Sunday, July 31, 2011

Just Good, Clean(ish) Fun

We were on our way to a party at a friend's house Friday night, and C. was trying to get the itinerary straight in his head:

"Mommy, we are picking M. up at the library?"
"And then we are going to Walmart?"
"And then we are going to the B.'s?"
"And then we are going to jail?"

Okay, the B.s' parties are always fun and the atmosphere is pretty relaxed, but I don't recall anyone going to jail. That does make me wonder what sort of stories C. is going to be telling at school about our family activities.

We were originally supposed to be going to another gathering, one I'm sure we would have enjoyed as well, peopled with names that are probably a bit more recognizable around town. Good people, but no one I know well enough to say, "Oh, crap, the baby puked on me, can I borrow a pair of jeans?" to. (Not that this has happened to me. Just M.)

The B.s' parties are peopled with mechanics, cops, teachers. Hard-working, plain-speaking, salt-of-the-earth types, who may not have a lot of money or connections, but who will show up to help when your pipes freeze. They live waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay out in the desert, on land they are fixing up themselves. It seems like every time we go out there is something new - a garden, a horse corral, a nice deck with a hot tub.

Of course, this month we finally started getting some rain, and the sky really dumped just before the party. They had put up a couple awnings over the deck so the adults were nice and dry, but the ground for miles around was solid mud. Did I mention that most of these people have kids? And that the kids of hard-working, salt-of-the-earth types are generally not prissy, afraid-to-get-dirty types?

Yep, they had fun. C. ran off to join the pack the minute we got there (which, as shy as he used to be, made me very happy), and I pretty much didn't see him for the next four hours, except when Daddy found him and made him get something to eat. Mrs. B. very wisely served everyone from the doorway of the house, blocking it off with her 90-pound frame and a don't-even-think-about-walking-those-muddy-shoes-into-my-kitchen stare.

S. was her usual charming little turd self, scamming food from everyone, seeing how close she could get to the edge of the deck and then grinning every time she made Daddy jump. She enjoyed the mud as well (which reminds me, I still need to see if I can get those cammo boots clean). L. slept the entire time, not even stirring when one of the ladies appeared in front of me, announced, "I have washed my hands," scooped him up, and wandered off. There you have a testament as to how relaxed these gatherings are - that morning at the library I had kept him hidden away from everyone at the SRP closing ceremony, but when T. carried him away I just dug into my cake and ice cream, enjoying having both hands free for a moment.

Conversation ranged from car repair to husbands who hog the bed to potato salad recipes (the latter sounds so old ladyish, but it was REALLY GOOD potato salad!) No politics, no having to watch what you say or to who, just regular people wrapping up the week and enjoying each others' company.

And nobody went to jail.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Timely Warning

Last night I was washing the cover to L.'s bouncy seat, and actually took a moment to read the stuff printed on the bottom:

I guess that means he'll have to give up smoking while he's sitting in it.
I'll break the news when he wakes up.

You Might Be Rednecks If...

...instead of making airplane noises to get your child to eat, you pretend her food is bugs that you chase around and stab with your fork...

...and it works.

Every time.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Reason #10

S. quickly picks up on what will drive you craziest, and capitalizes on it. She will kiss everyone in the house (Today she was kissing the daddy in Hop on Pop because he'd had a bad day) except Daddy, unless she REALLY wants something from him, because that drives him up the wall. With Grandma Kathie, it's refusing to say "Grandma". So, in the car the other day...

S: Daddy, Daddy, Daddy.
   Mommy, Mommy, Mommy.
   Gamma, Gamma, Gamma.

Grandma, excited: You said Grandma!

   Daddy, Daddy, Daddy.
   Mommy, Mommy, Mommy.
   Daddy, Daddy, Daddy...

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Garden Update

 Funny thing happens when you, say, have a baby, and ignore your garden for a week or so - especially when it (finally) rains all that week:

Holy Swiss Chard, Batman!
Wow! That's a lot of green!

This is ONE tomato plant and a few watermelon vines (Christopher's garden). There were other plants at one point, but these, as you can see, have kind of taken over.

So, what's going on with the beans/yellow squash? Have they enjoyed the rain also?

I guess that would be a "yes". Perhaps we shouldn't have watched "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes" yesterday.

