Saturday, November 23, 2013

Snow Happened and more Fleglet Funnies

 
One week ago, Old Man Winter arrived. And while his stay was brief, his timing was spot-on. Saturday snow storms are the best in my book as it provides the children with a Daddy to play with.
However, I'd like to point out that before Andrew had even found his snow boots, Eliza rolled all of these snowman appendages (for lack of a better description) herself! She's always been a go-getter.
  
Wearing a hand me down snow hat from his Dad, Henry joined his sister outside. I fell in love with an 18 year old named Andrew who wore that same hat on all of our first winter adventures together. Sentimental satisfaction washed through me as I saw Henry bouncing around the yard with it on his head.
As for Lottie, she wins the prize for the child who was bundled in and out of her snow clothes most frequently that day. 
 
 She had a good time in the snow but could not make up her mind about the four wheeler. 

"I want to go on a ride, Mommy!" Bundling her up for the 3rd time that day, I send her outside. Flagging down Andrew, I tell him she's ready for a turn. Hesitating once more, she retreats back toward me. 

"I want to come inside with you!" Despite our words of encouragement, her mind is made up. She doesn't want to go. Five minutes after she's returned inside, her focus is on the backyard and the fun her siblings are having.
 "I want to go on a ride, Mommy!" Repeat scene.

This winter preview has us looking forward to the upcoming season; even with its promises of soggy clothes, the ongoing hunt for that missing glove and indecisive children who want to be inside one minute and back out the next.

As for Mommy and Forrest... while the big kids frolicked in their magical winter wonderland with Dad, he and I frolicked in magical piles of laundry. They really are magic. No matter how much time I spent folding, sorting and putting away, the piles NEVER disappear. 
And yes. We were watching Sister Wives. Andrew is concerned by how much I like that show. And no, I don't want Sister Wives.

As a favor to my future self, I am going to include a few "funnies" courtesy of our Fleglets (especially Lottie). I hope the humor translates well considering you can't see the expression on Lottie's face or the tone of her sweet voice.

Lottie:

Lottie has developed a deep love for Disney Princesses. Eliza side stepped this phase as she was turned off to these shows due to the suspense and harsh nature of the villains. Anyway, it's been fun to see Lottie fall under the magical spell of Belle, Aurora and Ariel (her current favorites). Watching Beauty and the Beast the other day, Lottie points to the t.v. and says,

"You know, that Gaston... he's a dirt bag."
 ..........

Offering me her step stool, Lottie asks:

"Do you need the stool, Mama?"

"No babe, I'm okay." I explain, "I've got long Mommy legs." Understanding my reasoning she adds, 

"And I've got big girl legs." 

"Yes," I reply. Wanting to add to her vocabulary I say, "You have child legs, don't you?" 

"Yup." She agrees. "Because I am a child." Smiling, I nod at her. Without missing a beat she adds, 

"And Daddy is a child."  
...........
When doling out the "I love yous" to one another, the conversation usually follows a pattern. 

"I love you Lottie." I'll say. It doesn't matter who has said this to her. Her reply is usually, 

"I love Forrest!" Henry then pipes in. 

"I love everybody in the whole world." He has a heart of gold. But because he's street smart, he adds:

"except for strangers and bad guys." Lottie returns to the conversation with, 

"bad guys are bad news...right, Mom?" 
............

Because I struggle to communicate, I asked Henry to hang up his shoes when I noticed them on the kitchen floor. He was so incredibly pleased with himself after fulfilling my request. He came back into the kitchen with a giant smile on his face. It wasn't until later that I noticed Henry hung up his shoes on the hallway hooks (meant for jackets/backpacks). 

Henry has recently recovered from a spell of school related anxiety. He'd get so nervous about going to school that he'd make himself sick. He ended up in the nurses office this past week, ready to throw up. When he knew his Mom was on her way to get him, his stomach settled right down. The nurse and I agree that the "tummy ache" is legitimate. However, after a few 'episodes' it was clear that it was linked to nerves and anxiety and not an illness.

None of that is funny, I agree. The part I want to remember is how he's been coping with it. After family night on Monday, Andrew gave him a Priesthood blessing. Mom's been giving him pep talks and encouragement and Eliza's been extra sweet as she's walked with him each morning to the Kindergarten door. Having expressed my appreciation to her at bedtime the other night, she said:

"You're welcome, Mama. I'm the Henry Ranger."

As for Henry, the other night he was climbing up his ladder to get into bed.

"Mom, Mom." He says. Knowing he has my attention he continues,

"Today I said a little prayer before school that the yucky feelings would go away." I was touched that he knew to pray.

"Did it help?" I ask.

"Yup!" 

.............

