28 October 2014

Absolute Zero on the Amy Scale

Cold feet.

You may be familiar with the term, but I doubt many are more familiar with the physicality of it than me.  
Or Jeffrey. 

It's not that we are nervous people.  We aren't.  It's just that I really have cold feet.  I remember the first time I learned that it was an abnormality.  It was February. I was at a friend's house and we were watching Planet of the Apes which is a great Junior High movie, I'm telling you.  I was sitting on the couch with my feet tucked beneath a blanket, attempting the impossible task of warming them up when one of my friends, looking for a place to sit, sat on the blanket covering my feet.  I was grateful for the added warmth and told him to not move as it was helping.  After about three minutes he got up and found a new place to sit.  After the movie he told me he couldn't sit there any longer, the cold from my feet had seeped up through the blanket and was making him cold!

For as long as I can remember, when the evening temperature wanders below 60* my body decides my extremities no longer need heating thus leaving me with literal cold feet.  But not just cold.  No, that would be playing fair.  My feet lose all heat energy and scientists leave off trying to achieve absolute zero and begin striving to reach the thermodynamic temperature of my feet; 0 A. Forget the Kelvin scale, they focus all their scientific minds on the Amy scale.  
Zazzle shirt
True story.

I remember being engaged and blissfully thinking of the future time when I would be able to warm my feet on my super hot husband, thus enabling warmth in my limbs and sleep to overtake me much more quickly than the game of 5 pairs of socks until I can't stand the restriction of socks under covers, removing the socks one layer at a time to achieve comfort in movement only to realize it was too soon, and my feet were still too cold for comfort or sleep. 

And then we got married.
google image found here.
And then came the day when I realized that putting blocks of ice on my husband while he was trying to sleep was possibly not the best way to reach marital bliss, and so my pre-marriage dream was shattered from the cold.

As happy as I am that Fall is here, the one thing I regret is the downward spiral of the thermostat because those feet of mine will be perpetually cold again until May.

On the plus side, however, I am delighted to share with you the exciting news that I have figured out how to fight my insomnia.  The best part is, it is doing something I love.  Basically since May I have been having trouble sleeping (thank you for that, Primary calling).  At times it gets really bad.  Last week, however, by complete accident, I stumbled upon a cure.  If not a cure, at least a drastic help. If I read before bed, I fall asleep so much more quickly. Or, I can actually fall asleep.  Yay! Which is wonderful as I am really enjoying reading again.  I am in the middle of Catch-22 and part of me wishes the book would never end.  The other part of me, however is anxious for it to end so I can move on to some of my other books.  But here is the thing.  Reading, to me, is a guilty pleasure.  It is something that I don't just do, I have to make time for it.  But I have so many other things going on right now, that I don't feel I can justify a little reading.  Every time I sit down to indulge, I feel guilty.  In the back of my mind a little responsible voice is poking me and listing off all the things that I should be doing.  I find her very annoying.  Sadly for my book, though, she usually wins.

Thank you, Insomnia!  You have reunited me with my true love; the written word.
image found here

As for life, well, it keeps chugging along.  My primary program is in two weeks, so we are frantically trying to get everything prepared and ready for that.  I am not so much concerned about the program as I am with the Missionary meet and greet we are trying to organize for after.  And then there is the Christmas breakfast we are in charge of.  And getting things ready for the new year, and all that entails.

But for now, I try to just take one frozen step at a time.  I don't always succeed and then Jeffrey has to pick me up from the mess that I fell into from too much stress, or trying to take on too much at once, but at least my absolute zero feet and I can escape into the world of a good book every night in the meantime.

pinterest image here

And she lived happily ever after.

12 October 2014

My Soul Hungered

It is official!

Fall, I mean.  It is officially Fall now.

I know it has technically been Fall for a while now, but friends, today it is officially Fall!

And Friday, that day was officially Fall (more on that later) too, but today it was more so official.

To begin with, that incredible crisp red apple air was swirling around my house this morning.  I woke up and breathed so deeply, letting the air fill my soul with strength.  Because didn't you know, that is what this air does.  It is magic.  The magic of Autumn.

