Sunday, November 29, 2015

Here we are

We went to the Nutcracker yesterday. Husband has been on call all weekend and I was not going to miss the opportunity I was so excited about-- taking my two daughters to see the Sugar Plum Fairy. Two kids, one baby, one baby carrier, 355 goldfish, diapers, Capri Suns, and nerves of steel-- I was ready.

I left hot, lighter without the goldfish, bottles, Capri Suns, and nerves of steel.

It was precious to watch Bennie. She was ready to bounce off the walls until the lights dimmed. The music started, the curtain swept up, and she gasped in awe. For the entire first act, she sat.

She Freaking Sat. Still.
Sat still for an hour.

Her little chin sat on her hands, which were all perfectly resting on the rail of the box seats, the brass rail keeping her forehead cool and kept her from tipping over the edge. Fuzzy wasn't my star student yesterday, but I could not blame him. I kept him fed until he fell into a milk induced coma. As I held Bennie on my lap, Birdie looked over at me and said, "This is SO MUCH BETTER than watching TV!"

I smiled at the moment, held my breath for the crying baby, and laughed at the insanity of bringing my three babies to the ballet. Life is a comedy.

As the Snowflakes danced, Bennie said (ok, screamed...) "SHE SPINNIN'! MAMA SHE SPINNIN'!" When the SugarPlum Fairy came out with her perfect tutu, Bennie said, "Watch me, Mama! I spin, too!" And proceeded to spin in circles. "WATCH ME, MAMA!"

This would be the same kid that woke up yesterday and elected to potty train herself. One little accident before I put her in a diaper after a bath... and the next thing I know, that kid did not have one accident yesterday. I tell you what-- Bennie is going to rule the world.

So, here we are-- wrapped up in the chaos of three children. Some days are better than others, but they are all crazy intense with the steady fetching and stepping of motherhood.

Tomorrow, we take a break from three kids. Husband and I are packing up the eldest daughter and taking her to the happiest place on earth. My in-laws are coming to Hometown and staying here with the two babes while we treat Birdie to a week of unencumbered parent time at Disney World.

It'll be good to take her out like the old days and have 'bentures again.

Of course pictures will be forthcoming.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

good thoughts

Today I was driving down the street and at a fork in the road, I noticed a house I had never really paid attention to. It's a great location for a business-- terrible for a house, right at the fork of busy and busier with no real neighbors on either side, except traffic and businesses.

The family had hung a French flag from their flagpole.

It took my breath away.

People are only as good as you expect them to be and I will forever be expecting people to be amazing. Because they are.

Viva la France!

Viva la Love!

Viva la Life!

Monday, November 16, 2015

A Day in the Life... Friday...

The mornings start early. 

Earlier than I like.

It's Friday. Husband was on call the night before and won't be home for another 12 hours. I often wonder how 12 hours can be so busy and accomplish so little in my world and yet, so much in my children's world.

The alarm goes off...

And I check the weather...

When Husband is on call, I end up with a little bedmate. I say it annoys me, but I secretly love it. Don't get me wrong-- I love it when I get my big bed all to myself, but to have this little one next to me... it's sweet.

While I am trying to gently nudge Birdie out of her slumber, Bennie has been up, grabbed her tooth brush and ready to start her day.

I am hoping for a good morning. I am always hoping for a good morning. But, this morning- probably because I have my camera with me, I am extra aware of my attitude, and my patience is thicker than normal. I have this.

Stepping over Bennie, I go to the kitchen to get Fuzzy his bottle. Birdie starts on her teeth and Bennie gets busy telling her sister what is hers and what is not.

"MY purple toothbrush! Dat YOURS!"
"MY pink stool. Dat YOURS!"

So on and so on...

I stopped nursing sometime in October, so we're on to bottles. Formula is expensive- any mother will say that. But, think about what it is... it is what makes his brain. It is how he eats. It sustains his life. It's expensive, but it's not a place I am willing to skimp. Enfamil Alice- my friend and Bennie's godmother- used to work for Enfamil and won me over about the benefits of Enfamil over Similac. That being said, as long as the mother is feeding the baby from one of the top three sources (Enfamil, Similac, breast milk)-- I'm happy for her and her efforts.

