Friday, March 22, 2013

Sailing Solo

So I'm getting ready to walk upstairs and pack a suitcase...

for myself...

for a trip...

by myself...

Holy shmoly!!

On Monday night, I got a text from my best friend that went something like this:

I need you this Saturday!!  I just won 2 tix for George Strait.  I neeeeeed yoooouuuuu!!

So my husband did what any other wonderful husband might do in the same circumstance and volunteered to not only get me a plane ticket but to also watch the three small crazy people who occupy my daily existence.  

Did I also mention that Martina McBride is going to be there?  I KNOW...I've been resting up my vocal chords all week because I just know she's going to call me up from the audience after she hears my singing from the crowd. 

And while I'm totally fired up about seeing my best friend and her family and having an awesome evening, a part of me remains...I don't even know how to explain it.  Hesitant?  Sad?  Already missing my kids?

I tried explaining it to Scott and he literally looked at me like I had three heads.  

"We'll be fine," he said.  "It'll be a lot of fun...I never get to do this."  

And of that, I have no doubt...this really has nothing to do with him and all to do with me.  

You see, this is the first time I've been away from all of them.  And, in fact, the only time I have ever been away from the other two was to have another one!  So it's kind of a big deal for me.  I feel like I sort of traded in the Annie card to become Mama four years ago and it's been a no-look-back kind of deal.

This weekend, I get to be Annie again...and it's just a little overwhelming.  What does one do without a diaper bag or someone crying on them or needing to be carried?  What books will I read when the opportunity provides itself to read for more than an hour straight?   And what does one wear when there is no chance of snot or throw-up ruining the outfit??

These are the brilliant thoughts running through my head...the lack of brain cells, I totally blame on Nick Jr.  

So I'm looking forward to the trip and am anxious about it all at the same time...and before too long, I more than know that my little brood will be grown and driving and not home for dinner and moving their stuff out of my attic and I'll once again think, "What do I do?  Who am I again??"

Well, unless I'm asked to go on tour with Martina...which could totally happen people.  I'm about to go dig out my CD from 1998 and rock out.  (As Miss Kay says on Duck Dynasty, "Score one for the hoarders!")

Have a great weekend, my friends!!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Thursday Math Problems

The two smaller people are down for naps and Elizabeth is sitting at the island, playing with play-doh while I clean the kitchen and start on some soup for dinner.  She's humming to herself and making her characters talk...

...when all of a sudden...

ERS:  Hey Mom, what's 1 + 1 + 1 + 5 + 10?

Me:  (Washing dishes and distracted) What??

ERS:  I SAID, What's 1 + 1 + 1+ 5 + 10??

Now, we've started talking a little bit about math and demonstrating how you can use your fingers to help you add and subtract.  So I raise my soapy hands out of the water, wipe them on my pants, and start putting my fingers up.

Me:  Well, you said 1 (raise one finger) plus 1 (raise another) plus 1...

ERS (interrupting):  No, no, no, no...I SAID, WHAT'S 1 + 1 +...

Me (interrupting her):  Elizabeth, I heard what you asked!  I was trying to help you figure it out!

ERS:  Oh, I already know what it is. 

Me (now fully turned to her with my hands on my hips)  Oh really?  What is it?

ERS:  18.  (She has now gone back to playing)

Me (in shock)  That's right, honey!!  How did you know that?

ERS:  Oh, they said it on Team Umi-zoomi.


Have a great one!!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Pictures around this joint

Spring is upon us and the sunshine makes me not want to sit at my that you too? 

This past weekend was so pretty.  It was my first chance to do lessons outside and we were blessed with warm, 70 degree temperatures and clear skies.  The girls played outside while I taught and then continued to play as I pulled weeds and trimmed bushes.  Isn't it amazing how good you feel after doing yard work?  At least, I do.  And it seems like I've been pregnant or just coming off being pregnant and unable to move and do anything in my gardens for so long that I appreciate my hands in the dirt so much more now.