After church we got to go visit with Jeffrey's family.  While at his parent's house, the Hollow beckoned me with whisperings and promises of leaf crunching, stillness, and that magic air to fill my lungs and still my often turbulent mind.  I wished Jeffrey's brother a happy birthday, visited for a few minutes and then excused myself.  The siren's call of the Hollow was too strong, and I couldn't resist any longer.

I got to the trail head and contemplated which direction I should go.  I always go East, heading for the familiar beauty of the bridge, but decided this time, since I didn't have any children or a stroller to impede me, I would just wander and explore in places I have never ventured before.

And I did.

As I looked out at the glowing sepia tinted landscape, the wind making the waist high grasses bend and dance, a thought continually came to my mind.

And my soul hungered.

It hungered for this view.  My soul hungered for this peace. My soul hungered for this beauty.

The thought was a skipping CD, playing that line, that phrase over and over in my mind, ricocheting around the thoughts and feelings of my entire time spent in the Hollow.

And my soul was fed!

I wandered and marveled at the way the wind whispered through the leaves of the poplar trees, and the grass, sounding very much like a bunch of old gossips with new news to share.  The crickets and the cacophony of the birds was at times near deafening.

I marveled how the music of the air was so loud, and had my kids been there, I would have been focused on other things, and would have completely missed the sounds.

I trekked around the grass, into the brush, poking behind groves of trees, following the stream a ways. It was lovely.  I decided to explore the other side of the trail a bit.  I found a lovely spot, a ways away from the trail, but very much in sight of it still.  I mean, I could see it, but no one could see me.

I found a spot to sit and wished with all my heart I had brought my Emily Dickinson.  I don't know why, but she seems to compliment my mood perfectly when I am solitary in nature.  The passion and prose combined with nature can often be overwhelming.

I'll tell you how the Sun rose -
A Ribbon at a time -
The steeples swam in Amethyst
The news, like Squirrels, ran -
The Hills untied their Bonnets -
The Bobolinks - begun -
Then I said softly to myself -
"That must have been the Sun"!
But how he set - I know not -
There seemed a purple stile
That little Yellow boys and girls
Were climbing all the while -
Till when they reached the other side -
A Dominie in Gray -
Put gently up the evening Bars -
And led the flock away-


So, I sat down in that quiet spot and longed for Dickinson and breathed magic in and listened.

The leaves falling were thunderous.  The birds jumping from branches or jumping around on the ground were deafening.  I couldn't stay in that spot long because I was looking for quiet, and it was impossible to find there.

So I wandered down, and walked.  I meandered over to the stream once more and found a soft place to sit.  A natural tepee made from fallen tree branches with a large log inside, perfect for sitting and musing, the seclusion and serenity were nearly tangible. A perfect spot to ponder the words of the scriptures, I decided. I pulled out my phone and opened up my scriptures, eager to just inhale the moment. Well, for the five minutes of battery life I had left anyway.  Regardless, it was absolutely lovely! And the heady smell of stream washed apples was very nearly inebriating to the senses.

When my phone suddenly died, I decided it was a good time to head back.

As I walked down the path, stripping the bark off the walking stick I found, my warm breath met the cool air and together fogged up my glasses.

I smiled, intoxicated by the way everything fell together so perfectly to feed my soul.

I may have gorged myself.

For this reason, I say, Autumn has finally fallen.

It is official!

05 October 2014

Why, Hello October!

"Listen! The wind is rising, and the air is wild with leaves, We have had our summer evenings, Now for October eves." ~Humbert Wolfe 

I feel like I can breathe.  I always breathe better when it is October.  Quite honestly, I could fill this whole post with odes to October.  It is my absolute favorite month of the year.  The spice scented wind, the dancing leaves, the fireworks display of the trees, and the calm and relaxed feeling in the air.  There is just something about this month that screams:
"Find a good book and read!"

Which advice I usually follow!  I have decided that for me, for this month, I will do as Groucho Marx did.

"I must say I find television very educational.  The minute somebody turns it on, I go to the library and read a good book."

My books for this month are:

  • Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  • As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison
I am excited for the literary explosion that is going to go on inside my brain this month.  A habit perhaps?  One can only hope!  It has been a long while since I have just enjoyed a good book.  I think one of the last "new" books that I read was Twilight, which ruined reading for me a little.  After reading that... book, I now have trust issues with books and especially with people recommending books.  Everyone raved about Twilight, and me, ever eager to read a good book, rushed out and read it.  Upon finishing it, I wanted those hours of reading back so I could have done something constructive and not wasteful.  In my opinion, it was NOT a good book.

