Friday, March 23, 2012

Grubby Boy

He doesn't even need  to be able to go out and get dirty.  He has a brother who brings the dirt to him.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Excuses, etc.

A large part of the reason I rarely post, besides my endless to-do list, is that Blogger is driving me crazy. The photo uploader just plain sucks. It's a fancy piece of programming that is all spiffy and shiny and doesn't work worth beans. I can upload the photos, but then it won't add them to the post. I go through a long series of restarts and eventually it begrudgingly puts the photos into the post, but only in some random order.  I barely have time to blog (lots of inspiration, but it always seems to get lost somewhere in the space between my head and my laptop) and futzing around with dysfunctional crap only makes it worse.   The photo uploader is only part of Blogger's general dysfuncion.  C'mon you Google peeps!  Get it together!  Keep it simple, make it work.  That's all I'm askin'.

Whine, whine, I know.  I'm just a little short of patience, and I've been trying to write a blog post for three days.

THIS child.  This child is another reason I have trouble posting. 

This adorable little imp is... something else.

Someone once told me to get a good pair of running shoes once Evan becomes a toddler.  While I'm extremely anti-shoe, I understand the sentiment.  I just put out his fires (even cute ones like hanging out my wet laundry on the porch baby gate) all. day. long.

He crammed several marshmallows down faster than I could get to him to take away the bag (and put it up high in a tree) when we had a campfire the other day.

He's obsessed with shoes and BOOTS! and wears any and every shoe or BOOT! he can find all day long.

As I write this, he's wearing one moccasin and one little black oxford.

(I try to make sure he gets lots of barefoot time in, too, though, because I'm a big believer in the magic of bare feet.)

(Oh, and see that t-shirt in the photo above?  Yeah.  That sums him up, I think.  Nathan commented that it just wouldn't have been so cute on Jonah.)

He loves to play with Jonah and he loves to fight with Jonah and he loves to antagonize Jonah.

He loves to sing.

He loves to eat.

He babbles very enthusiastically and articulately non-stop, and NOTHING makes any sense to us.  It must make sense to him because he is consistent and repetitive.  He must be a prince from some other land and knows that language well.

He's as demanding as a prince, too.

His favorite books are Green Eggs and Ham and Mrs. Wishy-Washy and I read them both a million times per day.

Last night at church, he fell and bit clean through his lower-lip.  (Owwwwww!)

He actually has a fairly regular habit of bashing his face in one way or other.

So to recap:  Evan trashes the house, eats everything in sight, and generally has a great many needs including, but not limited to books, shoes, cuddles, umpteen diaper changes, cold washcloths for his face, an industrial vacuum cleaner... aaaaand now he's going upstairs, where I also hear that Andrew has awakened  from his nap, and it looks like I'm burning supper on the stove over there, so maybe I should end this blog post that ended up being not about what I thought it was going to be about, and get back to it.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

My Children Are Ruining My Life and Other Wonderful Blessings

It's looking like spring around here.  See what I found in my cold frame?

Lettuce, spinach, chives, cilantro, dill.  We'll have salad soon, and it's only March!

I walked around with Andrew and looked at the green things poking up and then I noticed all the things that needed doing in the garden and herb beds.

But Andrew didn't want Mommy to clean out the flower beds, he wanted Mommy to hold him and walk around in the fresh air and sunshine and show him all the new and interesting things.

So I did.  It was lovely.  And then when I didn't want him to be in the sun any longer for fear of burning his delicate baby skin, I put him on a blanket in the shade of the doorway (did I mention that our temps were in the 70's today?  It's absolutely crazy for March in Michigan!) and let him watch me while I clipped about one plant before he started to cry for me to pick him up again.  So much for cleaning out the flower beds.

I can remember when I was in school, as soon as the weather started warming up, it became very hard to focus on school work.  I only wanted to go outside and ramble around in the sunshine.  I was fortunate to be at a very small parochial school where I actually could take my school work outside and find a sunny spot to sit and read.  I loved that.

We're spending lots of time outside now, and somehow I think we'll have to make the yard our school room because I can't see how we're going to get any school done with weather like this and all the other work to do.  Does planting peas count as school?  It did yesterday.

Of course we have to buckle down and get through our books, but it can be so hard when the little guys want to be involved, too.  I know-- this is every homeschooling mother's lament.  How to do school with babies and toddlers around?  They do school, too, of course!

But their school is considerably more chaotic.   This morning I parked Andrew in the swing and Evan was off playing something interesting (like unrolling entire rolls of toilet paper, throwing silverware in the trash, or writing on himself with a marker) and Jonah and I got out the books.  We didn't even get half-way through our Bible story before Evan was in my lap.  One paragraph later, Evan was tormenting Andrew and making him squawk until the Bible story could no longer be heard.  And chaos ensued.

How can I ever get anything done?  I feel like I spin my wheels all day, every day.  Clean up messes, wipe butts.  Feed people, wipe more butts.  That is the essence of my existence.

I make plans to sew curtains, declutter the storage room, make baby-books, finish website projects, etc., etc., etc, but there are butts to wipe.

