Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Wailing Human Mop. Available at a grocery store near you.

It is so easy to forget. I mean, life is so full of the little joys, the simple magnificence that gets ignored it forgotten.

Right now it is 4 am. I feel as if I've been awake all night. Again. Last night was the same. Kip is teething so he just wants to nurse and cuddle. I've tried everything I can think of to help him but he knows what he wants. And so I am sitting in my favorite chair, holding a restless sleeping baby, and remembering that it isn't bad at all

I may be tired. I may be fighting a migraine again tomorrow, but this is what I'm going to miss. In a few years time, I'm going to miss these midnight cuddles, the sweet baby smell, and the incomprehensible softness that is in my arms. I'll probably be missing sleep due to teenagers, and wish to trade back in time for worry free lack of sleep. I don't know. But the point is, rather than be sad or miserable about Kip's frustrating recent night activity, I can choose to enjoy it.

Yesterday I woke up with a migraine. And so I found what comforts me best. I dropped the kids off at school, and then found myself at Adrienne's. Due to illnesses plaguing both our families for so long, we scarce had opportunity to play during the winter. It was great getting caught up.

On the way home from a morning wonderfully wasted, I stopped at the grocery store. Beth was not having it, though. She insisted she sit in the basket next to Kip. That lasted for about 5 minutes. I caught her forcing his arms above his head, making him cry, and so promptly removed her from the basket seat.

And then it began. She has recently decided she can wail at an ear shattering pitch. It is so high, I'm shocked glass windows aren't breaking. It is also so loud, she could be used as an emergency vehicle siren. And so, when she was removed from the cart, she immediately day down on the floor, and turned on this wail. I started to walk away, and she lunged and grabbed into the bar on the bottom of the cart, and let me drag her throughout the store. Wailing, laying on her stomach in her beautiful white dress, being dragged around like a siren activated mop.

I pretended I didn't know her. Luckily, she was smart enough to stand up when we got outside into the pavement. She also stopped wailing, so that was happy.

Life is never dull, I tell you what!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The Great Birthday Fiasco

Vince turned two on Sunday. And by that, I mean he suddenly is getting into everything. He is curious about the world around him, and how it works to his advantage. He is excited to push the limits and see how far he can go and get away with things. He wants to be independent, and rule the world. Oh, and he physically turned two on Sunday as well.

Vince is so sure and confident of his life and place in the world. He is precocious. The kid came up to me a few months ago and said "H. H. ha. ha." Another time he brought me a paper that had some letters on it, with B being the largest of all. He held that paper up to me and said, "Letter b! Letter b Mommy!" The kid is just brilliant! My favorite word that he is now saying is "actually." It cracks me up to hear him get that big word out of his mouth. He uses it properly and all, and it is just the cutest thing ever! It reminds me of when Bill S. Preston and Theodore Logan, Esq. use those huge words in a proper albeit comical fashion. It just sounds wrong coming out of their mouths.

Vince loves dinosaurs, trains, spaceships, and animals. He watches youtube videos of hamsters (or so he tells me) with Jeffrey, and can sing the entire alphabet and I Am a Child of God by himself. Also, he counts to 13. Not perfectly, and not completely on his own, but pretty darn close. He loves to cuddle and tease. Oh my goodness, he gives Beth a run for her money with the teasing. He usually gets up in the night and climbs into my bed. I often don't even notice, aside from waking up with his feet in my neck, that is.

As previously mentioned, his birthday was on Sunday, so we decided to celebrate as a family on Saturday. We let him chose where to go, the dinosaur park, or the Aquarium. He chose the aquarium. and pizza for dinner. Pizza is Vince's favorite food right now. He does a little dance and chant when he wants it.

Thursday night we had a fancy orange spice cake at my parent's house to celebrate Vinny with them.

Friday Vince got to blow candles out of his very own personal pumpkin pie,

and the rest of us got cookies and ice cream. So we didn't worry too much about a cake on Saturday. I had plans for an amazing one, anyway. Sunday came, we let Vince open his gifts, and he got pancakes for breakfast, and got to blow out candles from his pancake. It really made his day.

