The Race to the Horizon

I've known a few people in my life who have a wonderful ability to live in the NOW. They don't fret or wallow or even baske in their past too much, and they don't fret or daydream or live for the future too much either. As a result, their past and their future are almost completely pleasant, because they live in this moment, the one that is happening - taking in the joy or the pain or the frustration or the hope for what it is, feeling it, and being ready for the next moment and whatever it brings.

I've always wanted to be more like that. In large part, my children are helping me, because to a preschooler, NOW is pretty much all there is. And boy, do they know how to drink it up! Every flower, every toy, every new discovery, is the most exciting thing and they must revel in it and enjoy it and take it as it comes, because they have no concept of when it will come again.

Plus, their little legs can't run as fast as mine, and thankfully, they haven't taken on that pesky adult driven-ness that plagues so many of us. So, I'm learning to slow my pace and forget the to-do's - they'll still be there to do tomorrow.

It reminds me of a time when I traveled to Malta with Auntie S, her husband, and their 9-month-old. They were going for a business quota club trip and asked me along to tend the baby when they had adult-only things to go to.

(Auntie S had left a baby once before for one of these trips, and although he was in terrific hands the whole time, S was physically ill over it. In Paris. So I got to go to Malta to keep her baby and her health in tact. I know, rough.)

Immediately at the airport, S and her husband had to leave to meet up with the group and I was to take the baby to the hotel and check in. They were in a hurry, the flight had been a little late, so they rushed off after hooking me up with a cab driver, and I was caught up in the rush and took off with the stroller, supposedly following the driver to his car.

I was rushing so much that I was not even aware that at one point I ran the stroller into his heels and then even passed him in my haste to get where we were going...It was when I passed him on the way to the car, that he chuckled, "Whooooooaaaa, there! In Malta, we walk."

He said it in such a way that I immediately slowed my pace and stopped driving the stroller like a madwoman. I made a point to walk the rest of the week we were there. I don't think I have ever had a more relaxing and beautiful holiday ever. I dream of going back again - Malta is one of the most phenomenal places on earth, I think. Especially if you slow down to see it.

I think of that often and sometimes tell myself that I need to walk. Take it in, breathe...That I'm getting where I'm going to, and who am I trying to beat to the imaginary finish line, anyway? Walk! Enjoy! Malta, preschoolers, pregnancy, life, this minute...they're what life is about right now, and fast isn't always the way to go...

I've been telling myself to walk a lot lately, to not wish things away or get exasperated. There are just lots of things on our family horizon that keep me speeding ahead like a crazy woman, even though I know my thoughts and obsessing will never make them come sooner, and I'm compromising my NOW with a lot of fretting and thinking and dreaming and flat impatience.

Don't get me wrong, I believe it's a good thing at least once in a while to have a carrot dangling in front of one's nose, to keep a person going forward. Sometimes, future planning and time just get the best of me.

In the next six weeks (give or take), we will have our third little boy...Labor and delivery is boggling my mind more than it has either time before, and I'm pretty much a basket case just thinking about the days of infanthood to come.

In those same six weeks, David will apply, interview, and find out about overseas positions, where our family will go next year. And while we know it will likely be a former Soviet state (he and I both speak Russian), the decision process between cities and our first huge move as a family, halfway around the world, is a really big deal.

I enrolled Calvin and Henry in preschool for the fall. A huge chunk of change for tuition. Cal will go five mornings a week, and will see his favorite friend/cousin Lily almost every day, since it is her school, too. I know it will be tremendously good for him - he just struggles with change and unfamiliarity so much that I've been stressed about the first week or two of school and all that it will entail. Yeah, I know. It's months away.

Henry will be going just two mornings a week. Mostly because he has been so excited with our home preschool and wants to join in and can talk as well as some of the four -year-olds in the class anyway. Plus, I wanted him to feel big and special as we have a new baby in the house. But it also means that potty training has to happen before the end of August. And he is SO not interested.

I am also going back to school to finish my Master's degree in the fall. David is totally behind me, which really is beautiful and so desirable in a husband, and Auntie S is insisting on keeping the boys the one day a week that I have to travel to class, and if I don't go this year, I lose the credits from the first year that I already did.

I want to do it, I think I can, I'm just more than a little scared because the first year I did pregnant with Cal the first semester (he was born the week my final paper was due...) and postpartum to the max the second semester. And if I'm going to do it, I want to do it well and really get the most out of the class discussions by doing all my reading and contributing my own thoughts.

The program is reading the Great Works of Western Civilization, which is totally thrilling to me, but it is not easy reading, to say the least. The way is totally open for me to do it, I'm just scaring myself about being able to actually do it. Not sure I have much of a brain left.

And I have a smidgeon of guilt that a Master's of Liberal Arts is not a career-track, "useful" degree - it's almost totally something I am doing out of love of reading and personal growth, which makes me feel selfish spending time and energy away from my family and not pursuing things that would benefit more than just me.

So those are a few of the things that, at least in my mind, that we're racing toward in the next few months. Sometimes I overwhelm myself with the race - all the hurdles, all the fellow runners who seem to be getting there faster or better than me, the sheer distance of the track I have to run, my stamina (or lack thereof).

So here I go again...Stretch a little...Breathe...Walk...The horizon will still be there tomorrow.


This Just In...

So I had some routine bloodwork done last week and they called back yesterday to tell me that I am oh-fee-shully anemic. HELLO!! This is, of course, information that would have been helpful several weeks/months ago, but it's apparently something they just check for at 34-35 weeks. Hmmm. Even though I've said I'm extra tired, I feel weak, I can't breathe, I generally feel unwell, my head aches excessively, etc., etc.

I did insist on checking my thyroid levels a while back because some of the symptoms are similar and I have a history, but they were normal. Anyway...just seems like SOMEONE would have thought of this earlier - there have been times that I've been borderline anemic, even not pregnant.

I must say I am strangely happy that I actually have a physiological problem instead of just feeling like a hypochondriac pregnant lady. Now I just have to stomach the GIGANTIC iron supplement pills they prescribed...We're talking larger than horse size. And oh, what iron can do to a system. I shudder to think...But with any luck, I'll perk right up and be running a marathon in six weeks. Or giving birth. Same diff.


But here are some lighter current events at our house...

Calvin told a little girl today that his dad was losing all his hair. She asked, "Why is he?!" and seemed really concerned. To which Calvin replied with a shrug, "He's just getting to be an old man. It's what happens to people."


David is trying to get the boys to say what they think about various names for the brother baby. After several silly suggestions were shot down, he ventured, "Well, what do you think about George?" And Henry answered, "No...but wha-bout Man Wif the Yellow Hat? I yike dat name."


The "Keep Out" man strikes again. This time without my noticing until I sat down to add something on a page of my "to-do" notebook.

I started laughing and just shaking my head when I saw it, because he's evolving in his adorableness. Notice the deep frown and reaching, desperate hands...

