Soaking Up The Sun

We're headed to the beach tomorrow!!!!

I'm gonna be playing with my babies and probably not near a computer until Saturday or Sunday.

Hopefully I'll have lots of pictures and maybe some stories then, and I'm mulling over some thinkity thoughts even now, so come back next week.

And enjoy your last few days of August!


Taking Care of Each Other

We have an ongoing campaign to end brotherly violence in our home, so when I saw Calvin full-on slap Henry for no apparent reason while they were chalking the sidewalk, I was on my way out there to administer some serious retribution.

Just then, to my bewilderment, Henry looked up at Calvin and smiled in adoration, and Calvin headed in to tell on himself:

"Mom! I smacked Henry" - with a clap of his hands for the appropriate sound effect - "to kill a mosquito on his forehead!"

And Henry added happily: "Yeah, he made it so the skeeto couldn't bite me!"

I muttered a little bit of an, "Oh, good...Uh, thanks," then took a look at Henry's face. Based on the smear of blood and remains of wings, etc. right above his eyebrow, I'd say it was a large bug that definitely won't have the guts to mess with Calvin's brother ever again.

And instead of retribution, I administered some bug spray.


Charlie's Closet

We played around a bit with the layout of our house to have a place for Charlie to sleep. We do have three bedrooms, and the boys share one, but the extra room is quite large, right next to the boys, and all the way down the hall from me. OK, so the hall isn't that long, but in the middle of the night, it might as well have the dimensions of Versailles' Hall of Mirrors.

Fortunately, we have a largish closet in our room (about 8 feet by 7) with a little window. It was poorly set up as a closet and we were looking into getting new rods, shelves, etc., when it occurred to me that it could be a nice little baby room. Right next to ours, and not close to the boys where the baby could wake them (or they could wake the baby) at inappropriate times.

And there's a large closet in the hall with rods and shelves that works quite well for a master closet. So we did the switcheroo, bought some paint, and Charlie (since he is already too large for his cradle - waaaa!) is now nicely installed in the closet.

I did take before pictures, but am afraid they were replaced with other files (I was having camera/computer/3-year-old-helper problems a couple weeks ago), so you only get to see the after. But trust me, it's an improvement - David did a wonderful job humoring me. And patching and sanding.

About the time I was trying to decide how to paint the room, Auntie S gave us this quilt, which my grandmother made. My grandma has made such a quilt for most of her 27 grandchildren, and Calvin and Henry also have quilts with her trademark points on the edges. Auntie S also handed down a set of red and white gingham bedding that tied into the little gingham squares in the quilt.

I matched the red color then chose a ccomplimentary blue color with the color selector at Home Depot, and that's where I got the colors for the stripes on the walls.

Then I did a gingham treatment on the dresser drawers (which needs some serious touch-up, but I'll get to it later...)

My favorite part of it is this poster for a book festival David and I went to right after he came home from Iraq. I am going to have it matted and framed for the wall. It has the light blue and dark blue colors (which, in real life, match the walls), and wonderful red and white accents. Plus it's by a Russian artist, Gennady Spirin, whose whimsical and beautiful illustrations I love. (He has a children's alphabet book that I am currently dreaming of and drooling over...)

David says the room reminds him of the Hotel Monaco, a boutique hotel where we've stayed a couple of times. That makes me happy because I like the style - kinda eclectic, with modern and traditional elements and lots of color and bold patterns. I'm going to get a soft rug for the floor and maybe paint some library book shelves for baby board books, but I'm really liking the little space.

Perhaps it will even be boutique enough to be forgiven for keeping my baby in a closet.


More Than I Can Chew

My first day of school is Thursday. I have a huge chunk of Einstein, Euclid and Lucretius to gnaw my way through and hopefully be able to articulate (regurgitate?) before then.

David is bogged down right now with projects that must be finished this week, so he worked part of the weekend and will be home late all week.

Next Tuesday, we are leaving for a long-anticipated trip to Topsail Island to play with David's brother's family - their two little girls are the same ages as Calvin and Henry. I can't wait for a week at the beach, but I'm having a hard time getting my head around the packing and thinking through logistics that has to happen beforehand.

The week after that is the boys' first day of preschool - pending potty training success for Henry.

My house is a mess. I got spoiled for the month David was home, and have come to the hard realization that things will no longer get magically picked up, straightened, or cleaned at night after I retire. Or during the day while I nurse, change, and love on the baby.

Plus, the list of Summer To-Do's? The one that I so ambitiously outlined during my last two months of pregnancy, thinking that once I wasn't lumbering around with a huge belly, I could whip through them, no problem? Not feeling quite so ambitious now.

Meanwhile the boys paint, build, draw, cut, paste, wrestle, throw, and pull stuff apart in very creative but nonetheless quite messy bursts of energy. And raid the refrigerator periodically if I'm not feeding them promptly enough.

It's been hot, hot, hot - too hot to spend a significant time outdoors with little tiny people. And now it's raining like crazy, so we are yet home-bound, and going a little berserk.

