Thursday, July 31, 2014

Day in the Life: Summer 2014

Today is Wednesday, July 30 2014.  Delaney is 7, Annie is 5, and Timmy just turned 3.

7:08 a.m. I come out of a deep sleep when Timmy appears next to the bed and asks me to make him breakfast.  I look at the clock and say, "Is your clock yellow yet?"  He grumbles something and I tell him to go back to his room until the clock turns yellow.  He leaves the room and I want to go back to sleep but I know I have a busy morning and I should get up.  I debate whether to get up or go back to sleep until about 7:15.  By then I'm awake enough and I know that I'd better not wait any longer.  Tim is nowhere in sight.  I don't remember him getting ready for work or leaving.  I was really out.  I make my bed and brush my teeth, and beeline to the kitchen for my first cup of coffee.

7:30 a.m. Timmy appears in the kitchen, his clock having finally turned yellow.  He looks so cute standing there with Wuddy in hand, his thumb in his mouth, and that bed head.  I try to take pictures of him just like that but then he lies down on the floor.  To be that drowsy still, he must have gone back to sleep after I sent him back to his room.  The girls are still sleeping, but I know they won't be for much longer.  Soon they appear, and everybody's picking their packet of oatmeal out of the Quaker variety box.
8:00 a.m. Once they're done with breakfast the girls start unloading the dishwasher.  Tim made this their job every morning about two or three weeks ago, I think.  It's been working out really well.  They're a good team.  We're trying to teach them to do more and more things on their own -- not just to help me out but also to have a little independence.  I have completely underestimated what my kids are capable of doing by themselves up to this point.
They're like twins with their matching haircuts by mom!
While that's going on, I head back to my room to get ready.  We have to leave at 8:45 for Timmy's doctor appointment.  The appointment is for 9:20 but we have to be 15 minutes early.  No time to do my hair -- I'll have to just put it in a ponytail again.  In this heat it's really better to have it off my neck anyway.
Clockwise from left: Ready for the day selfie (awkward); the earrings I wear most often that sit on the bathroom vanity; my makeup, deodorant and sundries are housed in an old-fashioned medicine cabinet.
8:40 a.m. I scramble to get everyone and everything together and out the door in a timely fashion.  I am so relieved when I look at the clock as I'm driving down the road and see that it's a little slow compared to the clocks I've been relying on in my house.  Yesterday we had a doctor appointment at the exact same time and it was 7:45 on my dashboard as I was driving there yesterday.  There is plenty of time.  We get there in about 10 minutes.  It's a nice change to get to be so close to our doctors.
9: 15 to 10:30 a.m.  After we check in and Timmy is weighed, measured, has his blood pressure taken, etc., there is a long wait for the doctor.  I didn't mind having to come back here today when I thought we'd be in and out as quickly or even more quickly as we were with the girls' appointments yesterday.  But now we're all getting restless.  I start to think regretfully about how this would be a good morning for the pool, and I remember that all I had for breakfast was a banana..  And then she knocks and steps in with a cheerful greeting -- the kids' new doctor who looks like Barbie in blue camouflage.  They stop bickering and stare up at her in admiration.

It dawns on me why coming to see this doctor might mean having a longer wait sometimes.  She is in absolutely no hurry as she chats with the kids and with me, and exams Timmy.  At one point she asks why she didn't get to look at Timmy yesterday.  I tell her, "I asked a couple times but they said no, only two kids at a time."  (They being the person on the phone when I made the appointment, and the person who weighed and measured the girls yesterday.)  She explains that they had to limit how many they could see at once because some families were coming in with four or five; but she also thinks that they could be lenient about it sometimes.  Then she looks at me and says, "I'm sorry about that."  I appreciate that and tell her that it's only because we moved this summer that I attempted getting the three of them in at once.  Next year I would be taking Annie for her physical closer to her birthday in May, and then take the other two in July. 
The kids love having a grownup who wants to talk to them about kid stuff like their favorite toys and going swimming.  She has plenty to say to me as well.  She advises Windex and vinegar for ant bites.  Everyone has a remedy for ant bites around here.  If I thought North Carolina ants were bad, I had no idea..  At some point she remarks on how I have one kid with blue eyes, one with brown, and one with green.  I say that mine are green and my husband's are brown.  She then asked me about grandparents' eye colors and started talking about alleles and the chances for getting one color vs. another.  As soon as she says "alleles" I remember how fascinated I was in 7th grade science class when we talked about eye color and made the charts with B and b, and learned about dominant and recessive genes.  Then she muses, "I'd be interested to see if you guys had two more, what color of eyes they would end up with .."  I tell her about how my dad has brown eyes and my mom has green, but only one of the five of us kids has brown eyes.  "We beat the odds!"  This is a fun appointment.  
Anyone else remember these charts?  I'm such a dork.
Right before we leave she gives me a printout with Timmy's height and weight and percentiles.  42nd for weight and 65th for height -- "long and lean."  Then out of nowhere she tells me that if I want to know how tall he's going to be fully grown, I should take his height at age 2 and times it by 2.  My curiosity is piqued and I know that as soon as I get home I'm getting out growth charts and I'm calculating full grown heights for all the kids.  And I'll be getting out my own baby growth chart and seeing how tall I should be.  She says it's accurate to within an inch.