Actually, we harvested our first yellow squash this morning.

Side story: she liked it so much, she wanted to play with it. Mean old Mommy wouldn't let her. So she bit me on the knee! Then looked up at me with an expression of, "So what are you going to do about it?" I gave her a one-minute time-out, sitting on the floor in front of the sofa. Oh, the tears! The heart-broken sobs! The stifled laughter (the latter would be from M. and I). Then we talked about how naughty that was, and said sorry and I love you, and two seconds later she was asking to play with the squash again.

So, will there be other yellow squash to fight over?

This looks promising.

This looks...different...

This...isn't even a squash.

Let's face it, folks, I have no idea what's growing in this garden.

Wait...what's that? Creeping up above the squash plants? Is't be...

BEANS!!!  With bugs on them. Don't care.

And then we have these guys. They were not found in my garden, were not released anywhere near my garden, and really have nothing to do with my garden - but aren't they cute? Very tame, too - someone has been feeding them, which has made them a nuisance to other people, which is why Daddy was called to trap them. Don't worry, though, they have already been relocated somewhere more appropriate, together and unharmed (except for the minor trauma of having been brought to the house first, and probably fearing they would have to live near my scary children. And be fed squash.)

She's Not the Only Turd

C: (Playing with tape measure) Mommy, I measure 27 inches.*

M: (Busy hanging laundry) Getting big.

C: Mommy, you should say, "YOU ARE getting big."

M: Okay, you are getting big.

C: (could he sound any more condescending?) There you go.

My son, the grammar police.

*And yes, he is considerably taller than 27 inches.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Reason #9 (That We Call Her Turd)

S. needs a diaper change, goes and gets a diaper for Daddy and lies down on the floor. Daddy removes wet diaper and places dry one under her bottom.

S. pushes both feet on the floor and scootches off the diaper. Smiles at Daddy.

Daddy places diaper under bottom. S. scootches off. Chuckles.

Did you know this can go on pretty much infinitely as long as you make sure you don't run into anything? And that you can continue to get away with it for as long as everyone else in the room is trying not to laugh and failing miserably?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Home Again Home Again

Quick, Baby L. is napping, and Grandma has C. and S. at the zoo, let's see how much of a blog post I can get typ...oh, never mind.

Well, we are home at any rate, and getting into a schedule of sorts (in other words, we are learning the one Baby L. wishes us to follow). I had a few photos and thoughts I wanted to share before he turns one, starting with the hospital stay.

Why I Like the Hospital:

The people who work there. With a very few exceptions, the staff in the maternity ward are among the nicest and most competent I have ever encountered there - even the woman who was 'floating' from another department was terrific. I am not good at asking for help, and nothing makes you feel as ridiculously helpless as having your stomach muscles sliced open (not to mention being hooked up to twenty different tubes and beeping thingies). I know my family will hand me the book or cup or whatever is just out of my reach, but it's nice to have people on hand that you know are already awake, cheerful, and paid to hand it to you! Eases up on the guilt just a little bit.

The bed. Especially with the aforementioned stomach muscles, it is SO nice to be able to push a button and be moved (slowly!) into a sitting position. Plus, I didn't have to change the sheets. Or wash them.

The food. No, really! Other than one lunch (which my wonderful hubby replaced with Sonic fare), it wasn't bad at all. In fact, since S. was born, they started doing something I thought was really nice: the parents can choose a congratulatory dinner for two from a special menu - in our case rib-eye steak, baked potato, wild rice, cheesecake, and sparkling apple juice. It all comes wheeled in on a pretty little table with all sorts of fancy little touches and a gift. I wish I had taken pictures, but I was too ready to dive in. Here are some of the remnants:

Notice, not a scrap of food left behind!

The visitors. When people visit you in the hospital, they don't care how you look, and will, in fact, tell you how wonderful you look regardless of the truth of that statement. Definite plus. Of course, they aren't really looking at the Mommy, anyway. Some will even provide entertainment:

In the form of a strip tease.

Yes, this is the same child who was pole dancing earlier. Sigh.

The reason you are there. Not always a plus with hospital visits, but nothing beats taking hom a brand new little one. I keep having moments of, "Look, a baby! And we get to keep him!"

Mike thinks he looks like me. I think he looks like Winston Churchill.


