Friday, February 27, 2015


I can't believe how grown up Flora acts now.  Well.....most of the time.  She still likes to dance around in her underwear and cry on the floor sometimes and crawl under the table if she's not a fan of dinner -- but then again, there are probably a lot of grown ups who do those things too. 


Flora was sitting with me on the couch working on a project.  Scout started yelling for her from his bedroom.  He wanted her to come see a new level he had achieved in Angry Birds.  He yelled and yelled and she ignored and ignored until she finally put down her project with a big sigh and bounced back to his room.  A couple minutes later she returned to the couch and told me very matter-of-factly, "Well, two things just happened:  First of all, Scout got to a new level.  Second, I just wasted my time." 


Flora told me yesterday that she and her friend Kivrin had started a secret club at school.  "Uh-oh," I thought, "here comes the clique phase."  But then I was really happy when she described her secret club, The Friendship Club, as a club where all the members get points for being nice to people or helping someone and they all try to get at least 10 points per day!  Isn't that adorable!!??  So then she and Kylie (friend, neighbor, pseudo-sister) decided to make a poster for the club so that when it warms up she can go around the neighborhood asking kids if they want to join (again -- ADORABLE!).  They finished a rough draft of the poster before it was time to leave for school and I laughed when I saw it in her room later.  Along with the name of the club and some fun graphics, there were the words "STARRING FLORA AND KIVRIN" with the word "STARRING" crossed out and replaced by "HOSTS."  Even in creating a club to help other people Flora can't help but cast herself as the star. 


Flora's favorite word right now is "basically."  She basically puts it in every sentence.  Basically she just uses normal words except for "basically" and occasionally she'll throw in a "technically."  Talking to Flora is basically like talking to a grown up now that she understands basically everything. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

all the lunches....

Timber and I were sitting across from each other eating lunch today when I started thinking about all the lunches I've prepared for my kids.  It's one of my least favorite "Mommy duties" and yet one that must be done every. single. day.  So many very many lunches have been prepared over the past seven years.

I thought about lunches three years ago when Flora was 4, Scout was 3, and Timber was 1.  Those lunches were repetitive but always very healthy.  Lots of fruits and vegetables cut into tiny pieces for little fingers to put into little mouths.  Always something from every food group crowded onto their small plates.  There wasn't a lot of chatter but usually plenty of giggles and goofing off.  Messy faces and messy hands.  Half the food on their plates left untouched.

Lunches now are much quieter.  On school days it's just me and T and we eat whatever we feel like eating that day.  Sometimes we'll go out for lunch and sometimes we'll eat at home.  Sometimes he wants yogurt and fruit snacks for lunch and sometimes I just shrug my shoulders and give him yogurt and fruit snacks.  He talks nonstop about Angry Birds or he eats quietly while lost in thought about whatever has captured his little mind.  Flora and Scout are eating their lunches in a noisy cafeteria surrounded by friends and classmates.  Half the time I have no idea what they're eating for lunch....but I know they will come home starving. 

And then I thought about what lunch will be like next year.  Next year, Timber will be at preschool on Tuesdays and Thursdays so it will just. be. me. eating lunch. Maybe I will read a book and use a butter knife to hold the pages flat like I used to watch my Grandma do.  Maybe I will meet friends for lunch or maybe I'll forget to eat lunch and just snack all day.  It will be very quiet.  We will all eat our lunches separately.  And I felt sad about that.....but not unprepared.  Because we've had our lunches.  We've had years of lunches -- lunches with giggles, lunches with tears, lunches in front of the tv, lunches in the car, lunches with runny noses, lunches outside, lunches downstairs, lunches at the park, lunches at the zoo, lunches when it's raining, lunches when it's snowing, lunches in costume, lunches with friends, lunches with Daddy.....all those lunches. 

All the lunches we've had together make me feel okay about all the lunches we won't have together.  And so even though making lunch will never be one of my favorite responsibilities I'm glad that I've had the opportunity to spend so many lunches with my favorite little kiddos. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

pulling teeth

(Hi Sara!  Lol....I think you're the only one who still checks this blog.) 

As "Mommy" I do a lot of gross jobs.  I can handle puke and snot and all sorts of bathroom scenarios, but I've always drawn the line at pulling teeth.  I never pulled my own teeth and I had no intention of pulling anyone else's either.  In fact I told Chris early on that pulling teeth was totally his department.
So last night when Flora's front tooth was bleeding & dangling sideways in her mouth and Chris was gone for a few hours I faced my greatest hurdle as "Mommy" and asked her if she wanted me to pull it for her.  She emphatically told me, "No, I don't want you to do it because you're not a professional."  (Apparently Chris is the "professional" because "he's done it before.") 
So Flora tried to pull it by herself.....unsuccessfully.  And it started bleeding more.....and it was way after bedtime.....and I was afraid she would swallow it if it fell out during the I took a deep breath and gave it a pull. 
I screamed.....she screamed.....we were both very unprofessional.  And also unsuccessful.  So I put her to bed and said a prayer for the tooth to stay put until morning. 
This morning she woke up early and Chris pulled her tooth very professionally and very uneventfully. 

