Monday, March 29, 2010

Andrew understands concise. His wife doesn't.

Seeing as how my husband's weekend included putting out a neighbor's massive lawn fire and a humorous sniping expedition with a batch of trusting Scouts, it's obvious to my brain that he should be the one to provide the weekend recap.

Sadly, his brain is currently occupied with all things work and when it's not, it prefers to be dancing in the clouds with giant visions of chicken coops and manure enriched gardening soil... so the odds of him accepting my invitation are slim.

Off I go.

Our community held an Easter Egg hunt that I was determined to attend. I feel my children have had the short end of the stick as I've been coping with my daily supply of nausea (not whining... I'm a grateful expectant mother... just sharing the facts).Arriving early provided us with the time to participate in the other thrilling activities before the Easter egg hunt which included: a 'scenic' ride aboard Thomas the Train, face painting, the petting zoo, the bounce house, etc. Like I said... it.was.thrilling.

The kids loved it and that's what mattered.
Finally, it was time to congregate with their age group (Toddlers - 3 yrs) for the highly anticipated Easter Egg hunt.

Cue Eliza.

"I have to go to the BATHROOM!"Andrew and I realize that she hasn't gone since the night before. Seriously, her bladder should be entered into a Guinness Book of World Record's competition. She held it for another 40 + minutes.

The wait was a long one as the myriad of children made their way to their assigned soccer field. Henry was thrilled when we finally arrived at our sideline. He was ready to GO until we told him he had to wait for the official horn. So he cried.
Featured above is a small sampling of the attending crowd. All four soccer fields were lined with eager children waiting to collect as many tootsie rolls, I mean colorful eggs, that their baskets could carry. Eliza, being one of the oldest on our field, did quite well. Feeling guilty, we shared her loot with a sad little girl who, in a moment of sheer toddler rebellion, chose not to participate leaving her basket empty.
The children and I utilized Andrew's presence the remainder of our weekend. Eliza melted his heart when she told him that she likes to do all the things that he likes to do. My heart soared when he shared his testimony on Sunday (a rare but powerful moment). That night, we made a deal that if he would cook dinner (I don't like raw meat), I'd make cookies. Sadly, I didn't taste much of either as my stomach requested a bland bowl of Cheerios and a tangerine in their place.

I called my Mom three times on Sunday if that's any indication of how badly I need to see her. She called me on her way to work this morning if you're wondering if she feels the same.

Eliza acquired a nasty, nasty bruise on her rear end after falling off her Dad's back and onto a toy. After she calmed down enough to speak she said,

"I need to tell so many people, Mom" - those in my calling circle aren't surprised to get a call detailing her latest dramas. The best part came when her live audience arrived in the form of our home teacher (who I think is so thoughtful and great.)

"Do you want to see it?" She asked him.

"NO ELIZA!" Don't worry, he was spared the site of her bum. He probably will never see this blog, but I have to say that his visit was truly a blessing to us last night. I get all teary thinking about his kindness.

Have a good week, friends.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Chicken Enthusiast

Based on his unexplained enthusiasm when 'cock-a-doodle-doodle-ing' it would seem that Andrew has a little someone championing his chicken cause.

"Dear Daddy,
I need a hair cut.
Please don't let Mom do it.
Thanks."

- H-man

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I'm an Eliza Enthusiast

I begin today with Eliza.

(photo taken at preschool yesterday)

While waiting in line at a local drive-thru, Eliza noticed the orange Chevy avalanche (a.k.a. big huge truck) in front of us.

"Wow!" she gasped. "Can we get one of those for our garage, Mom?" She asked. Laughing, I say,

"You want one of those?"

"Yes! Maybe Daddy can ask for one for Christmas!"

Coloring with markers is what I'd like to call a "nap time activity." Eliza knows that we don't use markers when Henry's awake (for obvious reasons); so when she begins asking every five minutes if it's time for Henry to go take his nap, I know she's getting anxious to bust them out.

It isn't long before a swarm of pictures, all dedicated to me, pile up on my lap. The following picture sure made me smile. Please note the red arrow I've added:


(In case you can't tell, we're at a party in that picture, hence the party hats!)

