Fill In The Blanks: A Meme

I need a bit of a muse and memes get me going again, so I considered myself tagged for this one over at Lisa's Ramblings. I started out wanting to be funny, but this actually got me being a little too serious. Read at your own risk. (he, he, he...OK, it's not that sinister...)

My roommate(s) and I once...went to early morning French class in pajamas (that was actually more than once, and pretty much against the school rules)...climbed into a huge indoor planter so that only our faces were visible and had someone take pictures...went out at 2 a.m. and planted a dry ice bomb in the enclosed outdoor area of the adjacent boys' housing (at Ricks College! Such rebels!) - man, that was loud!...drove twelve hours to Colorado in a car without a radio, singing to Meatloaf played on a cassette tape in a circa 1981 player my grandma loaned me...hmmm...I'm sure there's a whole list of such goofiness for which you had to be there to understand the hilarity...

Never in my life have I...been to Disneyland or Disney World. But perhaps even sadder than that is that I grew up in Colorado and have never downhill skied. Unbelievable, I know. And nearly reprehensible besides that.

High school was...a huge pit of emotional and social discomfort that I was so glad to get out of. I still get the knot in my stomach and the old "ugghh" feeling just going near the place. And I can't even tell you what that's all about - I mostly really don't know - but I can definitely say that I'm so glad high school is not the pinnacle of my life experience.

When I'm nervous...In social situations, I get busy. I prefer being in the kitchen at a party - making myself useful, instead of trying to make small talk. In general, when I'm nervous or mulling over a problem, I doodle or bite my fingernails.

My hair...is very fine and kinda limp, but it's a very pretty shiny dark brown and is most fabulous when it is quite short. I so need a haircut right now.

When I was five...I wore my hair in a precious smooth Dorothy Hamil cut, tucked under at the edges. I have the most beautiful kindergarten picture ever in a pink angora cowl-neck sweater and the best little smile...I should find it and scan it and post it, really. It's one of the maybe two pictures in my life that I truly love of me.

When I turn my head left...I can look out our front window and see only the tops of trees. That is one of the things I love about our house.

I should be...responding to my children.

By this time next year...I'll have a Master's in Liberal Arts and we'll be preparing like mad and packing up house to go to Kiev, Ukraine for two years! Yay! It's been ten years since I was there as a missionary...I'm wondering what it will be like to go back as a mom.

My favorite aunt is...more like a sister, a true soulmate. We finish each other's sentences, she is an example and a friend and wise, but still young, she kept me from being a sad little person for the rest of my life, and I am so glad that I live only a couple miles from her.

I have a hard time understanding...why people think it's safer, faster or more reasonable to back into parking spaces in congested and busy parking lots with narrow spaces.

You know I like you if...ahhh! Here we have stumbled upon one of my weaknesses. I am shy and very cautious about telling or showing people in real life that I care or like them. Sometimes I'm even a little mean because it's very hard/scarey for me to wear my heart on my sleeve, and I often wait until the other person indicates that they want to be my friend. Of course, sometimes that never happens and I find out much later that they were trying to get close and I didn't see it, or even came across as snotty when really I was just unsure if someone so great would like me. Sad to think about all the friendships I've missed out on because of that.

However, I have gotten fairly brave about telling bloggy people when I like them - Liz, No Cool Story, Morning Glory to name just a few - I took a big gulp before I clicked "post" on an e-mail or a comment that was more candid than I would normally be, and now I have friends that I know I may not have made otherwise. How awesome is that? And I think I'm starting to carry over some of that braveness into real life...just a little.

My ideal breakfast is...cheese and fruit, maybe yogurt, sometimes scrambled eggs, and a croissant or toast. And bacon. Must have bacon.

If you visit my home town...(as in, the town I grew up in) go in August for the Olathe sweet corn festival, ten miles down the road. The best corn you will ever eat in your life. And I'm not just sayin'. And take time to enjoy the main street shops and stores. My town is starting to be known as the little town north of the super WalMart, but it's a precious little old western town that you really shouldn't miss. And go to Ouray and Telluride, for sure, while you are in the area. They call it the Switzerland of America.

