Thursday, October 18, 2012


A small collection of Stay-At-Home-Mom gems for today:

With our 60+ trees on .4 acres, creating a pile of leaves during October only takes five minutes. Yesterday and today, I took the leaf blower, gathered up an eighth of the front yard and had a pile big enough for a 3 year old to run and jump into. They were absolutely delighted! George always runs and jumps, landing on his knees. Thomas kneels into the pile then flops over forward, bouncing his feet behind him.

Today, some games emerged. George would be chest deep in leaves and suddenly pretend that he couldn't find his feet. Then I would find his leg and tickle down to his ankle and miraculously come up with a foot!

His right shoe kept falling off (I've finally repaired it!) and we would "loose" it in the leaves. He would kick it off sky high and laugh. Or he would be playing and suddenly realize it was gone and we'd have to look for it in the leaves. After a while he would "find" his shoe, dig a small hole in the leaves, and bury it. In mock disbelief, he would say, "oh! where is my shoe?" I would seriously bend over where I saw him bury it, find it under the surface of the leaves, and move it two feet. When he would confidently start digging right where he left it, the surprised disbelief of, "wait, where IS it?" would crack me up and then we'd try to find it again. Thomas loves these games and completely follows along, laughing at the right spots and copying our faces.

Later, Thomas walked into the pile of leaves, scooting his feet under the pile. He would stand there playing for a minute, looking around, then suddenly would look down, be shocked, and say, "FEET!!!" Thomas also loves to lay back and watch the wind in the trees.

I took a good bit of video today. Lots of sweet, silly conversation while they were goofy with leaves. They pick out pretty ones to give to me, beat the pile with a stick, and enjoy all the fluff.

This is the kind of video we'll watch when they're 17 and 15 and we've just had some knock down, drag out about standard teen stuff. That's when we'll bring out these videos.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

How to cram for the big test.

First of all, stay up until 4:30 with the baby who seems to be having trouble breathing.
Get up with the toddler at 7am when he wakes his brother.
Try to have the kids play outside while I study in the garage.
Assemble notes for chapters 4, 5, and 6.
Stop the baby from pouring out his milk inside the garage.
Organize thoughts and decide what needs to be done next: make the last few note cards that I can study while playing on the floor with the kids later. 
Read some note cards out loud to the boys for my own benefit. 
Toddler takes this seriously and asks me "why, Mama, why?" does GAAP do what it does.
Review the meaning of the word irrelevant with my son.
Switch the toddler to swim trunks, and take the baby inside during water play because he's sick.
Make three note cards
"Fix the sailboat, Mama." - Fix the sailboat.
Make the last two note cards.
Ask Hubby to just stay home today, once he gets back from his overnight business trip. That way, he can watch the kids while I cram/sleep for the test. 
Fix the sailboat again, and explain that I'm not fixing it again.
Read through all note cards.
"I'm cold, Mama. Let's go in" - We go in.
Regather notes into my school bag.
Pack notecards into diaper bag, along with wallet, keys and phone. Take baby to the doctor while a friend watches the toddler.
Baby's altimeter is broken while we're waiting on the doctor and I wind up slow dancing and singing songs instead of studying my notes. Oddly some pieces of the accounting puzzle fall into place while singing nursery songs to my son.
Yup, likely pneumonia will be the result in the next few days due to the aspirated grape pulp he choked on yesterday. Take note of what criteria to look for that would scream "RUN TO THE ER" in case he gets worse. Ask doctor to write down those instructions so I don't forget them. (Yet, I forget to tell Hubby where the notes are before I leave for class.)
Back home from the doctor, feed baby lunch (toddler already ate).
Hubby's home and puts toddler down for a nap while I nurse the baby to sleep while reading note cards.
Both boys asleep.
Sit down to re-work practice problems.
Hubby and friend leave to pick up his car at the mechanic.
Ahhh quiet. Get some real progress, and/or stress about my knowledge of the material.

Work a few practice problems. 
Pounding/knocking on the back door. Jump a foot. What the schmo?
Dryer repair guy. Oh yeah. Here's the dryer (right next to my sleeping babies). Please don't wake my kids up.  (Loud clanging ensues.)
Finish two more problems (incorrectly!)
Dryer diagnosis. $$$$$  Crap. Buy a new dryer. $50 for this news. Thanks!
Work a few more problems (less-incorrectly)
Guys get home from mechanic and soon the babies wake up.
Leave the babies to the guys with advice to apply chocolate milk and the Sprout Channel to alleviate post-nap whining.
Haul study materials up to my bedroom and make some excellent progress for 90 minutes.
Take a bath and wash my hair (sooooo necessary before I'm seen in public). (The doctor's office is not public.)
A few more pieces of the accounting puzzle fall into place while shampooing my hair.
Work two more problems with this newfound knowledge and start to not be terrified of this test.
Pack it all up and drive for a hour to the school.
For once, literally for the first time, I drive directly to the campus and find the right parking lot on the first try.
Another lady in class gives me a scantron, thus freeing up 30 minutes of my time to study.
Conversation with classmates is exceptionally helpful, and I really learn one more whole chunk because his notes are written better than mine.
Go in and take the test.
No clue how successful I was. Will find out tomorrow.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

My oh May!

Did I mention May was busy? No I didn't because I was, well, busy!

In May, we had Hank's birthday weekend. My baby has turned one! Such mixed feelings about that. But he is still nursing, so he's still my cuddly baby. Only now, occasionally with sneakers on to rip out my forearm hair. And he is now a frequent sneaker of his brother's milk bottle or any other food we've left out.