10:30 a.m. We leave and go to the commissary next for fruit and some things for tacos tonight.  Once we get home I tell the kids to play until I call them for lunch.

11:30 to 12:30: I feed the kids lunch and Tim come in to change over and go to the gym.  He tells me he's going to be late tonight so I shouldn't wait for him for dinner.  He tells me more about the major who he turned over with two weeks ago, who still hasn't left.  She's driving him crazy because she's sitting around the office doing her homework, and also talking to people and answering questions as if she still has the job.  Tim's job now.  Every day I hear about this person.  I make my own lunch and scarf it down quickly because I'm starving and also because I can't wait to see how tall the kids will be when they grow up.  Timmy wants the last few bites of my wrap, which I feed to him grudgingly.  If I made him one of his own he would never eat it.
I get out my growth charts and open the calculator app on my phone.  Results are as follows: For Timmy I get 5'10" which is probably right on the money because that's about how tall Tim is.  For Delaney I get a surprising 5'5", and I'm like no way is that kid going to be taller than me.  For Annie I get 5'8".  There are some tall genes on both sides of the family so there is a good chance of that.  Lastly, I calculate how tall I should be right now based on my height at 21 months.  My height is recorded at 21 months and 2.5 years, and there's a three-inch difference between the two so I choose 21 months.  5'7" -- four inches taller than I actually am.  Uh-oh.  I'll have to let the doctor know I'm the exception to the rule!  I wish I had Tim's height at age 2.
Well, that was a fun way to pass the time anyway.  Now I need to get the kitchen squared away.  It was a wreck even before we had lunch because I never cleaned up after breakfast.  Not enough time.  Oops. 

The kids want to play a game at the kitchen table.  They've been really into their board games these past couple days.  Delaney is sad because the seashell of her handmade seashell necklace has broken and fallen off.  I tell her that she can find a new one and make another necklace.  But she's still sad.  Oh, Delaney, what will we do with you?  The girls have changed into their Easter dresses just because.  They like to make up dance routines and perform for us sometimes after dinner.
I sit down at the computer and make the rounds of email, Facebook, Feedly and Craigslist.  I stalk Craigslist twice a day hoping to find furniture for this house.  This house is a few hundred square feet bigger than our last house, and we are spreading our furniture out to try to fill it.  Far be it from me to complain about having more space, but I just can't wait for the day when I don't look around and see walls, walls, walls, and carpet, carpet, carpet.  I know, that's complaining.  And it's only been a four weeks since our household goods arrived.  Four weeks is not a long time to make a house into a home but it's too long for me, too long.  Look at this list that sits on my kitchen counter.
If we were to go out and get everything that's on this list right now, there'd be no money for Christmas.  I can only do one or two things per month.  This house is like our Quantico base house, only bigger.  But in the Quantico house there wasn't as much pressure to do anything with it since we were staying just a year.  We're here three years and I'm impatient to get it looking the way it ought to look.  We should be pros at this!  But we've never lived in a house this big before.  It's about 2600 square feet and it has a LOT of windows.  Allow me to show you the entry and living area.
To the left just out of view is a mantel, and our big old flat screen TV is mounted above it with a riot of wires sticking out.  Tim has ordered yet more equipment from Amazon to take care of that, but it has been an arduous process and that's a whole other story.  The area where I stood to take the picture is meant to be a formal dining area.  We've never had a formal dining room, but we've been wanting to upgrade to a bigger table for awhile now so we have more room for guests.  We pondered ordering a new table and putting it here, but we don't think that a dining room table in a carpeted area fits our lifestyle.  One day hopefully we'll have a nicer (but not too nice -- we like the "distressed" tabletops!), bigger and newer table in the eat-in kitchen to serve all purposes.  So then, what do we do with all that space?  Tim wanted to leave it empty while we decided but I had a different idea.  Behold the reading nook.
Isn't it cute and cozy?  I stole the Lazyboy, table and lamp from the living room and it doesn't even miss them.  This is exactly what I mean by spreading the furniture out.  It is a lovely little corner to curl up with a book, but it looks so lost and alone over there.  I don't know what to do with all the space in the middle and I have no clue how to make it look pulled together with the other side of the room.  I would welcome any and all suggestions.  Help!

I get a text from Tim asking me to find something on the computer for him.  I go to open the folder on the external hard drive and I keep getting a message telling me that Windows Explorer is not working.  Since we've moved here our electronics have either broken or are perilously close to it.  I don't know what it is.  First it was the desktop, the same one that broke while Tim was deployed three years ago.  Now it is done for good.  My iPhone that I just got last year keeps acting up and it hasn't been updated in forever because I'm scared of what will happen.  (I also dropped it in the ocean last summer so I'm lucky it works at all.  I accept the blame for my phone's problems.)  Tim's iPad is still going strong so I'll cross my fingers that doesn't change.  We keep the laptop limping along because there is no room in the budget for new computers right now.  Things keep not working, I keep asking Tim for help, and he keeps being annoyed that I can't troubleshoot issues by myself.  Why can't things just work the way they're supposed to?