When I asked what the purple circle was for, she responded by saying it was "baby purple grape." Earlier that same day, she'd asked (as she frequently does) how big the baby in my tummy is. I'd told her, that he/she was about the size of a grape this week! Remembering that conversation, she made sure she to include our newest family member. What a thoughtful girl.

Speaking of her artwork, I am going to go ahead and say that preschool this week was awesome. Michelle was the host teacher and did a great job with our Easter theme. You'll notice that Eliza usually includes both of our names on her pictures. Her handwriting is pretty great too, if you ask me. Yesterday, I was assigned to help. Michelle kept them busy! They pieced together their own Easter bags, dyed eggs, created a fun "Letter E" page for their alphabet book using colored egg shells and string and ended their morning hunting for Easter eggs.

Being the smart cookie that she is, Michelle tied a different colored ribbon to each child's wrist. Each child was only allowed to go for the color of eggs that matched their ribbon to ensure that everyone would walk home with the same amount. Sure, that might defeat the purpose of an Easter Egg hunt, but with a batch of three year-olds, harmony is the objective!! It was a great day to be outside!

And finally, to all of my Spring enthusiast friends, I apologize that my blogging header is still a reminder of winter. I'm working on updating it!

Monday, March 22, 2010

I'm too chicken to get chickens

I'll be the first to admit that Andrew has earned the status of MVP (most valuable parent) as of late. Our relationship is not a competitive one, but I have to say my lack of motivation is alarming. Coming home, he runs upstairs for a little Mr. Rogers wardrobe change and then whisks the kids outside to soak in the remaining rays of the day's sunlight. Meanwhile, I sit at the kitchen table and force feed myself a cup of apple sauce.

The beautiful weather seems to contradict the physical grossness that accompanies the early weeks of a pregnancy. Still, I'm so happy to feel and see that sunshine.

Our blossoming pear tree

Oh, the parallels I could draw between the new life blossoming on our pear tree and the life in which we are creating but to be honest, I wouldn't be the only one running to wretch into a toilet. I'm quite sure my last post had enough cheesy schmooze to fill my year's blogging allotment.

Friday night, Andrew met us at the park after work. He and I met up with some friends and their children. Despite having two familiar boy friends from her preschool class to play with, Eliza attached herself to a group of girls she'd never met.When it was time for one of them to go, she could be heard sobbing at the top of the tallest slide,

"BEST FRIEND! DON'T GO!!" She was devastated. The friendship, that was only 25 minutes old, had impacted her deeply. Don't feel too bad. Give the child five more minutes to adopt a new best friend and she'll be golden. A most impressive dinner with the Sharp family followed.


Her watering can - a most beloved possession

Early Saturday morning Andrew went to an empty lot, dug up a batch of day or ditch lilies (as they're sometimes called) and transplanted them into our yard. He received permission. Kind of.

The trellis he built is for an up-spring of honeysuckle
He lined the day lilies around the a/c unit

I was still asleep when he'd finished with that self appointed task. Next up, he's building planter boxes for our garden. I should have taken an "after" photo, but there will be time for that later.

Our backyard neighbor had his garden tilled that same morning. Henry was thrilled with the tractor.
This same neighbor has agreed to let us house chickens on his property since it's against our H.O.A. to have them. Whether we'll actually take him up on that offer is yet to be seen. I am not wild about the idea, but considering I just read the phrase,

"mail order chickens"

... in our google finder, it's hard to say. Last night Andrew asked me if I wanted to go the chicken route or get bunnies.

"How about we have a third child instead?" That was my answer. Can you see the eight month pregnant lady desperately trying to collect the chickens that escaped the coop while her husband's at work? Because I totally can.

With the children at his side, he spent his morning beautifying the yard. Meanwhile, I stole away for a shopping trip with my friend Becky. We hit Walmart (for New Moon), Target, the mall and Old Navy. I had a great time. See what I mean when I say he's the best? His efforts to make my birthday a memorable one also meant a lot. Somewhere, on a camera, I have evidence of that special day that will have to be posted later.

Thank you, thank you for your support and enthusiasm regarding our next addition. I was bracing myself for the,

"holy crap... just you wait!
The third is DEFINITELY the hardest!
You're outnumbered.
YOU'LL NEVER SLEEP AGAIN!"

comment(s), but they never came. Even if you did think them... you are the best!! We couldn't help but notice that so much of that love is coming at us from the West.