I remember when I was a graduate assistant and moved into my first little duplex apartment.  I had never lived alone before and didn't really know anyone except for the people I worked with, so I started working on the flower beds around my house.  I ended up going to the gardening store to get plants and the sale I thought I was purchasing under had just ended the day before.  When I rang my flats of flowers and dirt up at the register, it came to $80!!  I almost choked, but was so embarrassed by my mistake that I couldn't take them I loved flowers.   So I promised to REALLY take care of them...especially since that was pretty much a month's worth of groceries back then!  

We lived there for two years and months after we moved out, I made the mistake of driving by and just cried and cried about how it had been left to overgrow and get wild. Now, my phase of life has me growing babies instead of flowers but I'm hoping to be able to begin to mold the two worlds.

That is, if Rachel would ever stop picking the heads off all my daffodils...

But anyway, I know I've been quiet on here so let me catch you up on our household with the most recent pics and short stories.  

Caleb's birthday was last week and we were so blessed to be able to celebrate our little boy!!  He is quite the handful these days, walking and running, yelling and attacking his sisters.

Here is a shot one of his sisters captured.  This pretty much sums him up.

And if that doesn't, this will!!
The girls helped me make his cake - it was vanilla with vanilla frosting.  And of course, there were plenty of sprinkles.
And he got his own piece...which was quickly taken away from him when he tried to stuff the whole thing in his mouth.
It was a fun day and he loved opening his gifts and playing with his new "boy toys."  I never thought about how few rough and tumble things we have around our house...admittedly, most of our toys come in the pink or princess variety.  But given the chance, he definitely drifts to balls and trucks...things he can push and throw.  So it was nice to get a few more of those things into the mix.  

Caleb is a funny little boy.  He loves swinging outside and exploring the yard and driveway.  He can climb up the stairs and knows how to come down on his belly.  He loves going through my kitchen and pulling everything out of drawers and can clap his hands and stomp his feet on cue with If you're happy and you know it.  He still calls me dada and his favorite time of day is when his real dada walks in the door.  (He is the big guy's top fan!)  He loves making the girls laugh.  Just last night, he figured out how to blow raspberries and had them rolling in the bathtub with his sound effects.  

Yep, we're pretty much head over heels!!

Anyway, in other news, the girls figured out how to use my iphone.  Are no electronic sacred in this house??

Here, Rachel.  You take my picture and I'll take yours!
I tried taking a picture of the kids one morning because they actually wanted to match.  The shot I got is pretty typical around here...Elizabeth singing, Rachel crying and Caleb drooling.  Classic. 

This one turned out a little better on St. Patrick's Day.  And Rachel actually wanted to wear this headband to church AND put it in her hair all by herself.  Jump back!!

I told you were were starting to update the house and the kitchen is first on the list.  Sunday, Scott took out the old counter-tops and sink for me.  Please never mind the mess.  I would say the island is usually cleaner, but that would make me a liar-liar-pants-on-fire.

And here is with the new counter-tops and sink.  The pic makes it kind of hard to see, but I am in love with the whole thing and excited about moving forward.  Next week, the lighting is getting updated (from florescent to cans) and then the appliances and back splash.

And now, looking at these pictures, I need to go take down the happy birthday banner.  Have a great day, my friends!!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Spring Cleaning - Mama Style

I don't ever remember my mom's house being dirty.  Growing up, it always gave me the impression of being very clean and well kept.  Every Spring/Summer, she would go on a massive cleaning spree, tearing every room apart, wiping down walls and dusting every surface and then putting everything back, after being wiped down first.  

We would be excited because that meant our rooms would be rearranged and we could have new posters hung - plus the whole house always felt nice and fresh.   (This was also before the new fancy, tilt-in windows and my mom would actually remove the windows to clean them thoroughly...yeah, she's pretty much my hero.)

So, having this example, when I became a young wife, I did the same.  I wiped down walls and baseboards.  I washed curtains.  I pretty much rocked our little 1000 square feet starter home.

And then we had children.