If you spend the night at my house...don't mind the midnight opening and slamming of doors, toilet lids, and thumping on floors. It's just Calvin letting us all know that he's not wetting the bed.

My favorite blonde is...Gwyneth Paltrow in the celebrity world, my sisters in the real world.

My favorite brunette is...Martina McBride in the celebrity world, and there are too many to choose from in the real world.

I shouldn't have been...so impatient with my grandma. Ever.

Last night I...made a mad dash trip to Michael's and Toys R Us twenty minutes before closing time - for paint to correct my project gone awry and for a small toy since Henry has filled up his first whole chart (wahoo!) - I made it to both stores and found exactly what I needed. My karma must be improving.

A better name for me would be...Jane. Just because I love it.

I've been told I look like...several celebrities, but most often my mother.

If I could have any car, it would be...a pimped out 4-door Jeep Wrangler. Or a really nice old-time Land Rover. Red. And the mountain roads to drive it on. But for my city-slicker life? A Volvo cross-country wagon (XC70), with the adventure package. In chocolate brown.

You should do this meme if you...if you're reading this on Sunday or you have any similar answers to me.

In One Word: A Meme

My friend The Lizness did this meme not too long ago and since I am tired of watching paint dry on a silly room-improvement project, I thought I would give it whirl while I wait.

The goal is to respond to each of the items below with only one word. I pretty much couldn't do it. But I did refrain from paragraphing.

1. Where is your cell phone? charging
2. Your husband? thoughtful
3. Your hair? blah
4. Your mother? comingsoon
5. Your father? comingtoo
7. Your dream last night? forgotten
8. Your favorite drink? cocacola
9. Your dream car? leatherseats
10. The room you're in? catchall
11. Your ex? nosuchperson
12. Your fears? water
13. What do you want to be in 10 years? fit
14. Who did you hang out with last night? David
15. What you're not? fashionable
16. Muffins? blueberry
17. One of your wish list items? kitchen
18. Where you grew up? Colorado
19. The last thing you did? stretched
20. What are you wearing? pajamas
21. Your TV? off
22. Your pet? lowmaintenance
23. Your computer? needsarealdesk
24. Your life? frenetic
25. Your mood? calm
26. Missing? naps
27. What are you thinking about right now? finances
28. Your car? Ford
29. Your work? important
30. Your summer? easygoing
31. Your relationship status? forever
32. Tomorrow? church
33. When is the last time you laughed? fiveminutesago
34. Last time you cried? Wednesday?
35. School? goingback
36. Who's tagged for this? YOU!


Vocabulary Check and A New "P"

So my husband came home from work yesterday and gave me a long hug and said, "Are you really despondent?" And I said, "Yeah, a little." And he said, "I'm worried about you and sad that you are feeling so low. What can I do?"

First, how nice is that to have a husband that talks about feelings? Can you imagine? He's a gem, seriously.

But secondly, I had to ask...is "despondent" that bad? I was thinking it meant blue or gloomy, kinda apathetic, maybe mildly depressed. He was thinking it meant utterly hopeless, not wanting to go on. We were both kinda right, but I think it is more what he thought it meant.

So to clarify, because I do take depression seriously and didn't want anyone overly concerned, I'm just blue, and thankfully not horribly so. I'll try to keep my inadvertent hyperbole in check. Although "despondent" is a very cool word.

In other news, we worked out one whole day of potty training Henry yesterday. I made up the chart and Henry picked out some thrilling stickers, and he used the toilet nine times, stayed clean and dry the entire afternoon.

But the best part is discovering another key to our potty-training method: Peer Pressure. (It even starts with a "p!")

Every time Henry said he needed to go, Calvin said, "I'll help him!" I was leery at first, because the last thing I need is both of them in the bathroom together for any length of time, especially involving the toilet.

But it works! Cal cheers him on like there's no tomorrow, Henry comes out all proud that he went and that his big hero brother thinks it's the best thing ever, then Calvin administers the sticker, they count the stickers on the chart again together, Calvin raves about how great Henry is doing, and we're good to go.

The first thing Henry said to me this morning was that he needed to go potty.

So, yeah...definitely not completely hopeless.


