Category: Snippets of life

Let it never be said that I only broadcast “Homeschooling’s awesome!  Kids are GREAT! RAINBOWS! HAPPINESS! REAL CHOCOLATE WITHOUT CALORIES! We perpetually frolic in my home!!”

In the interest of keeping it real,

Here, have this pile of ‘what’s it’!

While I’m trying to teach a map lesson to ONE child, all four keep trying to jump in (not usually a problem!) which segued into our trip to CA coming up right around the corner in… oh right. Not until July.  JULY, GUYS! So can we table that discussion until I get done with 5 minutes of map explanation at least?… and their desire to travel… well… everywhere in the entire world! And are there really rattlesnakes at the place where they are pictured on the globe and how dangerous are earthquakes and well, volcanos are worse, I know (because I’m 6 now!) and will we be thirsty in the desert when we get there and, and, and.

I think that single 10 minute review lesson took us 40-50 minutes to get through.  At that point I began wishing we’d ‘taken a snow day’. 

The rest of the morning sounded a great deal like this the entire time I’m trying to teach and with precious few pauses in between:  “Mom, what does this say?” (random sentence on a non-school item) “Mom, where did the Joker come from? I mean, what’s his story and when did he first meet Batman?” (while doing math homework?) “Mommy, can I do a paper?”(non-schooled child) “MAAAAaaaaahm!” (from crib of awakened toddler).  “Mom, I’ve been thinking… {insert long, rambly topic that has nothing to do with anything}”

If I’d only outlawed the word “mom” half the noise in the house would not have happened!

That was just ONE of the many somehow very long but also short minutes that were today.  

I haven’t decided yet if my scatterbrain is genetic (because my offspring have it also) or environmentally induced (because we share the same weird environment). All I know is… we need focus, young grasshoppers! FOCUS!!!

Meanwhile, the toddler is, for example, begging for the things I’m putting in Matt’s lunch bag and creating an ozone layer of her own with her very obvious need for a clean diaper while I’m simultaneously trying to assist two children with a page they either don’t understand (child 1) or can’t read (child 3), wash a cup Matt needs for work, bake rolls for supper, and instruct another child on the virtue of not whining about not having chocolate milk before supper all while dodging the ‘broom rider’ running recklessly through the kitchen. 

But what she was doing while I was making Matt’s lunch is but a small crosssection of the toddler’s day, she was very good, really and no trouble at all… you know… when she wasn’t… oh… falling off the piano bench head first, perpetrating acts of marker violence to two of my teacher manuals, getting stuck in a chair in their bedroom, falling off the bunk bed ladder she shouldn’t have been on in the first place, taking another child’s seat (intentionally), dumping a water glass into our pan of brownies and generally wreaking havoc and destruction to herself, others, or inanimate items where’er she goeth. 

Then there was the reteaching of MULTIPLE concepts that we’d been doing successfully for weeks, while one child is impatiently waiting for me to get done so I can read to him. 

The good news, is I DID get to take my morning shower and get out of my milking clothes! (You can read that as “PJ’s” for non-milkers, because it’s basically a half-step from still being in bed.) … um… 5 minutes ago. 

And all the kids are in bed! … except for the one that J U S T got up to turn on another Paws N Tales… at 10pm.  That one is apparently not in bed… nor asleep. 

So it isn’t all grins and giggles or songs and stories and warm fuzzies and look at this pinterest worthy idea I employed! (In case I had you fooled, SUCKER! oops! Ahem.) But even when the warm fuzzies are missing for a good portion of the day it’s STILL a day of practice closer to being able to deal with days like this with peace and joy and laughter… well, most days find us with those at least part of the time, but I mean a day with those former qualities and NO slipping into grumbling or crabbing or counting anxiously down to bedtime and resenting the mess they made taking their baths before remembering to be grateful that they TOOK them and didn’t even need your help!  Yeah, I tried for a warm fuzzy there, but didn’t quite make it.

Another eon of practice should do it. 

In many ways that matter, though, our ‘ugh’ day was a good day.

It just may take until tomorrow for me to laugh and smile about it.


Love actually...

Two days.

