Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Brothers And Sisters

When Alida pretends to be a cat, Elaine jumps in with, "Oh, come here kitty." And we have maybe a full minute of hugs and smiles.

And when these two aren't pretending to be in epic battle to alternately save or destroy the world, sometimes they just sit on the coffee table and share and apple.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Saturday Outing: Cedar Hill Farms

We were up and out Saturday morning to Cedar Hill Farms and first in line for the Hayride to hunt Easter Eggs with Emily, her parents, and our friend Tena from work.
Elaine on the left; Alida Emily on the right.
Alida took off for some other part of the ride. I guess she didn't want to be associated with us...
And five kids under five sent out into a field to pick up exactly 13 eggs.
Yeah sure. Elaine's bucket was filled to the top by the time I got around to her quality assurance check.
But they had fun.

And after this I was on the run.
And I am so sorry to have missed the rest of their trip, which was artfully documented by the Kings, but I had to run to go get groceries and maybe some Chik-fil-A.
Thank you Tena and Kings for giving me a solid block of time to get a few things crossed off my shopping list.

Friday, March 26, 2010

I Guess

If this was one of your toys,
(what is this thing? where did it come from? why is he so out of proportion? why is he staring at me?)

playing with a tape measure makes just as much sense.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Now This Made Me Smile; She Probably Screamed

Compare if you will to down below.
We got a package in the mail yesterday from the Dukes' mom. After I smelled it, as I smell all packages from Sarah (coffee, my friends, coffee), I ripped it open. And on the same day that I shared my pictures of my pictures for the kids, Sarah sent me pictures for the kids. I laughed heartily. And then I was thankful for such an incredibly thoughtful friend.
Now when Ben really does give daddy a bath, we'll have a back-up...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Just What He Needed

In February I made sure to take pictures of all the kids with their dad, thinking it would be great to have one for each of them. Then I picked up some cheap frames. Then my project stalled.
I finally got around to getting them printed and framed last weekend.

And Benjamin has carried his around everywhere since. Yesterday, he took it in the car with him to daycare. I had to set it just so on the dashboard before we exited the car. And you better believe I made sure to have it set back just so when I went to pick them up.

Here he is feeding daddy some soup.
And lest I run off and call the mental health experts he gave me this, "Don't worry mommy. I'm just pretending to feed daddy soup."

I had to draw the line at giving daddy a bath.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Saturday Outing: Ladybug

Nicholas was eager to help every step of the way when we got ourselves all dressed and off to Lady Emily's birthday party Saturday.

As usual, the spread was incredible.

And the birthday girl gracious.

Which was good, because my two princesses, who insisted on wearing their princess garb, got a little confused about whose birthday we were celebrating...

And Ben just had a smiley sort of weekend, I'd say.

Flashes of "Back Off."
Emily allowed my girls to tear into her gifts, but don't go stealing her momma.

And in a showing of goodwill, instead of fighting for the chair they both wanted, these two just shared the chair so they could tear into their beautiful cake.
It was a lovely party and we are so glad to be a part of these celebrations.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Anon-No-More For Sure

JB-Anon came by to visit on our rainy Sunday afternoon.
She brought our new favorite cereal along, and Alida sat down and ate bowl after bowl for the entire visit. It was nearly embarrassing how much cereal these kids ate since it looked like I don't feed them. When JB asked what they had for lunch, Ben piped up with "crackers." Made me look even more like mommy-of-the-year. We all know full-well that those kids got all the mac-n-cheese they could eat just prior to her visit.

And in one of those why-didn't-I-ever-think-of-that-moments, she had an umbrella tent up for the kids within about 30 seconds of entering the house.

Group picture time turned into a melt-down of people scrambling to take pictures with my camera. So this was as good as we got--me with my mini-me's.