But to be reading outside with the cool breeze whispering through the poplar trees will remind me so much of my youth and childhood.  It will remind me of the times I climbed our paradise tree and spent hours up there reading books when I was a kid.  I am eager to welcome those memories, emotions and books back.

I hereby declare that nap-time equals reading time for me!  No more filling up those hours with things like cleaning or laundry.  It is a time for imagination and mind expansion!

Again, I say, October is here!

As is tradition, the kids and I had our October 1st party.  I spent the night before whipping the kitchen into a sticky pumpkin-y mess full of treats for our party.

We had candy corn popcorn balls, cranberry apple cider, pumpkin fudge, pumpkin spice oreos, and of course the pumpkin and candy corn candies. I also drew faces on clementine oranges to resemble jack o'lanterns.

The spread was gorgeous, and delicious!

I really should have gotten a picture of the kids around the table, but I forgot.

We watched Ichabod and Mr. Toad as usual,

and the kids and I have been indulging in our Halloween collection ever since.  Yay!

Also, Gilmore Girls finally made it to Netflix!

I am not sure how that is going to work with my new goal of reading whenever a show is turned on, but I am excited that it is now available whenever I want to watch it.

Another favorite about October is General Conference. I love being able to sit in my family room with my family and hear the words of a modern day, living prophet!

I love that the first three talks of Conference this year seemed to be specifically geared towards me.  How miraculous that the exact thing I needed to hear were spoken right off the bat.  How miraculous that so many people all over the world can have their prayers and questions answered through the power of the Holy Ghost by these talks.

It is amazing to me, but I am so grateful for the chance I had to hear it with my family, and for the chance I will have to listen to and read those talks many times over.  In my previous post, I wrote about how one of those talks specifically touched me and helped me.  Seriously, I invite everyone to listen to and read the words from Conference.  They are powerful and amazing!

I am so excited for the rest of this month to happen!

Not bad, just hard.

Woman Praying Vincent Van Gough 1883
It started out simply lovely, Sunday morning.  There was a gorgeous drizzle but the house was warm, and the kids were all happy.  I sat with Faye, playing with her hair while she and Beth ate monster cereal out of the box, scattering it all over my floor and then walking on it.  But I didn't care about that.  Quite frankly, it made me laugh.

And then my phone rang.  

And chaos ensued.  

One of my primary teachers was sick and was letting me know that she wasn't able to get a sub.  She could barely talk, and my throat ached for hers as I listened to the scratchiness on the other end.  I assured her we would find someone to take her class and thanked her for calling and letting me know, rather than just not showing up as some teachers do.

Thinking there would be no problem, I called the helper for that class.  She had had a baby about 2 months prior and had not yet been to church, but had assured me she would be there that week.  I called her to see if she would be there and if she could possibly throw a lesson together last minute. She didn't answer, so I left her a message and set about looking for someone else as we are supposed to have two teachers for each class.

As I was busily calling around to find a sub, I got a text from a sub for one of the other classes who told me that she had a very sore throat and had been up all night and so couldn't make it either.  And yet another teacher let me know that she wasn't going to be there either (she had a 2 week old baby so was excused).  My first counselor, I knew wouldn't be there either as she also had a newborn.  My second counselor texted me to tell me she had a migraine and wouldn't be able to make it either.  That left my third counselor, my secretary and me to pull things off, but I wasn't too worried because the missionaries were going to teach sharing time, so I could help out with whatever.

I called like crazy and eventually, after no one answered their phones, or told me they couldn't sub, it was decided my secretary and her husband would teach one class.  I was still crossing my fingers for the teacher helper to be able to show up and help us out there.

She called me around 10 (church starts at 11, keep that in mind) to let me know that she wouldn't be coming to church, her baby was just diagnosed with cystic fibrosis and so doctor's orders were that the baby stay home for a year so as not to die.  Scary stuff!  I talked with her about possibly releasing her if that would help her, and she said she would think about it and get back with me.  My heart just breaks for her!