And then to top it off, Calvin came over while I was looking at it and said, "Mom? Are you crying? Because your eyes are shining."

I'm just trying to decide now if I should continue confiscating writing utensils, or wait and see where the little guy turns up next.


Code Yellow Is One Year Old!

It's been twelve whole months - fifty two weeks - 365 days - since I signed myself up and posted in the great wide blogosphere for the first time. I did it with no little amount of trepidation, and still have momentary thoughts of completely annihilating my blog-self for one reason or another, but overall, this year of recording the mundane, the thoughtful, the daily, the semi-profound in my world, has been a fascinating and rewarding experience, not to mention a sorely needed outlet and way of connecting with other women.

I've noticed that lots of the bloggers who started around the same time I did almost immediately found a niche of sorts and immediately found the "flavor" they wanted to put out there. I'm a little more helter skelter, and have worried probably more than I should have about what other people wanted to read more than what I wanted to write.

I'm still looking for my flavor, but whatever. I'm glad many of you come back for regular tastes even when you don't know if it's going to be a hot fudge sundae or liver and onions...

And I'm still baffled by feeds and tags and Technorati and pings and all, but the non-technical benefits of more or less writing something (even drivel) almost every day consistently, are really immeasurable.

In the last year, I've spent most of my time on food prep and clean-up and laundry, but I've also been able to document lots of things my boys say and do, that I'm sure I would not have done otherwise.

In many ways, I feel like my blog posts are the truest glimpse into my life with young children, and I hope they will be treasures for my boys someday, when they ask me how they were or what they said and did when they were little. Right now, I'm in it so deep that I can't imagine forgetting, but I know lots of moms honestly can't remember...

We spent 100 straight days of this year apart from my husband, who was working in a war zone while we slogged along at home but mostly enjoyed the summer, lonely as we were without him.

And of course six months of the last year I've been pregnant and whining about it, even while actually being really excited...

The beautiful thing is that writing about all of it has helped me prioritize, to look for the humor or the larger picture, to appreciate what I have, to feel free to tell it like it is, and to learn to go forward and take one step at a time if that's all I can do at the moment.

I've found that I've actually blogged the most when I was the most stressed, that sometimes I felt like I was so tired or down that the superfluous, my blog, is what had to give. As it turned out, I needed to write - and I needed to read a "HAHAHAHA!" or "My son did that, too, once," or, "You're doing just fine," from the wider world of girlfriends out there.

The way I look at myself, not to mention my perspective on being a woman and a mom, and even some of my fiercely held beliefs and opinions on mothering have changed for the better in this year, due in large part to your posts, your comments and the introspection that blogging has prompted.

And I think I'm a tiny bit less self-conscious and a little more sure of who I am and what I'm about because of you. So, thanks.

I had some grand intentions of filling this post with links galore to my first bloggy friends, some new bloggy friends, and some posts from all of them that I love and respect.

And I wanted some confetti and balloons falling from the ceiling and some kind-of million dollar give-away to offer. But alas, getting a shower and going grocery shopping takes precedence this morning. You understand.

But in celebration of my blogiversary, I'd love it if you'd read "Holding Pattern" and/or "Genetics, Questions, and Super Powers" (both are linked in my sidebar), especially if you are new to my blog. They are particular treasures of mine, and comments remain open and are of course infinitely appreciated!

Now go have some cake, and eat it, too.


Words and Signs

Me: Henry, stop picking blossoms off all the bushes.
Henry: Dey not blossoms, dey flowohs.

Me: Henry, come here and let's take your pajamas off and put clothes on.
Henry: It's not pajamas, it's a t-shoht.

And I could give twenty or thirty more examples. Are not-quite-three-year-olds supposed to argue semantics like this? I don't think Calvin ever has much (at least not in this avoid-the-issue way), but Henry is all about it. And I was kinda hoping they wouldn't pick it up until public school, a couple years down the road...

But here is something too precious:

A few days ago, Cal drew a huge picture on one whole page of my desk calendar then TORE IT OUT to come show me through the foggy door in the bathroom while I showered. I tried to compliment the artwork, but made it pretty clear that my calendar was one piece of paper that he should neither draw on nor tear. (But that's not the precious part, just the preamble.)

So last night when I was putting dinner on the table and looked over to catch Calvin doodling on my desk calendar, I got after him, "Calvin! Stop drawing on my calendar. You know not to do that! Come sit down for dinner!" And he answered, "I'm just making a little 'keep out' sign."

It was after dinner when I took a look at this poignant little masterpiece:

(The actual drawing is only about one inch tall, so it's a bit blurry photographed, but do you see how it's modeled after a "no smoking" sign, only with a little boy instead of a lit cigarette in the center? I just want to weep and giggle all at the same time, it's so darling to me...)


Shapes and Sounds

I have two or three posts percolating in my mind right now, but my synapses are not firing as well as I would like, and I'm having trouble articulating. So today, I just have to get these two little stories down, memory book style. You know, for posterity or something.

Getting ready for our dinner date the other night, I spent a lot of time curling my hair. My hair is of such a texture that by the time I am done putting the last curl in, the first is already drooping. So hair-curling, being even more futile than other stuff I do most days, doesn't happen much.

But with a little luck and some good gel, I managed it on Saturday night, and when I came out of the bathroom, Henry took a look at me and then absolutely beamed. "Mom! You haff circles in yous hair!" A little while later, as we were leaving, he looked at me again and said, "I yike yoh circles, Mom."

I like the idea of circles a lot more than the, "What's wrong with your mouth?" I get when I put lipstick on.


Day before yesterday Calvin was watching Charlotte's Web during Henry's nap and I was folding laundry / blogging in the next room. I heard him saying quietly to himself what sounded like, "Tuh...tuh...tuh tuh tuh..."

I wondered what it was about, so I went close to the door without letting him see me and realized he was saying, "Templeton...Templeton...Tem...ple...ton," emphasizing the "T" each time. Then, he said with a little smile to himself, "Templeton. I like how that name sounds."

He never knew I had heard his experiment with the name, but he did later tell me - out of the blue, but apparently after some personal reflection - "But, you know, Mom? Templeton is kind-of a rat name."

But I think I like Templeton better than the last name Cal liked the sound of: Humperdinkle. (The shortened nicknames he came up with for that one being the main drawback.)


In Which Ornery Reigns Supreme

Our master bathroom is charming. Which means it's small enough to hang on a charm bracelet. It also means the shower stall is miniscule. We bang our elbows on the wall while lathering. And lately, if I don't carefully turn around, I bump the water temp lever with my belly.

Sometimes I notice because the lever jabs me, and I can rub my sore belly button with one hand while quickly pushing the lever back to the right temp with the other. And sometimes I notice only after the water goes freezing...or scalding. It does help me to know that I can move fast when I need to.

But I think if I really wanted help getting moving, I'd prefer to go with this kind of shower shock. Although it does leave me asking all kinds of questions...