The moral of this story:
If you know you cannot pull teeth then don't try to pull teeth. 
It's literally like pulling teeth. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

boys (let it go)

I judged.  I know I did.
I would see little boys yelling and jumping and crashing and booming and pretty much spinning out of control and I would think, "I'm glad my boys are so calm.  I'm glad my boys are quiet and reserved."

They were.  They really really were.

But then they turned into boys. 

And now I finally realize that the best parenting, the best nurturing, the best intentions will not stop boys from being boys.  They will be too loud.  They will not sit still for long.  They will whoop and holler and wrestle and race and I will be tempted to yell at them to stop.  I will be tempted to regain a sense of control by calming their madness.  I will be tempted to put in headphones and lock myself in my room with a chocolate bar while mayhem ensues in the rest of the house.

But I won't.
(Well....I might have that chocolate bar....)

What I will do is realize that boys are loud and that's okay.  Boys have tons of energy and that's okay.  Boys play rough and that's okay.  Boys stink and laugh at toots and want to play with worms and dirt and that's okay. 

I will try my hardest not to shush them or calm them unless it's absolutely necessary that they be quieter or calm down.  Boys are just crazy bundles of loud energy.  Boys are also curious and adventurous and brave and eager for new experiences.  They calm down and focus when new and interesting things capture their attention -- not when I say "calm down."  What does "calm down" mean to a 5-year-old anyway?  (I'm pretty sure Scout thinks it means "keep doing what you are doing but do it in slow motion and include some slow motion sound effects")

I'm tired of saying "calm down."  Do I want them to sit politely on the couch when we have guests and make small talk with the grownups?  Well, sure, that would be cute for a while.  But they're made to play and explore and show off and have adventures and compete against each other for who can do the best jump.  They will have hours upon hours of "calm down" time once they're in school -- and they've both shown that they can behave very well (very calmly) in a school setting.  I'd like for home to be the place that they can cut loose and be boys and not be stifled.  

New parents, parents of girls, parents of boys who are still in the sweet little toddler or baby stages, parents of only one boy (a boy's energy multiplies in the presence of other boys!  MULTIPLIES!), people who aren't parents, old parents who've forgotten what little boys are like, and everyone else that we come into contact with on a regular basis -- I apologize in advance for those times when my boys are jumping and yelling and bashing into each other and eating their boogers and squashing bugs and smelling like dirty laundry and looking like dirty laundry.
They're boys.  And most of the time I'm just gonna let it happen.

This is a new resolution on my part.  I thought blogging about it might help me remember to stick to it.  It's so tempting to try to control the Boy Madness.....why can't they just play My Little Pony or draw quietly for hours like Flora does???  Nope -- just gotta let it go and choose better battles.  A calm boy does not equal a good boy. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

swim lessons (i blogged!!)

I should blog more.

I should also floss more.  Exercise more.  Sleep more.  Sleep less.  Clean more.  Volunteer more.  Recycle more.  Pray more. 

But anyway.....

Swim lessons!  The kids are finally in swim lessons!  I've thought about swim lessons for years but it was always a scary idea for me and I just never put forth the effort to get them signed up.  Welp, it turns out swim lessons are fantastic!  Kinda.

Scout is not afraid to try anything.  Whether it's a weird new food or dunking his head underwater, he's game to try it at least once.  And it turns out he's really good at going underwater and learning to swim.  He's like his Aunt Sara used to be -- a fearless little fish.  The pool is his playground and he doesn't see any reason why he shouldn't be able to swim all over it.
At the beginning of the lesson, the instructor was assessing everyone's ability levels.  She asked who could put their whole heads underwater and I watched in awe as Scout raised his hand and then dunked his head.  He's been in a pool less than five times in his entire life!  But he instinctively knew how to hold his breath and even opens his eyes underwater already.  Amazing!  He LOVES swim lessons and learns something new every day.  He is swimming through hoops underwater, diving for objects at the bottom of the pool, learning to "flutter kick" across the water with a pool noodle, and practicing floating on his back.  I love his fearless attitude toward the water!!  So brave!!   