Of course I have that nagging guilt that it should not be so hard to keep it together. Nothing that I have to do is THAT huge or difficult, but somehow I feel like everything on my plate is spinning around me at an outrageous speed, and little pieces are flying off the outside edge in every direction.

Why is order so difficult to maintain? How do other people do it? Why can I not concentrate or just apply myself? Why can't everyone and everything just STOP for a minute, so I can get caught up?

Or perhaps, the better question: Why can I not go take a three-day long nap?


Preschool, We've Got a Problem

I've tried the chart. It worked for a week and I thought we were on our way.

Then visitors came for a week and we fell off the wagon - too hard to find bathrooms while sight-seeing, and we were with people who don't appreciate the "world is your urinal" philosophy of raising (or at least potty training) boys.

I've been trying to re-establish the enthusiasm this week, but it's not happening. Henry came to me in his first pull-up this morning, grinning sheephishly and said in a decidedly taunting voice: "I'm pooooopy, Mommy."

That grin really irritated me, and I said as much, adding that I was so disappointed and that he wouldn't get a sticker for going in the potty, and that meant that it would take longer to earn his next toy.

A sad little flicker crossed his eyes when I said I was disappointed, and I almost felt sad about that, until he got all smarty pants and slammed the sticker/toy incentive: "Dat's OK. I ahreddy got my yego dumptruck."

Grrr. And he smelled so bad. I'm tired of changing his pants, bottom line.

So I told him that I'm going to have to call and tell the preschool that he's not coming, since he wants to poop in his diapers still instead of being a big boy, and then he'll just have to stay home with me and Baby Charlie instead of going to fun, fun preschool with Calvin and Lily.

A happy little flicker crossed his eyes when I said he would stay home with me...Huge flashing warning lights started going off in my mind...we're headed for disaster...

And sure enough, he answered, "Yeah. OK. Do dat. Go 'head. Call 'em."


Can't Get Away With Anything

Calvin snuggled up to me last night on the couch, and just at the moment when I was going to surrender to tender motherly bliss at three boys who love me so devotedly that they must be in my personal space regularly, he plucked my sleeve and said with a slight grimace:

"Mom, you've had this on all day. So how come it's called a nightgown?"


IIIIIII'mmm Meeellltiiiiiing!

It has been insanely hot this last week - part of which I was showing my family around DC. It was the little brothers' first visit to the area, and they needed to at least see the basics - monuments, etc. Which are all outside. In 95 degree weather. With some obscene percent humidity. And a baby in the Baby Bjorn.

Yesterday, it rained a bit and when I looked outside I thought it might have cooled off some, because that's what it does after a rainstorm in other places.

But no - I went out to do some grocery shopping after David came home and decided that the rain was actually one of the more disgusting things I've experienced. It's like the sky was sweating. Profusely. Like the whole world is a giant non-airconditioned locker room after a grueling sports event of some sort.

Plus, I'm decompressing from having guests. It was a nice visit and I was so glad for them to come - it just seriously takes me a day or two to get back to myself after people from my childhood visit.

So between the heat, inexplicable weepiness, minimal sleep, endless laundry, and a baby who has decided he needs to be physically attached to me and me only (nonstop for most of the last 72 hours), I am a bona fide witch.

I do think I'd prefer to have a house just land on me right off the bat. As opposed to spending so much time channeling flying (preschool-age) monkeys' energy into doing what I say, only to melt so pitifully in the end anyway.

Although the bucket of cool water splashed on me does sound quite refreshing.


My, How Two Months Flies...

I'm too tired to be clever, so mostly just some pictures of Tiny Snuggles (aka Charlie) today...

On Sunday, he was officially given his name and a blessing at church.

I've been trying to catch pictures of him "talking" and smiling, but he talks and smiles with his whole body, and ever since the camera took a swim last summer at the beach, pictures are grainy and blurry more often than not, especially when the subject is moving.

I thought I would remedy that with a little video, and he was so talkative this morning. But, alas, all I captured was the rest of Charlie's infant repertoire: sneezing, yawning, making a pterodactyl sound, and, as Uncle Kevin says, rumpling his stiltskins. And of course, the Code Yellow googoo voice...

But it's still reasonably adorable, so I'm posting it anyway. For posterity and those of you who have two minutes to spend doing what I do pretty much all day, every day: watching my baby.

Charlie has a dimple in his cheek when he smiles, and his eyes are almost always smiley, quite like my grandpa's...

He is a snuggler like neither of my other two boys really were, and he can actually nuzzle and scoot somehow to get closer to me when we're laying next to each other...

He can raise one eyebrow when he sees something that interests him...

He rolled from front to back for the first time yesterday, so he's already on the move...

I can't figure out how time goes by so quickly, and find this phase of motherhood baffling - one minute I feel it is never going to end, the next minute I want to stop the clock so that I can have my baby like this forever...


I'd Like to Thank the Academy...