We had a great party for his birthday, and Quint was really excited about the party. Quint got to pick out the cake at Publix, but was a bit confused about the process. When guests started coming into town, he would tell them that he picked out the cake but didn't buy it. It was, of course, a Thomas the Train cake. We got to have Nannie, Grandpa, and Grandma all there plus a bunch of others. About 25 total, including three actual children! Also in that bunch was three Mikes and three Georges. How weird.

In the days after the party, Nannie, Grandpa, me and the boys all flew to Texas where we spent 2.5 weeks. Papa joined us for the last week of the trip. Nannie and Grandpa have a wonderfully flat yard with grass (that substance foreign to my children), lots of gently sloping cement, and a lovely porch where you can sit in the shade and play in the hot afternoon and still catch a breeze. They also have a garden, two dogs, a cat, lots of birds, deer and fawns, a cozy coupe, a swing, lots of balls, all fresh toys, a little blue plastic pool, snacks galore and enough adults around that someone is almost always willing to go outside. Oh yeah, and a fence to keep all that where it belongs (everyone in - deer and fawns out!). We had a great time!

And I got a great rest! Life really is easier when there are extra adults around to do all the fetching, cleaning, playing and comforting for two little ones under three. I got to bathe every day!!! I changed lots fewer diapers! I only ever had to bathe one child per night that we did baths! And I got completely spoiled! After we got home, it was a very rude shock to realize that it was mealtime again and that was all me. No one else was going to figure out what to feed all three of us AND put it in front of us.

Anyway. We played with chalk outside on the cement. Hank learned to crawl up any kind of stairs, and learned to crawl really fast to the top of the stairs and then stop and smile at whoever had bolted to the second step to be on "melon watch" in case he lost control. Both boys got lots of scrapes and tiny cuts, but there were no real, melon cracking incidents that I remember. We all learned that Quint likes to splash and Hank really doesn't. We learned that Hank LOVES to play in the semi-gross creek, but more than half the time will balk at chlorinated water for playing.

Now that Hank is mobile (crawling and cruising), and Quint is only ever interested in whatever toy Hank has, Hank has learned the fine art of the fake.  Here are Hank's thoughts: "I'd really like to play in the pool, but Quint is splashing and being loud. I know! I'll really enjoy the cozy coupe for a minute and then zoom over to the pool while Quint is still enjoying the fact that he took it from me!"

There are three pocket doors at my folks house. Quint knows how to slide them, but Hank hasn't gotten there yet. At one point, Quint stole Hank's toy and threw it past an open pocket door. Hank stared at Quint for a minute, then crawled after it. Quint quickly closed the pocket door behind him, and then walked into the kitchen looking waaaaay too innocent. Hank would bang on the door (poor guy was trapped in the dark) then say something like, "Hey!" bang, bang, bang, "Hey!" I went to investigate. Hank was standing up on the other side of the pocket door, so I took one hand to help him walk back through the door. As he stumped through the door, he gave his brother a death look and growled low in his throat! Quint coward and backed away from him until his back was against the wall and Hank could pass by! I think Hank will be able to hold his own with his brother.

Hank took his first steps while we were in Texas! Four stumpy little steps from Nannie to me. We didn't get it on camera because it was the 8th time we'd tried and we didn't really think it would work that time either. Around the house here, he has started in the last couple days to stand on his own without noticing it. He's eating something or looking at something and has let go of his hand- hold.

Quint said over and over that he loved being at Nannie's house and he really did! He loved the openness and freedom of the yard. There was lots less to trip over than at our house, no road close by to guard against, and two dogs that always wanted to play. Because of the huge fence, and because he's in general a good little boy, by the end of the 2.5 weeks, I was just nearly willing to let him play outside by himself. It was great!

Hank had more fun inside (less no-nos) and Quint has more fun outside (more running and more active play). When Hank was outside, he wanted to play on the stone steps and we really DIDN'T want him to play on the stone steps. That whole melon-watch thing. So I spent a lot of time with Hank inside, and Nannie spent a lot of time outside with Quint. Nannie and Quint would throw on water shoes and go feed the dogs, or the birds, or pick vegetables, or flowers, or throw compost through the fence, or go on a walk, or play in the sand pile, or play in the sprinkler, or throw balls for the dog, or a jillion other things. Hank really can't do any of that yet.

One terrifying thing that happened was that Hank choked one day. He was eating rice cakes, like we have a million times before, and he choked on a piece. My best friend was visiting, and the resulting noise brought my parents from every corner of the house. I did the thing of turning him face down and pounding him on the back, switch sides and do it again. Over and over. And would sweep his mouth with my finger to pull chunks out. The weird thing about rice cakes, is that it turns into a thickish slime! It's not like it's just cracker and spit mixed together. It's like a gelatinous stretchy goo. Very hard to clear from your throat. The poor little guy choked and gagged and choked and gagged. And we almost expected him to throw up it went on for so long. I finally stopped doing the baby Heimlich when someone pointed out that he was getting enough air to continue coughing. He continued to gag and cough for several minutes. But we finally all relaxed and quick panicking. He would cough like that several times a day for the rest of our visit. And when we got back home, the doctor took a chest x-ray and pronounced pneumonia.  Apparently rice-cake pneumonia is not the serious health concern that regular pneumonia is. Regular pneumonia would be the result when your body didn't fight off the sore throat, or the bronchitis, and just kept getting worse. When you aspirate a rice cake, pneumonia is how your body naturally tries to get rid of it. So he's on  antibiotics and 4 days into that, started acting like himself again. He's not out of the woods, but the doctor saw some kind of fear on my face that made her reassure me several times that he will be OK.

