Ran Ran Random

Life is moving along like crazy despite the feeling at times that the last thirty minutes until bedtime are NEVER going to end. We do school Monday through Thursday around here, and so I go hard those days, neglecting things like objects hiding against the bottom of the kitchen cabinets. Because bending down one more time to pick up something Penelope really shouldn't have in her mouth, should she find it, is just too much to handle when I'm trying to teach tens and ones, searching for cylinders, cones, and rectangular prisms in my pantry, spelling words for young writers, and explaining to Cash why he is NOT allowed to pour the orange juice by himself.

So right now I have let Libby and Jackson lay a blanket outside in the wonderful weather and write in their journals while taking turns listening to the disc man CD player. Does anyone else in my generation find it strange that my four year old listens to CD's with tiny white earphones when I didn't even have the capability to listen to music while walking around until I was in like fourth grade? And then, it was a big heavy tape player that used like four batteries and the earphones were flimsy and metal with a millimeter of foam on top of the speaker (to make it "comfortable") and it was impossible to lie down without seriously injuring your ear.

Again, we seem to be going through a season of frustration, hitting, and pushing if someone is doing something you don't like. Sometimes I picture one of my children as like executives or something, sitting in a boardroom, and when someone takes away their funding, they walk over and push them so hard their office chair rolls into the glass window and they fall 25 stories to their death. And someone else in the room says to my child, "Didn't your mother ever teach you not to push??" And I'll say what every mom says whose child is misbehaving (and which no one believes)..."I TRIED!"

We recently had a reason to talk about kissing and we told Jackson that he should save all his kisses for his wife. He responded, "Yeah, and I'm going to kiss her at my wedding! And if she doesn't want to kiss me, I'm going to hit her on the head!" And he then proceeds to pump his fist in the air while shouting, "DIS! DIS! DISCIPLINE!" I guess I've got a long way to go in the teaching right from wrong department. Good thing he's got another decade under our roof. Hopefully by then I will be able to refrain from saying to his fiance, "Are you SURE?"

We got a new phone and Jackson has left an amusing greeting on our answering machine. I don't know where he thought of this, but at the end, after pleading with the caller to leave him a message, and giving his own phone number (as if the caller doesn't know our phone number they just called), he closes with, "And if you don't have a social security card, just call 9-1-1!" So there you go. How to navigate social security red tape--by Jackson Alley. Random!


Park Fun

I have always restrained from photographing my children at the park. I'm not sure why, but I think it may be that I feel I should be a bit more creative since I am a "photographer". Also, I'm pretty occupied at the park, making sure no one falls off anything that's higher than they are tall. (A good rule of thumb.) It may also have something to do with the fact that in the first photography class I took in college, on the first day, my professor told us we would fail any assignment if we took pictures at Lake Ella, a local park here where you always see people taking pictures. It's really not very scenic at all and full of sick looking ducks. And people living in their car. And strange musicians. And couples who always seem to be in deep make it or break it relationship discussions. Anyway, I digress.

Sunday Jimmy had to leave for a few hours in the afternoon to clean and I decided to do something to get out so I took everyone out of the house to the park (NOT Lake Ella). And, feeling guilty that I haven't taken any pictures in over two weeks, I decided to bring the camera. Unfortunately the park was crawling with people but for some reason I decided not to care what anyone thought and did what I could to get good shots even if I was being watched or in other people's way.

The kids had SO much fun and so did I, watching them and photographing them, just feeling grateful for the gifts and memories I was being given. Thanks for the fun day, my lovelies. You guys are the best.


If you like ice cream, say "Yeah!"

Well, I guess the first piece of news to share is that Jimmy got a job today. YES! We're not sure when he's starting but now I am just waiting for the inevitable tearing off of the band-aid, meaning, when I'm by myself with no one else to, at the very least, sacrifice to these rabid monkeys that are my children before they come for me. Jimmy is going to be an IT (runs anything related to technology) employee at a middle school just down the street. A job he is going to be great at and for which we thought he was more than qualified but since he has not been a "technology" employee for two years he has been forced to take a 10 percent pay cut. Don't we love the school system? But we are still VERY grateful for the job. He will be great at it. It is an answer to prayer.

In other news, Jimmy has been talking about buying a LCD TV that's cheap at Sam's. I told him if he buys a TV, then I get to buy a couch. We're not buying either of course, but Jackson has picked up on it and for some reason thinks it's called a "Light screen TV" and so when Jimmy got a job today he ran around saying, "We're getting a light screen TV! We're getting a light screen TV!" I asked Jimmy what LCD stands for and he didn't know. Maybe he does need that 10% pay cut. Just kidding, babe. ;-)

Tonight at dinner Libby announced, "I want to tell you my favorite junk." And then she named, complete with counting on her fingers for each one..."Cookies, ice cream, chips, hot dogs, cake, and cup cakes." I think she thought it was only going to be one or two things but then she just got on a roll. In other Libby news, yesterday I asked the kids what they wanted to be when they grow up. Libby immediately said, "Jackson, I think you can be a man!"

Cash is talking a lot more and I usually repeat what I think he has said to me just to make sure I understand him. If I get it right, he says, "Yeah." Only it comes out sounding like he has a thick German accent so it really sounds like, "Yahh." It is really funny and I must admit sometimes I repeat him even when I know what he's said just so I can hear him say it. The other day Libby kept saying over and over, "If you like _______ (it was a number of different foods and things) say, 'Yeah!'" and Jackson or Jimmy or I would say, "Yeah!" (If we liked the item in question of course.) We all lost interest but Libby kept going and when we were all quiet finally Cash responded, "Yahh!" If you like sauerkraut and beer say, "Yahh!"

Well, this month marks five years in a row that I have been either pregnant or breastfeeding (or both). It's pretty amazing to think that I have been, essentially, feeding someone else for the past five years. I thought about this landmark in time coming a few months ago. It's really pretty anti-climatic now that it's here. And just for the record, I am currently breastfeeding. I am NOT pregnant.

What seems almost more amazing to me than the aforementioned landmark is that today I almost exceeded, in the number of dirty diapers changed in this house, the number of plastic bags in my arsenal. I save pretty much all my grocery and Wal-Mart bags because when I change a dirty diaper I tie it up in a plastic bag and throw it outside next to the trash can. When I open the cabinet where I shove the bags, they have, in the past, been so plentiful they practically jump out at me. But today I changed a diaper and used the LAST plastic bag. It was sort of depressing. Do I really change that many diapers? But, tonight we went to the grocery store before anyone else pooped so the bags are still winning out. Whew.

I have been going through all our pictures from the last seven months or so because I'm way behind on cataloging, saving, and printing everything as I usually do. I found some gems along the way. Here's a few...Libby and Cash enjoying baby equipment, one of MANY self portraits I found by Jackson, (he just picks up the camera and goes at it) and Penelope at six months old. She is approaching a year and I can't believe it. We love her! Sorry the pictures are so big I'm too lazy to shrink them. I've got to go eat my favorite junk--ice cream--while I still have the excuse of breastfeeding.