Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter Miracle

What a beautiful and interesting weekend we had here.

I had a late start on the whole Easter thing because it took me a long while to decide what I wanted to do for the kids' baskets this year. Actually, that isn't entirely true. What really happened is Easter sort of sneaked up on us and Wednesday I realized that I had nothing ready for this weekend and so went into a mini panic trying to figure something out for their baskets.

Thursday I decided I wanted to make them some quiet books because sacrament meeting is really hard for them to sit through. They just squirm and Faye, who doesn't quite understand how to whisper, talks the whole time, and I really don't get anything out of it. I spend the majority of the meeting trying to break up fights and help the kids to be reverent so they aren't disturbing anyone else.  And so, Thursday night I got all comfy cozy in my bed and settled into a long night with Pinterest and found some wonderful ideas. Oh yeah, and Thursday all the roads were shut down because Mr. President decided to visit. Not our house, just our general area, and so security sort of went crazy. Also, there was a gas leak in my neighborhood and so people were evacuated from their homes. And we inherited 2 couches from a friend. Yay! It was a crazy night, I tell you.

Friday was spent trying to put everything together without the kids seeing. The problem with that is this whole week has been Spring Break and so the kids want to see everything that I am doing and secrets are a little hard to keep. Also, the house was temporarily turned into a kids fort, which obviously means crazy messes everywhere. Like socks in the refrigerator sort of crazy messes. Because, yeah, that actually happens sometimes. And Faye had a stomach bug, so she was magnetized to me, as she always is when she is sick, which made it really hard to work on things without them seeing.

Saturday was the day I really wanted to have the baskets ready. We typically do our egg/basket hunt on Saturday and I wanted to continue with that tradition. However, it was too busy of a day. Saturday morning the kids and I made caramelized banana pancakes for breakfast, and then we cuddled down to watch General Conference. I was impressed with how excited the kids were for Conference. I am not sure they have ever been excited before. Keith made a gorgeous Temple out of Legos while we listened, and Faye worked on her Bingo card. It was wonderful!

In between sessions I got a new kitchen table. It is so pretty and I love it!

Afternoon session I worked on their quiet books, completely giving up on trying to hide things from them. They wore me down with their constant asking, and I eventually just told them I was working on things for their Easter baskets.

"Wait a minute. Hang on, Mom. Does this mean the Easter Bunny isn't real?" Keith asked.

I froze like ice to the freeway in the middle of winter. I was caught. I wasn't sure what I was going to say.

Finally, I decided to tell them the truth.

"Yes, Keith, you are right. The Easter Bunny isn't real. But we can still pretend. That will be fun. And if people ask what you got from the Easter Bunny, you can just play along and tell them, because they are really just asking what you got in your basket."

Faye immediately called out "He's real, Keith. I know."

We left it at that.

Which is funny, because that little interchange really personifies both of them so well.  Keith is our thinker. He loves to figure things out for himself and know what is right and wrong, or true and false. Faye, on the other hand, would rather live in a world of Fairies and magical creatures than face reality. Even when hard evidence points otherwise. Because it is more fun and enchanting to live life like that. Whimsy can really take you places, and she shows us how in everything she does, that silly girl.

And so, Saturday night, we still hadn't gotten the baskets out. Forget about eggs. We hadn't colored any, or even cooked any to color. And I didn't make my Resurrection rolls, or my General Conference Cinnamon Rolls that I love to make, and the kids love to eat. I didn't do any of it. And Beth got sick. She somehow developed a bit of a fever which means she becomes like a drier sheet that you just can't shake off. Except I didn't mind, because I love snuggling and loving on her. She is so sweet and wonderful.

Finally, I got the kids to bed and plopped myself down on the bed, ready to just detox a bit. Jeffrey had gone to the Priesthood session, and the macaroni and cheese incident happened. And when the kids were finally in bed and I was alone and could breathe, I did just that.

As I lay there, I began to think about all the things I wanted to do. How magical I wanted to make Easter for the kids, and here I was, laying on the bed with the things for their baskets not even finished, and the state of the house was nigh sending me to a loony bin.

And I decided to stop it.

Just stop.

