Thursday, January 28, 2010

All Before We Left The House

Wednesday morning Nicholas brings everyone around the hibiscus plant in the yard to mourn the loss of last year's branches, which my dad had cut back while he was here last weekend. As the three stood around with their heads bowed to the stubble at the ground (one girl took no interest in the lamenting), I explained that it would grow back in the spring.

At the mention of spring, Nicholas' eyes light up, and he gives up and walks toward the car ready to get in now. "Will we go to Aunt Lori's in the Spring mom?"

And then we begin the review of last year's Spring visit to Texas. And we all agree that was fun and we should do it again. And I mention, "And you know what? Aunt Lori is going to have a baby! So we have to go visit."

As I'm finally buckling everyone in to their seats, this: "Mommy, where do babies come from?" Just like that. Just those words. And just then, a baby girl started fussing for her gloves, and I was conveniently distracted from hearing the question and mumbled that Brian and Lori love each other very much.

There you go. The cycle of life in reverse all while loading the car.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Busy Day Today

Cuteness to hold you over.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Monday, January 25, 2010

Weekends with Grandma and Grandpa

Are the best.
They bring cookies and make food and play and help me do a million things around the house. Things like changing light bulbs and putting away the Christmas decorations--finally.

And they let kids pile on top of them.

And even Ben showed a little happiness.

And then we even manage a nap.
Have safe travels home. We hope we didn't wear you out too much.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Flashback Friday: Things We Still Love

Here are some pictures from January 2009. It is amazing how many things we are still doing a year later.
We still love daddy. We just don't get to play with him as much.

We still use too much toilet paper. I wish I could charge by the hour for clean up.

We still over stuff our backpacks and insist on sleeping with them, but it is Alida with her Dora backpack these days.

We still love boxes. Every last one of them.

Mr. Potato Head Pirate earrings are still a favorite.

And ghosts.
He was pretending to be one here.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Much like my children's snack choices.
Yes, they asked for carrots.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Stocked For Now

We got a few gifts of PlayDoh toys at Christmas time, and I must say I haven't even had to open one of them yet.

Because grandma sent scissors. And well, scissors are very fascinating to my children. Very fascinating.
Thank you so much grandma. I think we have a month of haul-it-out-and-entertain-yourselves-while-mommy-makes-dinner-that-we-won't-actually-eat-at-the-dinner-table-activity to keep us busy.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Weekend Outing: Breaking In the Car

Saturday we picked up our hitch hiker Nancy, who also happens to drive well, and headed North to St. Louis.

Movies, blowing raspberries, sleeping, and snacking kept us pretty entertained for the trip.

Yes, even a little bit of sleeping. Although not much.

Once there we gave Nancy the weekend off and headed to our friends.
We hit the Magic House, which they so smartly live about a mile from, and it was fabulous. We didn't even get to see the whole place.

But the girls got to the water play, and there they played, and played, and played.

Jules played with the boys in the Leggo pit after they gave up and left the girls to the water. I love the purse. Nice touch.

Alida, who grew very attached to this skirt, served pizza.
And they had a ball for the longest time on the three-story slide.
You would think they would have taken a nap after this. They didn't.

They waited until we were 20 minutes from home to fall asleep.

And then they slept on the couch.
What is that lovely shade of red on the girl's hand, you ask?

Well it is left over from what Elaine was doing while she was not napping at our friend's house.
It is one thing entirely to say you will replace say a dish--familiar Dukes?
It is another thing to try to figure out how you are going to replace a wall after your 2-year-old gets into the nail polish...
Any ideas?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Whispers--Not Really

Our obsession with ghosts in the house lasted a couple of days. When we didn't find any actual ghosts, Nicholas just started turning his toys into ghosts with a couple of well placed wipes.

