Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Rocky Road?

We had a lovely Memorial Day weekend, even though it didn't go as planned.  We had high hopes of relaxing, purchasing things for our new home, and just getting out of town for a little bit.  Most of our plans came to fruition in one way or another...but there were definitely some speed bumps.

I had in my mind to go and do something fun...like decor shopping for our house.  I wanted to get up and go early Saturday.  When we realized we'd be stuck at Uncle's waiting for the sewer situation to be fixed for a second time, I had to come up with a plan B.  After a visit from a plumber and a county employee, we went to grab a bite to eat at our local Chinese buffet. 

 I have never been a big fan of buffets, and in particular this one has haunting memories.  If you are squeamish, don't worry this story has nothing to do with the cleanliness or the state of the food.  Instead, the name of the restaurant always conjurs up vivid memories of a tornadic temper tantrum my daughter had there when she was about 2 years old.  We were sitting in a booth when Twiggy refused to sit down.  After several "reminders", I took her out to the van for a time-out.  Boy-oh-boy did she howl.  After we both calmed down, I brought Twiggy back into the restaurant.  Immediately upon seeing the booth, she began screaming.  Kee was fed up! He jutted out his arms to remove Twiggy's flailing body from me.  And yes, about this time, we gained an audience of people who were enjoying their heaping plates of lo mein.  As Kee began to step back away from me, I grabbed his arms and told him, "No...no!  Stop!"  I guess he thought I was protesting to his impending discipline, because he gave me a stern look and continued to pull Twiggy from me.  What he didn't realize is that Twiggy had wrapped her tiny fingers all through the underside of my thick hair!  She was pulling it out by the roots!

Well, this visit to the fine establishment was no different with the exception of a new character.  Z!  Our darling little boy is now almost 15 months old.  Let me just say he is giving us a run for our money these days!  Fifteen minutes into dinner, he forfeited the use of his fork as an eating utensil and began using it as a projectile.  I have never seen a children throw so much food in such a short amount of time!  The people within a five foot radius were all in the "splash zone" of my son's food storm mingled with metal dinnerware.  I'm not sure why Kee and I thought that after this spectacle, we'd try our hand at taking two small children to the movies.  Maybe we were a little light-headed from leaning under the table picking up all that rice!

Armed with a bag full of illegal snacks (Cheerios, strawberry wafers, twizzlers, fruit snacks) we got our tickets to see Rio!  Please do not comment about how cute the movie is or about the ending as I obviously was not able to see it!  Thinking we were smart, we sat in the back and began shoveling popcorn at our little man.  Twiggy was into the movie, she danced during the songs and giggled at the funny parts.  Kee and I juggled Z throughout the hour and fifteen minutes that we lasted (I'm pretty impressed that we made it that long).  He let out little yells and did his signature "get out of your arms" move.  Some kids go "boneless" where their little bodies go limp making it difficult for an adult to keep ahold of them.  Not Z, he throws his boulder of a head backward and arches his back while simultaneously kicking his legs.  It has to be experienced to be understood!  We called it quits when the beloved sippy cup was tossed and rolled all the way down to the bottom of the packed theater. 

Sunday was a hopeful new day.  We woke early in hopes to travel an hour away to shop in some home stores. At Target, Z once again decided to display his true colors.  He refused to sit in the cart....but also refused to be held. We made it to one more store, but Kee and I were wore out.  We felt like  rodeo clowns trying to distract a raging bull.  We cut our trip short, thinking naps at home would do the trick.  After everyone was well-rested (meaning our rambunctious toddler now had even more energy), we decided to meet some friends at the park.  Z and Twiggy laughed and had a great time.  I got my exercise chasing Z up and down the play equipment.  We all needed rewarded with a little ice cream.