I Will, In Just a Minute

That's my new catch phrase. So I'll say it to you, too: I'll post something worth reading, in just a minute. You might have to wait a little longer for that than if you're one of the ones waiting for a "dwink," though.

I've been a little despondent the last few days. I have several posts saved as drafts but haven't been able to finish and am mostly just plodding through the days at the moment. Part of it is to do with hormones I'm sure, but part of it is to do with very sad or frustrating things that I don't quite know if I want or can write about. We'll see.

In the meantime, Calvin is having a meltdown about every two hours (after which he emerges from his room and says things like, "I'm ready to act like a human being now, Mom.").

Henry is either yelling or whining every. word. he. says. Except, of course, when he is "whelling" or "yining" or flat out bawling. It's driving me mad...how do I make it stop? We're also in a bit of a pressure cooker to potty train before preschool starts in a month. We're having success, but I'm not able to be as vigilant as I need to for consistency and all.

Charlie is my most blatantly social baby yet. He coos and "talks" with his whole body when I talk to him. There are actually times when he cries, but as soon as someone comes and talks to him where he can see their face, he's happy as anything. Doesn't need picked up or fed - just wants some face time. And he's soft and smells good most of the time. Which is more than I can say for any of the rest of us.

By night, David and I have managed to almost finish painting and putting together Charlie's closet bedroom. I will definitely post pictures if it turns out as cute as I think it will. Painting a room is actually quite therapeutic, I must say.

My parents and my two youngest brothers (I'm the oldest of seven) are coming to visit next week. The boys are super excited to play with Uncle Brock (age 10) and Uncle Evan (age 15). And I'm super excited for the diversion. And for a few other people who can serve up "dwinks" as they are demanded needed.

And maybe I can blog for a minute then.


It Was Bound to Happen

Today was the day.

Charlie was happily taking his ease on a blanket on the floor when Henry (who had walked past or around him no less than ten times already) took one of his inexplicable trip-tumbles, and in the effort to avoid planting his left foot on the baby's belly, landed his right foot on the baby's face.*

The saddest part was that Henry started crying before the baby did and cried longer than the baby did, and kept saying, "I'm sooooooorrry, Chaaaaarlie! I'm sooooorrrrry, Mooooommmmy!"

So I was soothing the baby and Henry, assuring him that he wasn't in trouble, it's OK, when the "sorry" sobbing gave way to the "reprimand" sobbing:

"Whyyyyyyn't you put him on the cooooouuuuch, Moooooom?! I don't faaaaaall on the cooooouuuuuuch!"

I think he was trying to tell me it wasn't bound to happen, if I would do my job right. Hmmmph.

*No 3-year-olds were yelled at and no infants were injured more than enough to make them painfully aware that they have two big brothers.


PhotoFest: Calvin Cools Off

I'm catching up with the camera. Here's the first in a three-part series of summer fun photos in the Code Yellow family.

This is how hot it was the day we took Angela's sister, Shauna, (who was visiting from balmy England) to see DC:

And this is how Shauna showed Calvin to cope:

He could do just about anything after that nice cool spray-down:

Photo Fest: Henry is Three!

Very belated, but Happy Birthday, little man!

The celebration was a comedy of errors on mom's part, but the birthday boy was of course adorable. And I can't believe it's been three whole years since he was the tiny infant in arms.

And now that he's three, he combs his own hair...

And gets himself dressed in dirty laundry, inside out...

And just for posterity, these are some other things about Henry at three:

Since his hair has grown back from last summer's buzz cut, it curls in the back and over his ears, especially in the humidity. And I find that infinitely adorable.

Popsicles and peanut butter and honey sandwiches are his favorite things to eat, but there is nothing that he refuses to eat. Gotta love that in a kid.

He loves to put his own shoes on and is so proud of himself when he gets them on the right feet all by himself.

He enjoys movies and has a knack for picking up movie lines and repeating them at opportune times, or changing up the words a bit to be funny.

He has an incredible imagination and a repertoire of voices and activities that he invents. He is also getting pretty good at physical comedy and already appreciates the absurd. A budding Jack Black or Jim Carey, maybe?