I wasn't able to get his cake made on Sunday, and so decided to just do it Monday.

Keith was sick on Monday, staying home from school and throwing up. It took all afternoon, but I was finally able to get started on my dream concoction for the birthday cake. I had it all figured out in my head. I bought a Tonka dump truck, and my plan was to fill the back with cake, and have candied rocks and gummy worms intermixed, so it would look like dirt. I found an amazing recipe. The Bruce Bogtrotter equivalent chocolate cake. The kind that would make Mrs. Trunchbull go mad with envy. This cake was going to be absolutely amazing! Complete with its butter cream cheese frosting. And the chocolate! It called for 3 cups of cocoa powder if that gives you any idea of the decadence of this cake. I spent a couple of hours on this thing, making it just perfect. I crumbled the cake, and stirred the frosting in with the crumbs, rocks, and worms. I lined the truck with saran wrap, and dumped the cake it. It looked wonderful! I took a picture. The picture was terrible. I mean, it was mid afternoon, but cloudy, and my kitchen light was just awful. I decided I would take the cake outside and get a great picture with the truck in the grass! The snow had melted enough that there was a large patch of grass, perfect for this photo op, and the light would be amazing!

So I picked up the dump truck and headed outside.

Little did I know, my whole front porch was a solid sheet of ice.

I got to do some amazing icecapade moves as my feet flew out from beneath me, the truck flying one way, my phone the other, and me landing in a very odd twisted way. Or so it seemed. I'm not quite sure how it happened, honestly. My right... top of my leg...(ahem) got hit really hard, and my left knee went all Tonya Harding on me. But the cake. That beautiful cake was spread all over my front walk and the snow. Food for the birds and wild cats and dogs. I was splayed on the concrete next to my masterpiece. Splayed. Pain searing through my knees, back, ...top of my leg..., and skinned hands. I pushed myself up onto all fours and crawled into the house. Once I got in, I collapsed on the floor and rather dramatically called for Jeffrey. Like an actress vying for an Oscar, anguish dripping from my voice, I called for Jeffrey. Of course he came running up the stairs, panic ringing through each step. He saw me, crumpled on the floor, crying for my Oscar (yes, crying. When Jeffrey came up the stairs something in me seemed to explode, and tears and wails erupted) and was immediately by my side. I am pretty sure the tears were for the cake and it surprised me. I think the last time I cried over cake I was probably 8. Jeffrey helped me up and to the bedroom to sit on the bed. Except sitting hurt because, you know, the...top of my leg...

I spent the rest of the day icing my knee which was swelling quite impressively. I didn't sleep well that night (I am a stomach sleeper. That doesn't quite work with an injured knee), but the next morning, I had to take Kip to the doctor as he has pink eye and apparently a mild form of RSV. And Vince has a touch of croup. Apparently. While we were at the doctor's office, I asked if there was anything more I should do for my knee other than icing it. The PA who saw us looked at it, oohed and aaahed over the amount of swelling. She told me to to take some anti-inflammatories (I told her I was taking Plexus Ease and she said that is perfect), keep icing it, and to stay off of it! Because having 5 kids and staying off of my leg with it elevated is such an easy thing to do.

And so, I lamented the fact to Lisa Thomas, who promptly offered to bring me dinner. I told her that wasn't necessary, Jeffrey could do it. She told me to plan on her bringing dinner by anyway. She brought over 2 pizzas (Vince and Keith were over the moon!), and a new birthday cake for Vince! I couldn't believe it. What an incredibly sweet thing for her to do! There was no need for her to do that as Vince had already had 3 opportunities to blow out candles. But oh my goodness, he was one happy little boy! He saw the cake, did his pizza dance, and chanted "Happy birthday! Happy birthday!"