My parents and two younger brothers have been visiting for a week, so I've been playing tour guide and hostess. We had a nice time and I took them to the airport this morning, so now it's laundry time and regrouping, and on with real life.

Which means that topics of conversation in our home right now are centered around the toilet (Henry's potty-training) and my breasts (Charlie's feeding habits) and I don't really want to think or write about either one at the moment.

So I decided that today is a good day to put on my blogospherical evening gown, pose on the red carpet, maybe get up from my seat in the audience with teary eyes, hug everyone sitting on the row around me, and make my way up to the stage to give acceptance speeches for the blog love I've gotten in the past few weeks...

OK, it's been over a month since No Cool Story gave me the Rockin' Girl Blogger Award, so I think it's high time that I acknowledge such a nice gesture, not to mention pass it on! This award made me feel young and hip, and since it came from such a fun blogger, I really take it to heart. So thank you, thank you very much.

And the bloggers who I think are Rockin' Girls are:

Jenna at Amazing Trips...She has a great sense of humor, especially when it comes to the rockin' level of toddlerhood that goes on at her house with preschooler triplets and now a newborn. She is one of the best moms I know at appreciating the moments with her little ones, laughing at the mishaps, and treasuring their childhood and her chance to be a mom. I admire her enthusiasm and go-getter way of living.

Ang at Nobody Called Today...She's been my friend for ages, and the first thing about her that I fell in love with is her sense of humor because it is off-beat, never malicious, and just hilarious. The next thing is that she is phenomenal at making and keeping friends. And now, as we've both become moms (and bloggers), I think she is positively rockin' at raising her (very adorable) children, appreciating the absurd in our world, and writing about the tender, humorous, and frustrating in an engaging and creative way. And what's more is that without being conceited in the least, she knows she's rockin'. That's a very cool quality in a girl.

S...OK, so S does not have a blog, but she should. And WHEN she does, she can put this in her sidebar first thing. For one, she considers reading people's blogs "blogging." And so do I. It's perhaps a derivative of just surfing the web, but it's spending time on blogs. Therefore, it's blogging. For another thing, I love the comments S leaves. They are thoughtful, often funny, and always encouraging and supportive. I know her in real life, but it's been great to bond a little more via our mutual blogging habit. S is also one of my heroes because she keeps her chin up through thick and thin, has recently achieved a nursing degree (while being pregnant and then having a newborn), and maintains a down-to-earth appreciation for others. Plus, you can't beat her wry sense of humor. So, yeah, S, get a blog - it would truly rock.

And now I'd like to officially thank Morning Glory for giving me the Blogger Reflection Award as well. This award is very similar to the thinking blogger that was going around and I've read the original post about it, but I think I want to take it in my own direction. I was so flattered to have received it from Morning Glory, because I really admire her, and it's wonderful to know that people you admire have good things to say about you, too.

These are three women who have educated, enlightened, entertained and inspired me recently.

Whymommy at Toddler Planet...Whymommy left a comment on my blog a couple weeks ago and mentioned that she lives near me and we have children close to the same ages, and our paths would likely cross at one time or another. I thought it was so cool, and I clicked over to her blog to see what it was all about and discovered that she has two adorable little boys (one just a baby), a very full life...and breast cancer. Needless to say, all of it hit very close to home. Her posts about her kids and now her most recent posts as she endures chemotherapy to fight this devastating disease have inspired and strengthened me and at the very least made me appreciate every day and all my blessings just a little bit more. She has caused me to reflect on all the things that truly matter, and to realize how we can all reach out to one another.

Real at Birthsongs..."Real" is a new friend of mine - a mother of seven, a doula, and multi-talented woman. She coached me through several birth questions before Charlie was born, read my little rants about frustrations with doctors and hospitals, and generally empathized and advised and offered her perspective. Beyond birth-related issues (about which she is one of the most informed and helpful people I've ever met), she shares stories about her kids, very candid things about herself, and a great insight into parenting and running a household. What I like best is that she stands by her opinions and perspectives, but never makes you feel wrong if you think differently or have a different experience. And I like it that she calls it like it is - she is, in fact, real.

Blog Antagonist at Blogs Are Stupid...She is witty, thoughtful, a superb writer, and a cool mom. I have cried and laughed multiple times at the things she comes up with, and even when I don't agree (or might even be initially shocked) with what she has to say, I come away from her blog really thinking over an issue or an idea. So many times, she has made me actually stop and form my own thoughts on something - a few time I've even mulled her posts over for days, and made my husband read them - which has made me a better person, a better conversationalist, a better mom, and a better thinker, which, to me, is an important thing to be. I mostly like her because she started out thinking blogs and everyone jumping on the blogwagon were, well, stupid, but she hasn't been afraid to climb aboard, re-evaluate her original premise, and contribute some really valuable, poignant and funny posts to the blogosphere.

And now I must go change out of this strapless sequined number (tricky to breastfeed while wearing it) and go do the dishes. Thanks again! (blowing kisses...teetering offstage in really beautiful designer heels...holding up the awards as she exits...)