Thursday, July 29, 2010

Yeah, That's How I Roll (Now)

More notes to my younger, childless self:

One day you will be the kind of mom who does not even notice that Child #2 gets into the car without wearing any shoes...

Until you get to the gym parking lot and he announces, "Hey! I don't have any shoes on!"

And because you are now that kind of mom, you will take him into the gym (which has the rule "You must be wearing a shirt and shoes to enter this facility" clearly posted on the door) anyway because swim lessons are starting in 3 minutes.

You will realize that in your younger days you sadly underestimated the wonder and glory of swim lessons that last for two whole weeks in the middle of a long, boring summer.

After walking shamelessly (OK, totally embarrassed but there's no help for it) through the halls of the gym with your barefoot progeny, you will take Child #2 (still shoeless), his brother, and his little sister (now clad in rubber crocs and a too-small smocked dress found stuffed in the bottom of the diaper bag after wetting her pants at the gym daycare) into McAllisters for free iced tea. Nothing should get in the way of National Iced Tea Day. And it's right on the way home from the gym.

At least little sister's hairbow still coordinates with too-small dress. Certain priorities will NEVER change.

You will not even think about your own awesome getup (sweaty gym shirt, track pants, no makeup, ponytail) until you are accosted by two beautifully dressed and made-up Mary Kay consultants running a promotional giveaway at the McAllister's entrance.

They will descend upon you like buzzards on fresh roadkill because *clearly* you are in need of their assistance.

You may find that some days you sigh a whole lot more than you used to. It's OK.

Sometimes it's just better to throw away the whole sippy cup. Or the underpants... 'nuff said.

Yes, you will make a separate dinner for the kids...more often than you ever would've dreamed (Thanks for the idea, Brian and Melissa! Glad to know I'm not the only one. Oh, and sorry about ratting you out on the internet.)

There will be a day when you tell your children, "You may play a video game (it's called a'll find out more about that later) ALL DAY." And you will actually follow through with this promise.

One day you will allow your child to grab a box of cereal out of the cart, open it, and start snacking WHILE YOU ARE STILL SHOPPING IN THE STORE AND BEFORE YOU HAVE PAID FOR THE CEREAL. Yes, you will be one of THOSE parents. Because THOSE parents realize that once in a while the quiet is just worth it.

It gets worse.

One day -- before you even WALK INTO THE STORE -- you will be bribing your children with popcorn from the Target snack bar so they will not act like hyenas on crystal meth while you go in search of antacid pills, bread, and an ipod armband.

It will totally work.

It will even allow you to peruse the clearance racks and score a couple more dresses at rock-bottom prices for little sister.

Because she will need a lot of them. Just ask the gym daycare workers.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Matched Set

My little Muppet babies.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Aggary Ran

When I was about two, my mom made me a giant Raggedy Ann doll. It was as big as I was -- in fact, my parents dressed me up as Raggedy Ann in the doll's clothes for Halloween that year. I had "Aggary Ran," as I called her, for years and years. And then she disappeared. I couldn't think where she might be except possibly my parents' attic. But since last time anyone went up there it ended in my dad falling through the ceiling and landing in the laundry room*, no one has been super-eager to go up there and check.

So I was so very excited when my mom went online and tracked down the 1970's pattern (the newer ones are cheesy, she claims) and made Libby her very own Raggedy Ann doll for her birthday!

Well. That was about a month ago. But tonight, Andrew was looking at Libby's Raggedy Ann and said, "I think I saw your other Raggedy Ann's hair in my closet." WHAT??? So I went upstairs and looked on the highest shelf in Andrew's closet and old doll! I guess I put her up there seven years ago when Steve, seized with panic that we might not have enough closet space for ourselves and a newborn in our four-bedroom home**, built closet systems in all the closets when we found out we were expecting Andrew. I shoved some mementos up in the then-guest closet and then...had three children and lost most of my short- (and long-) term memory.

My Aggary Ran is, for the most part, just as I remember her. Some of the thread on her eye has snagged a little, so now she looks like has some fine lines around her eyes. Hmmm. She probably thought the same thing about me!

Here is 1976 Aggary Ran with her buddy 2010 Raggedy Ann. I think it's cute and highly appropriate that Libby's doll has a hairbow and her name on her dress.

Libby is so excited to have two life-sized friends!

Glad to see you again, old friend!

*No doddering old fogies were injured in the making of this (sadly) true story. However, there may have been some mild profanity.

** And, oh, yes, Steve was right. What I wouldn't give for a few more closets.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Moooove Over, Halloween

Today I discovered something that brings out my inner dork artist. That would be Cow Appreciation Day at Chick Fil A, our family's fast-food restaurant of choice. Every year Chick Fil A invites its customers to dress up as cows and come in for (free!) food. There are games and prizes, a cow mascot, and lots of people running around with black spots pinned to their shirts. We've been at Chick Fil A on Cow Appreciation Day in years past, but never on purpose. (When you visit CFA as often as we do, you just stumble into these things.)

I have to say, I am loving this season of time with the kids being 6, 4, and 2 years old. Everyone is old enough to walk places under his own power. No diaper bags, strollers, bottles, or baby food. If Libby misses a nap once in a while, it's not great, but it's not a complete tragedy. We're just more "portable" as a family unit overall. And at the same time, all the kids are still young enough to be thrilled by little things and enjoy them together. All of them will watch "Sesame Street" together. Santa and the Easter Bunny? Believed in and celebrated by all. I know this time won't last long. So when Cow Day was advertised this year, it just seemed like it would be do-able for the family and that the kids would think it was really fun.

