Saturday, August 27, 2011


Last night, while Addison was at Aikido, Asa and the girls curled up on my bed to watch a movie.  At first, they didn't curl up and lie down.  There was a lot of giggling, a lot of jumping, and a total destruction of my freshly made bed.  After a while, Asa stepped out of the room and exclaimed,  "You know what?! Ivey and Olive think I'm AWESOME!"  He went on to explain how hilarious they think he is, as well as how they flock to him when he comes near.  He was truly eating it up.  "I'm the big kid to them and they think I'm great."  That they do, Asa.  That, they do.

Ivey's First Haircut

Ivey had her first haircut!  (Just a little trim, actually.)  Luckily for us, she was fairly tolerant of the idea.  It takes her a while to warm up... to just about anything.  She's definitely two, but between some fun decor, a Leapster, some silly antics on my part, and a nice hairdresser, glitter spray... oh, and a cookie at the end... we managed pretty well!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


I never had a sister.  Honestly, I don't ever remember wishing I had one.  It seemed like two females in the family was plenty.  Maybe it's because my mom and I talked so well.  Maybe it's because I didn't want the competition.  I never really thought about it.  Now that I have two sisters whose gap between them is the same time as Jeff and my whirlwind first-date-to-wedding-day time frame of 16 months, I see things a little differently.  They may kill each other.  They may compete and fight and I may have so much drama in my house that I will want to sleep in a pop-up camper in the driveway one day.  But, having a sister might just be worth all that.

Lately, Olive has been so much more verbal.  She can tell us what she wants.  She can sign more signs than any of the other kids.  She can tell us when she is tired, or when she has a diaper rash, or if she wants ice in her juice.  She can also communicate a little better with Ivey.  The two of them have been playing a lot better lately... and I can easily see how small that gap between them really is.  They wear the same clothes, the same shoes a lot of the time.  They make each other laugh... They drive each other nuts.  I think it's the beginning of a beautiful sisterhood that I enjoy being able to witness.

Tonight, Ivey was in bed, crying... which seems to be the norm now.  She is still stuck on this "being scared" thing, although I'm pretty sure that, at this point, she is addicted to the drama of the whole thing.  Mommy don't play that.  Tonight, I decided to try something different.  Ivey was in her bed, trying to stifle back her cries (she wants to be a "big girl" and they don't cry every time you go to bed).  I looked at her, picked her up, and asked her if she would feel better sleeping in the crib with Olive.  The idea took her aback, but she nodded yes... She just needed 'Bug" and "Blanket".  I also grabbed a few books, and left the two of them sitting, flipping pages in the dark.  After about 30 minutes or so of silence, I peered in to see the two of them piled up on each other, on blankets, on books, sleeping peacefully.  Gorgeous.

With Ivey's night-waking, I did move her to her own bed... sparing Olive of kicks to the ear or screams ripping her from her dead sleep.  But, I see a day... pretty soon... when Olive is out of a crib, leaving the two of them free to crash in any way they need to.  Reminds me of the days when the boys had toddler beds.  Mostly, they would sleep apart, but over time, they started piling up on top the small bed together.  Now, they often sleep in the same bunk, leaving the other empty for Tom to stretch his lazy cat legs in.  How sweet to have a sister.  To have a brother.  God is good.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

One Small Step for Ivey, One Giant Leap for Ivey-kind.

Asa has been asking me a lot lately, "When do you think Ivey will be old enough to come into my room?".  I thought she would be able to handle all of the Legos, motors, and gadgets... as well as the sheer excitement of being in his room, at around 4.  Addison and Asa do not play in similar ways.  Addison plays with Legos, but only to make Star Wars War Ships and such to form an army, nothing motorized.  So, Asa is itching to have a sibling that actually wants to play with him.

(A few months ago, he was asking me if we could have another baby "or two" so maybe one of them would like the things he does!  Sorry, kid!)

Yesterday, I walked through the house and realized it was awfully quiet.  I asked Jeff for Ivey's location.  "In Asa's room."  Sure enough, Asa had taken it upon himself to guide Ivey through a tour of his room.  He was very patient, explaining what she could not touch and what she could.  You have to understand, the boys have a baby gate on their door.  Ivey has really never been inside.