But maybe if I used such a soap I would understand why so many people at church in the last two weeks have told me I'm glowing. Ugh. The first few times I was thinking they've got to be kidding. Or more likely just being nice. Then I started thinking maybe they're just a lot more spiritchull than I am, and can see auras and stuff that I can't.

But now I'm really starting to believe that I'm the transcendent one, that (unbeknownst to me) I really must be the absolute goddess of light. I'm going to go with that, and just keep saying, "Oh, thank you."

Because that's so much less offensive than screaming, "It's called Breaking Out, people! Bulging! Lumbering Around! Sweating Like a Pig! Crying For No Reason! All very different from Glowing! Get your verb right!"

What I'd really like is for someone to tell me that I'm looking tremendous. That would make my day, because then I'd know we were all being sincere, mortal, and linguistically accurate. All very important to me right now, obviously.

Calvin is also bothered by too much niceness when he is overly tired, too. We went on a dinner date with Auntie S and Uncle K Saturday night and when we picked the boys up at about 10:30, Cal was past his pleasant limit. Among other complaints, he didn't want to go home, and proceeded to very loudly hate David for picking him up and carrying him to the car.

David was very gentle and patient, even with all the kicking and screaming that went with the hate, and then took it one step further, by answering each "I HATE YOU!!!" with just a bit of a teasing laugh, "That's OK, Cal. I still looooove you."***

It made Cal giggle ever so slightly, mid-wail, the first couple times, but after about the third or fourth time of getting this response, Calvin yelled, "But I HATE you!!! Stop loving me!!! I am not! Going to tell you! Again!!!"

But he did tell him again and when David said, "But I love you" one more time, Calvin screamed, "Stop it! With all! The loving!!!"

So we stopped it with all the loving and just started laughing. And frankly I still think it's hilarious.

***For those of you who might think we are quite permissive in "allowing" a child to say "I hate you" to his parents, be assured that we do take measures to curb it. We know that hate is not a family value. (BTW - Ever read Joey Pigza? That's one of my favorite books ever!) But we've also learned that in the midst of an exhausted tantrum is not when a lesson on respect does a lot of good with a four-year-old, particularly when he doesn't really hate us, he just can't stand himself at the moment. So that's that.


Notes to Self: Going to the Zoo

1. If the carefree urge and/or guilt that you should be out and doing something on a beautiful mild and warm spring day hits you, don't let the fact that it took you until afternoon nap time to get dressed and out of the house keep you from going. It is really not as ill-fated as it would seem. In fact, it might be one of your best trips ever.

2. Don't go to see anything specific. Just wander. Follow the signs and the boys. Forget the map. You'll see and enjoy more of the animals than you ever have before.

3. Remember how good it feels to pack light - the umbrella stroller for one was perfect, and the little backpack with a diaper, lots of wipes and some drinking water was all you needed and it fit just right hanging on the back of the stroller. You were never loaded down or annoyed by too much gear the whole day, and never needed any of the contingency items you might have otherwise hauled around for hours.

4. Don't be surprised if the highlight of the day for the boys (and probably most of the onlookers) is the drinking fountain that overshoots its basin. To quote Henry, "It's yike a waterfall of waindwops on my head!"

5. When their dad isn't there to talk sense, you can learn that $3 for cotton candy isn't the ridiculous waste that it may seem to be. One time is all it takes for them to really get disillusioned with sugar in fluff form and the yucky sticky-finger-and-face after effect, and they will never ask for it again. Splurge once and the cotton candy stand never holds the same allure. You've successfully eliminated one source of the plaintive, "Pllllleeeeeeaaaaaase?!" we all know and love.

6. Sometimes your love for your children will be sorely tested, like when you are standing in a dark, small, insanely crowded and smothering, sweltering invertebrate house holding your lead-butted two-year-old up, waiting for them to feed the octopus they were supposed to feed ten minutes ago. Breathe if you can. You are not going to die. It will all be OK once you hear the 4 year-old come out of the crowd by the tank exclaiming how cool it was. Normal breathing will resume and claustrophobic overheating madness will dissipate right as you get to the exit. And you will manage to be delighted by the fabulous indoor butterfly garden by the door in which the 2-year-old goes wild with excitement at the hundreds of butterflies and he flits after them, finding each new one more fabulous than the first.

7. Next time when you are very pregnant pushing an umbrella stroller with one small boy in it and one boy zigzagging inches in front of the wheels, wear some really svelte maternity yoga/exercise type clothes. That way even more people will smile, talk to you and ask you if you are having a girl this time. And if you're dressed right, when that one lady stares at you while saying none too quietly to her friend, "I bet she's burning a lot of calories," you can flash her a big ol' glowing pregnant grin and give her a thumbs up in a hearty gesture of, "Dang straight!" Instead of merely blowing the sweaty bangs off your forehead and wishing you could grab the ice cream bar right out of her hand and swallow it whole.

8. If Calvin ever asks you a perplexing question and you don't know the answer, don't feel too much pressure. He might actually just be testing you, like he did to a random zoo-goer today:

Cal: What's this animal called?
Random Zoo-Goer: (glancing at the random boy talking to him, then looking for a sign with the scientific name of the R.O.U.S. in question, and finding none) Uh, I don't know.
Cal: (shaking his head, rolling his eyes just a bit and giving a crooked, matter-of-fact smile) Uh, I'm pretty sure it's a capybara.

9. If you stay just a leeeetle too long, even after a marvelously surprising pleasant day, and then say no to the "Pllllleeeeeeeaaaase can I get some popcorn?" someone will stomp the entire way to the car and scream, "I hate you," every time the thought of the popcorn strikes him. Don't take it personally and don't buy the popcorn - it feels good to be in charge like that.

10. If you happen to drive instead of take the Metro and all the parking lots are overflowing when you get there, it's not so bad, after all, that you had to scrounge up a parking place in the lot furthest in. It's actually lowest in elevation, so you had the uphill walk when you and the kids were fresh and enthusiastic, and it's all downhill when your bangs were sweaty and the kids were exhausted.

11. There are days when you will feel competent and so cool as a mom, like when you pull off a wonderful and enjoyable day at the zoo. And there are days when you will feel like the sorriest excuse for a maternal unit in the history of the universe. Just hold on to the zoo days, congratulate yourself on being able to make even a few of them happen, and try to get over the rest. Then hope your kids will do the same.


Here Comes the Sun

Yesterday Calvin had to spend some alone time in his room. During preschool at our house. Yeah, it was that bad.

He stomped up to his room and after rearranging the toy box and bunk bed ladder and thumping around a bit, he was quiet.

I gave him a few more minutes to collect himself and was about to tell him he could come back and join us when he came bounding down the stairs:

"Hey, everybody! You have GOT to see this! Everybody!!!!!"

Then he gathered everyone on the couch by the front window, threw open the curtains and pointed out a dove's nest in the crook of the tree in our front yard.