Of course, there are a few Things I Don't Like About the Hospital.

The people. As nice as most of them are, they are largely the ones in charge, and hospitals have some stupid rules and procedures. (I blame the insuance industry, though, not the staff.) Our family doctor isn't on the official pediatrician roster, so his initial check-ups were done by someone I have no intention of ever seeing again. (Of course, our family doctor is off galivanting in Mexico this week, but that's beside the point.) They take the baby off at 6:30 AM to run a hearing test that isn't done until after 11:00, then scold you for not nursing often enough. (Daddy did go get him back halfway through there, but all L wanted to do was sleep, and I figured he'd know if he was hungry.)

The bed. While the automatic lift is nice, hospital mattresses don't quite compare to real ones!

The food. It's great to have someone else cook it and bring it to you, but that's generally on their schedule, not yours, and definitely not the baby's. Inevitably it comes half an hour after you were already famished, and two minutes after the baby decided to start nursing. Passed over a lot of cold eggs.

The reason you are there. C-sections have their plusses, but the recovery period definitely has its down-side. Now that I can see my toes again, I want to be able to do all those things I have been putting off, but just maneuvering off the sofa takes more logistical planning than it did when I looked like a floundering sea lion. And then there's the other stuff they don't warn you about in sex ed - like how nursing brings on those contractions you thought you avoided, only you don't get an epidural this way. So not fair! (THIS is the kind if thing they need to teach about in sex ed, btw - I guarantee a drop in teen pregnancies once you get to hemmorhoids and bladder control issues).

The visitors. They are just that. Daddy, of course, could have stayed overnight, but we decided it was better for the other kids to all be home together at night with him. Daddy and I don't often spend evenings apart, and this was the first I've ever been away from S. overnight. I always kiss C. goodnight, even if he's asleep when I get home. And of course, they all wanted to be with the new baby (and possibly Mom).

In other words, it's not home, where I am very glad to be again. More later about how everyone is settling in, but for now - this took an hour to ype, and now that L. is back down again, maybe I can get the hamburger browned for di...never mind.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Book Review: Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

So, what exactly does one choose as reading material when one is waiting for one's sweet and lovely baby boy to be born?

Post-apocolyptic zombie-hunting novels, of course.

No, really, it fits! Life will never be the same. And teenage boys are idiots.
"In the zombie-infested, post-apocalyptic America where Benny Imura lives, every teenager must find a job by the time they turn fifteen or get their rations cut in half. Benny doesn't want to apprentice as a zombie hunter with his boring older brother Tom, but he has no choice. He expects a tedious job whacking zoms for cash, but what he gets is a vocation that will teach him what it means to be human."
There is actually a lot to compare here. Some members of our family hunt, some do not. All of us like animals. The two are not mutually exclusive: there is a difference between hunting and joyfully slaughtering animals. Unfortunately, there are those who do not see the difference, and to teenage boys like Benny, the dramatic always seems the coolest. Hopefully, by the time L. can pick up a gun, he will know the difference. (If not, he won't be picking up a gun!)

Benny learns this lesson, but he's still a 15-year-old boy. He still makes some boneheaded moves and assumptions. He still wants to act first, think later. It takes him a while to accept that his opinions of certain people have been a little off-base.

He is not a charicature, however, and Maberry has somehow made it easy for us to like him and root for him even while we are rolling our eyes and shaking our heads at him. He also strikes a balance between the external and internal action of the story that will appeal to both genders, as well as to different age groups (it is VERY graphic, however, so I wouldn't recommend it for younger readers. M. just finished it and concurs!)

In short, I think this has a wide appeal, even to those who, like me, aren't heavily into the zombie movement. I'm looking forward to reading the sequel soon!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

My Evening Plans

May not blog for a bit. I will be spending this evening in a strange bed with a much younger man:)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Book Review: Argus, by Michelle Knudsen, illustrated by Andrea Wesson

With Baby L. arriving soon, there has been much discussion about what he may look like ("Doctor, what are these two little bumps on his head?") We are all having trouble picturing him...I see dark hair and eyes, while Daddy sees a male version of S. Of course, we were both so totally WRONG about S., our brains are reluctant to come up with any firm images. Parents often find that they have spent nine months dreaming up different color combinations and personality types, only to be presented with something that makes them think constantly over the next decades, "Where on EARTH did you come from?"

