Tuesday, April 30, 2013


At any given time, there is a lot of pent up aggression and frustration in our house. That's to be expected, I assume, since we're in the business of toddler raisin', lawyerin', and just plain livin' in this ridiculous world. Ridiculous. (But that's a post for another day.)

Since we aren't just parents and professionals, since we are also humans, sometimes we lose our cool. Sometimes we lose it in a big way, and it feels good to dismiss that fruit called self-control (Galatians 5:22) for a few minutes and wail on a Little Tikes basketball goal. But only for a few minutes, because when the dust settles, all we are left with is a broken toe, an icky feeling, and a mess to clean up.

It was after one such incident that Dave and I were discussing punching bags and how we would love to have one for these moments when we just can't contain ourselves any longer. We said we would think about buying one. We thought we would both use it. I've wanted a punching bag since highschool, and now we actually have a place to put one. We thought maybe we should do it.

Then, the very next day, Dave came home after a very frustrating work day and started his recap with, "I just want to hit someone." Without a word, I grabbed my laptop and ordered a heavy bag and a pair of gloves. He said he didn't need gloves. I told him that I do. If he wants to walk around with busted knuckles, that's his business, but I do not. I do intend to wail on that thing.

I failed to order gloves for the kids, but I've since decided that they need a pair, too. I'm just giddy with the thought of interrupting a tantrum or a fight with, "Here are the gloves. Go to the basement!"

Actually, I probably need two pairs so they can both hit the bag at the same time. Yeah. Two pairs it is.

I can't wait until the next time Dave tells me he just wants to hit something: "Oh? Go to the basement."

I can't wait until the next time a kid yells "Ma!" thirty times in a row as I'm tripping over the dog and trying to talk on the phone. I'm going to send myself to the basement.

This might be a stroke of brillance in our lives.

Our new addition.
Also? According to the box it was shipped in, a 20 minute workout on a heavy bag burns 281 calories. That's a pretty sweet deal for beating the crap out of something.

Friday, April 26, 2013

For the Love of Sleep

I was flipping through the pictures in my phone and realized that 3 of the last 6 were of Luke sleeping. I like to take pictures of my sleeping children because that's when they look most like their baby-selves and because sometimes it's funny.

Then I started thinking that I've written so much on this blog about what a horrible sleeper Ella was until she was 3 and a 1/2 and about how sleep deprived I've been in general for the last {almost} five years. I decided I should write a post to say that IT REALLY DOES GET BETTER.

My second child, Super Fast, is so busy for all of his waking hours these days that he embraces sleep with nearly the same love that I have for it. He actually ASKS for nap or bed when he's sleepy. It's amazing and still a bit unbelievable. He also usually wakes up happy, or at least not screaming bloody murder like his sister did every time she woke up for the first 2 years of her life.
First Thing in the Morning
Yes, he has Dora sheets and he loves them.
He has started letting Dave put him to bed. He lets him stay in there with him while he falls asleep. Without me in the room. Ella was almost 4 before that was allowed. It's kind of liberating because it gives me a few minutes to myself or to snuggle with Ella, but I really love those bedtime cuddles so I'm not willingly handing over the bedtime job yet.