My camera was MIA, so I wasn't able to capture all five little kids standing in the window, looking where Cal was directing them to look. But they all stood there, watching and talking excitedly about the activity in the tree...

"See? I saw it from my mom's window upstairs! They're making a nest!"

"I think she's going to lay eggs there!"

"Yeah, little tiny birdies will hatch!"

"What do pigeons say?"

"It's not a pigeon, it's a dove. They say, coo, coo."

(A chorus of cooos.)

"Hey, I think that's the daddy!"

"He's bringing a stick for the nest!"

"He just dropped it there!"

"She's putting it in the nest!"

"Are there any eggs yet?"

"My dad would LOVE to know about this. Mom, I need to call Dad and tell him!"

Turns out that Cal had stealthily moved his alone time into my room and opened the front window upstairs to look out. A big no-no, and yet...

The nest is gone today - I think it was in a place that was a little too low and exposed for the mother dove's liking. But for a few minutes yesterday, spring was finally here in the voices of my little boy and his friends, marveling at the building of a nest, overflowing with excitement and wanting to share with anyone who would look or listen.

Making Mountains

So last week I explained what a zit was to Calvin. He was bugging me and poking at the most recent appearance on my chin. So I know that his vocabulary includes this important, descriptive, three-letter word: zit. One syllable, a slightly crude term, but nonetheless calling a spade a spade. Simple enough, right?

This week he told me that it looked like my zit was getting better, but that it looked like I had a little mountain right next to it. Yeah, thanks.

In other bits of news to catch up before I post something of substance...

Tuesday I was sure I had a bladder infection. Then appendicitis. And yesterday I mostly felt like a Mac truck of toxic hormones ran over me. Twice. I'm telling you, it was rotten, and I was sure something big was wrong because I've never felt this run down and crummy when pregnant before.

But...no infection, nothing requiring surgery. Apparently just a wiggly growing boy and increasing uterus. Accompanied by a Mac truck of toxic hormones.

Hormones that apparently cause multiple mountains on chins...and mole hill pregnancy complaints to grow intensely painful...and knock-knock jokes to grate on perpetually exhausted and frazzled nerves...

But the good news is that it's nothing some sleep and a little less Sanjaya won't make all better. Thank you, tiny prescription pill. And thank you, America.

Oh - and thank you all for the great knock-knock (and your mama) jokes. I actually had no idea that there were others coping with this same bane of childhood. Lovely to know I am not alone.

Wanna know something really disturbing? Apparently knock-knock jokes "provide valuable insight into how children advance their language skills." You mean I'm supposed to be getting insight from this now, too? Shoot. But at least the Wikipedia article provided some new material for our budding linguists/comedians.

So, I'm feeling a lot better, getting everything into perspective and calming down a bit. Now if I can get the 4-year-old to do the same, and just call a zit a zit, for heaven's sake.


This Is Me, Being a Whiney Wimp

I had a bunch of bloggity interest floating in my head Monday afternoon, but as of yesterday, I really. do not feel well. I have a regularly scheduled doctor appointment this afternoon so...

If it's just being pregnant, then I'll suck it up and try to take it like a real woman. (He, he, he) And if it's something in addition to gestating, I'm sure I'll be miraculously well enough to come back and complain about how I really don't need this right now.

Until then, pretty much all I can think of doing is calling my husband and asking him to come home and prop me up. Or to at least listen to the boys' knock-knock jokes for me:

Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Duck who?
Duck Apple!!!

Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Banana Head Pants.
Banana Head Pants who?
Banana Head Pants walking across the street with a tree!

I really wouldn't bring him home from work for that... But right now I'm going to give them some yogurt for breakfast then take up residence on the couch and try to keep myself from inventing diseases and complications and worries that I really don't need right now. Just give me a day.

Happy Wednesday. If you think of any actual knock-knock jokes (like with real, play-of-words, moderately humorous punchlines), feel free to pass them on. I just might need those more than anything.


Monday Mother Lode

Who reads my blog on a Monday? Just curious. I do hope someone does, because here's some random favorite stuff from the past weekend month.

Mostly I just wanted to post something more Calvin- and Henry-oriented, because I know I've been a bit philosophical and introspective lately. I kinda started this blog to keep family posted on the boys and even though only two family members read it, I really haven't posted enough pictures and stuff lately for them. So...

First, a couple of one-liners -

From Henry, while coloring last night:

"Black is a naughty color."

From Calvin:

"How do frogs hear?"

(This is a prime example of his new thrilling subject-changing skill. The frog question is what he used on me in the middle of my "please don't sit here and be shy, get out there and chase soccer balls with the other 4-year-olds because you've been wanting to play soccer since before Christmas and now we're here and you won't" pep talk.)


And now a picture or two -

These days we can get them to sit in one place together for a picture with a minimum of hassle. But saying, "Smile, guys!" gets some questionable results.

Around here, bathtime is often tsunami hour, but occasionally the boys work on something really grand together. (Calvin wanted to be sure we noticed that there was one toy per square of tile.)


Remember the Lazy Susan by the Stove concept? I've moved it to the counter right behind the stove for more prep room by the stove, but I still love it and use it and regularly remind the boys not to spin it wantonly. But this weekend, in a classic "you knew it would happen sometime" event, Calvin experienced centrifugal force acting on a glass bottle of white wine vinegar.

Of course it was while I was making dinner - I turned from the stove just in time to see it fly and crash across the kitchen, just a few inches shy of Henry's head. And all of us in bare feet. It's a toss-up whether Cal learned more from the shock of the flying/spraying/shattering bottle, my lecture about warnings that included a heavy dose of "I done tol' you and tol' you..." or David's lengthy mopping and shard-hunting process that precluded being able to appreciate his beautiful coloring or read The Cat in the Hat together. With any luck, one of the consequences came through to him and the Lazy Susan spinning has come to an end.


Check out this fine artwork. It wasn't too long ago that I posted a bit about the first recognizable drawing that Calvin made, and it was of me. So precious. I love watching the boys create. Paper is a small price for me to pay for them to be happily occupied for more than ten minutes at one time to see them express themselves.

Henry drew this turtle yesterday, and it just floors me. He's two and a half. I know the spots on the turtle's back make it look like a face, but check out how he made a pointy little tail and four legs and a head. By himself. With no instruction or previously drawn turtles. I love it.

Due to the Easter holiday, Calvin has been in an Egg Period this last couple of weeks. Myriads of vibrantly spotted eggs, one per page, all of which must be posted on the refrigerator. This is my favorite, though, because it includes the Easter Bunny:


Here's a little video snippet for posterity. "Baa, Baa Black Sheep" is a longstanding favorite of Henry's. I personally think it's funny for a 2-year-old to say the word, "dame." This clip also briefly demonstrates his munchkin voice, his propensity for perpetual motion, as well as his attempts at humor by plugging in wrong words - although not as hilarious as the applesauce routine, which I haven't caught on video yet.


