Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Indulged by a Dishcloth

I was straightening towels in the kitchen drawer, when I came across a rarely used dish rag. "This is so soft," I thought, "Still square. Not faded or frayed. I think I will use it today. Kind of treat myself." I have a sad existence.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Libby-isms


Elisabeth was playing with her Barbie head hairstyling toy, when I overheard her mumble, "I just hate doing hair. Why did I ever get into this line of work?"

As we pulled into the garage, Elisabeth whined she could not get out of the car because her legs were "too wobbly." I asked whether she was sick, but she said she was just tired. I told her I could not carry her because I was unloading groceries, but I offered that if she just walked inside the house, she would be able to rest. "Then what am I going to do?" she retorted. "Just sit around and enjoy the breeze?!"

On the way home from Grandma's house, Elisabeth told me, "I wish we could live at Grandma and Grandpa's house. I wish they were our parents." I asked, "You don't want me around anymore? Wouldn't you miss me?" She replied, "Oh, Mommy, sure, I would miss you... for a little while."

Monday, April 28, 2008

Monday, Bloody Monday

When Todd comes home and asks what I did today, I'll just direct him to these highlights:

7:30 a.m. Finally roll out of bed and fret over whether to wake school-aged child, who's typically up at 6.
7:50 a.m. Make cold lunch and breakfast for said child, hoping she will awaken.
7:55 a.m. Realize child is awake, watching TV.
8:00 a.m. Hurry to feed, dress, comb, pack, and send off child before bus comes; otherwise, I will have to repeat rushed ritual with other children and cram all into car to drive to school.
9 a.m. Give house quick once-over in preparation for physical therapist's visit; realize the playroom is beyond hope and move necessary PT tools to living room.
9:30 a.m. Remind 4-year-old she cannot be naked when therapist arrives.
9:45 a.m. Change and dress 1-year-old and try unsuccessfully to get him to eat SOMETHING before therapist arrives.
9:50 a.m. Remind 4-year-old she cannot be naked when therapist arrives.
10:05 a.m. Take call therapist is late; consider revisiting playroom but instead clean up new mess in living room.
10:10 a.m. Remind 4-year-old she cannot be naked when therapist arrives.
10:15 a.m. Therapist arrives and son immediately heads for stairs; she decides it's a good place to work and the two take off for the second floor.
10:17 a.m. Act shocked when the three of us arrive at mess-- and naked child-- in playroom.
11:30 a.m. Feed lunch of special requests: yogurt, french toast sticks, macaroni and cheese.
12:00 p.m. Clean yogurt out of baby's ears.
12:15 p.m. Find more yogurt in baby's ears.
12:30 p.m. Take clothes out of washer and discover a school of rubber fish.
12:45 p.m. Put son down for nap and lay down with daughter who is "NOT TIRED" but sniffing her blanket and sucking on her tongue like she does when she's tired.
1:20 p.m. Attempt to pack for trip by trying on every pair of shorts I own. None fits.
1:30-3:30 p.m. Fold laundry-- THE WHOLE TIME.
3:55 p.m. "Ooh" and "aah" over fistfuls of crumpled art projects after firstborn arrives home.
4:15 p.m. Take away scissors from toddler.
4:20 p.m. Tell daughter how to spell "elephant" ("There is no 'f.'") and "igloo" and "Phil" ("Again, no 'f.'")
4:30 p.m. Ask middle child where her pants are.
4:40 p.m. Notice son saying "Barbie" clearly and often-- think it's kind of cute and kind of weird.
4:55 p.m. As I type, listen to report from oldest child about going poopy at school. Act like I care.

Ice Out, Dock In


Sure, the day the ice went out, it was 80 degrees. But, by the time the weekend rolled around, it was back to windy, snowy, (yes, snowy) 30s. Still, when Dad came over and suggested it was time to put the dock in, Todd jumped at the chance and jumped into his waders.