Flora, on the other hand, is just like me.  She was so excited for swim lessons and envisioned herself jumping off the diving board by the end of her first lesson.  But then she actually went to a lesson and her swimming fantasies were quickly replaced by swimming nightmares.  The water was too cold, the chlorine hurt her eyes, the city decided to test the tornado sirens (conveniently located right next to the community pool), and the instructor wanted Flora to GET HER HAIR WET.  Unacceptable. 
There were tears.  Many, many tears.  But she hung with her first lesson right up until the tornado sirens started with 10 minutes left in the session.  At that point, Flora calmly walked away from her class, sobbing, and came to sit with me while Scout and Timber finished their lessons.  She was just done.  And I totally understand that feeling.
BUT, I'm proud of her for going back to the next lesson and doing a little bit better.  There were fewer tears and she stuck it out until the end.  It's coming harder for her than it is for Scout and I'm sure that's frustrating to her so it makes me extra proud to see her keep fighting.  Despite the fact that she cried several times during today's lesson she hopped out of the pool asking how soon she could go to bed so she could wake up and come to another lesson.  Brave little girl. 
Her instructor recommended buying swim goggles for tomorrow's lesson since putting her eyes in the water pretty much reduces Flora to tears every single time.  Hopefully the goggles will help!  She practiced in the shower tonight. 

Timber is always tricky to handle.  He's like a wild animal.  Or like a very delicate pastry.  Or like anything else that you have to be an expert to get "juuust right."  I'd like to think I'm a Timber Expert by now.  So this is how his swim lessons went down:
On the first day we all gathered in a large group and they called the name of a student and showed him/her which teacher to go with.  They did the little kids, the AquaTots, first so Timber would be the first of the siblings to get called away.  I realized that this might not fly very well with him.  So, they called his name and I initiated Operation Evade Timber.  I chirped and smiled and skipped him over to his teacher and then while he was distracted by her introduction, I disappeared.  I'm not ashamed to say I totally hid behind another mom.  I was literally peeking over her shoulder to watch him.  So his teacher started to lead the little class away and he turned to run back to me -- BUT HE COULDN'T FIND ME.  So his only option was to FOLLOW HIS TEACHER or be left by himself.  BWA-HA-HA!  (Evil genius mom laugh.) 
I watched from my hiding place as he reluctantly followed his teacher, looking over his shoulder often with a big grump face and muttering things that no one could hear.  I can guarantee he was saying, "Timber don't want to swim.  Timber want to be with Mommy.  Timber don't want to have a teacher."  I know it sounds cruel but I really knew that this was the best way to make this happen.  I had already assured him that I would be sitting right next to the pool during his entire lesson so he knew I wasn't gone.  He just couldn't run to me.....because he couldn't find me......and so he stayed with his class.  And within five minutes of being in the water he was laughing and playing and having a blast.  He couldn't have cared less where I was at that point.  He loved his first lesson and said he was excited to go back.  Success!
Of course, on the morning of his second lesson he threw a big fit at home saying he didn't want to go and he wanted to stay with me.  I prepared for a battle at the pool but as soon as he saw his teacher and the water he forgot all about his protests and jumped right in for another day of fun in the water!  His class doesn't really learn to swim....they learn to play safely in the water.  It's great.  I really wish I'd started Flora and Scout in the AquaTots class when they were younger.  

So there we go!  I blogged!  Hooray!  Maybe if I could learn to write shorter blogs I'd feel like I have time to do it more often.  ;)

Monday, January 27, 2014

stress fractures

I managed to give myself a stress fracture in mid-December.  My leg hurt when I walked, throbbed on the stairs, and scolded me loudly every time I carried a child.  Silly leg didn't seem to understand (or care) that these are things that I can't just stop doing.  It seemed like it would hurt forever and honestly it made me cry a few times -- not because of the pain, but because I was SO frustrated that I couldn't do some things I wanted to do and the things I had to do were painful and mainly because it just seemed like it would never end.  And maybe the most frustrating part is that there wasn't anything to DO about it.  Wait.....wait......wait.....and I am not good at waiting.

There are other "stress fractures" in my life too.

Timber's temper tantrums.  I know he will outgrow them.  I know that there is very little I can do to calm the storm once it starts.  But it's SO frustrating!  This morning he spent an hour and a half crying because he wanted blueberry oatmeal and we don't have any blueberry oatmeal.  He's sick and he's hungry so I know he's not thinking straight.  What would make him feel better?  EATING.  Just like the Snickers commercials where the bear turns into a person (or something like that) after eating a Snickers bar.  But what does he refuse to do?  EAT.  I've learned that even providing the blueberry oatmeal is no guarantee he would eat it when he's in this mood -- he would find something wrong with it.  So what do I have to do?  WAIT.  Because eventually he will get distracted from his irrational fit and accidentally put something in his mouth and -- voila! -- the angry bear turns into a sweet little boy.  So not only do I wait wait wait for each tantrum to pass but I also wait wait wait for him to outgrow this phase.  Impatiently. 

