Thursday, January 29, 2009

Applications Elsewhere...

Asa spends a whole lot of time upstairs playing with his Legos... I mean a WHOLE lot of time. (Enough time that his Grandparents would all stop commenting on how they have too many Legos if they only could see the enormous benefits of said activities on, say, me, but I digress...)
He builds houses, spaceships, aliens, various cars and contraptions, some which have been mentioned in this blog in the past. Well, recently he has brought back out the "big legos" and made a monster of a house. Yesterday, he came running down the stairs and informed me that he was creating the notes to his Suzuki violin song "Lightly Row". He didn't quite get finished, but he has most of the song standing up on his Lego table. I promised him I would take a picture of it to show to Ms. Becca, so here it is...

He has three rows....

Lightly Row has been conquered, so "Song of the Wind", here we come!

(Ha! I just noticed Addison's toes on the ladder.)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Joe Cool

If it were up to Asa, he would wear his skeleton shirt to school every day of the week. He loves this shirt. So, when I told him to pick out his own clothes the other morning, it was no surprise that he came down donning his glow-in-the-dark bones. For some reason, he was particularly attached to the gray hat (wore it all. day. long) and the combination was just adorable to me.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Who's That Girl?

As the last three months have gone by, I have realized that although exclusive nursing has had many many perks, it's downfall is the inability for anyone else to spend a lot of quality Ivey-time. This has created, well, a bit of a monster. A cute monster, but a monster never-the-less. Ivey is a funny little creature whom I have gotten to know very well. But, as time passes it occurs to me that I may actually want to be away from her for more than two hours at some point in the first year of her life. So far, she tends to accept new people fairly poorly. I take that back, she accepts them fine, as long as they don't actually mess with her! Most of the time, unless she is well rested and has a full tummy, she bursts in to tears if anyone other than her immediate family looks into those beautiful blue eyes. We shall work on this... But, until we are successfully independent from Mommy (aka the milk machine), I will provide you with a run down of what I have learned about this funny little girl.

Ivey loves mornings. We are very blessed to wake up on a regular basis to wide grins and kicking legs. She adores mornings, which makes me able to tolerate mornings a little better myself. She loves to be held, but only if she can see over your shoulder. Sure, it's nice to be toted from place to place, but isn't life a journey rather than a destination? A car without windows is no fun... she'd rather hang out the window like a golden retriever with its tongue flapping in the wind (or licking your shirt as the case may be). She enjoys lots of personal attention, but really likes it if she is laying down, in the crook of your leg, in her bouncy seat, or in a swing. I really think she likes her independence. I swear this girl is just dying to sit, crawl, stand, etc all on her own. She makes a very impressive attempt at sitting up from a reclined position, like she's working on her abs of steel.

She stays perfectly happy watching her mobile (the best mobile on Earth... the boys adored it also) long enough for me to bathe, put on make-up, fix my hair... the whole 9 yards. If she's not watching her mobile while I bathe, she's n the bathroom sitting in her bouncy seat with some toys... and I swear she gets cracked up when bathtime is over and she sees a big tall person stand up out of a very tiny tub. She smiles every time.

During the day she loves her swing, where she has taken more than a few naps in her day. Recently, she sat for over an hour and watched me dismantle our ice maker and replace the motor... which must have been fairly entertaining but never actually resulted in ice. When I do dishes, she sits in the swing or her bouncy seat and plays with various toys, or watches her brothers act like crazed monkeys all around her.

Ivey is utterly smitten with me (or should I say "udderly"), but she also has a particular fondness for and tolerance of Asa and Addison. I guess we are the three people who spend all day long with her. She will watch them both and follow them around the room with her eyes. Either she is highly entertained by them, or she already knows that she'd better keep a close eye on them.

Sleepiness is pretty easy to read, with its tell-tale eye rubbing and fussiness, but hunger is a little tougher. She sucks on her hands constantly, far preferring them to her pacifier. I've never had a thumb-sucker, but I think we just may this time. When she's going to sleep, she usually spits out the paci and comforts herself with her hands. At least she can't lose them. (I've found that she'd more likely to take the paci if you hold it back and show it to her first, putting it to her mouth slowly... who knows, maybe this way she thinks the whole thing was her idea!) If she's tired, she'll usually fight sleep for a little while before giving in. But, you can tell if the cry is a winding-down-losing-the-fight cry or a totally-furious-for-being-in-this-bed angry cry. That last cry isn't gonna lead to anything but ringing ears and a soaked mattress from when she gets herself so upset she pukes. The other cry will usually fade pretty quickly. Lately, she has stopped fighting it so much and actually has seemed relieved when she is put down. I hope that becomes a trend! When she eats, she has started to make it play-time, with lots of poking her head around my shirt and grinning. This totally cracks Asa and Addison up, which I'm sure eggs her on. I also can't help but smile back when I see that cute little grin and that very-proud-of-herself look on her face.

