Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The New Weekend Ritual

Alright. Everyone Ready?

Let's Go! That means you too Alida. Come on.

Good job girl. That's right. We're going to church. You need to practice your throwing up face. But please wait until we are a block from there. Then I want at least three of you to send your breakfast back into the world.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Jury Duty

I've been trying to teach the boys to say "sequestered" all weekend. Nicholas almost has it. By October 9, I'll have him chanting it for me.

Chicken Flambé

Saturday afternoon. We've been to the zoo in the morning. We've had lunch. It's a lovely afternoon. He takes the boys upstairs and lays down with them to get them to take a nap. I start poaching some chicken for dinner while the ladies sleep.

But the ladies didn't sleep. Apparently the nap was enough in the car on the way home from the zoo, and they are done chattering and now want out of the cribs. I head up to release them. They play in their room while I lay on the couch with my eyes half open, drifting in and out. Mostly I'm brought back to the waking world when a hand clutching a toy beats me in the face and runs away. After a little while, that doesn't even faze me and I just kind of lay there blob like as the girls chatter and run around or climb on top of me and laugh. It was a lovely Saturday afternoon.

And then the fire drill started. He and I met in the hallway in panic as the fire alarms are blaring. We're on the second floor and we can see the smoke already. The chicken. It has gone through all of the water in the pot and started burning on the stove. How long was I up there? I don't even remember. I throw the pot outside, and it burns a mark into the grass. We throw open the windows. He makes fun of me. The boys never wake up. The girls replace the pot in the backyard not missing a beat.
And then I did it.

I cut off the burnt part and made chicken salad. And it wasn't too bad once I covered it in eggs and mayo and seasoning and grapes and bacon and then a little more bacon.
It is now tested. And the Lodge enamel cast iron is amazing at withstanding cooking in our home.

Friday, September 26, 2008

THAT Went Better Than Expected

Here we are waiting for flu shots.
Here's how it went:
Nurse walked in.
Ben volunteered and got his shot.
Nicholas got his shot.
Alida got her shot.
Elaine got her shot.
We all cried a couple of tears and moved on. We were smiling and entertaining by the time we walked out the door.

Chewing on the sticker from the nurse makes it feel better.

Inspecting the Band-Aide for proper application.

And, is that smiling for the camera on the way out of the parking lot?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

My Clarification

Yesterday I implied--if not outright stated--that having the girls was a big mistake.

Allow me to clarify: Having the girls was a big mistake in timing.

I guess I could have gone back and inserted that little word to the post erasing from the history books the implication that our family is a mistake, but it would erase the sentiments that have been running around here. Namely that this particular situation is hard and tiring.
And we're e-x-h-a-u-s-t-e-d.

When the time comes, and I'm not sure when that will be, I hope we are brave enough to be honest. No, we did not plan this. No, we wouldn't have chosen this. Not in the TIMING that it came in. No, we don't love you all the same. But let me be clear here. If there is a way to imagine not having any single one of you in my life, I have not found it and don't imagine I will. Moreover, back off because while we are crazy and loud and whiny and exhausted, I'm not really trying to imagine things differently. I hope only that we are able to move through this period with a bit of grace intact.

I love all of you. Fundamentally, I love all of you. The flashes of love that hit me in waves though are very different when it comes to each of you as individuals. When I start thinking ahead to the days where I won't have complete control of your movements, I sometimes wonder about how to protect you from a sometimes scary world. I think about phone number bracelets, taking pictures of you with the digital camera as we head into a public situation, nurturing my four sets of eyes. And when the imaginary rage hits me that something bad could ever happen to any of you, I often imagine Benjamin. Why? Because Benjamin, you are the one that walks into situations with absolute ownership. You are brave and confident and friendly. And I am already proud of that trait for you, but it scares me too. Nicholas. I imagine that our first trip to the emergency room because of a broken bone will be because of you. You experience things with reckless abandon, and it is amazing to watch your energy and your imagination. You'll lead the group into many bouts of trouble no doubt. But those will also be the days where after the punishments are administered, you can bet that your dad and I will be sitting down and marveling over your leadership abilities. All of these things inspire my love and make it rush forward. Elaine did you know that you hide already? I don't blame you in the least although it is frustrating to try to find you at times. Most times girl, I want to hide with you. I want to hunker down, pull you close and hide with you. I imagine that you will be the one that makes me a better woman in the future as I raise this little girl and attempt to be an example of what I hope and dream you can be. Now. Alida. I imagine that you will be the one that starts asking all of these questions in the future. I imagine that you'll be the one that asks who was the hardest baby? who was the easiest baby? who did this first and that last? I imagine that because I look at you and see your mind turning, and it is a bit mischievous. It is a bit like mine, I imagine. I imagine you will push a few limits along the way. I imagine that you will frustrate me because you will know me fundamentally and know just how to do it. And you and I and your grandmother and your future daughter will all one day have something very much in common I would guess.

