Sunday, May 22, 2016

Beth's Eyes

Beth is my child who keeps me on my toes the most. She is accident prone, and loves danger. Like knives in the outlet kind of danger. I know this, because I have caught her with a knife aimed at the outlet several times. Last week, I found a toothpick shoved into one, and the socket cover was on the floor next to it. Sigh. That means that either I forgot to put it back on when I was finished vacuuming, or someone is getting quite good at maneuvering past my safety measures.

This week, the poor girl really lived up to her fame of being the accident prone child. On Wednesday I went to the park with my friend. she has a daughter a few weeks older than Beth. And of course, Taelyn was there, playing with them and having a grand old time. I had just finished changing Vince's diaper when I heard her start to cry. As a rule, I let my kids come to me when they cry, because usually they aren't all that hurt. But when Beth began to walk towards me, her eyes squeezed tight, a fingernails on the chalkboard sort of wail forcing its way into the shards of my heart that it was breaking, I handed Vince to my friend, and ran to Beth, narrowly saving her from walking straight into the drinking fountain.

Her eyes were caked with sand. I have no idea how she got so much sand in her eyes! I laid her on the grass, and happily, Annie had come prepared with a water bottle. she quickly unscrewed the top, and I poured it into Beth's eyes, and then wiped the sand away with a wet wipe. Because moms are prepared! But good grief, that sand did NOT want to come out! And then, once I got one eye clear, she would rub it with her sand covered hands, and then I would have to work on that eye again! It was such a traumatic moment for her.

The next day she wanted to play outside with Faye and Brynlee, and but the sun was bright and I worried about her sweet scandinavian skin being scorched, so I pulled out the sunscreen. I told her to close her eyes tight, and guess what? She somehow got sunscreen in her eyes. Even worse, I had done her face last, so there was already sunscreen on her hands, so when she tried to rub her eyes... yeah, you get the picture. It wasn't a pleasant moment for her. However, I did notice that the sunscreen in her eyes did help to cry out some of the sand that I had missed.

I sincerely hope that she isn't going to have eye problems because of this week!

And then there was Friday. We went to the bird park, and it was lovely.

She did briefly get some sand in her eyes again (go figure) but that wasn't bad at all, and within moments, she was up and playing again. But, afterwards, we went to Arctic Circle. All three of my mobile children ran to the play area and began playing while Jeffrey was ordering and I was trying to comfort Vince and get him to stop crying. Suddenly, I heard a wail. The same wail as the sand in the eyes on Wednesday wail. I sighed and hurried back to see what the problem was.

Beth had fallen, face first, down the stairs of the play area. She had a huge purple bruise on her forehead, and she was bleeding out of her mouth. I left her and ran Vince to Jeffrey, and then ran back. I felt bad for leaving her, but I couldn't do anything while I was holding Vince! A kind family who was sitting in the play area got a bag of ice for her, and once Beth had calmed down a little, a worker brought out an ice cream cone for her, so all in all, it wasn't that bad. The ice helped immensely, and by the time we had gotten home, there was only slight discoloration. Her lip, however, didn't hold out so well. Because it was on the underside and top of her gums, I couldn't get her to keep ice on it, and it is still swollen. The girl has a fat lip that may stay for a few days yet.

I really hope I can keep this girl out of trouble and unscathed into adulthood!

Faye's Day

At the kids' school they have a thing called Community Circle. It is a chance for the other grades (and parents!) to see what a particular grade has been working on. They do one each month, and this past Friday was the Kindergarten's turn.

It was as adorable as it sounds.

They all got new matching bee shirts, and they got to sit in front of the whole school. Foolishly, the teachers thought it would be a good idea to put Faye front and center.