I believe the stupidest statement I ever said to my husband was on the trip to move to Tennessee.  I was anticipating being very bored staying home with our then-only-child and told him that if I didn't "stay in perfect shape, keep the house spotless and have dinner on the table every night, then I would just be a worthless human being."

Oh, Annie, Annie, Annie...

Needless to say, I ate my words within the first week.  Oh, and the second week, we found out we were pregnant with Rachel.  

So now with three kids, I look around at this impossibly dirty house and the thought of Spring cleaning the thing overwhelms me.  I follow a couple cleaning blogs...and by "follow," I mean enjoy reading and rarely follow their advice...  It really is a challenge for me to weekly clean.  The seasonal stuff is simply mind-blowing.

I asked my friend Susie, who also has three little ones, if she was planning on Spring cleaning this year.  She snorted coffee out her nose.

"Oh, you were serious??"  she said.

Hmmm...maybe I'm not alone here.

Regardless of the impossibility, I've decided to give it a try, simply because we are going to have some painting and other simple renovation done this summer and to declutter and clean up our trouble spaces will make that job easier.  Yesterday, I started on our master bedroom.

In two days, I got both closets done.  I didn't sort through clothes and I didn't wipe down walls.  But I did get two garbage bags full of trash out and a good box of donations started.  To me, that's progress.  

What did I do with my little children during that time??  I'm so glad you asked.

They basically trashed their room next door.

They asked me to get their tents out and went "camping."  You can see Rachel in the far right on this pic.

I called for Caleb and you can see his little head peaking out of the tent, right under the yellow pillow.  "Yeeeessss??"

So on the upside, our closets are organized and put together better than ever.  On the downside, I'm behind on all my other chores and the rest of the house is a wreck.  I'm thinking that, at this rate, I should get each space done in about a week...maybe a week and a half.  Which would put me wrapping up my Spring Cleaning around Christmas.  :)

Seriously though, do you clean seasonally?  Do you have any secrets to cleaning with kids?

If you need me, I'll be vacuuming the ceiling fan...which hasn't been cleaned since...oh, never mind.  :)

Friday, March 8, 2013

Next time try harder

It is a gorgeous here today.  The sun is out, the birds are singing, the sky is clear blue...and every speck of dirt and dust is in clear view!!  AAACCKK!!

So while I avoid housework and the laundry-palooza that has begun in my bedroom, I have to tell you about my latest tactic to try to get the girls in the car faster.

Do your kiddos struggle with getting in and out of the car or is it just mine?   I swear, we FINALLY get out of the house, climb into the van and STAND THERE.  THEN we like to FINALLY get in our seats and just SIT THERE.  Meanwhile, I run chronically late for everything and I turn into a mean mommy-tornado over my two pokey little puppies.  

It's really not the best way to start the day.

So we've started to race.  I wasn't really concerned with there being a winner or a loser...I just wanted them in their seats with their belts buckled.  However, THEY were concerned with a winner.

And quickly created an imaginary gold trophy.


At first, Rachel didn't care.  She would continue to poke along and dodge my requests to buckle up with a lack of eye contact.  Then she heard Elizabeth bragging about the gold trophy.

And it was game on for the 3-year-old.

Before I knew it, I had a sobbing oldest child in the backseat.

"What is wrong with you?"  I asked...we were still late so I was just slightly irritated.

"I loooooost!!"  she sobbed.  "I WANTED TO WIN!!  BUT I DIDN'T!  RACHEL WON!!"

I looked at Rachel, who was grinning at me, holding up her hands to show me her imaginary gold trophy.

It was just too much for me to stay irritated.  "Oh honey!!  Great job!!  I love your gold trophy!  And look how quick you got buckled!!  Elizabeth, you just have to get buckled quicker!"

*cue more sobbing*

So this went on for a couple days and Elizabeth kept creating new races to redeem herself.  To no avail, Rachel ran the floor with her. 

Rachel won the race to the front door of the Y.

She got up the stairs and into the house first.

And each time, Elizabeth turned into a dramatic puddle of tears, which she mopped up with her bottom lip.