On a lighter note, the doctor also said that Hank can have peanut butter now! His first PBJ went down with some seriously large smiles and frantic hand pointing that clearly said, "gimme some more of that!"

Also, almost on Hank's birthday, he started refusing to eat goo. No more baby food for him. He wanted some of what we were eating. No more mushy peas, no more mixed veggie - goo. He wants biscuits and gravy. Or bits of roasted chicken. Or cheese. And he probably wants to feed it to himself - a very messy prospect. Hubby thought to put the drop cloth down beneath his chair the other night and I wondered why I hadn't thought of that. At Nannie's house, there was no need for a drop cloth. She has dogs.

I have got to go to bed. Sorry for yet another post with no real conclusion, but there you have it.

Since we got home, Hank's has pneumonia, Quint has had a virus, Hubby has had a name-less illness, and I have had a cough - which I have worried was also pneumonia but is not. Perhaps it's sympathetic rattly chest. With all that whin-ese running around. Life has been really fun around here! Tonight I fled to Wal-Mart without the kids - nearly in tears. (I left them with their father and Uncle Four.) I think that's the first time I've felt the need to flee from them in the car. I'm actually surprised it took nearly three years to get me there!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

All in a day

Eventful day!

In the morning, with the beautiful weather, we spent an hour and a half outside. Quint always wants to swing and swing and swing. Uncle Four pushed him for a while and then slowly let him drift down to nothing. I went over and started pushing him big again. After a while, I asked him if he was having fun because he looked nearly asleep or something. Uh-huh. Is your tummy alright? Uh-huh. And then..... he threw up. So I accidentally swang my son to vomit.

But we were outside and it was plenty warm, so we got out the water hose! He had a great time getting hosed off. We got the big stuff off and had a lot of fun squirting water. We striped him on the porch and went inside for lunch. All better.

After nap, we went for a walk. As usual, we stopped at the little creek to feed cheerios to the fish. There's a three foot drop from the shore to the water. I knew that at some point, one of us would fall over. The good news is that, at most, the water is a foot deep and very slow running. Today, the water was even lower than normal. And today, Quint fell in. He was too close to the edge, and the edge crumbled under him. I heard the splat and feared the worst - that his head had hit one of the bigger rocks. Thankfully, I was wrong.  The splat was only his bare legs hitting very thick, very clay like, mud. First thing I saw over the edge was his crying face, dirty, and unhurt. Relief.

Uncle Four jumped down there, extracted him and handed him to me. I sat down and settled him on my lap to try to asses the damage. His little legs were black with mud. He saw the mud and screamed! I had most of a 2 liter of water with me and started cleaning him off. Once the mud was mostly off his skin, he calmed down a lot. There was another family there with us at the moment with a kid Quint's age. He started crying because Quint was crying. I told them that I wouldn't blame them at all if they wanted to go. She made sure he wasn't hurt and they left. We got him cleaned up with a spare receiving blanket (kinda)and calmed down and he only had a teeny, tiny shallow scrape on one knee. A bath at home fixed the rest.

So that's how one boy can get two whole outfits completely filthy in just one short day!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Cleaning out the garage

How to clean out the garage with two under three:

Pull the car out of the garage so that it's blocking the driveway.
Pull the toys out onto the driveway.
Plant the baby in the grass and hand him a couple of balls to play with.
Roll other balls up the slope of the driveway so they roll back down in an interesting way.
Roll all the chairs out onto the driveway.
Move all the stickerballs out of the baby's reach.
Move all the "end tables" out onto the driveway.
Switch the walk or ride toy to "walk" so the baby can walk around.
Flatten three boxes so we can save the cardboard to catch oil drips from my car in the garage.

Comfort the baby who let the walker get away from him on the transition between grass and agregate.

Go find the toddler who is oddly jerking on the gas meter trying to turn the water on.

Color with sidewalk chalk with both kids.
Throw away some boxes and an old water hose.
Take chalk out of the baby's mouth.
Move a few things around to clear out the space in front of the people door.
Answer the toddler when he asks what each and ever thing in the garage is.
Why is this hose leaking water, Mama?
Convince the toddler that he doesn't need to go in quite yet - here, color on these envelopes that go to nothing.
Rearrange some stuff to make the bottom shelf available for toys.
Take crayons out of the baby's mouth, color for a while, make fake ears with envelopes, take more crayons out of the baby's mouth.
Roll up all the cords from the winter "cigar cellar" to make room for the summer toy fest.
Completely miss that the baby has now crawled inside.
Move the pool, extra boxes, and little stroller to the driveway. Throw out the broken drying rack.
Look up just in time to see the baby crawling back out into the garage and falling down the 4 inch step.
Screaming, crying, cuddling, sitting in the grass with both kids and some toys.
Find a new place to store the power strip and two extension cords which isn't too clever to actually find them again yet.
Smile at the fact that the boys are finally playing together NICELY with some toys.
Unroll the freshly rolled up extension cord and pull out the leaf blower.
Look up just in time to hear "NO THOMAS" for the 85th time AND see the toddler push the sitting baby pretty hard and nearly knock his head on the agregate.

Go punish the toddler and give lecture #45 about how he shouldn't hurt his brother, he should protect his brother, be nice to him, and (again) not hurt him!!!
Decide that now is a great time for everyone to be confined for a bit. Load them up to go pick up the mower at the repair shop.

