Preschool Camp

For about two years now, I have referred to Libby and Cash as "the Preschoolers." I'm a bit nostalgic because when I start schooling again in the fall Libby will be in kindergarten so I won't be able to call them that anymore. Jimmy's dad had minor surgery earlier this week so Jimmy and Jackson went to see him down in Brandon and me and the rest of the kids dropped off at my mom's in Waldo since she is by herself while my dad is on a mission trip in Bolivia.

So this week has been like the Preschooler's last hurrah, since we've been really focused on them and doing things they like to do. I feel like I have gone to Preschool camp. It has included things like dancing, playing school, taking bubble baths, going to the pool, going to a museum, going to a playground, and generally having fun and being content just to play and pretend. When Cash got into the bubble bath today he just romped and rolled and said, "Happy, happy, happiness!" This sums up the Preschoolers.

Libby and Cash really are best friends and have also shared a bed these last few nights and play until they just can't stay awake anymore. Last night I checked on them before I went to bed and they were holding hands in their sleep. The preschoolers are like that. Arguing one minute and holding hands the next. Keeping you on your toes. Requiring much patience and determination to not allow them to take over the free world. I'm pretty sure I'm still in charge.

I've dubbed Penelope the "Preschooler in training" for she is doing all kinds of things such as going potty (when she wants to), sitting on a tall stool at the island to eat a snack, and running the other way when you call her name (total preschooler behavior). But she cannot graduate quite yet, for I can still muscle her into the stroller and she does after all, prefer her thumb and blanket to many preschool activities that are yet to come. I'm sure she'll be glad to take Libby's place and become a preschooler with Cash soon. He still needs a woman to keep him in line.

I love you Libby and Cash. You are the coolest preschoolers ever!


Pumped up volume

So, every year as a cheerleader I won the award for loudest voice. I swear those football players could hear me shouting through the megaphone as they lined up on the goal line on 4th down. I've always been proud of my loud voice. Until lately. My children have inherited many of my wonderful talents and abilities, and of course some not so wonderful. But it seems they have all inherited my loudness. And oh, how it has come back to haunt me. And hurt me. And my ears.

The thing about loudness is that no matter how hard you try to respond in a quiet calm and kind sounding voice, so as to be a good example to your child, it will not work on a three year old who is shouting or singing (or both) at the top of his lungs. He just cannot hear you unless you yell louder than him. You can try and wait him out, he has to take a breath at some point, right? But if you wait him out, by then you just can't think straight anymore and you're afraid for your own sanity. Like, seriously, if the noise level does not drop and drop soon, you just might go into your bedroom and not come out until everyone has run around and yelled long enough that they pass out. Who cares if they're pounding on your door or playing in their poop, I've just had enough of the noise.

I have to admit I've never used the "let's use our inside voices" cue. If I thought it would work I would. But that would mean absolutely nothing to our kids. Our volume is: Inside voice-- loud. Outside voice-- a little louder. Jimmy tries to carry on conversations with me while in the bathroom with the door closed, me at the sink, water running, trying to get someone a drink ("Mom, I'm thirsty I want..." "How do you ask" "May I have a drink" "Yes" "What Jimmy?" "I can't hear you" "Yes, I'm getting the drink" you get the picture) I mean, I don't know at what point I lost control of the volume knob but it has definitely taken over and lately we've soared to levels I didn't know existed. Like, higher than eleven. I literally have to clap my hands and say "Excuse me boys and girls" just so we can say a prayer before we eat.

It's pretty overwhelming. But, full of life. And whenever Jimmy or I commiserate about how we can't go out whenever we want, can't have a conversation between the hours of 7 and 7 without being interrupted, how we feel we are just guests at the Holiday Kid, I remind him. Remind him how badly we wanted kids and how miserable we would be right now if we were unable to conceive and have kids of our own. It's true. And I'm so thankful. But all the thankfulness in the world will not turn them down, although sometimes I wish it would. But most times I'm glad I have a noisy life. It makes the quiet times much more wonderful. So pump it up, kids. But if I go crazy, refer to paragraph two and don't say I didn't warn you.


Catching Up

Oh, where to begin? We are coming off a quite eventful two weeks or so. Jimmy has finished his job at the middle school and is already off on another business venture as I write. He is awaiting the prospect of another job and meanwhile we have enjoyed a small vacation.

Our trip to my hometown area included us working on my sister Susan's house in Merritt Island, FL. Their family is moving to Sugarland, TX in a couple of weeks so we helped them prep their home for sale. I got to take some pictures of her house which was fun. Jimmy took multiple trips to the Cocoa dump, which I'm sure involved some interesting characters. My mom cleaned like only the queen can, and was so committed I had to force her to leave the room for fear she would asphyxiate from all the bleach she was swimming in. My family stepped it up if I do say so myself. If you need to clean up your house and make it look good, we're the ones to call.

My other sister kept the cousins, all 10 of them, ranging in age from 1 to 15. They called it the "cousin party" and for two days they swam, played the Wii, and just had fun. After the work days we were able to go to the beach and play. The disadvantage to having a nice professional camera is that I will NOT take it to the beach (unless I'm hired to do so)...I don't want it to get ruined with sand/salt. My sister did have her camera so I'll hopefully get some pictures from her. So, the only vivid memory I have from the beach is when I took Cash to the port-o-potty and had to live my own personal nightmarish Slumdog Millionaire community toilet scene. Aaahh!

After my sister's we went to see our friends Jeremy and Darcy in Vero Beach, FL. They just had a new baby which I was able to hold to my heart's content and got to take some pictures of her too. We enjoyed watching all the kids play together...Libby called Madeleine her BBF (she meant BFF) and Jimmy was amazed when Nena, their three year old spoke to him in Spanish. The last morning we were there Nena woke me with the song "This is the Day" sung about six inches from my face. She sang the whole thing. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

Whew. I'm trying to give the condensed version but it's hard. After Vero we went up to my parents house in Waldo to spend the 4th of July weekend with my entire family. This included multiple skiing and tubing events and the entertainment of watching our dog and Dad's dog (the sister black labs) jump into the lake at high and long distances. I have some pictures but am not going to get to them for a couple more days...

The day before the 4th we drove to Itchutuckne Springs and floated down the springs, all 15 of us. (My mom stayed home with the little ones--the only kid I had to keep track of was Jackson.) I got really cold and was a bit delirious and really hungry and thirsty when we got out of the spring. Waiting for the tram to take us back to our cars, it appeared we would not fit and would have to wait for the next one. This was not okay with me. I was determined to squeeze on so I said, "Come on! We can fit!" and squeezed between Jimmy and my Dad on the last two seats left. I thought others from our family had gotten on. As we were driving away I heard my sister yell (from the line) "We've got Jackson!" and at that point I realized that I had not given even half a thought as to where he was or whether or not he was on or off or even with an adult. I felt like the worst mom ever! It was the cold! It made me temporarily selfish and pushy!

The vacation culminated with us bringing home our dog finally and feeling pretty bad about tearing her away from her sister and also my dad who had pretty much become her master. She's been having a blast at the lake swimming and jumping and now she's in our craziness here...seems to wonder if things ever slow down around here. Well, they don't. But she's gotten a lot of love from our kids and Jimmy and I pet her...well, occasionally. It's not that I don't like her, I'm just trying to get used to having another reason to wash my hands. They're getting all chapped and raw again. Yesterday morning I shoveled poop twice, wiped Cash's booty, and changed Penelope's diaper all within the space of 45 minutes. I'm going to buy stock in anti-bacterial soap.

So that's it for now. I'm going to try to get to my pictures soon!