Thanksgiving 2008

We are back from Thanksgiving at my parents house in Waldo, FL. We joined my mom and dad along with my sisters and their families for the holiday. It was the ultimate family party and there is never a dull moment when you have eight adults and ten children under one roof for three days and four nights. We eat the same exact menu every year (no one wants to change it--it's too good) and every year I wake up to my mom pestering my dad to put the turkey in the oven because she's afraid it won't get done in time. And every year my dad says, multiple times, "Leave me alone, Betty June" and I feel good knowing that people who have been married over forty years still have words with each other. And the turkey is always done and always yummy. But one has to wonder if it's because Dad does what he wants or if it's because Mom pestered a little. I think it's probably a little of both. Whatever it takes to get that bird done.

This year we made home made hot air balloons out of trash bags, straws, scotch tape, and birthday candles and launched them off the dock and watched them go so high and far we could barely see them when the candles finally burned up. We sent my bro in law Willie out for retrieval in a kayak but they went way beyond the perimeter of the lake. It's quite possible a horse in a field (or some guy looking out his window) got the joy of watching six plastic bags fall from the sky and land in his pasture. We'll never know.

Every year we try to get a group picture of the family. I am always responsible for this and do not at all mind setting my timer and trying multiple times to capture everyone in a reasonable expression and position without actually being behind the camera. Well, I recently got a new camera and had everyone and the camera set up when I realized that I had NO idea how to set the timer on the camera. It definitely caused me a few moments of panic, with everyone waiting in their nice clothes and in the perfect spots and me not knowing how to take the picture. But I just kept pressing things, literally, and I figured it out and we got a few good shots, actually. Of course, the only picture where Cash and Penelope are actually both looking forward is in the picture when we yelled, "Now everyone make a silly face!" Oh well, you can't win 'em all.

I am extremely tired, for the long weekend included altercations with both Jackson and Penelope in the middle of the night, multiple nights. Libby and Cash were true to their "play together, make trouble together" form and did the same thing every night: make lots of noise before falling asleep, sleep soundly all night, and wake together every morning at an ungodly hour, play loudly and make lots of noise, and wait somewhat patiently for the clock to say "seven zero zero." I don't know where they get all their energy but if I'm going to compete I've got to finish up this and everything else I have to get done before seven zero zero hits the clock tomorrow.



Well, my baby is growing up. Penelope turned one three weeks ago. All of a sudden yesterday it seemed like she is no longer an infant at all but is turning into a little person. She all of a sudden was interested in walking with help. And then there were the things that made me look at her and say, "Who are you and what did you do with quiet, calm, no trouble Penelope?"

Let me give you some examples. Yesterday, all in one day, I caught her playing in the toilet, eating money (more than once), sitting on top of the coffee table with a pencil (lead end) in her mouth, standing up on a stool reaching the kitchen counter, sitting at the kid table coloring, and, after spitting up on the floor, leaning down and trying to lick it up. Gross! It made me think of that Proverb about a dog returning to it's vomit. What about a baby trying to eat their regurgitated lunch?

While she has not yet grown the horns and pointed tail she needs to be dubbed a toddler, she screams and protests enough to prove she has little nubs where her horns will someday be. (Horns meaning the mischievousness, defiance, and testing that comes with the older baby. Just trying to be funny here. Don't worry, I'm not calling my little angel a devil.)

Changing the subject. Saturday we were trying to quickly run an errand before lunch and were in somewhat of a rush. But of course, Jimmy had to stop and get a Mountain Dew at the corner convenience store. As I was sitting in the van waiting for him and trying to pretend it wasn't happening, I was reading some of the signs in the window. I can't remember exactly what it said, but one was advertising some sort of ice cream treat and it said, "F'Real! Ice cream..." This is exactly the look I give Jimmy when he stops to buy 44oz of Mt. Dew. Like, really. F'real?

One last item. The other day I was sweeping the floor and I was pushing around a small hard item which I thought was a rock. I swept it all over and collected all the nastiness and when I bent down to sweep it into the dust pan I realized it was a tiny ceramic baby Jesus that goes to a small nativity scene that Libby got last year. (We put up our tree and such recently.) I picked him up and put it back. I thought about how, if I was a cheesy sentimental freaky emotional mom, I would write a long blog about how if you're not careful, you can get caught up in the busy Christmas season and sweep Jesus into the trash. It would be copied into an e mail and forwarded all around the world. You would get it from those same people you get "Love you like a sister" e mail forwards from. But that's not me. I'd just like to say, simply, that if you have kids, be careful, or you might sweep the baby Jesus from your nativity scene into the trash. You have to look out for these small people who, although it's not their fault, try to sabotage Christmas and turn it into toys and presents. Let's keep it real. Like, F'real.


This is my normal

Things around here have been full of extraneous events, and we haven't had a "normal" week in a long time. Until this week...

