Tuesday, July 26, 2011

No, Max!

Ok, friends, do you know this book? You should.

It's one of our favorites, and has been for a long time.  Poor little David is always getting into trouble.  We read the books with the girls and found them both cute and charming.

Except now, we have our own little David.  His name is Max. His antics as of late are neither cute, nor charming. We no longer read these books to Max for fear of giving him ideas.

Here are some of the latest gems.  And I swear to you, all of these have come out of my real, live situations that have actually happened in the last few days. My only regret is that we don't have the hilarious illustrations to go with them.

No, Max. You may not strangle your brother with the vacuum cord.

No, Max. You may not strangle yourself with the string from your balloon either.

No, Max.  You may not run behind the Panda Express counter to use their phone.

No, Max.  We do not bite other people's toes.

No, Max. You may not empty out all the ice and water out of the soda cooler with your cup.

No, Max. You certainly may not spit your drink out in the soda cooler.

No, Max!  You absolutely may not put your whole head in the soda cooler and drink the water!

and for the win....

No, Max!  You may not strip all your clothes and diaper off while you're in the backyard and Mom is nursing the baby so that you can play in the puddled rainwater left in the upside down swimming pool stark naked!  (Do you see the discarded diaper in the background? Priceless.)

Now if I only knew the phone number for David Shannon's editor...


Thursday, July 21, 2011


Abby and Ashlynn have been in Kansas with their grandparents for almost three weeks.

Tom is traveling again, and if I have his agenda right, he's in Washington DC today and tomorrow.

It feels very strange to have my family scattered all over the country.  It's just been me and the little boys all week long.

The first few days without the girls were amazingly quiet and peaceful.  The boys went to bed early and we enjoyed having time to ourselves.  Now, it just seems lonely.  We miss them on Sunday nights when we make chocolate chip cookies and watch a movie, and I miss them on homemade pizza night when I have no one clamoring to help put the cheese on the pizza.

And I miss them at night, when I pass an empty room, and my mother's instinct feels unsettled because two of my children aren't home in their beds where they belong.

Don't get me wrong, they're having a great time.  They're staying up late, eating tons of junk, and playing with the animals.  Grandma is buying them many, many things, and we've only had one or two sad calls home.

As for my husband, well, let's just say I'm doing my best to be the supportive wife.  A few years ago, I had a friend whose husband traveled every other week, and I always shook my head and wondered how she did it.  Now I can say from first hand experience, it ain't easy.  Especially on days like today when I have a nasty cold, two cranky boys, and no one to hand them off to at 6:00.

This truly has been the summer of many travels.  I'm ready for everyone I love to come home and be settled under one roof for a while.  Tom's traveling weekly until late August.  He'll be home on the weekends, but will be racking up the frequent flier miles traveling all over the country until then. 

And while I enjoy having life be somewhat calmer and slower paced for a bit, and like that macaroni and cheese becomes a gourmet dinner when there's only Max to impress, I've decided that I'd rather have the scattered pieces of my heart back home where they belong.

Monday, July 18, 2011

You're going to miss this

I'm sure I won't surprise anyone when I say that mothering small children is hard. 

As my nine year old would say, "Duh, Mom."

There are the times you've been up all night for so many nights in a row that you don't know what it would feel like to sleep for more than two hours in a stretch.  There are times when you're covered head to toe in someone else's bodily fluids and there are times where the noise level in your home rivals that of a jet engine at takeoff.  There are times where your doctor and prescription copays roughly equal your grocery budget for the month as well as times where you're so buried in laundry and housework that you think it might be easier to just firebomb your house to the ground and start over.

 Inevitably, when I'm ready to resign from motherhood forever and run away to the nearest tropical island, someone tells me: "Just wait. You'll miss this someday when your kids are grown and gone."  There's been a great discussion going on over on Steph's blog about this very thing.   She mentions this quote by President Monson:

“If you are still in the process of raising children, be aware that the tiny fingerprints that show up on almost every newly cleaned surface, the toys scattered about the house, the piles and piles of laundry to be tackled will disappear all too soon and that you will—to your surprise—miss them profoundly.”
Every time I read this quote or hear someone say anything resembling "You're going to miss this," I alternately want to laugh or shake them.  What am I going to miss?  Being so exhausted that I can't think straight?  Feeling like my head is going to explode when my girls are singing the latest stupid song at the top of their lungs?  Sweeping Cheerios, dead grass, clumps of dirt and who knows what off my kitchen floor three times a day?  I honestly don't think I'll miss any of those things.

I've been thinking about this idea a lot the past few days.  Here's what I've decided: First, when President Monson says "You will miss them profoundly" I really think he's talking about the children and not the fingerprints and dirty laundry.  I am not at all attached to the dirty laundry or the toys that seem to multiply and scatter everywhere.  Second, I'm thinking that I'll probably miss more about having young kids than I realize.

I'll miss Ian's light up the room smile every time he sees me, even if I've only been gone for two minutes.

I'll miss Max's crazy head of curls, because I know it's only a matter of time before he'll want it cut short.

