Soggy Moon Girl

Last night Libby was running a low grade fever and said she had a headache. I gave her medicine and Gatorade (which is like a treat to them because they only get it when they're sick) and put her to bed as usual, but after an hour or so she called out for me, feeling hot and feverish. I got her pillow and a couple blankets and let her sleep in the recliner that sits next to my bedside so that if she needed me I wouldn't have to worry about waking Penelope. She was a little delirious and fell right back asleep, sitting up in the chair.

Jimmy and I were down in our playroom where the new computer/music studio is, and didn't hear when she got up another hour or so later but when I did finally hear her, I found her standing in the dining room squinting at the light, naked, looking disheveled and very cute. I asked her why she was naked to which she responded, "My clothes were all soggy." Jimmy and I looked at each other out of pure love when we heard her choice of vocabulary in her state. The only time I can think of us using the word soggy is when we're talking about cereal, so I found it very interesting that she chose this word. But isn't that exactly how you feel when you get all sweaty with a fever?

I later learned, after getting her clean clothes and taking her back to the chair to go back to sleep that she had wet her pants (Gatorade will do it every time) and I said, "Libby, you weren't sweaty, you wet your pants." To which she responded, "I prayed to God and asked him that I would not wet on the floor." So cute. She then laid on the bed in our playroom while Jimmy recorded me singing a lullaby. It was nice to have Libby as inspiration while I sang.

I hope that my children read all this blog business one day and I wanted to devote a post to Libby and how thankful I am for her. She is so much like me and it is nice to have someone around here who understands me like only another girl can. Every time I make bread she wants to help me. Every time Penelope wakes up she wants to go get into bed with her. And she is constantly using her amazingly easy access to the right side of her brain to draw, cut, paste, and make things. Here are two pictures from a book she made today. She thought of the title. Whatever I See You See. Note how when the letters curved around as she ran out of room, she made them backwards as if they were really wrapping around. And I started to tell her how to spell moon but she cut me off after "m" saying, "I know how to spell it, Mom, I learned it on Super Why." Score one for PBS. Oh, and that's me pointing to the moon. Notice my glasses. And flat top. Ha!

As you can see from the pictures, she was feeling a bit better today, but when I asked her last night how she was feeling she said, "I think I'll be better when the clock says seven, zero, zero, Mom." Let's hope so. I love you, Libby! -Mom


Photo Booth

Well, today the much awaited visit from the FedEx truck finally happened and we got a new computer.  It's an iMac.  It's sweet.  We have been saving and planning to buy one so that we can have a studio to record music.  Tonight me and the kids played around with Photo Booth, a cool little application that gives you a 3...2..1... countdown and then automatically takes a picture with the built in camera on top of the monitor.  You can see yourself up until it takes the picture, just like in a real photo booth.  There is even a flash, as you can tell.  We took 28 pictures, and Jackson was still begging me for "one more, Mom!"  Showing Jackson Photo Booth was pretty much like releasing a caged animal.  And I don't know where he learned the peace sign, but he's definitely got it down.  Here are some of the best.


The Witching Hours

A small disclaimer: Ever since another mom sympathized with me and introduced me to the term "the witching hours" I've been wanting to write about them, to remember when I'm older how much of a whirlwind this time is. I of course do not mean my children are at all into witchcraft or wizardry. But they do seem to be able to make a lot of magically awful things happen all at once.

Since school got out, Jimmy has been home and works his cleaning job M-Th evenings. Yes, this has been quite a vacation for all of us, and I have appreciated the help with crowd control during the day. Really, he's pretty lucky because he leaves the house at just the right time. Some mom's call them "the witching hours", I always say, "It's just that time of day" but whatever you want to call them, those hours from about 5 p.m. until bedtime are just wretched. It's as if right before the stork dropped them into this atmosphere he whispered, "Fall to the earth, little one. Snuggle up to your mommy and daddy. Be really cute. But make sure you cry, whine, make trouble, fall down and get hurt, over react, feel really hungry, and act really tired from five to eight p.m." I don't know what it is, but the volume seems to go up 150%, and it's like eight people need my help instead of four. Someone always seems to be getting hurt, and it's absolutely impossible for them to leave me alone.

I guess it's because I'm trying to meet a lot of needs during this time, dinner being the most important. I'm not even cooking complicated stuff, here. But in the time it takes me to make scrambled eggs and broccoli my sanity is all of a sudden hanging itself by a noose made of this yellow yarn which seems to always be pulled out from my "no toddler zone" anyway and floats all over the house. I'm dropping food from the counter into their mouths like a trainer at Sea World drops raw fish into Shamu's belly. It's a wonder there's anything left for dinner.

But there is an intermission. If I can make all our plates of food, place them all on the table at the exact same time, and have everyone begin their meal together, those few seconds when everyone takes their first bite and are chewing, are golden. It is TOTALLY silent. It happened last week and let me tell you, it was the most wonderful quiet I've ever heard. Yes, it only lasted about thirty seconds but it showed me that it is possible to outsmart these tiny, loud, dramatic, larger than life creatures we call children. I catch my breath and assure myself I still stand at the helm of the ship, even in the midst of a nor'easter.

Once dinner is over, chaos erupts while I try to work until the kitchen qualifies as "clean". The kids help me clear the table, which often involves Cash dumping his leftovers on the floor, but at least they try. Then, it's bath time, whether they need it or not, because it kills 30 minutes and keeps them from making further messes all over the house.

After they are dressed and ready for bed, their rooms are "clean" and they have done any other random chores I can dish out, I put them in front of a video, the duration of which is in direct proportion to just how crazy things have been for the last two hours. I use video time to nurse Penelope and stare at her cuteness.