Normal this week included me waking up to Cash at the side of my bed with chocolate all over his face. I leave school work for Jackson and Libby on the coffee table in the mornings and for Cash, I leave a special toy or puzzle. I don't think he's really into anything I leave out, he's more interested in finding something to eat. He comes to the side of my bed with granola bars for me to open, or with an entire gallon jug of milk and a cup...saying, "I'm so strong, Mom." Yes, Cash. If you can just use your super strength to resist chocolate.

Normal this week included Jimmy being off from work on Veteran's Day. I decided we should take the kids to see the Vietnam Memorial traveling wall at Lake Ella in Tallahassee. It would be a good home school field trip, right? In chasing my preschoolers, I walked right through the soldiers who were walking slowly back and forth in front of the fancy stones and felt pretty stupid. Then, I had to answer loud questions like, "Why are they standing there?" and respond to "Mom, this is boring!" I didn't really feel like we contributed a whole lot to the memorial. But you do these things anyway and just hope something gets through. When we got home we told Jackson he should go into one of the armed forces. He refused and when I asked why not? he said, "But all I have is a BB gun!"

Normal this week was Letter K week. Libby blew me away, as usual, with her ability to learn. She was told once about silent k (as in knit) and then pointed it out to me later in a book (knife). I feel so much responsibility to give my kids more and more to think about and learn because they can hold so much! Like a baby wearing a diaper in a swimming pool. They fill up with knowledge until it makes you uncomfortable to look at them. You think, "How can it hold so much?" They can, and I want to make sure it's good stuff. I realized recently that there is too much to teach. It is hard to pick what to talk about. There's no way I can teach them everything there is to know! It is overwhelming.

Normal this week was taking Jackson to gymnastics class, which involves me having to put Cash down for a nap early. I tell him I will wake him up when it's time for gymnastics and I hope I never forget hearing him say, "Go nastics, Mom! Go nastics!" Cash has begun his own gymnastics--he stands on top of the coffee table and jumps off. He is constantly amazing us with his feats of strength. And high pain threshold. He sat very still and watched Jimmy pick a splinter out of his finger this week.

Normal this week was Jackson running to the mailbox every day to see what's inside. He hopes for magazines, letters from his pen pals (We love you guys!!) or anything else interesting like toy catalogs or something involving scratch-offs or stickers. We also mailed off three pairs of goggles for Jimmy. If you read our blog and you need goggles, please, search no further.

Normal this week involved Penelope all of a sudden climbing on top of everything. This change in how close I have to watch her is daunting. It's right up there with when your toddler can open doors, open the refrigerator, climb out of bed, or take off their own diaper. AAAAHHH! Slow down, please!

So, my normal is full of all kinds of interesting things that really don't make me feel especially normal. I am a white female, I don't have a job, and I home school. Pretty sure that makes me a minority. I'm pretty strange. But not to the people that matter. To them, I'm normal.


Smelly Lane

Lately it seems as though my whole house smells. Smells BAD. Usually like poop or urine. I feel like it's too late, that there have been too many accidents and dirty diapers within these four walls to ever return to a normal smelling home. I get a whiff of it, check my diapered children, ask the others if they had gas, and if all are clean, I wonder if it's lurking under the couch or a bed or maybe it happened when I was out and Jimmy didn't clean it all up. It's really disgusting. I KNOW there is a certain smell somewhere (this last week I've smelled it) but I haven't discovered it yet. Maybe it's skid marked underwear or a sippy cup with that tiny bit of milk they can't get that's been rotting for an indefinite (but LONG) amount of time.

But then I start thinking... What if it's just that WE smell? I've been exercising more. Maybe I got sweaty and sat on the furniture too many times. Or maybe, even worse, my CHILDREN smell. Like, some of them are old enough now that they don't smell like powder and baby soap anymore. Instead, they smell like kid sweat and that outside odor. They come in, and BAM! They bring their smell. What happened to my sweet smelling babies?? Who took them away and left stinky, messy, sticky, large, loud, and hungry things called KIDS?

Now, I know what you're saying. You want me to get a smelly candle, some incense, one of those things you plug into the wall, or Febreeze to spray my furniture with. Make my home smell warm and inviting or at least clean. But to me, that's like going outside, working in the dirt and sunshine, getting all sweaty, and then coming inside and just putting on extra deodorant. Gross! I want my house to smell clean and trendy because it IS clean and trendy. (NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN.) My solution? I want to strip my house down to the bare wood, paint it all, and get new furniture. And then, get an outhouse. In the morning I'll just feed my kids a big load of oatmeal and prunes, and then deposit them outside next to the outhouse and tell them they can't come back until they've done their business. But I'm not naive. I know my house will STILL smell. (And what the outhouse in the back would do for the neighborhood may not go over so well.)

Oh well. Life smells. Human beings live here. We eat together, play together, and make stinky smells together. It may be unpleasant at times, but I am thankful I have smells to smell and kids to make them. All I ever wanted was to do just this. But when people gave me baby showers they never included nose plugs. So, to all my pregnant readers-- you might want to register for those.


Libby Says...