Two short days til our anniversary. I don’t know which one we’re celebrating, but I know who I can ask. That’s one of the many holes the man I married helps fill… his instant number recall. He knows the birth weights/year/lengths of our respective children better than I do.

I could write an excruciatingly long post about the theological implications of marriage… (if I didn’t have 5 children waiting for bedtime… oh wait, that’s me doing the waiting…) or about whether or not the photo I posted is a completely accurate picture of a good marriage because when you marry someone you are signing a contract that says, in essence, that you ARE trapped. You are putting yourself in that person’s life for the rest of yours.

It’s definitely worth looking at it that way from the dating standpoint if only to realize that you need to look at it not as the first in a line of disposable relationship but a never-ending commitment that nothing will shake. I’d like to think that fewer foolish choices and, therefore, fewer broken homes would occur that way. But talking about that kind of kills the romantic bent of the photo, I suppose. Plus it’s probably not PC to refer to a divorced family as broken anymore.

For a brief time I spent 15-30 minutes 3 times a day about a year ago in a break room. Most of that time was spent listening to people comment on their relationships. Girls frustrated that their man of the minute’s main question about the twins she JUST found out she’s carrying was “Does this mean I have to pay MORE child support?” A woman who’d been married to the same man for years, raised a daughter with him but had no esteem or love at all for the man and spoke openly of her disdain. In fact, as soon as she had the cash ready and could sell the house, she said, she was leaving for her sister’s state of residence. He’s staying here. They’ve already discussed the divvying of pets. It was like a foreign country to me. Illustrated again when one of them asked if my ‘incentive’ had shown up properly on my recent paycheck. (Hers hadn’t.) When I explained that I hadn’t looked at my check amount. It was direct deposited and Matt takes care of the finances. Has since a few years after we were married, so I rarely notice what the amount is, but maybe I’d better take a look at that just in case. You’d have thought I had just confessed to keeping explosives stashed in the flue of a wood burning stove. Books being read at that table were put down, bites left untaken. Several alarmed glances were shot. One woman raised her eyebrows and said what everyone else was thinking: You HAVE to keep tabs on where money is going!  You should also have your own bank account that he can’t get into! I have my own and my husband isn’t touching a THING that I bring in from this job!**

Major culture shock, the realization that people married and/or lived with persons they not only couldn’t agree on finances with but also couldn’t trust with ‘their’ money!

Then there are stories of upstanding families who seem to have it all together and they look great… until the relationship seems to spontaneously fall apart. Did they spend alot of time on the paint and window dressings, but had no foundation? Or perhaps the foundation once was there but a crack appeared only to be ignored. It took a few floods and an earthquake, but it’s gone now. As is the life they built together. Baring a major overhaul to the broken parts, anyway.

Lest I sound proud of my marriage: I know that “There, but for the grace of God go I.” Or ‘go we’ as the case may be.

So not proud.  We’re hardly the image of perfection, after all. We certainly blow it on a minute-ly basis most days in some way or another. Just exceedingly grateful that we’ve been graciously given a good foundation. Just grateful for friends and family who I KNOW will speak up if we start taking one another for granted. Just incredibly willing to work and hope and pray towards this tie continuing as it should until death do us part.

So while my version of marriage says that I am, by definition, trapped… I certainly don’t FEEL trapped with you, my Love! You are the jam in my jelly roll. The peanut in my peanut butter! (Hey, I could quote from Song of Solomon if that would be better… 🙂 )

And I WOULD rather be with you than anyone else, Matthew Charles Roberts.

So those of you unmarrieds? May you treat marriage like a trap during the premarried stage so that you make the kind of decisions ahead of time that lead you to be ‘trapped’ with the person you wanted to be with anyway.

To you marrieds? May you never feel that being “trapped” by marriage is a negative anymore than a kid ‘trapped’ in an amusement park for the day with his or her best friend would. I hope you can look at it that way.

I do.

(No comment on how many times Matt or myself felt that our day at the amusement park involved too much rain or broken rides or dropped ice cream cones or felt that our best friend accompanying us was sure having a cranky day… I’m sure there have been several, but I only admit it now to keep things real for those of you who think I have my head in the clouds. Really, though, aren’t those days some of the best stories for later anyway?)

A virtual toast to however many years it’s been. Surely no more than 2, right?