I digress. While a proponent of Enfamil, I cannot find a better bottle in the world than a Similac bottle. They come with a standard amount of parts, a swishy thing to help mix the formula faster, and clicks when the top is screwed on properly. It doesn't leak. All bottles should be this easy. Unfortunately, no other bottle is.

Fuzzy gets his bottle and lays back to drink in the goodness.

I go back to the girls to see why they have gotten so quiet...

"Shhhh Mah-mee. I hiding."

Somehow, I can get myself ready, Bennie ready, and get Fuzzy fed all while Birdie is still brushing her teeth. I get frustrated about it. But, not this Friday. This Friday I have my camera.

Going to the laundry room, I find Birdie's jumper and Bennie takes off after me to be helpful.

We check on Fuzzy. Yep, he's still eating. And he go back to help hurry Birdie along.

The phone rings.

It's Pixie. 

Next thing I know, my house is swarming with Merrys, hoping to kidnap Bennie for breakfast. Leaving Birdie to her own devices, Bennie gets scooped up and we work on getting her changed and dressed.

She heard an adventure was in her immediate future, so she was quick to comply and get on out of the door.

But not before giving her cousin who planned the heist a big hug. He's playing on hooky on this Friday to go out of town with his mom, sister, and other grandparents.

Woody comments on our latest crop of heirloom tomatoes.

And I realize that we are almost running late.Birdie gets loaded up and we head off to Parochial. It's a field trip day and I have, of course, volunteered to be a driver. Friday is normally pizza day, but not this Friday- she gets a sack lunch and a picnic at the river.

Carline-- it's one of those things that has evolved into a level of confusion that the IRS could not figure out. As long as you keep your head low, your cell phone off, and a smile on your face-- you'll be good.

I look down and get a text from my parents:

I give Fuzzy kisses and we head to the grocery store. We're out of lunch meat.

Before Bennie can return from Waffle House, I have assembled three sandwiches and packed Fuzzy up with a bag as my mom is going to keep him while I take Birdie on the field trip.  Bennie wrote a note to her teacher...

I cannot remember what got her mood in a wad.. but, something did. And she was not impressed with mom.

We have had some problems in her class recently. It started with saying on repeat, "I no want to go to school today. I stay with Mah-mee."
Talk about breaking your heart. This kid who loves an adventure and is fearless would stick her fingers in her mouth and cry with her whole heart that she "No YIKE school." I talked to the teacher, the director, and co-director. We worked through it and moved her to a different class. The problems have rectified and she is back with Miss Brandi, happy as a lark.
She, too, got a sack lunch... mostly because I was in a hurry and could not find her lunch box.
Once we got her in the classroom- the tears dried up and she was ready to play.

I wave at Miss Donna as we head out the door.

And notice my wrist. This bracelet was a gift from Enfamil Alice. It makes me smile to think of her in her blustery cold new home so far away from us. It's okay though, she's making friends and embracing life in Wisconsin.

Back to Parochial, I pick up Birdie, her new BFF, and another kid who just started this year. The conversation in the car went something like this:

"When I turn 18, I'm going to grow a mohawk. And probably dye my hair blue."
"Blue? Like for Parochial? My cousin taught me a cheer. It goes 'Let's go BIG BLUE!'"
"My daddy won't let me dye my hair blue. Except for during the carnival when we sprayed it. Actually, we sprayed it pink and red. It was so cool."
"I love pink!"
In unison:  "Me tooooooooo!"
Let's sing Miss Mary Mack Mack Mack. All dressed in Black Black Black. 
OH! Wouldn't it be funny if it went like this? Miss Mary Mack Mack Mack. All dressed in nothing nothing nothing!!!
a ripple of loud giggles from three first grade girls spills into my car, like the goldfish on the floor.

I was always happy when my mom always volunteered to drive a field trip. I think Birdie is the same way--

We were one of the first groups to show up. The teacher said to convene in the lobby. The loud, marble floored lobby of the museum that housed several businesses. I, conveniently, forgot that tidbit of where to meet and erred on staying outside. As more groups showed up, more kids started running in and out of cars in the parking lot and on the sidewalk.

Invoking my father, I said, "Are y'all too old for Simon Says?"

Simon says... this.... Simon says... that... this... ohhhh, Simon didn't say so!

It was cute. The teachers showed up and took over. One little kid tugged on my sleeve and said, "Birdie's mom? You're the coolest!" I laughed and told her to get in line.