1 to 3 p.m. It's naptime for Timmy and quiet time for everyone else.  I'm going to take just a little nap myself.
I doze off and the next thing I know is the bedroom door is loudly opening.  It's Tim coming in to change back into his cammies and head back to work.  I love that his office is only a block away from home EXCEPT when he enters the room noisily while I'm trying to take a nap.  He apologizes and then he takes this picture because he knows it's a DITL.  He leaves and I make myself some green tea.
3 to 4:30 p.m.  Timmy's up from his nap and quiet time is over.  I debate what to do with the afternoon.  I'm thinking I could take them to the pool since we didn't go this morning, but they are already getting out the board games and they're so content.  It's looking very overcast now too.  If we go to the pool we're going to just get hungry there and need to go home.  No snacks are allowed at the pool (and with good reason -- we don't need to give the bugs any more reason to bother us!).  I've got plenty to do around here and since Tim's going to be late I decide the kids and I will have an early dinner.  This is turning out to be a pretty boring day.
I made myself a little cleaning schedule because I haven't hired any cleaning help since we've moved here and  I don't plan to.  In NC I had someone come twice a month to clean, and it made a huge difference to me, especially when I was on my own with three little kids and Tim deployed twice.  While I miss the experience of having the whole house sparkling clean at one time, I know it is no longer necessary for me in this season of life.  The kids are bigger and less needy, and I get a full night's rest on a regular basis.  I am so grateful to have been able to get the help when I needed it.  The weekly schedule allows me to do just a chunk at a time, and no one area is ever too disgusting on any given day.  The kids' bathroom does get pretty gnarly by Monday night, though.  Today's task is to vacuum and dust all the living areas and office.  I've been putting a lot of miles on the vacuum in this house.  
This is a free printable from, the same place I get my monthly menus.  You can use her own schedule or fill it out with your own.  I made my own using hers to help.  So many good things on this website.  
While I'm browning the meat for tacos I hear a noise at the front door, go to look and what do we have here?  Special delivery for Timmy from Grandma!  Few things cause as much excitement in our house as a package full of presents.  The girls are eager to help him and within seconds there is a flurry of boxes and wrapping paper.  The first thing he unwraps is a new outfit and new pajamas.  He says nothing about those and he's on to the next present.  When he opens it up he says, "Woah!  Woah!"  It's a big carrying case with 45 Hot Wheels inside.  He has no words.  He's never seen so many shiny new cars at once.  He starts pulling them out one at a time and lining them up.  The last present is a remote control truck.  What a lucky boy!
4:30 p.m. Dinner is served.  Everybody gets to make their own tacos.  I like the concept because it means everyone gets to pick and choose and everyone gets what they want.  The problem is it's chaos with many little hands grabbing for different things, the little food bits flying everywhere, and it makes a terrific mess.  It also makes for a lot of dirty dishes so it is not my favorite weeknight meal by far, but it's a crowd pleaser so I'll keep it.  It is harder than ever to get Timmy to sit down for dinner when there are so many new toys to play with.  I coax him into eating a couple little helpings of rice, beans and cheese before I give up and let him go play.
5 p.m. Once all the kids are done I spray them with bugspray and send them outside where they run around the playground for a little while and presumably send some of Timmy's new cars down the slide.  Tim texts me asking what time dinner is.  I text back, "Already ate.  Sorry.  Thought you would be late and we were really hungry."
5:30 to 6 p.m. They are done playing outside and they all three can't wait to get their hands on that big box of cars again.  They call me to Timmy's room so I can see the longest line of cars ever.  They want me to take a picture.  Tim shows up right then and he says, "What's this?"
6 to 8 p.m. Tim reheats some dinner and eats it in a hurry.  An Amazon package has also arrived and inside it are the new earrings I got for the girls.  I've told them already that as soon as those earrings arrive they are changing theirs.  We have only changed their earrings a handful of times since we got them pierced in April.  I honestly wish we had never done it because this is what happens every. single. time.
It's awful every time.  They act like we're trying to put a new hole in their earlobes.  They were so brave when the actual piercing occurred, when some guy with pierced, hairy nostrils took a piercing gun to their ears!  They act like we, their own parents, are trying to kill them.  I have no patience for this anymore.  I tell them, "We're taking these earrings out one way or another, and you need never put another pair in.  We'll let the holes close up and at some point later YOU can get them re-pierced when YOU are old enough to take care of it all yourself."

Once Tim takes out the earrings they've been wearing, he cleans the holes with peroxide.  Here's another things I didn't anticipate: these piercings are still scabbing up and bleeding regularly.  Just a couple days ago while they were horsing around in the living room and one of Annie's ear holes started bleeding.  I didn't even know about it until she sat down at the table a while afterward and I happened to notice the blood behind her ear, under it, and on her shoulder.  Neither of them ever complain about pain, but it makes me uncomfortable that every time the piercings are disturbed in any way they usually bleed.