So now. When I see Benjamin do something reckless. When I see Elaine do something imaginative. When I see Alida do something sweet. And when I see Nicholas do something deliberately, I realize that I have no idea how you all will turn out. And as we quilt together our family over the years please know that I love you all fundamentally, and I love you all for what you are becoming at each step, and I simply love you all. And when I say it was a mistake in timing, I mean that I wish I had more time and wasn't so constantly split between people and tasks so that I could hide with you Elaine, and take you somewhere Benjamin, and play along with you more Nicholas, and sit down and have you pick my brain Alida. That is all.

Now Alida, go to sleep.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Way back in the beginning of time, we had a set of twins. We were anxious. We didn't know what we were doing. We wondered how we ever thought we would be able to do it. And we struggled through sleep deprivation until one day we seemed to begin to wake up.

That was a big mistake. We were hit with the second wave of twins. We can do this. We made it through the first set. We know how this works now. Then we had twins who will not sleep, and we realized that the first set were a piece of cake compared to this.

Above is Sunday morning. That is not black construction paper over the windows. That is just how black it still was outside when our lovely daughters decided it was time to start their day.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Eat Your Veggies Please

I apparently have a bit of an obsession with corn on the cob. I cannot resist a display of it at the store, pulling back the stalk a bit to pinch a kernel and see if it shoots juice in my eye.
Then I know I must load my cart.

So what could be better to top off an oh-so-healthy meal of corndogs, peas, and Honeycomb (yes, Honeycomb. I typed that right.) than corn on the cob on a cool September evening? Hurrah for having the necessary teeth to jump in ladies. When they are teenagers, I imagine it will take a very large pot to prepare the twelve plus ears that we'll go through in one meal.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Saturday Outing: The Park

Not content to watch the children tear our house apart, we took them to the park on Saturday. And we did a number on that place.

The girls are no longer content to sit in the grass on a blanket and pluck clover, so we watched four people scatter. It was a relief when we found they loved the swings because that was at least one that was contained.

Alida may never wear shoes.

And then off to the fields to enjoy some space.

And stare at a hole in the ground that had a frog.

And why were we in a field?
Because this guy who was having a wild time on the swings up and decided to start puking. Back and forth, leaning over, spewing vomit. Yep, we did a number on that place. Nicholas was whisked to the grass and calmed down, girls were scooped and ran to the car to grab a stroller, change of clothes, towels, and Cheez-Its in an effort to keep them happy. Ben? Well some woman was just nice enough to play with him while we changed Nicholas and cleaned up the playground, which is pretty hard on that rubbery ground. The only one who wanted Cheez-Its? Motion Sickness up there. And so we hung our heads and slinked off to the fields to get our fresh air far from the other people, who I am certain were looking at us like we were diseased.

And, I'll never understand how that can be comfortable.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Home Again

Well hello again. Kick your shoes off and stay awhile. Maybe take that uniform off for a few minutes some time too.

Daycare haircuts. Not terrible. I guess.

It'll grow back. It'll grow back. It'll grow back.
Maybe the front not as fast as the back please since balance of cut is apparently not a high priority.

(My instructions: take off an inch, keep the cut the same. Look at the last post.)

Thank you grandma Gayle for the fire trucks and cartoons, which these boys are glued to with their daddy. The hats are hidden for a time.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I Know I Should Take You Seriously, I Do

But when you tell me that you're scared at bedtime because the walls are going to bite you, I have to stifle a bit of a giggle.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Our Turn

With everyone dragging out the footed jammies, we decided to follow suit.

