I still have mixed feelings about being in the military as well as being an American, but I'm always proud to be Security Forces. The Man and his troops make that easy.
I was hoping to have some other happy stuff to add to this blog after a quick afternoon shopping trip, but I was lovingly reminded that today is pay day so Walmart is going to be packed. I'm reconsidering. I'm sure there will be Friday favourites to be found elsewhere. In the meantime: happy Friday, everyone!