I'll miss Ashlynn reaching up to  hold my hand when we go running errands.

I'll miss my talks with Abby on the forever longs drives to violin and back.

I'll miss kissing the soft cheeks of my little boys, and blowing kisses on their tummies to screams of giggles.

I'll miss rocking and nursing a baby.  There are no words for how peaceful and contented it feels to have a baby fall asleep in my arms or over my shoulder.

I'll miss cuddling with my little boys and watching them close their eyes as they fall asleep.
I'll miss messy faces,

and even messier hair.

I'll miss watching my my girls take such joy in making their little brothers laugh, reading to them, or playing silly games.

I'll miss how a $20 wading pool can keep everyone in the neighborhood happy for hours on end, and I'll miss the squeals of joy when they jump into a pool full of cold water from the hose.

I'll miss watching Ian trying to eat the cat, the basketball, and most recently, Dad's head as he was riding on his shoulders.

I'll miss handsome boys and beautiful girls dressed in Sunday best.

I'll miss my kids dressed in whatever they manage to find around the house, and how Max is convinced that the only true pair of flip flops is a mis-matched pair of flip flops.

I'll miss how Max says "Fip Fops."

I'll miss little boys splashing in the bathtub together, and lifting them out of the bathtub, clean, fresh, warm, and smelling like baby shampoo.

I'll miss finding random pictures on my cell phone.

I'll miss bedtime stories and endless repetitions of all things Mo Willems.

I'll miss ice cream covered faces.

I'll miss infectious baby giggles, and how once you get a baby giggling, you'll do all you can to keep them giggling.  I love how when the girls hear Ian belly laughing, they'll come running from wherever they are in the house to see what is so funny.

I'll miss Sunday afternoon walks, games of UNO with the girls after the boys go to bed, and our weekly batch of chocolate chip cookies fresh from the oven.

I'll miss being able to fix the bumps, bruises and various owies with a kiss, some cuddles, and a bandaid.

I already miss the tiny newborns snuggled up right underneath your chin, with their impossibly small clothes, and their fingernails barely big enough to see.

I'll miss them looking to me with their eyes full of trust, as if I have all the answers and can make all the problems go away.

I'll miss the milestones: the rolling over, crawling, walking, riding a bike, the sheer wonder in discovering the world for the first time.

I'll miss the girls coming to cuddle up right next to me while we're watching a movie or reading scriptures.

I'll miss Max climbing up on my lap and asking "More tickles?"

I'll miss the crazy, rambling stories the girls tell.

I'll miss hours and hours spent at every park in our town, and how all it takes it 20 minutes on the swings and slides to turn the day around.

I'll miss Ashlynn's letters and drawings left on my bed, in my drawers or on the refrigerator saying "I love you Mom!"

I'll miss watching my kids turn into people with their own personalities, likes and dislikes, dreams and goals.

I'll miss watching my kids interact with, take care of, and love each other.

So maybe I won't miss the piles of dirty dishes, the endless trips to the pediatrician, or the mountains of laundry.  (Will those ever really go away?)  But maybe President Monson was on to something.  Because I think there are a lot of things I will miss profoundly.

What will you miss the most?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Sweet Summer

 Fresh strawberries just harvested from the garden.
Fresh strawberries from the garden in Ian's mouth.  And all over his arms, face, hair, bib, high chair tray, clothing....

Monday, July 11, 2011

Who's raising these kids anyway?

The good news: My girls, as well as my Mother in Law and Father in Law, are all still alive and enjoying each other.

The bad news: We're missing them.  Especially Max, who walks around daily calling "Abby!  Where are you?  Ashlynn!  Where are you?"  He misses his entertainment committee.  So do I, because frankly, you can only get climbed on by the two year for so long before it stops getting cute and starts getting really obnoxious.

The embarassing news: We were checking in with Grandma a few days ago and she told us: "Well, I just thought I should tell you that right after we got in the car and were starting to leave Grand Junction, almost the first words out of Ashlynn's mouth were 'Grandma, what's a c_ndom?'  I told her that was a discussion that she needed to have with her parents, but I just wanted you to know that she might be asking."

Nice job, Ashlynn.  Way to make us look like good, open minded, concerned parents who protect their children from all evil influences.

Well, now I know what we're going to be talking about when they get back... 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Happy 7th of July!

OK, I know I'm three days late and way too many dollars short to count, but have we had some craziness over here!  The good kind of crazy, but crazy is crazy, and when you add any kind of crazy to the crazy we already have, well, you get the picture.

A week ago, my darling Ashlynn, my born on the freeway baby, turned 8.  How this is possible, I don't know, but there was no way on earth she was going to let us forget it.  Turning 8 is a big deal when you're a Mormon, so not only did I find myself planning for a birthday, but also a birthday party, an activity for her actual birthday, ("What are we going to do for my actual birthday, Mom?  Because I know we're having a party on Friday and my baptism on Saturday, but what are we going to do for my actual birthday?  Because it's my actual birthday and we have to do something!") a baptism and brunch afterwards, but also planning to get out of town for our annual 4th of July in Torrey, and then prepping to drop the girls off for a few weeks with Tom's parents in Kansas.  Did I mention that all of this took place last week while my husband was out of town? 