He's so serious about his sleep that I have always been able to scoop him out of the car or the couch or where ever he fell alseep and put him right to bed without waking him. I can even change his clothes. He recently continued his car nap in the buggy while we grocery shopped one busy Saturday. Granted, he did learn to roller skate that day, but how many kids wake up, get in the buggy, and go back to sleep? I know one big sister who NEVER would have done that.
Napping - ACTUAL NAPPING - in the Snot Rocket at Publix
He sleeps through the night often now, but even on the nights that he wakes up, sometimes he lets Dave help him back to sleep. This is new for us. Dave has never been able to help with the nighttime parenting. I think I might be able to count on three fingers the number of times he was able to get Ella back to sleep during the night. I'm pretty sure he helped Luke back to sleep three nights this week. I LOVE this part. LOVE love it. I'm at my parenting worst in the middle of the night.
Napping in Dad's hat with a sweet, self-drawn tribal tattoo.
He even puts himself to nap already. Not at home usually, but at school and at Grandmother's house. He just gets in bed and goes to sleep. I've seen him do it once and it boggled my mind. The afternoon after his surgery a few weeks ago, I was napping on the couch and he was flopping all over the furniture, trying to find a comfortable spot to nap, too. I told him to get in the chair or go to his bed. When I woke up an hour later, he was sleeping in the chair, all by himself.
Looking for a nap spot after surgery.
Sometimes the big sister will nap, if she just really cannot help it, and then it's usually an accident. However, she is willing to rest or play quietly in her room during nap time these days, so at least I get to nap when Luke does.
After a long day at the zoo, they both gave up.
And big sister? That sweet, sleepless, angry-waking baby that was born first so that I would humble myself and pray? She sleeps through the night now. She asks to go to bed eary when she's really tired. She COMES TO FIND ME AND ASKS ME TO TUCK HER IN SO SHE CAN SLEEP. I never, ever, ever thought that was going to happen.

Monday, April 22, 2013

I've Started a Worm Farm

It's technically a compost pile, but is that really much different than a worm farm? I can't get past the irony of a worm-hater like myself - I once tossed an entire fishing pole into the creek because the worm touched my leg - starting a compost pile.

But I did.

And it has big, fat, juicy worms in it already. I'm a bit horrified at the mixed feelings I have about this. On the one hand, worms. On the other, I know they are doing a job in there so I took care to make sure I covered them all back up when I turned the pile yesterday. WHO AM I?

A person who is about to trade the love of having her hands in the dirt for gloves, that's who. I can let them be to do their job, but I cannot abide accidentally touching one, so, gloves.

I also uncovered some fat grub-like things in the flower bed I planted. I'm not sure exactly what they were, and I'm not about to Google and risk having images of worms and grubs permanently seared into my corneas, but suffice it to say that if I were a warthog or a meerkat, it would have been a feast.

All this worm business is for yet another attempt at growing green things. Vegetables and flowers, and one citronella plant to scare the mosquitos away from the back porch. I'm trying to make the patio more hospitable.

Flowers in the Fire Ring
I'm hoping these flowers will fill up the entire ring in a few weeks. I know they have the potential to do that, I'm just not sure of their chances with me as the caretaker. And also, with the flower-eating deer herd that lives near our house.
Tomatos and Red and Green Bell Peppers
The tomatoes are in containers on the back porch for the sunlight, and also, to protect them from the deer - hopefully. But if a deer comes all the way onto the porch to eat them and I'm home to see it, I might count it as a fair trade. Ella won't. She still hasn't forgiven them for eating her sunflowers last year.
Okra and Zucchini
I decided to plant the rest of the vegetables in the bags of potting soil instead of tilling up our nice red clay back yard. I read that you can do this, so it's a real thing, but we'll see what happens. These are next to the fence in the other spot that looks like it stays sunny all day. I purposely put them where a camellia bush grows on the other side of the fence, hoping that the deer will eat the camellia instead of my plants. Do deer eat camellias?

Yellow Squash
I planted 3 tomato plants, 2 bell pepper plants, a yellow squash, a zucchini, an okra, a canteloupe, and a cucumber plant. If they survive the summer and bear fruit, I'll be ecstatic and start planning a more permanent garden area than two bags of dirt on the dirt for next year. Also, I'll have to learn how to make pickles, since homemade pickles are what got me into this worm-raising, dirt-digging, plant-caring business in the first place.

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Vomit Chronicles: Sometimes It's the Dog's Fault

Monday morning found us tired and dragging this week. Ella woke up with the barking cough, the pollen having finally caught up with her, so Mucinex and cough syrup and a cup of hot chocolate were in order. I got her fixed up and she finished her morning jobs while she waited on me to get Luke ready to go.

I dressed Luke and did my usual last minute running around, making sure we had Gigi Blanket and cups for everyone, and that all the rats had been brushed out of their hairs. Since I had told them several times that were about load up the car, they were both standing ready at the door.

Then I heard the gag.