I didn't need those negative thoughts in my head, I decided. I always expect more from myself than is humanly possible for anyone to do. I demand perfection from myself and it wears me down. So what if I didn't get the rolls made, or the Resurrection Eggs finished. So what if we weren't going to have cinnamon rolls for breakfast? I had worked hard on our quiet books. I had stayed up late two nights in a row working on them, and I was going to finish them, and clean things up at least a little bit, and I was going to go to bed. And Easter would be just fine anyway.

And it was.

Faye woke up first and while she was getting a drink, she saw the basket on the table. Our new table. It was her first time seeing that as well. She squealed, and forgot about her drink in her desire to get her brother and share this exciting moment with him. Moments later I could hear her excited gibberish because when she is excited she talks so quickly, no one can understand a word she says. Except Keith. They must share some of the same soul. I heard delighted stomps on the stairs as they came running break neck speed to see what was there. Because Faye delights in sharing things with people rather than hoarding it to herself, so of course she didn't peek until her brother was at her side.

Faye got a hula-hoop, Keith got a suduko book, and Beth got a ball. There was a thing of sidewalk chalk in the bottom of the basket, and all around were the quiet books I had made, plus a scripture study guide and journal for Keith. I wasn't planning on adding any candy because I knew they would get plenty from grandparents, but my dad insisted and gave me a bag of kisses, so I dumped that on top of everything.

Their reactions were simply perfect!

I made eggs for breakfast and we got ready to join my family for Conference at my parent's house.

Except Jeffrey was sick

so he stayed home being miserable while we enjoyed ourselves with family and friends.

And Conference was beautiful, as it always is. The parts I could hear, anyway. I completely missed the afternoon session due to trying to take care of a sick baby and a sick husband.

And cousins came over and helped more the furniture downstairs, and took home our old table.

And Grandpa came by to read stories to Beth.

And then it was bedtime.

I went down to tuck Keith in, and we had the most beautiful conversation about the gospel. We talked about how special our bodies are and why we need to take care of them, but more importantly is our spirit, and we need to safeguard that more than anything else, ever. We talked about the Heavenly family council where we learned we would come to earth to get our bodies and be tested and tried. We talked about Lucifer's plan, and how it isn't okay to ever force anyone to do anything. It is so important for people to make choices and decide for themselves, even if their choices are wrong. We talked about sinning and not being able to live with Heavenly Father because of our sins, but because of Jesus, we can repent and then live with our Father again. And how each Sunday when we go to church and take the Sacrament, that is the most important thing we can do all week, because if we repent, we can be wholly cleansed again. We talked about subtle ways Satan might trick us into not making the right choices, and what we can do about it.  It was an incredible talk with him. I am so glad that he wanted me to tuck him in and that I could allow the time necessary to carry on such a deep conversation with him. Finally, I did the official tuck and kiss, and left him pondering the things we talked about.

As I ascended the stairs, I saw Faye, still sitting at the counter, still avoiding eating her dinner. She had talked through the whole meal, hardly pausing for breath, and certainly not for food! I told her she had to stop talking and eat, and she couldn't leave until she had eaten something. After my 45 minute tuck in session with Keith, she was still sitting, albeit upside down, singing a song to herself, her plate not having been touched at all.

I asked her to brush her teeth, and then to come sit by me in the living room. We watched the video He Lives together, and then she began asking questions that would need a lengthy explanation to them. And so our 45 minute tuck in session began.  Essentially we talked about the events leading up to Christ's death and resurrection. I have never really talked in length about all the horrible things that were done to my Savior, but I felt now was the time to tell Faye exactly what happened. I pulled out a book with paintings from many different artists depictions of the life of Jesus Christ, and we flipped through the book talking about the Atonement in the garden of Gethsemane, the betrayal, the mock trial, the sentencing, the scouring, crown of thorns, mocking, Pilate, and finally the crucifixion. Faye wanted to show me all of her scars when we talked about His. We then moved on to the resurrection.

I am so humbled to know that today was made special for the kids in the most important way possible. We didn't do any hunting for treats. We didn't color eggs. We didn't indulge in the usual sticky sweet pastries I so love to make. But I was able to share my testimony with my children of the true meaning of Easter. I was able to have a quiet moment with each of them where the Spirit was strong, confirming my words to their sweet open hearts. I am so grateful that despite my crazy perfectionism I had the opportunity to re-evaluate the importance of all the little extra things, thus preparing myself for tonight when I would be able to not focus on what I wasn't doing, but instead focus on what the kids were doing, and what they needed. And then on top of that, I am so thankful that I was able to have that rare alone time with each of them, teaching and loving them, and listening to them. My heart is full, tonight, and I am once again left in awe at the subtle and precise workings of my Father in Heaven who guides me in his wisdom through my blindness so that once in a while I can get things right. This is a true Easter Miracle.