By this time, I was a little panicky, but knew we could figure something out.  I decided to start getting myself ready for church.

At 10:30 I got a text from the missionaries saying they were both sick and wouldn't be able to come teach sharing time.

I fell onto my bed laughing to the point of tears streaming from my eyes.  I am not sure if I was actually laughing or if it was a covert way to cry.  Wow.  What a morning!  I frantically threw some things together to prepare a sharing time about the ripples we create in our lives, and through our actions we can fill up those empty chairs that are drowning out our primary (60% inactivity, people). I texted the Elders to ask if there was anything they needed as I remember how lousy it is to be sick on your mission.  They requested soup.  I told them I would make some and get it to them after church.

Half way through primary one of my best teachers told me she had just spoken with the bishopric about being released.  And then I remembered my visiting teachers were coming over right after church.

So, with nearly all of my inner strength tested, we took the kids to sacrament (my ward has that last), and then rushed home to clean.  Because I had to clean up the mess I had made that morning by neglecting my kid in an effort to find subs, and let me tell you, they took advantage of my absence! The house got cleaned, my visiting teachers helped me make the soup, we visited, and then I delivered the soup.

It was a very hard day, but not a bad day.  Just hard.

I look back at that day and really just have to smile.  I wonder if sometimes things like that happen for us to be able to look back on with amusement and just laugh.  I mean, really, could anything else have gone wrong?  Probably.  I am so grateful it didn't though, and I am so relieved to see the very obvious hand of the Lord in that day, supporting me, helping me to not choke and run away to hide. In General Conference this weekend there was a talk given by Cheryl A. Esplin which really hit me. In essence she talked about Christ's enabling power, how part of the atonement is looking and seeing how the Savior carried you. Last Sunday was absolutely one of those times I was helped to serve beyond my capacity!  I honestly couldn't have done it without His help, because seriously, everything seemed to fall apart all at the same time.  What a blessing it is to have an understanding albeit small, of the atonement of Jesus Christ!  What a blessing it is to be able to see it at work in my life! To have been carried through that whole day, I truly couldn't have done it all without help, and how grateful I am for all the help I received, and do receive daily.

For a morning that began so calmly, it sure morphed into the Hulk quickly!

I look forward to the day when my Sundays can be a day of rest again. But I wouldn't trade the things I learned for anything!

26 September 2014

Midnight Musical Beds

Last night our friend Shem came by with the new Doctor Who episodes.  It is a bond that brings all truly cool people together, Doctor Who.  Or nerds.  One of the two.  At any rate, once the kids were tucked in and clocked out, we heated up some water and enjoyed the creative adventures of the Time Lord while sipping tea.  It was nice.  When that was over, Shem and I chatted for a while.

I laugh now, over the appropriateness of the topic of our conversation.  We eventually began talking about my headaches.  I have had a headache or migraine every day this week, usually lasting all day. Some so painful, they have induced vomiting. I have had these since at least the 8th grade.  That is when I mostly remember them plaguing me.  In our conversation, we discussed ways or things I can do to eradicate this painful part of my life.

Of course, there is the whole de-stressing thing.  That is a difficult one for me to work on.  But one of the main ways we talked about was me finding ways to get more sleep, and to make time to exercise as exercise has in the past helped a lot with the consistency and severity of the pain.  We talked about the cycle of me wanting to get up to exercise, but not being able to because of the pain of movement, but then I get that pain from lack of exercise.  It is a viscous cycle.

After our conversation, I decided anew that I would get up to exercise in the morning, regardless of anything that tried to stop me.

I was going to do it.

I am woman, hear me roar!

I was all powered up, and eager to confront this evil that has plagued me for more than 20 years.

So I went to bed.  And it was hot, so I tossed and turned a lot.  Right as I was beginning to fall asleep, I heard footsteps, running, bumping into things, and then my door burst open, and a small figure stood in the doorway.

It was Keith.

I pushed myself up onto an elbow and asked him what was wrong. Rather than answer, he walked across the room and climbed into bed with me.  He was cold, and he was shaking a lot.  I asked him if he had had a bad dream, and he nodded his head.  The boy was so scared!

Eventually, he calmed down and stopped shaking as I held him in my arms, trying to make him feel safe and secure.  I whispered to him about it being okay to be scared, and dreams sometimes seem so real, but it is important to remember that they are not real.  That is why they are called dreams.