We all piled out of our vehicles, mouths watering at the ice-cream stand.  My friend and I gave our orders to our husbands as we made our way with our children to the picnic tables.  My friend has four children...the best behaved children in the world.  I am not just comparing them to mine...I mean every child in the world!  Her husband brought over all the melting cones.  Their children dutifully began eating their dripping icecream, sure to seek napkins when needed.  Even the tiniest, 13 months old, sat in front of her mommy and awaited bites of the cold treat.  Now enter my husband.  Two dripping cones and one bowl of icecream for Z.  Immediately Twiggy protested that she wanted hers in a bowl.  I swap her the bowl for the kiddie cone.  I chase Z down and offer him a bite, but his mouth is already full.  Full of what you might ask....rocks!  Surely after a quick finger-sweep, he'd want to eat the ice-cream.  Nope...as fast as he could he found more rocks to shove in his mouth.  Repeat...repeat...repeat.  I threw the cone away and resorted to managing the situation.  Kee later told me that everyone around us was pointing and laughing. 

Sometimes I think back at how life was simpler when it was just Kee and I.  We could go to the movies, eat dinner out, and actually eat our ice-cream.  Would I change it?  Never!  Sometimes even though life with kids is a Rocky Road ;), it is definitely more fulfilling than our previously vanilla life!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Gypsy Children

Sunday before church we realized there was a major problem at Uncle's house.  None of the drains in his house were draining.  In fact, the bath tubs were filling up with water from different drains!  This is never a good sign.  A plumber came to the house that afternoon, but said that a specialist would need to come out.  At that point, knowing nothing could be done on a Sunday evening, Kee and I decided that I'd need to find a place for the kids and I to stay for a few nights.

Hastily we packed up the van with various suitcases, the pack n' play, diapers, and the kids.  Off I went to my mom's house an hour away.  She wasn't going to be home for the next few days, but luckily I tracked down a key.  The kids were pretty sad that their "Go-Go" wasn't home to visit with, but it made me feel a little less guilty about the take-over we were about to perform.  Along with the kids, I also brought a week's worth of laundry.  I felt like a college student lugging home our dirty duds to mommy.

I took the kids to Wal-mart to buy a little food for the few nights that we'd be spending at my mom's.  Twiggy and I watched VCR tapes that my sister and I had as kids.  Kinsley got all dolled up in the dress-up clothes and Z ran around like a wild man. We actually enjoyed our time away, aside from living out of suitcases (which we are getting quite used to doing).

During our second evening, the kids and I went to a park to burn off some energy on the playground.  Once the kids were sweaty and dirty, we made our way back to Go-Go's house.  From the backseat a very quiet, yet concerned voice asked, "Mommy, where are we gonna sleep tonight?"

Poor kid!  Even I was getting confused!  Soon, my dear Twiggy, we will have our own house to go home to!  No longer will we be gypsies!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Rompin' and Wrastlin'

People often ask Kee and I if it is awkward living with our friend.  Or they ask, "So how's the month going there?"  I have to say that our answer may be different than Uncle's.  Truth be told, we don't get to see much of our friend.  We may see him for fifteen minutes in the mornings before work and then an evening a week or so.  It's no secret, I think he's avoiding us!

Actually, he says that he'll get home around 10:00 in the evening and is shocked when we are all in bed.  Believe me, if both my kids are sleeping then I try to be too! It has gotten to the point that Uncle and his girlfriend "T" have to schedule times to come visit with us and the kids to avoid our strict bedtimes.

My kids love playing and rough-housing with Uncle and T.  Twiggy especially has taken a liking to T and will overwhelmingly be glued to her side from the minute she walks in the door until we have to peel her off of T at bedtime. 

This is what a typical visit with my kids looks like:
Uncle and T will greet both Twiggy and Z.  Twiggy will not even say hello but instead will immediately ask, "Hey T, want to play Duck, Duck, Goose?" (Tell me what adult likes to play this game?)  T will always graciously comply.  Twiggy will tell her where to sit and who to tag.  Next will be a game of I Spy, then maybe a few coloring pages at all the adults request for a respite of peace.  And then usually Twiggy wants to play Duck, Duck, Goose again.  Poor T!