Happy Easter, 

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He Lives!

Motherhood: In the Trenches

Have you ever had a moment crystallized in your mind? And you know when it is happening that it will be a memory you hold forever? I have had that happen a few times in my life, and it is always during a very random moment. Once I was sitting at my desk in the 4th grade. I vividly remember the white buzzing glow of the artificial florescent lights in the brown room. I say brown, because the carpet was brown, the desks were all brown, the cupboards were a lighter shade of brown, and the walls were made of a brown brick. I distinctly remember the cold hardness of the top of my desk. I was sitting in the back near the door and the drinking fountain. My teacher was sitting in her desk, and as the crystallization happened, I realized it would be a moment I would remember forever.

Today I had it happen again. I was standing at the stove, stirring a pot of macaroni and cheese. Keith had been wonderfully helpful and was going to make some on his own, except he got distracted by playing with Faye, and actually burned the butter. The pan was a mess, and so we had to dump the melted butter outside, clean out the pan, and begin to make the sauce again, this time with me helping. As I stirred the noodles into the cheese sauce, Beth clung to my trouser leg, crying and begging to be picked up. I could hear Keith making karate chop sounds, and Faye instructing him with exactly how to play, what he should do next, what he should say next, and he was very happy to oblige and play along. The house was a mess. There was food all over the counter from when Keith had been trying to cook. Because we have wicked awesome friends, we had (have) a couch in our kitchen and a love seat, small as love seats are, crowding out the rest of my furniture in the living room, and slowly encroaching on the kitchen space. Our kitchen table had been taken down to give to my niece who is getting married this summer, and a new table given to us by some other friends was in pieces all over the living room, along with four beautiful chairs to accompany the table.

Of course, when there is so much new chaos in the house, the kids gravitate towards it, building forts and eventually disappearing at the event horizon, only to come out when they smell food, or their bellies begin to grumble.

At that moment, among the bedlam and chaotic mess, that instant froze itself in my memory. I will always feel Beth tugging and crying as I am gazing into a pot of orange mac and cheese, trying to figure out how to fix it. I will always hear the kids in the background, and remember the happiness that surged through my body as I listened to them getting along and having fun. And then the surprise that I felt that amidst all my stress due to my un-organized house, I was enjoying that moment.

I am so glad that one will always be with me. Mothering from the Trenches, I would label it if I could. Or possibly This is Real Life.

Now about the anarchy of my house. Let me explain.

My friend called me last week and told me she was getting new couches on the coming Friday (the one that just passed). She asked if I would like her old ones. I got excited and told her I did, and then began plotting out how I would arrange them in our basement, partitioning off a section for the kids big toys that are out in the shed due to lack of order and room for them. I realized I would have to take apart both the futon to put in the shed, and the pool table. But that wouldn't be a problem, Jeffrey and I could do it sometime, easy.

And then another friend called and asked me if I wanted a new kitchen table. Since the one we are using was my great grandomther's and wobbles anytime it gets touched, heaven help you if you want to cut any food on your plate,. I excitedly jumped at the chance. I asked my niece if she would like her great great grandmother's kitchen table, and she is very excited to have a piece of furniture so steeped in family history. I say good for her, I am not sentimental like that.

However, things kept coming up all week, so Jeffrey and I never got a chance to take down the pool table or futon. Normally I would just do it myself, but the pool table really is a two person job. Someone has to hold the ends while the other person risks death by crushing, or at least being hit on the head by a rouge pool ball, while they are trying to unscrew the legs from the table. It isn't really possible to do on your own. And I can't get the futon out until the pool table is out because the pool table is at the foot of the stairs, congesting the whole area, thus causing more mess and inner turmoil for me.