Dear Utah,
I love you.
And miss you
and Sunday dinner at my Mom's (and in-laws) house.
I cried over you, more than I care to admit, this weekend.
Sincerely yours,
Alison Ann

I have a pressing engagement with my laundry room. Until next time, have a great week!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Henry's upcoming promotion

On Tuesday, I wrote a Haiku poem.

Well (*clears throat*) technically, I wrote 20 separate poems thinking that it qualified as one, due to the fact that the subject matter is in a somewhat sequential order. However, after further investigation I realized that after 17 syllables, the poem is over. Perhaps an official graduate of the English language could properly explain what it was that I attempted.

Regardless of this pointless introduction, I am going to share it with you. I'm crossing my fingers that y'all will throw some support my way; especially since my husband couldn't suppress his laughter after I finished reading the words that I'd hoped would move him. Following the final verse, I felt a little like Phoebe Buffay. Perhaps I did try a little too hard.

Embracing my inner friend, I'll begin with the single poem that sums up the other 19.

On Valentines Day
I took a pregnancy test
It was positive

February 14, 2010

That expression + my hands + the necklace placement
= horribly awkward

We're expecting baby # 3 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The third amigo that will make the trio (couldn't resist, sorry), is due in October. Henry and his younger sibling will be a little over two and a half years apart. Now that the announcement's been made, it's okay to discontinue reading, but if you are at all curious about the other 19 poems, by all means, keep going! I was a thousand percent serious when I wrote this, but I still say that you're welcome to laugh. My husband did. For the record, I have no idea why the font keeps changing.
.

The first trimester

A heart-pounding surge of joy

born from a pink line


In the quiet morn

A wife whispers happy news

He hugs her fiercely


The long wait begins

She’s ready to tell the world

It’s how she’s wired


He lets her decide

News quietly trickles forth

To family and friends


Dreading nausea

She is hyper sensitive

To each sensation


First symptom arrives

The shedding of crazy tears

For no good reason


And then, at six weeks

A flood of remembrance hits

It sucks to be sick


Seven weeks along

Parents see a beating heart

It is beautiful

Humbled and grateful

They leave the Doctors office

With their son in tow


You heard right Henry

You have earned a promotion

Future big brother!

As for Eliza

Telling her was the best part

She shouted for joy

Currently eight weeks

This Mom learns she has strep throat

Oh the misery


With trepidation

She fills the ‘safe’ prescription

Please bless this new child


Enter faithful spouse

He provides her a blessing

Peace replaces stress


On she continues

Prepared to face the next weeks

Without the strep throat


Her children are there

To ensure she stays busy

Each day a surprise


One needs a doctor

The other poops in the tub

All in a days work


To the naysayers

This was planned and prayed over

You may not get it


One child at a time

That is our mentality
Each one is cherished


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy Birthday Ali

To a super fun mom, a fantastic wife, and the greatest friend in the world. Hope you have a great day.

Andrew

P.S. DIMTILY

Monday, March 15, 2010

Would you like some cake with that spit?

Dear Henry,

The morning of your second birthday was a busy one. Sadly, our first stop of the day was to the doctor's office. Your dear sibling had a random rash that needed medical attention. The two of you happily played in the 'sick child' waiting room while we waited out the thirty minute delay. We were in a room full of truly sick children. All I could do was pray that my seemingly well kids would be immune from it all. Finally, Nurse Kathy came to collect us.

"Nurse Kathy!" Eliza shouted, "I have a radish!" (she meant to say rash, but it was pretty funny to hear her say radish, so I didn't bother to correct her).

Eliza's warmth toward you continued throughout the day. As your party drew near, she kept reminding me that you still looked like a baby. Clearly, that meant (to her) that you'd need help:

1. Blowing out your candles
2. Unwrapping your presents
3. Opening your cards
4. Testing out your new toys
Yesterday, when she climbed into her car seat
that sits next to yours,

you looked over at her and softly said,
"Hi babe!"


