Sunday, November 24, 2013

Well to Sick to Well Again

Last weekend we were drinking hot cocoa, and building snowmen, and crying over the inescapable truth that just-built snowmen will eventually melt (see Penny pic below). We were even dancing and listening to Christmas music. (Early. Yes. It couldn’t be helped. We’d agreed we’d hold off ‘til Thanksgiving . . . unless it snowed. And snow it did.)

This week, sickness whirled through our home like a tornado. And, just like a tornado, it touched down here and there – seemingly at random – wreaking havoc with one and leaving another wholly unscathed. For those who were hit, there was only the tiniest window of warning before the damage was done. (And by damage I mean . . . the kind of damage that would cause me to call Mike sobbing that our washing machine wasn’t working right -- and that life could not presently be borne without a working washing machine.)

It’s a good thing it wasn’t the plague. In four short days our family of eight would have been whittled down to three.

But! As quickly as it came, it blew on out. This weekend we were back to usual weekend activities. And today we even made a mini Thanksgiving meal of sorts. We’ll be at my parents’ on Thursday, but we’ve had a turkey sitting lonely and unappreciated in our freezer for some time, so Mike cooked that up, and we invited Mike’s parents to come join us.

And now . . . on to health and holidays and adventure!
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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Crib Climbing, Correctly Bagged Groceries, and Screwdrivers (Dot Dot Dot)

Life was going along so smoothly. Everything running just how it should. Everyone doing just what they should.

And then . . .

Anders learned how to climb out of his crib.

(I haven’t loaded any pictures to my computer lately – and I do love a picture-laden post – so please insert a mental image of Anders here.)

Oh all right. I’m sure mostly nothing was running just how it should, and I’m quite certain everyone wasn’t doing just what they should . . . But it kind of seems like it was all bliss . . . compared to: Mr. Climbs Out of His Crib 100 Times Every Night.

He used to love to sleep so much. Still does, I suppose, once he settles down to it; but it’s just so hard to settle down to the business of sleeping when there is the possibility of . . . playing.

(Insert image of Anders . . . you know . . . playing.)

Also, have you ever noticed how much I love to use these little guys: . . . (dot dot dot)? I sometimes think I should cut back (dot dot dot) but they are just so useful. I can’t really function (in the typed world) without them anymore. I can’t really even understand how anyone can write a thing without the building of anticipation; the demanding of an extra long pause; or the hinting of things yet to be finished that these handy, little, multiple dots accomplish.

It’s probably similar to how I couldn’t speak without saying “like” in every sentence when I was in “like” 6th grade.

(Insert image of me in 6th grade . . . standing in front of Ms. Cannon’s class giving a small presentation and being painfully aware that I COULD NOT stop saying “like”.) – Hey! This “insert mental image” thing is working out quite nicely! I didn’t even HAVE a picture of that on my camera waiting to be loaded to this post. (I’m sorry to disappoint you if you hoped I did. . . . It would have only made you feel sad and awkward though.)

Lastly, do you know what makes me happy? Like (dot dot dot) kind of weirdly so?

Correctly bagged groceries.

I just really really like when the bagger has put enough things in each bag. And when nobody has tried to do the unthinkable – put meat with fruit; or, any food with SOAP. I love when my dry, boxed things are together. And my fridge things are together. And my freezer things are together. It just really pleases me.

Have you ever shopped at Winco? You bag your own groceries! Which, when I shop alone, is grand – because, you know, I know how I love them bagged. But. let’s be honest, when have I shopped alone in the last 13 years? And if you think your kids won’t want in on that “bag your own groceries business”, well, you are wrong. So, of course, you must let them.

And they bag groceries . . . so terribly. Sigh.

There. I’ve said it.

(Insert image of some nicely bagged groceries. Or, if it makes you happier, some horribly bagged groceries next to happy and excited children.)

Anywho, loves to you all.

The end.