Man alive, I have never seen a more wiggly child! She was so excited that all her grandparents would be there, and that she got to do two parts! She wiggled and bounced her legs. She tucked her ankles behind the legs of the chair, gripped the sides of it tightly, and made the chair dance, inadvertently teaching all the other children near her how to make their chairs dance as well. When we all stood for the pledge, she shot out of her chair like it was on fire. Amidst all her squiggles and wiggles, I turned to my mother and asked her if I was that wiggly as a child. "Almost," she chuckled, "but no one is as wiggly as Faye."

And then, can you imagine it? 72 little 6 year old children teaching us all about bees with song, monologue, and dance. I heard one of the teachers comment that those little kids knew more about bees than she had ever dreamed it possible for a person to know.

And they are knowledgeable. You can ask Faye anything about bees, and she knows the answer. It is rather astounding, really.

After Community Circle we went to her classroom and she showed us her portfolio. Then the art room to see her lovely painting. And then she got to come home with me. Early. Earlier than early out day. She was so excited!

Because it was such a lovely day, we decided to go on an adventure. The temperature was just right, and it was overcast outside. How could we not?! We drove down to what the kids call the bird park, but is really a quite lovely aviary. And it was delightful! Faye was ecstatic!

This day was her day completely. The best bit of the whole thing was when my allergies didn't bother me at all, the whole time. I sat next to some lovely yellow roses and some snap dragons while I fed Vince, watching the bees fly in and out of the blossoms, and not one sneeze tickled my nose, or one itch bothered my eyes.

It was glorious! Especially knowing in the past I would have been a complete basket case with the itching and watery eyes, the sneezing, and the killjoy of wanting to leave immediately because of the misery I was experiencing. On Friday, however, we stayed until the park closed.

The kids wanted to go out to eat, but I had food in the crockpot, so we decided to just go home, to the kids despair. However, Vince sobbed the whole way home, and finally, when we were nearing home, we just couldn't take it anymore and pulled into an Arctic Circle so the kids could play, and so Vince could be happy. He was NOT having any more of that car seat, so help him!

Because we had been out on Friday, we had decided to not go anywhere on Saturday. Except in the middle of the night I got an email telling me that my book was at the library! And so, Saturday morning dawned and I made plans to go to the library. My day did not go how I had planned, however. Keith was sick. He spent the complete day in my bed, and fluctuated between sleep and moaning. Faye begged and begged to come with me to the library, so once I got Vince fed and his diaper changed, Faye and I left.

While we were checking out our mountain of books (because of course, I couldn't just get the ones that were on hold for me. Who does that?), we saw a sign that reminded me the book sale was going on at that moment! The library was selling their books! Of course, we couldn't resist going down and snagging a few more. I have to say, I made out like a bandit!

I love the author John Christopher. I discovered him when I was a kid, and became fascinated with his science fiction.

He wrote the Tripod books, among others. I knew that they were scarce, as I had tried to check them out of the library in the past, and there was only one copy of the complete series! But, when I walked through those doors, the first book I saw was Mandy by Julie Andrews (yes, THAT Julie Andrews. She is a fantastic children's author), but since we already own that book, I scanned the next shelf down, and about lost it. There, on that same shelf, were 6 books by John Christoper, among them, A Dusk of Demons, my favorite book of his!

Faye and I found a few more must haves and then moved over to the music section. I found the complete works of Rachmaninoff, who happens to be my favorite composer, and then, I found Vivaldi's Four Seasons. And I became as giddy as a school girl. Just last week I was asking Jeffrey how it was possible for us to not own the Four Seasons? I had decided I would buy it, and here it was, for only $0.50! I felt like I had just won the lottery. Faye and I sat down to count our books and figure out how much it was going to cost us, since I had a good chunk of the Children's section in my arms. As we sorted through our books, that precious child of mine completely blew me away.

She had picked out 5 books. One for Keith, two for her, and two for Beth. And she was planning on buying it all with her own money. That girl has a heart of gold, she does! Just last week she had gone on a date with Jeffrey, and they ended up at Barnes and Noble (I am seeing a pattern here, and think we may have a slight addiction to books). While there, she found a book that Keith would like, and was perfectly happy to get him a book, and not one for herself. Jeffrey did find one on dinosaurs that she instantly fell in love with, but in all honesty, she would have been happy without a book at all.

