Thursday, May 26, 2011

Memory lane.

I've been going through my files in iphoto. I'm trying to get organized and delete some of the pictures of my thumb. So what if I happen to delete a few unflattering double-chin photos while I'm at it?

Then I came across this:

This was the time Mark made Mathew scrub the fence after he caught him peeing on it.

That was funny.

It was also the front yard.

He definitely learned that if you are going to pee on the fence, do it on the other side in the privacy of the backyard. I mean really...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Bike rides and tornadoes

Today was our first day of Summer.

No school!

We celebrated by going for a morning walk/bike ride. I walked and pushed the little girls and the three oldest rode their bikes. Luckily, it rained last night so we were able to ride through many muddy puddles. It added to the glamour.

I'm sorry to disappoint, but there was no Nature Bingo on this trip. I haven't gotten my ducks in a row. Instead we did a highly elegant and refined "yell out any animal or bird you see" thing. It was very successful and I'm positive the neighbors appreciated the wake up call, it being 7:30 am on the first day of summer and all. We like to serve like that.

We saw lots of bunnies. This one is number 17.

What? You can't see the bunny? REALLY? That's too bad. I guess only highly trained bunny spotters have the skills necessary to hone in on it.

Bummer for you.

We also found many worms.

Many, many worms.

The kids felt compelled to help them to cross the path safely. It was the right thing to do.

Hey....who told you you could sit up? Who do you think you are, FancyPants?

And what's with that casual lean on the arm rest there?

You think you're so big?

What happened to the squishy little baby that used to lay back and take a nice little nap?

Well, even without the Nature Bingo, it was a great start to the summer break.

Then a couple hours later, the tornado sirens started blaring and we grabbed as many electronic devices as possible and ran for the cellar.

We set up an air mattress down there the night before because we live in KANSAS and it's tornado season. So I don't know about you, but if I have to sit in the cellar for lengthy and undetermined amounts of time, I would prefer to do it on a squishy mattress and not the concrete floor that you know full well the dogs have peed upon on more than one occasion. But that's just me.

So we sat down there and listened to the sirens go off 8 times. Each time the kids would pull the blanket up over their heads and concentrate even harder on the episode of "Wonder Pets" they had playing on the ipad. (Three cheers for technology!)

I was busy texting Mark and holding the little pup while she sucked her thumb.

Cuteness knows no fear.

Then I entertained myself by taking pictures with my camera phone and checking the weather updates every couple of minutes. After about an hour of that I decided I'd sneak up and turn of the blaring weather alert alarm. I made my children solemnly swear to stay put while I braved the upper floors. I felt a bit sheepish when I realized the sun was out and shining and the birdies were singing.

I gave the all clear and they all opted to stay in the cellar and play more ipad.

That was fine with me.

I had a Kit Kat hidden in my sock drawer. I could use a few minutes of alone time.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

New food.

Does everybody have those 20ish recipes that seem to get stuck on repeat for the better part of a decade?
I’m in a cooking funk.
I can’t eat another bite of Apricot Chicken, Meatloaf, or Pork Chops with cous cous.
I refuse.
So I’ve been scouring recipe blogs and asking friends for recommendations.
We’ve had a couple successes. (link away!)
Not that success equals our children consuming enough of it to sustain life…because that would be asking too much, mind you. Success is Mark and I enjoying our dinner and nobody else vomiting at the table. If they made it all the way to the bathroom, it’s highly likely I’ll be cooking it up again in the future. It’s all about lowering your expectations and looking for the silver lining through the vomit and over the cries of, “I just can’t put it in my mouth! It smells so….so….wrong!”
We also had some definite duds…
  • Black Bean & Pineapple Brown Rice (way too healthy. Made me want to poke my eye out and did actually cause vomiting at the table.)
  • Homemade Corndogs (way too greasy.)
  • BBQ Chicken legs.
So…here’s what I’d like to know. What do you love to cook? Do you have a recipe that you make when you want to impress dinner guests or that your kids go crazy for? I’m dying to know! Please share a link or email me a recipe or anything! I promise I’ll give it a try.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Meg celebrates Kansas.

Let’s just be glad that Kansas bears an uncanny resemblance to a 9x13.

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And the main reason we will never move to West Virginia.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Turning point.

Last night I put my sweet, guileless, infant to bed. She smelled of BabyMagic and fabric softener. Before she fell asleep, she looked up at me with that open, unaffected stare that only babies have.

You know….this look.

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The one that says that they aren’t sure what’s going on, but they are just soaking it all up. Just ready to be acted upon.

This morning, she woke up with plans.

Everything had changed.

She got wise.

I turned around for a moment to put something in the oven and…


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She saw her opportunity and she took it.


She tried to regroup. Maybe she could pretend it was all a big misunderstanding….

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I’m no sucker. The jig is up.

She tried the old “suck on the toes” routine.

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I’m on to you.

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Look at that knowing smile. She knows it’s just a matter of time before I’ll have to take it out of the oven.

And then….

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Talent Show rears its ugly head.

Remember this?

It happened again. Mathew has a thing for talent shows. For some reason he does not fear them as I do. I tremble at the thought of putting myself on display.

Not Mathew. He insists on doing a bit of “freestyle breakdancing” every year. I don’t understand it at all.

He came home with the flyer calling for auditions and told me with an air of confidence that he wanted to do it and would I help him get the music together. When I asked him what kind of moves he’d be doing and wouldn’t he like to practice a bit, he just informed me quite casually that he’d “make it up as he went along”. This is when I had a mini-stroke.