Why not? The dock is on wheels and just rolls into the lake-- at least, in theory. Why not? The boat's just sitting in the driveway. Why not? The neighbor already has his dock in.

So, Teddy helped till he took a snow burst to the back of the neck. Dad helped till his ears turned blue. Todd stayed in that darn water till the dock was good and level. Then, he came inside and declared he was going back out to sit on the end of that dock and have a beer... Well, maybe he'd just wait till he could feel his toes again.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Protestant Emerges


As most of you know, our children are the products of a Catholic-Lutheran union, and we have always maintained our goal is to raise them to be good CHRISTIANS. That said, we do attend a Catholic church and Amanda is in a Catholic school. Out of the blue, she tells me, "There's just one thing about going to church that really bugs me. There are no girl priests. Why can't girls be priests?!" Yeah. Pope Benedict, are you reading this? Get on it.

By the way, when I told Todd the story, he said, very seriously, "She didn't get it from me. I swear. I didn't say anything."

Saturday, April 26, 2008

KMO-Memories


Sometimes, I take the back roads to the next town to shop. (There's a bigger Target there.) Whenever I do, I pass by this place. Hard to tell now, but it was home to my first "job" in radio. It wasn't really a job, but a part-time, unpaid internship procured for me by a high school adviser. I covered school and young adult events and issues for "K-M-O-M Talk 10-70," which was once a pretty busy local radio station.

What I mostly remember about the job was the characters who worked there-- crazy characters who really should have retired like Mountain Mark, (I believe he slept at the station,) young guys trying to break into the business like Barry Barry, and others with "faces for radio." They would give me a tape recorder and have me interview other kids, and then come to the station, edit, play it, and talk about it on the air. I didn't have a driver's license, so Mom or Dad would have to drive me.

This post was also a great way to ensure close contact with the hottest guys at school. I would pitch a story on, say, my school's football team and invite the star players to come in-studio for an interview. Then, my best friend and I would sign them out of class (her dad was the associate principal) and ride with them to the station. Good times.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Did You Poop Today?

It's the main topic around our house.

Elisabeth has a number of urinary tract conditions, and we're discovering how closely the potty and the poopy are connected. She has vesicoureteral reflux, which means the urine can travel backwards from her bladder back up into her kidneys. She also has a spin top bladder, meaning she has overdeveloped the muscles of her pelvic floor through constant clenching, and so the urine spins around her bladder instead of draining straight out. These conditions together lead to accidents, because Elisabeth cannot correctly sense when she has to go, and it's difficult for her to empty her bladder completely.

These conditions were diagnosed in Libby about a year ago, through a series of horrible tests, after she began having repeated accidents and developed a urinary tract infection. She is now on a daily, low-dose antibiotic. She also has dietary restrictions, because certain foods irritate the bladder. We took her off a second incontinence medication because it made her sick, and it didn't seem to help, anyway. For months, things improved. The key has been to not make a big deal out of it, so she allows her muscles to relax, and also to make sure Elisabeth goes to the bathroom often-- like every 30 minutes-- whether she says she has to go or not.

Recently, I've noticed an upswing in the frequency of Elisabeth's accidents. I was concerned about a breakthrough infection, which would be serious since she is always on an antibiotic, but the tests were negative. I thought maybe she was just tired, since she quit napping. I thought maybe her condition was worsening or had been misdiagnosed.

I discussed all these things in numerous conversations with our pediatric urologist's nurse. (Yes, I'm that mother.) But the nurse kept coming back to another issue: Is Elisabeth constipated? Through all of this, medical professionals keep reminding us the two functions are closely related-- especially in a 28-pound girl. I have always said, "No, I don't think so." She eats a lot of fruit. She doesn't complain of tummy aches. But, the truth is, I really didn't know. With all these bladder problems, Elisabeth has become extremely private about her bathroom habits... She'll even try to lock the door if she senses me hovering.