Following our trip to the doctor's, we made our way to Walmart. Nap time was screaming your name when we arrived home. While you slept, Eliza and I made your birthday cake. Don't judge my artistry (or lack thereof), it was my first homemade birthday cake ever.... you have to start somewhere! And then we decorated.


Some special friends arrived for dinner, presents and cake & ice cream. Initially I felt bad about not having planned any games but quickly realized how unnecessary it was. You entertained yourselves well while the adults chatted away.

The highlight came as we gathered around the table to sing to you. See below.

Henry boy, I love you so!! You've grown so much this past year. Here a few of the things I love about you.

I love the sound of your voice.
I love the way you pat my shoulder when I retrieve you from your crib.
I love the way you unexpectedly tell me that you love me.
I love the way you shadow your sister.
I love the way you try to understand how things work.
I love your reaction when Daddy comes home from work.
I love seeing you laugh with your sister.
I love your sense of humor.
I love that I see so much of your Dad's personality in you.
I love that you let me rock you everyday post-nap and pre-bedtime.
I love that you're such a great eater.
I love that you're going to let me potty train you this summer :)

You have an easy going, friendly nature. Strangers fall in love with you, your family cherishes you and your Mom and Dad thank their lucky stars each night that you were sent to our family. Happy Birthday Henry!

Friday, March 12, 2010

A Case of Narcolepsy?

Remember this? I am hoping that little refresher will serve this story well.

Quiet time at our house goes something like this:

Henry and his crib rendezvous at 1:00 pm; give or take a half hour. Mom and Eliza play a quick round of Candyland (on an 'awesome mom' day) or involve themselves in some other parent/child pursuit. Mom then escapes to the "timeout couch" in the front room, for a moment of blessed solitude. If she's lucky, a power nap ensues. (Returning to first person) I am stationed next to the front door while Eliza sits a few feet away in the living room watching a show of her choice with a bowl of popcorn. She is so kind to give me that time to myself and I assure you, if I drift off, she is left in the safest of conditions.

One of these day, I'm convinced, I'll find her asleep on the couch. But alas, her imagination usually steals her away from her movie and she is discovered in a game of make believe or in the throws of mischief. Today, for example, I found her hand completely colored in blue marker. Her little blue paw prints were likewise discovered all over the toilet seat and sink (among other places) ... stinker.

After a lovely, "That was naughty, your hands will forever be blue, I'm throwing the markers away" lecture, I returned to the timeout couch to look up directions online for this evening's outing. Less than 10 minutes later, I hear snoring.

She was snoring like the dickens, I tell you!!
Naturally, I pulled out my camera.
Her head was well covered until my curiosity got the better of me. Twenty five minutes later, I heard Henry chattering up in his room. Thinking she'd appreciate the gentle touch of a Mother's hand as opposed to an overly excited sibling, I stirred her awake.



Did you notice the red marks on her face? Or her blue hands? And yes, my home is in a state of disarray as I've slowly been picking up the pieces from Henry's birthday party. Speaking of, I had every intention of blogging about Henry's party today, but couldn't pass this up as I'm still giggling about it. Those details (grandparents) are up next.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Very Special Henry


... has a birthday today!! We love this two year old boy SO MUCH!! More to come on his birthday happenings later!

Monday, March 8, 2010

I Will Be Positive

*Sigh*

Finally, all is well.

At least for the next twenty seconds, anyway.

My dear daughter has finally simmered down from the devastating rejection she recently received. At 9:30 this morning, she was denied her request for a plate of chicken nuggets. Her morning sure took a turn for the worse at the point. She had a hearty breakfast of waffles and saltine crackers, but apparently, the need for a snack can't be ignored and my suggestions for a different choice did not satisfy her want.

She has deemed our front room as the "time out room." Forget that it's the room where we have family night and preschool, because clearly, the emotions tied with being on time out exceed the other two highly look-forward too events. In all honesty, she doesn't spend much time in there as she is generally an amiable sister and child. But when her emotions are getting the best of her, she willingly exiles herself to the white couch for a private therapy session. I use the word "private" loosely as I'm sure there are times the entire neighborhood can hear her. Bless her heart.