"Tuck your lip in,"  I'd tell her every time.  "You need to stop talking and actually try."

See, that's what would happen.  She'd throw out the challenge and then get caught up showing me a butterfly or finding something on the ground while Rachel just stuck to the plan of the race. 

One night at dinner, Elizabeth was her usual, defeated self because Rachel had beat her setting the forks on the table...because she had stopped to play with a balloon...and yes, I AM a little worried about the learning curve with that one.  

Well Scott walked in and, after hearing what she was crying about, told her that if she tried her hardest then it really didn't matter if she won or lost and that if she didn't stop the moaning, she could go right up to bed since it sounded like she was too tired for dessert.

That dried them up.

So this morning, she set out on a new mission.  We were already late for preschool (shocker) so when I called them to go get in the car, they shot into the garage like little cannons.  

Impressed with their focus and speed, I held my breath while strapping Caleb in. 

"I won!!"  Elizabeth shouted as her seat belt clicked just seconds before Rachel's.  "I won, I won, I wo-on!!  Rachel, YOU didn't win.  YOU didn't get the gold trophy...I did!!"

Can you imagine how fast my head whipped around in the front seat?  Times that by two.

"Elizabeth!  That is NOT the way to be a good winner!  No one is going to want to play or race with you if you win like that.  The nice thing to do is to say, 'Woo-hoo!  I won!  Good job, Rachel!  You tried hard and did your best!"

She looked at me like I was speaking Spanish.

After taking that spectacular piece of sportsmanship wisdom in, my oldest looked at her sister and said,  "Yay!  I won!  Good job, Rachel.  But next time, try harder!"


I can't wait until Caleb gets into the mix...that should be loads of fun.  Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Kissing Lessons

Elizabeth got in trouble today at preschool.

Now, normally, she's a pretty good kid and doesn't push too many buttons in public.  I hear from everyone what a good young lady she is.

It's a blessing, really.

But I have noticed that we have started to have quite the goings-on when I pick her up from preschool.  She has to hug at least four of her friends before leaving.  Last week, it even got excessive and she knocked one kid down to the floor and I caught her kissing another.

We talk about not kissing others.  This came about when I caught her and her best friend kissing "like the Disney princesses."  So we give hugs, but no kisses except to our family...and we definitely don't hug to knock down  (except maybe our family...).

So at dinner that night, her daddy got in on the action when Elizabeth admitted that she liked to chase around the boys...and laugh... and kiss them.  

Scott's head whipped around.  "You do not kiss boys!"

"But they like for me to kiss them!"  She argued.

This conversation went on and we had all thought we had come to an agreement until I went to pick her up today.  The kids had come out of the classroom, into the hallway like an avalanche of papers and arms and legs and loud voices...our oldest in the middle of it all.

"Ok, Mom...I'm just going to go say goodbye to my friends and give them hugs... and kisses...."

"Elizabeth, we are not kissing and you need to just give quick hugs.  You shouldn't end up rolling around on the floor."  (Seriously, the life lessons you cover at the age of 4...)

I had my back to her when I heard her teacher correcting her for kissing and I turned around to see her arms around the smallest stud muffin you've ever seen.  The kid has an olive complexion, long dark hair and the cutest smile.  He was screaming that he was going to die now that he'd been kissed and proceeded to spin around and then land right in front of me...with his eyes open.

Oh my...this could be bad...

So when my husband got home, I let him unwind before I brought it up.

"Elizabeth got in trouble today for kissing a boy."

"Elizabeth!  I thought we had discussed this!  You do not kiss boys!"

"But Daaaaaaddddyyyy!!  He wants me to kiss him!  He tells me to and then runs away so I'll chase him!"  (Imagine that in your most dramatic little voice ever.  Like Scarlett with less accent.)


"Or girls!!"  piped in the little sister, who was getting quite a kick out of the entire lesson.

We went on with our evening, having dinner, getting baths and putting on pj's.  It was only until he opened Aunt Allison's most recent book, gifted to Rachel and advising against stealing kisses, that he remembered to drill the point home.