So, I gave the big speech about what it means to be healthy, and why it's important to go every day. At the nurse's suggestion, I started surveying EVERYONE in our family, so Libby wouldn't feel singled out, and I offered "prizes" for those who let me know when they went (and could prove it... oh, joy.) Lo and behold, I discovered the kid didn't poop for three days. Could this explain the potty accidents? You betcha. Is this why she doesn't eat? Probably has something to do with it. Does this explain her cross demeanor? I'm sensing a possible connection.

We have scheduled another round of tests for June-- some she's had before and some new ones. In the meantime, I've stocked the fridge with fresh fruits and probiotic-enriched yogurt. And, I'll be pushing fluids, which seems counter-intuitive if I'm trying to keep her from wetting her pants. And, as there always is when something-- positive or negative-- happens with one of our kids, there's still the question of blame: Did she get this from Daddy or me? He will be the first to tell you how anal retentive I am... but we all know he's full of s*@#!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Can We Go Swimming?


3:30 p.m. ice out
4:25 p.m. first fishing boat hits the water
4:45 p.m. first ski boat-- pulling skier-- cruises the lake

Really.

And, yes, the girls have already asked when they can go in.

McCrisis


Prayer group ran late... The woman at the uniform store couldn't calculate my tab... And I still needed to pick up hamburger buns for supper. By the time we walked into Wal-Mart, my kids were HUNGRY! But, McDonald's was GONE! There last week... gutted this week. I asked the ancient, but ever-friendly, greeter what was going on. She said she didn't really know, but she heard it was going to become a coffee shop. You show me a toddler and a preschooler who like Starbucks, and I'll tell you they are not my children.

So, I said we would dash in for the buns and then head over to our town's other McDonald's. The greeter said she heard that one, too, was soon going to close for renovations. WHAT?! Now, this should not be a surprise, because that McDonald's is one of the busiest in the state, and it is a PIT. We NEVER eat inside the restaurant, because-- I am not exaggerating here-- the last two times I let my kids crawl around in the Playland are the last two times our family got the stomach flu.

Anyway, it's still a good place for drive-thru service and Redbox rentals. So, we dashed over to get our Happy Meals-to-go and the ladies there confirmed the worst-- not a renovation or remodeling project, but a complete rebuilding. McDonald's will be closed for 2-3 months. The adjustment will be difficult. Please pray for us.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Livin' Life the Earl Hickey Way


I don't even really like that sitcom, "My Name is Earl," and I don't know if I exactly "get" karma, but I do like the idea of putting out into the universe just what I'd like to receive.

As Ben and I were leaving the grocery store, I was reviewing my receipt, and I noticed I had been overcharged for baby carrots. I was standing at a crossroads, trying to decide whether to get in line to complain at the Customer Service Desk. Normally, I always would... But, it was getting close to Libby's pick-up time and it was just 18 cents. (You're laughing at me now, aren't you?)

So, I decided to let it go, and I turned my cart toward the door. The floral department attendant stopped me, put a bouquet of roses in my cart and said, "Why don't you take these home and enjoy them? They are technically 'expired,' but I think they have a lot of life left in them." Don't we all, Sister, don't we all.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Eco-Failure


Have you noticed how all the discount and grocery stores now are pushing reusable bags? I keep thinking to myself, "I could do that." It's not so much that I'm the tree-hugging, ozone-saving, reducing-reusing-recycling warrior that I should be. (Sorry, Mom.) But, it's more that I shop SO much, our home is being literally overrun with store sacks-- paper AND plastic.

I reuse them as small garbage bags and for the kids' art projects. I save them for the hypothetical garage sale that I really am going to have this year. Now that I'm done nursing, I use them to stuff my bra. This morning, I even made a bag belt for Elisabeth. Still, too many bags.

Of course, I'm too cheap to actually BUY the reusable shopping bags. And, I'm too disorganized to do as my mom suggests and just dig out some old canvas bags from the closet. But, I did notice the Home Depot circular in the paper advertised free eco-friendly tote bags to customers on Sunday, while supplies lasted. Well, I packed up the kids and my husband (so we could get two bags) and we went to Home Depot. I got my nice, big, reusable, handled tote bags and stowed them in the back of the van. There, I forgot them, until I checked out at Target today.