Then we turned our attention to the whisper book of Benjamin's choosing.
Since it was Benjamin's book, Nicholas thought it his duty to interrupt the dramatic reading at each page. When we got to the page with the llamas sitting on the mountain at the "top of the world" said in a lulling, go-to-bed whisper, Nicholas piped up loudly.
"Mommy what is that thing that is going to hit him in the head?"
"Huh?" (searching the page)
"That thing falling on his head!"
"Oh, that is a shooting star. It's okay. It's way up in the sky and won't hit him in the head."
Here we go.
"What's a shooting star?"
Brief explanation of how it really isn't a star, mention of atmosphere, worked in Colorado in the summer, and on to the mythology of making a wish, hoping I solved all of the questions at once.
Benjamin is waiting patiently for me at this point to get on to the alligator on the next page.
"Why do I make a wish?"
"Um." (silence) Redirection: "You make a wish, but you can't tell anyone your wish or it won't come true."
"Yes Nicholas."
(very seriously) "I'm going to wish that the shooting star just hits me in the head."
"Okay Nicholas, but you can't tell me your wish. You have to keep it secret."

Thursday, January 14, 2010


In the file of things I LOVE about the South, Chik-fil-A is very near the front not only because of its spelling.

The kids eat it. Who wouldn't.
I'm no fan of chicken, but come on...this is chicken crack of sorts.

And this.
When we were there at closing time New Year's Day, and they turned out the lights on us, Elaine actually allowed me to say good-bye and walk out the door. She wasn't leaving. Ben made me go back and get her though. Such a good brother.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Any Given Sunday

I put new tights on Alida.
She comes home from church with them destroyed.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Starry Nights=Bah Humbug

Reverse with me to New Year's Day.
Cooped up all day together, it finally dawned on me that a drive through the local park to see their light show was in order. You may remember that Emily had such a good time. You'll also see that Emily's mommy has much better skills with her camera than I do. (of course, they may have slowed down and perhaps even stopped to take a picture. You'll soon know why that was not an option for me.)
Before we got into the park, I had to pull off into the pitch blackness to rebuckle Elaine who had gotten loose. Seeing her loose made the boys think they could get loose, and we had mayhem. I pulled way off into the darkness and put the emergency lights on while I rebuckled, double buckled, lectured, and attempted to maintain my cool. The cop sitting at the entrance to the park had put me in a bit of a mood. When his lights started flashing behind us, my holiday spirit was officially spent. It was awesome when he walked up to the car and I couldn't remember how to roll down a window. Finally he lectured me kindly, admonished the children that mommy could get in trouble, and then gave us directions to get turned back around. Ben turned directly to everyone and announced that mommy was going to jail.

As we pulled up to join the rest of the world that had come to drive through this thing, the kids could not stop talking about--the moon. Yeah, the moon over there. I paid our 20 bucks to drive through the park after I realized there was no turning back. Twenty bucks? It was on the tip of my tongue at that point to argue the charge with the person standing there with a bucket, but I kept my trap shut. She gave me a ticket. I drove forward 10 feet and handed my ticket to another woman with a bucket, who then handed me a booklet of advertisements. I nearly began a lecture on the stupidity of that entire exchange but I kept my trap shut.

Determined, I flipped on some Christmas music after paging through the advertisements to see if they had a preferred station. (They didn't, but they could tell me where to purchase a very nice watch.) About 5 seconds into the choirs singing, Ben begins yelling from the back as if the sound is burning him: "Turn it OFFFFFF!" We then sampled every station on the radio until we landed on Classic Rock. I ignored the hot dog stand, determined to get this over with. As we crept along, about 2 minutes into it, more than one child started asking if we could go home.

There were no emergency exits on the Starry Nights trail.
When we were finally through the park, the children all conked out for the rest of the drive home. I shuttled them in one by one to the living room and snuggled them up on the couch, still drowsy.
"Mommy. I love you."
Well it wasn't all for naught then was it? Well that and all of the great pictures we got.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Sunday Inning: Winter Camp

Our friend Nancy doesn't just have a pool for the summer that needs filling. She also has a sister willing to play with children, crazy good organizational skills, and I suspect a little bit of time on her hands in this cold weather.