If it were up to me we'd just let the piercings close up, but Tim has a lot more patience than me, and he is willing to do this again and again just like this.

After that drama is over the kids go back to playing with the cars.  Tim hopes to get some work done here, and that's why he came home earlier than he told me before.  But that is not to be.  I want to hang a picture gallery on the enormous wall across from the kitchen, so I hang up the template repeatedly and try to get it level.  Tim has been against me hanging this gallery for some reason.  He thinks I should buy some big piece of art to put there instead and I'm baffled as to why.  I thought he liked this gallery as much as I did, and we already have it in our possession.  It's free!  He complains that I think every empty wall needs something (it does), and he disagrees.  I've decided to do it myself but I'm having trouble with it.  He sighs.  "You're going to make me get up, aren't you?"  He helps me with the rest of it and when it's finally up and every frame is hanging straight I know he knows this looks better than any wall art we could find.  Another wall conquered, an item on the long list checked off.  Tim has none of the burning desire that I have to fully furnish and decorate this house.
The sun has come out for the last couple hours of the day, and I love the way the light glows through the moss in the trees.  I snap a couple pictures from our back deck and then we tell the kids it's time to get ready for bed.  They get in their pajamas and brush their teeth.  I read them their religion lesson, we say prayers and then it's lights out for three little kids.  We don't hear anything from the girls but Timmy comes out a couple times.  At one point I go in there and put my face real close to his and ask him if he remembers how his door was locked from the outside when we were in NC.  He nods.  I tell him he'd better not come back out or else ..  Then he squishes my cheeks together with his hands and starts giggling at my mushed up face as I try to give him the rest of the warning.  I give up.  That kid is so lucky he's cute.  But seriously, he needs to stay in his room.
8 to 10:30 p.m.  I get a glass of wine and I upload pictures and start working on this post.  I get a Facebook message inviting me to a playgroup in the neighborhood the next morning.  At first I'm inclined to think I'd rather take them to the pool tomorrow since they haven't gotten to go the last two mornings.  Besides, Delaney and Annie will be bored because it will probably be babies and toddlers there.. But by morning I will have changed my mind and I will go because it is a chance to meet people and I can't pass that up.  Making friends has been a slow process because I haven't learned anything from my last experience of moving to a new place.  I'm a fish out of water again, I don't like driving places because I hate the feeling of not knowing where I am and being completely dependent on my GPS.  I can't stand that I have yet to connect all the dots of the places I've been to form a picture of where I am in relation to everywhere else.  I still feel like a stranger in a strange land much of the time.  I just want to feel like I'm part of a community again, and I want things to be familiar and comfortable again.  I'm hoping that once school starts it will be easier to because I will be out more and there will be more opportunities to form friendships.  Or I will just become too busy to care either way.  I know it will get better just like it did the other times but I'm ready for it to happen now!  

And that's our day.  

Reading back through this post I think I can definitely say this was my whiniest DITL post of all time.  Sorry about that!  Hopefully the next one will be more upbeat.  I'm trying to work on gratitude.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Timmy turns 3

Timmy's birthday was very low-key and un-exciting, in keeping with our family tradition that if you have a July birthday and it happens to fall on a PCS (permanent change of station) summer, then you get the short end of the stick.  But like his big sister before him he was unfazed, and I believe every bit as happy as if I'd been able to throw a party and put real thought and effort into all the details.  When he bounded into the kitchen first thing in the morning and I said, "Happy birthday, Buddy!" he said, "Thanks!"  Here's a video of us singing happy birthday to him after dinner.

One thing I did take time to do that I pat myself on the back for was to order this custom-made birthday truck shirt from Tim's cousin's Etsy shop.  I love how it turned out and since he loves trucks and being 3, he wears it proudly.

What is there to say about Timmy as a newly-turned three-year-old?

-  He loves to converse with us constantly, and he's always asking questions and telling us things.  He has SO MUCH to say and he speaks very clearly now.  He doesn't mispronounce much anymore, but we love what few things he does and enjoy them while they last.  It's very endearing the way he still pronounces "Delaney" as "Duwaney."  When he has to say a lot of words at once he still garbles them just a bit.  For instance, "I spy with my little eye something that is green" becomes "I spy my little eye sumfing green." 
He catches me thinking out loud as I am wont to do sometimes, and he says, "Hold on a second. Who are you talking to right now?"  

He doesn't want to accept "I don't know" as an answer.  A conversation we had in the car recently went like this: "Mama, what's the name of this song?"  "Um, I don't know, Bud."  "Just tell me," he insisted.