Benjamin, don't put that bag over your head!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

We Caught the "Fever"


"Spring Fever" was last night. It's one of two annual fundraisers for Amanda's school. Since this is the first year we had a kid in school, it is the first year we attended. And, we brought along all the grandmas and grandpas, as well as Aunt Lisa.

It's hard to describe the event-- but it was wild. There was food, and a lot of drinking, and music and dancing. But, mostly, it was about raising money for the kids, a mission which was enhanced, of course, by all the liquor consumption.

There were silent and live auctions. Todd put back a few before the bidding closed, so he was really getting into it-- jewelry for Lisa, a massage for himself, a year's worth of floral arrangements for me! For the live auction, each class put together a personalized item. The toy chest decorated with hand prints of all of Amanda's classmates went for $1000. A mother from the other kindergarten class bid $5000 for a quilt her son had a hand in making.

My description is really not doing justice to Spring Fever. I guess you had to be there. Maybe next year.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Agenda of Youth

The girls caught wind that Daddy was going to get the boat out of storage. Last evening, at the supper table, Amanda began a speech that was obviously rehearsed: "Daddy, I'm going to ask you something, and it's not a big deal... It's really easy and it doesn't cost anything and it doesn't make a mess... But, I was wondering, do you think we could go with you to get the boat tomorrow?" Both girls held their breath and looked expectantly at Todd. He shrugged, "Sure."

They were up at 7, and each girl came to ask me separately, "Did Daddy leave yet?" I said I didn't think so, and Elisabeth went off looking for him. She found him sitting at the computer, and returned to say, "I guess he sure didn't leave yet, if he's still in his UNDERPANTS!" The girls quickly dressed, combed their hair and brushed their teeth. They also helped Daddy get ready. (Elisabeth scolded him for using too much shaving cream.)

Then, there was a discussion about tennis shoes versus rain boots (yes, boots won-- it's muddy.) And we had to pack breakfast snacks of Froot Loops, granola bars, bananas and juice for the ride. Libby reminded Daddy at least four times that she could only ride in the truck if the air bag was turned off. As I strapped her into her booster seat, she exclaimed, "I never got to go with Daddy to pick up the boat before!"

We've only had the boat for one year, so this was the first time to get it out of storage. I had been looking forward to them leaving so I could get the kitchen floor washed before Ben got up. But, by the time they backed out of the driveway, I was kind of wishing I had gone, too.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Equal Time for Equal Crime

The girls were jealous Benjamin got the first video on the blog. So, this is a glimpse at our nightly entertainment. Don't miss Disco Daddy in the background. And, no, I don't know where the little one learned to move like that.

Fins & Friends


I went along as a chaperone for Amanda's field trip to Underwater Adventures aquarium. Apart from telling the second-grade boys sitting with us in the back of the bus to stop poking each other with pencils over and over and over again, I had a great time. Big surprise-- Amanda and Thomas were partners on the trip. So, I had to keep track of both of them, which was extremely easy since they were constantly TOUCHING each other. Lots of hand holding and hugging, which I can handle, and plenty of "I love yous," which I cannot.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Kindergarten Science... Or Is It Math?


Now that it might finally be spring, we are often spending the time between nap and supper outside. To distract the girls from their lofty plan of kite-flying, (I'm not a good kite-flyer... There are trees everywhere... It's too cold... What would I do with your brother... That's a good thing for you to do with Daddy...) I got out bubbles.

We have a stockpile from Easter booty and birthday treat bags. It's a good thing, too, because bubbles never seem to be simply about blowing and popping-- there's always more mess involved. Or, should I say chemistry? I've witnessed a lot of stirring, splashing, and spilling, and, I actually overheard Amanda reason, "If I pour the rest of Elisabeth's bubbles into my bubble bottle, then that will make MORE bubbles." I kind of get the rationale, but I kind of don't.

