A Mommy Blog About Raising Men, Not Boys.
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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.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

But Before School Started...

...there was turtle watching. Turtles like humans it seems. They especially like humans who toss them food.
It was in fact a swarm of turtles. What do you call a group of turtles? I don't know. But they were mighty glad for the turtle food we were tossing down.

We drove down to Dauset Trails where we have been many times, it was the first place we ever "went to" in Georgia, not realizing how amazingly far away it was going to be. We still love it, but now it's our place, it reminds us of being new to Georgia, and it's a family tradition.
We can feed piggies and turtles and see lots of amazing rescue animals, while walking in the fresh air and just enjoying the peace of the place. It's priceless.
Some of the animals are easier to touch and love on than others.

It felt like a perfect day, and a great way to end summer, wandering through the woods and saying hello to all of the animals. So many we see every year. The Bald Eagle with only one wing because some asshole shot it with an arrow regards us with thinly veiled contempt each time.
His nest is massive, and I'm guessing he just hops around, they have it set up so that he can. He never deigns to show us his weakness but you know there has to be some way for him to get around, and into his nest.
He is always may favorite.
The day is coming when they won't pose for such silly shots as this one, so I have to cajole them while I can.

School started today. I'm glad we had a perfect day out in the world before we settled back into the routine of alarms and responsibilities. It was wonderful.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Chip Lust

I admit, I like the social media blitz campaigns of the "suggested flavors" of Lays chips. The Sriracha btw were the BEST EVER BRING THOSE BACK LAYS!

This time we've gotten three out of the four. We're missing the Wasabi Ginger, which I really want to try. As of today I've tried all three of these and my expert junk food opinions follow.

Wavy Salsa Mango: Meh. I don't like salsa. I like mango. I don't believe salsa and mango belong in the same sentence much less on the same chip. I would eat them vs. starving. They're not like, vile, they're just not a flavor I enjoy.

~Cheddar~ Bacon Mac & Cheese: First of all why the tilda around cheddar? Is this there way of telling me it isn't actually cheddar? Because I know the difference between cheese and cheese powder. This isn't my first day eating junk food. This is a non-offensive chip product. If you served it, I would have some and enjoy them - to a degree. Not like "DAMN THIS IS A TASTY BURGER" kind of enjoy, but still, it's a chip, it tastes a bit like cheese and a bit like bacon and that's a win regardless that it's powder cheese and powder bacon. These would be an acceptable flavor to win, in my book, except they aren't really "special". Fake cheese and fake bacon isn't new to any snack market line of products worth it's salt, so this isn't really a WHOA HEY WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT NOW? The macaroni flavor was non-existent, exactly like real macaroni until you put something with flavor on it. So I guess KUDOS on that bit of authenticity?

CAPPUCCINO: HERE IS YOUR DARK HORSE. This sounds horrible. WHO THE HELL WANTS A COFFEE FLAVORED CHIP? I showed this picture to people and they scoffed, I was accused of shopping the image. Who would even MAKE a coffee flavored chip? These geniuses would. Ok, so yes, it's a bit salty, and then it's a bit sweet with this delicious creamy coffee flavor. HOW did they do this? Witchcraft? Why can't the make the bacon and cheese taste better then? This is the weirdest thing ever. It's really, like a dessert chip. If dessert chips existed. I think you should beat some cream cheese, or fold in some whipped cream, and make some kind of dip. In fact I'm going to do that. I'm going to INVENT a dip for these things.

Or ask my husband to invent it.

Regardless. This is happening.

So no, I'm sorry. I know folks I work with were hoping to taunt me when I dropped the various chips off at the "free" table in the lunch room but not, they're staying here with us. NO CHIPS FOR YOU!

YOU CAN VOTE HERE !

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Nighttime Is NOT The Right Time

Sometimes I forget how chaotic nights can be for me. Friday night was one of those nights. It's been enough time that I hadn't had to deal with more than needing earplugs for a few hours, that I'd forgotten what a right crazy night around here was like.
It started with Miles, singing and carrying on loudly. I solved it with earplugs. But then there was Charlie, long after Miles had gone to sleep.
Charlie making noise so loud that I can't sleep, with earplugs in. Charlie coming into my room, to say HI. or I WANT WATER. (The water is right there, take it).
Then there was Julia. Tossing. Turning. Declaring a leg cramp. She had a leg cramp once or twice. Since then, it's a fashion. Then she takes her foot and digs it into my thigh. Repeatedly. Tosses.
Then Charlie.
Then she turns, repeats the foot dig.
I threaten, I say you'll have to go sleep in your own bed if you're going to keep this up.
Charlie is howling, and making bizarre noises, apparently because he can.
I keep drifting off, only to wake up, and realize that it's all still going on.
My wonderful husband comes in and says "What's the hub-bub Bub?" I tell him I'm so tense I can't stand it, my teeth hurt, I'm grinding them. What can I do they're driving me nuts?
He rubs my shoulders and neck and makes me feel melty and relaxed.

Right about the time he goes back out, it all starts up again. So I said FUCK IT and I got up.

Julia gets lip trembly and teary eyed and I told her to go to sleep and stomped off.

I park myself on the sofa and open up the Kindle app to continue reading THE HELP. After about a chapter the husband comes down and tells me Julia is scared and thinks I'm mad.

Well, I am mad.

But I'm not mad at her. I'm just mad because I'm not asleep and I'm damn tired. I want to be asleep. I turn a couple more pages and realize she's only 4 and I've left her alone in the darkish room and she's scared and god I'm a selfish jerk. So I put the tablet away and head up to her.

She's sound asleep. Everyone is. I pull her close and she snuggles into her sleeping spot, which is basically in my armpit. I watch her sleeping with the face of that baby they handed me all those years ago and remember what she said to me when she crawled into bed that same night, "Mommy, make room for your baby."

There's always room for my baby. All four of them.

I go to sleep feeling like an inpatient jerk. But, at least I went to sleep.