Mealtimes.  Feeding kids is the worst.  Today they love mashed potatoes and hate chicken.  Tomorrow one of them hates mashed potatoes and the other two suddenly love chicken.  Next week they will all despise mashed potatoes and chicken.  And a month later they'll eat all the mashed potatoes and chicken off my plate but won't touch it if I fix it for them the next day.  Ditto that to every food I've ever given them.  If I had to identify a specific "stress fracture" in my day to day routine it would definitely be dinnertime.  Even when we fix things that I think they'll really like it's never 100%.  There's always one that doesn't like it.  I know that they will eventually be good eaters (Flora is already much better than the boys -- maybe going to school boosts a kid's appetite?) but in the meantime it's SO frustrating to fix their plates and then hear the usual whining/complaining about what they don't like.  So it either requires a gargantuan effort by me to stand over them and insist they eat their food bite by bite or I don't force them to eat their dinner and pay for it at bedtime when they start whining about how hungry they are.  There's probably a better answer......but I don't have it.  My current plan of action is to put reasonably healthy food in front of them every night and wait for the magical day when they all clean their plates.  Wait wait wait.....I'm not very good at waiting.  

So I know I've been pretty whiny -- "my leg hurts.....Timber is irrational.....the kids don't eat what I fix for hoo......" -- but I've been thinking a lot about the parallel between a physical stress fracture and "stress fractures" in life that you just have to wait out.  The trick is to 1) give the fracture the time it needs to heal naturally, but 2) put just a little bit of pressure on the fracture so as not to completely disrupt daily life, and 3) avoid unnecessarily stressing the fracture further (which could result in a break).  

I could have listed several other non-physical stress fractures but they're not the kind of things that needs to be preserved forever in blog format.  Hopefully when they fade away I'll completely forget that there was ever a problem.  Hopefully someday I will read over this post and laugh to remember the complete absurdity of Timber's tantrums.  Hopefully someday I won't be able to imagine a time in which the boys weren't eating everything in sight!  (I've heard that getting teenage boys to eat isn't usually a problem.)  Hopefully I'll wonder what those other stress fractures I referred to were.  Hopefully.  But, of course, I will have a whole new set of stress fractures that I'll be waiting to heal at that point.       

Ok, I needed to write all that.  Maybe I'll need to read it later.  Sorry for anyone else who actually read the whole thing.  Sometimes blogs are just for myself.  :)

The good news is that my leg is so much better now!  I've started walking on the treadmill again, although still a couple more weeks before I can run on it.  And I learned a very important lesson -- build up slowly and if something starts hurting then STOP RUNNING ON IT.
I lack patience.....and apparently quite a bit of common sense too.  ;)   

Saturday, January 4, 2014

2014 -- i yam

I'm going to start 2014 by getting two things off my chest.  Two things that I have recently accepted about myself. 

1.  I am a messy person.  We are a messy family.  Our bedrooms are rarely clean.  And though I do my best to keep the living room/dining/kitchen areas presentable the truth is that they're usually pretty messy too unless someone is coming to our house.  I've abandoned my lofty ambitions of keeping all the bedrooms clean and the guilt that visited every time I failed -- they'll get cleaned every week or two and I won't care about the mess in between.  Because, really, why should kids have clean rooms??  A tidy house is a boring house.  I mean, where's the thrill in opening a closet if there's not a chance that something will fall on you?? ;)

2.  I like to stay up late at night and sleep late in the mornings.  I thought this would change once I had kids.  And then I felt like I should change those habits because sensible adults go to bed early and wake up early.  But now I've realized that I don't have sensible adult sleeping habits and there's really no reason I should.  I will stay up past midnight any time I want and on the weekends I will sleep as late as the kids will let me.

This is going to be a good year.  :)

So, now, back to the kids ---

This year we decided to celebrate New Year's Eve with the kids.  We knew Timber wouldn't last but were fairly certain Flora and Scout could stay up until midnight.  We built a fire, played The Game of Life, watched some tv,  and ate ice cream cones as we waited for the big countdown.   As predicted, Timber crashed around 10pm. 

With a few minutes until midnight we instructed Flora and Scout on the proper way to carefully toast with glass cups and poured some sparkling grape juice into two little whiskey glasses for them.  We started counting down from 20 seconds, shouted HAPPY NEW YEAR at midnight, and clinked our drink glasses.  There was jumping and dancing.....and by 12:04 Flora was fast asleep on the couch.  Chris was asleep soon after Flora and I was left with a crazy-eyed wide awake Scout.



