A Mommy Blog About Raising Men, Not Boys.
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Sunday, September 14, 2014

We Had to Do ALL The Things

But FIRST we had to do the important things. Important being hugs with Grandma and Grandpa - or Papa as Julia has decided to call him. We'd never been to their new place and it was an adventure of things to do, as Grandma's houses always are.
Grandma had COLORING BOOKS! Who KNEW other people could have things like COLORING BOOKS?? And she had lots of them.
We had dinner at one of our favorite chains from back when we lived there, and I swear I don't recall the food at all. Was it because it was just average or I was just so excited to see my parents? I don't know. It was Max and Erma's and we got burgers but eh, it's just a burger.
The twins thought Grandpa was awesome. We had to wait a while, which went really well, oddly. the waitress brought us sidewalk chalk to entertain little people.
We aren't good with waits usually, as Miles and Charlie won't tolerate them well but this time it all went well.
Of course the best part of any trip to Max and Erma's is the Sundae Bar. Right?
I wish my kids could've seen the OLD SUNDAE BAR because it was AWESOME. Max and Erma's has cheaped up the Sundae bar for sure, but hey, the kids didn't know the difference. It was still fun.

Julia thought it was awesome, obviously.

We decided that it wouldn't be right to come to Indy without heading for the Children's Museum, so we made that our plan for the next day.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

You Can Go Home

We decided that we needed to go home. We haven't been in years, and no one's parents are getting any younger. My mom isn't all that well, and Julia's NEVER been there to see them. So we loaded up and took our Labor Day weekend to head home.
Travelling is never without it's peril, to be certain. The girl HAD to go, and so we stopped and this was our option.

I chose NOT to flush. Sorry Shell Station. Fix your toilet.

The trip between Georgia and Indiana varies between boring as hell and beautiful.
It starts out beautiful, for sure, with the rolling hills of Tennessee and so much to see. Especially FIREWORKS!
When I was a kid, these were the places you HAD to stop. They had the "illegal" fireworks. Well, they aren't illegal in Tennessee. But the bottle rockets and big boomers you can't get anywhere else, you could get them at these places. We always had such big Fourth of July celebrations, these places were a MUST DO when I was little. However, it was late and we weren't even in Kentucky yet, so onward we zoomed.
I would testify in court that Cracker Barrel is the friend of travelers everywhere. You get hot food that isn't fries and a burger and you don't feel like you're dying of grease after you eat. Their bathrooms are big and roomy and perfect for a mom with two ten year olds in pull ups (Thank you Cracker Barrel). Although I do miss them having their soaps and stuff out. They used to ALWAYS have out lavender soaps and lotions in the bathrooms, nice ones.
It was a such a nice touch, though. You're all gross from hundreds of miles of travel, you have a nice meal and then this luxurious treat in the bathroom - wonderful calming lavender.

For me, after changing SO many diapers for SO many years, it was something I always looked forward to.
I still love you Cracker Barrel but I wish you weren't so cheap you didn't put out hand lotion these days.  I still love your crackling fire in the winter. So I guess we're square.

The girl picked out a new friend in the country store, and we found an ADORABLE Halloween Costume for her. (NOT SHOWING YOU YET)

We didn't arrive at our destination until 3am or so, and then we discovered, I'd over estimated our ability to cram us all into two queens. Lesson learned, this won't work in the future.

And with that we were home. 


Monday, September 08, 2014

A Wandering Sunday

We set out to go to the mountains. Not originally, mind you. Originally we were going to the Aquarium. But the FALCONS were in town, and that means going downtown is RIGHT OUT. So we said we'd go the other direction and it was a beautiful day for some mountain air. Except we wanted to go to Brasstown Bald. And then that was too far and it was too late. So we wandered to the mountains anyway and found a pottery museum.
It was all about the North Georgia tradition of pottery making, and how eventually glass jars nearly killed the entire trade. Which was interesting. What was also interesting was how individual pottery is, and how long the traditions of it run.
Every place has it's own traditions, so it was interesting to see how the traditional pottery of Georgia settlers looks and is used. I was really interested that storing syrup, their only way of sweetening, was of huge value and you had to have special pots of that. Who knew?
There is knowledge missing in the world, because we don't do these things - like NEEDING TO STORE SYRUP - anymore in our lives. We don't value things that are simple but well made. I think that's a pity.
It made me want a lot of hand thrown pottery for everyday use, the kind that feels heavy in your hand and is useful yet still pretty. Maybe NOT a head shaped jar. But - maybe?
We didn't know what to do this day, so we just got in our car and and we drove. It was a sign by the side of the road that led us to this pottery museum and we spent a couple of hours learning about things we hadn't even thought of before. It was pretty fascinating.