He loves to sing and to hear stories, and he continues to love electronic equipment and anything with buttons, and is actually quite adept at operating MP3s, DVD players, and toy computers.

He loves puzzles, and is amazingly good at them. To the point that he has shocked his nursery teacher at church...The first time he had a 24-piecer, he had me help him put it together and I walked him through it. He immediately scrambled it all up afterward, stacked the pieces, then started assembling it again - by grabbing the first piece on the pile and placing it on the table in approximately the place it would be when the puzzle was complete again. Spooky, really. He can do 35-piecers now with no help even the first time.

He loves his brother Calvin and will fight to the death for him. In fact, if Calvin hurts him and we get after Cal, Henry will get after us with a fat pointed little finger and a, "You be nice to my brother!" He has also tackled a seven-year-old at a park who was picking on Calvin. Took him down. The kid stopped messing with Cal, and no mothers needed to interfere.

Also part of his love of his brother is watching everything he does and trying to do it, too. He follows and learns, and loves to build alongside of Calvin and to show him things, and absolutely beams when Calvin tells him that he's done a good job.

Henry also has this amazing fearlessness combined with an amazing lack of balance or grace. Which leads to a lot of stumbling and tripping, bruises and scratches, but he gets right back up and goes again.

He is snuggly and tender. There is nothing that I like more than they way he will sit next to me and loop his little arm through mine or lean his head on my arm.

It is near impossible to get mad at him, either because he honestly makes you believe that he is innocent and really didn't know better, or else because he can cock one eyebrow and make you laugh before you can get mad.

He is one precious boy, my middle man.

Photo Fest: Star Spangled Baby

While it is still July, I must share Charlie's red white and blueness...

Love the bottoms of the feet on this outfit for Charlie's first 4th, courtesy of Aunt Lesli:

And here's his first trip to the District, hanging with (on) Dad at the Washington Monument:

Love the denim diaper cover and bold stripes on the soccer shirt...

And my personal favorite, the tiny American flag on a business casual navy polo onesie, handed down from Henry, who wore it when he was two days old.

Sleeping in dawn's early light...

Snapping like a little lobster...

And day is done...


The Girly Things We Do

Some friends of ours recently moved overseas. They e-mailed me the links to their blogs. As I was perusing their recent posts, I showed Calvin pictures of their kids, one of whom is a friend from preschool last year. He asked me how his friend got on my blog and when I explained that her picture wasn't on mine, that she was on her dad's blog, he was absolutely scandalized: "What?! Her dad's blog?! I didn't know dads had blogs! I thought only girls had blogs."

That's what I get for being so proud that my rough and tumble boys - of their own accord and personal invention - played with their "babies" and hosted multiple very civilized and elegant tea parties picnics for most of the day - instead of the more masculine activities of grunting, beating each other with sticks, and occasionally running into my shins with the Tonka.

And look how clever! Note the ingenious use of a puzzle box as a table, and a paper cup as party hat, table centerpiece, and duck-guest seating:

And the ability of the puzzle-box-turned-picnic-table to also transport the entire picnic (guests and all) to an outdoor venue:

It would appear that these boys know that boys can have tea parties picnics and still be boys.

So maybe if I just explained blogging as the online equivalent of a picnic Cal would be OK with a dad having one?


And Don't Tell Me...

...that THIS is just gas:


A Whole New World

The honeymoon's over. Yesterday was David's first day back at his desk job.

That means it was my first day back at my non-couch-sitting, non-bon-bon-eating job. I truly have been spoiled this whole month since Charlie was born.

It's been a whole month?!?!

Time flies when your husband does all the dishes, completely doesn't mind when you sleep in indiscriminately, and tells you you're awesome and beautiful and everything good at least once a day, even when you know you're smelly, flabby and entirely lazy.

I braced myself for the worst yesterday, being on my own with the three little boys, but it was fine. Good, even. A day of nice surprises, in fact...

The boys (including the baby) didn't wake up until almost 9 a.m.

Henry took a two hour nap in the afternoon.

I established a nice pump/breastfeed routine that is helping me not HURT every time the milk truck comes, and I hope it will also help me transition nicely into my school schedule in a couple months.