Another First




So, I'm trying something new-- adding video to Krinkeland. This is just a silly little clip of Benjamin walking for Margaret during this week's physical therapy session. As someone who truly has difficulty figuring out how to turn on a computer, I am very proud of myself for this accomplishment... almost as proud as I am of my son for walking!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I Have Seen the Future

I was in the grocery store when, suddenly, a sharp whistle rang out. I involuntarily turned my head toward the shrill sound, as Benjamin exclaimed the equivalent of "What was that?" in baby language. An elderly woman pushing her cart in our same aisle said, "Oh, no. That's my husband."

Her tone had a mixture of shame and dread at being summoned like a dog... but I think I heard some love in there, too. When we rounded the corner in the general direction of the whistle, there he was, leaning against the meat case with his arms folded. He was grumbling about how long it was taking, and she grumbled right back.

I turned down another aisle before I broke out laughing. I'm not sure why it struck me so. Is that me and Todd in 40 years? Not exactly. Certainly, he would bemoan the lengths of my shopping trips (he does that now) but he would never embarrass me in public. Though I'm loathe to admit it, public embarrassment is more my specialty.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Moment of Insanity


Here is today's reason why I have no right to call myself a parent: I handed Elisabeth a spray bottle of water and asked, "Can I trust you with this?" What was I thinking?!

Monday, April 14, 2008

A Tale of Two Rock Piles


The girls have started rock collections. Rather, Amanda was at a friend's house and that friend had a rock collection, so she came home and decided she needed one, too, and then Elisabeth had to do exactly what her older sister was doing. So, when we go outside, they pick up rocks-- mostly from the landscaping around the house. What's interesting is the obvious difference in their "collections," and how each rock pile seems to reflect the personality and the preferences of its collector.

Amanda's rock collection is vast and varied. She seems to pick up any rock that suits her fancy-- large or small, smooth or rough, different colors, different patterns. It takes her just a few minutes to amass a large gathering of rocks and to spread them out in a wide circle on the front porch. Amanda's rock collection reminds me of her social standing. This is the KINDERGARTNER who strolls down the center of the hallway at school, waving to the older kids who all call her by name. I've often made the sick joke that Amanda would befriend a serial killer, but it is too true she loves everyone... and, apparently, every rock.

Elisabeth's rock collection is a small and specific set. She chooses only the palest and smoothest stones. And Libby gathers her rocks into a tight, little pile and doesn't want anyone else to touch them-- or even look at them. This is Elisabeth's approach to most things in life. It doesn't matter how nice or cute you are; she'll be your friend only if she decides to be your friend. We have constant battles at the supper table, because, if Libby doesn't want it-- Libby isn't eating it. Elisabeth takes more care with a more select rock collection.

I'm sure I'm reading too much into this. But, I find true pleasure in seeing such concrete (no pun intended) examples of my kids' distinct preferences. I'm glad they see the world differently.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Dinner Lessons




Here's what I learned during my sister's birthday dinner out with the adults in my family:
1. Try it, you'll like it. I should follow the advice I give the kids more often. I tried both shrimp and beef fillet and could find something positive to say about each. The sake sampler I ordered, however, was mostly yucky.
2. Spicy is as spicy does. If Todd doesn't think he can handle something hot, he can't handle something hot. I should NOT suggest he try it anyway.
3. Young skin=smooth skin. My sister, entering her third trimester with her third child, still does not know what a stretch mark is.
4. Who's the wino in the corner? My brother-in-law has the alcohol tolerance of an underage girl.
5. Everything is more fun when you add flying knives.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Stupid

Before the latest round of bad weather hit, the kids were playing outside. I figured I might as well get some work done, as there are always things to do-- but, my outdoor chores are limited, since I can't really work on gardening or landscaping yet. So, I picked up sticks and garbage in the yard, and swept out the garage.