A lot of people always think it's odd or amazing, or somewhere in between that we take two severely autistic boys places like this. But as you can see, they were interested. Did they totally get it? Hard to say. Their receptive language skills are quiet good.
Did they behave perfectly? Nope. They never do.
But when we're all together we're making memories and that's what matters. Even when the memories aren't perfect. We're together and we're a family.
And some days, that's the best we're going to get.


Sunday, August 24, 2014

The More Things Change

Weekend mornings have started "about" the same way every weekend as long as my memory goes. I wake up to the sound of the twins needing something. If there was a baby in the house, it was the sound of a baby needing something. Sometimes, just "sometimes" I get up before anyone else, and there is quiet before people start summoning me to meet their needs.

The past two mornings though, I've awoken to a muffled noise, talking, murmuring and just - rustling about.
I walk down the hall, and Miles is on the computer watching Sesame Street of playing Sesame Street online games, and Charlie is draped across a chair, watching Thomas. They're both content, relaxed, and no one is screaming.
They've learned, at the age of ten, that they can wake up and not scream & carry on for attention. They can in fact, and have been known to, come in to my room and say "GET UP PLEASE". But suddenly they're just content hanging out, they seem to be seeking their own quiet time, comfortable knowing it won't be long until I stumble down the hall wondering what I am hearing.
A couple of hours in the pool yesterday and more planned for today, as it's 100 AGAIN, I had expected everyone to sleep in and enjoy the rest myself. But they were in the computer room again, comfortably entertaining themselves.
It feels like, as summer closes with one last blast of heat from her oven, that we've hit a change that's positive. I am as excited by this silly independence the twins are showing, as I am of Julia being brave enough to jump into the pool, or Louis really starting to learn to swim. (Yes he's late I know).
Comfort comes from strange places.

But at least it comes.
At least it comes.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Ingredients of a Perfect Day

The first thing that happens on a perfect day is that I wake up and realize my underwear is cutting into me, and that I need to pee. It's a Sunday and it's not even 7 am so that's about right. I decide to creep down the creeky stairs, make a cup and either watch something on Netflix (see previous addiction information) or play video games. Regardless, whatever I do, I'm going to do it alone and in silence.

I'm still tasting the pleasure that comes from such an idea, while stirring in the raw sugar into my coffee, when I hear footsteps. FOILED. Someone is up. I add creamer and turn, to see three children coming down the hallway. It's now 7:15. And my plans just changed.
They drink all of my coffee before I get a sip or two. I make another cup, and another. Each time short bandits make off with it. After that, I spend my morning dealing with the fact that no one likes the sugar filled cereal they chose and only want each other's food for breakfast.
But not the part of each other's food that is this cereal.

Then we've got the potty training. And while he's mastered the peeing, the pooping in the pants is getting old. And tiresome. And let's just say it, it's gross as hell. If I were made of money all poop filled underwear would go in the trash. But I'm not. So, it's gross. Props to my husband who does almost all the recovery effort on those.

Lunch happens on a perfect day with minimal drama. It's a rare moment and that adds into the perfect equation. But what really happens on a perfect day is that the sun shines and the pool is ready for the tiny humans.
It was a bit cold and once again storms were threatening but it didn't really matter. The water is inviting and even a silly old above the ground pool is a recipe for more fun that you can shake a stick at. I swam laps to feel like I actually did something fitness related and good for my knee, and I floated around like I was queen of the Georgia Pines.

When I look up at the sky, I decide that maybe I am. I have to admit, it feels pretty darn good.

When we get inside the thunder rolls and the sky opens up. Perfect timing, and we head up into the giant bathtub to wash off chemicals and to get clean & shiny for school tomorrow.

Perfect day? Yes, that's a perfect day.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Oh The Potty Training

We decided that we were going to bite the bullet and sacrifice our furniture & whatever else, and start potty training Miles again.

There have been numerous, very frustrating attempts in the past. Sometimes we'd try both boys. We always ran into the same roadblock. They were totally capable of understanding what the potty was for, but were also totally ok with going in their pants. So, they did.

Always we were defeated, consigned to spending in the neighborhood of $10 a day (give or take) on diapers and living a life where every time we went anywhere, I spent a great amount of time in the bathroom with my ten year olds and their diapers.

But two weeks ago, we went hardcore. Underpants were bought. And we put him in them. We showed him the Minions and said "Don't pee on the Minions!". His response was simply to shout the word minions back at us, that can be agree or disagree who knows?

Day one we had several accidents. However he also got up and went to the potty on his own, TWICE. I was overjoyed. SURELY WE WERE READY.

Well since then we've settled into a routine. Pullups on the bus and at night, and underpants all day. His initial tactic after the first couple of days, was simply not to go. So he'd wait for that pullup and then unleash hell. But slowly he's amending that behavior. School is using candy rewards and we'll probably add something like that at home.

