Friday, August 29, 2008

Funny That

Hey. Remember when we took some vacation time, and we did some fun things like rip apart our shower and stock up at Sam's club and pack for annual training? And then we cleaned out all of the toys and you helped me cook a bunch of food for the freezer because we were preparing for you to be gone... And then you left, and you spent our 11th anniversary in Mississippi, and I spent our 11th anniversary in our living room with four kids in my lap... Remember that?

We're ready for you to come back so we can be normal again. Here's the funny part though. We don't really miss you in that desperate way that we often do where I'm getting tired and cranky and the kids are getting tired and cranky, and we're all sick of being on top of each other but all we have is being on top of each other. We really just miss you. Most nights at some point the boys announce that you are at work, and then we move on. And the girls surely miss you and their faces are going to light up the sky when they see you again, but they can't really connect all of that right now. The other night during a crazy moment, Nicholas took it upon himself to find a tube of Ritz crackers and start passing them out--even to me. And it was awesome to watch him work to get everyone happy, and that is how it came to be that the children went through more than a tube of Ritz one evening. And really, it would have been just that much more fun if you had been there to get a Ritz too.

So be safe and have fun. And come home soon; we're tired of sharing you.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Special Treat

I love that great privileges are still pretty easy to come up with. Climbing the stairs alone is still one of them.

Elaine, turning to make sure I wasn't running to stop her, which is usually the case because that gate was accidentally left open and unsupervised.

Crackers in hand.

Stopping to chew on the gate before the grand finale.

Alida is generally not the winner. She usually stops after a few steps and lets me know she's done with all of that fun.

Didn't drop either of those Ritz on the way up. We do have priorities here.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Ready for Fall

We tried on our winter coats for grandma this weekend since she was going shopping and was curious. The ladies were quick to take them back off while we were still inside.

But Nicholas and Benjamin had other ideas.

And they played out there in the Southern August summer like that for longer than a moment. Let's hope October gets here quickly.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


"I could take the boys to pick up Al," she said.

My eyes sparkled a little. "That would be great!"

A few minutes later, "The ladies may like to ride along as well, you could take my van..." I hesitated to see if she thought I was joking or if she'd take me seriously.

"That's a great idea!"


And that is the tale of how grandma and grandpa gave me a few hours respite this weekend with a car trip to the airport, an airshow they stayed for, and pictures with flying friends. And grandpa came and played, and the boys were beside themselves to have the airplane man back around.

And it went so well, they did it again when it was time to take Al back to his plane the next morning.

On the phone I said something like, "I'm changing the sheets. I'm mopping the floor. I got the laundry going," all with a little glee because I got to do that without people hanging off of me.

Her reply exactly: "That's sick Susan."

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Children's Museum

We spent the MOST time at the airplane section, which was right at the beginning and hard to drag them away from at the end.

But you can see why.

We drove a, um, I don't know what that is.

We always appreciate a dance party.

The fire, fire truck came in a close second.

And the ladies spent a good bit of time in a very safe play zone that was just their size except for the either gigantic four-year-old-terrorist or clearly-too-old-to-be-in-this-area kid that was barreling around in there.

We went grocery shopping and Benjamin had his eye on the cabbage. And thankfully he picked up some laundry detergent because it was needed this morning, but that is another story.

Another story that might have something to do with the sausage-that-is-as-big-as-him that Nicholas bought at the store.

Then we had a pizza lunch.
It was a wonderful way to spend Saturday morning, and we never would have gotten there if grandma hadn't been on hand to help the entire weekend. Thank you!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Randomness From the Past Month

I had no idea that you would puke five minutes later in the laundry room girl. I'm so sorry.

Everyone who hates the car wash, sit on the driver's side of the car please.

I think they had a little help building that one.

I would squeeze you all day long if I had eight arms and a live-in maid/cook.

Yes. That is a helmet and a gun. And no, that wasn't a random happening. It is part of his "work" uniform. And he'll often give me a kiss before he runs out of the room to go to work. What have we created?

Yes ladies, you are pretty adorable.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Why I Hate Potty Training

We have baseballs on the doorknobs in our house because we have twins that can get into things they shouldn't. This is a little harder than having one child because you just can't always have your eyes on both, and we aren't going to risk a stomach pump because they got into some cleaning supply. The girls are too little to open the doors, but not too little to go through a door left ajar. Then there is the technology upgrade they were all born with. It is like all four of them were built with scanners. Every time they go into a room I swear they take 2 seconds to identify what isn't the same anymore and run to exploit it--remote left out, door open, cup low enough to be reached, something shiny over there hanging over the edge of the counter...