We loved it, and the proof is in a smile from Benjamin.
Anyone that can tease that out of Ben is welcome in our place any time. Now that she knows how to find our house (we think she can find it again, we're not sure...), we hope she visits often.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Coming Soon

I had my first chance to stow-n-go the other day.
After pulling the stuck lollipop off the floor along with some carpet and ignoring the other debris that had already made this new-last-November car disgusting, my parents helped me go pick up my Mother's Day gift to myself. Let's just say, it was so big that the trunk wouldn't close. I only had some twine to tie it down. The first speed bump we hit popped the sucker open. So, they drove, and I crawled in the back and wedged myself into our large load. Then we drove home with me holding the door down with the help of twine tied around the license plate. You would think such a well thought out car would have a place to tie off a rope piece of lousy twine. Good thing I have my daily strength training hauling people back and forth to time-out.
We'll have to wait for the great unveiling for Mother's Day weekend when I can get some folks around to do some construction. I am currently dreaming of creating gourmet meals while the children play outside. I'm dreaming of hours of free time in the kitchen as I watch the kids taking turns. I'm dreaming of our first trip to the emergency room...
While you wait, don't forget to go read me ramble on about deployment at The Good Stuff Guide again today. Sheesh, you would think I don't get out much the way I chatter.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Good Stuff

Check it out, we're famous:

and I am apparently long-winded when being interviewed...
This is a great site to spend some time clicking around in. It really is good stuff: organization, travel, home tours, thoughts on life with kids. And then we showed up...
Thank you Heidi for spending some time with us and letting us share our story.

Unsolved Mysteries

2:30 this morning.
My dreams were interrupted, or rather integrated somehow, with an argument between the boys. It was clear, and it was loud. Somewhere between incredibly asleep and not quite awake, I managed to think to myself that surely this wasn't really happening. My head felt like a brick as I turned to look at the clock. 2:30 a.m. The voices were louder now. But they were still far away. The more I woke up, the more far away they seemed. And yet, the more real they became. This was real arguing that I was hearing, but where? The boys sleep a door away from me right now, and these voices were downstairs. What? I lunged out of bed and lurched to my door. Sure enough the boys were downstairs arguing. I looked back at the clock to make sure I read that correctly. Yes. I stumbled downstairs toward these little people. When I got to the kitchen, I found them together at the sink with cups in their hands, teddy bears in their arms. Ben was dumping water on Nicholas' bear. What?

"What are you people doing?!"

"Ben just dumped water on my bear!"

"But, what are you doing?"

"My bear's all wet!"

"But, why are you here?"

"Ben just made my bear all wet!"

This was getting us no where. I shuttled them back to bed. Mystery unsolved. What would drive these people to both go downstairs and then start dumping water on their teddy bears in the middle of the night? The universe will never know.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Brief from Iraq

Below is part of a letter Patric wrote to his soldier's families this week. He continues gush about the food. Geez, you would think he only got corndogs and mac-n-cheese at home or something... Apparently, he is also promising that the men will come back all bulked-up from working out at the gym.

The facilities are splendid here with chow hours around the clock and multiple gyms--that for many--will forge your loved ones into better shape than they departed. The USO offers video reading for free to send to the little ones that four children LOVE. Morale continues to be very high. Indeed the mission load has been challenging, but we all know what the Good Book says about idle hands. And we are far from idle. Our training at Camp Shelby has served us well through providing techniques to accomplish our mission; perhaps more importantly, time together hardened the resolve and collective bonds for gun-truck crews and platoons that has transitioned into stellar tactical performance. Translation--we can stomp insurgents into a mud hole should they threaten our fellow troopers or the US cargo drivers we protect. The Gunslingers took little time meeting and surpassing the Mississippi unit we relieved here in Balad. That is the truth. We are running hard and we are running smart. As their commander, I can only augment the pride you already hold for your loved one in watching such professionalism and discipline in action.

For the record--and especially for the spouses of the 04-05 veterans--our Max Pro-Plus vehicles are highly survivable, infinitesimally more-so than the up-armored HMMWV of past deployments. By design, they have already proven highly resistant to Improvised Explosive Devices and completely impenetrable to small arms fire-such as rifles and machine guns well beyond the capacity of previous vehicles.

Things To Come

Well Alida, what's got your nose all out of joint this fine afternoon?

The purposefully crossed arms.
The big lip.
The heavy sigh.
Oh, the drama.