As for Eliza, her thoughts revolve around the cute little boys in her school class. She will tell you that she is not at all interested in boys, but rather all the boys are in love with her. Despite her claims, she talks about them non-stop. She recently wrote a letter to one that had Andrew and I laughing are heads off. I wish, I wish, I wish I could find it so I could post it here. 

The only other Eliza funny that comes to mind came the other day as I was reassuring one of my children that it was okay that he had made a mistake. 

"It's okay, sweetie. It was a mistake"

"Uh-huh." He says. Eliza quietly sits at the counter, coloring. I continue, 

"Mommy makes mistakes too. Mistakes happen everyday. We all make mistakes." Sometimes I don't know when to end a conversation (or a blog post for that matter.) Looking up at me Eliza chimes in. 

"That's not true, Mom." Surprised, I look to her and wait for her to continue. 

"I haven't made a single mistake today."

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Circa 2006

Forrest, The Ranger, Flegal is six months old today! It's hard to believe that he's half-way to one. He has brought so much light and happiness into our home. As the big kids continue to grow, I'm reminded on a regular basis that babyhood is precious. I once believed it was everlasting. Now that I know otherwise, I'm learning to cherish and hang on to each second; even the ones that feel frustrating or mundane.
 
Toddlerhood is a riot, but like the baby years...goes too fast. Lottie, in all her crazy adorable three year old delight, is way too grown up. We want to freeze her. The way she asks to sit in my lap, even at the most inopportune moments, is something I love.

There are moments far more "special," that include a fiery Lottie demanding to use the potty, "RIGHT NOW!" while we're in the car waiting to pick up Henry from school. Next thing I know, I'm shuttling her into the elementary to use their bathroom, bypassing the visitor check in which is against the rules. Toting my baby, I usher Lottie along with a silent fear that I will be arrested for not checking-in as I simultaneously pray to the heavens that she will "please not pee" in the hallway of the school. We make it to the bathroom which leaves me with the alarming question of how I will lift her onto the toilet with a six month old in my arms. Gross. While contemplating that obstacle, I cringe at the sight of what an elementary school toilet actually looks like. Lottie remains blissfully unaware of my stress as she takes in the excitement of this very new experience. She needs to get out more. Special moments like that happen more frequently than you'd expect. Even so, if I can keep this darling girl just as she is, I'll take it all. 

 
Simply put, Henry is a good boy. He impresses me so much for knowing what's right and doing it. Sure, he's a little boy and can misbehave with the best of them, but he is so helpful, fun loving and a very hard worker.  Kindergarten suits him. I'm okay with Kindergarten. First grade? Not a chance. Sorry. I love spending my afternoon with him. As Forrest and Lottie nap, I get to tease, laugh and slowly help Henry with his homework. He takes his time because he is deliberate, has the discipline of a Saint and wants it done right...and, "Hey Mom! Look! It's a seagull!"
 
My hope is that Eliza will always want me to cuddle and sing with her at bedtime. Sometimes I'm eager to say 'Goodnight,' so I can indulge in some much needed child-free time. Patiently, she'll ask me to please stay. As she initiates another conversation, I silently scold myself for rushing through something that she won't always want. If I am away at 'bed time', she stays up until I get home, even if she's disobeying her Daddy's wishes. She needs that time with her Mom. She still waves Goodbye at the front window of the house when I leave on an errand without her. It breaks my heart and makes me feel incredibly blessed all at once. Tonight, however, she checked my phone a couple times as a friend had promised to call her about a play date. We were having a 'family movie night.' There was pizza, we had a "camp fire" in the fire place and we were piled together on a blanket. Her mind, however, was on a friend. It makes me feel jealous as I can clearly see what is right around the corner.

I'm told regularly by empty nesters how precious this time is.

"I'd give anything to go back. I was so tired, but oh I wish I could go back. My house was always a mess, but those were the days."

Without sounding disrespectful, I get it. Maybe not as intensely as I will in the future, but I do love my job. I love this time. Yes, I'm tired. My house is a disaster. Laundry is public enemy number one and dinner is a constant surprise. But I love it. My husband has a new church calling that keeps him away for most of Sunday now and a week night. It's hard to get the kids ready for church on my own, get them to class, help them in the bathroom, hold a baby because Andrew's back hurts from his car accident and then shuttle them back home for dinner without him and the help he provides. It's hard. But they are my babies and I'm glad that it's my arms that are tired and that it's my voice that is strained; because I love it. I love being a Mom. And I love having a baby in my arms.
 
This morning Henry found me snuggling his brother in my bed. Joining the two of us, Henry climbed under the covers and situated himself around his brother. His attention was entirely fixed on Forrest. I watched as a smiling Henry gently caressed his soft hair. Ever so tender, he leaned down to kiss and then smell his head. I had to laugh as I knew that he was mimicking me.