Because during this weekend of thoughts of clarity, I had a realization. This week has been hard for me. I have felt stressed and like I was falling behind and nothing I did helped me get caught up. I felt like I was taking 5 steps backward for every step forward, and I couldn't figure out why I was feeling like this. Until it dawned on me. It is because of the messiness of my house. If I can just keep a clean house, my mood reflects it. I began clenching my jaw and grinding my teeth at night again, not really realizing I was doing it until my jaw began to hurt. Because I don't always pick up on the clues right away. Mess=stress.

And yes, I have had this realization before. But it was surprising to me to be able to pin point the exact reason I was being so grumpy. Surprising and somewhat liberating in a sense. Not the sense that it fixed anything, just nice to know why I feel like that. But the real victory lies in the fact that I didn't yell at my kids once this week. From Monday until today, I have not raised my voice at them in anger. This is a huge accomplishment for me! I have set this goal so many times, only to fail. Now, in the spirit of full disclosure, I have shouted their names, forgetting that I don't want to shout anymore, but immediately after I would remember, apologize, and then switch to a kind and loving voice to speak with them. I feel better about my interactions with them, but I know I have a long way to go from here.

Finally, the kids have been doing a million great and adorable things, but I will have to devote more time to that later. I think my insomnia may have just worn off and I may get some sleep tonight. Yay!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Putting on the Armor

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The first weekend of April and the first weekend of October just happen to be my most favorite times of the year. That is when we have the amazing opportunity to hear the Prophet speak to the world during General Conference. The week before General Conference is the General Women's meeting for the Church. If you are counting, that meeting was last night and it was beautiful.

I have a friend that I have known since I was too little to even remember. I remember playing at her house when I was very little, and she moved away when I was three. Because life is so busy, even though she lives nearby, we only see each other twice a year, and that is at the Women's Conference. I love that we get to catch up and visit and check in with each other twice a year. It is something I really look forward to.

At the meeting last night, though, the message made me realize that I really need to step up my game when it comes to teaching my children in our home. I am so glad for the inspiration and the guidance that I received last night.

The problem is I am a morning person. Faye and I are morning people. The boys are night people through and through, so finding a time to do family activities that require more effort than watching a show together (where we can all just cuddle on the luvsac) or having a read-a-thon is hard because  by three in the afternoon I am ready for the day to be done and to just go to bed. My energy basically leaves around that time, and it is really hard for me to be organized or patient enough after dinner to do more than just send the kids to bed.

Yeah. I know.

Tonight, though, I was determined to follow through with the promptings I received last night. While Beth was napping and the kids were playing downstairs, I lay in my bed and figured out a lesson to teach the kids. I figured beginning with the Armor of God would be the best way to introduce doing consistent Family Home Evenings.

Keith brought up a Lego guy in full armor, and we used him as an example. We also did the orange experiment. While Jeffrey was reading the scripture in Ephesians, we had an orange floating in a glass jar. After each part of the armor, I took a piece of the peel off and placed both back in the water with a comment like "Oops. This guy just told a lie. He doesn't have his loins girt about with Truth." By the time we had stripped the orange of all its armor, it was no longer floating. It was no longer lifted up. We talked about the things we need to do as a family to be strong and to keep our Armor of God in the best condition it can be. We ate the orange, and then read scriptures as a family. Keith wanted to start in Ether, which I thought was great because they practically have the first 10 chapters of Nephi memorized. And then we had family prayer and sent the kids to get ready for bed.

It was lovely. I really hope I can have the energy to do this every night, because I know how important it is, and sadly, I know that bedtime is my weakness.  I just want to be in bed at the time we are usually getting them ready, so I have a hard time putting a lot of effort into it. I know that makes me sound incredibly lazy, but there you have it.

The best part was when the kids started to argue over their toothbrushes. They were trying to brush at the sink at the same time, and supposedly Faye spit into Keith's hair when he was leaning over the basin to spit out the toothpaste in his mouth. And so when Faye wasn't looking, he spit in her hair. Funniest bit about this is my mom could (and probably did) tell this exact story about my brother and me brushing our teeth at bedtime. When the inevitable fighting began, I simply asked them which part of their armor they were removing, and the fighting stopped instantaneously. It was lovely!

We decided that we are going to be studying the Family: A Proclamation to the World together. We are going to take it a section at a time and spend however much time we need so they can really understand before we move on to the next section.