On a more personal note, looking into next week, I am so excited that Martina McBride is the mentor on American Idol. It's been a while since my country obsession, but she still impresses me and is one singer that can consistently make be belt out with the radio even when I'm in the car alone. She just has a fabulous voice and really great songs.

Then I pictured Sanjaya in some Rex-all Ranger get-up, copping a vocally weak fake twang and pathetic attempt at the boot-scootin' boogie. I'm sure the tweenies who love him will find it all so endearing that they'll text the word "vote" enough times for Daddy to ground them over the phone bill but they won't care because Sanjaya will make it through yet another week. I'm honestly not sure I can stomach it.

Of course, maybe...maybe if Sanjaya gets voted through to the finale, it'll put me into labor a bit ahead of my due date. That's definitely something to consider. Especially since I've gone past due both times before and three people told my husband this weekend that they thought I looked like I "could go" any minute.

Yeah, any minute in 50-some-odd days. Don't rush me! And don't really vote for Sanjaya. I'd try castor oil (blech!) before I'd wish him to the finale.


Lilies of the Field

I probably spend an inordinate amount of blog space talking about how astute or intuitive or positively brilliant my children are...I just can't help it. They amaze me, and I hope they won't suffer too many ill effects from their mother being in awe of them more than half the time. I do try not to let it go to their heads...

Calvin spends a LOT of time thinking. His gears are always turning. It's a little unnerving in a four-year-old, but you have to understand that I'm not even exaggerating his vocabulary or matter-of-factness or comprehension. At least once a day during a lull in conversation, he voices a thought or question that sets me back a minute.

Many times I can smile because I know how his thought process went to arrive at a certain conclusion, and I can answer well enough help him connect the rest of the dots...

Sometimes I have to think a little longer to figure out what prompted his question and what he's really trying to get at (sometimes it all started three or four days - or weeks, or months - ago and he's been mulling that long)...

Sometimes I laugh outright because he's so serious and intense, and what he says is so unknowing and "way off" but so adorable that I just can't correct his outlook yet...

And sometimes, I get a lump in my throat from the sweet little understanding or tender opinion he has about things, especially when I honestly cannot connect any other discussions or memories with what he tells me...

Yesterday, as we were waiting in the drive-thru at McDonald's (you see, it's not ever in any extraordinary setting), he said, looking out the window, "You know, Mom? I think Heavenly Father thinks even the plain, little birds are important."

I don't have any idea what Calvin was considering that made him arrive at that little gem, but it brought to mind those verses in Matthew Chapter 6, and made my heart stop for a minute, then fill to the brim with clarity and gratitude for all the things in my life that are arrayed even better than Solomon in all his glory.


Ah, Phooey!

Our trip to NYC this weekend got cancelled yesterday.

At 3:45 p.m.

After David had found a 4-star room for us for a steal.

And booked my train ride.

And I had the packing and ride to the station logistics all lined out.

And I was feeling OK for being out of town on Cal's first Saturday of soccer.

And was dreaming of hours of uninterrupted sleeping, putzing, touristing.

I hate it when that happens.

Interview With...(drumroll)...Me!

Last week, Lauren at Baseballs and Bows completed a fun online interview posed by Jennifer at Snapshot, then offered to interview anyone who wanted to play along. I really like the questions she gave me, and I feel almost celebrity, being interviewed...

Here's what Lauren asked me - I had a lot to say, I guess.

But it's my blog and I'll write too much if I want to!

1. What is your favorite holiday? Why?

There is so much I love about Christmas...Thanksgiving probably holds the most memories for me as far as family togetherness...and the spiritual aspects of Easter have become more and more relevant and beautiful as I’ve reached adulthood... but I would have to say that my favorite holiday of all is the 4th of July.

Why? For one thing, all a person has to do to enjoy Independence Day is show up. There’s no all-day cooking or baking. No pressure to find, buy, wrap, or ship the perfect gifts on time, and none of the attendant financial worry. No internal conflict of commercialism vs. spirituality. No fantasy character to promote for magical effect, and very little fear of unfulfilled expectations. You buy a bucket of chicken, meet up with some friends, and enjoy the show.

But all those are my more adult-view reasons. I’ve always loved the 4th of July – maybe because of the small town where I grew up and because I now live just outside Washington, DC.

Maybe because my granddad’s birthday is the 3rd of July and we always had a birthday party for him and a birthday party for America.

Maybe because I’ve spent a lot of my life studying and reveling in American history and I’ve also lived in a country struggling to overcome communism and devoid of the fundamental freedoms and security that I grew up taking for granted.

Maybe because I love America and all that goes with it, and Independence Day is a celebration of all that makes being American good and blessed. Maybe because hearing, “The Star Spangled Banner” or “America the Beautiful” moves me. Every. Single. Time.

Mostly, I think it’s to do with the fireworks. They seriously give me a rush. I love the color and the light and the booming, the excitement in the air. The warm summer evening and everyone oohing and aahing in unison. Holding hands with my husband and holding a boy or two on my lap while we all watch the night sky together. Love it.

2. What room in your home is your favorite? Why?

I don’t think I have a favorite room. I spend the most time in the kitchen, but in our current house that’s the most pathetic room in the place! I do love coming home, though. The feeling of familiarity and peace is wonderful – and I like it that I feel that way even if I’ve only been gone running errands for a little while. I like having a true home sweet home, and finding that it has very little to do with luxurious accoutrements.

3. You have two little ones and one on the way. What are you most excited and/or apprehensive about?

When I was expecting my first baby, I honestly had no apprehensions – I am the oldest of seven children and have been taking care of children since I could breathe, practically. I watched my mom bring home babies from the hospital and take care of them while working at least part-time my whole growing up - I just thought it was this natural thing, just what a mom does. No worries. So I didn’t prepare much or stress much about birth, postpartum, or the logistics of having a little one. Man, was I a fool!

When I was expecting our second, I knew a little better. I was most worried about the isolation I felt with a newborn, the difficulties and frustration I had had with breastfeeding, and now having a very busy toddler as well as an infant. So I planned for more help after the birth, I took it easy on myself about breastfeeding (which went a lot more smoothly the second time, but still was a big challenge emotionally and physically), and I didn’t try to be superhuman. Mostly because I knew I couldn’t. That was liberating.

With Number Three, my biggest anxiety is about the delivery. I have been induced both times when I was one week overdue. The second time, I had some painful and disheartening side effects to the pitocin-induced labor and resulting epidural – including intensely LOOOONG contractions that were unproductive and exhausting, shaking and vomiting during and right after labor, an extreme epidural headache and pain and numbness at the site of the epidural for two months after, and minor heart irregularities that I attribute to the medicine they had to add to the epi when my heart rate plummeted.