The Christmas lights were bugging me. The snow had finally melted, revealing extension cords winding across the yard. Todd had mentioned he was going to take them down once things warmed up. But, that could be NEVER. So, I took the strings off all the little trees, wound them up and put them away. That left the roof line. I was not about to climb up to our high, steep roof... But, there was an extension cord hanging down from the gutter, taunting me.

I got out a stepladder that didn't have enough steps and realized I would have to stand ON TOP of the ladder to unplug the extension cord from the first string of lights. I did that quickly and scrambled back down, before the neighbors could grab a video camera and catch my stranded backside dangling from the gutters. Then, I noticed the end of the string of lights waving down from the roof. All the lights were attached to the gutters with those plastic clips. I thought, "I'll just give this a little pull and see if a few more lights come down. Maybe I can remove the lights without climbing back up there."

Well, it turns out... I could, and I did. One tiny tug and the lights came crashing down in domino fashion. Three seconds flat. The whole roof line was clear, and bulbs were shattered all over the driveway. Luckily, my kids were not standing within the drop zone. So, I assessed the situation, made sure everyone was OK, and kept the kids back while I tried to decide how to clean up the broken glass. Broom? No, if I swept it into the yard, that would just be another danger for the kids. Shop Vac? No, the driveway is paver stones and I would suck up the gravel in between the bricks. Ignore it and go inside? No, I would forget all about it, until the next time I backed out of the garage and got a couple tires full of glass.

So, I banished the kids to a safe area with sidewalk chalk, and I bent over to pick up all the little pieces of CLEAR Christmas bulb glass. After the big little pieces were picked up, I got down on my hands and knees and licked a finger tip to go over each paver and adjoining crevice. Now, the neighbors will really have something to talk about. I imagine I was quite a sight for passersby, too.

I have not confessed this act of stupidity to my husband, and, amazingly, the kids haven't mentioned it, either. Fortunately for me, Todd only reads the blog occasionally... And, by the time he logs on to catch up, this will hopefully be a distant, funny memory.

Happy Booper Birthday!


The happiest of birthdays to my baby sister, Ellen. I know she is no longer a baby, but a woman with babies of her own. Still, she never misses a chance to rub in how much younger she is.

I do believe I remember when Ellen was born. Certainly, I remember growing up with a shadow-- one I teased relentlessly but adored unceasingly. And, boy, do I remember her birthdays! Hers kind of starts off the birthday season in our family, and it has always had the most interesting weather. I remember birthday parties where we were outdoors in shorts and t-shirts on 80-degree days. Today, it is 37 and rainy, and we are bracing for another snowstorm.

It is nice to get old enough where the numbers and age gaps really do not matter, and sisters can be friends. For the year ahead, Boop, I wish you a healthy baby, happy days at home with your family, patience and peace, and at least a few good nights' sleep. Happy Birthday, Ellen!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Trying Times


In our family, we avoid the word "try." It's an interesting philosophy, one I'm sure many dispute, and not one I invented. But I heard this idea, or read about it somewhere, and it makes sense to me: When you say "I'll try," you're leaving open the door to failure. You can then make a half-hearted attempt, and, when things don't pan out, say, "Oh, well. I tried."

Todd caught himself in this one last evening. I was nagging him, as I try not to, about coming home late every night. When I stopped to take a breath, Todd said, "I'll try to come home earlier. No-- I will start coming home earlier."

Coincidentally, Benjamin stopped trying to walk yesterday, and just decided to walk. I told you he started taking steps after Christmas, and he gave up the butt-scoot altogether, but crawling-- quickly-- has been his primary mode of transportation. He would walk only when forced. The physical therapist noted he could take 20-30 steps on his own, and could stand unassisted for two full minutes. But the boy would mostly crawl, or hold out his hand and demand, "Walk!" Then, he would lead me around for as long as I would tolerate it.