I braved Target. Calvin and Henry were completely out of control, but I didn't let myself care. We made it out alive, and the baby didn't wake up.

My friend Elizabeth stopped by with a gift of fresh strawberries and blueberries - the boys were ecstatic and it was so nice to have someone just check in for a minute.

This gift came in the mail from David's sister. I love the whimsical, childlike drawing and the bright colors. But the words on it made me smile - and cry. It says, "I always wanted to invent something that would move around and make funny noises and change the world as we know it and I forgot all about that until we had kids and now I see I came pretty close."

This whole month I have had the luxury of being completely googoo over my new baby. And to marvel over my other two boys. They changed the world as I knew it. And I kinda like this new world...

Where you tell a 4-year-old millions of times to not pick his nose and the one time he finally understands is apparently the time you told him not to do it at church, because the next time you tell him not to pick his nose (at home on a Monday) , he says, "But why? It's not Sunday."

Where the same 4-year-old gets all worked up that "zero" is the number of the day on Sesame Street. "How can zero be the number of the day?! It's nothing! If you have zero, you don't have anything to count! It can't be a number!" (Ten good minutes of this tirade against zero, the non-number...)

Where nothing pleases the 3-year-old more than a mid-day snuggle down to naptime. And a popsicle every hour.

Where I have to beg them to eat what's on their plate, and they beg to eat what's on mine (and none of it is anything different!). And where I will never have an ice cream cone, a Coke, or even leftover casserole to myself ever again.

Where I feel like an eight cow woman, not just by the way my husband treats me, but by the amount of milk I can produce.

Where I start writing a simple post at 9:08 a.m. and don't actually finish it and post it until 4:32 p.m. because there are kids to feed, babies to nurse, naps to take, friends to visit with, toys to pick up, story books to read, puzzles to help with...

Where I'm perfectly happy looking at this pretty much all night long:

So maybe the honeymoon goes on. Or maybe I'm cheating the postpartum havoc-wreaker this time around (third time's a charm!). Or maybe I've learned to chill just a little and take it as it comes. Or maybe the world has just gotten a little more funny and sweet.


It's All Good

I honestly did not realize how many days have gone by without a post from me...

I have several things to tell, several (OK, maybe more than several?) pictures I could post, and a real itch to get back to all of your blogs - I miss reading the news of your lives and the cool insights and downright entertaining things you all add to my life.

But I also have a perpetually and ravenously hungry little baby and two busy boys and a phenomenal husband who took a whole month off work to be with me and the ravenously hungry little baby and two busy boys, so that's who I've been with.

In the meantime...

Morning Glory nominated me for a very sweet blog award (more on that later)...

My new friend, an awesome mom and birth guru at Birthsongs sent me a very kind e-mail to check in on my postpartum life (which I really needed and it meant so much!)...

My little Henry turned THREE years old (more later on that, too)...

One of my blog-mom heroes, Jen at Amazing Trips, had a chubby baby boy on the 4th of July (if you don't know her story, she has three miracle triplets from IVF and now one "singleton" miracle that they made the old fashioned way - and her blog is fabulous!)...

The sister of my greatest redheaded friend evoh visited from England and we took Charlie for his first look at Washington, DC along with her. She and Calvin danced in a fountain - I was only a little sad that it took a 40 -something woman to get my 4-year-old to act like a child for once, but I was mostly glad because he was positively gleeful...

My grandmother visited for a day and a half en route to a Mediterranean cruise with Auntie S's family. I am so glad that I got to see her and that she got to see my newest little man...

I have indulged in some fabulous reading. Reading does a body good, that is for sure. I revisited To Kill A Mockingbird (so satisfying and precious - I love that book even more the second time), was thoroughly fascinated by Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point, and started Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See, but had to let it go to the Mediterranean with Auntie S and will have to finish it when she brings it back (unless I go buy my own copy because I did NOT want to put it down...hmmmm...)

I finished all the enrollment and financial paperwork for going back to school at the end of August. Whew! I'm really looking forward to it, but wow. I have a lot of ducks to get in a row before then!

I do hope to be up and posting more regularly soon. Have a fabulous weekend!