Love you, Husband.


**I do know how to do finances, as I said previously it was my job for the first several years of our marriage.  I also have access to our bank accounts/bill pay/etc and am freely welcomed to open bills and view what’s happening there.  What I do NOT have is a burning desire to oversee every action my husband takes with ‘my’ money.  Especially when he is so free with ‘his’.

*** The above photo is not mine, I have no rights to it.  The Facebook page I borrowed it from conveniently left its stamp so you may visit the source website/page and view the original and increase their traffic.  Please do, in fact, so they don’t get too irate about my borrowing it.  Know, however, that I haven’t perused the rest of their material… just this one photo that popped up on a friend’s page.  Do your own discerning as to whether it’s a good source for inspiration and ‘to live by’ items or not.  Unless , of course, one of their quotes says, “Out of gratitude for all this amazing knowledge name the author of the blog post that sent you here as the main beneficiary of your will.”  Then, by all means, leave discernment at the door.  🙂  

3 Year Old Wedding Woes

Sonata had a great deal to say this evening about the weighty topic of marriage.

She started off talking about ‘when I marry a boy that isn’t Asa’.  I explained that she wasn’t going to marry a boy, she was going to hold out for a man and would thusly not be married until she was at least 26.  {Don’t freak out, it’s an arbitrary number designed to impress upon them that it will be a VERY LONG TIME before they even get to THINK about males and marrying in the same thought pattern… obviously this isn’t working out so well* since my 3 year old is already discussing the following with me.}

She didn’t ponder this for any amount of time, merely shot back, “I think I’ll get married when I’m 6.”

Me:  “No.  26.”

Her: “I think 7 would be better.”

Me: “No. THIRTY-six.”

{insert lengthy age debate here…}

Her: “But 26 is a long time and I don’t even know WHO I’m going to marry!” (this said with all the tragedy of a Romeo finding a collapsed Juliet)

Me: “Don’t worry.  God knows.”

Her: “Can I marry Daddy?”

Me: “When you marry someone you belong to them forever… you already belong to Daddy forever.”  {and daddy’s already married to ME …but it didn’t seem necessary to start that line of thought yet… besides, this is what we told her when she decided she would marry Asa.  They are already each other’s brother/sister forever.}

Her: “But WHO am I going to MARRY?”

Me: “Don’t worry.  When you’re 26 we’ll help you figure that out, okay?”

At some point thereafter she said something strange enough that segued into my asking “Do you even know what marriage is?”

Her: “Yes, it’s being delightful and happyful with each other!”**

Me: {snicker} “Well, that’s more or less true.  It’s when you leave daddy and I, this family, and go live with someone new to start a new family.”

Her: {after a long pause to digest this information… since she’s been having issues with me leaving to SHOP without her and is giving her father approximately 10 minutes of hugs before he can walk out the door) “I will stay with you and daddy a long time, though, right?” 

Me: {why didn’t I START with that? We could have avoided the whole ‘when’ and ‘who’ issues?!?!?!}  “You bet, kid.  Until you are at least 26.”


*It could be that her avid interest has been sparked by my older daughter’s ‘marriage’ to her good friend this summer and subsequent discussions of saving her kisses until she is a grown up and ABSOLUTELY sure (she’s already very sure, but not ABSOLUTELY sure regarding who she is going to marry) that he’s the man she will be with forever.

**I’d like to think that both of them are excited about being married because Matt and I make it look like so much fun, but it probably has more to do with their obsession with the Disney Princesses and all those happily ever afters.

Fickle that way…

Everyone who knows me at all and has any inkling that I am about to have a baby has been asking similarly purposed, relevant questions each time we run into each other, namely “Are you ready/getting excited about the birth of this baby?”  I think they are concerned that I have forgotten that I am supposed to be glowing and joyful in my expectation or perhaps they are worried that my lack of gushing excitement is some sort of pre-partum depression or an indication that I should not be having a fifth child if I can’t muster up some excitement?