Also, since Keith is the only child in Senior primary who hasn't been baptized and we are doing a weekly Faith in God challenge, we decided that he can start working on it early. That is not to say that things will be passed off, but I figure if he begins the habits now, it will be that much easier for him once he is 8, and earning that Faith in God award will be a lot easier for him.

I am so excited for conference next week! For information on how or when to watch it, click here. All are invited to come, listen to the word of God through the mouth of a living Prophet!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Food Poisoning and Other Funny Stories

blossoms from our walk this morning.

Showering is a luxury some mothers have to forgo. At least the long therapeutic showers where it is just the water, the steam and oneself enjoying the solitude, lost in thought, feeling the warmth of the water loosen any knots and the steam clearing the head. Mothers have to be quick. In, quick cleaning routine, out. If this rapid system is delayed by sweet intoxication of the persuasive steam, the solitude disappears.


That little girl just climbed on in there, regardless of her clothing. And look at that happy face! Also, forgive the grainy blurry picture. Apparently my new phone has a lousy camera. Sad.

Yesterday I decided to go on a mad deep clean, which involved moving all of the furniture and scrubbing the floors. My house smelled, and I am so not okay with a stinky house! As I was scrubbing behind the couch, I found the source of the smell. Apparently Ty Lee got angry with us one day, or was tired of Faye not cleaning out her litter box, and decided to leave her mark. It smelled so bad! Happily, with a little vinegar, baking soda, and carpet cleaner, I was able to get the smell out of my house. Yay! While I was scrubbing the floor, the cleaners were sort of foaming. Faye was hanging over the back of the couch, and pointed to the foam, just as the curious cat was inspecting my work.

"I can see the cat's penis," she said.

Shocked that Faye would say that, and also a little confused because our cat is a girl, and I asked her to say it again.

"I can see the cat's penis." she explained, pointing.

Still baffled, I asked her if she knew what a penis was. She suddenly didn't look as sure of her self and shrugged her shoulders.

"It is a boy's peepee," I explained to her.

"Oh! Never mind then," she said. It was funny to literally see the light go on in her eyes as she understood. She then climbed off the couch and skipped down the hall to play in her room.

I think everyone in my family got food poisoning except Beth and me. Sunday morning I was getting ready for church. I remember looking in the fridge and seeing a jar of red sauce I had made for book club in January. I thought to myself that I really needed to clean out the fridge and throw all that old stuff away. I made a mental note to do it on Monday, and then I went back to getting ready for church with a snack.

We get out of church at 4 o'clock, so I knew we would be having a late supper. As we were walking home from church, I decided to make things very easy on myself. I would make a bunch of popcorn and call it good.

Which is exactly what I did.

Being sick all the previous week had really taken its toll on me. I decided to take a nap after church. While I napped, Jeffrey decided he would be a super hero and make the kids a real dinner. Evidently he didn't think my popcorn plan was filing enough.

He made some delicious spaghetti and meatballs. He brought some in to me, who was napping. As he brought it in, he said "You should like this. You made everything except the pasta."

Those words made me nervous as I couldn't recall making any pasta sauce. He told me he had gotten it out of the fridge. I realized it was the same sauce left over from my book club, and there was no way I would be eating that, and they shouldn't eat it either!

And this is why mothers shouldn't nap. Or maybe they should at least keep the fridge cleaned out of grossly old food that still smells good due to the amount of garlic in it which overpowers and hides the bad smell.

Jeffrey, Keith and Faye all began throwing up the next day. They all complained of hurting heads and stomachs. Keith got it the worst, though. On the way home from school he began to throw up. When he got home he writhed around in agony and cried because his head hurt so much. Jeffrey got home from work and felt horrid as well, so I took the girls (Faye was better by this point. I don't think she had eaten much of the sauce), tucked the boys in bed, and went out grocery shopping.

When I got home, this was on the piano waiting for me:

Hurry! I feel sick and hungry. My headache is getting worse. Come quick!
Sincerely yours,
P.S. No noises at home and I'm crying and tell Faye to stop being loud! 

The poor boy! He explained the last bit to me when I asked him about it later. Although it was quiet when he wrote the letter, he knew that Faye tends to be loud, so he was anticipating the noise, and wanted me to warn her to be so very quiet when we got home. That little letter broke my heart a little. He eventually fell asleep in my bed, and I got to cuddle him all night. He threw up again this morning, though, so he was thrilled to not have to go to school.