At the moment, Ivey's favorite toys include:

-musical flowers with crinkly petals that she loves to touch and make noises with
- a little yellow duck that is supposed to hang from her carseat but she prefers grabbing and pulling its little beak into her mouth, leading to the often repeated joke, "Look, we're having chicken for dinner but Ivey's having duck!"
-Her "wubanub", which is actually a paci which is sewn to a purple stuffed frog
-What I call the "atomic duck", which is a common yellow duckie with colored rubber hose things coming out of it and looping back into it... it looks like some kind of model atom... very bizarre, but fun to chew on. Addison called the thing "gross".

When Ivey's upset, you cannot look at her in the face. It will only escalate things to a whole new level of loud. My suggestion, either put her in a swing with some music or put her high on your shoulder and walk around to rooms with impressive light fixtures or fans if you got 'em. Walking outside may help. Honestly, when she totally spirals, I am able to magically reboot her system with a nursing session... no help to anyone else. Oh, and if you are holding her, don't try to yell to someone across the room. She startles pretty easy and then you have to convince her that something isn't seriously threatening her life. Believe me, it's happened more than once. I don't remember if the boys did this, but she gets very scared at times.

She usually gets a kick out of lying on the bed with me standing over her, waving my hair back and forth lower and lower until it touches her face. She anticipates it and gets so excited. Biiig thrills. If I don't do it she unlocks her gaze with my eyes and stares right at my head. Ivey's just gotten to the point where she laughs at peek-a-boo. Not when I cover her eyes, but when I hide behind my hands and pop out. She can anticipate it now and, when she's in the right mood, she finds it pretty hilarious. Another thing that is sure to get smiles... a loud, exaggerated kissy noise. She loves stripping down for a diaper change, kicking around with no diaper on, and she absolutely adores baths. She isn't a long napper, but she is completely exhausted by 9:30 at night and will sleep soundly all night long. Once she's out for the night, she's out until at least 6:00. Her belly may wake her up at 6 or 7am, but we both lay down, she nurses, and we both fall right back to sleep. I get up and leave her there... and she usually is fast asleep until 8:30 or 9:00. That's my girl.

Now, this description might paint a pretty clear picture of Miss Ivey, but in actual practice, to give her to another human is pretty likely to result in an explosion of quivery mouths and a very loud, chipmunk like cry. We'll start small, with Daddy keeping the three kids for a few hours on Sunday while I go to a photo shoot. Hopefully, we can convince our little darling to chill out before the grandparents, and all others who can't wait to get their hands on her, lose their rose-colored confidence in keeping her... so we might be able to make it out for a few hours!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Lookin' Out My Backdoor

Years ago, Asa and Addison collected sticks and rocks and other various yard trash and created "The Beaver Dam". This was a big pile of junk right in the back yard between the cedar trees, where no grass grows. They have played at "The Beaver Dam" ever since. Over time, the name has been less associated with the pile of sticks (which has been removed and re-removed over the years) and more associated with that particular spot.

So, on this very cold day, Asa and Addison bundled up to go play at the Beaver Dam. I have no idea what they are making or digging up or burying, but it sure looks like fun.

And it just so happens that the Crepe Myrtles right behind it offer a great vantage point for Addison to grab one of his various dart guns and stake out the scene.

Friday, January 16, 2009

An "Any Day"

I have been asked "how do you do it". For those with a bunch of kids, they know. For the rest, here is a description of my day today/week. For better or worse, this is how I do it.

It's about 7:45 or so. Still asleep, I hear the sounds of Addison playing his Leapster in the living room and Asa attempting to pour cereal... sounds like flakes of some kind... maybe Raisin Bran? It sounds like he is pouring too much but I'm very tired and the risk of wasting some cereal does not outweigh the benefit of an extra 15 or so minutes of sleep. It's a teacher work day of some flavor... so there's no need to actually get up. Had it been an actual school day I would have still laid there for another 15-20 minutes anyway, nursed a baby, polished the boys' cereal attempt, threw some clothes down the stairs for them, packed fairly healthy fairly appealing lunches, put shoes on over my fuzzy house socks, packed Ivey in her carrier, made sure homework was in the bookbags and made it out the door in about 35 minutes... enough time to get the boys to the church/school right down the road by 9:00am. But, today was not a school day. I let myself fall back into my semi-conscious sleep state... the only sleep state I've had since giving birth five and a half years ago. I swear I know the goings on of everything in every room of the house in my sleep.

