Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wednesday Blurbing

We had a fun morning: making paper airplanes and peanut butter m&m cookies, teaching Alex the finer points of bottle blowing and what a printed lower case "g" looks like (this is more confusing than you'd expect), engaging in a dishwasher unloading dance party…you know, the awesomeness that ensues when you have two boys and half a Dr Pepper left in the fridge to kick start your day. I thought I would continue the roll that I'm on by congratulating myself publicly on this blog (I'm humble like that) and sharing some fun moments we've had this week. There are even a couple pictures included.

Tiny knows how to get that beater done.

Showing off our cookies.
Tiny couldn't tear his eyes away.
He proceeded to pick out and eat the m&ms
one by one before inhaling his destroyed cookie.
If you look closely, you can see he already started on the m&m
picking with the cookie closest to him.
Can this caption get any longer?

Incidentally, come back by later in the week because I'm going to be posting some super cute photos of the twins courtesy of the 16 year old Baby Whisperer. More on that later.

How 'bout them paper airplanes?
Anyway, moving on. Some blurbs for your day. I promise they are completely pointless and solely written for your entertainment.
  • I know that I'm a scrooge because my new reason for hating holidays is all the candy that good natured people pass off to my children. (Do you not realize that I'm the one who later has to deal with their sugar high??? I thought you loved me more than this!) Anyway, I dole out the candy one stingy piece at a time, and my kids know to ask before they indulge. At least I thought they did until I was dusting their bedroom and found a whole ream of empty candy wrappers hidden behind the Little Man's bed. Sneaky, sneaky. My initial reaction: burn the rest of the Easter candy to the ground!!! But I called the Man and he laughed until I think he might've been crying, and we came up with a more toned down consequence. The best part of it was that when I sat down to talk with Littles about it, he demonstrated an uncanny ability to wait until he knew that I was in possession of damning evidence before he 'fessed up.
  • My middle sister has spent the last few days not getting kidnapped in Darfur (you can read about her exploits on her blog--you won't be disappointed). The boys and I got to Skype with her while she was there, and she took us out for a "walk" in the street. Littles and Tiny got to see a horse, a donkey, and a herd of goats. So, thanks to her, their world view is now significantly expanded.
  • The Little Man entertained himself during "nap time" the other day by providing some new decor for the master bedroom. That kid sure knows how to put together a mean wall gallery. The Man and I will now be able to spend our evenings discussing great art and the esoteric meaning behind Littles' black masterpieces instead of actually sleeping.

  • Littles and I have been spending a lot of time working on his reading skills lately. By a lot, I mean we discuss phonics at lunch and call it a day. So, Monday I sent Littles to get a pot holder for me saying, "Pot holder, puh, puh, puh, pot holder. What letter starts the word 'pot holder'?" To which my extremely intelligent son responded, "P! You know what else starts with the letter P, Mom? Penis!" Phonics has scarred me for life.
  • In more exciting news, Bruiser and Bee have mastered the roll over (you really wanted to know this, didn't you?). Bruiser nabbed it first, but Bee couldn't stand Bruiser getting all the adulation and applause, so she manned up did it too--and was quite pleased with herself.  Bruiser thought he'd go for two just for good measure, but Bee was content to rest on her laurels afterward. I can now give myself a check mark for the week and stop playing classical music at them in desperation. Obviously, they are halfway to Harvard (possibly alongside Littles with his masterful new spelling skills).
  • We've all been a little mopey with the Man gone again. Tiny, especially, has been spending a lot of time hugging on the dog saying, "Are you missing Daddy, Trigger?" And yes, he probably is missing the Man, because, let's be honest, he got left with me.
  • Tiny has finally mastered his bike riding skills, and the five of us took the dog for a walk Monday that actually provided me with exercise. Pushing the twin stroller and speed walking after two maniac bikers (cue Wicked Witch of the East theme song) turned out to be a decent work out, even if we didn't make it very far. Today, though, the boys informed me that they wanted to take the double stroller this time instead of the bikes. I'm not sure where they expected me to put the twins as I haven't yet figured out how to baby wear them both simultaneously. Can we take bets about whether or not I could pull off pushing two strollers at one time?
  • I'll close with this. This is a picture of my new favourite tortillas. Because really, how could I not buy these when they have a cute little mascot to provide pronunciation help for what was obviously a very bad choice in brand name?

And with that: Happy Wednesday!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Beautiful Bee

Having a daughter is messing with my heart in all the best ways. 