That little girl of mine just makes me proud and happy over and over! I am so happy that she and I were able to spend so much time together this weekend.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Tea Time with Ted E. Bear

Today was a lovely day. I expected to be dead on my feet since Vince had a rough night last night, but I was incredibly surprised by my energy and lack of a need for a nap. You see, yesterday I woke up with a migraine again. I tried taking some medicine for it, but it didn't help. And so, after a few more hours dealing with the pain, knowing I would soon have sole responsibility of 6 kids, I gave in and self medicated with a caffeinated drink. It did the trick and got rid of the migraine, which was very important for my (and all 6 kids) survival. However, it caused problems for Vince, and he didn't sleep well because of it, which means, I barely slept at all, either. Which is why it is so surprising that I had such a lovely day! Granted, I didn't get any of my big plans done, but that isn't what is important. I did the important things, and it felt good.

Last night I stayed up late cleaning my kitchen and living room. I always feel so much better when those two rooms are clean. And then, while the dishes were washing in the dishwasher, I baked some cookies. My favorite kind, and I haven't had them since we moved here, so it was well past time to make them. Oatmeal cookies, but made with cloves and allspice and cinnamon. And the way they just melt in your mouth, and saturate the air with that spicy sweet smell, is just wonderful! I closed all the windows, trying to trap that smell in my house.

The kids woke up, Beth first, traipsing into my room, her curls creating a honey colored halo around her head, maddeningly speaking through her binki. She loves to be my little messenger and wake the other kids for school while I am feeding Vince.

Of course, we had cookies for breakfast.

Of course.

When Faye got home from school, she was thrilled. It was finally her turn to be the helper, which meant that she got to take the Ted E. Bear friend home with her. Which meant we needed to come up with some activities for her to do with it before she had to take him back tomorrow. She took him to piano lessons with her,

and then we decided we would have a tea party with the little bear. When Keith got home from school, of course.

And so we had a tea party. As I was pouring the tea for everyone, Keith happened to look at the clock.

Tea Time!

The kids and I laughed at how appropriate it was to be having our tea right then and there, as that is the proper time for tea anyway, according to Animaniacs, and all the other cartoons they have watched.

We chatted and drank our tea, and they were allowed one cookie each, as Jeffrey was on his way home from work, and I have seen their appetites be spoiled by treats before dinner. I love Tea Time with my kids. It is the perfect setting and opportunity to teach them about manners. While we were eating and chatting, Faye was leaning into her hands, both elbows propped up onto the table. And then a song I had learned years ago at girl's camp burst from my lips, before I even realized what I was singing.

to the tune of If You're Happy and You Know It
"Get your elbows off the table, Faye dear
Get your elbows off the table, Faye dear
Get your elbows off the table, this is not a horse's stable
Get your elbows off the table Faye dear.

A new tune, but I don't know what it belongs to
Stand up, Stand up, Stand up and show us your face, your face!
Stand up, stand up, stand up and show us your face.

to the tune of London Bridges
Round the table you must go, you must go, you must go
Round the table you must go, my dear Faye-oh!"

The kids thought it was the best thing ever, and tried to get caught after that. Beth was my favorite as she would catch herself, climb down from the stools around the table, skip around and sing it to herself. Over and over and over, like only a two year old can do. As we dined, I noticed that there seemed to be a lot more birdsong than usual, coming from outside. It was beautiful to listen to the chirps mingle with the laughter of my precious, goofy children.

I think Ted E. Bear must have enjoyed tea with us!

And then the night got busy! Dinner, dance, scouts, clean up, bedtime, etc. All while Vince was very unhappy. I think his tummy is hurting him today as he has been very fussy. I can't think what I could have eaten that would bother him so much. Possibly the caffeine? But I had caffeine his whole pregnancy, and I've had it since he was born, and he hasn't been this bad. I'll figure it out, I'm sure. Just so long as it isn't those wonderful cookies, because they really are the best ever!

