Thursday, April 28, 2011

Easter; Kid Bits; and Why I will be watching William and Kate get married...

I really would like to tell you a wonderful story about how we spent our Easter Sunday, but I don't really have one. The Bunny came to visit early, Matt made breakfast, and somehow we managed to pull everyone together and get to church early so Matt could usher - and since we finally had an Easter that was warm enough to be outside for pictures, I dragged the kids over to the side of the building in the sun and told them to smile :) Just like your parents did to you, and mine to me, right? Looking at these pictures, I'm beginning to see why, when I'm out and about with them, people are always exclaiming how much they look like me - all I see are their differences from each other, not the resemblances, but I guess my view is colored by their grand personalities. Somehow I do manage to mix all their names up though! Anyway - here are my kids all dolled up for church...
I had to include this because I love Sarah's smile :)
The best one of the Fab Four
Sarah adding some flowers to the cross, and William doing who knows what with his hands...
Evie pouting because I won't give her my phone to play with
Evie smiling because I told her to :)
Pre-service activities...
The two who are giving me the most trouble right now :)
The easy two of the moment
After church, we came home and dyed eggs - yes, I know this is usually done before Easter,  but better late than never...

Much of the rest of the day was spent with me in the kitchen, Matt set up an egg hunt for the kids, and I believe there was an argument at one point about crawfish - but other than that? We enjoyed our Easter - everyone was pretty done in from our spring break trip south, and Matt had to pack for Hawaii, poor guy :) All in all, a pretty low-key day. You need one of those now and then, right?
Kid Bits
It's not often that Evie gives me a Kid Bit to share, but every now and then she'll come up with a doozy! Ever since things have started growing this spring, Evie's been fascinated with onion grass. She's been pulling up clumps of it wherever she can find it and stuffing it under my nose - 'doesn't this smell GOOD???' I started getting annoyed when she began bringing it in the house and leaving it on the floor of the mud room or on the kitchen table. She seemed to stop doing it, and I didn't really think about it anymore.

On Sunday afternoon, I'd gone out and come back in & noticed an odd smell in the kitchen. I figured it was the bacon smell from that morning or something, didn't really think much of it. When I still noticed it the next morning, I figured it was the trash can so I took that bag out. By Monday afternoon, the smell was getting stronger, and it was oddly near the desk area in the kitchen. Now, Evie has a little hidey hole in the desk (William broke the front off the drawer a few years back and Matt just screwed the drawer front to the facing & now there's an empty space where the drawer used to be...) and she keeps things like her gum, and who knows what else there. Now, I'm thinking to myself I'm going to find the rotten apple core she left in the bag from her field trip to Mt. Vernon a few weeks ago - at least I hope that's all it is. I crawled under the desk, half afraid of what I'm going to find, and start pulling stuff out. The last thing I expected was this:

Yes, that's a stinky, wreaking bag FULL of rotting onion grass.No wonder it had a vague food-ie smell to it. And of course the more I moved it around, the stinkier it got. At the moment, it's triple bagged and stinking up the can in the garage. We're really looking forward to trash day on Friday :)

The same day I discovered Stinky McBaggy, I went up to William's room to collect bathroom cups to wash and discovered this:
I'm not sure why his shower has crime scene tape around it, and I really don't think I want to know. Life with kids is certainly interesting :)
Friday morning I'll be getting up early to watch Prince William marry Kate Middleton, with all the pomp that goes along with that. If you are or aren't, I'm sure you have your reasons, just as I have mine - or at least I think I do. I vividly remember my mother getting up at the crack of dawn back in 1982 to watch Prince Charles marry Diana Spencer. I was almost 12, and this was really the first I remember hearing about actual princes outside of fairy tales. I remember my sister reading 17 Magazine & seeing the spread about the princes of the world that were still available now that Charles was taken - I didn't really think he was all that, Prince Andrew definitely was better looking - and we all know what happened after that: the heir and the spare were born, then came cheating, scandal and divorce. Matt and I were in Shreveport with his family, celebrating our engagement with them, that August weekend in 1997 when Diana was killed. I watched her funeral and cried my eyes out for William and Harry, both so young to lose their mother. Charles seemed to step up to the plate after that, life went on for everyone, and the princes grew up. Why am I interested in all this? I'm not even sure myself - but I wish William and Kate all the happiness together that his parents never had :)

Monday, April 25, 2011

William almost gave me a coronary, and other related bits.