Enough said.

The boys have taught me how to relax, how to get messy, how to build an elephant out of legos, how to throw a football through a basketball hoop, and other such important things. And, man, I have loved having my boys. They make me feel like a queen. There is nothing like being told by an admiring little man, "Mommy, you look so nice today!" And boy snuggles get me every time. 

I'm not going to lie that I would've been totally okay with two more boys, and it kind of makes me mad when people wink knowingly and say, "Finally got your girl, huh?" like I was just waiting for a girl and now I can move on with my life because I'm complete. "Kind of" was an understatement.

To be honest, I was a little nervous about having a girl. I'm not great with pink and frills and bows. I've only recently learned to develop my feminine side. What if I scar her for life? Thankfully for Bee, most of her clothes are hand-me-downs from my niece whose mother could write the book on girly, so she's pretty well taken care of. My sister also sent a whole bag of bows and threatens me with her unmitigated wrath if she hasn't seen a de-bowed picture of Bee recently enough.

There is more bow here than baby.
Seriously, I cannot see Bee for
the gigantic flower eating her head.

Of course, I fell in love with Bee the second I held her and she stuck her little tongue out at me, but the thing that's been getting me lately is how incredibly beautiful she is. All my babies are beautiful (biased? who? me?), but Bee is girl-beautiful, and it's different. Don't ask me how. It just is. I sit and look at her little pink mouth and her reams of long eyelashes and her huge eyes (and yes, she's bald and currently going through the cradle cap phase), and I'm utterly convinced that she is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen in my entire life.

Don't you tell me she's cross-eyed!

So you can imagine my surprise when we showed up at church Sunday, and my friend, Andi, greets me with, "That child is just you made over, Marian." 

What? Who? Me? This perfect, precious, beautiful baby looks like awkward, gawky me? Please, don't insult her!

She has the over the shoulder model look
down like nobody's business.

And I know you think you know where this post is going. Next I'm going to tell you that I need to discover a more positive self image so that my daughter won't grow up thinking that she's ugly too. And while that's true (positive self images are not my strong suit), I actually have a different point that I want to develop here.

We like to dress up and send pictures to the Man.
Just so he knows what he's missing.

Because here's what happened instead: after I got over my shock at Andi's comment (it took a few hours), I started realizing that my gorgeous baby really does look like me. She has my eyes and my mouth, my nose and my eyelashes. It even looks like she has my toes, but that's neither here nor there (do toes determine a person's beauty?). Interestingly enough, it took having a girl to have a kid that managed to break free from the Man's incredibly strong genes. And so, being the logical person that I am, I realized that if A) Bee is beautiful and B) Bee looks like me, then C) I must be beautiful too.

And you know what? That was kind of fun. So I thought I'd share.

She will be that kid who sticks out
her tongue when concentrating.
Wait: she got that from me, too.

PS My husband is sitting in Alabama right now, rolling his eyes and saying, "I've been telling you this for how long?" But seriously, guys, having a daughter is craziness! msf

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter {Just-the-Pics Version}

Disclaimer: Don't even bother with this unless you're deeply invested in seeing lots of pictures of my crazy children. Mom and Mom-of-the-Man, go ahead and read on.

We celebrated Easter with a quick visit from the Man who found a cheap plane ticket and a deep desire in his heart to not wait another 4 weeks to see us (we approved that message). He got in for dinner Friday evening, surprising the kids who thought he wasn't going to make it until after bed time, and we had a lovely Saturday together before he headed out this morning.  Before he got on the road, we made sure to bring on Easter in style with donuts, the Resurrection story, and a rousing game of Whack-a-mole (please, don't let that become a tradition). I took about two pictures the entire weekend and then got mad at myself, so I redeemed myself (ish?) by taking twenty gazillion of the kids in their Easter get ups. And here you go.

This is the one picture I got of my sweet men, two seconds before the Man
headed back to Alabama. The twins
were sleeping so they couldn't get in on the action.

Okay, not the most fantastic shot of the kids,
but it's realistic. Happy Easter?

Also realistic: boys v. girl (the boys love them some Bruiser).
But let me just say, Bee is going to take them down one day.

They're working on this whole sitting up thing.

This is improved. Somewhat.
Bruiser insists on lounging.

Snuggling with Bruiser for a bit.
I de-pacied him for the rest of the pictures.
Okay, I missed the ones with the boys, but guys:
details are hard.