Over the weekend, we were at a birthday party, and Ben took off walking up and down the hallway at our friends' house. Yesterday, he started scaling the kitchen cabinets, and then walked around the island. He can even get himself into a standing position from the middle of the room, and doesn't mind transitions, say, from wood floor to carpet. Last evening, Todd and I were in the den with the girls, when Ben yelled to us from the kitchen. We called back, and then listened, as his shoes "clomp, clomped" across the floor. Who would have ever thought that would be music to a mother's ears? I should try to not be such a sap.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Blog About It

As I was inspired by my friends Heidi and Wendy, my sister tells me she and her friend were inspired by me, and thus we have the births of a couple more family blogs, The Beaudry Beat and The Clark Corner. (All of the links are at the bottom of this page, under "Blogs of the Ones I Love.") I offer this plug for you to check what is going on in their lives, even though my sister used her inaugural post to call me the "not nice" sister, a criticism I dispute, though I've grown weary of protesting.

Before the blog beginning, I maintained blank books on each girl, writing dictionaries of their little languages and recounting funny stories. Now, I am archiving online, and sharing with you. When I started, I offered it was a chance for you to know what's going on in our lives... or not. One of my very closest friends recently told me, "I looked at your blog-- once. And I'm never going back. I felt like I was peeking in your windows."

While it is true I can talk to a tree, I guarantee I am not using Krinkeland as a forum to tell all that is sacred and secret. The other day, my kid coughed so hard he barfed; there is no photo posted. This week, I would prefer to air my grievances related to not having been on a single vacation with my husband since before I was pregnant with our first child; but, alas, that would be much too personal to share.

What I love gathering from others' blogs is their different perspectives. I consider Ellen a young mother; she's in the throes of pregnancy, potty training and preschool. Melissa is the mother of twins, and there's a quite an age gap between the babies and her older daughter. Heidi is a working hockey mom, and she also has that age gap thing with her sons. Wendy is a military wife and mom. Heidi and Wendy are both amateur photographers, so they have great pictures on their sites.

I'm just insane. But, I like to think you can read how my experiences are like yours. I fret over whether to medicate a toddler with a fever. I run out of recipe ideas to use up 10 pounds of potatoes. I don't want to know the stories my kids share at school. And, like now, I get so busy I forget to go to the bathroom... until it is (almost) too late. Oh, was that too personal?

Goodbye to David

Todd and Lisa have lost an uncle, Ardy a brother-in-law, Paul and Cindy a father, and Janelle has lost the love of her life. David has died, after a long battle with Parkinson's Disease. He had been in hospice care at his daughter's home. The medication had stopped working. David had quit eating.

While I did not know him well, we all remember him as a kind and generous man. One of my favorite memories of Uncle David is one of my last: Some months back, we were at a family gathering where I had the task (did I volunteer?) of caring for some of the young children. These were babies, toddlers, and preschoolers of Todd's cousins... so, not children I spent enough time with to know well, nor did they know me. Of course, it was a short period of time, other family helped, and everything went well. It's just that I didn't know all the little personality quirks, I wasn't sure what they were "allowed" to have for snacks, I couldn't find the diapers! David, with his disease already advancing, sat in the sunny living room and laughed at me. Every so often, he would smile or make a kind comment. It was so obvious how he was enjoying the children, enjoying the family around him.

Now, all those cliches come to mind-- David is no longer suffering, David is at peace. I know those are so true, and I believe in the salvation promised by our Lord and Savior. But, today, I think of the pain and weary grief of his family, how they will miss David. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers this week.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Fashion Forward


Elisabeth loves to perform fashion shows. Since we began swimming lessons again, it is usually bathing suits. They're all too big, of course, because she has matchstick legs and no hinder-ender. Libby will tell me the rules ahead of time: "You have 15 'prettys' and 15 'cutes,'" meaning, how I'm supposed to describe her looks. Sometimes, I'll throw in a "beautiful" or "adorable," and she does not protest.

She struts through the room, striking pose after pose. It's astounding how much of that must be innate, inherited ability. I mean, I don't think I've ever even shown her tape from my catwalk days.

