Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Change is Gonna Come...

Summer is on it's way here in the southern US. The last week has brought glorious spring days that invoke images of kites, and checkered picnic blankets and little grimy feet. Today The Littles and I were still at the playground at 8PM, the air warm and sticky, as we watched storms start rolling in from the distance. It felt like summer, and I love summer. The relaxed schedule. The time home with the kids. The sunshine lasting well into the evening hours. But this year, I am finding myself looking forward to it with an even greater level of anticipation.

In the last couple weeks I have noticed some things changing around our house. Changing, dare I say, for the better. Boo and Pepper are now 4 and 2 (actually, nearly 5 and 3) and I am finding this surprisingly less intimidating than last spring when they were 3 and 1. What a difference a year has made, particularly in our mobility. I have suddenly found myself initiating playdates, out of our home as well as in, something I almost never did in the past.

One reason for the change is obvious. Pepper was a very late walker and at this time last year she was barely starting to toddle around upright. Now that she is finally running and jumping and climbing (and kicking and punching) with the rest of the kids, a whole world of play places and parks have opened up to us once again. And then there are other things, smaller things. Pepper, for example, no longer seems to need to feel the need to run screeching away from me each time we enter a parking lot--Praise the Lord--and our Boo has become a little more independent and a bit less shy of older children.

The truth is that having The Littles so close together in age has been hard. The first year we hardly left the house at all. But little by little, things are getting easier. Schedules are finally becoming more flexible. Getting out of the door more manageable. I am even on time to places these days. Well, mostly on time. It's exciting, these change. I had been focusing so much on what I am losing with The Littles getting older that I forgot what I am gaining in the process. I forgot what it was like when it was just Brando and Anne. How much flexibility and mobility we all had to give up when Boo was born. I expect to reclaim a tiny portion of that freedom this summer. And uncharacteristically, I'm making plans. Children's museums and pools and parks and even a little trip to the beach.

Granted, we are not completely there. Not even close. We took the whole family to a movie a few months ago--Pepper's first movie theater experience--and while she did well for two....she is still two. It took a lot of coaxing and a ton of carb-laden snacks to get her through 90 minutes of talking animals. And this morning? There was nothing manageable about getting out of the house this morning. It's actually ironic that I chose to write this post today as I was thirty-minutes late for work for the first time this year. The short people in my home were in full nuclear meltdown when we arrived. So, I know freedom won't be completely ours for many years now. If ever.

Yet, still, I am starting to catch a whisp of it sometimes. A scent of things to come. And like the warm spring breezes sending petals swirling off the trees, it smells like hope.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

For the relatives - Random Easter Shots...

I dig this picture. It's just so typical of our home. Pepper wearing Boo's Spiderman Sunglasses and Boo striking what he thought was a suave pose.

Here's one of Anne (in the middle) with her two cousins. This picture totally screams JCPenney's Sale flier to me.
Boo looking sweet...
Pepper looking like she is plotting something (no big surprise there)

And lastly, this was our Easter Morning shot, sans Brando, where we all attempted to look respectable. I think we may have even pulled it off.

I hope your family had a lovely Easter/Resurrection Day.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Top Ten Things I did NOT Do On Spring Break.

I dedicated my last post to commemorating the things I did on spring break. I would now like to list the top ten things I did not do on spring break.

I did not...

1. Blog. Obviously.

2. Eat all my kids Easter Candy and have to run out to the drug store and buy more late Saturday night to fill their baskets for Easter Morning. What? That's not a big deal at your house? Moving on...

3. Diet! Do not be fooled by item #2. Oh. My. Word. I hit minus 20 pounds the Friday before spring break and gained 7 back on spring break. SEVEN! I ate everything that wasn't nailed down. And some things that may have been. And it was awesome! However, after running and screaming away from it for the last week I am officially back on the weight loss wagon today. And, for the record, it sucks. Eating is way more fun.

4. Go to Disney World ~ And to those of you who did, could you please stop telling my children about it? I have worked really hard to convince them that The Magic Kingdom is just a fairy tale, like Never-Never Land or Oz. Or Chuck-E-Cheese. And continuing to show them pictures of your grinning kids with the Head Mouse is not helping my case.

5. Potty Train Pepper. It was the number one thing on my Spring Break agenda and due to our hectic schedule we didn't even start.

6. Bathe my children. It's true. One week of spring break. In seven days I may have bathed my children twice. More likely it was once. Moving on...

7. Tag clothes for consignment. And I think I am even more disappointed in myself about that than failing to potty train Pepper. All the money I didn't make! All the clothes that are still sitting in piles in their closets taunting me. And soon I will be adding the winter clothes on top of them. OK, moving on...

8. Start looking forward to summer. Last week was exhausting. Fun, but exhausting. I am going to need to make some plans if I am going to survive doing it for months at a time this summer. This post by Beck is awesome on this topic. This one too. Go read them. Seriously. Go. She is totally the mom I want to be when I grow up.