I've learned with Eliza, that its best to let her have a moment when my alternative suggestions have failed. To remind myself that I do in fact have my "good Mom" moments, I pulled out my camera to review our weekend outing and put a little something together for their Grandparent's viewing pleasure.

Each year, our library hosts a fabulous event called, Jamboread. It's a day of free, family oriented activities. This year, the guests of honor included the celebrated Lois Lowry, Paul Zelinsky and Jane Yolen. And although I didn't stand in a line to have them sign a book (future regret, I'm sure) we did have a great time as a family.

Number one on Eliza's list was to have her face painted. Andrew and I traded off waiting in the hour long line, while the other parents shuttled the kids around to a 'meet and greet' with storybook characters and a kaleidoscope making craft. Finally, we arrived at the front of the slowest moving line on the planet.
Next up, we made our way to the animal exhibit/show. It wasn't the coolest, I'll be honest. We weren't close enough for the children to fall in love with what was going on. But Andrew was definitely into it. It wasn't until all three of us were asking to leave the tent that he finally obliged.

Lunch and free ice cream came next. Clearly, this was my favorite part of the day.

Our day out concluded with a puppet show for Andrew and the kids as I attended Lois Lowry's address/presentation. What a talented lady. One tidbit of information that stuck with me is that she used her own photographs for the covers of two of her iconic books, The Giver and Number the Stars. Sadly, I'm sure that information is found on the inside cover of both books, but the stories behind each picture was sure neat.

The best part of the weekend was having help from and access to my spouse. Not to say that he didn't wake up early Saturday to go and shingle the roof of a pavilion that is being built on our Church property or head to the Church building later that same night to fulfill our cleaning assignment - because he did do those things; as well as attend a youth fireside Sunday night.

(The Queen of Tacky strikes again!
That's not a white undershirt, y'all)

But what's awesome is that he does his best to compensate for his time away by working in the garden with Eliza, coloring on the sidewalk and swinging with the kids in our newly set up hammock. I know I bring this attribute up a lot, but I do it because I want him to know how much I appreciate it.

And while our weekend was a happy one, I've sure felt homesick lately. Blame it on hormones, an extremely blunt sibling (Hi Officer Mays!) or Andrew's occasional absence, but personally I think it's just been a long time. I cherish the happenings and relationships of our life here, but the roots of our former life are thick. I'm quite certain I'm not making any sense, that I use too many words and am boring the socks off of you. But this weekend was tough. Just ask my Mom. I called her in tears yesterday.

We did have a lovely video chat with Andrew's parents and Grandma Popcorn (Flegal). The kids sang her favorite song, You Are My Sunshine. It was a great moment.

Alas, my "twenty seconds" of peace are up. Henry just found an opened bag of walnuts and showered the floor with them. Such a shame, baking nuts are expensive!

Here's to a great week...we're looking forward to celebrating a special two year old's birthday!!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

before this phase fades into another

Sadly I don't have anything to top the previous post's photo display, so I thought I'd be semi- self indulgent tonight and simply write.

Moments ago, I concluded the nightly ritual of tucking my children in bed sans Andrew. On the nights when he's home, bedtime is a family affair. One parent hides (this is a BIG DEAL) with the children under Eliza's covers while the other fetches their comfort items and cups of water before making their way into Eliza's room where GASP!!! ... "Where did Eliza and Henry go?"

***cue incessant giggling from beneath the purple dragonfly bedspread***

Ideally, we're both there to divide the task of changing their clothes, attending to the potty/diaper business and brushing their teeth. Then, it's stories, two songs and a family prayer. We trade off who escorts Henry to his room for a turn in the rocking chair, while the other snuggles Miss Eliza. Lately, that's been me because she's kind of hit a "girls rule, boys drool" phase.

Knowing Andrew would be gone Tuesday and Wednesday night, I decided that to combat my frustration regarding his absence (I know, I sound like a spoiled child), I would simply take my time with them. I was certain that the latest episode of LOST would be the high point of my day, but looking back, it was most certainly the time spent rocking Henry and listening to Eliza's curious and unique to her thoughts.

Henry has wised up and realized that the longer he lets me love on him, the longer Mommy's going to stay put in that rocking chair. However, most nights, there comes a point where the comedian inside him overrules his sweeter nature. He finds great joy in honking my nose and slapping my cheeks, hoping I'll get the hint that he wants me to fill them full of air for his deflating amusement.