-  As of two-and-a-half weeks ago he is potty trained.  I thought for sure he would be my difficult one because when I attempted with him at 2.5, I had no success at all.  And he showed no signs potty readiness at all since.  He would happily sit around in a wet or dirty diaper all day, it never bothered him a bit.  He never sought privacy to do Number 2 either.  So I kept putting it off until once we got all moved in here, we had nothing else going on, and Tim kept saying to me, "Shouldn't we be thinking about potty training him?"  I gave it another shot on Friday, July 11.  We went cold turkey no diapers just like I had with his sisters.  He had two pee accidents that first day, both times while he was wearing the little Cars themed tighty-wighties I'd gotten him for the occasion.  Tim had the idea he might do better without undies on, I agreed, and after that he was good to go.  I think being bare under his clothes gave him more awareness of what was happening with his body, and he immediately started using the potty without prompting.  After a week went by he chose to use the real toilet, telling me he was too big for the little froggy potty.  OK!  I was pretty shocked at how easy that was.  He wears a diaper at naptime still, and usually keeps it dry.  The one he wears at bedtime is very wet by morning.  I guess that eventually we'll go through a separate process of nighttime potty training like we did with his sisters. 
- I was just looking through his update at age 2.5.  We've come a long way in a few short months!  6 months ago he was still in a crib that he wasn't even climbing out of yet; and he was still in diapers with no end in sight.  Shortly after that update he began climbing out of his crib -- of course -- so Tim converted it to a toddler bed.  Once we got here Tim discovered that a part the bed needed as a crib or toddler bed had gone missing in the move.  He set it up as a full bed.  So now he's in a big big boy bed.  He looks a little lost in the middle of it but he likes it.  

- Timmy is very much a people person.  He insists on having his window down every time we go through the guard gate because he wants to greet the Marine there and hear him/her greet him back.  He welcomes every opportunity to meet someone new and tell them his name and age, and ask them questions.  He's so used to the positive attention he gets that he has learned to expect it.  He will stare at a person until they smile at him.  That might make a few people uncomfortable but most seemed charmed wherever we go.  I know this stuff used to make me uncomfortable before I had kids of my own.  I might have given them a little smile or said "how cute" and hoped they were done looking at me.  Would you believe I was not all that into kids before I had mine?  True story: The first time I had dinner at Tim's parents' house and met the family, our older nieces were all age 3 and under.  To impress me (I guess?) they all screamed at the top of their lungs as we sat at the table.  I sat there in my LOFT twinset that had never seen a drop of spit-up and was appalled, and it showed.  They probably all thought, 'She does not like kids.'  I wanted to sink into the floor.  Now I have three champion screechers of my own, but they know not to do it to me too often or for too long because I really CAN NOT stand it.  I put my hands over my ears and run from the room.
Timmy wanted to order his ice water all by himself so I coached him as he waited in line and then as he asked politely for the water.  The gentleman helping him asked me if he could buy him a donut, and I think it would have made his day (the man's), but I said, "No thanks, I already got him one.":) 
- He is not all sweetness and charm.  Like any kid his age he sometimes wants to test his boundaries at times and find out if I really mean what I say.  He seems to know when my guard is down, and when to push his luck, i.e., opening the fridge when I've told him he can't have a snack or demanding things in a whiny voice. A fun time out can quickly become painful when he starts loudly demanding to go home.  I can easily see how an adorable two or especially three-year-old becomes a tiny tyrant.  He needs a firm no and he needs to be reminded that he's not in charge.  I think Tim and I do a good job of this because in general he is a sweet boy and very pleasant to be around.  He does really well as long as he's on his routine and he gets his nap every day.  He deteriorates badly when he's tired, and post-lunch/pre-nap is prime time for moodiness and tantrums.  All of my kids have their moments but it is so nice when family or friends mention how well-behaved they are.  It lets me know we're doing something right -- either that or we're just extraordinarily lucky.
- He and his sisters play really well together for the most part, even though Annie loves to pick on him.  They've taught him to think everything "booty" or "bum"- related is hilarious.  They get frustrated with him sometimes because they'll have their stuffed animals arranged a certain way for a game they're playing; and then he'll run them over with his dump truck.  Repeatedly.  So there's a lot of "Timmy, if you can't play nicely with them you'll have to go to your own room to play."  He's going to miss them when they start school in a couple weeks but doesn't mind his own company either.  He still likes to put his cars and trucks in lines, and he'll have them talk or even sing, it sounds like, as he moves them around.  Delaney is the one who is nicest to him and he is a lot more affectionate with her than with Annie.  For Annie, picking on him is like an itch she has to scratch.  She obviously loves him and thinks he's cute like the rest of us do, but at the same time he annoys her.  She's probably thinking, 'Stop being so adorable.'  

- This is random, but it needs to be recorded somewhere in the blog: Sometimes when he's sleeping he makes a noise like a siren, like a tonal noise that starts quietly, builds up to a crescendo and dies back down.  It makes sleeping in the same room with him difficult, but it's not loud enough to wake up the whole house.  Come to think of it, that's the same kind of noise I made while I was in labor with him.  Connection, possibly?  I wish I knew how long he's been doing it.  I don't remember him ever doing it the 5 + months he roomed with me after he was born.  Hmm.

- We're taking him for his checkup in two days, and I will update here with his stats.*  I already know he's only gained three pounds since last year but he's definitely gotten taller.  He's looking very svelte now, especially without that diaper.  He eats like a typical three-year-old -- that is to say, poorly.  He's a picker.  He hasn't eaten a vegetable in the longest time, and no matter how small I make his servings there always seems to be a lot left over when he's done.  But he loves whole milk

That's about it!  Phew - I'm glad to be done with kid birthdays for awhile.

