Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Garden Grows and Other Adventures

A full entry follows the photos. And, for some reason I put the comments about the photos above instead of below this time.

The garden grows...Cucumbers are plentiful!

Yes, that is basil behind Samuel! It's huge...

Andy next to the corn, peas, pumpkins and peppers. See all of those green tomatoes behind him? Soon we will be swimming in juicy Indiana tomatoes!
The 7+ foot tall sunflowers, finally starting to flower.
More of our veggies.
The White River...about 45 minutes north of Indy, a much different river than what we are used to! Going canoeing with PJ and Sam.
Riding in the canoe places van up to the drop-off spot. In the van, no car seats--a first for these guys, they thought it was pretty cool.
Loading in the canoe
We survived (well, I almost didn't). Playing the river after we arrived at our destination. More on the canoe trip later.
Is that mom in the river?!? Well, it is only about 8 inches deep and I can see the bottom.
Looking like I enjoyed myself. I guess I did, after I got through the panic attack! No, it wasn't that bad, but I certainly am not a river girl.
My master Lego builder's latest creations. Pretty ingenious stuff for a five (almost six) year old.

Ooops, I Did it Again

Okay, now I am not defending the car-seatless driving of Britney Spears or the diaper-changing-on-a-restaurant-table that I read about on another mother's blog, but I am defending some of her stuff. For example, when she almost fell carrying Sean Preston (no, I didn't know that name off the top of my head, I had to Google it). First of all, she was actually carrying him, a novel thing for some celebrity moms.

I remember once carrying Phillip to the car when he was just a few months old. I had stopped carrying the infant seat in the house and had started just carrying him to the car instead. I was walking along the tiny cement strip in between the car and the brick side of our old house and fell, twisted my ankle and nearly dropped him on the driveway. I miraculously fell on top of him, but with the arm that was holding him offering enough cushion between his body and the concrete that he didn't even cry--but I did.

I make a lot of mistakes as a parent. Some big, some small. But last night I was once again not the parent I want to be to Samuel. He frustrates me so much some times. I am watching my behavior, begging myself to get it together, and I just cannot snap out of my frustration. He was crying and crying, and not listening as I was trying to explain why he was in trouble--he just would not listen and his fit got bigger and bigger and more out of control.

I was as nice as could be and then when all the tricks I knew were not working, I got frustrated, yelled and increased the punishment. Now, instead of just having to go to bed early, I revoked bedtime stories. He screamed more. Then, I said I would close the door because Andrew was trying to sleep (was sleeping until the screaming started) next door. He screamed some more. I closed the door. He screamed even more.

I yelled instead of talked, reacted instead of listened, and put more distance between us instead of holding him. I hate that. And, I am so hard on myself when I screw up. Only my mom makes me feel okay about it. She reminds me that everyone screws up as a parent. Oh, I am sorry...everyone except for you, I am sure you are a perfect parent all the time. She reminds me that she lost it sometimes too--overwhelmed, tired, at her wit's end with a stubborn child (me, maybe?) and asks me if I remember or if I now think she doesn't love me. I don't remember and I know she loves me.

But, Dr. Phil and others always talk about how you "change who your children are" with episodes like that. My inability to control my emotions changed who my child is. Now that is a lot of pressure--and guilt. And other mothers always seem to share stories of how together they are, rarely does anyone confess to their parenting short-comings. I hold on to those tiny glimpses of those moments some have been brave enough to share.

Like my friend, who I think is the most wonderful parent and who has taught me so much about parenting. I sometimes hear her voice when she responded to a complement I gave her about what a wonderful parent she is and she said some days she threatens to throw all O's baby dolls in the trash even before noon. Ahhhhh. Not that I am happy for her frustration or loss of control, and not that I am happy that she had a moment of being the parent she doesn't want to be (wait, I am a tiny bit happy about that), but she validated my feelings of frustration. She probably doesn't even ever remember saying that, but I save it for when I need it most.

I have to remember it is okay to screw up and be mindful and thankful that God gives me another day to start over. I screwed up. I apologized this morning for yelling and not handling the situation better. He apologized too for the big fit. I will try again today and remind myself that I can be the parent I want to be and the parent that Samuel needs. I love those guys like nothing else in the world.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Smells of Life

We are all on the couch before heading up for bed, having some fun family time, giggling, talking, you know--one of those good moments.

I smell something and realize I think it is Jeff's feet. I go in for a closer smell and let out a big, "Eeeewwww, I don't think your feet have ever smelled that bad!"

Okay, I know there are several things wrong with this comment. First, I smelled the feet to confirm what I already knew, as the smell of stinky feet is unmistakable. Second, I say "have ever" which indicates I have smelled his smelly feet, probably up close, on more than one occasion. And third, they are feet--of course they stink.

Part of why this is such a big deal is that I am the queen of stinky feet in our house. Yes it is true. My sweaty feet are the main reason I cannot stand to bind my feet in the inner housings of those God-awful coffins called shoes. I would wear flip-flops all year if I could, and I do most of the year, but we do have snow in Indiana. I need to let my feet breathe and roam, explore their environment. Otherwise, like an angry skunk, they retaliate with a mystifying scent that is unmistakably mine.

So, back to last night, as I am certain that is too much information about me. Now the tables have turned and Jeff has stinky feet. The boys laugh and laugh and Phillip says, "let me smell." See? This is life with a house full of boys--let's all take turns smelling gross stuff and then laugh about it for 20 minutes!