I have Ivey in the cosleeper beside the bed. At around 8:15 I hear her stirring and I roll her out of her bed and into mine. I nurse her while lying on my side. She eats, I sleep. I wake up and she is finished eating and asleep beside me. I roll her onto my tummy and burp her... keeping me still in a lying/sleeping position. Ahh... every minute counts.

I finally emerge from the bed and change Ivey. Sure enough, Asa has poured too much cereal, not Raisin Bran but Cranberry Almond Crunch. For the most part, they like to eat their cereal dry. Asa spots me and acts as if he has poured the bowl for me... "Do you want some, Mom?" Sure. Bonus. But, I never actually eat it.

I change Ivey's diaper and explain to the boys that there is no school today. It is absolutely freezing outside, 25 I think, and the house is cold. I check the thermostat... 59. I turn on the heater in the dining room and the oven, cracking it to at least help the kitchen get warm. I put Ivey in her seat with some toys and make a caramel cappuccino. Ahhh... my espresso machine. The best darn appliance in my kitchen. I see from the kitchen that Asa and Addison are playing a very loud game of chess in the living room floor. It seems they had made a deal. Addison played a pretend game of "kitty" (where they pretend to be cats and do various cat things... like climb trees and meow and have kitten under the table) in order for Asa to then play chess with Addison. Asa must be trying to bow out half way through the game. By this point I am checking my email as I listen. I yell for them to work it out nicely, which they do.

I get the diapers out of the dryer, stuff the inserts as needed and lay them out into nice neat little stacks. Then, I rotate the laundry. Asa and Addison help me by going upstairs and throwing down all the clothes from the hamper, then transporting them to the utility room (or "tizzity" room as they say it. Makes it sound hip-hop. Meet me in the tizz-ity room. I chuckle to myself at the sound of it). After the laundry session, they ask me if they can help some more. I had just taught them how to load the dishwasher with dirty dishes, so I thought I would let them put the clean ones away. Their eyes lit up at the idea. They took turns standing on the counter while the other handed them the dishes. Honestly, what's the worst that could happen. A broken dish or two... maybe a fall off the counter. Both of those have happened before and we lived through it just fine. Unless someone broke a dish and hit a jugular, I think they'll be fine. I fold laundry on my bed as I listen to the progress in the kitchen. Ivey is on the bed with me watching the fan.

In a little while, I hear a loud crash. It wasn't all that loud, but it was definitely an incident of some type. I came in and Asa was extremely upset. Shaking. I looked around and nothing seemed broken, no blood. Asa had fallen off of the counter and landed in the dishwasher, on some plates and whatnot. He wasn't hurt, but he was so shaken up about the whole thing that he was sobbing and apologizing over and over. I gave him a big hug and told him it was fine and he continued. He kept on and on about how sorry he was and how he was in big trouble. It scared him and it took me a long time to convince him that I wasn't angry in the least. Eventually, Addison had something cool to look at and Asa moved on.

I ran around the house doing various chores and then it was time to feed Ivey. Every. Three. Hours. After that, I started the Pink Panther that I had Tivo'd and took Ivey into the bathroom and put her in her bouncy seat while I took a shower. Okay, so we don't have an actual shower yet, but I took my sitting-pseudo-shower that I do in our little tub. Believe it or not, I got in and out of the "shower" in enough time to put MAKE UP on and actually fix my hair before the Pink Panther ended. I packed a diaper bag, got everyone dressed and we went off to run errands in the 30 degree weather.

I told Asa and Addison that we had some errands to run but if they were good for me we could go to Chick-fil-A and play on the playground for lunch. Well, it was lunch time, so we hit it first. Turns out, it was "receipt day" where you keep today's receipt and get the entire meal free if you bring the receipt in before the end of February. Sweet. We eat and then the boys play while I feed Ivey. I talk to a grad student who is watching her niece and nephew for her single-mom sister who has a doctor's appointment. I have a nice conversation about public health and then I give the boys the five minute warning. I learned early on that as long as I let them know how much longer they had before we needed to leave, they wouldn't be upset about having to go. So, I give the arbitrary 5 minute, 3 minute, 1 minute countdown. They took their socks off even though they know they aren't supposed to. I know it is because they were climbing up the slide, think about how I would want to take mine off too if I were climbing up a slide, and say nothing to them about it. Socks, shoes, refills on drinks and then out the door.