*I loved that most of my bad dream speech came from the episode of Doctor Who that we had just watched.  It made me laugh that my favorite show had adequately armed me with the words to say to a shaking scared boy.*

And so, I lay in my small full sized bed, sandwiched between Keith and Jeffrey, my arm falling asleep beneath the weight of Keith's head, staring at the ceiling.  I don't sleep when there are children in my bed, ever since that time Keith was a baby and I fell asleep while feeding him, and nearly rolled over on top of him.  It scared me so much that I can't sleep with kids in my bed.  At all.

If I were to be completely honest, though, I would have to admit that I really have a hard time sharing my bed with anyone.  I sleep so much better by myself.  Once Jeffrey leaves for work, I sprawl out and sleep deeper and more comfortably those last two hours before it is time to start the morning.

So, back to being sandwiched between the boys in my life.  I lay staring at the ceiling for a while, until Keith's breathing had evened out, and I knew he was sound asleep.  I then used my elite ninja skills to wriggle out of the covers, over Keith, and out of the bed.  I grabbed my glasses and phone, and headed down to his room to sleep.

Once I got situated in his bed, just as my eyes were relaxing into the sleep position, I heard running footsteps on the floor upstairs.  They were running back and forth, and eventually down the stairs and into the room.  I assumed it was Keith wanting to sleep in his own bed, or having been kicked out of mine by Jeffrey.

I was surprised to see Faye standing there, grinning in the light of the nightlight with her pillow in one hand and her blanket dragging behind in her other hand.  

"I wanted to snuggle with you." she said.  I sighed, knowing full well my intentions of exercising when I woke up were quickly escaping with the waning of the night.  I scooted over, held the blanket open, and Faye climbed under the covers, happily flipping her hair into my face, and curling up next to me like an over excited puppy who just got its dearest wish granted.

There I lay. 

For a long time.

Squished between the wall and Faye's sizzling bacon version of sleep.  That girl gets her exercise while she sleeps, lucky.  A few times, in an effort to scoot away from the flailing limbs I bonked my head on the wall.  Whenever I did manage to fall asleep, I was quickly and immediately awakened by a sharp kick to the stomach or a hand flung out across my face, or even her face pressed right up against my own.

Apparently she doesn't share her bed well, either, despite her desire to do so.

Around 3:45 I gave up.  I needed to visit the bathroom anyway.  I crawled over her to get out, and in so doing woke her up.  I told her I would be right back, that I needed to go up to the bathroom, and for her to go back to sleep.

Like a sweet lost puppy, Faye promptly followed me upstairs to the bathroom, and then she went to her bed.

So I decided to send Keith back to his bed, so I could sleep a little in my own bed and actually sleep.

I woke him up and told him to go to his room.  Somehow in his sleepy brain, that translated into "Go sleep with your sister."

A few minutes later I heard shouts and laughter and squealing from Faye's room.  They were playing. I went in to settle things down and convince them to sleep, and after getting Keith a pillow (which is what had started the playing in the first place), I went back to bed.  It was now 4:00 am.

Again, just as sleep was beckoning me, I heard Faye's door wrenched open, and Keith stumbled out into the hall, having been expelled from Faye's bed.

Jeffrey laughed, assured Keith the same thing happens to him anytime Faye begs him to sleep with her, it is virtually impossible for anyone to sleep with that girl, and to just go down to his own bed to sleep.  Keith said he was still scared from his bad dream, and he couldn't possibly.  Jeffrey, being much less prone to give in to the plight of a scared from a dream child insisted, and with much protesting, Keith found himself in his own bed and directly fell asleep.

By this time, though, it was time for Jeffrey to get up and get ready for work anyway.  And so I lay in bed listening to him talk to himself in the shower, and hear him rummage around in the drawers, searching for his razor, or his socks, or whatever it was he had lost.  I groaned and tightly squeezed my eyes shut when he turned on the light to find the elusive shoes and keys, and flinched as he "slammed" the door shut.  I say slammed, but it was probably shut normally and only sounded slammed to my sensitive sleep longing ears.

And then, for the first time last night, I was able to close my eyes, and greet my estranged sleep with a deep breath and completely relaxed and dead muscles.  It felt so sweet, that falling into oblivion!