We're back! Did you know we were gone? Harried Mom and Family traveled for spring break to visit the in-laws in the deep south! We left last Saturday and returned the day before Easter, just in time to cut the grass (I swear I can HEAR it growing with all the rain) and have the Bunny drop some treats off for the kids Sunday morning. Poor Matt had all of 36 hours or so home before he raced out the door Monday morning to catch a plane to Hawaii for business this week. Travel stories and Easter pictures will have to wait, as I just don't have it in me to sort through it all at the moment. So! Let's talk about our own personal Hot Mess, William :)
Seems like William has been popping up a lot recently on the blog, but he's turning into quite a character. Only in 1st grade, he's beaten Evie in number of trips to the principal's office - a record I would prefer remain at TWO, TOTAL, thank you very much - S&J, no need to break this one! Not a fan of reading, William loves joke books & is starting to spring them out of the blue - sitting on Nana's porch last week coloring: Mom, look under there! Where? There! Look under THERE! Under Where??? And he just smiles :)
So after a long day of driving on the first day of our trip, we checked into our home for one night in Birmingham AL, swam in the pool, and got everyone settled for bed. We stayed at the Hyatt Place downtown, which had an awesomely huge room with 2 queen beds and a queen size sleeper sofa. Jason and I took one bed, Matt and Sarah took the other, and we lumped Evie and William together on the pull-out. Long day, tired kids, lights out - right? Right. No?

I was reading by my book light (can't fall asleep without reading something, old habits die hard!) and I heard some moving about. Evie alerted me to the fact that William had gotten up. I called out and asked what he was doing, he replied he was using the bathroom. Mind you, William moves about like an Mohican stalking something - you DO NOT hear him AT ALL - the only thing I heard was the door latch clicking. Some time passed, Matt had dozed off, and I kept waiting to hear William go back to bed. Nothing. Finally, nervous mommy that I am, I got up to check on him. He wasn't in the bed with Evie, so I checked the bathroom. Didn't see anyone in there, either. Back to the sofa bed where Evie was sleeping, nothing. He wasn't in my bed with Jason, and he wasn't with Matt and Sarah. I went BACK to the bathroom and turned on the light. At this point, I was convinced he'd been stolen right out from under my nose & started to panic. Freaking out, I woke up Matt, who started calling his name. We turned on some lights, Matt again checked the empty bathroom. Now I have to say, I am blessed with a husband who has a great deal of calm and common sense - while I'm freaking out, he's noticing that the door to the room is locked from the inside, so unless we're dealing with an alien abduction, William has to be IN the room. He looked around a bit more, and noticed William stretched out on the floor underneath the sofa bed. Fully awake, not saying a word, I guess he was enjoying the sneakiness of the moment. I wanted to kill him.

Matt pulled him out from under the sofa bed & gave him a swat, and of course he started crying. Through MY tears I explained why I was SO STINKING MAD at him, told him not to do that ever again, and that when we call his name he'd better ANSWER US or have a good reason not to. It took a while for my heart rate to slow down after that adventure, but we all did manage to get some sleep and continue on the next day :)
William's not your typical boy in that he doesn't like typical boy things. While we were in Shreveport, Matt and his dad brought William along on a trip to the hardware store. When they got back, I asked if William had seen anything he'd like. Of course he did! An enormous adjustable wrench - I'm not sure why he wanted that one - and a big sledgehammer - this would be useful for smashing rocks while he was hunting for GOLD. Big ideas in that head, BIG ideas - now if he tells me I'm shaped like a cylinder again, I may have to disown him...
The BATHROOM is entering its final phase - today the bathroom counter is being installed!!!!!! Which also means, the threshold to the shower is being installed, which means that the shower DOOR can be installed! I am beyond excited to think that maybe by this time next week we will have a fully functioning bathroom again. I know Sarah will be happy to have her bathroom back, she mentioned it again tonight, spoiled princess :)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Elephant Bo Bo; William's schoolwork never fails to amuse :)