So this time around, I am very intent to have my labor start when my body is ready for it, and I am anxious about communicating to health professionals who tend to push medical intervention more than trust me when I tell them what I know about my own body.

Other than that, I’ve planned again for some extra hands right afterward, and I am really happy to be having another boy. Lots of people have actually expressed disappointment for me when I’ve said it’s a boy – a lady in Costco the other day quipped, “So the third time wasn’t a charm, huh?” – but I actually think there is something special and charming about it.

While my boys definitely give me a run for my money (and sanity), I feel an importance in raising good men, and have started to really think that there is a message to me and a specific work for me in having three in a row. And I think I might be better able to handle twelve-year-old boys than I am a twelve-year-old girl – the thought of that emotional roller coaster really makes me shudder!

4. How does the life you are living now compare to what you imagined your grown-up life would be?

Funny – I think I always wanted to make a world-renowned contribution to literature or art or history or something, to have someone see or read something I created and think it was fabulous, but really the fundamentals of my aspirations always included seeing and appreciating the larger world, sharing my life with people who “get” me, and realizing the potential my Heavenly Father has given me.

I’ve never had extraordinarily glamorous ambitions – I’m not a spotlight seeker and I don’t ever want more money or possessions than I can manage or share appropriately. All in all, my life now is very much what I wanted, with many things that are much better than I could have come up with.

I think the only real difference between my dreams and the reality is that it takes a lot more work and sheer grit than the young me comprehended. You know, if the streets are to be paved with gold, someone has to do the paving – there’s no fairy godmother. It's not that I'm disillusioned, though - it's just taking me a while to dig in and get to it!

5. If someone did a movie about your life, which actress would best play the part of you?

If Juliette Binoche did Bridget Jones, that would be me.


If you'd like to be interviewed, let me know in a comment and I'll give you five questions of your very own!


WTW: Difficult Personalities

This post is my two bits on this week's Woman to Woman topic:

Parenting or grandparenting children that have difficult personalities...be they temperamental children or children with issues like ADD, sensory dysfunction, or developmental delays. Share your hardships, share your successes. You mothers can vent away, and you grandmothers can encourage us to hang in there, and share your past parenting/grandparenting challenges and strategies.

Be sure to also click on over to Seeds from My Garden and My Many Colored Days for links to the other participants and more great insight and inspiration, Woman to Woman!


In my boys' family tree, there are some telling childhood legends:

The little girl whose mom served her oyster soup. She asked what oysters were, and upon hearing that they were little fish, asked, "Are they dead?!" Then violently slid her bowl across the table in abhorrence at the thought of eating dead fish...

The little boy who gathered all the mail around the neighborhood and redistributed it so that everyone had the same amount of mail in their boxes...

The kindergartner who so persistently refused to speak at school that his teacher called his mom in for a conference to recommend speech therapy or special education. His mom, being baffled because he talked plenty at home, finally got to the bottom of the problem: He just didn't like his teacher, and wasn't going to talk to someone he didn't like...

The ten-year-old holding straight pins between her teeth while trying on a dress her mom was measuring for a hem. Her dad walked by and made a silly comment and she proceeded to yank pins from her teeth one by one and scream as she threw each of them like tiny daggers at him...

I don't have the challenges that come from raising children with developmental or emotional disorders, but my boys definitely have dynamic personalities and strong preferences. They roar, they run, they climb, they cackle and tease, they wrestle, they explore and "get into" everything, they are in perpetual motion. That level of constant activity and boundless energy, though not what I would call "difficult" in terms of personality, is one of the most eye-opening and exhausting parts of my life as a mom.

In addition to this busy-ness and curiosity, there are other things that I have discovered in my boys that present special challenges: a sometimes extreme aversion to change or transition; being easily overstimulated by sounds, lights, too much of anything at once; a regular need for "alone time;" quick frustration over an inability to do something quickly or well, like get a shoe on the right foot or make a smooth ball of play-do.

Some of these things I recognize in myself. Many of them are not outside the realm of normal childhood or even general human nature. But sometimes, just the fact that they are children, with limited language skills and short attention spans and a very small capacity to retain or practice what you tell them (over and over) is where the difficulty lies.

The one thing that I have learned from watching my children and coping with their behavior, as well as drawing from personal experience, is that the intensity of their emotions is something real and legitimate, and it's important to acknowledge it and help them gain control of themselves.

There are absolutely times when the best approach to outbursts is to quietly step over their tantrum on the floor and walk into the other room, not giving in to their demands, particularly if your stance as a parent is for their safety or health. And there may be nothing worse than a child who turns on the drama because it will get her what she wants every single time. That doesn't help the child learn emotional control, but rather how to manipulate.

But more often than not, validating and acknowledging what a child is feeling goes so much further in changing behavior. Emotionally shutting him down just because I don't like the mode of his expression or because I don't have time in my adult world to listen or care only creates more disruptive bids for attention and acknowledgment, or eventually to him not even bothering to communicate how he feels anymore.

I guess I might be super sensitive about this, but one thing I want to make sure that I do as a mom is to let my kids know that their feelings and opinions matter, that I hear them, that it's not just about what I am feeling or thinking as the parent. Sometimes it takes added work and preparation on my part, but the rewards of cooperation and communication that result, even with preschoolers, is worth the effort.

I know that some old-school parents and even some of my peers think that what is most needed is a good spanking, and my boys do get spanked on occasion, but I hope I am never guilty of spanking them because their feelings of frustration or anger or hurt were infringing on my plans for the day. If they get spanked or punished, it will be for something they did - a bad choice, an action that put them in danger, or a deliberate destruction or disobedience - not for something they felt and were trying to express. I don't want them to learn that feelings are wrong or that they are something to be ignored or stifled.

A man in our church who I really admire once told me that the greatest thing he's learned as a parent, something that changed how he parented forever, was the realization that when kids did messy or ornery or "difficult" things, they were not doing it to get under his skin. They were doing it because they haven't lived thirty years yet and are trying the world out - they were kids, learning. He said as soon as he realized that it wasn't about driving their dad nuts, and as soon as he stopped looking at their behavior as a personal affront, he was able to parent with so much more patience and understanding and maturity, and he started really getting somewhere with his children.

I am a firm believer in intentional parenting. Kids of course grow up, no matter what, and in most cases will be fine, regardless of little mistakes parents make, but patterns of emotional distance or dysfunction are really hard to overcome. I've put a lot of thought, prayer and study into the ways I can make my children feel "real," even when I don't fully understand the intensity or validity of their emotions or why they are acting the way they are.

I've actually found that much of the behavior I would have been inclined to label "bad" (or that was labeled "bad" when I was little) was actually part of normal development and just needed to be handled in a loving, age-appropriate manner. Or it is the result of a personality trait that in a child might fall under "incorrigible," but if channeled properly makes a successful and confident adult.

