Mothers Day weekend

Shoot.  Am I tired.  We’ve been sick, sick, sick.  For days, days, days.  By the time the weekend came around, we were so stir crazy that, well… we probably overdid it.  Nearly 40 miles of bike riding, sunburn on top of sunburn, and fat bellies from yummy eating out, I’d say I’m tired today.  And, I’m having a bit of “the-weekend-was-awesome-but-now-it’s-Monday-blues.”  The laundry’s piled up.  The house looks like I’ve neglected it for a week.  The refrigerator is empty and stinky…

My kids are having a sort of black Monday, behavior-wise.  Abby is still teething. She’s had 99.5 temp for probably 2 weeks.  Diarrhea, irritability, her molars are popping through bloody and tender.  I’m telling you.  You look at her crosswise, and she will scream like you cut off her hand.  Whew.  She’s a fiesty one.  Testing me.  Testing me.  Looking right at me after I tell her ‘no.’ Puffing up her shoulders and doing it anyway.  Mmm, mmm.  And, well Sophia has decided to fully embody a 3-year old temperament a few weeks before her 3rd birthday.  What ever happening to sweet smiling compliance?!  It was replaced with a real live girl!  With real live opinions!  With a real live personality!  A “I DON’T WANT TO!” girl.  A “I DON’T FEEL LIKE IT!” girl.  Hmmmm.  I hope this phase passes with the cough…

Let me say something positive.  (I often use this blog as a place to rant.)  We did have a wonderful weekend.  My husband showered me with gifts and loveliness (he is lovely), and made it so I had to cook VERY little.  Though we were uber-busy, it was restorative for us all.  We enjoyed ourselves.  We enjoyed each other.  We enjoyed being physically active in our town, riding alongside the beautiful river in the gorgeous warm weather. We got to do my very favorite thing this weekend, twice:  We took a long scenic bike ride downtown. We ate out at a restaurant on the outdoor patio in the sunshine.  And then we went out for ice cream afterwards before taking that long scenic bike ride back home.

My family is wonderful and gracious and appreciative of me.  It gives me joy to be Mother in this house. Let me end on a sweet note with a Mother’s Day weekend slide show.

Sick

Well, we’ve all got it.  Some nasty chest cold.  Complete with fever, body aches, coughing, and general malaise.  I had the worst night filled with fever dreams and tossing and turning. It’s like somebody snatched my plush, memory foam mattress and exchanged it for my Papa’s plywood board he used to sleep on.

It doesn’t help that it’s barely gotten above freezing around here.  It snowed a little, yesterday, and a little today, too.  I’ve never in my life longed for Spring like I have this year.  Thank you, Colorado.  Changing my life.  So, I’m cold and achey, breaking the house socks and pullovers back out.  Heaters are blasting.  Kleenex is rolling.  We’re a sight.

The girls sure are pitiful.  They’re getting better, but you can tell that they just don’t feel well.  And, the coughs! They’re enough to send a mama into nurture overdrive.  I tell ya, there’s nothing that’ll make you feel more like an adult than taking care of babies when you yourself feel like $#*!.

We’ve watched a few movies together as a family, though, and that’s been really nice.  Yesterday, we watched Ponyo–adorable movie.  Weird in a Japanese kind of way, but enjoyable, beautiful, and very cute story.  Today, we watched Toy Story (1).  None of us had ever seen it.  It was fun.  Abby was glued to the screen.   It’s been so fun to get to watch movies with Sophia.  She has so many questions.  She gets so excited (and scared).  She loves to cuddle in the scary moments.  I love to watch the wonder and excitement that she exudes. It’s so childlike, so innocent, so wonderful.  Though, we’ve all felt like poo-poo, getting to watch movies together has been really fun.  And, restful.