The other day, while wearing a favorite swimsuit, Elisabeth arched her back and stuck out her tummy. She told me, "I love the way this suit makes my belly look so big!" I giggled and cheered on the outside, while, inside, I was weeping. I wish I had recorded it, so I could play it back during some teenage (pre-teen?) crisis moment when she will inevitably "hate" something about her body.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Stranded






Benjamin got himself stuck on an arm chair. He has gotten pretty good at climbing up onto things, but then he's afraid to get down. The words of my sister, mother of boys, rang in my ears, "Boys are slow learners. You have to let him figure it out on his own."

So, I didn't help him down. Sometimes, he would sit back in the chair, stretch out, and relax. Sometimes, he would reach for his snack on the end table, and, either get it, or dump it all on the floor. Sometimes, he would crawl to the edge of the ottoman and look over, or turn around and extend one leg. I would coach him, but he would just whine and sit back up. Ben sat there for an hour.

It was kind of nice, actually. I knew where he was... he wasn't going anywhere... he wasn't getting into trouble. Benjamin got the last laugh, however, by stinking up the whole den and announcing, "I poop." So, I did finally have to rescue him-- rescue all of us, really.

A couple hours later, Ellen's words rang true again-- same situation, different chair.

Toy Room Cinema


Todd moved the old TV into the toy room. Some might find that excessive, but, honestly, it was my idea... I just don't want them touching the new TV and wrecking it. As much as I like to think I am on top of things, I cannot watch all three of them ALL the time. And, the times when the girls want to watch TV are generally when I am upstairs, doing laundry or working on the computer, so this keeps them closer to me.

In no time, Amanda and Elisabeth set up a "movie theater" in front of the television. Today, Kazmer and Solomon came over to see the show.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

TV Time

Todd bought a new television. Those who know him know he has been studying, researching, and considering various television models for at least four months. He decided on the TV he wants, but it hasn't yet been released for sale. And, of course, once it is, he will think it is too expensive, and will wait even longer for the price to come down.

In the meantime, Costco had a sale on another TV he liked-- just not as much. He thought this would be a good TV for our bedroom, and, I am all for that idea, since I spend a lot of time upstairs... mostly folding clothes... and I would rather watch shows or movies in bed at night instead of going downstairs to the den. Yes, I know all about the philosophy of not having a television in the bedroom. We went that route-- for the first four or five years.

For now, I suggested Todd hook up this TV in the den. I am hoping it will take off some of the pressure of buying ANOTHER television, at least for a while. Also, it will take a big production to move it to our room, because we'll have to take out a piece of furniture and get the hardware to hang it on the wall. Right now, I would rather he spend his extra time (HA!) finishing the deck design so that can be built this spring, or finishing installing the cabinets in the last bathroom, laundry room and mud room.

So, bottom line for new TV impact on Andrea: Constant monitoring of the den to make sure no one TOUCHES anything. And, I need to stop typing now because Benjamin is inserting playing cards into the computer drives.

So Right, Not Quite

I get some of my best laughs from the phrases my children pick up from us, other adults, and TV, and then they use them correctly-- or incorrectly. I bought Elisabeth a churro at the Costco snack bar. She bit off a chunk and then turned to me with her wide eyes, "Sweet Mother, this is DELICIOUS!" Oh, yeah.

But later, I started a movie for the kids, and, during the previews, Ben giggled and Amanda remarked, "Benny is really rubbing off on this commercial!" Eh?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

My Little April Fools


I tried to explain to the girls about April Fool's Day. I am not much of a prankster... But I figured their teachers or at least classmates would be talking about it. I gave some examples ("What if I told you we were having worms for supper?") and then I made a big show out of giggling at their responses. Amanda decided her big April Fool's Day joke was that she planned to tell her pregnant teacher that she was actually expecting puppies (not sure how that went over.) Elisabeth said, when Daddy got home, she would tell him Benny got a job.