I am excited for him to be able to go back tomorrow, though. There is a lot less fighting when he is at school, and Beth is able to nap much longer when there isn't an older sibling skirmish to wake her.

All in all, though, I am just thrilled for us all to be getting well.


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Princess Faye and the Pear

Remember a while back when I said we had been hit by the plague?

I had spoken too soon.

Last week is when we got hit.

I got strep throat and had an ear infection in both ears. It was miserable. It basically put me out of commission for most of the week. I really felt bad about not being there for the kids, but I had to rest so I could get well, and those three days of sleeping were heaven sent, aside from really putting me behind on all my duties. I was finally feeling mostly better by Friday, but that is the day Keith got the flu.


I am happy to report, though, that this will be maybe the third time this whole year that we have all been well enough for everyone to go to church. I am so excited to have my whole family with me! It has been such a long time. Wow.

Moving along.

Friday I was sitting with the kids in the kitchen having an afternoon snack. We had decided on pears. I cut one up for Beth, handed a whole one to Keith, and a whole one to Faye, and then blissfully sat down ready to indulge in the hilarity of the friendly banter between Keith and Faye, and the sweetness of that fruit.

The Ty Lee jumped up onto my lap and I absently pet her while enjoying the moment.

When my pear was half gone it slipped out of my fingers, bumped off the cat's back and onto the floor. I picked it up, dusted it off in case of any crumbs, carefully looked over it and picked off the 1 strand of cat hair, and resumed my posture of listening and eating, and thoroughly enjoying myself. Except before I had a chance to take another bite, it happened again. The pear slipped out of my fingers, bounced off the cat's back and slid beneath the high chair.

This time, I wasn't going to trust the 10 second rule.  I picked up my pear, took it over to the sink and rinsed it off. While I was shaking it, to get any excess water off, the pear once again slipped out of my fingers and this time dove straight into the drain.

That is when I finally gave up on eating it.

Well played, pear. Well played.

On Friday I was driving down the street and we saw one of those Liberty Tax guys out on the corner dancing and twirling his sign. The particular one we saw was an older man, looking like he was of the Woodstock variety. You know the type; long grey pony-tailed hair, sandals with socks on, sunglasses hanging from his shirt front. I pointed him out to Faye, who then began thinking.

"Isn't the Statue of Liberty supposed to be really big and far away from here, Mom?" she asked.

Proud of her critical thinking skills, we had a conversation about where it is located and how that man was just out there as an add gimick. He was just trying to get people to go visit their place of business.


Silence for a few seconds and again, she asked, "But I thought the Statue of Liberty was a girl."

I laughed and told her that she is right, and that I loved to see her mind thinking and figuring things out.

After we had driven in silence for a little longer, She asked one more question.

"Mom, why is the Statue of Liberty so important anyway?"

I about burst with pride at that question.

We then talked about the symbolism and beautiful invitation, and how it was a symbol of freedom and peace to so many people coming to our land from Europe.  When we got home, we read the poem by Emma Lazarus.

The New Colossus
Emma Lazarus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land,
Here at our sea-washed, sunset-gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mothers of Exile. From her beacon hand
Glows world-wide welcome, her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" she cries
With silent lips, "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore;
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Seriously, I sometimes am blown away by the way she thinks about things, and tries to figure everything out. And how much she knows! Last night we were watching Big Hero 6 and I asked what the big blimp type things in the air were, and she said "They are wind turbines, Mom." Holy smokes! What 5 year old knows what that is?! I almost was embarrassed to ask if anyone knew what they were for. "They are supposed to help with the pollution, I think." was her answer.

Blown. A. Way.

In other news, my phone finally bit the dust yesterday. I had not been able to connect it to the computer for a while, it said the drivers were bad, or something along those lines. And then it would randomly hang up, for no reason at all. It refused to hold a charge longer than 30 minutes, and finally, yesterday, it wouldn't let me get past the lock screen.


I am not looking forward to having to take the time to get to know and customize a new phone all over again. But I am so grateful for the blessing of having a phone, so I am not going to be complaining on that one too much. Just mildly annoyed, I guess.

Finally, Faye has decided to take the Princess and the Pea approach to sleeping.