We’ve all got to get up at 5 a.m. and take Will to the Denver airport in the morning.  He leaves for Salt Lake City.  Jealous.  Sort of.  Business trip.  And, he doesn’t feel well either.  What am I going to do for the 2 1/2 days he’s going to be gone?  Cry.  Curl up in the fetal position? …  Buck up and Mommy the fire out them kids.  Nah.  Lean on the Lord.  I sure pray He makes us well.  I know He’ll keep me strong.

A nasty cough, a 31st birthday, and a royal wedding

I’ve cried a lot today–not exactly sure why…

Today, Will turns 31.

Today, my girls are both sick with chest colds, complete with a nasty cough and a fever.

Oh, and today is “The Royal Wedding.”

The day started off emotionally when I was quickened at 6 a.m. by my poor, pitiful Abby whining and sniffling.  It was good to go ahead and get up to get started on Daddy’s birthday breakfast (a tradition I am determined to uphold).  The menu: bacon, eggs, blueberry pancakes, fresh strawberries, and homemade yogurt.  Why did I think I should make pancakes this morning, when the kids are both sick?  (Tradition.)

Cooking breakfast, 7 a.m.

I start the bacon in the frying pan, and it’s as if the mere sizzle sends Abby into a holy fit.  She’s screaming “ma-ma. ma-ma” and listlessly throwing open cabinets throughout the kitchen, taking pauses only to push on my legs and get between me and the splattering grease.

Enter Sophia.  She’s standing on the stairs, confused aand sweaty from a fitful sleep.

“Good morning, honey.  Go potty,” I say.  Oh, good she’s gone.  Not one minute later.  “WAH!”  Sophia’s crying.  (Remember, Abby hasn’t stopped whining and crying and banging on cabinets.)

“Sophia, honey, what’s wrong?”  I run upstairs.

Sophia’s sitting on the potty.  “My back hurts.”

I’m confused.  “Are you done?  Wipe.  Let’s get down.”  I notice that her panties and pajamas are moist from an apparent nighttime accident.  (Future note: might be a good idea to give a pull-up to a sick toddler at nighttime during drug-enhanced sleep.)  My acknowledgement of her wet panties sends her into full-on shame crying.

Enter: Abby, crying for lack of attention.

Enter: birthday boy, fresh out the shower.

I literally bite his head off and end his life on his first day of his 31st year in this world…

Tears, #1 .

Meanwhile, bacon is burning…. smoking… charring….

8:00 a.m.  We have a very nice breakfast.  Girls get it together.  Mommy apologizes for losing it.  Bacon is surprisingly edible.  Daddy reattaches his head and opens some fun presents and we get on with the morning.

9 a.m.  Cry #2.

I notice on Facebook all the people commenting on “The Wedding.”  I decide to look up CNN on my phone and watch the video.  I have no idea why the sweet, Catholic wedding sends me into the sappiest, throat aching cry, but it does.

I contemplate my situation.  I realize that I have missed every single bit of the hype.  I knew it was happening today, cool that it was on my husband’s birthday… cool that there’s going to be a wedding… But, we don’t have cable, so I missed the 5 days of wedding countdown on the Today Show.  I missed the commercials, the wedding party dress speculation, the… I don’t know what all cause I missed it.  I wasn’t sad that I missed it until I watched the wedding footage and felt… I don’t know… American–completely disconnected from all things “royal” and British.  And, without cable.  There’s nothing to apologize for.  It just made me sad that I didn’t get in on the hype, I didn’t get up at 4 a.m. to watch it, and I don’t get to claim them as my country’s royal family.  The wedding was nice, and the kiss was sweet.  The 2nd kiss even sweeter.  I’m glad I got to watch it, and read a funny NPR story on it… but it made me cry.  Weird.

Welling up, yet again.  Cry #3. 11:30 a.m.