Last night was different. He kept petting my hair, calling me "kitty," naming my facial features and whispering, "I WUV YOU, MOM"

Holy ball of melted cheese. I love that kid. I told him, right then that he was so special (he's totally comfortable with a sap-infused Mother).

"Ya Mom" was his whispered reply.

Henry, a.k.a Captain Collision, has entered a phase of premature bravery. Walking down the stairs on his feet is his latest endeavor. At a friend's house Sunday, he attempted to show off his newly developed skill for his friends. However, his love for dress up shoes proved fatal as he took a tumble straight into the banister. His black eye is tough and overshadows the fact that he loves a high heeled shoe and tiara.He's a tease. His favorite target is Eliza. Stealing a favorite stuffed animal from her arms, he bolts into the playroom, chucks it underneath the kid table and continues full speed into the front room giggling at her distress all the way.

"Henry! Tell Eliza you're sorry!" I encourage.

"Sorry, Syszah!" He replies with a smile.

"It's okay, please don't do it again." That is her response to every apology.

Just recently, he's begun using full sentences. They are still intermingled with a boat load of blabber, but I'm not in any rush for that trait to disappear.

And then there's Eliza. What a joy. If your kids interact with her regularly, you may not believe me when I say that she's the family peace maker. She totally is. Her heart is the size of Texas. When Henry's upset, she embarks on an immediate self appointed search to find his blanket. She's the first to diffuse tension, which I'm aware, shouldn't be a child's job. And she's the first to offer me a song and dance when I'm teary.


Reading her brother a story

Last night, she threw up. Throwing up devastates her. She feels shame, despite the fact that I am most compassionate when my children are vomiting. It's my least favorite illness to date... which is NOT an invitation to the universe to send us something terribly nasty to usurp the stomach bug from the throne of disdain... I'm just saying, it's a painful one to watch and scary knowing that most likely, you'll be the one bonding with the toilet when her illness passes.

As I exchanged her soiled bedding for fresh, she planted herself in the corner of her room. She hung her head in sadness and said,

"I'm sorry, Mama. I won't do it again." It broke my heart. I assured her a thousand times that it's okay to be sick and that I felt so so sorry for her (etc.). The good news is, round 2 made it into the barf bowl and the dear child didn't bother to inform me until 8:00 the next morning.

Henry, THANKFULLY, hasn't come down with this batch load of nasty yet. I'd be surprised if he doesn't, but so far, I haven't detected a change in his behavior. Let us cross our fingers. Still, he managed to contribute his fair share this morning when he pooped in the bathtub. Counting our blessings a second time, I'd already washed their hair... still, it was gross. Andrew should have been there. He would have thought it was hilarious.

Our days, lately, have felt challenging but at night during my self appointed, and unfortunately automatic "Mom evaluation," I realize how incredibly blessed I am to find myself in these tricky situations. This past week, I've started asking Eliza at bedtime if she had a grumpy Mom or a happy Mom that day. And you know, that child is honest. Fortunately, she loves me regardless of my short comings, but that question has been etched into my brain. During the day it's helped me out of unpleasant moods.

I love my job. It's exhausting and I fall short, but I go to bed grateful to have another go in the morning.

Monday, March 1, 2010

the Sunday afternoon nap

What's the best part of having nine o'clock Church? At our house, we look forward to an afternoon of quality napping. If you had peeked into our house yesterday around 2:00 p.m., you would have found three slumbering heaps. Henry happily welcomed a reunion with his crib. I drifted off while reading a book in my own bed while Mr. Flegal found an inviting patch of sun on the living room carpet and fell asleep. A few feet away, Miss Eliza sat at the kitchen table totally enthralled with her new digital art studio (her reward for trying new foods - more on that later).

Waking up, Andrew noticed Eliza sitting perfectly still; with her chin resting on the table. It wasn't long until he realized that she too had succumbed to her own piece of exhaustion.


Please note: Eliza had written the word "DAD" on the computer before she fell asleep. She's been writing up a storm as of late.
I'm sure one photo would have been sufficient, but I couldn't help myself. Each one makes me laugh.