Friday, July 31, 2009

Scenes from the Great Star Wars Sleepover Part II (Which Is Technically Part V)

Josh (upon giving Andrew a Star Wars action figure): Maybe it can be a centerpiece!

Josh: Thanks for dinner, Mrs. Nichols. My mom told me to tell you that.

Me: Are you guys ready for the movie?
Josh: I'll get the cookies!
Andrew: I'll get the pie!

Backstory: There is a gate at the bottom of our stairs to keep Libby from climbing them. Rather than remove and replace the gate 8 million times a day, I have encouraged the boys to "get off the stairs the secret way" (aka, climbing over the rail). This probably needs to be included in my notes to my younger self: "One day you will condone, nay, encourage your children climbing over your banister like a couple ill-bred monkeys." Josh, whose parents have apparently raised him better, was reluctant to exit our staircase in this unconventional manner.
Me: Josh, you can just climb over the rails like Andrew and Adam did.
Josh: I'm just a little worried.
Me: OK, I'll take the gate off. No problem. (But I could see he wanted to do what the other boys were doing.)
Later...I am sitting in the other room with a view of the stairs, where I can see Josh trying to go over the rail and hear him talking to himself...
Josh: OK, I'll just put my leg up here...and...I don't want to break a bone...I've never broken any bones...
The result...He did it! No broken bones even! Tonya and Donnie, I apologize for turning your son into a rail-climbing hooligan. Now you won't be able to take him anywhere. But he will fit right in around here.

Andrew (to Josh, with great seriousness, as I was taking their picture): We should have a picture taken at every Star Wars sleepover to help us remember.
Josh (with equal gravity): Only, we'll have to take two so we each have one.

Josh (at breakfast): Andrew, where's your mom?
Andrew: When Dad's home, Mom always sleeps a long, long time.
(WHAT? It wasn't even 8:30 am.)

Josh: Adam, you're my best buddy. Andrew, you're my best, best buddy.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Merry Christmas: Why Nothing Will Ever Get Done at My House Again

Ho ho ho! For Christmas (2008) Santa brought me an embroidery machine! Only, Santa didn't actually bring it...he told me to pick one out for myself. And, it wasn't actually was my parents and in-laws and husband. But it was actually for Christmas. Did I mention 2008? For some reason adding a third child to our family last year started out really easy. Much easier than adding a second baby, which just about knocked me on my...ahem. But after the first few months with three, things just got a little hairy. Laundry. ER trips. Helmets. Appointments. Wiping ill-purchased tables and chairs. Sleepless nights. Early mornings. Finding time just to go to the grocery store (sans children, thank you very much) can be just about impossible...forget researching and shopping for that embroidery machine.

Finally, though, when Steve took last Friday off work, Libby and my mom and I went out on a quest: to get my Christmas present. In July. But whatever. And I came home with this beauty:

So now anything in my house that will stand still long enough is going to be personalized. I think I would monogram the dog if she could fit in the embroidery hoop. The only sad thing is that now some of Libby's clothes monogrammed EJN won't be able to be passed down to cousin Mary Caroline. Unless Aunt Abby would consider a name change? Edna Jolene? Eustacia Janine? Ervine Jemima? Come on, Abby...just look what you're missing out on:

Isn't this adorable? My mom made it. I could just eat it up.

Yep, Mom made this one, too...

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Some Notes to My Younger, Childless Self

Almost daily, I think of something I wish I'd known before I had kids. If I could go back, I'd tell my young adult, newly-married, smarty-pants self a thing or two.

1. Don't buy the cream-colored kitchen table and chairs. Yes, you love it. Yes, it's a good brand and should last forever. Yes, it's a good sale. However, in about 8 years you will have 3 children who will schmeck up that table unmercifully, 3 meals a day, 7 days a week. Cream shows EVERYTHING. You will spend the better part of your 30's (already your wiping decade) wiping down every considerable nook and cranny of that light-colored furniture...over and over and over. Buy BLACK.

2. Regarding the above...yes, your little darlings occasionally might be less than neat eaters.

3. When you go to buy a minivan (and no matter what you say now, you will buy a minivan), get the built-in DVD system. I know that now you think you would never stoop to letting your children (gasp!) watch movies on a car trip. I know that you and all of your generation survived hours upon hours in the family station wagon singing "I've Been Working on the Railroad" and playing the ever-popular "Mom, He's Touching Me!...Mom, He's Not Touching Me!" and taking bets on how long it would be before Abby threw up in the way back, and what was good enough for you should be good enough for your kids. Give up your pride now. Your kids will watch movies in the car, and you will all be the happier for it. There was a reason Mom's eye used to twitch uncontrollably for a week after every family vacation.