Start teaching the toddler the name of all the roads and most of the businesses along the way as a tactic to keep him from asking me a question every 15 seconds for the duration of the 6 minute drive. Realize that one day, he will embarrass himself by publicly miss pronouncing biblical Lebanon in the Tennessee way (Leb-nun).
Pick up the mower and head back to the house while continuing the narration of our entire destination. At least the toddler occassionally makes fun of his asking "what's that? what's that? what's that?" Sometimes he will ask it 8 times in a row pointing at everything with a smirky smile on his face.

Arrive back at home with Thomas asleep in his seat. By the time I get over to the toddler's seat, he's gently saying to his brother, "wake up, Thomas" while TRYING TO PRY HIS EYES OPEN!!!
Very serious eye contact from him, chin tucked, small voice says, "I don't want a spankin'. I won't ever do it again."
I slam his car door, and scream at the trees!
I let him out to run in the yard, roll down the drivers side window and leave the baby in the car. WHERE HE'S SAFE!!
Take the leaf blower and sweep out the garage.
Put some of the toys and good stuff back in the garage in a more organized fashion.
Give up when George starts requesting snacks (it's 12:15), clear the path for the garage door, go in to make lunch, close the garage, move the baby who wakes nearly immediately. Of course.

But after lunch, they actually go to sleep, AT THE SAME TIME. I get the lawn mowed with my super light touch self-propelled mower. Between the two sides of the yard, I READ A NOVEL IN A ROCKING LAWN CHAIR.

And that was really nice...

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

bad dreams

Wow. I just had an amazing conversation with my toddler.

This morning, his baby brother fell off the changing table. In the time it took me to unball two socks and prepare one to put on the baby foot, he completely flipped over and got his legs and butt off the table. This made his head flip over in an arc, while turning him to face the floor. He landed face first IN A FULL BASKET OF LAUNDRY and then kind of slithered out and very minorly bumped his head. It was amazing! And scarey for the baby. Obviously scarey for the toddler too.

George just woke up from a nightmare, hysterical to find some socks. Nathan couldn't figure out why, or rather the gibberish didn't make sense to him since he didn't see the fall. George dreamed that Thomas fell off the changing table and George had to bring him socks to make it better. He was frantically looking through his dresser for socks. I found him some socks, put them on him, and started to talk to him. I told him that Thomas wasn't hurt in the fall. "But he cried and cried!" I tried to explain that he was just scared, and that's why he cried. He said, "Don't (sob) put Thomas (sob) on the table (sob) again." I said, "well, I was thinking about just starting to change both of you on the floor, since Thomas flipped off. Would that be better?" "uh-huh!" "Ok, you wanna to make sure Thomas is OK, right now?" "(sob, sob) uh-huh"

Papa was downstairs with Thomas, unfortunately changing Thomas' clothes ON THE CHANGING TABLE! So we got him off the table and put him on the floor and finished dressing him.

After we got back upstairs, we prayed thanking Jesus for easy falls into piles of laundry and protecting us from scarey dreams. Then he wanted another prayer so we thanked Jesus for green trees, kitty cats, and little brothers.

He seemed so much older as I tucked him into bed again and said goodnight. This was the first bad dream he has had where he could tell us what happened in the dream. And for once, he actually said goodnight too, instead of continuing to ask for something else as I close the door (drink of water, go potty, another blanket, another elmo, or whatever). I was amazed and proud of my little big brother.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Woke up laughing

I woke up laughing today which is something I cherish.

In my dream, I had sent my sister some video of my kids which she wasn't able to view on her current TV and stereo system. (Which is bunk, she has a great system and ours is all craigslist.) I had apparently shopped for a new system for her online and sent her the links. In my dream, she was leaving me a phone message saying the following:

"Hey Sis, thanks for doing all the research on this, but when I asked the guy at the store how much this would cost he said $200,000. So I don't think we're we're going to buy all that just to watch the video of your kids filmed on a cheap video camera. Thanks anyway! Love you Sis. Beeep."

Practical one, my dear sis.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The long arm of Thomas

Thomas is much taller and skinnier than George was at this age. When George first started pulling up, he couldn't reach the center of the coffee table. We had a 4 inch strip in the middle that he couldn't reach which is where the remotes, drinks, and foods normally went. As soon as Thomas started pulling up, he could reach that center spot on the table. So there is no place safe to set a drink!

So this drives me a little crazy in the morning when I'm trying to feed George his breakfast on that table with Thomas toddling around.

Friday, March 16, 2012

New Baby Tricks

Thomas is now crawling quite quickly, even when he's in footed jammies. Thomas and George play together with their new tunnel. George will sometimes crawl across the floor with Thomas. The biggest thing that has happened in the last couple days is that Thomas is pulling up! He is 10 months old and pulls up to standing on stools, chair spokes, and even rocking chairs. He still has no idea how to sit back down, though. After a while, he will cry out, I'll go over and ask him if he wants to sit, and he looks at me like "and just how do I do THAT!" I'll take his little hands, tell him to sit while slowly pushing his hands back past his shoulders. When his bottom finally plops, he grins at me and his whole body relaxes. Then, he'll crawl off quickly to where ever he wanted to go.

Hubby asked me if I had photographic evidence of this newest feat and I had to admit that, no, I didn't. I hadn't thought of it. So I'll have to get some good standing shots tomorrow.

Baby Thomas is still speaking his own language, but if you pretend you know the language, you can usually figure it out. So I'm probably the only one who can understand him. Here are some things that he seems to have communicated with more than just body language: light (of course), up, out, down, brother (bubba), "here brother" while handing over a toy, ball, what, get out, and probably some others.

One day, he was pointing to a door knob and said "uh-t". I said, "what's this?" He said, "uh-t" with bright eyes. I said, "door knob." He said, "oor ob." I further said, "this is a door." He said, "oor."