Ben has been dragging out the dinos from the closet all summer asking to wear them. And I finally got to let him do it. While I was getting everyone else dressed he disappeared and returned naked wanting the jammies I just put on Nicholas. Nope. You won't win that battle tonight. Wear your dinos, NOW! And enjoy it.

The fire, fire truck jammies that started the fight. Good grief.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Kaleidoscope Eye: My so-called painless migraine

I haven't had one of these since the day the girls were born. I have heard it is called a "Painless Migraine." I don't think they have had to try to help five Benjamins use the potty with Kaleidoscope Eye because that is painful in it's own, very real way.

The Great Negotiator

From My Monthly Update on, you know, what exactly my children should be doing:

An ability to count begins as your child heads toward 3, at least in a primitive way. First a child is able to identify when there is one, and more than one (though not whether it's two or six). By age 2, a child can count to two ("one, two"), and by 3, he can count to three, but if he can make it all the way up to 10, he's probably reciting from rote memory. Kids this age don't yet actually understand, and can't identify, the quantities they're naming.

So when I hand Nicholas 2 crackers and then we go through the following every single time, does it mean he is a genius?

"Here you go."
"No. Five crackers."
"No Nicholas. You can have two crackers."
"No. Five, mommy. Five, crackers."
"No Nicholas. That is two crackers."
"No. I want five crackers."
"Here. You can have three crackers."
"Okay. Three crackers. Okay mommy, three crackers."


Just stick me in that spot, and we'll muddle through again. See you in a few days.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Super Duper Sunday

And all is well, and nothing else matters.

Super Sunday

So on top of Super Saturday in the previous post, we had a Super Sunday as well.

Sunday morning we broke out the cleaning supplies when we heard that we were going to see Emily (who has more pictures of our day together).

Mark, Emily's daddy, went where no man has gone before and volunteered to watch both the brood and his own child while Emily's mommy and I went shopping at a very long ago planned shopping trip at a consignment sale on Sunday and then, gasp, out to lunch. Three cheers for Mark because for all the people who say they don't know how I do it, I'm not sure how he did it because when we got back, my house was cleaner than when we left and all Stuber children were napping. And when they did wake up, he had even kept Elaine in pink even though there was a clothing change necessary after lunch.

I even hear that the boys at least didn't clobber poor Emily.

Seriously. I can't get them to all get in the same frame for a photo. I have no idea how he did it.

What's up Elvis?

And here is Emily. I just want to say that this is the most engaging baby I have ever met. Not only will she come straight to you and let you love on her, she acts like she's been patiently waiting for you to come do that all morning. And even across a room, that girl has a way of connecting with you like she is hanging on your every word, and you can just see the conversation building behind those sparkly eyes. It's like she has so much to say and she wants so badly to just walk across the room and have a cup of coffee with you.

We're so glad we got to see you.

And yep. Daddy is home. Look for the reunion later.

Super Saturday

Despite the people, Saturday I got a LONG shower and shaved my legs without incident for the first time in a month....
And then I went to the grocery store all by myself...

And we took some still-life photos of apples.

Because former NannyJenny turned MommyJenny and sister Anna came to visit!
And despite being pregnant, she chased kids around like no one's business.

And Anna did the impossible and actually took a big old bite of that apple that Benjamin offered while Jenny and I winced and congratulated her on her daring to eat what no man should eat. And then Benjamin rolled that apple all over the floor and no one wanted a thing to do with it any more. And we couldn't be happier to have had the visit.

Super Sunday is coming next, keep a watch out.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Some Random Thoughts

When you came home in this shirt yesterday and it was a disaster, I imagined that you must have had a wonderfully messy day and was glad.

We're so sorry that we got you sick.

Did we have the children too close together when the littlest ones can pass wearing the older one's clothing?

I know your hair is too long. I can't get my head around how to get you in for a cut. Never fear. The daycare has a salon, and they are going to hook you up next Tuesday buddy.

I think it is cute that you insist on the pink cup; that you put your baby to bed; and, that you insisted on wearing the girl's bathing suit. When you are 16, you will likely not think it is so cute that I documented it.

Gracie will likely not get to wear this outfit because she weighs a pound less than you Alida. She has nearly reached Elaine.

Ringworm Elaine. I am now putting jock-itch cream on your arm. So sorry.

If the girls wear the boys' Halloween costumes the next year, will it be like I always got them for half price? How long will I be able to tell you what to wear?