For about an hour, the two of them played.  Asa made the bunk beds into a tent, where he and Ivey curled up as he read her from his Calvin and Hobbes book.  They ended the play session by asking me (very sweetly) if they could borrow the portable dvd player to watch Fraggle Rock in the room.  Actually, Asa asked me and Ivey said, "Can we?  Say yes ma'am! Can we watch it?" while nodding and smiling like a Cheshire cat.  Those two are quite a pair.  Maybe Asa doesn't need more siblings, after all.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Clean Up On Isle 5

I had another amazing day at school with the boys.  The amount of learning that is going on, the amount of worthwhile activities, games, projects, and fun just makes me smile every time I think about it.  Unless I was yawning, I've been smiling since Tuesday!  Today was the day we have science, and boy did those kids eat it up!

After a long day at the school house, I jetting across town, took Anna home, took Addison to Randy and Linda's so that he could go to Aikido... and picked up the wild girls.  Ivey was in a particularly fabulous mood, gifting me with home decor from their house and saying sweetly, "I'm so glad you like it!"  Sugar and spice and everything nice, I'm tellin' ya.

On the way home, I stopped by the grocery store to pick up tortilla chips to go with dinner (which I started in the crockpot at 7:45am, mind you).  In the parking lot, I realized that the girls' shoes were still at their grandparents' house.  Ugh.  No fear, my car is so junked up right now that we located enough to go around.  Ivey went on and on about how much she loved those pink shoes I found in the back of the car.  Success.

Although we located the elusive "car buggie" at Publix, Ivey turned it down, opting, instead to walk like a "big girl".  She really is such a big girl now.  She walks right along with the buggie, doesn't run off, comments on how "Oh!  I loooovvvee these chips!" and "Oh!  I loooovvee this cereal!", tossing her long 'Ivey-punzle' hair back and forth as the bops down each isle.  I was only there for chips, but along the way we enjoyed ourselves.  "Hey, Viva paper towels are only $6.99 for 8 rolls!"  I thought.  "I wish I had coupons to know that down even further, but... it's still a decent deal." So, I threw them in the buggie.

Eventually, we found the tortilla chips.  They were on a shorter isle, over by the dairy.  Who knew.  As I looked for the best deal, I noticed Ivey stop, dead center in the isle.  She stood straight up, legs slightly apart.  Her eyes got HUGE and flashed with a glimmer of... horror... or maybe impending disaster.  She froze.  I knew exactly why.  I knelt down to her, saying "Ivey, no!  Please don't pee pee!  We can make it!"  She almost remained frozen, except her lip puckered a bit like it does when she is really upset.  Then, the trickle started.  Thin Dora panties and denim shorts that are a full size too big do nothing.  The shorts' legs just act as a tunnel of sorts, channeling the water down, partly into those pretty pink shoes, but mainly between the legs in a stream... creating a puddle on the floor.

I continued to try to verbally break through to her bladder control, grasping for some straw... or maybe a cork.  "Please stop!  Can you stop?"  I was squatting down low in front of her, speaking in a calming whisper.  Must. Not. Draw. Attention. Or. Make. Her. Cry.  It was no use.  Her bladder could not be reasoned with.  I know by the look on her face that she had also failed at her attempts of coercion.  The amount of liquid on the tile floor was unbelievable. 

For a split second, as I was softly trying to talk my almost 3 year old into gaining some urethra sphincter control in mid stream in a grocery store, I became aware of myself... and I did what we all try not to do... I broke into a poorly controlled grin.  I controlled my grin only slightly better than Ivey controlled her bladder.  At that time, a woman passed us in the isle.  Ugh.  Busted.  I apologized for my child's use of the grocery store isle as a urinal, and she accepted.  "Accidents happen."

For a split second, I have no idea what to do... that was, until I remembered that good deal on Viva paper towels!  I ripped that sucker open, grabbed out a few, cleaned up the full pond of urine, and put a soaking wet child in the buggie to high tail it out of dodge.  So glad Bounty wasn't on sale.  I'm a Viva girl for a reason... those things can do a clean up on Isle 5 in no time!