At long last!

Too soon was it shattered by Beth's sweet shouts of "Mooooom!"  "Moooooom!"

And so, I had to sacrifice my exercise this morning for two measly hours of sleep.

I am woman, hear me snore!

Good thing the baby is currently sleeping and Keith doesn't get home from school for another hour and a half!

Middle of the morning exercise?  Don't mind if I do.

Better late than never.  And to you, constant companion of a headache, I bid good riddance!

24 September 2014

Bring Back the 80's Rinks!

It is amazing how cathartic writing can be.  I just wrote a blog post on the theme of "Wo is me" and left it as a draft, because honestly, that is just plain pathetic and depressing.  Once I got that out of the way, my mind was able to open a little more and my thoughts are clearer and I find that I can actually write again.  I was suffering from a severe bout of writer's block due to all the negativity clogging up the creative expressways. I also had been battling a migraine since Monday. Happily, after venting to no one in a draft, my migraine happily subsided. Writing truly is healing and cathartic!

Life chuggs on in the usual way.  I have decided the world needs to see how Faye eats.

That girl seriously has a hard time sitting still, and the words "Get your feet off the baby!" have become quite common in our meal time conversations.

I have been experimenting with after school snacks.  Thus far, our favorite is homemade pretzels.

Oh my goodness, yummy!  I feel like quite a culinary diva when I make them, and the family absolutely loves them.  I especially love that they are so easy to make!

Beth just makes me laugh from sun up to sun down.  

Her snaggletooth smile, her voracious reading appetite, and the way she kisses Jack every time he pops up from his box, seconds before shoving him back down, only to play the music until he pops up and repeat.  She tries to fix her own hair and anyone elses' when she finds a stray comb or brush.  

Today she said "Faye," which just made my day! 

Keith is doing well in school.  I got an email from his teacher earlier this week saying that she would be starting him on second grade concepts because he is so far ahead of the rest of his class.  He has to read for 20 minutes a day, and has decided he is going to read The Hobbit.  He began on Sunday and is already on chapter 5.  It makes me so happy to see him reading every spare second he gets.  He is getting really good at it, and I love to share the joy of reading with him!  Now to work on Faye with reading.  She doesn't have a lot of interest yet, sadly.

Keith's school had a free night at the local skating rink for all first graders.  

It was so much fun! I was excited to share the joys of roller skating with the kids.  I told both Keith and Faye that they could bring their scooters, they didn't have to try roller skating, but both were adamant to try it.  I nearly burst with the nostalgia of skating rinks (I was born in the 80's, what are you going to do?), and thrilled with the joy of sharing all the fun times I had with them.

Apparently kids today are not as eager to fall down over and over and over and over.  I spent the first half hour trying to balance on my skates while holding Keith up on one side, and Faye up on the other.  After having my skates kicked out from under me by a falling child for the 10th time, and actually twisting my ankle pretty badly, I decided they would have a lot more fun with me being more stable.  I would have loved to cruise in the counter-clockwise circle, feeling the rush of the wind and passing people (not many adults were in the rink.  It was mostly just first graders and me), and just the joy of gliding around on the skates, but we were there for Keith, and really, I wanted them to feel the joy of skating, so I returned my skates, took them both firmly by the hand, and walked and pulled them v  e  r  y slowly around the circle.  By the time we had to leave, they had both gotten much better and rarely fell down at all!  Seeing as how birthday time is just around the corner, I had secret hopes to hear one of them ask for roller skates for their birthday, or for Christmas.

"I want to come here for my birthday!" Faye announced.  I smiled, excited to be able to actually skate while Jeffrey or someone else took a turn helping the kids.  To skate for even a few minutes would suffice.

"See that princess castle bouncy house over there?  I want to play on that.  And look at all the games! And there is bowling.  This place is great!  Only I don't want to skate when we come for my birthday." she announced, firmly putting a leak in my excitement.

The sheer effort of having both kids continually pulling on me in order to keep from falling down, trying to hold them up and not be torn from one side or the other was extremely physical.  I was surprised to feel sweat dripping down my face, and to see drops landing on the floor.  I really didn't think I was working that hard, but apparently I was.  At least we all had fun with it.  Now I just need a good massage and an hour or two in a hot tub to get my shoulders and back to not be so sore!