I'm so glad that little dude had a happy birthday weekend. He certainly deserved it.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Chocolate Copping Strategies

I am smitten. Head over heels, never coming back, in love. I mean, it’s been 5 months and life is forever better. Kip is now 5 months old. Can you believe it? He is the happiest, sweetest, little man I have ever met. He is all dimples, and smiles, and sparkling eyes. The giggles, and the way he peeks his head above the bassinet, eyes big and blue smiling up at me absolutely melts my heart.
Today, I woke up with a plan. I was going to get some chores done, actually exercise, and go to the store to get some jelly beans so I can start teaching Vince his colors. It is the easiest and most pain free way I have discovered in teaching the colors. Sorting first, and then saying a color and if they identify it, they get to eat it. No tears! Anyway, my plan. But first, around 9 Kip usually takes a nap. So I held him and rocked him and sang and 11 rolled around and he was still wide awake! He has never stayed awake this long.
I gave up and packed the kids in the car, fully expexting the car ride to put Kip to sleep, but he didnt fall asleep. At all.
He smiled and occasionally fusses. I figured he is teething. This is a face of my teething baby.

Can you believe that smile? This photo was taken around 5 tonight. With no nap from the baby yet. Jeffrey did take him when he got home from work. The thing is, because Kip wouldn’t sleep today, neither did Vince. And Vince was grumpy. As any 1 year old who misses his nap is grumpy.

He did finally go down at 7. As in, down for the night! Im hoping he sleeps all night! Kip, too. For some reason, I feel like I haven’t slept in days. Just emotional exhaustion, of course.
To combat the mental exhaustion, I am doing all kinds of fun things with my hair right now.
Also, I’m combating it by a sweet deal I found at the store. Of course, I had a bit of a scuffle with the cashier over the price. But I won in the end. Only because I was right. The posted price was $4 cheaper than what it rang up. And these chocolates are the ONLY assorted ones can stand. So Keith and I have been enjoying the chocolates while I struggle with the Almost Twins.

And today is my sweet mother’s birthday. We went over yesterday because I had plans today (but they fell through, thank heavens!) She made the most delectable cale ever! I dont like chocolate, and I don’t like cake, but hers was magnificent! Just look at it! Happy Birthday, Mom!

Monday, January 22, 2018

January 12th. The Best Day

Last Friday was an awesome day. It was destined to be great. Every January 12th is. It all started in 2005 when I entered the MTC on that day. Or maybe it was years before that, far away, when my best friend was born, and I just didn’t know it yet. Or, perhaps it was in 2007, when I married the best man I have ever known. Anyway you look at it, though, it is a great day.
After scheming with Adrienne’s husband, we were able to leave the kids and go spend the morning with just us. And Kip, of course. We started out getting pedicures. It was her first time ever getting one, and maybe my third? They have massage chairs, and it was just heaven! I went for sparkly red. My toes now look like the Ruby Slippers from Wizard of Oz.
We then went to a cute little costume jewlery shop and somehow 2 hours disappearsd while we were there. Keith tells me I am the Tyrant of Time. I control it and make it whiz by when he is having fun, and I turn minutes into centuries when he doesn’t want to do something. Apparently it was my fault that time went by so fast for Adrienne and me. We decided to get Korean since neither of us ever had before. It was delicious! I’m not going to attempt to remember what I got, but it had a fried egg on top and was simply scrumptious! The best part of the Korean food experience was the sweet lady who worked there. I honestly felt like I was being served from a friend’s mom from her kitchen. It was just lovely and the server was the sweetest lady ever! I really wish there had been more time to play with Adrienne, though
Unfortunately, by then it was time to go pick up kids from school,take Adrienne home, ...
... and get ready for my hot date with Jeffrey! When he got home from work we took the kids to my parent’s house, and then set off for dinner. We ended up at a local café that has the very BEST scones on the planet.

And then, because of the debacle with my only pair of pants (see the previous post), we went to the store so I could get a new pair.
We aren’t very exciting when it comes to our anniversary. But 11 years! It really doesn’t seem like it’s been that long. What a blessing it has been, though. I love that man more every day. I know it’s cliché to say, but I didn’t know it was possible to love him this much when we got married. He makes me laugh and want ro learn new things every day!