Evie's always been an animal lover, I can't really remember a time when she wasn't. One of the early toys I remember getting for her was the Fisher Price Little People Zoo when she was about 6 months old. She collected more Little People toys after that, the farm, house, & some other things. Funny thing is, she NEVER played with the people, only the animals. Somewhere around here I have a picture of her with all the animals lined up in a row on the edge of the kitchen table, not a person in sight. When she was about 18 months old, I introduced her to her first Disney DVD, Dumbo, and from then on she had a big love of elephants. We collected stuffed elephants, elephant figurines and Christmas ornaments, and she got really good at making elephant noises. This also translated into her love of Winnie the Pooh's Heffalump movie, and her desire for a lovely handmade lavender fleece 'heffalump' Halloween costume. Everyone thought she was an elephant. Which brings us to Elephant Bo Bo:
Elephant Bo Bo is this cheezy t-shirt that we discovered while shopping at Wal-Mart one day when Evie was about 3 years old. She loved this shirt and had to have it. I have no idea why it says Elephant Bo Bo, but there you have it. It was an instant favorite, and turned up in many photos over the next year...

Elephant Bo Bo goes well with your Shrek Donkey ears....

It's perfect for a hot summer day pretending your dinosaurs are at the watering hole...

And it's terrific for layering when the weather is cold!

Eventually Evie got too big to wear Elephant Bo Bo, even with layers, and I stored it away with the rest of her outgrown clothes in case we had another girl at some point. When I pulled it out for Sarah to wear, it had gotten very short and wide, as some t-shirts tend to do after many washings. Sarah never wore it out and about, but had a pair of pajama pants that we paired it with. A few weeks ago while sorting out clothes for Goodwill/sale/trash, I admit, I relegated Elephant Bo Bo to the trash bag - think what you will, but I'm trying not to be sentimental about stuff like this, or we'd be buried under baby things. Imagine my surprise when I opened Evie's closet the next day & found that she'd rescued EBB from the trash bag and had hung it up on a hanger :)

I've learned my lesson, and Elephant Bo Bo is now freshly washed and back in Evie's closet after its brief sojourn in the trash bag. Now the question is, is the lesson learned to check with the kids before getting rid of stuff like this? Or to make sure stuff like this gets out of the house before they see it? I'll need to think about that one....
William's been really a pip about going to school lately, he just doesn't want to go, hates reading, and thinks it's just stupid in general. I'm doing my best to encourage him through to the end, but it's a battle - and then he comes home with papers like this:

He's taught himself to write his name in 'cursive' - or his version of it anyway - and the rest of his handwriting is pretty atrocious (not that mine is anything to call home about), but I love that he's written the name of his favorite X-box game at the top - the game he's not supposed to be playing - and at the bottom, the moral to whatever story they were reading is apparently that friendship is the key to sexes. Matt and I were actually thinking that maybe he's on to something with that one?? Or he just can't spell. I think I'm going with the latter.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Memory Lane; or, I fell into the hole of pictures from 6 or 7 years ago.

We've been in a mad rush here this week - well, I have anyway - trying to get ready for our spring break trip to visit Matt's parents. For some reason, I can manage to clean the bedrooms and main living area, but the basement is like my personal white whale - always on the list, I swear I'm going to get to it, and yet it's so easy to put off - there is usually crap everywhere on the floor so you have to pick everything up before you can vacuum, and Matt's office is down there with his clutter - that's his domain and I don't mess with it - but it's not the easiest place to run a dust rag. BUT I DID IT! The basement has been cleaned, for the first time in I have no idea how long. Laundry is finished but for the load Matt has requested, taxes are FILED, and mail has been stopped. Road trip for the House of Harried Mom!

So I was going to talk about something completely different today, which involved going through old pictures from when William was a baby, and I got completely sidetracked by looking at all the pictures from back then. Evie and William have gotten so BIG! Holy cow. A couple of things struck me, as I looked through them:

- Our house seems smaller now for a REASON - we didn't have furniture for a house this size when we moved in, so it seemed HUGE to us. And when you go from 4 people to 6, you obviously need a bigger kitchen table. Not necessarily the counter-height monstrosity we bought that looked so reasonable in the warehouse at Costco, but bigger.

- I seemed happier! (And thinner, damn elusive 10 lbs...) Granted, the pictures with me in them are from beach vacations and birthdays, but still - I can barely remember what it's like to only have 2 children vying for my time and attention. It seems so much simpler, and heavenly. Mind you, I wouldn't trade Sarah and Jason for anything in the world, but having those 2 extra sucked away any bit of spare time there might have been. I didn't really believe my sister when she said that about 3 kids, and I don't really know what 3 is like because S&J were so close together.