I promise you I have had countless actual nightmares that I am “making it up as I go along.” His talent is literally the stuff my nightmares are made of.

I hoped he’d forget.

I hoped he’d get distracted by other things.

I hoped the talent show would be cancelled.

Or rained out.

Or maybe a massive lice outbreak would close the school.


Here he is at the auditions. Moments away from “making it up as he went along”.

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Man…I love and admire this kid. He’s got moxy.

He also earned a spot in the talent show.

Go figure?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Chain reaction.

It was raining today.

So we didn’t walked to school.

So I thought I had a little extra time to chill this morning.

So we rushed out of the house at the last minute.

So Laney wasn’t wearing pants.

So I forgot to bring my Netflix DVD to drop in the mailbox on the way out.

So after drop-off I park the van half-in/half-out of the garage and run in to retrieve the DVD.

So I accidentally lock the little girls in the car. Strapped tight in their seats.

So I frantically look for the second set of keys I haven’t seen for about a week.

So I pray really hard for help.

So I ransack the house.  No couch cushion is safe.

So I try to talk Laney through possible tips on wiggling out of her 5-point harness system.

So she starts crying.

So I try to bribe her with a Kit Kat.

So she cries even harder.

So I call Mark….

So I call the police….

So I say out loud, “Seriously, Heavenly Father! I could really use some help here!” This is not respectful OR showing a faithful heart.

So I realize that that sweater hanging on the back of one of the kitchen chairs has been there for awhile.

So I look in the pocket and find the extra set of keys.

So I call the police back.

So I call Mark.

So I apologize to you-know-who for my bad attitude.

So I apologize to the nice policeman that didn’t get the message that he was no longer needed.

So I put some pants on Laney.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The heron

This morning the girls (the little girls…as in, Laney and Anna) and I took our daily walk after we dropped off Ethan, Mathew and Megan at school. Well actually, if I’m being honest, there isn’t a whole lot of “dropping off” happening. It’s more like me yelling down the street…"WAIT!”




Once I am satisfied that they have successfully entered those doors without being snatched by a sweaty middle-aged man in a non-descript sedan…I push my double stroller due east and we head for the Indian Creek Trail. 5 blocks of cluh-clunk, cluh-clunking over the sidewalk cracks later….and we hit the smooth beautiful pavement of the trail.

This morning we resumed our routine of looking for all the different birdies and stopping to watch until they get scared and fly away. We were focused on a few itty bitty birds when a GIANT blue heron flew across our path and landed in the creek just a few feet away. It’s wingspan was impressive. Even to a three year old. We watched in awe as it gracefully walked up the stream and out of sight. It was magical.

We also saw a bunny, a bright red cardinal, a set of awkward baby birds nesting under some clay roof tiles, and a blue jay we call “Cutie Patootie”….even though blue jays are bullies. But, have you seen my daughter say “Cutie Patootie"? It’s worth it….even for a bully.

Just like every day, Laney found a stick and uses it as a wand to protect us when we go through the “deep dark woods” and she insisted that I collected a couple “acorns” (pinecones) on a very busy street. It requires that I shimmy under a tree off the beaten path and I feel a bit embarrassed. But I do it because she asks me over and over and gets louder and louder and I really don’t want her to wake up the baby because if she sleeps through the rest of my walk then I don’t have to get her out of the stroller and hold her while trying to push with one hand. So I go get the pinecones. And so would you.

As we were on our way back to the house, I realized that the kids only have 4 days of school left. That’s when I started fantasizing about being the awesome summer mom. I do this every year. I picture all the fun, interactive, educational, sun-kissed activities we will do during our 11 weeks off. In this fantasy, my kids sing my praises in their “What I did for summer break” essays when they go back to school. I love that fantasy. This one started out with us going on these very walks every morning and playing Nature Bingo! Of course, I have conscientiously prepared individual bingo cards with all of the wholesome flora and fauna we will see on our walk. No 0ne will fight over who saw what first and I will definitely NOT end up holding the baby and pushing the stroller with one hand while someone else tells me how tired their legs are and they wish they were playing ipad and throwing back a few otter pops.

I’ll let you know how the bingo goes.

P.S. Did I mention that for a moment I slipped into sheer insanity and toyed with the idea of having a tv-free summer? I mention this only because I’d like you to SLAP me if you see me in then next 24 hours.

Slap some sense into me.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The blog.

There’s something funny about having a blog. In a weird way I feel like it’s a living, breathing, judging animal. I feel its disapproval for my inattentiveness on a daily basis. Almost as if it were one of my children and I have been neglecting it since April 26th….to be precise.

And yet, I actually do think about it every day. A little something or other will occur and I’ll think to myself how I might write it up in a clever or engaging way. Unfortunately…that’s where I get off the train. The pressure to present EVERY SINGLE thought that comes through my brain as something significant, profound, entertaining, or original is truly more than I can manage.

So I propose that I make no promises….

I am going to write. There is no guarantee that it will interest any of you. But I know enough about life to know that if I don’t get it out of my head and down on “paper” it will most likely be forgotten.

I’m living a part of my life where my children and husband fill up every moment of my days. I think and worry and plan and fail and here and there I fall asleep knowing that my kids are sleeping with a full belly, freshly washed hair, and a bedtime story decorating their dreams. I’m exhausted most of the time, but I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.

I feel impressed to record the things we do and the way it all makes me feel. So here we go.

See you tomorrow.