Sally's class is hatching eggs. When she points out to her teacher that hers looks a bit different, she is told some eggs are just different, and don't be difficult. As we can see by the cover, Sally's chick ends up looking a bit different, too. He also acts a bit differently. Whereas most of the chicks peck lightly at the ground, Argus makes big holes. When they eat seeds and bugs, he prefers to eat...the other chicks. And the children.

At first Sally isn't crazy about having a chick so different from the rest, but when a crisis arises, discovers she is quite happy with Argus just the way he is. Not an unexpected message, but done with a light hand and plenty of humor (love the teacher's final comment). Wesson's illustrations are perfectly paired with Knudsen's text. I may just have found one of Baby L.'s first books. (Knudsen, btw, also wrote Library Lion, another one of our absolute favorites!)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

July 4 Weekend

Is it too late for a Fourth of July post? I'm going to say no, because it's my blog, and everything else on it is usually late anyways:)

Serious lack of photos, because for most of it I was either:

a) Too busy to take pictures
b) Enjoying myself too much to take pictures, or
c) Unconscious.

The weekend  - and the week following - were full of ups and downs and busy-ness, but  there were a few highlights I really wanted to record:

1. Baby L's Shower - Saturday evening, hosted by my friend Danica. Danica is simply one of the bestest people ever. She grew up a child of missionaries on a tiny island in the Pacific and is now, as she says, "a suburban mommy/small-town politician's wife." (She writes about both parts of her life on her blog here. You should totally go read it right now.) Makes for an interesting, broad-minded perspective on life, and with her sharp wit, caring nature, and quick sense of humor, no conversation is ever dull.

The shower guests came from different parts of my life, prompting an activity where everyone added their name to a graph (did I mention we were both teachers in past lives?), naming how they knew me - library, church, fire department, etc. With some it took a while to remember, which added to the fun. Regardless, Danica made each of them feel welcome, and everyone had a great time. Too many cute gifts to mention, and yeah for piles of diapers!

The shower was in Danica's beautiful backyard, next to the pool. It rained briefly, just enough to cool things off and put everyone in an even better mood (keep in mind it didn't rain here the first six months of the year!) Yummy food, good conversation, and one beautiful 'practice baby' who didn't mind being passed from mommy to mommy all night (Shannon, you did get her back eventually, right?) We had planned to end around 8PM so most people could get home before dark, but we were still sitting around and talking until 9PM.

2. Street Dance in Cloudcroft - I didn't actually attend more than ten minutes of this, because a) it was the same night as the shower, and b) I don't dance. Daddy took the little ones, though, and being a little more on the ball than me, he got a few pictures:
Yes, his shoes are on the wrong feet. They always are. It's some sort of statement, I think. He's a little nervous, because Daddy said something about dancing with all the pretty girls. When they got to the dance, he surveyed the crowd and announced that there weren't any. Careful, son, those mountain girls can take you!

This one, for example. Oh, dear. That's just about all I can say about her these days.

Take the street dance, for example. Pole dancing and kissing boys all night. And this is with Daddy watching! I thought surely, by the time I got up there at 9:30, she would be beyond tired and fussy. Nope - she said hi to me, and set off for another trip around the dance floor.

I eventually managed to tear her and C. away, leaving M. to dance with Daddy and possibly a certain other gentleman who just happened to be there. Hmm.

3. Date with C. -  Sunday night M. went to a party, Daddy stayed home with S., and C and I had some Mommy-son time. We went out for ice cream first and ate it outside the establishment, where C. promptly ditched me to spy on a cute little girl. Sigh. Story of my life. I got his attention back by taking him to watch the fireworks - and the lightning, which always shows up at the same time, and garnered just as much of his attention. I love how God seems to be saying, "You think that's cool? Check this out!"

C. is such a little chatterbox when he doesn't have any competition, and full of the types of questions that make parents feel really stupid. I thought I understood the basics of lightning (and volcanoes and fires andplanets and...), but it would seem not. Starting school will be interesting for him this year (and for his teacher)!

A busy but fun weekend, all in all. I'm sure the next few weekends will be pretty quiet by comparison...unless there's something I'm forgetting...