I decided to take a bath–wash off my over sensitivity and soak in a hot, relaxing tub.  I put the girls in front of Sesame Street and expect to have 20 minutes to myself.  Apparently, the sound of running water to Abby is like rustling paper in a dog’s favorite biscuit box because she was up two flights of stairs before I even got my hair wet.  She kept handing me all the elements that I needed for my bath, showing me with her body what I needed to do with them.  Then, she’d miss the side of the tub, and they’d fall on her feet and send her screaming.

“Abby.  Go downstairs with Sophia and watch Sesame Street.  You know?  Elmo?”  I did my best to coax her back downstairs, but it all failed.  She continued picking up oversized Sam’s Club bottles of shampoo and body wash and dropping them on her feet.  More screaming and wailing.  I sink down in the tub, trying to drown out the cries.

Enter: Sophia.  She runs into her “princess bathroom.”  (Yes, that’s where I’m taking a bath.  It’s our only tub.)

Sophia has the most pained look on her face.  Her knees are pressed toward each other, and she’s calling out in broken syllables.  “Ah. I.  Ah. I.  Ca-.”  I remember the 4 glasses of juice and milk she’s had this morning.  I look over at her “princess potty.”  Her potty seat is in the floor between the toilet and the wall, her stool is two feet away.  She’ll never make it.  Not with that look on her face.

She fumbles with the seat.  I coax her nicely but firmly.  She gets the stool.

I raise my voice, “Hurry.  You can do it….”  

My voice gets louder as she stands on the stool and doesn’t sit down.  “Pull down your PANTIES!!!!  SIT DOWN!!!!”

Pee runs down her leg.  She screams out as the pain of holding it in is replaced by the shame of having wet herself. I sink back down into the tub, close my eyes and hold my breath as the girls are both sent into another fit of cries.

“Sweetie.  It’s okay.  It was an accident.  You tried to make it, and it’s o-kay.  Mommy is NOT mad.”

I pull her in the tub with me.  And, I try not to cry.

It’s 2:30 now.  They’re both asleep.  Probably.  I hear some coughing.

I might cry again today….  We’ll see.

We cancelled our babysitter tonight.  Will thought it might be best not to venture out on an evening bike ride date when the kids have temperatures of over 100…

Parents first.  I wouldn’t change a thing.  It gives me joy to parent them everyday.  Even days like this.

Happy Birthday, Honey.  I love you.

Easter Egg Hunt

I hope you all had a great Easter.  We had a super fun time playing with the girls and telling Sophia about why we celebrate Easter.  She listened intently as we looked through a picture Bible and Daddy explained how Jesus conquered the grave.  It was sure interesting figuring out how to explain it all to her.  Her mad knowledge of Sleeping Beauty helped quite a lot.  There are some similarities there that you might not think about…  We also had a little Easter Egg hunt for the girls.  They were both a great age for this.  It gave me such joy to watch them run around and fine the bright little surprises.

Here’s some video for the grandparents.  My camera battery ran out so we only got the first couple minutes.  Not terribly riveting, but sweet.

We didn’t take any sweet dress-em-up pictures… sorry, I know, so sad…  Check out this sticker collage that Sophia made with the stickers she found in her Easter Eggs.  I’m afraid that she may take after me more than I thought. 😉

I, of course, helped her with her name, but the stickers and the placement was all hers.  She kept removing and resetting stickers, and she had to have so many of each one.  I’ve seen her categorizing colors around the house, but never quite like this.  Anyway, it’s really cool to have the privilege of watching her grow up.

Better throw in a picture of Abby.  She’s starting to try on other people’s shoes.

It’s a privilege watching her grow up, too.

A call to play.

Playing.  What does that word stir up in you?  Delight.  Smiles.  Warm fuzzies.  Or, what does it make you think of?  Games, running around, joking.  What about pretend play?  Childish. Frivolous. Any anxiety there?