Ah, fighting over fake phone time already.
It's okay, by the time you are a teenager, I'm guessing you'll all just have some surgically attached chip that circumvents this problem. I'm sure you'll wonder what on earth that thing is that is tethered to the wall. Or perhaps you're already fighting for the attention of the person on the other end of the line?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Randomness: Ready for Spring

Ben wasn't sure what to do with the chocolate covered marshmallow.
Chocolate alone=good
Marshmallow alone=good
The 2 together=not.so.much
I kind of agree.

When we were leaving here last month, the boys got in a fight over a bouncy ball they found along the way. Nicholas went all Hulk and shoved Benjamin near the longer pool of fountains in the top right. Ben came gaspingly close to tumbling in just as a line of princesses from a birthday party paraded past us.

Good grief, we've had a strange winter.

Sometimes, you just have to fall asleep at the top of the stairs.

I started growing these last month. My dad did the same at his house.

Armored trucks--these could be useful lots of places.

So, um, yeah she's still cute.

Taking 4 to the doctor at once. At least it was an ice storm and the place was deserted.

Mine bloomed!
My dad realized he's allergic.

Long winter days. Why not just pull out the bubbles inside?

Happy Birthday this week little chick.

Give him a kiss, he says: "Oh darlin'!"
He admitted that the girls at school taught him this. Already?

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Weekend: Bravery

Grandma and grandpa arrived late Saturday.

To pitch in and hopefully avoid our germs.

Everyone was given a canister of Chlorox Wipes Saturday morning and told to go play with them; we flung open the windows and each put on a sweatshirt to get some fresh air; and, I think we ran the washing machine the entire day long.

Here's crossing our fingers that was the end of the spring sickness.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Week: Let's Review and Forget

Next week we'll have some long overdue randomness, for now let's enjoy a re-cap of this week...
Being the good mommy that I am, I dismissed Nicholas Monday night at bedtime as delaying when he told me his stomach hurt. I told him if he didn't feel good, he needed to get some sleep. Five minutes later he was in the bathroom throwing up. We were up several times during the night fighting the good fight. Tuesday we hung out together. It was refreshing to have just one four-year-old in the house. I ignored my own swelling throat and got a million things done as he watched cartoons in my bedroom.

Wednesday Nicholas was better, really. I, on the other hand, left work at 11:00 because I felt like junk. I was home and in bed by noon. I got a solid three hours of sleep before daycare called to let me know that Ben had thrown up in the library. I gathered him and we hung out and felt awful together for a little while that afternoon before getting everyone else.

Wednesday night, we hunkered down to bed with little formality, no baths, no stories. Ben came to bed with me in case he got sick during the night. Nicholas said he was scared to sleep alone but passed out quickly and the girls went down fast. Then around 11:00 Alida found me and complained that her pants were wet. Yes they were, wet with throw-up. Cleaned her up, got her back in bed. Two hours later, the same thing again. One hour later a magnificent storm blew through and rocked the house waking us up again and blowing two breakers. Ben looked over at me and asked, "Mommy, what's that racket?" He still hadn't thrown up.

Thursday morning and Elaine was the first out of bed, as usual, but at a late 5:45. She had throw-up caked in her hair. The poor thing had thrown up during the night and didn't even get out of bed. (Oh, yeah did I mention that I'd had my own round of this during the night as well?) I toyed with the idea of taking Nicholas in to school just to get him out of the sick house, but gave up when I realized I could barely move. I laid around half coherent Thursday morning while most of the kids did the same. Nicholas, I discovered later, had found Halloween and Christmas decorations somewhere, unraveled an entire roll of scotch tape, taken off all of his clothes, painted his face like a warrior with my eye-liner, lined up some toilet cleaner and bubble bath in the shower. He had drug out the toilet plunger (did he use it? I don't know), and drug a stool into the extra bedroom and found my one last Chapstick the girls hadn't previously destroyed that I'd hidden high.
By Thursday afternoon we were feeling somewhat better if not still puny. Today, the kids are good--as far as I know, and I'm home licking my wounds. Grandma and grandpa may be re-thinking their weekend visiting plans right about now...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Pics From Iraq: Transformation

So Cute.

So Hairy.
At least he only does this when he is half a world away.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Last Week: Photographic Proof

Toy Story Garb

Big Girl Shoes

Pretending to be Cats


The Corndog

Before Cookie Making

During Cookie Making
Proof that these people are a big, wonderful mess most all of the time.