Regardless, I always feel a little bit like a lousy mother when I admit the truth, “You know, the miraculous birth of a brand new life completely dependent on our provision and love has totally escaped my priorities list so far.  I’m really more focused and preoccupied on remedying the mess I made rearranging our bedroom or on solving the mystery of why the children’s room has phantom electricity that randomly quits working for days at a time.”  You can replace that last part with pretty much any of the jobs, projects, randomness that I’ve had on my mind lately and it would still be true.  No my bag isn’t packed (my friendly neighborhood teenager and I did manage to place some newborn sized outfits in it yesterday, does that count?), no “oh I can’t wait to see what this baby actually LOOKS like!” swooning (don’t worry, she has been amply swooned over by our other children: “I can’t WAIT to see….” “When she comes out…” etc.)

Poor neglected infant already.

But today after going in for the whole ‘pre-op’ testing thing and coming home thinking ‘to do before tomorrow’ thoughts followed quickly by realizing that most of the items on the agenda were moot, finished or largely unnecessary, I found myself pretty excited about the whole get there at 5am, meet new baby, precious bonding with father and infant “wonder what she’ll be like?” type thoughts were finally emerging.

That was before they called to tell me that I didn’t have to be there until 9:30am.  Because instead of having this baby at approximately 7am, they want me to wait until 12:00pm.

The motherly, sweet infant thoughts evaporated instantly.  Now, I’m just annoyed.  I’m fickle that way.

You see, now instead of blanking everything out of my mind except the wonderfulness of new baby arrival, I am now mentally starting a new ‘to do list’.

There is a simplicity about getting up before anyone else, accomplishing things for yourself and leaving before your responsibility to/for the other household persons even kicks in.  It’s divine.

Now in place of beautiful new baby faces I find questions about whether or not we can reach the post office and also pick up swing batteries before we go to the hospital, whether I should push to get all the kids’ chores completed (more or less) before I leave or if I want to do something especially motherly and memorable to make up for the days I’ll be gone… (like what?  I don’t know?! Just another thing to think about)… and I’m also trying to tag all the situations that would require a scheduled C-section more than a day away to be rescheduled because it’s crucial… huh? (Don’t get me wrong, I’m absolutely positive that there are several good reasons, but somehow it would be less vexing if we showed UP at 5 and they said “We had an emergency, you’re rescheduled.”  At this point I find that I’m more wondering whether one of the participants in this whole ordeal simply doesn’t want to get up and moving by 5am…  which brings another question to mind: Matt?  Did you talk to my doctor today? j/k)

If I’m truly and completely honest, I’ll admit that most of my disgruntlement centers around my stomach.  They want me to not eat or drink anything after midnight.  When I was arriving there at 5am, that was not such a big deal… even though I am well aware that after the procedure, no matter HOW much better I feel NOT having a living breathing infant tearing apart my insides piece by piece (yes, I usually feel better immediately after the spinal wears off and the IV from Hades is removed compared to what I feel like that 9th month… it’s not normal, but true nonetheless), they will make me wait approximately 6 million years before they actually let me eat… excuse me.  I meant DRINK.  (It’s probably a matter of mere hours, but perception is what I’m going for here.)

Now, I have to wait approximately 6 million years before I can even start the clock for the already prepared for 6 million years. {YES, I DO want cheese to go with that whine!  Feel free to sneak me some at any point in the whole midnight tonight to 6 million years after noon tomorrow time frame!}

And to think I was feeling all peacefully maternal and sentimental earlier today… now I just feel ‘still pregnant’.

I’m fickle that way.


A generous guest (or pair of guests?) color-coordinated some items for my previously uncoordinated and mish-mashed bathroom.

I (the wife) have been admiring the beauty of matching and correctly folded items hanging neatly on the towel racks and in a sad, sad attempt to keep things perfect have been removing offending older towels that are hung there simply to dry or for some other boring and un-beautiful reason are totally detracting from the palette of color while synchronously encouraging the usage of the older towels. When this encouragement is ineffective, I then try to wash and replace the new ones quickly so that the beautiful parallelism work of art is not lost indefinitely.

Sadly, HE (the husband) is enamored with the SOFTNESS of the towels, has no concern at all for the lack of symmetry created when part of this work of art is removed and keeps USING them. My sons and daughters are slowly following suit and enjoying USING the beautiful things instead of looking at them while drying off with the older towels that I may or may not have set out for their baths. The VANDALS!