Bruiser is such a happy baby.
He loves to grin and laugh.
He's also a wiggler so it's hard to get a picture of him that isn't
a blur of ecstasy.

Bee, on the other hand, has many faces.
This is her "I will keel you" option.

Here she is displaying her propensity for eating
anything and everything in sight.
Even her hands!

This is the famous drool smile.
She rocks it.

And finally: a Bee classic: the pokey tongue.
She's been doing this since birth.
Anyway, Happy Easter from our crazy little clan. We are rejoicing today in the empty tomb even if we are already feeling the effects of our somewhat emptier house. And yes, the boys already asked me how much longer we have until the Man gets back. He's just too popular for his own good. Four more weeks. Let's get this show on the road...

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Small Crises Are For Laughter

There are days, and then there are hard days, and then there are hard weeks.

I thought last week was never going to end. I thought there was no way I was going to make it through. I thought that there was nothing left to do but roll over and give up [exaggerating is my artistic license]. I went through the motions and took care of what needed to be taken care of, but if I'd had my druthers, I would've curled up in a fetal position, eaten an entire tub of cookie dough ice cream on my own, and let the kids watch TV for an entire day straight. I didn't do any of those things. Well, I did eat half of the tub of ice cream, but who's judging?

Anyway, I realized that sometimes, on the hard days, there is nothing more for me to do but get through it and hope I find my sense of humor again on the other side.

Littles really does think that Bruiser belongs to him.
And him alone.
There is no sharing.

But I tried--really hard--to find my sense of humor in the moment.  Especially over the weekend when I realized that things were going downhill fast.

First, the boys and I moved their giant stuffed penguin around the house for a few days. He spent several hours playing the piano (he "doesn't play accurately--anyone can play accurately--but [he] plays with wonderful expression"). He tried out the twins' carseats (but decided safety was not his thing). He relaxed in the antique needle point rocking chair (though he preferred the recliner). And last night, as he was lounging luxuriously on the couch in the dark, he scared the ever living daylights out of me when I came in the living room to lock up for the night.

Saturday Sunrise Surprise
You can't tell, but Bruiser and Bee were
yowling their heads off here.

Then, trying to exceed expectations as a mom, I packed up a surprise breakfast picnic Saturday morning, and we went out to see the sunrise and eat banana bread by the "creek." But I forgot Bruiser's paci, and he was not okay with that, and I didn't think it was fair to deprive the neighbors of their Saturday morning sleep in, so it was a very speedy picnic, to say the least. The boys were more interested in tracking down the turtle who had finally put in his post-hiberation reappearance than eating the breakfast I'd packed, so not only did we track a bunch of wet grass into the house when we got home a scant half hour later, but they unceremoniously finished their breakfast when we got home, which solidified the slow Death by Crumbs of my kitchen floor.

Ready to go disrupt the church service.

Finally, I diligently dragged all of us to chapel, though by Sunday I felt that doing one more thing might just push me over the edge to Living Death. Of course, Bee was wanting to be held, which was all well and good until Tiny decided that he too must share in the joys of lap-time. And guys, my lap is just not that big. Tiny, of course, communicated his severe displeasure to me (and the last three rows of pews) in spite of my diligent shushing. I finally got Bee to sleep and did my best to sneakily put her down so that I could deal with Tiny more effectively, but she was having none of it and woke up with emphatic shrieking which prompted me to walk into the cry room until she calmed down. No biggie. Littles was in Children's Church, and I could clearly see Bruiser (sleeping angelically in his carseat) and Tiny in the back pew that was directly in front of the cry room window. What I didn't count on? The fact that I hadn't told Tiny where I was going. So, he screamed loudly for Mama and ran out of the sanctuary wailing hysterically at the top of his lungs until I managed to calm him down. It then took me another three trips in and out of the last pew to get all the carseats, babies, and diapering paraphernalia into the cry room with me. I then got to hear the last five minutes of the sermon.

It's funny now. It wasn't funny then.

I didn't realize that Bee was
attempting to photobomb.
PS Bruiser thought it was funny then.

But you know what? All bad weeks eventually come to an end. And the truth is that it wasn't a bad week in a big way. Nothing terrible happened. I was just not dealing with things emotionally the way I wanted to. And then today, I read this lovely post by Emily Freeman about finding hope when the fog rolls in--and I felt like I was reading about myself--and that was good too.

Be still, my beating heart.
Now he can write "Mom" and his name:
college scholarships are right around the corner!