So I've started my thing of naming all the objects around me and narrating all my actions. I've got a new sponge in the house and he's learning English! Or at least American.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

A Revelation

The last few days, I've felt different. (I am NOT pregnant.)

Something about the air and the light. The regular ability to get outside with the boys and not be miserable. Feeling really at home in my house with a couple of windows open. The smell of the house with the windows open. Rolling on the floor with the boys, tickling, laughing, and kissing.

And I feel good. Nothing is hurting. Nine months after giving birth, I think everything has settled into it's new, regular position - whatever that is. My shoulders are lower. My patience has increased. My feet are bare and my feet aren't cold.

Thomas is independently mobile which makes him a little more independent. My invisible 3 foot tether to him gets extended when HE crawls off. George's vocabulary has increased so much that I speak to him the way I would speak to an adult. I very rarely have to simplify what I said. He is incredibly helpful and learning to take directions as to where something is that he's looking for. Directions like "Go get me your brother's blue sweater out of the other room" might produce the blue sweater, a different sweater, or something blue. Not bad for nearly two and a half.An interactive, helpful child.

My faith is in a stronger place than it has been in years. I'm praying more, and praying with my boys more. The more I do that, the more familiar it feels.

Sitting in church this morning, it hit me. What all this adds up to. Something that hasn't happened in 18 months.

I am content.

I am deeply happy. The weather's warmer. Winter's cabin fever is probably over. I have a sleeping baby in my arms. And I love my life.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Lock up your daughters!!

Lock up your daughters, Thomas is ON THE MOVE!! Thomas started crawling last night. He's been ooching, rolling, crawling backwards, rocking on all fours, pulling up to his knees, but now, finally, he is crawling forward in short spurts. And he's a manly man from an early age - he first crawled towards the TV remote.

The video is dark, but take a look

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A rare day of productivity!!

Here's my fabulous list for the day:
Neatened both living rooms (which stayed neat for about 15 minutes).
Vacuumed both living rooms while they were neat.
Vacuumed most of the hardwood floors.
Put on the attachment and vacuumed behind the fridge, under the stove (kinda) a lot of baseboards, under the 2 liter bottles, and in all of those kitchen crannies that the broom just doesn't get and the mop makes worse.
I got caught up on all the filing! Yes I said ALL!! (And then the mail cam 3 hours later so now it's not all done again.)
I even mopped with my wonderful spray mop. (And 3 hours later, I gave the baby a handful of chex in his high chair. )
I attacked the scratch in the wax on my wood floor with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and DID make the scratch look less like a scratch. Now it looks like an exceptionally clean lightening bolt through the middle of my kitchen floor. Hmmm... not sure if that's better or worse.

Also today, I enforced three time outs for spitting, two of which were directly at the cat.
Uncle Four volunteered to clean up the vomit off the carpet, much to my grateful surprise. And it was even oddly purple due to strawberry milk.

Hank is just nearly crawling and is occasionally getting really ticked off. Which will eventually lead to crawling.

One living room looks like a bomb went off again. Two kinds of flash cards, two kinds of building blocks, at least two puzzles, one sorting toy, three blankets, and one book, plus lots of other baby toys. All par for the course.....

Monday, February 20, 2012

I'm not afraid anymore!

Words beyond price to a mother of two under three years of age. "Mama, I'm not afraid anymore!" And yes, this nearly brought me to tears of joy or relief, or something, I don't know what.

Oddly enough, all of this has to do with potty training. We had hit a wall. Completely. He would NOT go #2 in the potty. He would, however, bolt out of the room, hide in a closet, in the dark, with the door closed, to do his business.

I started promising the moon, almost literally. One day, after a success, we took the train to town nd back, very early in the morning, because I had promised a train ride ASAP if he would just go.

Then, nearly two weeks after that, I did something drastic. Knowing while I did it that he might be 35 and in therapy when it finally came out (no pun intended), but I forced him. He dashed off to hide and I kept promising fresh baked cookies THAT DAY if he would just put it in the potty. With him screaming "I DON'T WANT TO!" I shoved his little shoulders down to sit him on the potty until he finally did it. Yep, that's me. Super mom.

I did bake him cookies within 30 minutes of that traumatic experience (which was a fun thing that I'll tell you about in a minute). And promised to do that, or the train, or ice cream for lunch or WHATEVER ON GOD'S GREEN EARTH WILL MAKE YOU GO IN THE POTTY!!!

Tonight. the breakthrough. And once again, it was his Papa who had the fantastic potty-training instincts. It was a very long process, and it started out with him screaming, "I DON'T WANT TO!!" But I managed to not even go check to see, because I knew what was happening. And since I was having absolutely zero success, I was happy for Papa to make a go of it. It took a very long time (about 40 minutes). I later learned that there was hand holding, singing, shoulder shoving, bouts of privacy, and minor rewards promised. In the end, his reward was two gummy bears. Twice the reward for going #1.

I made a huge deal of it, even waking up the sleeping baby I was holding when they told me. We all went upstairs to put on his PJs for the nightly ritual. I was still bragging on him and hugging him when he said, "I'm not afraid anymore!!" Papa was barely in the next room and darted back in. "What did he say?" said Papa. "I'm not afraid anymore!!" Dawning understanding between Papa and I.

We still have no idea what he was afraid of. He still can't answer why questions on any subject. I'll have to look up in my child psychology book when that starts happening.

So maybe we'll have better success with the potty training now. At least I'll know that singing and hand holding might be necessary. But it's so hard for me to be that patient when there's usually a baby crying in the next room.