This evening, Matt was (again) bemoaning the red fuzzies that came out on his pants this evening and explained that perhaps I should consider taking them all down and running them through the wash a few times to lose this shedding tendency.

I’m absolutely POSITIVE that I sounded PERFECTLY logical as I tried to explain that the main goal here wasn’t to make them more usable or less fuzzy. In fact, I didn’t want people to USE them all the time! I just wanted them to hang there and look beautiful. {This was probably very confusing because generally I am almost sadly pragmatic about things… probably because when I’m not, I become this ludicrous and obsessive about things.} I would be glad to wash them when they were getting dusty.

At any rate, he laughs and exclaims, “That is NOT what a towel is for!”

I am not entirely certain that we shall be able to resolve this difference without professional therapy, considering that at one point in the post-decorated stage I seriously toyed with the idea of teaching my children NOT to use the towels on the racks and that they are more for decoration. Settle down, I didn’t actually put that plan into motion because even I realized how very OCD it seemed.

Besides, it appears that unless I SEW the towels ON the racks in the appropriate folded dimensions that my desire for beauty will have to give way to actual practical usage. Darn it, anyway.

This type of insanity is not usually a problem for me… the person who rationalizes that the sun catcher paint on the ceiling (or floor) of the kitchen, cushions taken off the couch to use as landing pads, forts that are being built in the middle of the room I was trying to clean and holes in the yard are perfectly acceptable by saying that a house is made to be lived in and may as well look as if it has been enjoyed thoroughly. (Though I would prefer that the indoor evidences of this enjoyment disappear at least once per day so as to control the DEPTH of the evidence of enjoyment… we’re constantly working toward that goal.)

I do not understand (and I’m sure the male of the house is equally at a loss) as to why this rationalization no longer applies to the bathroom… I am the person who thinks things that aren’t used often are a waste of space, after all; the person who shuns knickknacks for their lack of any practical qualities and added dusting requirements. What is the matter with me?

There may be an argument to be had here as to why I should NOT attempt to redecorate any other areas of my home. At least not until my kids are old enough to more appreciate the beauty of the cushions rather than the bounciness thereof.

And not until I convince my husband to use those OLD towels that I hid under the sink and leave the beautiful ones hanging as a visual pleasure rather than a tactile one.

Just kidding, Matt! You’re welcome to use the nice soft symmetrical ones. Just be sure to fold it back into that shape and hang it in the same way to dry. I think I’m kidding. I think.

I’ll probably get over this.


Curbing Communication

Dear children,

I love you very much, and certainly do desire to keep the lines of communication open.  Unfortunately, due to the number of lines I need to keep open, I would like to keep non-essential chatter on said lines to a minimum.  Many items are brought to my attention each day that are no strictly appreciated per se.

For example, if I wanted to know exactly what goes on in your movie/show/video game, I would watch/play your movie/show/video game.  Please limit your “MOM! Do you know/Did you hear/Did you see/Guess what {fictional character} does when {other fictional character/event} happens…” comments regarding these items to a minimum.

Similarly, please recall that, generally speaking, I only desire to admire your TOP 3 ‘coolest’ things (UNrelated to the aforementioned) that you do/say/think/experience per day.  These cannot be accumulated or ‘rolled-over’ and are non-transferable between siblings.  Therefore, please be careful to limit your impulse of asking me to admire every little thing you do accordingly by carefully choosing the things you wish to share.  This will be of great assistance to me as I endeavor to avoid “No, dear, REALLY, I just don’t care right now if you can {swing high, jump far or multiple times on one or multiple feet,  stick your tongue out a long ways, make a funny noise, count to 100, speak a ‘foreign language’ or whatever amazing feat}” syndrome.  I do my best to be interested in the details of your lives that are important to you, but one can only be interested in so many ‘super cool’ things per day before becoming underwhelmed.  At this time, 12 per day is my limit.  Thank you for your consideration.

Please note that extra patience/allowances for such recitals of awesomeness may be obtained if

1) You have not just irritated a sibling DOING whatever the awesome thing is

2) You did not interrupt a conversation with another living being, nor something else I have just told you not to interrupt.  Like, say, a sibling’s bedtime.