One evening I think Kee was feeling a bit guilty at how bossy our daughter was being, so he tried to play with her to give T a break. Kee and Twiggy romped and rolled on the carpet the way that only daddies can play.  Squeals and laughter filled the room.  Z tried climbing on top of the moving pile.  We thought we found a solution that would maybe give T a chance to actually sit on the couch and breathe for a minute.

As Twiggy rolls over Kee she yells, "T!  T!  Come wrastle this guy!"

T couldn't answer because she was laughing.

Twiggy coaxes,"Come on...come touch him!"

I think T's better judgement told her that if she participated in this wrestling match there would be some awkward lunches at work the next week, so she refrained from "putting the smack down" on my husband (her words :) ))

That evening as T gathered her things so Uncle could drive her home, Kee told both of them, "Thanks for coming over.  Come back soon!"  I'm sure Uncle appreciates those little comments, like we own the place. 

Surprisingly they keep coming back!  Uncle did say that he and T now realize why Kee and I are exhausted and are in bed by 10 every night!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Leaving our Mark

As most of you know, we are spending the month of May living with our friend until our house is ready. Our friend, who we'll call "Uncle" (that is what Twiggy calls him), has a beautiful home. He has been gracious enough to allow our family of four to pretty much overtake his quiet quarters.

In just a few hours of moving in, our furniture and toys overtook almost every room of his house.  Uncle's refrigerator was quickly filled with gallons of whole milk, apple juice, and baby yogurts.  His pantry was stuffed with graham crackers, Cheerios, Pop-tarts, and fruit snacks.  Kee's shoes littered his mudroom creating an obstacle course for anyone traveling through it.

Kee and I were so nervous that our two lovely children would destroy Uncle's pristine home.  During our first meal, Twiggy was eating pizza and jumped up, grabbed one of the white columns in the dining room, and spun around.  My heart sank as I could just envision red pizza sauce smeared perfectly around the crisp white architecture.  Luckily, her hands were clean!

Z has left countless finger and nose prints on the windows.  Umm...he may even have licked one or two.

But in the end it wasn't Twiggy....or Z....or even me that made their mark on Uncle's life as he knew it.  It was Kee.  It was day four of our stay when we made pasta for dinner.  Kee thought he'd help me out, so he served up the noodles on paper plates.  Hindsight would suggest that washing the dishes would have caused less heartache.  When it was time to clear the table, we noticed these awful white marks.  The hazy marks didn't wipe clean!  We burned the table! 

After fessing up to Uncle, we did the only thing we could think of...we Googled solutions.  We first tried Pledge and Old English.  Nope...nothing!  We (Uncle and I, not Kee) smeared Miracle Whip over the white spots.  Still no luck!  There was only one last internet suggestion that everyone swore by.  They suggested taking an iron set to the steam setting and placing it on a white cloth over the burn.  As you can see from the photo below, this was a no go for us.
Perfect iron mark
Uncle laughed about the whole situation.  He said,"If this is the worse thing that happens this month, then we'll be good.  Unfortunately I had to remind him that we weren't even a week into our stay!  

Saturday, May 14, 2011

It's All Relative

Since my children's first few pediatrician appointments, I've been banking on the fact that they just have to have lots of brains!  Twiggy was never on the charts for weight, made it to the tenth percentile for height, and 80th percentile for head circumference!  While Z eats like a horse, he has pretty much followed in his big sister's footsteps. At his last check-up, he was in the 17th percentile for weight, 22nd percentile for height, and brace yourself...the 92nd percentile for head circumference!  He was only a few inches taller than his head circumference! 

Day to day, I don't really notice my children's large noggins compared to their itty bitty bodies.  Sometimes though, circumstances draw attention to this detail.