My spidey sense perked up and Luke started to cry. He gagged again as I swooped and scooped him to the kitchen floor like the super hero that I play on TV. Because they are well-trained vomiters, he leaned over and puked on the floor, just missing his shoes. Bless him; I didn't even have to change his clothes.

When he was finished, I wiped his face and hands and asked him, "What happened? Do you have junk in your throat?" (That's what we call sinus drainage, of which we've all had plenty.) He shook his head and said, in his saddest voice, "Noooo. Someone poooooooped!"

Well, that explained it. Since we were all ready to walk out the door to load the car, and not one of us had pooped, it had to be the dog, who was also waiting to go out for her last potty of the morning. I said, "Did Georgia poot?" He nodded emphatically, "Yes!"

I cleaned up the vomit and we finally got on our way. I was late to work, of course, but it was okay because I texted my boss to let him know:

"Running a little late. The dog farted on Luke so he threw up as we were walking out the door and traffic sucks. Happy Monday."
By the time I got to the office, The Vomiting Ropers and Their Stinking Dog were infamous.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Our Little Wise One

Like the rest of us, Luke has an opinion about everything, but he has really developed is own brand of wisdom lately. It seems to be a bit of practicality mixed with observation and a dash of heart for good measure. I find it very amusing.

As we were riding around in the car last weekend, Ella told me that she had a red thing on her toe and it hurt. Before I could respond, Luke chimed in helpfully, "Oh, you just need-a bite it off." That's what he does when he has a hangnail, or any bit of finger or toenail really. He's a compulsive nail biter. I don't ever have to trim his nails.

At some point over the last few days, he explained this to me about my recent renaming: "Ma? That what a boy says. Ma." Then Ella followed with, "A girl says 'Mother'," in her very best Amber (from Sofia the First) impersonation.

As I was getting him out of the tub Monday night, he asked if he could bring his dinosaurs to bed with him. We gathered them up, dried them with the towel, and took them to his room. While I was getting his diaper, he informed me, knowledgably, "Dinosaurs don't wear biabers. They have tails." Too true.

When I unloaded him from the car after work one day, he told me he needed to tell me a secret. I expected a fake belch in my ear since that's the latest thing they do to amuse themselves, but instead he whispered, "Thank you God for Mommy; she's a sweet mommy. And thank you Jesus loves me. Amen." Be still my heart.

I'm so thankful for his kind, funny, little soul.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Ready.Set.Cure. 2013

Once again, we gathered with our family and friends to fight blood cancers at the Ready.Set.Cure. 5k organized by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society - but this time it was in celebration of remission.
His first survivor shirt.
I only decided the day before to take Georgia, so she didn't have a Lymphoma Sucks shirt, but she did sport her lime green bandana to match. Ella and Luke were excited about that part, since Georgia doesn't often wear "clothes". Though I walked as fast as I could, I still think I was too slow for her. She's quite competitive; she wanted to run. During the race, I was thinking I should have sent her with Uncle Dale, but then she collapsed under the picnic table, after wading in the stream and having a bagel and a cup of water, and I remembered that she is nearly nine. Even if she thinks she can sprint a 5k, it's probably best that she doesn't.

Georgia and I at the end. 
We left the kiddos behind this time, since none of them are big enough to keep up but all of them are too big to push/pull the whole, hilly, 3.1 miles. Luke was the only one who cared about it. He has since informed me, over and over, that he is going to race next year. I believe him.
Jake, Ella, and Luke
It was a great time. We raced, we socialized, we took pictures, we ate doughnuts and bagels, and my Uncle Dale won his age bracket. 

Our Lymphoma Sucks crew.

Monday, April 08, 2013

What's in a name?

Luke: My mom said I could ride a motorcycle.
Me: Really? Who's your mom?
Luke: Gina.

Luke: My mom said I can play football.
Me: Oh? Who's your mom?
Luke: Gina.
Me: Well, who am I?
Luke: You're a little princess.

Luke: My mom said I can ride my horse.
Me: Who's your mom?
Luke: Gina.