3) You did not tap on my leg and say “mom!” multiple times in quick succession without allowing me time to actually respond.

4) It has absolutely NOTHING to do with Diego and sounds NOTHING AT ALL like ANY of the songs from that show.

Sorry, Diego, you’re a pretty neat show, but anything + obsession quickly loses it’s ability to interest others.  This it not that different from when a girlfriend meets ‘the one’ and focuses all conversation on him.  Don’t worry, when Nata gets less enthused by you, I’ll not feel antagonism welling each time I hear your theme song. 

5) It is something I notice and take interest in of my own volition and at my own convenience.

6) It has educational or long-term value.

7) It is not shown to me during a time slot in which you are SUPPOSED to be accomplishing something else.

8) You are the only child near me at the time and this circumstance has held true for the last hour.

9) It pertains to whatever activity we are actually pursuing.  (By all means, demonstrate your awesome skills to crack eggs or flip pancakes when we’re making supper, or show me the ‘super-awesome’ way you rinse a dish with the sprayer whose existence you only just discovered when we’re cleaning up.  Please show me how well your ‘claw’ works at putting away your clothes or how neatly you can write the letter ‘W’ during school time.  Feel free to draw my attention to how well/far/strangely you can throw a frisbee/ball when we’re already playing catch.  Anything in this line is perfectly acceptable anytime.)

Other possibilities for the allowance of extra awesomeness will be added as they are realized.

I think if we all work together on this issue, I should in good conscience be able to look in your eyes each time you come to me to share an awesome moment in your life and sincerely enjoy the interaction along with you.

Thank you for your consideration,


PS – I very much want to hear those 3 awesome things and maybe even a few items of interest from your shows/games/movie each day.  Also, real conversation about real things and *questions* are always welcome.  Love you!

*Questions defined as those items of interest not readily answerable by your own observational skills.  One example of a non-question: “Are we there yet?”  If you have not yet noticed the pattern, this will always and ever be answered by “Have I parked the car? Are we getting out”, “Do you SEE {location to which we are headed}”, or “Well of COURSE we are.  How about you unbuckle and get out now” accompanied by a 60 mph speedometer or other obvious indication that we are decidedly NOT ‘there’ depending on the sarcasm level.  A second common example: “What are you doing?” asked at the bathroom door or when I’m doing any other obvious activity -if I’m looking at an open book, for instance, it is likely that the answer will be “I am reading”- will receive a similar level of consideration in the answer given).  If you have any residual confusion about the difference between ‘Question’ and ‘Non-question’, please don’t hesitate to ask.

(We had company + pregnancy brain… the ‘publish’ button just didn’t get pressed, a’ight?  Just imagine a time warp to pre-Easter… NOW!)

So far in anticipation of Easter we have

1) Put Robin Egg candy in the candy bowl

2) Made ‘resurrection rolls’ (hide the marshmallow inside the biscuit dough with butter and cinnamon sugar and bake, the marshmallow disappears… and also they just plain taste awesome) and talked about Good Friday/Easter

3) Put jelly beans in the suddenly and alarmingly empty candy bowl

4) dyed FOUR DOZEN eggs (I don’t suppose anyone has bright ideas for using 4 dozen hard-boiled eggs…)

5) carefully selected ‘least likely to be missed’ or already cracked eggs with which to make potato salad

6) taste tested the potato salad

7) Considered, however briefly, the possibility of making my husband’s repeated request for PBJ in his lunches more exciting by cutting them in the shape of a rabbit head.

8) Discarded notion and made him his same favorite ‘boring’ (joke) lunch.  (Thank me later, dear.)

This afternoon Asa asked me if Easter was over after today.  I had to explain that we hadn’t even REACHED Easter yet.  Sadly, all I have up my sleeve apart from church and maybe brunch at church for tomorrow is more egg shaped candy nibbling and hiding/hunting those eggs.

Anyone else notice that the majority of our Easter traditions involve edibles?

Which make me think: Is there a holiday that DOESN’T have at least one ‘traditional’ consumption?