4. You will not be able to recognize your father after you present him with grandchildren. Who is this man who will let children walk on his coffee table and think it's funny? Who goes out and buys giant stuffed animals? Who calls for no reason other than to talk to a week-old baby? Who, with the help of your mother, feeds a 3-year-old ice cream for breakfast?

5. Buy the leather sofa now. Just trust me. Cloth upholstery and children don't mix.

6. I would tell you to take as many naps as you can and sleep in as often as possible before children come, but you're actually doing a really great job of that now. Way to go, Self!

7. The "golden ecru" color you have chosen to paint the majority of your new house is beautiful. It will be light and airy and soothing...until little handprints, dirt smears, and the tracks of Hot Wheels cars cover every square inch of it from 3 feet down. And you will have no inclination to try to re-paint while the children are sleeping as you will be trying to sneak a nap or read a book at every possible opportunity. Save yourself some trouble. Paint your walls black now. If you can't bring yourself to do that, at least go with a deep, deep purple.

8. I know your feelings about clothing featuring licensed characters. I still agree with you. But one day you will have two little boys who are wild about Batman, Spider Man, Scooby Doo, and Star Wars. I mean, these kids will totally be a marketer's dream come true. And one day, in a fit of weakness and faced with a really, really, really great sale (I mean, they're practically giving them away!), you will buy your sons Scooby Doo pajamas. And in the face of their utter joy over these tacky, tacky pajamas (at least they'll be 100% cotton), your heart will so delight in their delight that you will begin buying, on a regular basis, pajamas with licensed characters. And you will actually get a little choked up whenever you buy them, anticipating your boys' excitement.

So, Self, take note. Life as you know it will soon look quite different. Thank goodness.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

On Sunday we took Andrew and Adam to a Charlotte Knights baseball game. It was Adam's first game, so he was quite excited. Andrew is an old pro at ball games by now, by which I mean he knows the exact names and locations of all the treats and rides and...wait, what are all those men doing down there on the field? Oh, there's Homer the mascot! Never mind.

Steve had gotten really great seats for us, right behind first base and above the dugout. Sadly those seats don't come with any shade, it was 97 degrees in the blazing sun, and Mom and the kids are not die-hard fans of either baseball or heatstroke. We lasted about 20 minutes before we headed back up to some empty shady seats higher up in the stands...fortunately for us the ball park was less than packed that day.

It was a fun family day with the boys. Big thanks to Grandma Betsy, Poppa Keith, and Aunt Gwen for keeping Libby so the boys could have some "big-kid" time with Mom and Dad!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

We Are 3 Steps Closer...

To having a full-fledged walker on our hands! Today Libby took her first steps! Our friends Jen, Katey, and Seth had stopped by for a quick visit; and apparently Libby decided that she finally had the right audience. (I think she wanted to impress Katey, her "big girl" friend!) Miss Libby took about 3 steps at a time back and forth between me and Jen several times before the sheer giddiness of the experience overcame her and she reverted to crawling. She was quite proud of herself, laughing, dancing, and generally showing off the whole time.

Pictures? you ask? Of course not! The camera and videocam were in the other room, and I did not dare get up for one second for fear that Libby would stop. So here are a few pictures from later in the day of Libby pushing her beloved stroller. Hopefully pictures/video of "the real deal" are soon to follow!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

4th of July

All day yesterday Steve and I were trying to decide whether to take the kids to today's town 4th of July parade.

On the one hand, A Parade! Fun! Candy! Flags! Floats!

On the other hand, A 11:30 North the blazing July sun...with a baby who naps at 12:30 without negotiation and starts acting ugly around noon...

All our angst over the decision turned out to be for naught, however, when Adam got the croup last night at 10 pm...and 2 am...and 5 am. In the interest of keeping on good terms with the other folks in our town who might not want their kids rubbing shoulders with Typhoid Adam, we stayed home.

We did our best to be patriotic here at home today. Andrew and I learned about some of the important symbols of the United States. We all dressed in red, white, and blue. We ate bomb pops (patriotic-looking and tasty!) And we washed both cars. I don't know if there's anything patriotic to be found in that; but it was a hot day, we had dirty cars, and we needed something to do outside that wouldn't bring on heatstroke or expose other kids to Adam's cooties.

Andrew is taking his popsicle quite seriously. Adam is suspicious. Libby is jealous.

Piggy Mullet in her 4th of July best.

Adam...still dry, but not for long.

You had to know a light saber would pop up somewhere in this post.

Happy 4th of July, everyone!