* Timmy is 30.86 pounds and 38 inches tall -- 42nd percentile for weight and 65th for height.  It's funny how important percentiles still are to me.

Friday, July 25, 2014

20 questions for Timmy for his 3rd birthday

1) What is your favorite color?  Um, orange.
2) What is your favorite toy?  Um.. my van.
3) What is your favorite stuffed animal?  Lions.  Do you have any lions?  No. I only have a Wuddy (lovey).  [as he watches me taking notes] Can you draw my Wuddy?
4) What is your favorite thing to sleep with?  Um, Wuddy.
5) What is your favorite fruit?  Grapes.
6) What is your favorite cereal?  Um, oatmeal.
7) What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?  Um, Cheerios.
8) What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch?  Um, grapes?
9) What is your favorite dessert?  Um.. I don't know.  Do you know what dessert is?  You tell me.  It's a treat.  What's your favorite kind of treat?  Blueberries.
10) What is your favorite drink?  Um, milk and water.
11) What do you want to eat for your birthday dinner?  Um, cupcakes.  Cupcakes for dinner?!  [He stares at me and smiles.]  Blueberries..  Hmmm..
12) What is your favorite animal?  Lions.
13) What is your favorite book?  Ladybug Girl.
14) What is your favorite song?  I don't know.
15) What is your favorite game?  Um .. it is.. hmmm..
16) What is your favorite TV show?  Wild Kratts.
17) What is your favorite movie?  Um .. I don't know.
18) What is your favorite thing to do outside?  Um .. play.  Play what?  Play with my motorcycle.
19) Who is your best friend?  Um.. some little kids.  Just any little kids?  I mean big kids.  Can you name one of them?  You tell me what their names are.  [At some point Timmy must have heard one of us answer a question with "you tell me" because it is his favorite response when he's not sure.  It's smart of him -- when he doesn't know he can just put it back in our court!]
20) What do you want to be when you grow up?  Um.. bigger.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

20 questions for Delaney's 7th birthday -- better late than never!

This blog is becoming the place where I start things that I don't finish, and I don't like that. I just remembered today that I'd be giving Timmy his birthday interview soon, and then realized I hadn't done Delaney's. I remedied that right away.

1.What is your favorite color? Blue.
2. What is your favorite toy? Doggy. That's easy, you know that.
3. What is your favorite stuffed animal? I just said that -- doggy.
4. What is your favorite thing to sleep with? Doggy. This is easy!
[At this point I start to wonder what made me think this was a good set of interview questions.]
5. What is your favorite fruit? Pineapple.
6. What is your favorite cereal? Um.. Lucky Charms.
7. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? [I really have to find some better questions.] Um.. Go Lean Crunch.
8. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? Um.. PB&J.
9. What is your favorite dessert? [Pause] Chocolate!
10. What is your favorite drink? Orange juice. [That's a shame since we don't buy any juices anymore. We get enough sugar without them!]
11. What do you want to eat for your birthday dinner? Hamburgers. And that's already passed. Except for tomorrow when we have my birthday again.
12. What is your favorite animal? Doggy! What about a real animal? Doggy! That is a real animal!
13. What is your favorite book? Magic Ponies.
14. What is your favorite song? Two songs.. Carolina (by Parmalee) used to be my favorite but now it's not coming on anymore. And I like Luke Bryan songs too. All Luke Bryan songs? Yes. What's your favorite Luke Bryan song? Play it Again.
15. What is your favorite game? Sorry!
16. What is your favorite TV show? Wild Kratts.
17. What is your favorite movie? Aladdin. And Frozen, definitely Frozen. Both Disney movies. Did you like Maleficent? Yes. I like a lot of movies. And Madagascar.
18. What is your favorite thing to do outside? Ride my bike.
19. Who is your best friend? Um, I don't have any best friends yet.
20. What do you want to be when you grow up? A paleontologist, a zoologist or a vet. I can't pick out of those three. I'm going to be a mom too. That's going to be a busy mom! Yup.:)
Just stay little, Delaney!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

First South Carolina birthday: Delaney turns 7

Delaney as a 7-year-old -- I enjoy her so much.  The thing that delights me most is her maturing sense of humor.
One night Tim and I were talking, and he told me he didn't think we should get the dining room table that we were all set to buy.  He had really good reasons that I agreed with after I thought about it, but at the time I was disappointed and looking mopey.  Delaney said, "Do you need to cry, Mama?  Go on, cry it out," she said.  I rolled my eyes at her but I was amused and it broke the tension.  At moments like this I catch a glimpse of grown up Delaney, and it makes me happy to see.  She's just so easy to get along with and to be around.