Next stop, Old Navy. They were having a huge online sale and I bought some things for the kids and myself. For some reason, I went temporarily insane and ordered a pair of pants that wouldn't even go past my thighs. The boys brought their Leapsters into the store and played them while I made my return. Then, I walked them back so I could shop the extra 50% off already reduced clearance items sale. I let them sit behind some clothes and play Leapster while I shopped... moving them to a different display as I moved isle to isle. I grinned as people walked by them, not noticing the feet sticking out of the line of coats.

After Old Navy we went to the mall, yes, the mall. I forgot my stroller and Ivey was asleep, so I need to carry that heavy carrier into the mall. Ahh wait. I am returning a 5x8 rug to JCPenney. What to do, what to do. After a few minutes of pondering, I asked the boys for help. I carried Ivey in her carrier and the diaper bag while the boys grabbed each end of the rolled up rug. The four of us, rug in tow, made our way to the door. We must have looked hilarious because the man coming out laughed pretty hard. We returned the rug and then went shopping around for a present for Cameron's birthday party. Again, I had no stroller so I had to carry Ivey through the mall. Asa wanted to go on an escalator, so we hit the one in JCPenney. Addison was a bit nervous. He has had a couple uneasy episodes with escalators recently. Once, we were at the top of a big one and all stepped on. After a few feet I realized Addison had chicken out and was still at the top. I tried to fly back up but to no avail. I would have tried harder but didn't want to leave Asa standing at the bottom... what to do! I ended up having to ride to the bottom, keeping an eye on him the whole time and then Asa and I rode back up the other one to go get him. Another time, Addison somehow slipped and busted his lip. It sounds more exciting than it was, but he blames the escalator anyway.

We end up walking the entire length of the mall, finding nothing for Cameron. I have to stop very often to switch arms for the baby carrier. Too heavy for such a walk. We make our way back through JCPenney, pick up my curtains from the catalogue desk and Asa manages to carry them for me to the van. As we load it into the car I realize that I need to change Ivey's diaper. I make up a song, as if sung by Ivey herself, about her poopy diaper. They erupt in laughter. I continue with my hilarity only to push Asa over the edge. He laughed so hard that he wet himself. Mom just can't help it. She just had to whoop out the funny. I had no extra clothes but came up with a temporary solution. Then, Addison says that he has to pee. He didn't tell us this when we were in the mall, no. He waited until he made it all the way to the car and strapped in. I was about to sacrifice his leftover lemonade in order to use his cup but Asa volunteered his. I hold the cup as Addison goes... um... in the cup, IN the CUP, IN THE CUPPPPPP!! For some reason, Addison was having some control issues. So, my hand, his shoes, and everything in a 12-18" radius got sprayed. I took a deep breath, mumbled something to myself and wiped everything off. I have other errands to run, but we decide to go home, exhausted.

Once home, Asa and Addison swing each other around the foyer floor with a jumprope while I, you guessed it, feed Ivey. I then answer emails that should have been answered days ago, think about filling Ellen and Bethany's picture orders, and then decide to procrastinate on that because they are my friends and they will understand. I put up a bunch of items on Ebay, called and booked the restaurant for Jen's bridal shower, looked up fabrics for Kierstin's baby carrier, and confirmed dates for two photo shoots. I'm sure I called mom about six times because, well, I always call mom about six times. Then, Asa and Addison show me their fabulous Lego house they made... two story with tables and chairs and a train running right through the middle. Make a mental note about how brilliant my children are.

I ask the boys to help me install roman shades, curtains and valances in the living room. Asa feeds the valances onto rods as I pre-drill the holes. Then, Addison helps him make a "cave" in the corner of the room using all of the boxes and packaging that I have discarded, along with all the Lincoln Logs, the window sill and a throw blanket. Because of this "cave", I was only able to hang two roman shades. I was able to complete one of the window treatments, another window has the shade hung, and the support system for the cave was left untouched.

Fed Ivey.