Yeah, crazy.

So in the spirit of the good blogger mom, I sat Ashlynn down and "interviewed" her for my blog, which made her all excited because she was "going to be famous on mom's blog."  Love that kid.  She's so good for my ego.

Favorite food: Fried chicken, hot dogs, hamburgers.
Favorite color: Blue
Favorite Movie: "Chestnut"  (Huh?  I've never even heard of this movie!)
Favorite TV Show: "Good Luck Charlie"  (The whole family watches this one.  Including Tom.)
Favorite Music: Taylor Swift
Best thing to do for a birthday party: Go to Seven Peaks and then have a sleepover.
Favorite Thing to Do With Family: "The fun things we do together.  But not chores."
Most exciting thing about being 8: Getting baptized.

So Wednesday, Ashlynn's actual birthday, I rounded up a bunch of friends and suckered them into coming to Trafalga with me.  If you're wondering, 1 pm on Wednesday is not the best time to go to Trafalga with a bunch of little kids without your husband.  It was hot, sticky, crowded, and Max had approximately 32 meltdowns by the time we left.  The big kids had fun, though, and when all the adults had had their fill of the screaming and whining, we piled more kids than legally should have fit in our and headed home for pizza and a movie.  Ashlynn declared it the most fun birthday ever, so it must have been ok.

Friday, I wrangled up most of the same friends (why are they all still friends with me?!) and we headed to Seven Peaks.  I was incredibly proud of myself for getting all four kids ready and out the door a few mimutes early, until I realized I had no idea where my wallet was.  We searched the house.  We searched the car.  Then I remembered that I had taken all four kdis to Target with me the day before and I sighed, knowing that we were going to be heading to Seven Peaks in Provo via a Target in Salt Lake.  Luckily, my wallet was intact, and we made it just over an hour late.  Remarkably, we all had a good time, and no one got lost, sunburned or drowned, so I'm counting it a grand success.

Baptism day dawned bright and very early.  Ashlynn was bouncing off the walls, and Tom and I were propping our eyes open with toothpicks.  I had been up until an obscene hour cooking for the brunch, and Tom's flight from whereeverhewasthatweek didn't even get into the airport until after midnight. 

There is something very special about watching  your child so excited for such a milestone.  Ashylnn's smile already can light up a room, but on Saturday morning, she was grinning from ear to ear non-stop.  My mom made Ashlynn's dress, and it was amazing.  Ashlynn picked out the pattern, and my mom had no idea the amount of work that was going to go in it- there was 9 yards of lace in the skirt alone!  In a happy coincidence, the fabric that my mom picked for the baptism dress was the exact same fabric that she picked for her blessing dress 8 years before.  Once Ash gets too big for the baptism dress, I'm going to have them both preserved for her.

The service itself was intiamte and sweet.  Ashlynn played the opening song on the piano, which had me crying before two notes were up, and Abby impressed me with her ability to put together a musical number in less than a week.  Being with Ashlynn after the baptism, helping her back into her dress, gave me an inkling of what it will be like to help her into her wedding dress in a few short years. 

Brunch was a success, and a few hours later, we threw everything in our van and headed to Torrey for our annual Fourth of July party.  Unfortunately, the town of Torrey decided to do all their celebrating on Saturday, so we missed the pie eating contest and the parade, but we made our own fun.  We rode four wheelers, we played in the water, we napped and relaxed, and we shot off a lot of fireworks.  Neither of the boys appreciated them, and one of the funniest moments of the whole trip came when Max announced "I so scared!  I go inside and go to bed!" 

It turns out that we're not great picture takers.  When I came home and started downloading pictures from the weekend, I realized that we had taken a grand total of one picture the whole weekend.

That's Ian, passed out asleep.  He was fed up with being in the carseat on the way there, so out of desperation, I gave him the cookie part of an Oreo.  It may not be the most nutritionally sound choice, but it obviously did the trick.

Two days later, we were back in the car.  Tom's parents live on a farm in Kansas, and we don't get to spend much time with them.  The girls have been begging to see the farm, the grandparents have been begging to see the girls, so we met up with them in Grand Junction, CO.  After spending the ngiht playing together, Grandma and Grandpa took Abby and Ashlynn and went East, and we took the boys and headed West.  The girls are thrilled to be spending time on a real farm.  There are at least 3 litters of kittens, 4 dogs, 20 chickens, a bunch of horses and cows, and a duck.  They're staying for about three weeks, give or take.  Which makes for a very quiet ride home and an oddly empty house. 

So there you have it.  We've never had such a nutty summer, but for us, the traveling is over.  Max and Ian and I are going to hang out, go swimming, and  try and dig ourselves out of the 7 loads of laundry that are piled all over the house.  (And I would love to know how one 3 day trip can turn into 7 loads of laundry!  Seriously!  It defied the laws of physics.)  Tom is going to travel to whereeverhesgoingthisweek and we'll see him when we see him. 

And we're definitely going to nap.  *Yawn*
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