One quirk she has -- I guess she's allowed at least one -- is that she gets really put out when asked to share anything.  Tim and I emphasize the importance of sharing a lot, and the kids see us sharing all the time with each other and with them: letting a kid have a bite of what we're having,for example.  We always remind them, "We share in this family."  Annie, and to a lesser extent, Timmy, are on board with the sharing idea.  But Delaney will give you a taste of her ice cream cone only grudgingly, and Annie was disappointed when Delaney didn't offer to let her borrow one of her new sets of pajamas for the night.  Had they been Annie's new pajamas she would have shared.  We try not to make share in most cases because generosity and selflessness are not going to be learned if one is always compelled to share.  But if there's one thing she needs to work on it's that.  Still, I get that she needs to be able to define what's hers and to guard it from her greedy brother and sister, and from her clutter-phobic parents.
Just the other day, while going through boxes and bins, I encountered Delaney's "keep safe box" that she had kept under her bed in North Carolina.  I didn't know what it was at first, but through the clear plastic I could see a lot of what appeared to be garbage, and I almost dumped it into the trash.  Then I remembered.  Inside is a lot of randomness: sticks, twigs, pieces of paper, ribbons, and baggies full of human hair.  I assume that it's Timmy's hair that she collected after a couple of haircuts we gave him at home.  The deal with the "keep safe box" was that whatever fits inside is safe from being thrown away.  I wonder if she'll even miss it.  I'm not throwing it away because a deal's a deal, but I will hide it away until she asks about it.  At some point, probably after the school year starts, she'll start wanting to collecting odd things again and I'll bring out the old "keep safe box".  If it fits it's safe!

I see a big difference in her physically between this year and last year.  She's always been compactly-built and smaller than most of her peers, and still is, but her limbs have lost their toddler-like roundness and I keep noticing the length of thin leg I see sticking out of the bottom of her shorts and skirts now.  When did that happen?  Of course, for some time I've known she must be busy growing because there are many times she eats like an adult.  She devours a cheeseburger from the grownup menu, as we learned while we were eating out almost every lunch and dinner throughout the month of June. (Ugh -- so glad to be done with that.)
Delaney's actual birthday, July 8, was not the most memorable she's ever had.  After days of racing around unpacking and setting things up, and then needing to take her to the ER* one night for a few hours with another ear infection (her second ever - the first was in October), suddenly her birthday was staring me in the face and I hadn't gotten her anything.  I ran out to the Exchange and got her the Fur Real Friends Trixie the Skateboard Dog she'd been eyeing, and a couple other little things.  If I'd put a little more time and thought into her presents I probably would have tried to find her some kind of bird-watching kit with binoculars and a guide book, if such a thing exists.  She likes to watch birds and try to identify them, and she's mentioned that she wishes she had a guide book to figure out what they are.  She would also like one of those bird houses that stick to a window so you can see inside, that she says her cousin Alexa has. (Hint, hint;)  We hung up a birthday banner, blew up some balloons with the helium tank that I'd also gotten since balloons that float are important to us; and Tim wrote 'Happy birthday, Delaney" on the chalkboard since I can't stand the way my handwriting looks on a chalkboard.  Dang you, Pinterest, for ever letting me think I needed a chalkboard in my house, or that my chicken scratch would look cute in chalk.  She wore her birthday girl ribbon all day.  We ate the dinner she had chosen, cheeseburgers, and then sang happy birthday to her with the cake I'd baked from a box.  After she'd blown out the candle, we abandoned the cake in favor of gelato at our new favorite place to get treats, Common Ground.  We ate ice cream and watched the boats, the kids played at the playground nearby and then we went home and called it a day.  We'll be celebrating her birthday again next week when we have family visiting.
What else is new with Delaney..?  Right after we moved here, she and her sister learned how to ride bikes.  Back in NC, Tim had removed the training wheels and the pedals of their bikes after watching kid learn to ride bikes just by balancing and coasting around on the two wheels with nothing else.  They didn't make much progress that way.  Then while Tim was unpacking the garage here, they hounded him about putting the pedals back on until he finally gave in just so they'd leave him alone.  Within an hour or two they both were pedaling up and down the long driveway that we share with all the other houses on our side of the street.  Tim thinks she needs a new bike soon but I think the reason she's so comfortable using the brakes is because her feet reach the ground so easily.  When I was her age and first learning to ride my brand-new shiny appropriate-sized bike, I used to jump off while it was still moving and got wicked scrapes on my legs.
She remains fascinated with every kind of creature big and small, and she knows that she has just three years to go until she gets the dog that we promised we'd get when she turns 10.  We thought she'd forget but she'll never forget. She talks about it all the time, so I'd better start planning and researching what kind of canine companion we'll end up with.  I'd like to rescue a nice dog who's not very old but has already been housebroken and has a nice mellow personality and doesn't destroy things.  Until that day she gets to pet all the dogs in our new neighborhood because there are a LOT.  Everyone but us has at least one dog.  Delaney will be friends with all of them in no time.
I am sure there is plenty I'm forgetting.  This is not my most thorough birthday update.  I've been working on it for awhile because it's been so hard to just focus and get it done.  Also, Tim and I are sharing the laptop since our desktop didn't survive the move.  It's not perfect but here it is!