Jeff came home at 7:30 and I was fixing dinner. I buzzed around him as he visibly struggled to stop the conversations in his head. His blank gaze and motionless stance made me feel like I was on fast forward around him. I would ask for him to hand me things out of the refrigerator, asking two more times in different pitches until one cracks through. He hands me what I need, on auto-pilot. Realizing that he was not actually home from work, I called for Asa and Addison to pitch in setting the table. The three of them managed quite well, although sometimes Jeff would get lost between the fridge and the table by stopping to either check his Facebook account or play air-piano. Eventually, dinner was finished and mostly ready to eat. I stand by the table as we say blessing so that everyone else can go ahead and eat while I keep working. I quickly make tea, pour milk for the kids and bring Ivey's mobile into the dining room so she can watch it while we eat. I sit. Wait. Napkins. Okay... I sit again. Wow. I just realize that I have eaten two whole meals today. That may be this week's record.

As we eat, I realize it is way later than it should be. We get up from dinner and head straight up stairs. I nurse Ivey and try to get her in bed while Jeff brushes the boys' teeth and gets them into PJ's. Asa comes into Ivey's room and gets his hugs and kisses. Addison comes in and decides that he can wait until I am finished and I come into his room to get them. About fifteen minutes later, still nursing, I head Addison call from his room. "Mommmmmmmmy". I say nothing. Then again, "Mommmmmmmy". He continues this at 17 second intervals for a solid 8 minutes. Now, he will come all the way down the stairs when he should be in bed just to ask me who the president of China is, but tonight, he lays there and yells my name. Not responding, I realize that dinner is no doubt still on the table. At this point, I start to feel overwhelmed and tired. All the plates and food and butter and tea and pots and just down there waiting for me. I welled up to cry but then Addison altered the pitch of his voice with his "Mommmmmmy" and it made me laugh a little.

I lay Ivey down and she cries. I go tuck Addison in, which is all he wants. Then, I go back to Ivey. Eventually, I get her settled down and head downstairs to confirm my speculation on dinner. No fairies here.

I quickly move into hyper-mode and clean up. Jeff must feel guilty as he types his email because he got up to help. Then, I continue at the same speed through more laundry and a quick clean up of each room. I have piles and piles of folded laundry that I still need to put away. It is almost 1am. Really, I might as well stay up and get it done because my little Ivey doesn't nap for any length of time during the day.

Unlike a lot of weeks, this week has been particularly productive. I think the lack of organization around here is getting to me.

On Monday, I put shelves in the space about the fridge, organized the crafts that were thrown up there and then Asa and I made curtains and hung them in the front. I also installed a shelf at the top of the upstairs closet and covered the back of the empty panes in our Butler's pantry, hiding all of my crap that has been out for the world to see. Oh yeah, and I painted the window trim in the living room.

On Wednesday, I took the boys to school and immediately went to work taking everything, I mean EVERYTHING out of the "tizzity room". Once it was empty, I took down the broken light and measured the 8' x 15" strip of missing ceiling. I found a piece of thin plywood in the shop and ripped it on the table saw. I found the jigsaw and cut out a hole for the light box. I patched the hole... the gaping hole... the hole that the cat had found and managed to routinely jump up through in order to climb across the ceilings, coming out in the storage room. After that, I measured the room and went to Home Depot with three kids. The man in the store thought I was an absolute lunatic as I tried to figure out what shelving system to go with. He thought I was even crazier as I had him help me pick out a fluorescent light for me to install. His face said... "Her poor husband". I think he expected me to royally screw something up. Well, screw something up I did.... I screwed up a bunch of shelves. I also installed a new light, which actually comes on when I flip the switch. Once the shelves were up I organized everything that was lying on the deck (it really looked like a yard sale out there) and ended with a whole new room. A whole new organized room with a whole new LIGHT... and no hole in the ceiling.

Now, it is Friday. Actually, it is Saturday by this point. Jeff's asleep on the couch, the kids are all dreaming dreams of kitties and Star Wars and, well, boobies. And, after I put away these clothes and make room on my bed... I hope to get a little sleep myself. Maybe the way to install a new ice-maker motor will come to me in my dream...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Ivey Updates and Diaper Talk

Ivey is now 14 1/2 weeks old... or 3 months and a week. She is doing wonderfully, is now 12 pounds and sleeping like a log (at night, at least)!