She says it is more comfortable that way.

Silly girl.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

St. Paddy's Sleep

On Sunday, in order to motivate them to get ready for church, Jeffrey promised the kids that the first one one to get ready for church could spend 2 hours doing whatever they wanted with him.

Wow, it really lit a fire beneath them. I love his form of motivation! 

Obviously, because Faye is a girl and it takes longer for her to get ready, Keith won. 

She was devastated.

Wading through the river of tears, I explained to Faye that if Keith spent 2 hours with his dad, that meant we would have the same amount of time together! She was thrilled and chose a walk for her activity with me.

We went to a nearby wetlands refuge. It was beautiful. 

There were so many gnats out, it was hard to get a picture of Faye, as every time I got ready to take her picture a bug would fly into her face and she would squirm. The gnats were amazingly annoying. 

The bugs didn't seem to irritate Betg one whit, however. She loved looking between the cracks of the boardwalk, and oh my goodness, she couldn't get enough of the walk.

I have to admit, the view was beautiful.  The humidity was rather intense, though. After we made it to the top of the tower, mosquitoes came out in full ranks and we were forced to retreat.

Except retreating with a baby who greatly enjoys the view and doesn't want to leave is rather difficult.  As we were leaving, Beth would lay down on the boardwalk and insist "Uh-uh." 

I would pick her up and carry her for a little ways, when she would squirm, and say "Down!" Because she is heavy, and I needed my arms free to swat at the charging brigade of mosquitoes, I would put her down.

Rinse and repeat.

I am happy to say, we made it out alive. I only look like I have chicken pox on my forearms, and it itches about as much, but we are safe, alive, and both girls were ridiculously happy for our girl time. Despite the venemous vampiric bugs, and the sticky sweat clad humidity, it was rather lovely. And quite honestly, I can't really complain, because in truth, I really did enjoy every second with them. How could I not?

Monday I had a lot of fun preparing for St. Patrick's day.  My mother bought a small nude wooden box for me. I painted it green and then slathered some stain all over it, ending with sprinkling glitter while it was still wet, and it turned out lovely. I was quite pleased with it.

By the time I finished the box, it was ridiculously late, and I was tired. I looked around and the house was a mess.  Instead of leaving the typical footprints and other fun things I do for St. Paddy's Day, I left a few messages for the kids on some windows, mirror, and front door, and then went to bed, intending to get up and do a serious clean up while Faye was at preschool the next day.

Obviously the kids got to the door before I could take pictures. 

This winking leprechaun in the kids' bathroom was their favorite. They have insisted on showing it to everyone who comes to our house, and Faye asked if we could keep it up for a few more days. It made me laugh.

"I wanted to play but your house is too messy!
"I'll come back later today. Clean it up. Find my pot of gold..."
The kids loved the messages so much that they drew a picture of our resident leprechaun on the window next to the messages. Unfortunately, the only marker they could find was a Sharpie. I am hoping it comes off eventually.

However, as Fate would have it, I was not able to get up and clean yesterday, so I could play pranks and leave the usual signs of visitation that they have come to expect.

I woke up, feeling exhausted. My throat hurt like crazy, and swallowing was just too painful.  Also, I just plain didn't feel good. I did the school carpool, came home, got Faye ready for preschool and then Beth and I took a nap. 

I slept.

I have a very hard time sleeping during the day, so it was quite a feat that I was able to sleep!

Which is good because a fever had just developed. 

Jeffrey called and told me he was coming home for lunch and I was so relieved. He picked up Faye for me, and I basically slept all day long. By mid afternoon, I looked in my mouth to discover the tell tale polka-dots of strep. No wonder it hurt so much to swallow!

It was fun hearing the kids talk excitedly about the leprechaun stopping by to visit. I am so relieved that I didn't disappoint them, despite my sickness. Keith left a sign of the front door for the leprechaun that made me laugh and "Aw" at the same time.

"I don't want some Gold! All I want is a you as a friend! from Keith and Faye
P.S. and we will give you your pants back."

Remember how last year they set a trap and caught his pants? This year Faye also found a jacket. Quite the dapper little fellow, he is. My friend who made the pants last year made the jacket this year. I love it! Faye has claimed it, of course, so I wasn't able to get a picture of it yet. 