This is more of a ramble than I intended it to be, and I don't know how to really sum up...I guess what struck me most about the topic is that I am not raising extremely difficult personalities, but I was raised by one. And sometimes that leaves me a little bit adrift in the parenting world because I know what not to do, but don't have a clear idea of what to do when situations arise. And the funny thing about parenting is that even a difficult phase seems like it is never going to end, especially when you feel like you've tried everything and you are just emotionally and physically sapped. So I turn to prayer a lot, and I turn to books and insights from other people who have thought and dealt with similar things.

The one thing that comes to mind is a little piece of a letter that my granddad wrote when I was serving a mission. He said, "Just take it five minutes at a time, and be kind..." That advice is an anchor to me when I feel the most strung out about my children's behavior. Sometimes being kind means disciplining so that next time they will know better, but most often, it means just hearing and acknowledging and helping them work through what they are feeling or what they are trying to do. And taking things five minutes at a time is the only way for all of us to get through childhood in one piece.

My Parenting Book List

One of the things that has impressed me about the area in which we live, and perhaps most particularly our church congregation, is the attitude of intentional parenting that prevails in most families that I know here. We do live in one of the most Type-A, micromanaging, overachieving metropolises in America, I am certain, but what I see in parenting is different from that, and it's different from parenting styles where I grew up (both in my own home and in the larger community).

It's an active, caring, deliberate way of teaching and leading, disciplining and guiding, marked by consistency and direction and faith. I really want to be that kind of parent and often don't have any idea where to start, since the parenting of my childhood wasn't something they thought about or planned - the kids just grew up somehow. We did grow up - there's an element of that regardless of a parent's most dedicated efforts, I know - and we did OK, but the little phrase, "Children are an heritage of the Lord," tells me there should be a lot more involved in the endeavor...

Recently, my husband said, "You know, if there is any other thing in the world that I want to know about or need to know how to do, I look it up. I find a book and read it, or look for a website or two that will give me instruction or information. I don't know why it has never occurred to me to do the same with parenting, when it's something that I want to be better at and often have no idea how to approach."

This comment was spurred by my recent absorption in parenting books, which was triggered by a recommendation from our pediatrician about a minor "problem" I was having with Henry. I hated the book she recommended, but it led me to find others, and to also finally look into books that a good friend told us about some time ago.

I think most of us are the same as my husband - a little hesitant to turn to the library for help in parenting. After all, each home is different, each child is different, and each parent - with attendant baggage from their own upbringing - is different. We might have good reason to doubt or mistrust much of the parenting advice that is out there, especially as some tends toward the dogmatic or oversimplified.

Also, I think being involved so intimately in our own homes tends to make us feel isolated in a way, as if we are the only parents ever who struggled with one behavior or another in our children, and we don't really know the question to ask or even how to ask without feeling a little incompetent, because everyone else seems to be doing it better without asking for help.

That said, I've recently read and gained so much insight and help from the following books. I checked them out of the library first and then decided that I needed to own them because of some invaluable lessons they gave me in the realm of parenting. I highly recommend them - and a lot of prayer - as you deliberately and intentionally train up your children in the way they should go.

Here are some books that I have found invaluable in understanding and raising my children, and coping with their difficult phases and personality traits:

Toddlers and Preschoolers, by Lawrence Kutner

This is an older book, but it's an amazing resource in recognizing developmental milestones and has tons of practical advice about the preschool age group. It really clarified for me why kids do some of the things they do, which is the first step in handling situations and behaviors successfully. What I really like is that although it describes normal development and why, for example, kids this age get hooked on annoying (embarrassing) habits like talking about poop incessantly or lying, it never excuses the inappropriate behavior but rather offers practical suggestions for correcting or redirecting a child.

Raising Your Spirited Child, by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka

Even if your child doesn't fall into what Kurcinka would term the "spirited" category (I found that Calvin is most definitely spirited and Henry is mid-spectrum), this book is indispensable in learning what makes a child - and even you, as a parent - "tick." The most important premise of this book is that as parents we can direct our children's extreme personality traits in a direction that will build confidence and capability as adults. We can help them learn appropriate things to say and do when they are emotionally out of control, and we can help their teachers and peers see and react to them differently just by the words we use in describing and dealing with them. Once again, it's a book that doesn't employ a lot of psycho babble or dogma, but instead offers practical solutions and real-life examples. She also offers guidelines and indicators for when your child's behavior might extend beyond "spirited" to diagnosable and treatable disorders such as ADD or autism.

Loving Each One Best, by Nancy Samalin and Catherine Whitney

This book is actually one I think I will come back to more as my children get older, but if sibling rivalry and conflict loom large in your family's life, this is an amazing resource. My favorite admonition here was not to get stuck in the "It's not fair" trap. Samalin and Whitney build a fabulous case against keeping score or trying to always give every child the exact same thing as another child in order to prevent sibling conflict. In fact, keeping score engenders more conflict and resentment, where giving each child what they need when they need it, and not just because you are giving it to their sibling, actually sends the message to a child that, "When I really need Mom, she will make special time or concessions for me. I'm that important to her."

I Don't Have to Make Everything All Better, by Gary and Joy Lundberg

When I first read this book, I was completely moved by the idea that to validate a person, you really, really have to love them. I realized that for me, making validating comments took a lot more sensitivity and patience, as well as an effort in dealing with uncomfortable emotions, than giving them a solution right off the bat. But I also learned that it reaped a closer relationship and better understanding than telling someone, "You should..." or "If I were you, I would..." One of the great things about how this book is organized is that it includes special sections for validating different people in your life, whether it's your preschooler, your in-laws, your spouse, or co-workers. I am far from being able to implement many of the validating principles consistently, but the ideas in this book really opened my mind and heart to making relationships with really difficult people work better. I highly recommend it!


Monday One-liner, Etc.

Getting ready for church yesterday, David was watching in the mirror as Calvin combed his own hair. Cal saw him and explained:

"I'm doing this so my cadillacs won't stick up in the back."


In other Easter Day happenings...

Calvin has had a cough for about a week, but no other real symptoms and I felt sure if I took him to the doctor she would say it's viral and to just ride it out. Yesterday he felt warm to me, and I could tell by looking that he wasn't up to par, but it was Easter Sunday and he had a little talk to give in Primary, so we dressed up and went to church as usual.

And boy, did the boys look adorable. We were running late, so I didn't get pictures before church...

Cal's cough progressively sounded like he was dying of consumption and when he crawled up on my lap and laid down on my chest halfway through sacrament meeting, I knew something was up. For one thing, he wasn't having trouble sitting still and just wanted to cuddle against me - a rare occurrence in general.

About three minutes before the meeting was over, he decided that my belly was denying him full lap-sitting comfort, so he drowsily crawled over onto David's lap. Where a coughing jag seized him and he promptly threw up. In a large way...

And yet David managed to get over me, out of the pew and out the door with only one person (besides me) realizing what had happened. And not getting anything on anything in the chapel.