"Eeewwwww, those smell like cock!" he says. Jeff and I are like, "WHAT? They smell like WHAT?" He says it again. We are rolling on the floor, tears running down my eyes.

Finally, after we pull ourselves together, we ask what he meant by cock. "You know, the caulk that Daddy squeezes out with that gun." The CAULK gun....oh. That's better!

And then, Phillip farts in Jeff's face.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Two things I forgot

Two funny things I wanted to share...

Phillip recently played at his friend Graham's house and accidentally (or so he says) brought one of Graham's toys home, as he had it in the basket on his bike.

"Is that a sword?" I asked of this cell-phone looking device that transforms into some sort of weapon.

Knowing how I can be about weapons, he quickly and emphatically replied, "No, its a wand," and made me listen closely to the magical wand noise it makes.

"Okay, you sold me," which he knew meant he passed the test.

Next, Samuel called down to us last night after he went to bed that he had to poop. Okay, call us when you are done we said. He did. I go up to help him (despite the fact that he wants to wipe on his own, he isn't ready to do that).

We are washing our hands when I see something on his pajama shirt. "Sam, is that poop on your shirt?"

"No," he replies. "I think it is a gas pain."
Below are the photos I promised earlier. As for other goings on...we finally go see the orthopedic surgeon tomorrow, who will hopefully schedule surgery for Jeff. At this point, it seems as if we are just delaying the inevitable. We are both anxious to just get on with it already and start moving forward.

Other news...the new nanny we hired has decided to move to California with her husband and work for the family she just left (they moved to California and asked her to go with them, apparently they have wooed them out there). So, we are back to square one. She is coming for the next two weeks as needed to fill the gap. I am so bummed about it, but am trying to move forward.

I have been in such a funk lately. I am not sure what my problem is, but certainly not feeling like my normal high energy, optimistic self. I think I am just way overloaded with many, "have-tos" and constantly feeling like I am just spinning my wheels, moving from one thing to the next. It don't think I do well with disruptions in my normal routine and the last three weeks have been all about that. Between Jeff's being off and home, and the nanny transition, I don't think I have had a single day of "normal" work and being sort of in my regular routine. I am hoping to return to that this week.

On the nanny note, the old nanny stopped by to drop some stuff off and she just irritates the living shit out of me. Jeff and I were talking over dinner of how she just totally morphed over the last few months into someone so different than when she started. Granted, I am sure she was pissed at us a lot of that time because I didn't want her drilling the kids with "Hooked on Phonics" like her last family let her. And, as she told my cleaning lady, she thought it was horrible that Samuel, almost four cannot count to ten. While I disagree (and know he can if he wants to, but gets a kick out of doing anything other than what you ask him to), she could certainly have take him outside and teach him to count to ten by counting leaves on the tree or berries on a bush, or birds in the sky. Ugh...I get so worked up about it. And, we were so generous with her and she still acts like we weren't. I am trying to make this parting amicable (if you remember, she quit--but it was a good thing because we already had an ad in the paper) and not to waste energy on it, but I think I will need like a year before I can see her again without having to hold back on just totally going off on her! Which, I have avoided up until this point as I recognize, my opinion won't change her--it will only make me feel better to say stuff to her for the moment, then feel bad for being so judgmental and downright hateful.

Okay, she is sucking my energy out even now, so I am going to stop and move forward. But, one day, oh the stories I can tell that you just won't believe what an idiot she was! Why, then, you ask did we keep her on so long? Because for the most part, the kids really enjoyed her and she was good with them, this is all "our" stuff: adult to adult stuff.

Kids are stirring upstairs..Finally--it is 8:25--I thought they were never going to wake up!

Amazing July Day!

A day like yesterday is a rare thing in July, in Indiana. By now, we are usually knee-deep in humidity. It was amazingly beautiful, and no humidity.

Feeling a need to be outside and do something fun, we headed to the canal. We had lunch at the Eiteljorg outside overlooking the canal. They have really tried to pump up this new cafe there, but after a $30+ lunch, I must say they have again missed the mark. Nothing spectacular. Then, the boys rode their bikes along the canal, stopping to play in the fountains and feed the fish and ducks. They loved riding over the wooden bridge like in Three Billy Goat Gruff at the north end (near the USS Indianapolis memorial). We all wish we could have done the surrey bikes, we love those! But, with Jeff still hobbling around with a torn ACL, it wasn't possible. When I was pregnant with Andrew, I rented one by myself with Phillip and Samuel. I could do that, but I couldn't peddle all five of us around, I know that! Then, a stop at Ritter's on the way home (first a stop at a gas station for fuel, where Samuel thought he saw "Fat Alvert," or as you may know him by, Fat Albert). What a day!

4th of July

Here are photos of our 4th of July. Our neighborhood has an annual parade and cookout, planned by Jeff this year. It is always great fun. The boys decorated their vehicles themselves, I pushed Andy in the stroller. I had it decorated, but he screamed when he saw it and ripped everything off he could reach.

Snow cones, hot dogs, clowns, games, candy, the works! They had a great time. Then, Grammy took them to see Cars (all but Andrew). She joined us for dinner and then fireworks. But, by the end of the night, Samuel had the fever Andrew had had two days before. Just a fever and some complaints about his head and stomach, but like Andrew's, it left as quickly as it came. DST made for a long day, with our big fireworks not starting until almost 10PM. I think that is the latest my kids have EVER stayed up.

4th of July

Whipped Cream Fight

A summer tradition at our house...whipped cream fights. A pie in the face! Mmmmmmmm, whipped cream!