Given my last few posts, I am wondering if I shouldn't always travel with a) a change of clothes for myself and b) at least one Sham Wow with me at all times.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Hurry! Before Mom Comes Home!

So, I'm living with my parents again... which has it's definite pros and some understandable cons.  Luckily for all of us, we seem to get along WAY better than when I was 17.

One of the things that I find so funny about our arrangement... the arrangement where I crash here with my husband and four kids until the house is done... is how many times I think to myself, "I gotta hurry and clean that up before Mom gets home!".  It's a feeling that I know all too well, but now, it's not even my mess.  It seems that Olive will throw all the potting soil out of a plant, Ivey will have a potty accident somewhere unfortunate, one of the boys will use to much brute force on when opening the plastic bag in a cereal box, or a sneaky pencil will secretly write on a wall... any of the typical daily battle scars of a home of children... about 15 minutes before someone is going to be home from work.  Such situations would normally cause a "oh, crap!" moment anyways, but when it isn't your floor or rug or kitchen, it puts on a different twist.

Today, it was a rice fight.  Everyone was sitting to a nice dinner of chicken, rice, and broccoli, when I ran upstairs to grab my netbook.  It didn't seem like I was gone any time at all.  When I came down, there was a rice catastrophe.  Asa and Addison claim that the girls were throwing rice at them.  So, they were both sent to the time out couch while I tried to clean up the sticky rice confetti.  This was the first dual-girl-time-out experience, but I'm sure it won't be the last!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

1st Day of 3rd Grade!

There's nothing better than when a plan comes together!  We began out day much earlier than any of us were used to, okay, so Addison was used to it.  The night before, I set an alarm clock for the boys, explaining that we had to be up, dressed, fed, and all chores done before 8:00.  Knowing Addison is the earliest riser in the house, I told him to wake Asa up if he wakes before the alarm.

"What time do you usually get up?",  I asked.
"My average is 6:50.", he replied.
That's my Addison.

I actually bathed, put on makeup, and (gasp) put on real clothes before 7:30am.  Ivey and Olive were up, given milk, and ready to go before 8:00.  Linda came and delivered Anna, bookbag and breakfast in hand... and took Ivey and Olive back to her house for the day.  Asa, Addison, Anna, and I were up at the school house at 8:15.  The level of success here is phenomenal.  Seriously.

That was just an example of things to come.  The day started off with Ms. Joanne's Spanish, followed by spelling, handwriting, and grammar.  Because we are all super flexible, multitasking homeschoolers, snack could be eaten while we learn.  Then, it was time for math.  I taught mental math strategies and we played a game with them.  HUGE HIT!  After lunch, Mr. Dennis taught us Social Studies/U.S. History and Ms. Sharon introduced us to our writing class.  Next was art, where we learned about different self portraits by famous artists, and created one of our own.  Just as I thought I had pushed the day too far, and that everyone was tired and ready to go home, Mrs. Beresford lead us through one high impact music lesson that fired us back up!

Jeff asked Asa tonight.  "Do you know how many mommies I know that make their own school?"  Asa responded by holding up one finger.  Yes, there will be a day when my kids look back and think, "Wow.  wasn't Mom crazy?"  Yes.  I'm tired, my feet hurt, and my girls didn't nap today... but I could not be more pleased with our little school experience!  What a beautiful thing to have a choice in our children's education!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Another one of those "I Have No Plan!" moments.

Last week, I wrote about a very busy couple days where we went to Six Flags and to the mall to meet friends.  I forgot to mention an experience that I had towards the end of those hectic days, at Planet Smoothie.  I probably forgot to write about it because this sort of thing really isn't that unusual.  What makes it stick out, to me, is it was one of those moments where you are on your merry way, with only the typical level of crazy, and then something happens to which you have no response but to freeze... and beg for help.