Mama's memories:

The fresh baked cookie story. After a successful (and probably traumatic) potty episode, we baked sugar cookies for breakfast at like 7:30am. I had a mix packet that needed water and an egg. He helped me stir them up while standing on his stool at the stove.
I let him eat the dough raw (my favorite part, always). He giggled and grinned.
We baked them and watched them change through the oven door. He giggled and grinned.
We pulled them out and ate one while it was nearly too hot. He hesitated at first, but ate the second half of my hot cookie.

Then I got out my glass of milk for the coup de gras. He reached for his usual milk sippy cup. I said, "oh, no. This is the best part. Let me show you how." We sat down on the kitchen floor. I dipped the still warm cookie into the milk and fed him a bite. His little mouth made an O shape, his eyes rolled heavenward, his little hands flexed open, and he pressed his fingers to his neck. Absolutely priceless reaction that I hope I never forget.

We all had cookies for breakfast that morning and I nearly gave myself a tummy ache. Sooo much fun!!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Tonight, when I got home from a grocery run sans kiddos, Hank was crying in his crib with Quint nearby in his own crib. It took me a minute to realize that Quint was singing to his brother, trying to calm him down. How sweet!!!

Hank, at nearly nine months old, says Mama, Papa, light, and tried to say "brother" today. It came out more like bud-dur, but he was pointing straight at Quint. I've got to get in the habit of naming everything around me again, like I did when Quint was a baby. Things like, table, chair, carpet, cracker, spoon, food, hungry, thirsty, drink, tired, hug, kiss. I say kiss all the time though. Every time I tickle and kiss the boys I say something like "I kiss your sweet cheek", "I tickle the baby boy", "I kiss the little boy".

Quint has been much whiney-er the last nearly week. I've been working to jerk a knot in his tail to fix that, but his Nannie is in town, so knot jerking is a bit difficult. He also seems to be a little jealous of his brother lately. Each time I've had to say that he must wait until I'm done doing whatever for Hank, he gets grumpy. He has started wanting us to rock him for a long time at night, and frequently spoon feed him. He's been more disobedient and doesn't listen as well lately, too. On the other hand, perhaps the big problem is that he's two. And gee, if I have to put up with a little disobedience, not listening, and whinyness, I've got it TONS better than lots of parents of two year olds. And I'm equally rewarded by him coming up to me to tell me that he needs a kiss, or brings me a drink, or any of the other amazingly sweet things that he does.

Friday, February 10, 2012

New Tricks

Ok, so I've only been meaning to write this blog since Tuesday, and here it is Friday.

Baby Hank continues to delight and charm (as long as I'm within three feet of him). He sprouted a new tooth, right next to the first on the bottom front row. He said "light" again in reference to a light. Quint was playing with light switches, as usual, and as he turned on a light, Hank looked up, pointed to the light and said, "light". He also has said Papa and Mamama. He communicates on a regular basis if I'm tuned in enough to notice. For instance, if you combine this cry with this particular cuddle, it always means that he's tired. If you combine this cry with this wiggle, he needs to burp.

For breakfast, he will eat about 12 ounces of applesauce and oatmeal. For lunch, he usually has about 6 ounces of veggies with meat. For supper, he has about 8 ounces of veggies and 4 ounces of fruit.

I finally figured out a great way to have a toddler paint!!! I've got two clip boards with lots of paper on each. I used a paper plate for a pallet. I put him in his high chair, took off his shirt, and put a clip board in front of him. I held the pallet. I gave him a paint brush this time, instead of just finger painting. After he'd painted for a while, I asked him if he wanted another page. when he said yes, I traded clip boards, moved the wet paint onto the table, leaving a fresh clip board ready to go. In this way, he painted about 12 pictures on Tuesday. And none of them went for so long that they were just solid brown paint. I had fun later looking at the blobs and trying to find pictures there.

A friend commented on facebook that it was funny how I called my cousin Larry, Cousin Larry, and not just Larry. That goes way back to quoting the show Perfect Strangers. Here's the fantastic Dance of Joy!!

And the Bibbi Babka song:

Fantastic show with ridiculous physical comedy.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Counting! And counting blessings.

Yesterday, I told Quint that if he ate two nuggets, then I would give him some strawberries. "Ok, Mama." So I made three nuggets and cut them all up into four pieces. So he had twelve pieces on his plate. As I set it down in front of him, I said again, "Ok, you need to eat two whole nuggets to get strawberries. That's eight of these little pieces." "Ok, Mama."

In a short amount of time, he said with a full mouth, "I ate two nuggets, Mama!" I went over and counted the remaining pieces. Sure enough, there were only four left! He had eaten exactly eight. So at the very least, the boy can count! And if we really wanted to stretch it, we could say that he understood some pre-algebra concepts of one nugget equals four pieces, two nuggets equals eight pieces, twelve minus four is eight, and so forth...

But I had further confirmation today that he understands counting quantities (as opposed to simply saying the numbers in the correct order). He was playing in the other room, and brought me a curvy string of magneatos. He said, "I made a seven!!" This curvy thing looked more like an S, 5, 2 or Z depending what side you were on, but I stopped and counted them. There were seven! I told him very good and that I was proud of him and everything, and then said, "there are seven pieces, but what does it look like?" It rotated in his hand for a minute and he said with excited eyes, "A Five!!" Awesome!!

So I think that in the last couple days, his brain has put together that putting numbers in order is also how many there are! That may have never occurred to you that those are different, but I had seen evidence of that in my son for quite a while. Especially when he would "count" things starting at three. For a while there, he could count from one to three, and from three to eight, but not from one to eight. When he gets above ten, it's really cute. It's eleven, twelve, furfteen, furfteen, furfteen, sixteen, etc.