We went to the art museum and the docent explained how the five senses can be used to interpret the paintings. She did a great job keeping the energetic first graders engaged.

These two... their daddies went to medical school together and the big red bow moved back to Hometown from Louisiana.

"I was born in Hometown and then we moved to New Orleans."
"HEY! That's like me! I was born in Hometown and moved to Washington DC!"

After going through the museum and having Birdie paint a still life, we went out to the river for a picnic.

We loaded back into the car and headed back to Parochial. Unfortunately, we were also one of the first groups to show back up. Someone asked the receptionist if we could go to the classroom.

"Not until the teachers show back up."

I ask if we could go out to the playground.

"No, I'm sorry. The intermediate department is out there right now."

Someone else asked what we could do.

"The students can sit on the bench quietly until the tea-- Gentlemen! Stop running and come sit down.-- until the teachers get back here."

As she spoke, three more groups walked in. That's another 10 first graders, who were to sit and wait quietly for their teachers to return.

This was going to go really well. Sitting on my laurels, I bit my lip.

Two more boys were asked to sit down. Three girls started singing and were politely reminded that class is in session.

I get it. I totally get it. She was expecting them to act like they normally do-- but this was not a normal day. This was Friday! Pizza Day! and better still, field trip day!

"Ok kids," I whisper, "Let's go outside."

Invoking my father once again, I organized a fast game of Red Rover by giving the kids "ones" or "twos." Surprisingly, only a handful of kids knew how to play... but in the end, they all did!

A friend grabbed my camera and asked to take some pictures.

After the teachers got there, I kissed Birdie and went to pick up Bennie.

That top left picture of Bennie is fuzzy- but that is how I see her every afternoon: finally seeing me in the door and running with all her might screaming "MAH-MEE!" as if we had been separated for weeks, rather than hours. 

She had a great day, so she got to go in the treasure chest. She made a craft and played some sort of choo-choo game. It was a good day to be Bennie.

After picking up Bennie, I am starting to feel the day cave in on me. I still need to go to the post office:

And the bank: (the tellers do not know what to make of me)

And pick up Mom before heading to the store to pick up some things for the Christmas Bazaar. I got behind this bumper sticker and thought it comical. Mom asked me why I was taking pictures of it...

At the store, I noticed how red the top of Bennie's lip was getting. Runny noses and coughs have been the norm around here. Often, I can be heard calling us "the fourth floor TB ward of the hospital." Sigh, life as a doctor's family...

She perked up when I figured out which pen she wanted to play with.

We made a few purchases and then I dropped Mom off before heading to Parochial to pick up Birdie.

It's Friday and since it rained on Monday, we have horseback riding today.

You'd think that you would be seeing pictures here of horseback riding, or me waiting in carline, or even me working in the driver's seat with the computer on the dashboard, parked at the farm and Dora on in the background... but you aren't, I started to get really flustered with the tasks I needed to accomplish in the day and how I was not going to be able to get them done.

So, no pictures. You'll have to survive this DITL without those.

Birdie piles in the car, excited about Tater-- the horse she rides-- and what kind of fun things Miss Leighton had to say. I check on the kids at the red light and realize that this is how I see them... mostly through the rear view mirror.

Crossing back into the state, my eye catches this cultural center, that used to be a Catholic church. This is the church where my grandfather was baptized. I saw the font not too long ago and could only think of that little baby getting his head sprinkled with water and those Latin words said over him and prayed for him.

Turning down Jones street,  I am thankful for the rich history I have become fortunate enough to learn. Somewhere along this street, my great-great-GREAT grandfather lived when he was a police officer. The property long-since gone, it's neat to think about that and how we always return home.

Speaking of "home"... Husband was going to kill me. Like, KILL ME. I saw Big Dog up the street and called Chris. He said that he would happily take my money and drop the freaking eight dogwoods in the front yard.

Husband loves dogwoods. I was sick of them. They had to go. So, they went.

Whenever I feel like we have too much money in the bank, I just need to call Big Dog and see if they are in the area...

Inside, Bennie through a fit... about something...

And I checked Birdie's school work for the week. If she does a good job and I am pleased with everything she in her folder, she gets a Shopkin. One single solitary Shopkin. This puts her over the moon and makes my pocket book happier as they are about $1; cheaper than a Chick Fil A cookie and fewer calories to boot.