As we walked around the mall, I was really craving a smoothie.  Not a "from a pouch" smoothie, or a milk-shake variety smoothie, but the real deal-- fruit and ice.  No yogurt or ice cream.  As it turns out, Discover Mills Mall has no such smoothie establishment.  So, after our visit with friends, with a bunch of tired kids in tow, I found a Planet Smoothie right by the mall.  I called Jeff (whose office is also very close to the mall) and asked if he would like us to bring him one.  We don't see him at his office very much at all, for obvious reasons, so I thought it would be nice to make an appearance and bring him a bit of refreshing happiness.

We made it to Planet Smoothie, parked, and I made a fateful decision.  I was just running in for a few drinks... I didn't need to get the stroller out AGAIN.  I carried Olive while Ivey held hands and we all made our way into the building.  We ordered our tasty goodness.  Since mine was also taking place of the breakfast and lunch that I did not consume, I ordered a 32oz Leapin' Lizard.  My favorite.  The cashier put the massive styrofoam cup in front of me at the counter, and I proceeded to put the straw in.  At that time, Olive kicked her foot.  I tried to correct the cup's lean, but ended up pushing it down.  It started falling off of the counter.  Instead of stepping back, I did the momma-thing and lifted my knee to try to save it from its fall.  All this did was put my knees and thighs in prime position to catch every one of those 32 ounces.  The thick, strawberry filled smoothie sat in my lap, as I crouched.

All I could do was look at the cashier with desperation in my eyes.  "I have no plan!"  I told her.  As someone came around with a mop, I still had no plan.  Do I stand up and let it all fall?  Do I scoop it all up?  The thick pseudo-liquid had no soaked completely through my tight denim capris.  We managed to scoop most up, the rest hitting the floor.  I still had. no. plan.  I brought a change of clothes for the girls, but not for me.  (Haven't I learned by now to bring myself some clothes?)  With all four kids in tow, I dragged us into the bathroom and proceeded to strip down, completely soaking and washing my pants in the Planet Smoothie public sink.  After wringing them as much as possible, I managed to pull those wet capris up, organize the kids, grab a replacement smoothie, and we all made it out the door, delivering Jeff's beverage to him at the office.

I should, but won't, learn a few things from this experience.

1)  Bring extra clothes for the adults, or at least momma, as daddy would just ride home in smoothie-pants.

2)  When you've had a full day, know when to fold 'em.  Don't push for that extra errand or extra stop... The kids aren't on their game and either are you.  It can only lead to disaster.

3)  Even when insanity hits and you find yourself in a "I have no plan!" moment... You will somehow find a plan, in a pinch, and come out okay in the end.  Even if your kid is wearing nothing but a stranger's shirt, you have to borrow money from someone you barely know, or you find yourself in your underwear in a public restroom.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


When you hear the words, "Yay!  Flying over the mess!" from the couch, you need to drop the spatula and go investigate.  In this case, it was a full container of Oregano poured out on the couch cushions, for all to enjoy.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Getting through the day.

Asa:  "This is only $19!  It looks like they took an animal and made it make babies with another animal... and they are selling the eggs for only $19!  Can I get it?!" 


Last night, I had Chicken and Dumplings cooking on the stove.  Asa was helping me make the dumplings, and was sitting up at the counter rolling them out.  Of course, with my attention focused on kitchen duties, I took my eyes off of the girls just long enough for them to un-pot Mim's tree in the living room.  Again.  Before I could get my hands washed to deal with them, the girls had taken their very dirty selves and darted in two different directions, spreading their trail of fair- dust potting soil as they went.  With supper cooking and a huge mess to clean up, I handed off the girls to Papa, who whisked them off to the bathtub.  What.  A.  Mess.  Asa took over the entire cooking job on his own (which he completed, masterfully), and Addison retrieved brooms and the vacuum and whatever else he needed to do in a pinch.  As things settled down a bit, Addison commented on how crazy it is that things can go from calm to crazy in no time.  Boy, do I know it!

Today, Asa took a Fisher Price gun, that used to shoot a foam airplane, and rigged it to shoot tiny legos at high speed.  He and Ivey, armed with their projectiles and some protective eye-wear (of course, what kind of mom do you think I am?), had a good time in the large empty closet, shooting at targets and into bowls.  Hey, whatever gets us through the day.