Elevators and escalators are still all alligators, and I just can't correct that one yet. He loves to go downtown and see the big buildings. Lately, he's been begging to go to the big zoo, or the real zoo. Instead of the pet store, or an online zoo. He really wants to ride an elephant and was really disappointed when I told him that they don't let kids ride elephants. They don't even let adults ride elephants.

He has also started a new level of pretend play in the last few days. He will pretend to be a dog and crawl around barking. Then he will slide around on the hardwoods on his belly, propelling himself by hands and toes, and say he is a turtle.

We've been working on small talk including "what's your name" and "how old are you". The full name thing is harder to teach than you'd think. "Hey George, what's your name?" - seems kinda silly. I'm trying to teach him his address and his parents' names. Yesterday at the store, when I had a lady ask him where he lived, he said, "at our house." Well, of course you do. "Where is your house? "Ooo Hope Meaduh" DARN CLOSE!!!

He is constant entertainment and only really frustrating for under 60 minutes per day.

Now Hank! Hank is moving around better and better each day. He will ooch, roll, and wiggle around the whole living room. He can crawl backwards a little bit, and gets really ticked off when he runs into a wall. I think he will start crawling any day now, but I'm hoping he will wait until my mom is in town next Saturday. Because he's always in footed sleepers, he stays on the carpet because he slides too much on the hardwoods. But he thinks belly sliding is fun on the hardwoods. I can totally see him learning to do a one person wheelbarrow move go get round on the hardwoods. He eats more than a cup of food at each meal, three times a day, with countless cheerios and chex mixed in for snacks along the way. He loves the magneatos and figured out that weebles are magnetic in the butt. He has just started drinking out of a sippy cup, and still does it best when he's laying down. Perhaps the full sippy cup is too heavy for him to lift high enough to drink from.

His first word was light, which he hasn't said again, but when I ask him, "where's the light?" he will look right at it and sometimes point. He has said "ba" to a ball, and frequently will say, "Mama" and then grin when I say, "yes, Hank?"

Friday, February 3, 2012


George: Thomas! NO!! Stop Crying!!
Me: George, yelling at Thomas to stop crying will never work. Why don't you try patting him, or holding his hand, or singing to him.
George (with ticked off look on his face): Woah, woah, woah you boat, dada stweam, merr-ry, merr-ry, (pause) dweam.
Thomas - stopped crying.
Me: (trying not to laugh) see, honey, it worked!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Ooooooooohhhhhhh so thaaaaaat's what it is.

So all day yesterday I was snappish, was really sensitive about my space bubble (why is Quint ALWAYS within 6 inches of my legs?!), and got exceptionally emotional after 5 minutes of a conjoined twins TV show. Then finally it hit me. This is PMS!

I immediately went to the other room to tell Hubby. I said, " I finally figured out what's wrong with me today." He didn't say whatdyamean. A clue. He said, "what?" I said, "I think this is PMS!" He thought about it for a minute and said, "yeah, that would explain all of it!"

Go figure. When PMS shows up just three times in three years, you forget what it looks like. Also, we are now on red alert for "all systems go - DON'T GET PREGNANT!"

Friday, January 20, 2012

tons of photos

So today I took a friends' advice and dug a grand hole in the yard with my son. Our yard has limited toddler fun resources, but lots of space. It was about 50 degrees - warm for lately. It took about 15 minutes of me digging and playing before he really got it, but then he didn't want to stop. We had sweetgum-tree-stickerball-people, shelters made from tree bark, flags made from leaves, and lots and lots of sticks in the damp earth. All eventually got whacked with a plastic shovel, but who cares. AND we got really dirty. Which is tricky to accomplish in the winter.

Here's Hank in his hanging outside ewok uniform.

Cutie pie

And here's your Where's Waldo quiz for the day. Can you find where Sir Topham Hat is hiding?

Getting warmer
There he is! Quint moves these wall stickers around most days.

And here's what the boy's room looks like at the moment. It is forever a work in progress.

Super cute - brother teaching!

My boys are a continual joy. Except starting around 4:30 until 6pm, that is. The witching hour just really sucks sometimes! Today at one point when everyone else was screaming, I screamed too!! And thank goodness neither of them thought it was funny or I'da had'ta knocked their block off!!

Anyway. This morning when I was bathing them, they were playing together so nice. Quint was coloring on the wall of the tub with a tub crayon. After a few minutes, he said to Hank, "here you try it.... like this." He put the crayon in Hank's hand, put his hand over Hanks, and drew on the tub. It was so darn cute!! And that's the first time Quint has tried to teach Hank something. Awesome!!

A friend came over today to watch the boys while I went to the dentist. She told me about the imaginary play that she and Quint had done. And it was Quint's idea! In some Sesame Street books we have, Elmo is perpetually looking for a little black puppy (which he never finds!!) Quint took his Fisher Price Little People dog, would hide him, and wanted my friend to have another Little People look for him and find him. Quint just amazes me sometimes.

Hank is trying to learn to crawl which is a frustrating process for all of us. One day soon, he'll get really ticked off, gain super-human strength from his anger, and get it done for the first time. Right now, he's pushing around on his toes, sliding his face along the floor. If he would just extend his arms, he would be walking like a bear. But I can't really help him with that. When I try to lift his shoulders, he thinks I'm trying to pick him up. In the mean time, he scoots around a lot crying in frustration. He can roll and stretch to move around quite well. He can't go from laying to sitting on his own yet. He'll get there.