Maybe I can convince Keith to join me in skating if we actually do go for Faye's birthday.

21 September 2014

Melted Ice Cream Carpet VS Independence

Last night my sister in law and her family came by to visit.  Like the wonderful and thoughtful people they are, the came bearing gifts.

Rootbeer floats, to be exact.

Because everybody likes floats.

And so Jeffrey and our brother in law tucked themselves into the man cave for some man time.  The kids ran around outside and had a blast, and my sister in law and I shut ourselves in my office and talked books and blogs.  It was so nice not having to look after the kids.  I felt slightly guilty as I heard the footsteps thundering overhead and said "Jeffrey's got it under control." Because really, in what universe do I ever get to say that?  It was so nice, I think I will have to try it again.

After what seemed like 5 minutes of us talking, Faye showed up at the door covered in mud.  Her little friend from across the street thought it would be a good idea to make mud pies in our flower garden... er, dirt mound that is patiently waiting and filling up with weeds for next spring when the bulbs I planted will blossom and bring forth much beauty.  In the meantime, little girls dig and water and "create" in my sleeping flower bed.  At the door of my office, Faye said "Dad said I could," and skipped away.  But you see, I was enjoying my kid free time so much, I just let her go, figuring I would talk with Jeffrey later and see what on earth he was thinking to let her play in the mud and then to let her track it through the house!

Eventually we decided it was time to leave the safety of my office and brave the world again.  We found all the kids (minus a muddy Faye) in the man cave with the guys, playing on the computers.  Reluctantly the kids said goodbye, and they left, leaving us an unopened carton of ice cream and half a bottle of orange soda.  It was very generous of them, and made us all very happy.  Because, ice cream, guys!  Jeffrey and I tucked the kids in bed, and then we also went to bed.

In the morning, miraculously, the kids let us sleep in.  When I finally woke up around 9, I was shocked to have been allowed to sleep so late.  I don't think that has ever happened since we have lived here.  Jeffrey and I lay in bed, talking, when we heard bumping coming from downstairs.

"The kids are in your office." I said, secretly smiling to myself.  My smile was because he had to get up and I could sprawl happily in bed with no one to interfere.

Jeffrey leaped out of bed, and rushed downstairs.

My smile quickly turned to the deep sigh of motherhood.  The one that can't be explained or even taught.  It just comes from days on end of lack of sleep and countless messes and problems to clean up.

I heard a yell, and lots of little panicked voices trying to explain something, and then a "Wait 'till your mother sees this!"

I knew that was the end for me.  I rolled out of bed, pulled some clothes on and met Jeffrey coming back, carrying the baby who was covered in sticky.

Ice cream sticky.

The kids had gotten into the ice cream and eaten the whole carton.

Or at least they had eaten half and smeared the other half into the carpet.

Or some other ratio.  But they were covered in sticky, the carpet was saturated in white sticky goopy mess, and the carton was completely empty.

"Welcome to Sunday, the day of rest!" I thought ironically.

Luckily, we have connections.  I called my mother in law and asked if I could borrow her carpet cleaner.  She kindly agreed, and we set up a time when I could pick it up.  On my way out there, I stopped by my grandmother's house and she laughed and laughed when I told her the story.

"It seems to me, I have heard that exact story from your mother's lips." she said.  I guess my oldest sister had basically done the same thing.  She had enjoyed a carton of ice cream, stashed it under her bed, and then forgot about it.  Of course, it melted and left a huge gooey mess for my mother to clean up.

This morning I was caught in the moment of cleaning it up, but now, I am just laughing and laughing about it.  They were so independent and helpful.  They fed the baby (ice cream) breakfast, they entertained her (with ice cream and lots of TV) so we could sleep.  They are just so funny!  Jeffrey and I talked and we decided that they can be grounded from electronics and sugar for a week.  If I didn't have a vendetta against electronics and a sincere desire to eliminate sugar from our house I would say it was a bit too harsh of a punishment.  But as I don't really like electronics very much, and I love sugar way too much, it really is a great thing to have an excuse to get rid of them for at least a little while.

Happily, they think the punishment is just.

Gosh I love those funny kids.
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