His favorite tie didn't fare as well. Neither his suit coat, which he wore for the first time to church since the days before "spit up" was part of our lives. And then it ran down to his suit pants once he was out in the hall. We're not sure if the suit or the tie are going to make it.

And the Easter pictures are going to have to be taken some other time.

David is a little suspicious that it all happened mere seconds after Calvin was peacefully sitting on my lap. Ah, well...


I made a Key-Lime Coconut Angel Cake for Easter dinner last night. I realized that in my mind Easter calls for some kind of dessert with coconut on it. I didn't really care for the angel food cake - too spongy or something (it's never been a favorite), but the frosting was fabulous. What's not to love about something made from sweetened condensed milk, lime juice and whipped cream? Yeah, heavenly. I think I will make a plain white cake sometime topped with it.

Auntie S made the bulk of Easter dinner and it was delicious of course. After, the kidlets went downstairs to play and the teenagers and adults stayed upstairs for a little Easter message on the Savior's atonement given by Uncle K. It was awesome and a highlight of our day.


This week promises to be busy again - David has a lot of pressing deadlines and has become the "go-to" man for some major assignments at work, so he'll be late at least a couple times this week. BUT...

Auntie S is going to keep the boys this weekend so I can go up to New York City with David! He'll be in a conference for a lot of the time, but we'll have the evenings to spend together and I get to sleep uninterrupted if I so desire and someone else will make my bed.

The part I am looking forward to the most, oddly enough, is the train ride up and back. Taking a train is a lovely thing, and it means a couple hours of sitting, thinking, reading, snoozing, watching the world go by. I am really looking forward to it!

Happy Monday...



My Grandma had a little handpainted sign over her kitchen door that said, "Kwitchurbelyakin." It took me the first three of my reading years to understand what it said, another year to get over the misspelling, and I'm still trying to obey the injunction. The fact of the matter is that today, I feel like "belyakin," and by gum, I'm going to!

For starters, what is this about?! "Tonight: Rain and snow showers this evening transitioning to snow showers overnight. Cold. Low 29F." I'm OK with April showers, but this is ridiculous. And cold. And I spent yesterday (after five days of temps in the 70s and 80s) pulling winter clothes out of the boys' drawers as I did laundry. It's supposed to be SPRING, for crying out loud!

Secondly, I ordered my dream toy for Easter/springtime fun. There were no color options when ordering. In fact, online it looks like the little one is always yellow and the big one is always red. The yellow was the selling point for me, obviously. It arrived yesterday, and it's RED. Waaaaaa. It's still cool, and I'm still going to roll the boys to the park in it sometime, but red? Are the stars stacked against me, or what?

Thirdly, running laundry through and folding it all should not make one feel like a train ran over her at the end of the day, but it did. And I was grouchy and instead of saying "hi" to David when he came in I yelled at him to take the boys out for chicken nuggets. The boys weren't even bad or high maintenance yesterday, it's just that my butt hurt. And when mama's butt hurts, ain't nobody happy. Apparently.

The other thing is that I don't like the new universal law I am discovering in the world of living with preschoolers:

For every minute of work being completed in one room, there is an equal or double amount of work being created in an opposite room.

When I have a big job that I've procrastinated until it's a huge job, I finally get into a mode of "get it done, get it done, get it done," a little like a runaway train. That's where I was yesterday with the laundry/seasonal clothes/tiny baby clothes (and oh! are they tiny!). I checked in with the boys every so often, but wow. Along with a wife gone mad, David was also greeted by a living room in shambles when he walked in last night. Shoot. And he didn't say anything, just packed up the boys and left, then later told me thanks for all the work on the laundry.

So that's not really belyakin, I guess. Maybe it's an apology to a very nice husband for being loving and appreciative to a pregnant ogre hellbent on getting laundry in drawers and pairing every. last. sock. in the house. Even if it kills her.

And now it's also a little "I'm sorry," to the boy who just asked me a question while I'm being a runaway train at the computer. I answered um, a little distractedly? To which he replied: "I'll stop asking questions so you won't get so tired from me asking things." I said, "You can ask me things, Cal, I really don't mind." His response? "Then why did you say, 'uggghhhhhhh?'"

I promise, the "uggghhhhhhh" was barely audible! I mean, you could hardly hear the "ggg" part - it was more like a little sigh...

I just want sunshine and comfortable sleep. And for no one in the house to wear any clothes for at least the next 61 days, so that ogre laundry lady won't surface again before this baby is born.


I Love A Rainy Night

Aaaaahhhhh. We've had a crazy busy couple of weeks, with home projects that I've been wanting to get done for a long time and appointments and home preschool and swimming lessons, plus the regular stuff like laundry, and a few late working nights for David. It seems I've been running around with my hair on fire for a while now.

Then Angela and her family came to visit over the weekend. It was so great to slow down and spend time together. She and I keep in touch with sporadic e-mails and each other's blogs, but it's so nice that we can also get together after months or years and not skip a beat. We spent a perfect day at the National Kite Festival - seriously, the weather was phenomenal - and lots of time
visiting and letting the kids play with each other.

The husbands also took the kids to Kidwell Farm without us, where they all got to learn about birth fluids and watch some piglets be born, while Angela and I took naps at home, like good gestating mamas need to do sometimes. It was heavenly.

Then suddenly Monday was here and most everything is caught up except a little kitchen cleaning and of course the futile round of laundry, but whew! sigh! What do we do now?

Monday I relaxed. We played outside in the sunshine (80 degrees!). Yesterday, we ran errands and played in the sunshine some more. It is beautiful, beautiful spring.

Last night we opened the bedroom windows upstairs for a wonderful cross-breeze while we slept. Calvin woke up coughing at about 2 a.m. and came in for a snuggle. He popped out of bed and ran to the window when he heard the thunder rumbling in the distance. He stood between the open window and the curtains, whispering things like, "The thunder sounds like a big train coming..."

David told him it was the middle of the night and to get back in bed and go to sleep, but he just stood and watched the rain and listened to the thunder. Finally, I had to get up for the nightly bathroom visit.

When I came back, Cal was snuggled tightly under my covers, no longer interested in the thunder or rain at the window.

He said, "Our neighbor just ran out of his house in the rain in his underwear." That caught me off guard and I laughed.

A minute of quiet, then Calvin added, "He just ran and turned his car on, then ran back inside his house." I giggled a little more at the thought that it was 3 a.m. and the neighbor probably didn't know he had been seen racing to roll up his windows in his skivvies.

More quiet, then Calvin sighed, "That was weird."

Then after a while, "He had underwear just like mine...only they were just plain white." And then I couldn't stop (very quietly) laughing at the thought of the neighbor possibly sporting Thomas the Train or Buzz Lightyear briefs. It seems Calvin was a little surprised that he didn't.

It's always nice when things slip back into their regular little workaday routine after a busy time of life. And it's great to have a little rain shower, neighbors and night-owl 4-year-olds to spice things up just enough.