And lastly, with my energy at about 15%, I put them to bed, say prayers, and try to close the door as fast as I can before someone else asks another question, wants their blanket fixed, says they're thirsty, or uses another one of their many tactics from their stalling arsenal. I am not afraid to admit that sometimes I say my final "good night" through clenched teeth.

And then, it's 8 p.m. And I can finally breathe and do things without interruption. Like finish this blog, which I've been writing on for three days. And eat, sitting down, without getting up until I'm finished. They may be called "the witching hours" until bedtime, but after that I enjoy something very magical called "quiet." Shhhhhhhhh...


When the Queen is away...

her children will play...

Today we drove back from my parents house in Waldo. We'd been there since Friday, doing our part to house sit while Queen and Slim are away in Alaska. My sisters and families were with us for the fourth of July weekend. After a house full of Alley's for a few days the place was a lot messier than usual, but we all pitched in to clean it and restore it to it's usual level of cleanliness.

The kids have said some funny things I wanted to record...
We were on the dock shooting fireworks and after one went up and shot some yellow sparks up high Jackson bursts into singing the Beatles song: "Lucy in the sky, with diamonds!" and his cousin Adam looked at him and said, "Jackson, you're just plain silly." True, Adam.

Later, my sister Susan entered the bathroom to find two large pieces of poo in the toilet. She figured someone forgot to flush and went ahead and flushed the toilet. Seconds later, in walks Jackson, with his pants at his ankles, holding a baby wipe. He wasn't quite finished with his job. He looked at Susan embarrassed and said, "Did you see anything?" She said, "Yeah! I saw two turds!" Jackson said, "What's a turd?" (Even with all the poop around my house we don't really ever refer to it as turds, I guess.) She explained what it was, and then Jackson said, "Ooo, Love Turds!" (I guess because there were two of them?) I would have sworn on my life that turd was spelled t-e-r-d. The things you learn when you blog.

At dinner one night Jimmy picked up my parent's antique nut grinder. It's a metal contraption with a handle on top of a jar. You put the nuts in the top and turn the handle, they pass through some turning blades, and you get chopped nuts. Jimmy made a man joke something like, "As long as you don't grind my nuts." I gave him the obligatory eye roll for making a pre-pubescent joke and we enjoyed being able to communicate with each other without any of our children knowing what we were talking about. Jackson was rather quiet for a second, then he said, "Are you talking about the nuts in your groin??" And Jimmy said, "There goes one more thing my kids have taken from me." Somehow I'm not sad to say goodbye to jokes about Jimmy's nuts.

My mom has a bathroom with a claw foot tub and old fashioned tile. There are two bathrooms in that end of the house and we refer to them as "the lake bathroom" or "the old fashioned bathroom". Today Libby said, "I thought Dad was in the old passion bathroom but he's not." He may not have been doing his doo in the old passion bathroom, but I'm sure he brought plenty of passion to the job.

Yesterday in the car we played an old song Jimmy made on Garage Band, he named it "Techo Wonderland." But now it's going to have a new title because at the end the bass drops off and gets real distorted, ending in three low bass notes all by themselves. As soon as it was over Cash yells out, "Dad's got gas!" Yes, to a techno beat.

The kids didn't destroy anything to an unfixable state (they did almost overflow the tub without me realizing it, and Cash emptied an entire Sam's sized bag of Craisins onto the kitchen floor) and we left my Dad's dog Walker safe in his royal kennel, (I just kept giving him human food and telling him if he wouldn't run away, there would be more) so I guess we did our job. But I can assure you, if the Queen had been on her throne, there would have been no nutty jokes, no turd talking, and no techno gas. When you let your lowly subjects use your throne, you never know what you're going to get.


Mom's Vacation

Last weekend we drove down to Brandon to visit and leave Jackson and Libby with their Granny and Grandad for a week. So Jimmy and I have been holding the fort down here with only two children. It has been a nice break. I had high hopes for things I would accomplish this week, (the main one being to potty train Cash) but Tuesday morning I decided potty training would wait. I decided to take the week off and not pressure myself to do or accomplish ANYTHING I did not feel like doing. I figured it was as much as a vacation I was going to get this year, so why not? And even though I've still had multiple diapers to change and stickiness to wipe, it has been some wonderful time off. We go to get the kids tomorrow (we're meeting in Waldo and spending the 4th with my family) so things will resume, but tonight I'm going to eat ice cream and watch a movie with Jimmy and close my vacation with a bang! I'm going to do nothing!

Things that made me feel like I was on vacation this week:
•Only cooking "real" dinner once.
•Less dishes and less laundry.
•Having total silence for two hours every afternoon.
•Taking a nap that was longer than 30 minutes every day.
•Going for a walk or shopping with the kids and having everyone contained in the stroller or cart. No free roamers!
•Letting Cash eat yogurt and peanut butter (out of the jar) for dinner and just not worrying about it.
•Being able to go somewhere and only having to fill up one sippy cup.
•Not having Jackson at my bedside at 6 something for a whole week!
•Reading an entire book.
•Doing various other non essential (but I've been wanting to get them done) chores and projects.

So you see? I DID accomplish something! I got a piece of my sanity back! I didn't lie on a beach with a book and umbrella in my drink, but I still vacated the norm and it was nice.

Here are some pictures of my young ones. They were so sweet and good this week. Penelope started crawling and cut two teeth. She's growing up! She'll be eight months tomorrow.
Cash reveled in being the big kid. I started calling him "Number One." :-)