Because they arrived Sunday afternoon with this craft ready to go. I've never actually had the chance to sit and watch craft time unfold under someone else's care. They are so interested. They didn't run off. They took turns. I dont' believe anyone even fought during craft time.

But then there was story time, and a game, and dancing, and

they even brought hot chocolate along.
(I got a week's worth of laundry put away, the toys picked up and the dinner dishes put away without interruption.)

We have been looking for something to fill that space on the bottom half of the wall in the hallway for some time now. I love how each kid got the same materials but each snowman is so unique. Can you tell who made each of them?

And after the camp directors left us with a Netflix movie in hand and after the sugar high had reached full effect, the kids watched a movie and the girls admitted they were a bit worn out.
And this from generally solemn Ben:
"Mommy, I have to tell you something."
"Yes Ben."
"Will Nancy and Barbra come back?"
"Yes Ben."
"Oh. ... Good."

Friday, January 8, 2010


Expressing Love:
"I love you Alida."
"I love you too mommy. Understand?"

"Elaine. Please leave your jammies on tonight; you're going to get cold if you keep going to bed naked."

Why don't you understand me?
To the children:
"Do you know how much more work you make for me when you help me?"

Encouraging Words:
"You'll get through it Susan. You're not the first." period, end of sentence, end of the subject, from my oldest brother. I don't know why, and I'm sure it has as much to do with it coming from my big brother as anything else, but it resonates with me and tells me to shut up a little bit. He's right. Let's move on.

"I'm mean to you mommy."
"No son. You are mad at me, not mean to me."

Thursday, January 7, 2010

For My Northern Friends

The punchline: two of three school systems in our area are closed today due to the snow emergency. Daycare told me this morning to keep my phone close because they may close early due to the cold. (?)
And the Benjamin twist:
When we walked out to get in the car I got this: "Mommy, I like snow!"
When we got out of the car to go in to daycare, "Mommy, I don't like this snow."
From Nicholas: "Ben, this is the same snow."
Benjamin: "No it's NOT!"
And the argument began before we even began our day.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Our Stuber Ghost Story

As I did my very best angry toy store owner voice during my dramatic reading of Curious George and the Toy Store last night, there was a knock at the boys' closed bedroom door. Everyone stopped goofing and stopped exclaiming and stopped reading, and we flipped our collective heads that direction. In that moment before logic clicked in, between being engrossed in being the best story reader ever and realizing that it was impossible that someone was knocking at the boys' door, my mind rushed through a few haphazard thoughts. Thoughts such as, why would a stranger break into our house and then knock on the boys' door? How did the girls break out of their room? Why did the girls then stop to knock on the door? And then, "It's a ghost!" from Benjamin who turned to me wide-eyed and with a kind of electric excitement in his eyes a half-smile on his face. "I'll go see," commanded Nicholas who then got up and actually marched a little bit to the door, whipping it open. Nothing. Quiet. Nighttime. The let down. He turned, "Nobody's there," he shrugged his shoulders, closed the door, and hopped back in bed turning his whole attention back to the story. Ben had already started showing me how a hula hoop works. Our ghost encounter was over. No need to break the routine. Time for bed.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Four Year Stats

Ben: 34 1/2 pounds, 39 inches
Wound up at the four-year appointment. Wouldn't take his coat off; then he wouldn't put his pants back on. A normal boy I'm told.
Nicholas: 33 pounds, 38 inches
The boss of who would go first every step of the way. A normal boy I'm told.
Eczema flare up is bad right now; the castor oil I'm giving him internally has been given a nod, along with the suggestion of flax seed oil. As well as the addition of a little more good fat in the boys' diet. And while we're at it, there is a tar paste/lotion/concoction we can get at the store to try. "He'll smell like asphalt, but it seems to work."

Four short and long years ago on our first day out in the big world from the hospital.