My eldest daughter’s pretend play has recently been turned up a notch.  She now likes to act out stories.  I’m so-and-so, and she’s somebody-else.  She calls out scenes and lines…  Tells us where to go and what to do.  Yesterday morning, I was feeling a little more gracious, and I thought I ought to “play” with the girls:

8:00 a.m. The morning began with a dance party, as it usually does.  I had intended to “start” the dance party, i.e. turn on the music, get them dressed up in princess outfits, and then proceed to do the necessary morning housework while they danced.  Only, this day was different.  Since the girls were both in their princess outfits and Sophia’s getting into story-telling, out of nowhere she tells me, “I’m the fairy godmother.  You are Cinderella.  You must go to the ball!  Where is your carriage?  The prince is waiting for you!  You have to find the prince.  He wants to dance with you!”

This was some invitation to play princesses with her!  It was on!

I was in a particularly well-rested and pleasant mood, so I went with it.  I abandoned my dish-washing plan and dove into pretend play with her.

Only, it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.  I had trouble adding to the story with her.  I had trouble “diving” in and becoming Cinderella.  (If you know me, you know that I probably didn’t play “princesses” when I was a kid…)

Anyway, I did my best, and the three of us played our little princess hearts out.

Why was it so hard, though?  When did I lose the ability to lose myself in the story?  When did I lose the ability to pretend play with abandon?  

I think one thing that feels so hard is that I am always in the role of “facilitating” play–setting it up for them and/or demonstrating how to play, like you do with a infant or a toddler.  The reason that I’m doing that is usually because it’s my plan to set them up doing something so that I can then do something else.  Basically, get the teaching of “how” to play this particular thing out of the way and then moving on to my to-do list.

You know, I’ll “play” with them outside by giving them gardening tools while I rake and do yard-work.  I’ll “play” with them at the kitchen table by doing bills while they color.  Or, set them up doing play-dough while I make pizza dough… I’ll read to them, I’ll show them how to properly use scissors, or make an “o” or draw a person…

But, when was the last time that I painted with Sophia when she was painting, rather than just watch or glance back at her occasionally?  When was the last time that I actually had a tea-party with Sophia?  When was the last time I got down in the sand with them and got d.i.r.t.y.?

I first noticed my “play” deficit when I was being paid to play at various times in my life, whether babysitting or as a paraeducator in a preschool classroom.  I found that “facilitating” came natural to me; I was good at it.  The kids loved me.  It wasn’t necessary (or even proper) to lose myself in the play, though, because I was getting paid $6/hour for this…

Now, though, it’s different.  I’m a parent and it’s my job to teach my kids. But since it’s the primary way that they learn it’s also my job to “play” with them, right?  Why is it so hard?  Is it just because I can’t get the to-do list out of my mind–can’t stop thinking about what else I could (should) be doing?

Yesterday, I decided to abandon the list.  I just played.  I played and I played and I played.  By noon-time, we all went out for lunch, after 4 playful hours had passed.  At the end of the day, I had forgotten the list, dinner seemed to have gotten fixed and the kitchen seemed to have gotten clean.  No one was any worse off… It was a good day.  The girls were happy.  I think they were seen.  It was pretty dang lovely.  Why then, is it so hard?

Let me leave this post with an homage to play via a cazillion pictures of us playing.  Hope you enjoy.  And, I hope you decide to play a little extra with your kiddos this weekend.  (Imagine some awesome dancing music in the background while you look at these pics.)

A Perfect Saturday

“Family Dates.”  That’s what we call them.  Last Saturday we had the most perfect day.  We biked downtown and pulled our precious babies in a trailer.  They loved it.  Abby got a little nap in, and we enjoyed lunch on an outdoor patio, ice cream (gelato with coupons!), and a stroll through a few shops.  We biked back home and the kids took another nap.  Could we get more perfect than that day?!  Here’s a few pictures.

Spring pics

Spring is here… off and on.  It’s 70 or 80 one day, and then it’ll snow a bit and the sun will come back out.  Here’s a few pictures of the girls from a fun time outside, yesterday.  (We got freezing rain and snow this morning.  Fun.)