- Matt wasn't shaving his head yet. I have to say, I'm so used to it shaved that pictures of him with more hair look weird :)

- William's always been a little goofy ;)...
 ...and his love of money started very young...
 - Evie is, and always has been, a hoot :)
I can barely remember the time when it was just the four of us, or even just the three of us, the days are so all-consumed with the craziness of here and now. I'm kind of sad, looking at these pictures, that I don't remember them better - I don't remember Evie at 4, or William at 2, as they are here. Maybe that's a good thing? I know even back then I was drinking wine while cooking dinner. What on earth made me think we were ready for 3 kids? Sarah was born about 13 months after this picture was taken:

Anyway - whether we think we're dealing the cards or not, we play the hand we're dealt, and I have to say, I think we have a pretty great hand. Maybe tomorrow I'll get around to saying what I originally intended to say.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Potty Talk, again. Avert your eyes if it's not your cup of tea.

I have a small boy who suddenly doesn't seem so small anymore. The baby is nearing 3-1/2, and still is in pull-ups. Yes, I know, I've been down this road before, pull-ups and toilet training in general stink. I really thought Jason would be different. He's known how to pee since about age 2, I'd always plop him down before his bath & he knew what to do. He's been standing up to pee since about age 3, after a trip to the elementary school & side-trip to the bathroom with the little toilets so low to the ground for the kindergartners. After that we had some success with him getting to the bathroom on his own, but it was short-lived.

I think my kids are smarter than I am, or maybe, if possible, even more lazy than me. It's just easier to keep doing what you're doing and have Mom clean you up, right?

I ended up bribing Sarah at almost age 4 with Littlest Pet Shops. I bought a big multi-pack of different animals, and she earned one or two for using the potty on her own, and then one or two for pooping, and I saved the last one for when she was dry all day. Worked like a charm & she's been diaper-free since. 
Since Jason showed no interest in doing this on his own (Evie did, so I guess that's just what I was expecting with the others...) I took him to the Target toy aisle & let him pick something out. He chose the Spider-Man Web Battlers Spinnin' Staff Spider-Man. Go figure! You squeeze his legs together and that long pole-thingy spins. (Laura I can hear you laughing...) The deal was it stayed in the package until Jason pooped on the potty.

Later that day, Jason insisted he had to go. I came back from my first run outdoors in ages to find him getting himself all set-up in the bathroom, determined to earn his Spider-Man. No luck.

After baths that night, I was helping Sarah get dressed for bed & discovered Jason headed downstairs to the potty, as the upstairs one was occupied. He HAD TO GO.

Sure enough, at 8pm that night he managed to poop out maybe an inch of poop. Sorry for the description, but it's the truth. Apparently Jason can poop on command for Spider-Man. Silly me, I thought that would be enough to get him going to the bathroom on his own, since he now knew he could do it. HA! I think this all happened on Wednesday last week. By Sunday, after fighting him to change his pull-up yet again, I'd decided that was it. This kid clearly knows what's what, and he is going to use the potty.

This morning I took him to the bathroom, he used the potty, and we got him dressed in underwear. By the end of the day, I think I'd changed his underwear 3 times, and thrown out one pair completely. I think he's winning the battle, but I am determined to win the war :)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

2 girls is great; 2 boys, 2 girls, not so much....

For a while now I've been insisting that my kids aren't like yours, and that for some reason that escapes me, my situation is different. My children have a unique ability to drive me over the edge - not that any one of them in particular is bad, but the four of them combined are a strange and terrible thing. While Matt was home recovering from his knee surgery two plus weeks ago, he was resting on the couch & the older 3 were at school -we were talking about how nice it was to have 4 kids, and how we couldn't imagine life being any other way - yes it's crazy, but there are also a lot of good things associated with it. By 4:30 pm he was ready to take back everything nice he'd said earlier in the day. It's hard when the parents are outnumbered by the children, especially when half the parents are out of the house or incapacitated.