"It's what love smells like." I once told Henry. It was a line borrowed from Lily; a character on the t.v. show, How I Met Your Mother. She once described her baby's head as "smelling like love," I laughed as she delivered the line because I knew exactly what she meant.

Reuniting with your baby after he naps, you pick up that sweet bundle, kiss his face and inhale him deeply. That's what love smells like. Do I sound crazy?  

To my dear Forrest: I love that you've discovered the fun things you can do with your voice. You gurgle your saliva when you fuss. It's a unique thing that the other kids never did. It cracks me up.

I love when you find me. It doesn't matter if we've been a part for a few hours or a few minutes. That smile of recognition makes me feel like a million bucks. It's funny because sometimes you look up soon after to see who has you. It's as if you're saying,

"Wait a minute. If you're over there then who is holding me?"

You are mellow. However, let's say I'm carrying you around the kitchen and pick up a glass of water. Out of no where, your hand suddenly DARTS at the cup at record baby swiping speed. Your face stays calm as you try again and again to snatch that cup (or whatever it is I'm keeping from you.) You don't whine or fuss when you don't get your way, you just wait to catch me off guard because you've learned how easily distracted your Mother can be. 

I love the way Lottie latches onto you when the big kids are at school. She makes you giggle more than anyone. She doesn't mind repetition. If jumping up and down in a certain way makes you laugh, she'll do it for ten minutes. Henry lamented this morning that he doesn't want you to grow up. He loves you just the way you are and gets all sentimental over you. Eliza, well she kind of has places to be and people to see, if you know what I mean, but she definitely gives you attention. The special thing that you share with Eliza is your appearance. I've seen it for a long time now, but just barely went and found a few pictures to compare.  

 Does anyone else see what I'm talking about? Your hair texture is similar. Yours looks red, but it's not. The lighting in that photo kind of altered it. Her eyes were already blue at this age. I think yours will stay hazel like Mom and Dad's.

I love the way your hands pat my arm. I love your smile when I rescue you from your carseat. I love the peace I feel that you are content with your siblings. I love that I can kiss your face and giggle in a cheesy sort of way as I tell you over and over how much I love you with shameless abandon. I'm sure it's a disgusting sight, but you give me a pass. Thank you for that.

For many people, it might seem unfair for kids in a big family to have to share their parents with other siblings. However, while there are positives to any size of family, siblings are a blessing and the attention (and help!) they offer is wonderful.

You are so special to me, Forrest. Daddy better watch out because you make me want a dozen more just like you.

Here's another Eliza flashback (age six months).
Here she is now.
 Don't grow up as fast as she did. Okay, Forrest?
  Thanksgiving 2006
 Fall 2013

Here's to wishing you and yours a successful holiday photo shoot.

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Halloween Hangover

In all sincerity, I admire the parents who have the discipline necessary to ration their children's Halloween candy. Because it's right, they boldly declare:

"This isn't healthy," as they dispose of their children's sugary treasures. I applaud your resolve and determination to be healthy. As for me, my rug is littered with candy wrappers. In the morning, as I prepare their oatmeal, I'm the Mom who asks,

"Would you like this with a side of tootsie roll or pixie stick?" As sick as it all sounds, my children make quick work of slimming down their candy piles. A few days of 'having at it' and an extra tube of toothpaste later, the candy will be gone. Halloween 2013 will subsequently be filed away as the newest experience in their childhood memory banks.  

From a blogging perspective, here's what our Halloweening looked like this year.

First things first, the costumes.

There was a magical emerald witch named, Eliza.

Ninja Henry, ready to save the day... or possibly cause a little trouble. I'm not quite sure yet. :)
A cupcake loving, enthusiast of all things PINK!!! Lottielicious.
And a cuddly puppy named, Forrest.
He's cuddlier than he looks. I promise you that.

Our Halloween outings included our wards trunk or treat:


A Halloween party at Nana Maries.

A family night with the Mays crew that included spaghetti, a mummy wrap and a lesson about The Good Shepherd finding the lost sheep.
Pumpkin Carving on Halloween Eve (read: Andrew and I are procrastinators). We had a fire going in the fire place which added charm and warmth to the evening. I liked that a lot.

Halloween day I was lucky enough to go help with Henry's halloween party. Twice last week our Nanna's came to our home to help me out with babysitting jobs. I really appreciate them making that huge drive so I could go where I needed/wanted to go.

Later in the day we went to the Halloween parade at the elementary school to wave to our little witch.
Halloween evening we trick-or-treated throughout our neighborhood.
Until next year!