Saturday, January 13, 2018

The Walk (said with foreboding)

Beth wanted to walk to preschool thursday. So we got everyone bunded up, put Kip in the stroller and Minnie in the doll stroller, and we headed out. My plan was for Beth to push it to preschool and it would be amazing in distracting Vince on our walk home. That was my plan.
On the way there, I had to coax Vince away from every rock garden we passed. He wanted to stop and put rocks in his pockets. Because he loves rocks, and he loves his pockets.
Before we left home, I couldn’t find Vince’s coat, so we just left without it. It has been really nice out lately. I rarely wear a coat right now anyway. He was wearing a fuzzy warm sweatshirt, so i figured he’d be warm and it would be fine. Except we were blindsided by the frigid arctic wind that was attempting to freeze us in our boots. After walking a little ways, I decided it was probably too cold for Vince to not have something to help him stay warm. I took my scarf off my neck and wrapped it arouns his head. He looked so sweet and cute!

It took much longer than expected because of our many stops, but in the end we got Beth to preschool and everything was going great. Vince found a rock garden and I said goodbye to Beth with a kiss and a hug. I took the doll stroller from her and gave it to Vince.
And then I decided I wanted to take his picture.
I wanted to get down on his level, right by him and take a great picture. And so I squatted down...
I looked down and my pants had ripped. It was in the thigh area, much less conspicuous than had it been in the back. But still!

And so I snapped that photo, and tried to get Vince to hurdy along. Except he wanted to explore! It took is 45 minutes to get home because of that doll stroller and the sense of freedom Vince found with it! I was happy to let him explore, except I really needed to get home to change my pants! Except he didn’t see the need. There were rocks, and bugs, and leaves, and some people still have decorations up, including Frosty the Snowman who is real and magical, and frustrating because if he has his hat on why won’t he play with me?! Also, my neighbor has big rocks. About the size of a little boy’s torso. Vince got very excited when he saw those. He tried his hardest to lift them up and carry them home. I laughed, and finally had to forcefully carry that tenacious little dude past the house or we would never get home!
My plan did work, though. He was all kinds of tired out, and went right to sleep. And when I went to hang up his coat, it rained rocks snd pebbles down on me. So it was apparently a succesful outing for him as well.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The Eye of the Storm