So on to the main event. We put out the potty chair. Nicholas gets it; he leaves it alone. Benjamin thinks it's a new toy and runs all over the house with it, tears it apart, beats his brother with it. Now they are fighting over the potty chair. Nice. Now the girls are fighting over it. Except, let's be honest, they are still putting everything in their mouths--ewwwww.

We put the potty chair in the bathroom behind the door. Out of sight, out of mind. Not helpful.

We come to a hybrid solution. We take the baseballs off the bathroom door and use the doughnuts in the toilet and start taking them to the toilet every two hours, but if they feel inclined they can get in the door themselves, which helps because now we can ask them to go wash their hands and just check up on them in the end. Now they get in the bathroom by themselves and need to wash their hands like obsessive-compulsives, which maybe they are. I don't know. They always leave the door open, which would be awesome because who wants their 2-year-old closed up in the bathroom? Oh yeah, I do. Because now the girls are in the toilet water with their hands. Nice.

The boys now have the skills to get naked by themselves entirely. And they use those skills--to poop on the patio when playing outside.

And then there is this. Nicholas is upstairs yesterday and needs to poop he says. Ben is on the potty that I hauled out because the doughnut is missing. Doughnut is missing? Yes. Missing. Crap. Someone must have hauled it off. Nicholas needs it, and I got nothing. We go downstairs to the other toilet. And I tell him to do his thing, and I run back upstairs to check on Benjamin because I trust him maybe a little less. The girls have gotten in the bathroom are falling in the empty tub, climbing the stool to the stool, and Ben is still trying to potty because he is convinced that he needs to even though his training pant was soaked when I took it off (heaven help me if I hadn't put that out of the girls' reach). I grab the girls, get them out of the bathroom, shut Benjamin in the bathroom (yes, shut Benjamin in the bathroom by himself. The two-year-old is shut in the bathroom because that is the safest option at the moment.) Run downstairs leaving the girls screaming upstairs. Nicholas didn't make it. He pooped on the foot stool he was supposed to use to get up to the potty, which he never actually uses preferring instead this weird monkey mount of the toilet from the side using hands and feet.

I have no idea why every one is so excited about potty training; I can accomplish 4 diaper changes in 4 minutes anywhere and be done with it.

Did I Already?! Um, YEAH...

As the exhausted children went to bed on time without vomiting nor complaining. I tore into that box that had been sitting there. As a model of efficiency, I made my own didn't-pay-a-million-dollars-to-Starbucks-iced-chai and THEN I changed into my perfect for relaxing Quintons T-Shirt (and started getting hungry) and THEN I took in the rest of the care package: breakfast M&Ms, double packages of Double Mint gum, and yeah, she even thought of the children with some treats for the maniacs. Then an e-mail of thanks, and she wonders did I really already make myself chai? Um, yeah. I was already on my second by that point... Thanks Dukes. But don't worry, I will still be getting my coffee exclusively from here. My mind is trying to form a Quintons/J&S/Chai bar in my neighborhood that would be hooked to the daycare with a drive through at the moment.

Later: Why potty training two with two in the wings is complicated, to put it mildly.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Things Too Miserable To Grab The Camera During and A Confession

Sunday morning I loaded up the children and headed to church. Not only do I believe it is important to take them to church, but I also believe it is important to take me to church. And I cannot say that the two hours of quiet time I was headed toward didn't cement the decision to go it alone.
The road we head down to get to church looks like this. Only it is a bit more curvy. Thankfully when Elaine got car sick there was a different church right off the road to pull into (we do live in the South and there are more than a few churches to choose from.) I cleaned up the girl best I could, changed her into a clean outfit (a beautiful green hand-me-down onsie from her brother that looked perfect with her pink-bowed shoes), and I promised if it happened again we would go home.

It didn't happen again. I assumed car sick. And we went to church. The girls screamed their fool heads off in the nursery, but by the time I came back everyone was smiling and laughing. "The girls had a wonderful morning!" Car sick was cemented in my brain at that moment.