Christmas cookies, Thanksgiving turkey, Easter eggs, Valentine chocolate, New Year’s champagne, Halloween candy, King Cake, 4th of July hot dogs and jello salad and funnel cakes (or at least parade candy.. for the less dedicated 😉 ),

St Patrick’s day… um… beer? Corned beef?- (obviously we don’t do much w/ St. Patrick’s day around here, but perhaps those of you more into the Green Day can correct my food assumptions. Those two are usually involved, right?)

Apparently parental and patriotic holidays (apart from July 4th) are exempt from consumption requirements.  Perhaps we should invent some.  Mother’s day Brownies and Ice Cream.  Father’s Day.. um… Apple Pie? Oh, fine, honey.. CHERRY pie, then.  Memorial Day MRE’S.  Flag day.. R/w/B popsicles.  Grandparents Day… gummable foods? (no offence to all those fully-dentaled grandparents out there) Suggestions?

Here’s hoping your Easter involved more hope and joy than mere edibles can provide!

We’d been embarking on the ‘Sleep Adventure’ for an hour… or more… only to get that ship nearly sailed before hearing my almost 2 yr old express her desire to attempt to keep her underthings in a tidier state than normal. Despite the nightly (and nap-timely) ritual this has become, the request caused all manner of disruption from children who wanted to know… “If she goes can we have candy too?!” (NO! And keep calm. Be silent. Cease squeaking the joints of your furniture. And -internally muttered- ‘she rarely actually succeeds anyway; I think this is naught but a ploy’.) But, of course on this fateful night, she DOES succeed; and after the joyous heavenly light descended upon her in the form of a cookies and cream candy bar piece and the voice of the siblings affirming her burgeoning maturity, all of which certainly did not assist anyone to develop a desire to ‘go gently into that dark night’ {literal, not figurative}. But soon, all cherubs are nestled in again only to face another minor disruption in the form of a distraught eldest realizing that she had neglected to consume the candy she earned that day from piano lessons. This grief eventually assuaged, a second ‘hurrah’ was mounted and all seemed as it should be. The triumphant youngest child, however, is currently crowing in a way a peacock would crow, if such a noise indeed it made, over her recent achievement. It is evident that the fates have not slated timely rest and respite for us this evening.


Our felicitations, Sonata.


{Now I gots to go find me some good lit to read. It’s obvious I’m hankering for all that fancy talk and them big ol’ words.  Something with fates and/or poetic obscurity sounds good.}

This morning started with chores, some schoolwork and Matt helping me out a great deal by doing dishes.


What feels like MANY hours,


four spilled cups of milk,  (make that 5!)


one dropped gallon of milk,


subsequent leaking gallon of milk,


not nearly enough mopping of floor on which all these things transpired today,


scraped finger,


scalded hand,


smushed toe,


(and people wonder why I don’t like using power tools)


split lip  (Sonata)


hammered thumb (Asa)


interrupted nap for Nata-head


subsequent whiny-ness from Nata-head,


sluggish and grumpy Asa for 1/2-day, (head colds and naps apparently don’t mix for these two?)


several fight-type issues,


lots of ‘unnecessary’ rowdiness, (the necessity is debatable depending on whether you are a participant or not)


the execution of chicken otherwise known as the Terror of the Neighbor’s Flower Beds,


subsequent processing of said chicken  (did I say processing?  I meant the memorial for said chicken.  I’m sure I did.)


the near-completion of construction on a 12 x 6 raised garden,


the planting of 4 pots of squash-viney-somethings (this may be one indication on why my gardens perish)


the planting of 3 morning glories (for my daughter… she loves all things flowered and will soon have a 4 x 4 bed of her own bought with 69 cent lumber from Mennards ‘reject’ pile!  Woo HOO!  We LOVE rejects!)


the despairing over the fact that we have many bean plants ready to put out (that cannot be put out until one of the above mentioned beds is not only completed but also filled with dirt.  Anyone have a hill they want to get rid of?)


Quantities of cat scat removed from our garage.  EEEEEEWWWWWW! Give me a barn to clean any day!


Four bedtimes,


And we find ourselves up to right about now.


I am finally ready, able and willing to retire. 


And in some odd masochistic way, I laugh at the absurdity of all the parts of this day, the fact that many of the above happened simultaneously or seconds from one another, and can’t wait to see what tomorrow holds.  Perhaps the building of a pigpen?