And then bedtime happened as if out of a story book. First Beth brushed her teeth and got her jammies on. Jeffrey helped her with her prayers and then layed down with her, telling her the story of her first two years of life. While he did that, I was reading with Faye. When it was time to pick up Keith from Scouts, Jeffrey left and I stayed with the girls. Beth came out of her room and I read them two stories. By the time I was finished, Beth was nearly asleep and she climbed onto my back while I crawl carried her back to her room, tucked her in, and she was out as her head hit the pillow. And then Faye only needed me to read one more story to her before she, too, wanted to go to bed.

Vince woke up, which put a hiccup in the storybook bit, but I fed him, let him spit up all over me, because if it helps his tummy feel better, I say "Bring it!" While I fed and rocked him, I prepared some sleepytime tea for Keith (and some more of that Gypsy Cold Care kind for me, because it was tasty! And I've had a sore throat since the beginning of April.)

We read together as we sipped our tea, and then he was ready to go to sleep! I looked around at my clean house, all the children tucked happily into their beds, and me, ready to follow suit. 

I am blessed beyond compare. I remember feeling slightly annoyed on Saturday at the mess in the house, and then I was overcome with gratitude that we have so much stuff to make a mess with! We have a house to make a mess in. What wonderful blessings those are, which are not afforded to everyone. I just hope I can always carry that sentiment, especially when I am confronted with the disaster that is Faye and everything she touches. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Let Me Formally Introduce to You

Let me formally introduce my newest favorite baby. He goes by many names. Vince. Prince Vince. Vice Charming. Vinster. Mister Vinster. Little Man. And Ginger Boy.

This boy, I can't even being to introduce him in a way that would do him justice. He has so much personality and just melts my heart a million times a day, regardless of how cliché it sounds. I used to wonder when people would talk about getting to know their babies personalities, how they could do that. I mean, babies are babies. They eat, poop, and sleep. Some cry a bit more than others, but how on earth can you determine a personality from that? Even after having three kids I wondered when people would say that. From his baby years I had no idea how imaginative Keith would be. I had no way of knowing how tender hearted or caring he is. Or how funny and energetic Faye is. We didn't know that she would be the most generous child we had ever encountered. And with Beth, how could we know from being around her as a baby what a prankster she would turn into? And how independent she would become? I just figured other parents were more perceptive than we were, because none of that was evident. Until I spent a little bit of time with Vince.  This boy... words really do fail me.

Vince is patient and trusting. He doesn't cry much, just grunts a lot. But if he is crying because he needs his diaper changed, as soon as I pull off his pants he stops crying. It's as if he knows that I am in the process of trying to help him. Same for if he needs to eat. He stops crying and lays patiently, just watching me with those gorgeous blue eyes of his. But when he does cry, it is the manliest cry I have ever heard come out of a baby. It is deep and gruff, and not at all wailing like most babies do. It honestly made me laugh the first time I heard it. What a manly little cry he has!

He is the smiliest baby of 2 months I have ever encountered. His favorite past time is to lay in my arms, gazing into my eyes and challenging me to a smiling contest. Except he doesn't smile for anyone except me. He may have smiled at Jeffrey once or twice. But he would smile at me all the live long day. Today as I was holding him and we locked eyes, I felt an immense pity for any girl that gets caught in the crossfire of that gaze. He had a look, and it was different than just glancing around. His eyes were so large and deep, and they completely captivated me. They were so full of love, trust, promise, and devotion all at once. If he had been able to ask me for the moon, I would have done my absolute best to get it for him at that moment. There is no way I could have said no to any request from him when he looked at me life that. Which spells out trouble with a capital T in the near future.
As for now, I am in Trouble. He has just in the past few days begun to coo while he smiles and giggles at me. He coos and makes the sweetest noises ever, and I am a goner. Add on top of that the sweet little kisses he tries to give me. When I am carrying him upright, he will try to kiss my neck. That, or he is part vampire.