"And we definitely don't kiss boys.  What was that boy's name again?  Baylor??  Baylor is a silly name.  If he tries to get you to kiss him again, you kick him in the shins..."

"That's enough, Daddy!"  called Mama from the other room.

And we are off on yet another adventure...  :)

Friday, March 1, 2013

Gymnastics Drama

You're getting my coffee time today.  It's cold and dreary outside with just a little bit of snow in the air.  I made the comment to Elizabeth that we should be thankful for our warm house on a day like today.  When she walked outside, she looked around and said, "I sure don't see the snow...oh wait, there it is."


Speaking of drama, we started back to gymnastics yesterday and I was a little bit worried by how our little sister would do.  I braced myself for the worst, half-expecting tears and tantrums.  The night before, she insisted that she didn't want to go.  

"But Mama!!  (Italicized for whininess)  I don't want to go to gymnastics!!  I don't want to wear a yeotuck (i.e. leotard). 

"Why Rachel?  We've been waiting for you to turn 3 to start gymnastics again.  I thought this was something that you wanted to do."

"Nooooo!!  I want to sit on your lap and eat goldfish!!"


When Rachel turned two, we were going to a wonderful gymnastics facility that catered beautifully to the younger crowd.  The only problem with it was that it was 45 miles away, one way.  But we continued the trek because we had good friends there and I wanted to give Rachel the early opportunity that Elizabeth had had.  However, no one told that to Rachel.

She cried and screamed and refused to go out on the floor.  So she ended up staying in the stands, cuddled up in my lap, munching on goldfish or a similar snack while Elizabeth did her class.  Even when Caleb was born, it continued the same until I forced her out on the floor, literally kicking and screaming.

The beginning of Elizabeth's gymnastics career.  She had just turned two and was a wild woman.  Her friend, Kensley, is on the balance beam.

First day Rachel agreed to get on the floor. 

I never once thought that wanting my one-on-one attention was keeping her from going out there.  Until she fessed up during her fit the other night.  (#middlechildproblems)

"Rachel, you can't sit on my lap anymore, I have Caleb and I won't be sitting down.  And I am not going to bring any snacks.  You need to try it at least once.  If you don't like it, I won't make you go back any more."

Well, this just hit the new three-year-old like a ton of bricks.  

We compromised on the "yeotuck" and let her just wear a shirt and some leggings and, after confirming that I indeed did not bring snacks with me, out she went on the floor with Elizabeth, without a fuss.

That is not to say she participated though.  But she didn't cry.

The group did jumping jacks, Rachel stood there and looked down.

The group ran down a runway and jumped in a pile of foam blocks, Rachel walked to the edge of the pile and looked in.  

The group did crab crawls down a line, Rachel walked beside it.

This was about the case for the first half hour.  I was seriously considering throwing in the towel and trying the whole thing again in six months.  To make matters worse, Captain Busy Britches was not thrilled to NOT be out on the floor with the girls and basically ran havoc of the place the entire time.

And then I saw it.

The smile.  

Suddenly, Rachel was on Elizabeth's heels, chasing and participating...jumping and climbing.  She was laughing and having a great time.  And at the end, she even inched her way into the pile of foam blocks...but just a little bit.


What a nerve-wracking parenting stage.  I remember being dragged to my first softball practice.  I was super shy and the girls were all bigger than me and I'm pretty sure my dad dropped me off and left.  It was horrible...until it was fun.  Looking back at that, I remember in living color the dread that overcame me, having to walk down to that field.  And eventually softball became quite a large part of my life and eventually was one of the resources that lead me to meet my husband.  So I ideally, should be thankful for the experience. 

But I never told my dad about another sport tryout again. 

I got in the car, praying endless prayers of thanksgiving that it not only went well, but that I could get Caleb strapped into one place again.  And then treated my big gymnastics superstars to lunch.  

And of course, they were famished...because there had been no snacks... :)

Happy weekend!