There are no books for how to potty train your ten year old who you can't have a conversation with. Regardless though, I think we're going to get it.

Monday, August 11, 2014

When You Least Expect It

It was a late start to a day out, so we decided to just go putz around a local mall. Nothing strenuous, just walking around and looking at things.
Bass Pro Shop is always a good stop with the kids. They have lots to see and heck the big tank is good for entertainment for 30 minutes, especially if it's feeding time. Except that while we were there, I started to feel bad, kind of sweaty and not great. I couldn't put my finger on HOW I felt bad just that I did.


We wandered over to the Slot Car Racing place and let Louis run a couple of races. The sickness upgraded to queasy and shaky while we were there.
It was about then that the nausea began. I was too hot. I was too sweaty. Why was it so hot here?

By the time we got home I was in full blow stomach flu mode and in bed shaking and shivering so hard I thought I was gonna die. That's the annoying part, you know you aren't going to die but damn why do you have to feel so bad? I threw up. It didn't get better. Finally the ibuprofen I managed to keep down shifted me from freezing cold to burning hot. I'm not sure this was an improvement.

I've spent most of my day in bed sleeping fitfully. I'm finally up now and feel like I might not pass out. This is improvement. I'm having a cup of coffee because I don't assuage the caffeine gods they will kill me.

I guess it's passing so it's only a 24 hour thing. I need to bathe, oh god do I need to bathe. That'll wait until the husband returns from the allergist. Until then I'm going to finish reading THE HELP and sweat. That seems about all I'm capable of.

Until then, I leave you with this image. I snapped it yesterday on my way out of the mall. Even sick as hell, I'm never too sick to enjoy this kind of thing.


Sunday, August 10, 2014

13,000 Gallons of Fun

There are people who will tell you that owning a pool is a pain in the ass. They'll say it's more trouble than it's worth. They'll say it's so expensive you won't believe it.

Those people? They're damn right.

Our pool has been broken in some way or shape for at least two years. After a summer of tinkering, fixing this, fixing that, countless hours of Louis and the husband standing in muck around the pool trying to get this or that to work, YESTERDAY we christened our pool.

As storms loomed from the west.
The thing is though, once it's working, it's a magical playground that's the best thing anyone ever did. Even on a day that's not so hot and has grey clouds gathering. It's fun.

We got out every floatie we had, and after a while even Julia was having enough fun to let go of someone. "I've got this Mom! I've got this!" she declared. Everyone else made circles or laps, letting the cool, chlorinated magic roll over us.

We have our pool back.
And since it's Atlanta we should have at least another month if not more of swimming weather.

I'm super excited!

Saturday, August 09, 2014

He's With The Band

Sixth grade is magical. In sixth grade you get to make the choice to join that most awesome thing ever, THE BAND.

If you weren't in band, well you'll just have to trust me. But we band geeks, band nerds, band dweebs, whatever we are, are really pretty freaking awesome. Some of the best friends in my life, 25 years later, are those folks I spent band hours with.

The boy's school continues to impress me. They really encouraged the kids to try EVERYTHING, tried to teach them a proper embouchure and let them blow. They encouraged them to make different notes, and let them hold the instruments. What impressed me most was that there was no "well you have the teeth of a trombone player" stuff, so the kids really felt good trying things. No pressure.

We landed on trumpet. They had us fill out a secondary choice just in case there were SO many of one thing that they needed to ask folks o reconsider. He chose trombone. Obviously this is the best possible choice, but I'll live with the trumpet thing.

He is, after all, named after Louis Armstrong. It seems fitting.

Of course then they gave us the list of what we need to buy.

I am feeling instant guilt for every time I came home from band and started my greeting with "Mom I need to buy..."

But I'm excited. I think he's going to love it.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Back To School Cake

The husband read somewhere that if you simmer a can of Eagle Brand condensed milk for 3 hours it turns into caramel. It's really more like a dulce de leche. But there is nothing bad about that at all. I've been craving a vanilla cake with caramel icing but since we wanted to try this, we decided to do a little tinkering in the kitchen to celebrate the new school year.
My Hunny took care of simmering the can of Eagle Brand until it was a rich and dark golden color.  When I got home Louis and Julia baked a beautiful white cake and once it was out of the oven Louis poked holes in it. We had another, noncaramelized can of Eagle Brand some we poured it over the top, for good measure.
Then we added the can that was the experiment.

Oh my goodness. Can I tell you how good it was? The cake was like angel food as we only used egg whites.
White cake, soaked in Eagle Brand, covered in caramelized Eagle Brand. We served it over ice cream to cut the sweetness.
And that's how we do back to school around here.