In her post, Emily Freeman quotes Winston Churchill as saying "Never let a good crisis go to waste." I agree with Sir Winston wholeheartedly (see me blogging about last week so that it is thoroughly un-wasted), but I'll add on: Never miss a chance to laugh at yourself. I plan to succeed in both arenas. With pictures included. It may have taken me a few days to laugh about it--there was no laughter allowed for a few days there--but I turned the corner eventually. And here we are now.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Shenanigans Abound

It might just be time for another picture post. At the very least, I can finish out my Wednesday night by sitting in the recliner in the dark (too lazy to get up to turn the light on) and providing you with cute pictures of my kids. Hopefully the sugar from the oatmeal chocolate chip cookies I just ate will kick in soon and jumpstart my brain so that I can add in some explanatory captions.

The boys were "camping" in the back yard. I'm not sure what exactly the chairs are for, but the umbrella is self-explanatory. I think… No one who's any one goes camping without a Thomas umbrella!

Well, there's no doubt that they enjoy each other.

This picture pretty much sums up my life. And yes, I was holding Bee while I took this, though I briefly considered laying her across Tiny and Littles' stomachs.

Littles said to me the other day, "Mom, I sure do love the twins." And in all honesty, it's hard not too. Even when they laugh so hard that they give you the crazy eyes.

Tiny insisted on opening every Easter egg before he would put them in his basket. I guess making sure that the loot was worth the effort he was putting forth.

Tiny refers to himself in this picture as Hummus Boy. He then asks me when he can be Hummus Boy again. Considering that, hygienically, it's not a great thing for him to shove his face directly in the hummus container (which is what happened here), I really hope Hummus Boy doesn't put in another appearance any time soon.

I wasn't huge on dolls growing up. Books were more my thing. But I have to say, I am having more fun playing dress up with Bee than I care to admit.

These boys like to play dress up too. With their little sister's hair bands. They thought they were hilarious. And all I can think is that Littles looks like a flapper.

Bruiser and Bee like to hold hands during diaper changes. It slays me.

Live from Ink Blots: it's Wednesday Night!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Just Books. Lots of Them.

I buzzed Tiny's hair this week, and as the light brown fuzz tumbled off on the Oklahoma wind, I couldn't help but think of Sarah, Plain and Tall, the scene where Sarah cuts Caleb's hair and tells him that the birds will use it to line their nests. You see, that's what the best books do. They take something ordinary (in this case, my valiant fight against Tiny's cradle crap) and interject beauty into it.

I admit that I don't always read the best books. Sometimes I read really dumb ones like the fantasy novel I read this week which contained this poorly thought out line: "he tasted of richness and warmth." Really? Explain that one to me…. But that's the risk you run when you read free Kindle books. And lately, I've been reading a lot of free Kindle books. Some days this goes better than others.

For instance, I was on a Jean Webster kick last week and read Daddy-Long-Legs and Dear Enemy, both of which I fantastically enjoyed, but because I was cheap and lazy (and was reading free Kindle books--this is getting repetitive),  the hilariously awesome original illustrations that are actually necessary to complement the writing were.not.included. I saw red. Philistines! How could they have destroyed Judy Abbott's utterly expressive works of art! (I was rereading Daddy-Long-Legs so I knew what I was missing, most notably, the drawing of Judy looking like a rabbit with the mumps after getting her tonsils removed--another mental image I will never be able to do without).

I also hurt my brain (reading free Kindle books--can we abbreviate this to RFKB?) by sampling some sci-fi literature that insisted on making up a completely new vocabulary for half of the proper nouns and a good deal of the verbs and not explaining what any of the new words meant until at least half way through the novel. It was like reading in another language. Context keys were king.

But, in the long run, RFKB is probably a better use of my nursing time than rotting my brains out watching TV or risking dropping my computer on the twins by surfing the Internet. So, RFKB it is. Today, I reacquainted myself with George MacDonald's The Light Princess, so it's not all bad.

Here's the question now: if everyone you knew was RFKBing, would you RFKB too?

And, to get back to the original topic of this post, what are those books that have transformed the way you see yourself by imprinting certain scenes on your mind until real life seems only an echo of something you have read before?

One last thing, if this face asked you to stop RFKBing and eat cake with it, would you? Because I totally would.

Picture courtesy of my awesome friend Angela.
Taken prior to the buzzing.
Which according to Tiny turned him into a bumblebee.
Buzz. Get it.
He's punning at two.