9. Buy myself a single new item of clothing for Easter Sunday. For which I am very proud of myself. The kids looked great in their new outfits though. And I did get a pedicure. OK, maybe not as admirable as I thought.

10. Run a marathon. HA. HA. I crack myself up. (Sorry, I ran out of ideas and decided to post the most absurd thing I could think of.)

For more of today's Top Ten Tuesday Posts check out, Oh. Amanda.

Spring Break in review.

It's the Monday after spring break here and my family--adults and children alike--are an irritable, whining bunch today. The reasons for our collective surliness are easy to surmise: An Easter celebration that ran too late last night, and a lax sleep schedule for the last week has left us exhausted. Busy schedules this week full of joyless tasks like standardized tests and tagging clothes. The weather, as if echoing our funk, is rainy and peppered with fierce gusts of wind. (I sat at my kitchen table over coffee and watched our outdoor furniture and toys roll across our deck like tumbleweeds--good thing it's all cheap tacky plastic stuff.) But mostly I think we're just grumpy because we had a really great spring break. Happiness hangovers; the surefire way to get the blues.

So, in an effort to concentrate on the positive of the week that passed and not the drudgery--dramatic, much?--of the week to come, here's an overview.

The first part of the week we traveled a couple hours away to see our cousins. To say that The Littles love their cousins would be putting it mildly. Undying devotion would be closer to the truth.

Here they are altogether. (cousins are in the middle. Boo & Pepper on the outside) I find this picture absurdly cute.

While there, we went to the zoo.

Boo liked the creepy crawly things and the giraffes.

Pepper's favorite animal seemed to be the goats.

And Anne liked the Flamingos. Anne also declined to be photographed will all her wee cousins.

My favorite animal was, by far, this baby gorilla, Bob.

How adorably ugly is he? By the end of our trip I was seriously contemplating exchanging Bob for one of my children. The one that wouldn't stop pitching fits. I'll give you a hint: She's not potty trained either.

After we returned home our week was a whirlwind of playdates, sleepovers, jumpy places, dyeing eggs, birthday parties, Sunday School Parties, movies, parks and Easter egg hunts. In short, I took every activity I normally deprive my children of and squeezed them into, like, four days. I figure I am good on special outings/activities for months now.

Then yesterday was, as you know, Easter. Which is a whole other slew of pictures. And since obviously I need all the blog fodder I can get, I am saving those for a separate post.

It turns out this post was a pretty decent cure for my happiness hangover, after all. Blogging and the nap I am about to go take means I have officially returned to my regular schedule of sloth and procrastination.

No wonder the kids are depressed.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Status Report - April my kitchen table.

Drinking... coffee with lots of cream and sugar.

Watching... The Littles play in the sandbox through the kitchen window. the hum of the washer and dryer. A constant noise in our home. kitchen, badly in need of cleaning. myself for being unable to get into a blogging groove. Where have my words gone? To Facebook, I suspect. Where I can write in tiny increments of words and time.

Excited...that I reached my goal of -20lbs by Easter a week early.

Dreaming...of these.

My favorite Easter Candy ever. Going to buy a celebratory bag today. Because nothing says "Hurray! I lost 20 lbs" like a pound of chocolate eggs. Heh.

Pondering...What type of cheap family outing we can take tomorrow morning. It's the first day of spring break and a very rare Saturday where the weather is supposed to be beautiful and we are mostly free of activities.

Praying...for Anne. She is experiencing performance anxiety for her voice recital tomorrow night. It's the first time I can remember her having nerves in the last eight years of singing. But she fears the song is too difficult and she is not adequately prepared. Her unshakable confidence has always been a mystery to me. The nerves, however, are something I know well. I feel sad they have found her at last.

Worrying...about Brando. On the counter sits mail with the news that he has failed, for the second time, an exam required for graduation. Another paper sits beside it with the registration information for summer school. He has two classes he needs to retake. Just getting that boy graduated from high school on time feels like we are pushing a boulder up a hill. And yet, always, there looms behind that obstacle, a bigger question 'Once we do, what then...?'

Eagerly overnight trip we are taking to see family next week. The Littles can't wait to see their cousins. Neither can I. It's nice to have something to look forward to.

Dreading...the week ahead of me sorting summer clothes. I have probably a hundred items to tag for consignment. But first it must all be waded through, tried on, sorted into piles: Keep. Sell. Donate. And then the hanging, ironing and tagging commences. Leaving me wondering, as always, if the money I make can possibly be worth the herculean effort.

Grateful for...The Littles, who are clamoring for my attention. What a blessing it is to be so loved and longed for by these little people. Too quickly the time will come when their hearts will no longer be so wholely devoted to me. go clean my kitchen so I can focus on them completely, for a while, at least