Take a look at this photo of my friends darling babies with my son.  Z is on the far right.  Just compare his head size with the boy on the left.  Z is only a week older than him!  It almost looks like Z was super-imposed in the picture...but trust me...no Photoshopping here!

For a solid two weeks, Z would daily manage to get his head stuck when hiding under our bar stools. 

I came upon Twiggy a few weeks ago like this. 
Me: "Honey, what are you doing?"
Twiggy: "Trying to get dressed."
Me: "Why did you step into your shirt?"
Twiggy: "I couldn't get it to fit over my head."
Sometimes I too get a panicked feeling when dressing and undressing the kids when it comes time to get those snug collars over their heads.

Well, today was another moment when attention is called to those high percentile heads.  We were lunching at Wendy's when a mother and her son sat at the table next to us.  The baby was probably a month or two younger than Z.  Twiggy kept staring at the baby. 
She very loudly and matter-of-factly stated: "That baby has a wittle head!"

A little embarrassing.  The child had a very proportionate head to his body.  I guess it is all relative!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Everyday is Father's Day!

Secretly I think every mother looks forward to Mother's Day with just a few wishes: more sleep, a little extra special attention, and maybe even something homemade by the darlings in your life.  At least that is what I have anxiously anticipated over the last four years. 

My morning started off at an early 5 AM.  Mr. Z was up and was as cranky as ever.  He and I tried rocking, laying on the couch, eating some Fruit Loops (don't judge me...his daddy gave him a Pop-Tart later).  He was just not a happy camper.  My husband and Twiggy came out of our room about 6:30. Kee took him from my weary arms and told me to lay back down.  Lay back down? I didn't even think twice about it...I practically dove back into bed.  It was Mother's Day after all, and I was taking full advantage!

I woke up an hour and a half later to scrambled eggs, biscuits, and bacon.  How sweet, I love when Kee makes breakfast!  On the table were my two Mother's Day cards and a beautiful vase!

(I guess I should stop the story and fill everyone in.  We are in housing limbo at the moment.  Last week we moved from our first home into our dear friend's house. We'll call him Uncle, because that is what our daughter calls him.  He and Kee met in college and the three of us have been close friends ever since.  Our plan is to live here until June when we are able to take possession of our new house.  Bless our friend!  I am sure there will be more stories about these escapades to come!)

First I opened my kids' card.  So sweet.  My daughter "wrote" her name and drew a picture of her and her brother.

Then I opened my husband's card.  Evidently Twiggy instructed him to also draw our family on the inside.  Take a closer look.  I'm sure you can pick out the kids, my husband, and myself.  When my husband thought he was finished, Twiggy demanded that he also include Uncle in the picture. 

Our family of four...wait 5!

We all began getting ready for church.  My husband unloaded the dishwasher while I jumped in the shower.  Every mom knows that sometimes the only escape we have is to get yourself into the bathroom and lock the door.  The entire time I was shampooing my hair, I heard tiny hands pounding and smacking the door.  Well, that is the closest thing I'll get to a spa ;)

Here's the picture I demanded we take before we left for church.

This was the best of 5 tries!
After church, Kee and Uncle grilled out.  We ate lunch and then my husband uttered those beautiful words, "Go take a nap."  Well, it is Mother's Day...so once again I bee-lined for the bed where I slumbered for the next hour. 

I continued to use the Mother's Day validation as the day went on.  We went for a walk, went to Wal-mart, and even stopped to get ice-cream.  When it was time for the kids' baths, my husband wasn't about to buy the Mother's Day ploy easily.  With a little hand-holding he tried man-handling Z in the tub as if he were a washed up fish writhing and twisting.  He yelled from the bathroom, "I could use a little help in here!"  This made me chuckle because somehow I manage to bathe the kids everynight single-handedly.  I didn't come to his rescue immediately because I was chasing down Twiggy who was adamant that she wasn't taking a bath if Daddy was doing it.  Finally I got her in the tub for him and got everyone's jammies, diapers, and pull-ups laid out.  Twiggy began screaming and shrieking.  I wish I could have snapped a picture of Uncle's face as he walked in the backdoor.  He was alarmed by the sounds that were echoing through his house.  Welcome family of four!  I had to rescue Kee and get the kids out of the tub.