Since he was born, Vinster has been a glorious sleeper. From about a week old, my gorgeous little man has been sleeping consistently for 6 hours at a time in the night. He often will give me 8 hours as well. He has begun to take longer naps, too. The other day he took a for hour nap, and I was so amazed at what I was able to accomplish not being pregnant or caring around a baby. I must admit, though, I do have to constantly check on him when he sleeps longer than 2 hours. Especially if it goes into the 3 hour mark of when he should eat next. So far, though, he has been just a wonderful sleeper.
When he is awake, Little Man is quite content to sit in his bouncer, near me, happy as a puppy, observing the world. He hates to be in my wrap, though, which can be a little frustrating when he is in the mood to be held. But really, I can't complain because I mostly love to sit and hold him. Saturday night I decided to let him do some tummy time, and he absolutely shocked both Jeffrey and me by rolling over! I am not sure he knows what he did, but the fact remains, he rolled over long before any of my other kids did! None of them rolled over before 6 months, so this is quite the milestone in our house!

When he was first born, Vince Charming took nearly an hour to eat every time he ate. That took SO much of my day away! Happily, he is just now figuring out how to eat faster and we are down to about 40 minutes each feeding. All my other kids were about 20-30 minutes total, so I am glad he is getting faster.

Not one of my kids can resist him. They all love his squishy little face.

The girls are absolutely devoted to him. I suspect he may have ensnared them with that gaze as well. Keith said he lives the silly faces that Vince pulls, and he is right, that Little Man does pull some comical faces. My favorite is what Jeffrey calls the Bones McCoy eyebrow.  

Except that sneaky boy will never let me capture it on camera. And so, yet again, a member of my family can easily raise one eyebrow, and I can only watch in jealously.

Finally, there is the matter of my Adonis' hair.

On camera it looks blond-ish. In person it becomes iridescent, changing between very blond, ginger, and light brown. I have tried and tried in vain to get a good photo of that glorious hair to no avail.

But I am so excited that his hair has that natural blush to it. I figure we couldn't see the ginger when he was first born because if sort of blended in to his jaundice tone. Now the jaundice is completely gone, that tabby hair color really is shining through. I can't figure out the origin of this gorgeous color, but keep my fingers crossed daily that it will stay. Jeffrey doesn't have anyone with red in his family line, nor do I. Both Jeffrey and my father have brown hair and red beards, but from what I hear, that is fairly common and doesn't usually climb its way on up to someone's head hair color. Regardless of how it got there, I hope and pray it stays. In the meantime, I sing Ginger Boy to him (a la the 1962 hit Soldier Boy by the Shirelles) and dance him around.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Because of Prince Vince

Yesterday we blessed Vince. He looked so dapper in his blessing outfit. It was actually Keith's from 8 years ago, and was much too large for him, but still, he was a very handsome little man. Adonis, is what the pediatrician in the hospital called him when he was born. I have to say, I quite agree. We didn't, however, get a photo of Vinny in his blessing outfit (which was ridiculously too big for him anyway, as it had Been Keith's when he was 4 months old, and Vince is just smaller than Keith was anyway) because we were in too much of a rush to get the food on and people taken care of after the blessing. And 9 o'clock church. Enough said.

Leading up to Sunday, I had plans. Big plans. I had sectioned off each room of my house, and had a schedule for when and how I would clean it. Except Monday was spent at the Doctor's office. No worries, I could still get it all done.

Tuesday I was in bed all day, sick. Strep again, for the second time that month.

Wednesday I cleaned like a mad woman. I did all the laundry in the house and was so proud of myself!

