"I wub you"

Lately lots of things seem to threaten the state of my mental health...potty training, sand in my sheets, inches of rain that have turned my backyard into a bog and my house into a sandbox...but luckily all these stressors are all washed away by the beauty and wonder of my family. Someone is always saying something you wish you could put in a bottle and save for a day when you're feeling blue. A couple weeks ago Penelope and I were sitting next to each other at dinner. I have a bench on one side of the table and we were sharing it. She stands up most of the time to reach her food better. Thus, she is at the same level as me. She kept leaning on me and putting her arm around me, sliming me with dinner goo and crumbs. I was trying to take it like a mom but your personal space while you're eating is pretty important when you're me. Just as I was about to reach the level of annoyed she put her arm around me and said, "I wub (love) you." Is there a greater reward than this? I haven't found one on earth. I hope my children grow up and remember how much I love them, not how stressed I can get at times. These stressors really pale in comparison to how things could be. I could not just have sand in my sheets, I could have no sheets at all. I could have a dirt floor instead of dirt on my floor. But I have even more. I have people who love me, and really, this gift is enough to fuel me to overcome whatever stress threatens my sanity. The stress actually keeps me sane. It makes me appreciate those around me that, though they may cause my stress, help me get through the day. This is getting really cheesy. Like, I'm rolling my eyes at myself.

So on to something else. A week or two ago I dropped a yogurt cup at Publix and it opened and spilled everywhere. I said under my breath, "What the crap!" and immediately regretted it. But you move on. A couple days later Libby spilled her drink and Cash said, "Libby, what the crap!" and then, after I told him we don't say that, proceeded to remind me that I said it at Publix when I dropped the yogurt. How does he remember these things yet he runs around naked and can't remember to go put on a pair of underwear when I ask him to? What the crap?! Just didn't want to forget that one. I love my Cashy-Boy. He's going to be 4 in April! Everyone is growing up around here and it's freaking me out. But I take it one day at a time.

And one more thing, the kids are really enjoying the swing set and have played out there a lot for the last 3 days since it's been up. They swing and sing at the top of their lungs and eat lunch out there and just have fun in general. The dog lays around out there and watches them and I feel a little bit like Bella (the dog) is like the nurse dog in Peter Pan. Like, I need to get her a little barrel that goes around her neck and I can fill it with snacks and baby wipes and maybe a first aid kit? I could probably have the house to myself for a few hours at least! If only I could get the dog to teach Math and Language...but I'm pretty sure the only subjects she could teach are eating poop, rolling around in poop, and knocking over the neighbors trash. Not really subjects I want my children to excel in, so I guess I'll have to teach them myself. One day at a time.


We got a swingset.

New swingset!

The Alley's got a new swingset. See more on Facebook.



Band-aids and Library Monsters

Well, we are back into the swing of things. I've determined that vacation is like ripping off a band-aid. You're feeling a little bruised and beat up. You need a band-aid. Aka, vacation. Yet eventually you have to take the band-aid off. And you cringe a little. Then, you just rip it off. Then, you scream in horror at the pain that ensues. This is how it is when you get back from vacation. A little shock and surprise at how much it burns to be back to the daily grind.

Ironically, I couldn't wait to be back anyway. You want the band-aid off and even though it hurts, your bruises have healed and you're ready to accumulate whatever life may throw you next. This is why people go on vacation. To get away from daily life, get totally exhausted and over stimulated. So they appreciate daily life. I used to collect band-aids.

Speaking of ripping off a band-aid, I took apart Penelope's crib a couple days after we got back. It was time. She had been crawling out of her crib a lot. Anyway, it was weird and sad and different but I just had to do it. Wah, wah, Julie. Back to real life. Just do it quickly. Rip it off fast and it won't hurt, right? Not really. It hurt a little!

And on the way to the library today I had one of those Mom moments where everything seems to go your way. It was a moment of genius if I do say so myself. I was excited to get books with them but at the same time was somewhat dreading taking all four of my children to the library by myself, since they usually exceed the decibel level by 200%, according to my standards. So as we pull into the parking lot I felt inspired.

"Guys, remember you have to be really quiet in the library, so if you're having trouble, just pretend there's a monster who lives in the library, and you have to be really quiet or you'll wake him up."

And then I really got going.

"And if you wake him up, he'll come out and start eating all the books, and we don't want him to eat all the books, because then there won't be any books for us to check out! Okay?"

The older two enjoyed playing the game and the younger ones bought it hook, line, and sinker. Score! Cash, whom I believed was born without the ability to whisper, talked in a whisper the entire time and at one point came up to me and asked me where the monster lived in the library. I brilliantly answered (in a whisper of course), "You can't see him, but don't worry, he won't come out because you're being really quiet!" Penelope stood playing in the water fountain (someone usually does this but at least this time she was doing it silently) and turned to ask me, "Mom, where's the monster?" She's only 2 and a couple months...she's smart, that one.

They were still talking about it in the bathtub tonight. I've always taught my kids that Santa and the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny are not real. Yet today I crossed over when I allowed my 3.5 year old to believe in a monster that lives behind the library. What have I become?

One more thing. Just because. Our dog is having trouble getting back to normal too. She is breaking all kinds of rules like lying on the rug and such. Tonight she went into the laundry room to drink from the toilet (she doesn't do this often, only when she's really thirsty because we haven't put enough water out or something) and I listened to her drink for a long time, thinking she must be thirsty. Yes, you know what's coming. I said, "Jimmy, please tell me there's not pee or poop in there." And of course, there was. Number one. So gross. I'm just sitting here staring at her lying totally content trying not to think about what's in her stomach. A monster who eats books, a dog who drinks pee...I'm in really good company these days. At least I don't need a band-aid! I'm ready to be home for a while. It's a good place to be.