I read somewhere on facebook that the way you ring in the New Year is a predictor of how your next year will go.  If that's so then 2014 will be another year of silly, sweet kids and barely controlled chaos.  Good times....

One of my 2014 resolutions is to blog more.  That doesn't mean I will blog more but a girl can hope, right??  ;)

Sunday, September 22, 2013


Before kids, I didn't put much thought into showers.  I took a shower every morning -- easy peasy, no big deal.  I could wake up slowly and start the day at my own pace.

But now I have kids.....

So I set my alarm early and HOPE that I can make it through an entire shower without interruption.  If it's a REALLY good day I make it through my shower AND get completely ready before any of the kids wake up.  But it doesn't always work out that way....

Here's a quick recap of three of my morning showers THIS WEEK:

Shower 1.  Timber came to our room while I was in the shower.  It was very early.  He was still very tired and grumpy.  He sat on the rug outside the shower and cried, "No shower, Mommy!  Get OUT of the shower!" during my entire shower.  It was awesome.

Shower 2.  I made it through my entire morning shower with no kids showing up!  Hooray!  But as soon as I turned the water off I heard Flora yelling for me from her room.  When I got in there she said, "Um, I feel wet."  Yep, she'd peed her bed and apparently the feel of pee on her skin renders Flora completely helpless.  It's been over a year since she's had a nighttime accident but of course it happens right AFTER I get clean.   

Shower 3.  Today I showered later since it's Sunday and we don't have to get up before sunrise to get ready for school.  So all three kids were wandering in and out of the bathroom the entire time.  Timber whined and grumbled about me being unavailable.  Flora asked a lot of obvious questions ("What are you doing?  Why are you taking a shower?  Do you have soap in there?").  And Scout had to poop.  He announced that he had to "go" right after I'd gotten into the shower so I just told him to go in my bathroom toilet which is conveniently located right outside the shower.  He "went" (with Flora, Timber, and me for company in the bathroom) and I wiped his little bum from inside the shower.  Seriously.    

On the bright side, only three bad showers means that I had four UNinterrupted showers this week! 

And in case you're wondering why I don't just lock the bathroom door --- our master bathroom is open to the master bedroom (whoever thought this was a good idea should be banned from designing homes forever -- I mean, c'mon, WHEN WOULD THIS EVER BE A GOOD SETUP???).  I could lock the bedroom door but that would just result in the first kid awake crying and banging on my bedroom door and waking up the other two. 

So, that's the way it is.  But it's temporary -- and actually quite amusing if I can keep a good attitude about it.  I mean, how many people get to start their days with such exciting and unpredictable showers??

Tuesday, September 17, 2013



Me:  Timber, how many days until your birthday???
Timber:  THREE!!!
Me:  Yes!  And how old will you be?
Timber:  THREE!!!  And then in ten days I will be TEN!!!

Hm....points for logic, but still totally wrong. 


When I picked up Scout from preschool today his teacher pulled me aside and told me a funny story.  Apparently their little CD sings an alphabet song and uses the word EXIT as the X word.  Scout informed his teacher that "EXIT doesn't start with an X -- it starts with an E."  She was impressed and amused.  He's kind of a know-it-all with anything that has to do with letters.


Tonight I watched covertly as Flora danced around the room singing Taylor Swift's We Are Never Getting Back Together into a hand mirror.  I'm not even sure how to process this.....  All I know is that her teenage years are going to be interesting.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

this and that -- funnies

Flora:  Mommy, our class got on the school bus too early and we had to wait on the bus for TWO HOURS!  Or maybe two minutes....I can't remember....


Scout:  Mommy, when you paint all day I just think that you don't love me anymore.  (During the week that I was painting the exterior of the house)


Timber has started calling himself  "Imber Wimber" and he calls Scout "Outy Outy"


Timber:  My pepperonis are too spicy.
Me:  Flora, do you want to eat Timber's pepperonis?
Flora:  No way, pepperonis are TOO spicy.
Me:  But you ate yours already.  ??
Flora:  I know.  I just ate them because I didn't want them on my plate.  


Scout lost a race and threw a fit.  I was trying to explain why that is not the appropriate way to act when you lose.  Flora chimed in and said, "Besides, Scout, the game is not special.  It's Jesus that's really important."  
Well played, Flora.  I bow to your wisdom on this matter.  :)


"A Joke" by Flora
Flora:  Why did the water bottle get a water bottle?
Me:  I don't know.  Why?
Flora:  To get a water bottle.