Oh! Except for: The other day. I walked past the kitchen counter where Jesse was busily working on something or other. Without taking his eyes from his project, he stretched one hand out, palm up, fingers moving in a “hand me something” manner, and said, “Mom, could you please hand me a flat head screw-driver?”

There was no “flat-head screwdriver” around. I guess I was supposed to go find one – which caused me to hesitate – so Jesse added (with some exasperation), “It’s the one that’s NOT a phillips one.”

So . . . off I went to find it. It seemed to be what was required.

(Insert a picture of Jesse intent on his work and then, really, THE END.)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Me and the Two Little Boys

“Jesse?” Penny asks with slight concern in her voice, “What happened to your eye?”

She doesn’t actually need to ask. It is no rare occasion to see our little allergy-prone kid in a state like this (even after being pumped full of Benadryl):

Still, Jesse begins a reply: “Ah, I don’t know. I think I was just allergic to . . .”

But Penny has abandoned concern. Instead, she shrieks in mock-terror and runs from her brother.

“Penny!!” he calls after her, “Wait! It will get better!” He pauses and then adds, “I think.”

Poor fella.

But what can you do? Sometimes life is hard. And swollen eyes, itchy skin, and asthmatic lungs aren’t the only troubles out there either. . . .

The other day, after leaving the gym, I made Jesse walk with me an entire 1/4th block to a nearby bookstore and THEN, back to our car!

Imagine expecting so much.

I noticed he was lagging on the journey back, but it was cold and I was eager to get Anders into the car. After buckling Anders, I turned back to the sidewalk to call “hurry it along”s to Jesse, but what I saw was a boy who was done hurrying anything along.

Completely done:

I have a little trick I sometimes use: a little way I make myself happier with this whole being-a-mother business. Every time my kids do anything cute. Anything sweet. Anything mischievous. Pretty much anytime they do anything that any small part of me recognizes as happy; I mentally grab ahold of that and say a quick little prayer in my mind thanking Heavenly Father for these kids and the things they do and let me experience.

I suppose it’s kind of a mental “gratitude journal”, but it feels pro-active and it helps me feel happy and in the moment. It works with anything you maybe haven’t been properly grateful for – house, talents, body, spouse, etc.

The above moment was one of those where a little prayer went up. Dear little stinker boy lying in the middle of a cold downtown sidewalk. Yes. Grateful.

He’s been working on his Christmas list. It stays stuck to our fridge with a magnet and daily I am told something to write on it for him. Sometimes it’s an item that one of his siblings owns and won’t let him use. More often it’s something he wants to fiddle with. Here are some of his list high-lights:

Printer, heater, oven-timer, blender, DVD player, smoke detector, clock (with NO cuckoo bird), and “a few not blowed up balloons”.

Here is a fitting shirt cousin Blaire sent him the other day:

Also, the two of us set the camera up on a stool with the self-timer yesterday and took some pictures. He typically has zero tolerance for posing in front of the camera; but something about hearing the camera beep, beep, beep and then click (with neither of us anywhere near it) -- and then running back to see if it did indeed take a picture -- was absolutely grand to him.

I always feel a little silly putting myself in front of the camera, but I’ve been reading on some photography blogs about several photographers “self portrait” projects that were actually quite intriguing and challenging. Sheepish or not, I might put myself on the other side of the lens more often for a little experimentation.

Anders joined us for a few shots, but the self-timer beeping mostly made him want to hop up and run grab the camera.

And speaking of him (and the sending up of “THANKS!” prayers): the other day I snuck up to the girls’ room to clean up a few things without Anders knowing (he can destroy that room in five seconds flat). Unfortunately, after about five minutes I heard his little feet running about as he called, “Mom! Mama!” Another minute or two more and up the stairs he came. He burst into the girls room and shouted triumphantly, “MOM! You FOUND me!” as if I’d won the prize of all prizes.

Which, clearly, I have.

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