Thursday I was feeling ill again, but still tried to clean. Except Beth had wet the bed, so I had to pull off the mattress, find a cleaning solution (thank you Pintrest!) and then I had to go in search of sheets. With three kids in twin beds now, I no longer had enough sheets. And then that night I had book club, and it was essential that I went, as I was beginning to no longer feel like a person, and I was even starting to want to hide when I heard "Mo-om" called. And book club was absolutely wonderful and helped restore me to my "I am a person, too!" status.

Friday was spent attempting to clean, but really not making much headway because I was so overwhelmed.

Same thing for Saturday, Except I can finally say that I got the majority of my house clean, and it looks amazing! Or at least it did for a total of a few hours. And I stayed up way too late cleaning, but it was worth it. Because like I said, Sunday was Vince's blessing, and it was wonderful! We are so blessed to have so many family and friends nearby who love and support us. By the end of the day, however, I was quite missing my little man. Everyone was so wonderful in helping me love on my my little Vincemister that I barely had a chance to hold him, except when he wanted to eat. Thank heavens for those times, otherwise I wouldn't have held him at all.

And then there was today.

Bliss day, I should say.

It was a wonderful day, and I would repeat it a thousand times, if I could. Because Saturday night I only got 1.5 hours of sleep due to my OCD for cleaning, I was so grateful to Beth and Vince for letting me sleep until 10:30 this morning. It was so needed and refreshing. When Faye got home we made some lunch, and then Beth and Vince went down for their naps. Faye and I went outside for Mommy/Faye time.

We jumped on the trampoline for a while, with each jump we were flying with the birds, our hearts far above our feet, and then we laid down, Faye's head resting comfortably on my shoulder, and found cloud shapes in those perfect cotton candy clouds. The sky was a deep pool just asking to be jumped into, and we did our best with each and every jump we made. After a little while we decided we needed popsicles. What a pity we didn't have any. So Faye and I decided instead to make a strawberry yogurt bundt cake. I taught her how to chop the strawberries and prayed she wouldn't cut her fingers. We measured everything out, got it into Jeffrey's grandmother's bundt pan, and popped it into the oven. While we chopped and took care of everything else, we watched Bill Nye the Science Guy, because you know, science rules! And then it was time for FHE (family night) where we enjoyed pizza in the family room (a rare treat for the kiddos as I am very strict about the no food out of the kitchen rule), while watching E.T. I have never seen it before, so it was just as entertaining for me as it was for the kidlets.

When the show was over, we laughed and talked about our favorite bits while eating the delectable bundt cake. And then bed and blogging.

And my goodness, it was a truly magnificent day!

How blessed I am to have these ridiculously good children, and to be able to stay home with and enjoy them.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Ghetto Fences

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Gracious! Life has been full and sweet this past month! I have had the absolute blessed privilege of cuddling my sweet little man over and over. We are adjusting beautifully to Vince joining our family. The girls still jump at the chance to hold him or help change his diaper, which is just beautiful! Faye is becoming rather adept at dirty diaper changing! And Keith is the biggest help ever! He is always on hand when I need someone to hold Vince so that I can do anything that needs two arms. And it is the sweetest thing ever! And Beth makes me laugh all the time. "Mommy," she says, "Vince is looking at me with his cute little eyes!"

At the beginning of April I started watching my friend's little girls again. They are so much fun and really keep me busy. I had been lobbying since I began watching the girls for a fence to be put up. And the trampoline. That way, when the baby was born, I would be able to feed him, take care of him, and the girls could play safely in the back yard. Last week was the lucky week where we got the trampoline up, and yesterday the fence was installed. Yay!

I know my fence isn't anything fancy, but it serves its purpose. It is made of some garden fence posts, and pig wire. But I don't care about that. I don't care that it looks all kinds of ghetto. I care so much that the children can now play outside without me worrying about their safety! My dad came by, and he got the whole thing installed while I was feeding Vince. It is now such a relief for me. One less thing to worry about. All in all, life has been treating us very well, indeed.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Finnigan O'Brian Was Here

Today is one of my favorite days of the year. I mean aside from every day in October, but you already knew that. Today is the day I get to prank my kids all. day. long. and blame it on Finnigan O'brian, our visiting leprechaun. I get to create magic, and they all believe in it. Even skeptic Keith who has never believed in Santa believes in the reality of leprechauns.