*I want to clarify that I don't take my kids to the ER for everything that goes wrong with them.  It just so happens that the things that go wrong usually happen at night or on the weekends, and our insurance doesn't cover urgent care, but it does cover ER visits.  Just like the time in October, Delaney spent all day Sunday looking worse and worse and complaining more and more, until finally I was like, why wait?  The ibuprofen isn't helping, this isn't going away.  Tim acts like I'm overreacting, but the way I see it is I'd rather take one kid and spend a few hours in the ER on a Sunday evening (especially if I know that the way things are, sleep that night won't be a possibility) than wait until the next day when he's at work and take all three kids to the doctor, and then to wait at the pharmacy afterward.  This time when I took her there was a lengthy wait, but they gave her the first dose of antibiotics there, and then I just had to go to the pharmacy the next morning.  So there, just in case you were wondering.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Moving update

I can't stand being behind on my blogging so I'll just do a quick update.  I still need to post about our vacation in St. Augustine (waiting for a few more pictures -- ahem, Mom:), and Delaney's birthday is in less than a week.  I don't have anything prepared for that.  We just moved in to our new house a few days ago, and there's so much still needing to be done.  But Tim and the kids just left to go to Lowe's and knowing that I have probably at least an hour to myself at this point, I just couldn't bring myself to do anything productive.:)

I feel like we've been in the process of moving for forever.  Going 40 days without a home took its toll on us all.  Now we're here and working at a furious pace to get things in order before Tim goes to work Monday.  I kept wanting to wait until we had things at least 85% around here and then do a post with a lot of pictures, but I don't know when that will be.  It is so nice to finally have a place we can call home for awhile again, and I need to keep reminding myself of that whenever I get frustrated with how long it's taking to get everything the way we want it inside.  We've got our nice cozy beds to sleep in, a table to eat at, and that's more than we had just a couple days ago.  After Disney, and after our week in the condo at Harbor Island, we spent four days just camping out in here with sleeping bags and our coffee maker, and nothing else.  It wasn't fun.  On the first night we spent here we saw a lot of those big cockroaches that were our friends in NC as well.  (I know they're still around, but I haven't been seeing them in the house since that first night).  Anyway, that first night as I lay there in the sleeping bag on the bedroom floor, thinking, 'This is so much better than that lumpy mattress I slept in last night.  The floor is nice and flat and firm.. It will do nicely,' I had no idea what I was in for.  At some point later as I slept on my stomach I awoke to a tickly feeling on my arm.  I raised myself up quickly on my hands and saw the dark shape fall on my sleeping bag.  "Oh no, oh no, oh no.." I cried as I scrambled out of my bag and dived over Tim's body.  He wasn't happy to be waking up and having to kill a cockroach, and I was as annoyed with him as he was with me.  It was on my arm.  My arm.  I did not sleep much after that.  I turned on the bathroom lights and and kept them on all night the next two nights, and that seemed to keep them at bay.  And like I said, I haven't seen any more of them in the house, but I am not fool enough to think that doesn't mean they're here.  I am accustomed to their presence after four years in NC, and I've found them in all kinds of places, but it really freaked me out to have on climbing on me.  

I'd forgotten how overwhelming it is to have a house full of boxes once the movers leave, but we made quick work of them.  The kids really rose to the occasion and they were awesome little helpers.  We gave them a couple chores and promised them some vague reward, and I figured they'd work for a little while until they got bored and started to complain.  But they were eager to help.  One of the things I hate most about unpacking a box is having to deal with all the paper and make it into nice neat stacks.  This time I would unwrap an object and hand the paper off to one of the girls and they would go smooth it out and lay it in a stack for me.  Even Timmy helped to some extent.  They did that and more, and Tim and I were both very pleased with them and told them so.  They're good kids.

It's back to work for me now.  I've wasted enough time.  Eek -- all afternoon we've been having rainy/ threatening storm kind of weather, and I just jumped out of my skin as I heard another loud buzzer outside giving us the "all clear" for the "lightning within 5 miles" warning we got a while ago.  This will take some getting used to.  They've been happening all afternoon -- alarms, buzzers, warnings and all clears over lightning.  I hate to see the fuss they'll make over a hurricane.  The first time it happened we didn't know what it was and couldn't understand the voice on the loudspeaker except for the part about "all personnel take cover."  Crazy.

Once we get things put away and things set up how we want them, I will post some pictures.  It's been a lot more of a challenge than we expected, getting our things that fit so well in the house before, to fit in these spaces.  It's hard for both of us to be patient about this because we need it done YESTERDAY, with him going back to work in just a short few days.  Eventually we'll get there.
Home sweet home
Our house has lots of shade from these beautiful mossy oaks which are everywhere around here.  

The inside of this house might be in a bit of disarray, but I love how my summer wreath looks against the black door.  It's the small things.
View out the back door.  Behind the big tree on the left is a playground we can shoo the kids off to. Just under the trees on the right you can see the female recruit battalion's parade deck.  The kids love to watch the recruits and before Timmy knew what to call them he said, "Mama, where the kids who are trying to be Marines?"  Apt description.
I snapped this while out for a run around the neighborhood.