Sunday evening after naps and Popsicles, Alida pukes in the laundry room. Good girl! Such a smart girl to puke right next to the washing machine, on tile floor and you didn't grab at it! Good girl.

Denial Number 2: You must have gotten too hot outside.

Brilliant Idea Number One: Let's go have dinner.

Alida pukes in her high chair. While still over the tile floor, it was all over her and in her tray. That's right, perfect for playing in. And she starts laughing. We spent the evening waiting for more. None.

Brilliant Idea Number Two: Let's have a bottle and go to bed.

Elaine knocks out. Alida pukes. The boys are at least watching a movie. Put Alida on the floor, she passes out in her blanket. Change sheets; change girl. Back to bed.

And all is well. Monday morning breaks. There are smiles. There are no fevers. There is no puking in the land.

Until 3:45 in the afternoon when daycare calls:

"Mrs. Stuber. I'm calling because of Benjamin.

(In my head: thank goodness it wasn't Alida; I've been waiting for that call all day long. He probably broke his arm or something, no big deal.)

He just threw up all over the playground."

Oh. Bother.

Take Ben home to puke again. Nicholas gets mad at all the attention that Ben is getting, and he pukes now too. Although that little man walked right over to the bucket and aimed well. Thank you son. The boys now get all the attention, and the girls are shuttled upstairs to play in the playroom safety zone on their own while we clean up.

Baths all around. Third load of laundry started. Clorox out. Dishwasher started. Everyone in bed.

(Man, I just want to open the mail because there is a box there from the Duke's mom that I really, really want to see.)

Over the racket of every machine in my house chugging along cleaning everything I could fit in a machine, I missed hearing the ruckus upstairs. However, I made it up to check at least before opening that box and found that Nicholas had made the bucket--and the bed and his clothes and the floor. We go out to get new clothes.

"New, new, new clothes mommy?"

"Yes, son."


Who are these people that are happy after they puke?

All are cleaned and tucked in bed with new, new, new sheets, blankets and pillows, and I finish cloroxing the entire house and pass out in the extra bedroom that is close to their room, and that box is still sitting there calling to me right now.

Daycare rule: no temp, no problem. As long as they aren't puking. This morning, no one was puking, all were happy, and there were no fevers. We've made it to 11:30 now. We'll see what the rest of the day holds for us.
Confession: I kind of like it when they are sick. They're really sweet and snuggly.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Why There Were No Pictures This Weekend

Because these people sensed I was alone and closed in.

And were relentless.

And I spent most of my weekend staring in the face of this.

Usually four at a time crawling on me.

Snotty noses and all.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

What I Did During My Daytime Childfree Vacation, Part II

We watched the neighbors grass get cut--our new fascination. It was a double delight since it kept the boys up a little past their bedtime. Who knew what glee could be found sitting on the driveway in your underwear.

We tackled the mess.

And ripped out our shower.

We do know how to party over here.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

How I Spent My Daytime Childfree Vacation

With my girls, screaming through a photo shoot of course.

Elaine was not a peach this time, and the Legos aren't a usual part of this scene I don't believe.

But Alida finally gave us a smile, and we considered calling it good and just making multiple prints of the two smiling shots and assigning a name to each.

Because Elaine really did not want to participate.
(Remember, these are the good photos. Okay, we may have left this one in because it made us laugh.)

Cheerios in hand, Alida did get the hang of it.

Not quite Elaine.

Oh, okay. That'll do, girl. That'll do.

That's it. I'm outa here.

Monday, August 11, 2008


Saturday Uncle Brian and Aunt Lori stopped into Memphis to buy a car, have dinner, chat a little and be on their way early the next morning. It was a busy weekend and we barely had time to take out the camera.

Saturday night Nicholas threw a fever and wasn't feeling his usual charming self early Sunday when it was time to say goodbye.

And then the visit was over, and we were left with a day of chaos. Not really interesting chaos. Just general mayhem. This week Patric and I are taking some time off work and crossing our fingers that everyone stays well so that we can enjoy our house in a little quiet for the first time in over a year--at least during the day. All was well Monday morning and the cherubs were off to daycare, and we spent an uninterrupted two hours at Target laughing at all the crying babies that were not ours.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Statements of the Obvious

Every Week:
"That's a lot of milk," says the person checking my groceries.
"Yep. I've got a lot of kids."