What I didn't know was how much fun I'd have getting ready for Cow Day. (I know, I really need to get out more.) But, even though it was a little last-minute, something about planning and crafting the costumes was quite therapeutic! And the kids were so excited to dress up.

Here is my herd grazing on the front lawn

Mama and her little calves at Chick Fil A

"And-moo" and the CFA mascot
It was a really fun trip. The kids loved walking into the restaurant and mooing -- even Libby. (She really roared more than mooed, but whatever.) All went well until the cow mascot, which is pretty giant, walked up to greet the kids. Libby freaked out. Even after we came home, Libby was looking around every corner, worried she'd find that cow. And now we have to spell "c-o-w" lest we induce more frenzies of fear. My poor little calf.

So, providing that (A) we can convince Libby that the cow will not get near her and (B) the kids at ages 7, 5, and 3 still think dressing up like cows is cool, we are going to Cow Day again next year. I'm already planning the costumes. They're going to be moo-velous.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

4th of July Weekend

Our 4th of July holiday weekend started off with Family Movie/Theme Night. Having finished reading the book Holes, we were ready for the movie and the special "Holes"-themed dinner. On the menu: Food with holes in it! Calzones baked into rings, green pepper rings, and pineapple rings. And, of course, donut holes. And "hole" milk. Wokka wokka. Even the napkins had holes in them! If you're wondering why the meal was served on a crab plate, it's because crabs live in...holes! OK, OK, not really...the food just fit best on these particular plates. But it sounded good, right?

Andrew and Adam are always excited for a chance to eat in front of the TV bond with the family.

Libby's food, served on her Abby Cadabby plate. It has nothing to do with theme night. We just don't want to hear the tantrum that will happen if dinner doesn't involve Sesame Street.

Today after Sunday School, we went to Poppa Keith and Beppie's house for some 4th of July swimming and grilling! The kids had fun at the pool with Aunt Gwen, Aunt Whitney, and Beppie.

Daddy is so much fun at the pool!

It was an action-packed day of fun in the sun! This picture taken on the ride home says it best:

Finally, of course, there were some fireworks. There are always plenty going on in? around? our neighborhood on the 4th of July. I'm not sure exactly where they originate or about the legality of it all, but they're fun to watch from our backyard. The kids were in bed but not asleep when the fireworks started, so Steve got them up to watch. Andrew decided to watch through the window from the safety of the kitchen table. He wanted to see but was slightly nervous about it all. Adam went out in the backyard and shrieked with delight with every boom. The louder and closer, the better, in his opinion. It's the Andrew/Adam Axiom at work again. Could I possibly love these two little boys' extremely different reactions to the fireworks any more? I just think this sums each of their personalities up so tidily.

Friday, July 2, 2010

God of Wonders

The day started at 5:50 am. I was awakened from my blissfully sound sleep with "Mommy! Milk! Milk! Elmo! Meshi Steet (Sesame Street)! MILK! MOMMY! MOMMY! ELMO ELMO ELMO ELMO!"

We may be staging a Sesame Street intervention for our youngest before long.

As the morning progressed, so did the chaos.

Libby spent the morning wearing nothing more than a smile and Andrew's soccer medal. Adam was running around in swim trunks and navy blue dress socks. (With all the clothes shopping I do...)

There were fights over Legos, arguments about breakfast, and doll stroller derbies on the new(ish) hardwood floors.

A cherished water shooter got broken at the pool, causing sadness and tears.

Baby sister -- who had been awake for far too long -- started losing it, fell and scraped a knee, started bleeding, and really lost it before we could leave the pool.

Which caused us to make another March of Shame (our second this week!) out of the waterpark.

And that was all by noon.

But...I have to write down the moments of grace that I experienced in the midst of it all. Because if the past is any indication, we will have more days that look like this one. My ears will be ringing, I will be tired of arguing with these little lawyers-in-training, and the next meal to invent and prepare will be looming again. And I need to remember the diamonds I have stumbled upon in the dust and keep looking for more. And I will not remember them if I don't write them down.

So let us return to the waterpark, where Andrew had just brought me his tears and his broken water shooter. Adam came running up to see and immediately said, "Mom, I'll share my water shooter with Andrew. He can have it today, and I'll have it tomorrow. And then he can have it the next day, and I can have it the next day..." And then Adam promptly handed Andrew his unbroken water shooter.

That does a mama's heart good. Even better on a morning like this one.

Fast forward to the car in the pool's parking lot, where I have just belted in two loudly (incessantly) chattering, wet boys and a screaming, bleeding toddler who obstinately refuses to let me put a bandaid on her scraped knee. Oh, the noise. My throbbing head. I got up too early for this. Make it STOP. So what do I do? Crank up the Kids Worship CD in the car. Adam likes the music two ways: LOUD and FAST. And, magically, everyone stops crying, chattering, arguing and starts...singing! "God of Wonders," their new favorite song. Adam has a big grin on his face and is singing lustily. Andrew is proudly doing the hand motions he learned in Children's Church. Even Libby is trying her best to sing along in her best toddler nonsense words. And as I look at my three little people singing earnestly in the rearview mirror, I have an all-too-rare moment of clarity: this is grace in the real world -- in my real world.

To steal a line from the kids' song: "Hallelujah to the Lord of heaven and earth." We all sang.

I'd like to say that we came home and spent a delightful afternoon together doing family Bible time, counting our blessings aloud with one another, baking cookies for the neighbors, and praying for world peace.

If you've read this blog for any amount of time, you can probably guess that's not how it went.

But I still had a song in my heart.