Quint will frequently beg and beg and beg to see either Nannie or Grandma online or on the computer. I always feel bad when we DO get on skype and then he takes off doing something else. When I pick up the phone, he has started telling me, "no, Mama, no talk on the phone." Monopolizing little so and so....

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday update

Last night the temperature plummeted and it spit rain/sleet/snow for a couple hours. The result was a snow day for most businesses when there was only black ice on bridges. The high today was only 36 degrees so we didn't leave the house for the second day straight. Quint was a huge whiny butt. He may not be feeling good and I know Hank isn't feeling good. He's had a fever, has been pulling at an ear, and is way too snugly when I'm holding him. So going outside in this weather was out of the question. Mid-morning, when Quint wanted to lay in my lap and have me cover him up, I knew it was time to administer Advil all around. After that, things got better.

And snow day inspiration struck!

I got our camping tent out of the garage and put it up in the loft. Now let me tell you about this tent. It was bought at the beginning of my disaster preparedness binge when I wasn't willing to spend hardly any money on the project. I found this 9ft x 9ft tent on craigslist for $20. It's got a bit of a funky smell, but we have camped with it once. (What can I say, my wonderful hubby is a city boy to the core.) So it's not new, is sandy inside and has leaves on the outside. After Quint has caught me fiddling with it and is now completely underfoot, it dawns on me that one person is simply not capable of putting up a tent of that size. Picture lots of cussing and springy stick comedy here. I finally leave it until Uncle Four wakes up from his long winter's nap. I ask him if he thinks it will fit in the loft, or if I'm just smoking crack. He thinks it will fit!

We get the whole darned thing up only to realize that the door of the tent is as far away from the loft door as possible. And it is barely possible for me to get back to that door once the whole tent is up. So we take it down again and rotate it-twice-before we actually have it in the right place. And then I vacuum out the sand.

Quint is delighted with a REAL tent! Not just a blanket over dining chairs. I tell him I'll try to "find" the ball-pit balls so he can play with them in the tent. I close him out of the loft and get out the huge box of annoying toys. (The toy vacuum that won't stand up. The tumbling tiger that will only stand on his head. The psychotic teddy bear that speaks whenever you bump it in the middle of the night. And all the extremely heavy toys that look like you're supposed to throw them at your brother's head. And nearly 200 ball pit balls.) Quint hasn't seen the balls for at least a month. He spends about 30 minutes running around in the tent in the balls yelling "hello balls!" which after the 85th repetition, is actually "bellow halls!"


When Papa gets home, Papa and Quint disappear into the tent. Quint runs up and down the stairs several times, not looking for me (what a nice change!) and continues to play upstairs with Papa. After he's in bed, I peek in the tent and find that Papa had made them a nest of blankets, pillows, and a flash light. Very cool Papa time.

Hank is so much fun at this age. He's a great size. I can play rough with him and not throw my back out. I can dangle him upside down and make him giggle. He's animated and responds to conversation across the room. He communicates physically. When he's upset, he will clamp down on my arm and neck in a tight little baby hug. When I get down on the floor beside him while he's sitting, he will lean over with one arm, hug me, and sit back up to play. When he's hungry, he will lean over, grab my shirt collar with one hand and try to yank it down. Or he will try to nurse on my bare shoulder. When he's excited he will flop both arms and legs up and down, HARD, as if he's trying to take flight. He already has an "aw-shucks" look!

Since I first bathed them at the same time last Tuesday, it has finally occurred to them that they can do things TOGETHER! Hank has tried to lean over and hug Quint! Quint has started requesting a Hank kiss before bed as if he were, you know, an actual person in this household! There's only an occasional "No, Hank!" when he takes a toy. Quint will share his applesauce with Hank. They're starting to become, you know, brothers!! It's fun to see.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Hank's first word!!

Hank said his first word! He's nearly 8 months old. He was staring at the light above the kitchen table. He lifted hid arm, pointed at the light and said "light". I said, "that's right! It's a light!" And he smiled.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Hank's first tooth!!!

Hank has his first tooth! I found it this morning when he was gnawing on my finger. Quint and I jumped around singing, "he's got a tooth, he's got a tooth" and I think Hank said, "too" when we were done!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Random bits

Several years ago, our shower leaked through the floor to the downstairs kitchen table area. Well, it has started up again. But there's a weird delay. Sometimes Hubby will be done with his shower and already downstairs when it starts dripping through. Does not bode well. So the wonderful dudes who repaired it last time are coming tomorrow and will probably be ripping a hole in the center of our house.

And I really mean they are wonderful. They aren't going to charge us for this one since they should have fixed it last time. This is the same company who did $50k worth of repair to our house after the house wreck. You know, that time two teenagers drove a Bonneville through the people door to our garage. The impact scooted our Crown Victoria sideways 18inches and launched paint cans across the garage to leave inch deep dents the size of your head in the drywall. So we know these guys.

When little Hank cuddles up to my shoulder, he wraps his little arm around my neck and squeezes soooo tight! It is so sweet! Except when he grabs a handful of hair and twists, but still, I LOVE those baby hugs.

The other day, Hank was screaming his head off because I wasn't holding him, but lunch had to be made using two hands. I asked Quint to go over there and sing him a song. Sing him itsy bitsy spider. He went over there, sat down beside him and I heard him singing tunelessly and making the little finger motions. Sweetest thing ever!! After the song, he came back over to me. I asked him if Hank liked it. He looked back at Hank (no gap in screaming), looked back at me like I was nuts, shrugged, and went back to his toys.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Cookies!!! 20 minute video

Yeah, so it's way too long, but it's primarily for my family so stuff it.

Whistle Stop Park video and still shots