The finishing of the beds?


The accidental digging of a farm pond whilst trying to fill those raised beds?  That could be fun.


If things aren’t crazy enough, maybe I’ll go into town and buy some geese.  Yeah.  That would do it.


Perhaps it’s not masochism… perhaps it’s a weird sort of mania brought on by my inability to even consider that there will be milk on the floor again most of tomorrow and fussy, not feeling all there children still and probably even a few new injuries… or insults.. or both.


Whatever.  I’ll take it.

I’d like to think I’m mature.   I am, after all, at least 30 and that’s all you’re going to get from me on that topic.

There is something about this nephew of mine, though.  I don’t get to enjoy it when all my children are home because then I have to operate in ‘responsible mom’ mode part of the time rather than abandoning that persona completely for ‘weird aunt’ mode.  That stinks.  It’s hard to switch from weird to responsible that often and that quickly.

But this week, my children -minus the youngest- are all at their grandparents and my sister decided she wanted to leave town and my nephew and I decided… well… to get together and work on projects.  Yes.  That’s what we were going to do.  First, anyway.  And we did.  A few.  More than one, anyway.

Then we wanted to watch Batman.  Sadly, since his are all on VHS and we didn’t replace ours when it broke we watched the first episode of Merlin… which he MOCKED even though he DID laugh and it WAS funny (I told him so!) before switching to House instead.

I smacked him for mocking my taste in shows at least once.  We laughed at the humor.  We argued vehemently about which shows are worth watching and ate WAAAAYYY too many cookies.

Because I was the mature one, I paused in my viewing long enough to spend 10 minutes on another short project.  Does that make me only 10 minutes more mature than my nephew?

I LOVE being an aunt for any and all of my nieces and nephews (all 20+ of them!), but I have to confess that this kid is pretty special.

This is the boy that I got to ‘baby’ around with.  He and his mom stayed with us while his dad was working out of town.  They came to visit when school was out in the summer and this tiny little guy would sit still and silent with me to stare at a lake because it was me.  He would fish for imaginary fish in our living room and go bear hunting with me outside.  He’s the one who refused to accept my excuse of “I’m holding the carpet down” when he decided it was time to visit the neighbor’s horses and he’s the one who coaxed my high school rear up off the couch to ‘dance’* with him to the Veggietales’ silly songs.

When he grew older his mom typed emails to me for him while I was away at college and he was one of the main draws that home had on weekends during a time when work and school kept most weekends too full to consider arbitrary visits.  I remember him pleading with me not to leave one weekend and promising him I’d come home the next.  I remember my friends laughing at how cute he was when he approached my room where we sat visiting with some stray playing cards in his chubby hands asking to ‘play cards’.  And I remember how offended he was that they didn’t take him as seriously as “Aunt” always did.

And now he’s an enormous, hulking football player in high school.  He’s asking me to help him cut speeches so he can make people laugh and doing heavy lifting to help me out.  He can look me in the eye without sitting on my hip or standing on my lap.  It doesn’t take him as long to come up with a good argument about why I’m wrong about whatever it is he thinks he’s right about… be it his opinion on the best Batman movie or why I should become a “Trekky”**or something more serious like why I should sell my truck to him and why he can’t put the broken door back on upside down.

And he’s growing into an honorable, noble, stubborn, ornery man… just like we hoped.

Because I’m an aunt I can tell him things like “Girls will think you like them if you’re not careful with that chivalry stuff” and hear him call me a conspiracy theorist.

It’s good to be an aunt.  It is fun to watch my own kiddos grow too, but times like this with a nephew are special if only because…

after you spend a little time being the ‘fun aunt’ you more easily remember that you don’t always have to be the ‘responsible mom’.  Sometimes you can be the ‘fun aunt’ with your own kiddos too.

Thanks, Nephew!  Thanks for reminding me how relationship building and enjoyable it is to be ‘fun’ sometimes.

*I can not now, nor have I ever been able to actually ‘dance’, I believe the term for what I did would fall under the hop, spin and jump categories… while holding hands with someone much shorter than I am… which probably takes more skill than ballet come to think of it.

**All Star Trek fans, please forgive my spelling ignorance of this very important term in your culture.