As we sat and visited with our friends this evening, Kee made the comment of how it must be nice that I took two naps today.  I quickly pointed out, "It isn't a nap if it is at 6:30 in the morning! Plus it was Mother's Day!" 

Just a few minutes ago, I reminded Kee to do one more favor for me before he went to bed.  "I can't wait until it is Father's Day!" he grumbled, annoyed with all the extra work he did for the day.  To which I replied, "Everyday is Father's Day for you!" 

I'm not man-bashing at all.  But I bet that this is true in many of your homes, too. On Mother's Day, moms just want someone to lighten their load for the day.  Nothing special...just so someone else knows how hard we work!  Which I think Kee knows, but it never hurts for a little reminder ;)

My husband and my kids blessed me today and I got my three wishes.  Extra sleep....if you ask my husband, I got two naps.  Extra special attention...check!  Something homemade....look at my cute cards!

I will start planning my husband's extra special Father's Day tomorrow, but not tonight...I can still milk this Mother's Day for another couple hours!

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Branch Who Loves His Trees

Today was very bittersweet as I turned in the keys to our very first home.  Kee and I have been very blessed to have been able to put our house on the market and in just four days have a buyer.  We have also been blessed that when we were ready to give up hope in finding the perfect home, the house we had always had in mind came on the market.  Even so, it is hard to leave this little ranch of ours.

I will miss the many memories that fill each of the rooms of our home, but I know that many more memories will overflow from the rooms in our new home. 
I will miss the safari decorated room that I brought both my beautiful babies home to and rocked them in for endless midnight hours. 

 I will miss the many family meals (even if I did not cook all of them) shared in our dining room.

It is with fond memories that I took the photo of Twiggy’s purple princess big girl bedroom.

Kee made fun of me Saturday as I awoke and immediately began crying.  I was so sad that it was the last morning I would spend in my home.  He tried to add insult to injury by saying, "Just think Jess, this is where we brought home all our babies." Not missing a beat I replied, "Just think  Kee, you won't get to see your trees mature."  Silence followed. And if it hadn't still been dark in the room, I am pretty sure I would have saw tears!
Our big tree in the front yard.
You see, there have been many afternoons and evenings when Twiggy and I have had to hunt for Kee.  She knew her daddy well and would inform me, "Hims looking at his trees."  She was usually right.  He would be pacing the yard and checking on his shrubs and beloved trees' progress.  He spent countless afternoons consulting his The National Arbor Foundation's Field Guide to North American Trees book in order to identify every possible tree in a five mile radius to our house. You know the love of your life has taken tree identification too far when he spots a cluster of trees from afar and nonchalantly informs, "That's classic American Basswood."  I guess I asked for that when I bought that book for him for Father's Day!

Kee's prized Black Stella Cherry Tree
The summer just will not be the same without the ability to fight off the birds to harvest 20 of our very own cherries from the tree Kee planted when we moved in.

Believe me...I know this is hard to see.  But there really is a three-year old White Oak sapling that Kee grew from an acorn.
Just how will our lives be complete if we don't see this little sapling grow?!  Kee asked if I thought he could dig it up...of course I said no.  Hopefully the new owners do not simply mow over it!

For all you nature lovers who are feeling sorry for my husband...there is a happy ending to this story.  On the very day that we closed on the sale of our first home, Kee was given these two tiny pine trees.  He dropped off Twiggy and Z to daycare and the teacher said she had these two trees left over from Arbor Day the day before.  Believe me, I got a phone call that morning from a very excited husband!  In our hectic few days of moving, Kee was sure to carefully transport these promising saplings to our temporary home.  And hopefully they will survive until June to be planted in our new house!