When she first came home, she was eating every 2-3 hours during the day. At night, I would let her sleep until she woke up to eat, which usually happened every 4 hours or so. In no time at all, she stretched this to 5 hours and then by mid November she was sleeping up to 6 hours at night! Now, she still eats every 3 hours during the day (currently it's around 7:30, 10:30, 1:30, 4:30, 7:30, then one more sometime between 9 and 11 or so) and then I put her to bed for the night. She sleeps all the way until 7:30 and then we start all over again. This morning, she scared the blazes out of me because I fed her and put her to bed by 10:00 and at 8:00am I woke up and realized I had not heard a single peep from her all night. Usually, she whines a little at about 2am and needs to have her back patted a little until she goes back to sleep. Last night, NOTHING. I turned on the video monitor and she wasn't moving one bit so I flew up the stairs. That little girl was so sound asleep... at 8:15 I had to wake her up!

This time around is so much different than last time. Having only one gives me the ability to be flexible. She usually starts the day off eating at about 7:30, but sometimes it's 6:30 and sometimes (like today) it was 8:30. We just play things by ear and ease things back on track... no need to fret about how long we'll be gone to run errands because we don't use bottles at all. It's very nice.

The cloth diapering is going very well. I actually enjoy it, believe it or not. There is a certain satisfaction at having a itty bit in tow through the grocery store and not even needing to go down the "baby needs" isle. She makes it all night long with a FuzziBunz, stuffed with its FuzziBunz insert along with either a LoopyDoo Insert or a Kissaluvs Booster Doubler. The combo works very well. I have also used a DryBee diaper at night, which is a all-in-one hybrid. I just stuff it with either the LoopyDoo or Kissaluvs doubler and we haven't had a single leak. During the day, we alternate between various brands. At first, when she was tiny, I didn't like the FuzziBunz very much. They went up to her nipples! But, now they are one of my favorites. The BumGenius are great, but the One Size style are still a bit bulky. They will be excellent when she gets bigger, though. The only ones I haven't been all that thrilled with are the Happy Heinys. They work fine, but compared to the Drybees, BumGenius and FuzziBunz, they leak more often. Man, do I sound silly.

Asa and Addison both have frequent night time accidents. I can't really get mad- I mean, how on earth do you teach kids to wake up when they have to go? They do strip their sheets on their own and put the wet clothes and such in the utility room to be washed. It finally hit me that it was ridiculous to be washing cloth diapers for Ivey but buying pullups for Asa and Addison. Now, I have big cloth pull-ups that I can stuff with a big BumGenius One Size insert for them. They're like underwear, but can hold it all in if there is an accident. I was hoping it would wake them up better than the pullups (or underwear in Addison's case, that boy will sleep all night in a wet bed, undies and clothes), but it doesn't seem to. So far, I've been pleased with the StarBunz SuperUndies.

Back to Miss Ivey. Honestly, the girl cracks me up. First of all, she is a total momma's girl. She is just completely smitten with me, and although it is tiring... I do love it. She is laughing now, which is hi-lar-ious. Even though she sleeps great at night, her napping needs some work. She hasn't fallen into the two-nap-schedule, so about an hour after each feeding she gets fussy and takes a cat nap. Her cat naps are usually only 20-45 minutes. That doesn't leave momma much time to get things done! She absolutely lvoes taking a bath, and screams like crazy when she gets out and we dry her off. Diaper changes are fun to her. As soon as that diaper comes off the legs start kicking and she gives big ol' grins! She started drooling a few weeks ago. She's not quite as drooly as Addison was, but she's working on it. I guess she is gearing up to teath. One thing that she has started doing this week is pulling her abs like she is doing a crunch when she's reclined. It is completely obvious that she wants to sit up all by herself. Under that soft belly must be some serious ab muscles because she's gotten pretty good at it. I may have myself an eary crawler/walker on my hands!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Boys are Funny.

I have never owned a Creepy Crawly maker. Easy Bake Oven? Sure. I liked bugs and could catch them like crazy all day long, but I never understood the fascination with any toy that was slimy. I didn't like goop of any variety. I don't eat gummy worms, although gummy bears are completely acceptable. The thought of taking slimy goop and dripping it into molds only to have little wiggly pointless fake bugs looked, well, pointless.

Well, such things obviously are not pointless to my (three) boys. Asa and Addison got a Creepy Crawly maker for Christmas. It was a Star Wars edition and came with some Star Wars molds. The boys were excited, but honestly, not as excited as Jeff. Jeff wasn't that interested int he Star Wars molds, but got online in search of bigger, better, crazier ones. He was looking for bugs, but quickly realized there was a big wide Ebay world out there full of Creepy Crawly molds of all kinds. He started seeing molds that created pieces that you put together... and then he saw it... the mother of all mold sets... the Mini-Dragon molds. They are from 1967. At that time it was called the Creepy Crawly Thingmaker... and it was anything but safe. It was basically a hot plate with nothing between the kids and hot metal. And, those kids were better for it.