Yesterday morning I woke up at 6:45 to feed Kip. I picked up my phone, and there was a message from 15 minutes earlier. It was from my mom. Which is incredibly odd, since I often try to call her around 10:30 and she still hasn’t turned her phone back on from the previous night. So the fact that both her phone was on, and she had left me a message was nearly incomprehensible.
She messaged me that Heidi and Genna, my nieces, were going to be passing through on their way to the airport, but were stopping for breakfast, and would I like to come join them?
I got all excited because my nieces and I are tight! More so Heidi and I, but Genna and I go way back, too. I tried to quickly finish feeding Kip, get everyone dressed, and out the door. But oh my goodness, dressing 3 little kids, 4 and under is sometimes a nightmare! Especially when it comes to socks and shoes. Oh my goodness, little kid socks and shoes are my worst nightmare! We can be on schedule for something, even early for it, and it will all be derailed by the lack of shoes!!! Which is exactly what happened yesterday morning. We were running around, looking for jackets and things to put on our feet (and when I say our, I really mean their), and I was beginning to get really frazzled. Frustrated and annoyed that the kids would rather do everything except cooperate. I would find a shoe and go look for its mate when the child would disappear. Or the first shoe. Or I would have both shoes and the child, but then the socks had gone for a walk about. Or someone was poking the baby and making him cry. Or the jackets had all suddenly disappeared from the coat closet, or while I was trying to put shoes on the second child, the first child removed theirs and lost both a sock and a shoe... and the excuses go on and on. So I was really feeling a little crazy and frustrated and on the verge of shouting. Because we all know how well shouting works. (It doesn’t)
Finally. FINALLY!!! We made it out to the van and were on our way. As I was driving down the road, I began to think about why that morning had created such a respons from me, why it had made me feel so crazy. They are just little kids and it should be expected and I really didn’t need to be feeling so frayed or coming unravelled. They were just shoes. And jackets. And I know what herding cats feels like and it shouldn’t feel this chaotic.
As I drove and thought, I thought of a hurricane. Absolute bedlam and turmoil happens with a hirricane, but at the very center there is peace. The eye of the storm is calm and peaceful, ignoring the absolute pandemonium that is literally all around it.
And so, I began to say to myself, “I am the eye of the storm. I am strong. I am stronger than the storm. I am calm. Whatever is happening outside of me does not affect what is happening inside of me. It does not disrupt my tranquility. The storm may rage, or it may go away altogether, but that does not change my inner peace, my inner strength...” I recited something along the lines of that, and several variations on that theme. And then I listened to my scriptures as I drove, so that by the time I reached my parent’s house, I was once again at peace.
{Side note: It was lovely seeing Heidi and Genna. I miss them when they are gone. Genna has been living in HI and CA for the past couple of years, and Heidi has been in IL and GA, and is going to Italy for 3 years! So I spent the whole day at my parent’s house, soaking up time and loving every minute of it. Side note end.}
That little mantra that I started saying to myself yesterday sure came in handy today, though! Vince took upon himself the role of Angel of Destruction. Every time I turned around he had done something new. The day started out so promising, too! It was a gloriously cold and cloudy morning. The kind that puts fog and frost on the windows, and the blankets were so warm and snuggly! It was really hard to leave my little cocoon of toasty softness. After cuddling with the littles and watching some of my favorite cartoons with them (Tiny Toons, y’all!), we finally decided to get up and embrace the drizzly day. I was going to get some mad skills cleaning done!
Except Kip needed to eat. While I was feeding the baby, Vince dumped out a box of cereal. I scolded him and switched Kip to the other side. And Vince found another box of cereal and dumped that one out, too! Once I got the baby to sleep I went into the kitchen to start cleaning and discovered half a bottle of juice had been dumped all over the stove, and floor. I cleaned that up and then started lunch. Leftovers! As I was heating up the spaghetti sauce and cooking some new noodles, quick as a flash, Vince grabbed a half full 4 lb box of baking soda off the counter and dumped it all out.
All of it.
I did not yell. I took a deep breath and began, “I am the eye of the storm. I am strong...”
I am convinced that my new mantra was heaven sent, and is the only reason both my 1 year old, and I survived the day today.
Because “I am stronger than the storm.”

Thursday, January 4, 2018

French Bread and Bedtime Routines

I think I just heard a collective shudder from most parents out there.
It is a blessing and a curse. And the more kids you add into the mix, the more chaotic it gets. Mine range from the ages of 10 years to 3 months. Coordinating everyone’s schedules tends to be rather tumultuous.
Except somehow, last night, I managed to hit the sweet spot.
Dinner was eaten, Keith and Faye cleaned the kitchen while Jeffrey helped Beth do her school time on the computer and I fed, changed, and rocked the baby to sleep. Just as Keith and Faye got ready for bed, the oven beeped and the french bread I had made for dinner but was a bit late to come to the actual meal, finally finished baking.

Keith brought candles into the beautifully cleaned kitchen, I made cocoa, and then we ate crunchy, hot, melt in your mouth french bread with buttery deliciousness all over it while sipping cocoa and I read to them.

I first read Faye’s Harry Potter, and then switched over to Keith’s The Hobbit. When we finished with the books, we had family prayer, they brushed their teeth, and then they went to bed!
Let me repeat that sentence in all its impossible glory. They went to bed!
I couldnt believe it but was so excited and happy about the whole thing. I found the secret, Reader!
Except then I discovered that Beth and Vince were still awake. I tried every trick I knew with them. Singing, reading, softly talking, etc. They didn’t go to bed until 10:00. I was NOT amused.
And then tonight, I focused on Vince and Beth first, so Faye came barging into my room (where I was struggling to get the other two to sleep) around 9:30, 9:45, and 10:05. She didn’t want to sleep.
Do you remember not wanting to sleep? I stay up because I have to, not because I want to. Right now I am feeding a baby and figured I could multitask at the same time and accomplish my daily writing.
But back to my point. Yes, Beth and Vince were once again still awake at 10. I have a lot to work on with those two, apparently.
Maybe one day I will figure out how to get all the kids down for the night at their proper and respective bedtimes.