Jeffrey kept the kids downstairs so I could rest. Just before bedtime, my mommy guilt was a little heavy, so I pulled my tired bones out of bed, filled the decorated box with some treats, put it on the living room floor, and went back to bed.

The squealing they emitted could have awakened the dead when they saw the treasure box. I wish I had been feeling well enough to have seen their faces when they discovered it. Their excitement Sounded darling!

Today, I was able to go to the doctor, and I am happily on antibiotics now. I also found out I have a double ear infection on top of the strep, and a vicious cough that if it doesn't clear up in two weeks, they want me to go back. Fingers crossed for health!

Since I have been sick for about a month now, it sure will be nice to get  everything figured out, and healthy again. Beth also has been sick for about two months. Her nose has been so runny, she has crazy sores all over the inside of her nose.  The poor nose was wiped raw, and the constant dripping didn't help it at all. I am so happy to report, I only wiped her nose once today. Victory!

Okay, enough about the health complaints, I am just deliciously happy about the prospect of turning this health corner. 

It's the little things, people. The little things.

Happy belated St. Paddy's Day!

Friday, March 13, 2015

My Hero

Yesterday we were forced to do some emergency renovations on the house.

I was fixing lunch and I could hear the girls down the hall, playing.  We had just come in from a lovely walk, relishing the emergence of Spring, and our appetites were whet. I heard a door close, and Faye bounced into the kitchen, plopped down at the counter and complained loudly that she was hungry. I laughed because she always does that when I am cooking, and told her to get her sister and we would eat.

She jumped out of her seat and bounded out of the kitchen, anxious to get the task out of the way so she could get some food in her belly. A minute later she came back, telling me she couldn't get Beth to come.

This is a very common excuse, so I sent her again, telling her no food would be served until we were all there together.

Again, she left the room, and came back with the same report.

I had finished cooking, so I went down the hall to see why the baby didn't want to come eat with us.

Her bedroom door was closed.

With a smug look, Faye told me she couldn't get the door open. Thinking Beth was merely sitting in front of the door, I grasped the handle and gave it a sharp twist.

Only my hand slid around the handle, and the doorknob didn't budge.

Before I continue my narrative, I feel it important to mention that merely a month ago Jeffrey and I had talked about the hazard of Beth's room. There is a lock on her door, it was there when we moved in, and we don't have the key to it. We had discussed switching the doorknob with the linen closet door, and then we went to sleep. We couldn't do it right then because it was very late and it would wake her up if we tried. By the next morning, both of us had completely forgotten our plan to change the door knob.

That moment and conversation flashed through my head as I realized that the door was locked from the inside.

I tried to remain calm, while Beth was knocking on the door patiently, and saying "Lunk," persistent with her little knocks.

I ran down the hall and called Jeffrey. He wasn't a lot of help since he was at work. My next thought was to call my dad who has jimmied open a lock with a credit card many times.  He didn't answer his cell phone. In that moment, my panic began to rise. I could still hear Beth knocking and asking for lunch, and I felt so helpless to get in to her. Because of the panic, I couldn't remember the name of the company my father works for, so I couldn't call him at work. I called a few other friends, one who suggested I look on Youtube for a video on how to pick a lock.

All the while, the panic was continuing to rise.

I paced the house, I wrung my hands, and I nearly cried. I could hear her calling me, and I couldn't do a thing to help her. I worried that she would soon get scared or frustrated and begin to cry, and I would be left on the other side of the door, listening, wanting with all of my heart to be on the other side of the door as she was, but not being able to comfort her.

Meanwhile, Faye was eating all of the meatballs I had made for lunch. I hadn't had a chance to make anything to go with them before all of this happened.

My hands were sweating, my heart was pounding, I was anxious, and worried, and prayed over and over that we would be able to get to her soon. I had visions of her being stuck in there all afternoon, and it made my heart ache.

And then my knight in shining armor strolled through the door with a plan in his head and a hammer in his hand.

He knocked a hole in the door, reached his hand through, and unlocked it.

As easy as you like.

He picked up the baby, gave her a hug, placed her in my arms, gave me a great kiss, and strolled out the door and back to work.

Which is why the baby's door now has several patches of duct tape all over it.

Let's not discuss my OCD, though, okay? I just like things to be neat and uniform.