So today I bribed Sarah and Jason into coming to Kohls with me for some spring shopping - we're headed to visit Matt's family over spring break and no one has decent clothes for warm weather that fits - by taking them to Chik-fil-a  for lunch. This worked because they are always pestering me to go there so they can play in the nasty-icky-sticky playground. Anywho- while they played I sat and surfed the news, and ran across this article about how the key to a happy family is to have two daughters! Intrigued, I followed the headline and read the article. Imagine my dismay when, at the end, I ran across this list, ranked in the order of family happiness, from most to least:

1. Two girls
2. One boy and one girl
3. Two boys
4. Three girls
5. Three boys
6. Four boys
7. Two girls and one boy
8. Two boys and one girl
9. Three boys and one girl
10. Three girls and one boy
11. Two boys and two girls
12. Four girls

Well - there you have it, in black and white. It's not us, IT'S THEM! Or maybe it is me? I'm the one who insisted, after having Evie and William, that we have just one more! If I'd stuck to just two kids, I'd be almost as happy as people who have two girls! By having Sarah, we jumped down to NUMBER 7 on the list. And Jason apparently just did us in, even though I swear he's the best one of the bunch (sshhhh, don't tell him I said that) , moving us all the way down to number 11. How is it possible that having two boys and two girls is almost TWICE as bad as having FOUR BOYS?  And if you have four or more girls? My condolences. Life must just be awful for you :)

Being a parent is so much more involved than I ever imagined it would be, as Matt and I are discovering more and more as the kids get older. I'm fairly certain that in all my years in school I was never called into the principal's office and yet here I am a parent only a few years into the whole school thing and I'm relieved when it's just the school nurse calling. Yes, PLEASE tell me my kid is only not feeling well and not flooding the bathroom/hitting someone/saying things that aren't nice or politically correct. I'm really beginning to question everything I say and do in front of my kids, the whole nature/nurture thing - yes we are born with certain tendencies, but to what extent can I modify those tendencies in my kids through my own behavior? Lead by example, right? Nowhere is this more apparent to me than in the car when I hear Jason telling me to just GO already, and FAST! (all boy, that one). I am trying to be more aware of the things I say, and also trying to act rather than react. I'll let you know how that goes.

All this to say, life is busy, and it's hard, and we don't even really have any major issues to deal with here - God bless families dealing with health issues, financial issues and such. For now I'm grateful for what we have and will muddle through as best I can. If you come to visit, please ignore the clutter, I'll get to it at some point. Maybe :)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Crafty! Under Bed Storage Drawers

When you rededicate a closet to be a laundry room, you seriously cut down on the amount of storage space that you have. In January when we came up with the idea to do just that as part of the bathroom remodel, we knew we'd need to come up with some extra clothing storage from somewhere. A few years ago I'd seen these under bed storage boxes on Martha Stewart's website. At the time we didn't need them, but they'd been in the back of my mind since then. Happily, we have a poster bed that is tall enough to accommodate them. Back in February while the plumber and tile guys were doing their work in the bathroom, Matt was out in the garage making the boxes, one for him and one for me...
They are 5 feet wide and 2 feet deep, and tall enough that with the casters on they just fit under our bed. Matt used MDF, and OMG they are heavy. Which is probably good, otherwise the kids would be messing with them all the time - although actually, I'm amazed that up to this point they've left them alone, given that they're on wheels and all. Maybe my threats really sank in for once :) When Matt was finished making them, I primed and painted them, and sealed them with wipe-on polycrylic, then added drawer pulls.
Martha says to use a fabric-to-wood snap kit to attach a fabric cover to the top. Now since I didn't bother to actually look for the link until I was finished and ready to post about it, I'd forgotten that piece & bought 7 yards of velcro. I glued the hook side to the long edges of the box with E6000. Wood glue and hot glue didn't hold. If the E6000 doesn't hold I'll probably be looking for the snap kits...
I hemmed the edges of the fabric I used for the top (extra fabric leftover from a slipcover project, so that was FREE!), and sewed the loop side of the velcro to the long edges. I wanted them to be washable & not have the velcro get stuck to the fabric.

I stuck the fabric onto the drawer, and loaded it up with stuff - these things hold a TON! I've only filled up a little more than half of mine with summer sweaters, shorts and capris, and still have plenty of space left. If the weather ever gets around to warming up here, I'll be swapping out the summer things for winter things. 

They fit really nicely under our bed, and even look pretty good - better than the table leaf and storage bags I had stuffed under there, which have now been relocated elsewhere.
I'm really glad I was able to finally use some remnant fabric I've been hanging onto for years, I guess there is a reason why we do those things...

And there you have it, rolled into its resting place. If you have a handy hubby and a tall enough bed, this is a great way to make use of that space under there.

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