Her buddy, Wynn, has about 3,204 Shopkins and introduced them to her. Thanks, Wynn's mom... yeah, thanks.

It's about 5:30 and Husband is walking through the door. He says the yard looks "bald." I say "okay." And we leave it at that. He's not happy, but what is done is done. Bless him for loving me.

My day is, instantly, a little easier to breath through. He makes me realize that they are just tasks and if they don't get done today- God has given us a tomorrow. Bless him doubly for loving me.

A golfcart ride is in order to pick up Fuzzy from my mom's and the girls love golf cart rides.

We get out on the main street-- not smart-- and quickly turn into a neighborhood that connects to my mom's neighborhood.

Fuzzy is asleep... and has new pajamas.

Mom is cooking steaks and brought some bubbly (sparkling wine) back from Italy. No lie-- it's blue. We thought we were going to be drinking Scope, or worse.. Creme de Menthe, but WOW! It was fresh, crisp, and really really good. I had to step away from it or I would have been in trouble! :)

The champagne glasses were my great grandmothers. They are paper thin and we never use them. My dad is always worried that they will break. But good wine always tastes better from a good glass. So, I trumped him... that and we poured it while he was still in the shower. 

{Parents-- teach your daughters and sons how to open a champagne bottle. It's an important task that few people know how to do. Very valuable lesson.}

I walked into the den...

And Husband was already texting one of his old nurses from DC who relocated to Paris a few months prior. I get on my phone to see what Chapman has put up on his instagram feed. A friend from high school is now an international reporter for NBC and affiliates.

After staring at the TV for far too long we go back into the kitchen. It appears that all my children got new jammies from Pixie.

Bennie poured a drink for herself and her big sister...

And as Husband talked, I thought it funny to see this ancient, picked, and all around RAG of a t-shirt next to the fancy, fancy glass full of blue bubbly liquid. Juxtaposition...

But, you cannot separate a man from his favorite t-shirts. Even if you sneak them to the trash, he has a way of knowing and sniffing them out.

Bennie contemplated another fit, but instead- we set her down to supper.

Husband shared some of his bounty with my parents as they are always so quick to share from their garden with us.

Supper of a turkey sandwich and green thingies...

Fuzzy was not as excited about his supper of homemade baby food...

I sautéed mushrooms for the steaks. Mom cooked rice pilaf and Husband put the steaks on.

When Husband is on call, the kids are always a little extra excited to see him. The baby has just started to catch on that he is not home every night. So, when he does get to see the "Curly headed man" there is an extra level of clinginess. Fuzzy gets at his foot and climbs up his leg. He holds on until Husband picks him up.

I firmly believe though, that the feeling is mutual.

While the girls were in the back, we sat by the fire, Fuzzy crawled, and mom remembered that she had a present for us...

It is impossible to find two people who love egg nog "Schnog" more than us.  Mom found a pre-mixed bottle at Costco. One for her house and one for ours.

Fuzzy was curious what this stuff was all about-- it looked like Enfamil.

It is somewhere around now that we realize Bennie has been all too quiet. She comes running up front and, wisely, chooses to head to Woody. Up into his lap, she climbs. In her hands was a small container of Vaseline. On her face were the contents of the small container of Vaseline. She had finger painted her way from the bathroom to the den with the clear goo that is Vaseline. What do you do?

Husband grabbed her before I could and threw her into a fit of giggles.

It was getting to be about time to head home. Bennie started crying. This was quickly resolved by Pixie and the magical M&Ms.

We loaded Bennie up and strapped Fuzzy into the Ergo. Kisses goodbye, Bennie did not even notice that Big Sister was not sitting next to her. She was still in the dormitory where she would be spending the night.

Fuzzy was fast asleep on me. I step on the step stool that stays in his room (so the girls can "help" me change his diapers) and take a picture of us...

Bennie finally realized that Big Sister was not with us and was devastated, until we said she could settle down in our bed.

It took about 18 second for her to find the backs of her eyelids.

Husband and I watched some TV outside in the cold air under blankets. He would be fishing the next morning, leaving at 5:30am. My Saturday would start at 5:34 when Bennie got out of bed, ready to start her day.

But that's another day.