Jeff waited anxiously as his package made it across the country. It came by on Friday, but we weren't home to sign for it. Much to his dismay, I missed the Post Office on Saturday. He had to WAIT until MONDAY. Ug. He wasn't happy. But, today was the magical day! I went and picked up the unimpressive package. Asa and Addison were instructed to wait for Jeff to get home before they played with it, but we did open the package. A bunch of metal plates with silly parts.

I swear I think Jeff only left work at a decent hour because of his new toy. He and the boys sat at the table and made dragons all night. They picked the parts they wanted to use and decided on their colors. They ate dinner while they worked. I brushed their teeth and put their pajamas on while Jeff cooked the goop. I must say, when it was all over even I was impressed. There stood a funny little dragon equipt with glow in the dark eyes. The boys loved it, but I still think Jeff loved it more.

Actually, Asa and Addison went to bed two hours ago and Jeff is still up making dragons. He may be up all night, who knows. I'm counteracting this with Cyndi Lauper. Boy are funny.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

White Lie = Red Bottom

Addison has developed a bad habit. The boy lies. He lies about stupid things that he wouldn't even be in trouble for. He is also very quick on his feet about it.

I think his first lies centered around video game playing. For a while, he would bawl and cry whenever he would lose. We responded each time by explaining that it was ridiculous to cry over a game and promptly turning it off. We aren't really "boys don't cry" people (at least I'm not) but Addison does seem to have a set of overactive tear ducts. When it is for ridiculous reasons, he gets removed from the situation. No Nintendo. Well, at some point he and Jeff were playing some game and Addison lost. We noticed the tears welling up in his eyes. We asked him if he was crying... "No... some water just fell in my eye." He explained. He had no idea how water fell in his eye, but it must have... because it's not like he was crying or anything. Jeff and I grinned a little grin at each other and kept playing. Perhaps if we knew it was the beginning of a series of lies we would have acted on it.

Addison has been getting in trouble for lying for weeks now. He has received a couple spankings and some serious conversations about becoming a better person, growing up to be a good man, being trustworthy, etc. Well, it must all fall on def ears. On Monday, I was upstairs and happened to notice a pair of underwear sticking out from underneath the upstairs bathroom cabinet (which is on legs). As I pulled them out, I noticed there was another pair... and another... and another. Six pair of dirty underwear shoved under the cabinet. Now, Addison has a problem with keeping in the poo until he actually reaches the toilet. I do get on to him, but he would never, say, get a spanking for it. I find it absurd but figure there may be some sort of developmental issue going on? Anyway, there were six pair of underwear shoved under there. I was not a happy camper.

I called Addison upstairs and his face dropped as he entered the bathroom. I explained to him that a) this is gross and b) this is a lie. Everytime he shoved another pair under there instead of letting me know, putting them in the dirty clothes hamper and getting a clean pair, he was lying. He got a spanking before school. I tried to make a huge point of how he can easily turn a new leaf and stop this bad habit. I thought it was a good talk... well...

Today, two days later, Addison was eating grits for breakfast before school. I asked him to try not to spill any grits on his shirt (he is a notorious sloppy eater). Well, I noticed that Addison was not in his seat and heard someone trying to lock the very high lock in the bathroom. I opened the door to find Addison on a stool. "Why are you trying to lock the door?" I asked him. He just looked at me. I asked in a different way. "Why are you on the stool?" He looked at me with a very transparent look and quickly replied, "I was trying to see if there were any ants on top of the mirror." Now, this is one of those situation where I really should have disciplined the heck out of the kid. Instead, the ant comment totally threw me off and I was just focusing on NOT laughing. I asked him once more... slowly... and he took back the totally logical ant comment and replaced it with "I was trying to clean the grits off my shirt". He knows darn well that he wouldn't be in TROUBLE for spilling the grits on his shirt. I wouldn't be happy necessarily, but he wouldn't be in TROUBLE. I mean, really? Grits on the shirt?? Again, I should have done more, considering, but I decided to explain the deeper consequences of lying... my bad.

After school today, they both got in the car. Asa said, "I'm really sorry mom, but I threw away my lunch container". I like to keep the Lunchable containers and replace the little sections with actual meat and actual cheese. I told him that was no problem at all, don't worry about it, we can get some more next time we go to the store. I thanked him for telling me. Then, I explained to them both that it would be silly for Asa to have said, "Umm... a bird came and picked up my container with its beak and flew off!" or "Logan liked my container and wore it home as a hat!" And how the lie would have gotten him in huge trouble, but the truth was perfectly fine. Sometimes the truth does get you in trouble, but lies are always worse. Always.