I don't know who she is, but I'm starting to feel angry at Gina. A motorcycle?! She obviously has no regard for his safety or the safety of those around him.

I don't know where this "my mom said" thing came from either, but it's pretty cute. I like it better than when he walks through the house calling me, "Ma? Ma? Maaaa?" Dave thinks it's hilarious. I think I'm not raising him in a log cabin on the prarie so he needs to knock it off.

If "Ma" is all he's got to offer, I'd prefer he just call me Amanda - and sometimes he does.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Not-So-Perfect Life

Lest reading this blog leads anyone to believe that I have a perfect life (and I hope that's not the case because I try to be very honest), I decided to write a post dedicated to the not-so-perfect moments that happened this week. I was inpired by this article: Stop Instagramming Your Perfect Life.

But first, my philosophy: I believe in looking for the good in every person, place, and thing. I'm probably too optimistic. When you read optimism here, I hope you aren't mistakenly reading perfection, because it's not perfect. I'm not perfect.

Also? My measure of perfection might be very different than yours. That's why I gave up comparing myself and my life with everyone else a long time ago. I actually am very happy with my life, but that doesn't mean there aren't things that happen on a daily basis that I wish I had done better or that I wish I didn't have to deal with.

So, here are some not so perfect moments from the week.

~ First thing Monday morning, Luke ran up to Ella to tell her excitedly about his new movie and she reared up from the couch like a beast and screamed, three inches from his face, "Noooooooooo!" It broke my heart for him (he was less affected) and it made me mad at her. All day. We are trying hard to help them facilitate a good relationship with each other, but moments like this make me feel helpless and worried. Also, her general attitude lately has been very negative - that's not necessarily new for her, but it does start to wear on me sometimes, especially when other things happen that exacerbate it.

~ It makes me absolutely nuts to get dressed in my nice clothes and have a kid wipe snot or tears or food on me before I leave for work. NUTS. There were a few mornings this week when I thought Luke was on a personal mission to do just that. Then it makes me feel even worse when I jump away from him to avoid the mess. 

~ Work is making me crazy. I'm out of my comfort zone, working on a product that I'm learning as I go, and not a single day this week has gone the way I thought it would when I got to the office in the morning. I still have not done the thing that was on the top of my list on Monday - and I'm procrastinating right now to avoid it just a little longer. I have been busy, just not busy doing what I thought I would be doing, and it's been that way for weeks.

~ I had a very enlightening conversation with Dave this week in which he pointed out my stubborn refusal to listen to him about a particular topic. It sucked when I realized how unfair I had been.

~ I'm in the middle of a body crisis. It has nothing to do with what anyone else looks like, but everything to do with how my clothes keep getting smaller. And gravity. And the absolute hideousness that is shopping for dress pants or cute shoes. Ugh.

That's enough, I think. Here's to the weekend!

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Time flies and all that...

I registered Ella for kindergarten this morning.

I can't say I was unprepared for this day because I was not unprepared. Just ask Dave; he picked up the blue form from the pediatrician's office a month ago and watched it hang on the fridge for three weeks before he finally asked me the actual date for kindergarten registration. I've been prepared.

I knew it was coming. She's 4.75 years old. She turns 5 on June 25th. She's planning a ballerina birthday party, though she has until April 15th to change her mind on the theme.

I have some misgivings, mostly about how to change our morning routine and what to do about the full-time school week and extracurricular activities, but she's even reassured me about those things. She has decided to quit gymnastics after the spring session is finished; that will remove one of her extracurricular activities. Over the weekend, she asked me when she can have her own alarm clock; that partially answers my other uncertainty.

Mostly, I'm excited for her. Really excited, because she is going to love kindergarten. She is definitely ready - in all kinds of ways. And so am I, really.

But sometimes - sometimes, I have to flip through the pictures, re-read the blog posts, and remember when she was like this.
When she fit into the Johnny Jump.
When clapping was new.
When she still had to hold on to stand.
When her hair was barely long enough for a ponytail.
Because it's bittersweet - the passage of time, the business of life, the mothering and fathering of children. It's bittersweet.