Last night Lisa came by. She wanted to meet Vince, and we hadn't talked in ages, so when her kids were in bed, she left her sleeping husband in charge, and came over. It is always so delightful to visit with Lisa, and we had a very enjoyable evening. She oohed and aahed appropriately over Vince (and by appropriately, I mean until I was blushing) and held him a bit so I could enjoy the luxuries of life, like going to the bathroom. When my kids were finally asleep and Prince Vince was fed, diaper changed, burped, swaddled and placed in his bassinet, Lisa and I sneaked out on a special mission.

My life long friend Leslie is a phenomenal seamstress. Each year she makes an article of clothing for Finnigan.

This year, they were darling rainbow bracers, and I wish I had some for me, they are that cute! I chatted with Leslie a bit, and we got caught up, and then Lisa and I hurried back. I pulled out the paint and glitter, and we set to work, fixing up the house to be an entropy of glitter and gold. Lisa had a brilliant idea when I told her I love to prank the kids, but didn't know of any pranks off the bat. She suggested we move the couch from the living room into the kitchen, and the kitchen table into the living room. I loved it!

We stopped what we were doing and tackled that job immediately, and it looked fabulous! I added some plastic fish I found on the floor to the flower vase on my table, too. And then the green paint for the leprechaun feet throughout the hard wood floors. I decided to forgo the toilet as one of the kids typically wakes up on the night to use the bathroom, and so it would be wasted before anyone got to see it this year.

All day long Keith had been talking about how he wants to be friends with the leprechaun, and doesn't want his gold. He said he really wanted a scavenger hunt, too. Jeffrey told Keith that he would have to build a leprechaun trap in order to get the wee man to slow down long enough to read the letter Keith had written him. Keith wrote his letter, placed it in front of the trap, put the trousers and dinner jacket in the trap in hopes the leprechaun could take his clothes back home, and then he went to bed. This was a bit of a problem for me since I had already commissioned Leslie to make the bracers, and they were finished! I didn't know how to get him to leave them behind if he was expected to take all of his clothes home! And then my lovely Leslie came up with a brilliant idea. She suggested we tell him it is due to ancient leprechaun law. And that is what we did. Lisa and I (mostly Lisa) came up with this response to his letter.

Keith's letter said "Can you give us a scavenger hunt and take your clothes! in return."

We responded with: "Top o' the mornin' tikes! I found the trap was set by ye. As ye can tell, ye can't boss me! As told by ancient leprechaun law: If ye catch me, even a paw, Something must be left behind. Something that's no longer mine! This is why I've left me drawers, jacket, suspenders, and I'm out the door. So please don't fret and please don't cry. My tailor sews for both of us. Until next year, enjoy these treats, and always love your mother sweet! Love Finnegan "Lucky" O'Brian.

When all was set up Lisa took a few pictures and went home.

Faye woke up twice in the night. The first time, she rushed into the living room and brought me the notebook to find out what the leprechaun had responded. I was so tired, though, having just then gotten Vinny to sleep, and dropped off myself. I told her we would read it in the morning. When morning came, the kids thought it was the greatest thing in the world, to have me be the one Finnigan was messing with this year. They laughed delightedly, but Keith was disappointed there was no hunt. I made the kids get ready for school and while they did that, I put a few drops of food coloring into their bowls, and then began cooking some cream of wheat. As they stirred their porridge, it gradually turned green, and they thought that was funny, too!

They both left for school in high spirits, and I have to say that I think i was a success again this year! I was planning on drawing up a hunt for them for this afternoon, but things got out of my control, and I have to just be happy that they got what they got, and they are happy and grateful for it.

Happy St. Paddy's day, friends! May the wind be always at your back!