Tonight, Addison was watching a movie on my portable DVD player. I sat in the room for a little while as he quietly watched and listened to it on his headphones. I had been going on for a very long time. I had asked him a few times how much longer it would be and he kept telling me that it was almost over. In the silence, I heard a little click. I went over, pulled his headphones away from his ears and asked him if he was pushing Rewind. He said "No". I gave him that momma-knows-everything look and he changed his answer. "Yes". What on earth am I going to do with this kid. I had to put a very cranky Ivey to bed, so I left Jeff with the spanking duty. This child got his butt worn out. I cringed from upstairs. I hate spankings. I don't believe in never giving them, but I don't like giving them one bit and I let the boys both know that if I have to do it. I tell them "I don't like doing this at all and I really wish you wouldn't do things to make me spank you." Ug.

After all was said and done, he came upstairs to get teeth brushed, pj's on and tucked in. I decided to adopt my mother's approach to punishment and gave him an open-ended tv, video game, and Leapster restriction. (I was never grounded for "a week" or "a month" like my friends. I was always just told that I was grounded and was stuck until mom thought it should be over... which was always a very long time). I took it all away and explained to him that we would not be able to believe him for a while. He cannot be trusted and he would have to earn back that trust. I remember that really sucking... but maybe not at five years old? I know I heard that as a pre-teen or teenager and it was miserable... because my mom really meant it and had to seriously go a long time before she trusted anything that came out of my abnoxious little mouth. At five, he may not totally get it, but I'm sure he will as I express this lack of trust in the upcoming days or weeks.

Now, I'm off to put all of the remotes on top of the cabinets.

Monday, January 5, 2009

A Day With Anna

This morning, I got a call that our friends Kiersten and Jeff were having an emergency cesarean. I helped them get in touch with Ellen, who headed towards Athens to visit them at the hospital. Anna came to our house and rode with me to pick the boys up from school. Needless to say, Asa and Addison were very surprised to see her!

We spent the day playing, singing and getting dirty. Anna borrowed a play shirt and a pair of tennis shoes and the three of them played in the dirt and climbed trees. When they came in, I set up Little People plastic animals throughout their room. The three of them went on a Safari from the top bunk, hunting for the animals with Nerf dart guns. They had a blast.

After we met Ellen for dinner and said our goodbyes, we came home and got ready for bed. Asa, Addison and I straightened up Ivey's room, putting the boys' old baby toys in her basket. In the jumble of toys was a small plastic book with pictures in it. It had a rhyme on each page beginning with "God Bless..."

There was a page for Daddy, Mommy, Grandparents... and then the last page was for friends. On it was a picture of Anna, probably a year old or less.

"God Bless (followed by the picture of Anna)

A friend is someone special
who shares the things you do.
And when you need a hand to hold
a friend is there for you.

We had a great day with Anna, as we have had many great days with her in the past. I am very thankful for the friends that we all have... and thankful that I know friends like Anna will be with Asa and Addison always.

Friday, January 2, 2009

My logical Addison

The boys have spent the last few days with the grandparents. When this happens, we inevitably get phone calls describing whatever hilarity is going on over there. This time, it seems to be my Addison that is cracking them up.

1) Granddaddy as picking pecans from the cracked shells. He had the box of pecans on the counter. Asa had pulled up the stool and was standing on it to help. Addison also wanted to help out, so he squeezed himself on the stood next to Asa. Somehow, Addison's foot slipped and he fell over, with one leg right in the trashcan. After the commotion, Addison asked what Granddaddy would have done if he had actually fallen into the trashcan. "Well" Randy answered, "I guess I would have had to bundle you up with the trash and throw you out." Addison looked at him and replied, "Why don't you just lift me out? I think that would be a much better idea".

2) At Randy and Linda's house, the boys usually get a piece of Dove chocolate after dinner (lucky kids!). After dinner and their dessert they had a bath. When bath time was over, Granddaddy was rough housing with Addison on the couch, no doubt ticking the fire out of the kid. Granddaddy pretended to nibble on his toes and asked, "Do you know what's sweeter than little toes right out the bath?" The answer- "Little toes that just had Dove chocolate!"
"Well," Addison answered... "They would be even sweeter if I had another piece."
Good try, Addison.