Believe it or not, I also have personal education goals.  Yes, that's right, because I love to learn and one should never stop learning.  I want to make art, make music, read books.  And I do!  A minute here, a paragraph there.  My reading list gets longer.  Right now I'm working on Nature's Numbers: The Unreal Reality of Mathematics, Every Woman's Guide to Foot Pain Relief, and The Mood Cure.  My copy of the TJed Home Companion should arrive any day. I'm also reading to Jonah Man of the Family .  And on my piano sits The Big Book of Classical Music, where I can sit and play a few bars at a time while the baby slobbers on my leg and the toddler hits the high notes and Jonah taps a beat (oh, so very helpful) with a pencil.  Because if I want my children to want to play music, I have to play music for them.

Isn't that amazing?  If I do the things I love --reading interesting things, playing music, growing food-- they will want to learn, too!  I have the best job in the world.  I can do the things that I love --if I can eek out the time for them-- and inspire the next generation all at the same time.  (Of course, I also have to work my tail off on very little sleep, but let's be positive, shall we?)

I wouldn't have it any other way.  This afternoon after spending some time getting my fractious baby settled for a nap, I just sat for a few minutes and watched him sleep.  I wondered about who he is and thought how amazing it is that I get to find out just who these little people are and watch them become who they will be and teach them along the way.  It's at the same time terrifying and exhilarating.

I wouldn't trade it for all the spare time in the world.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Land of Nod

So we're having a little trouble dragging ourselves out of bed in the morning these days...

Especially yesterday when we had to get up and get to church...  Maybe it helps to go cold-turkey on the jet lag, though.

My chickens, on the other hands, seem to be up bright and early laying eggs!  I'm so thrilled, because those buzzards haven't been producing eggs at all.   The animals are all thinking about spring, even though it is still very wintery (big, giant SIGH.  Ugh.  But at least I got to miss all of our Michigan February!  Bliss!).  Birds sing in the mornings, and one of our ducks hatched four ducklings a few days before we got back.  Only one survived, and even that is surprising considering the cold wind and snow.

So we're trying to get back to real life.  It's been a long time since we've had real life...  But we've actually done some house-cleaning, laundry, school, and today I'm planning to start my tomato and pepper seeds (except... now I hear Evan awake from his nap... that complicates matters).

Evan is so happy to be home it's almost hilarious.  He's been checking everything out making sure it's all just as he left it.  Toys... check.  Daddy's tools... check.  Mommy's dishes... check aaaaand broken.

I, however, am really missing the baby-holders I've enjoyed for the last month.  Samuel, where are you when I need you?

I was told recently that with your third child, all your standards go out the window.  I'm afraid this might be true.  I've always been very anti-babystuff, preferring to have as little baby equipment as possible in this modern day and age.  I have particularly avoided standing-up baby entertainment like walkers, johnny-jump-ups, and excersaucers.  I just don't really think those kind of things are good for a baby's back, pelvis, and leg development, and besides, it's just more stuff.

Well, guess what?

Yeah, that's right, I borrowed an excersaucer for Andrew.  This Mommy needs to get some stuff done!  Andrew loves to be held, and I carry  him around a lot.  (And babywearing... yeah, yeah, I know.  But now he's grabby and wiggly so now babywearing only works for talking walks.)  I also put him on the floor to play, but he doesn't last long that way.-- he wants to be entertained.  So an excersaucer, and yes, even a baby swing, gives me some more options for putting him down without crying, so I can do some things baby-free now and then.  As for his development, he's more sitting in it than standing, other than to kick his feet down just like he loves to do in my lap, and he's not in it more than ten minutes at a time anyway.  He has lots of tummy-time and holding, so I'm pretty sure he's just fine. 

And that's an extra ten minutes here and there for me to attempt to catch up on real life...

Saturday, March 3, 2012

I'd Just Like to Say

We were the people on the plane that all the other passengers loved to hate.  The family with the howling baby and the shrieking toddler on the Flight from Hell.  This was the completely stereotypical Flight from Hell which also included a vomit-covered rear lavatory, turbulence, and a frightening landing.


To those passengers who got off that plane and swore never to fly again: my apologies.

To the guy one row up who twitched and scowled every time one of our children commenced howling: bless your mother, for you were a baby once, too.

To the attendant who told me to sit down and put my belt on instead of standing to sooth my irate baby, lest you call the flight deck, even though we were sitting still on the tarmac waiting to be de-iced: look, I get that you were just doing your job, forgive me for snarling at you (but I still think it's a stupid rule).  Also, don't ever call me "honey."

To the other attendant who blocked me from entering the front galley and directed me to go back to the rear lavatory (the one with the vomit): couldn't you have just let me do a quick diaper change before the pilot came out?  And does the pilot really need a half an hour?  Nevermind.  Okay, I know you probably didn't know about the state of the other lavatory,  but the baby might have been happier with a diaper change.

To the man who got sick in the lavatory:  Ugh.  I am so sorry.  Talk about "Flight from Hell."

To the off-duty pilot who knows what it's like to fly with children and let our toddler play games on your iPhone to distract him: you're awesome.

To the man who was blocked into his window seat for the entire flight by our oldest son who conked out on the floor for the last half of the flight: you're awesome, too.

To the pilots who stuck a landing in high winds with the plane not even level when it touched down:  you're really awesome. We tried to stifle our cries of fright.

To Frontier Airlines, who serves warm chocolate chip cookies instead of tiny bags of peanuts: thanks, I really needed that cookie.  However, you do know what sugar does to toddlers, right?  (Also, reasonable flight times would be a big bonus, know what I mean?)

To my husband, who gave me such a great compliment, "I don't know how you did this by yourself": I'm so thankful you were with me this time.