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Archive for April, 2013

I distinctly remember a phone call when my twins where a few weeks old.  This is pretty amazing when you think about the sleep deprivation I was experiencing at this point of my life.  From about 30 weeks on in my pregnancy, I was experiencing such horrible carpel tunnel that I was probably only getting a few hours of sleep at a time.  I remember looking forward to the birth of my babies so I could finally get a decent few hours of sleep.  It’s rather comical what a pregnant mom thinks.  At a few weeks post birth, I was probably averaging somewhere around 45 minutes at a time every few hours.  I was still on singleton baby mentality.  One baby would wake up, I’d change him, feed him, rock him, love on him and then put him to bed and lay down.  As soon as I fell asleep the second little one would wake up.  Repeat and repeat and repeat until you realize that there is a reason they use sleep deprivation to torture people.

Anyways, I distinctly remember my best friend calling to share the good news of a pregnancy.  All of our kids are within a year of each other.  We’ve never actually shared a pregnancy, which is why we  probably kept having kids because we always got to hold an adorable baby and then wanted one of our own.  For every kid I have, she has a little girl.  Some people have all of the luck.  (And from the week I’ve been having with my teenager, I’ll just say it’s me.)

Her:  I’m going to have a baby!

Me:  OH MY GOODNESS ARE YOU SURE?!?!  Because this is miserable.  I am so, so, sorry.  Why did we not remember how miserable this was.  Why did you not remind me?  This is not fun.  You know how you dream of all these bonding moments, breast feeding in the middle of the night, holding hands, looks of adoration?  It’s all BS, these babies have no feelings they just want the boob and want you to change them.  And the laundry they make and I’ve been defecated on no fewer than 8 times today.  And it’s not just the babies who are needy, it’s all the other kids too.  And quite frankly, at this point I have more invested in the other kids, so the guilt is unbearable.  When I just want to take a nap, I find myself laying on the floor pretending to do a puzzle with my eyes closed because I know the four-year-old needs some mommy love.  I am so exhausted.  Infancy is hell.  I sure hope we haven’t misinterpreted the data for toddlers.  Because at this point, you should really reconsider getting pregnant.  Like maybe adopt your baby to your worst enemy.  Or at the very least give her to your sister for a the first few months.  Win.  Win.  I am so sorry.  You’re life is going to suck.

My poor best friend.  She probably was not expecting that.  I rained all over her parade and then invited Godzilla to come run through the soggy wet mess.

I remember this phone call every time someone gets pregnant.  And then each month when I’m not.

Surprisingly, the memories of that torture haven’t diminished but they’ve been overshadowed with thousands of other memories so precious that all the sleep deprivation in the world couldn’t tarnish.  Memories of late night nursings that do involve cuddling, sleeping infants with full bellies and sweet smiles, sloppy wet toddler kisses, the first coos, the first I love yous, spontaneous hugs and kisses, chubby little hands and fingers, the way a toddler walks,  those moments when you are the funniest lady ever, infectious baby laughter.  Those memories win out every time.

Let’s hope it’s that way with a puppy too.

I can't help it if I'm her favorite...

 

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Because I can

Because babies aren't sweet enough

Today, I made this adorable cupcake hat for a baby and then I did this:

Because I can

Mckayla:  Don’t worry Hedy, I don’t like this any more than you do.  Why are we doing this?

Me:  Because I can.  Isn’t she adorable!

Her:  Did you make this for her?

Me:  No, I made it for the church bazaar.

Her:  What if the baby who gets this is allergic to dogs.

Me:  Too bad for them.  or maybe I’ll hand wash it first…

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I mustache you a question

for whatever reason, this is Mike’s go to picture face.  Some kids have silly smiles, do self bunny ears, this kid puts on this face.

A few weeks ago we went to a garage sale and found a file folder filled with printed money.  Not counterfeit money, just money graphics printed on green paper.  It was labeled something ridiculous like $5.  I passed it off, thinking I could just find a pdf on the internet and print my own money.  But then they announced everything 50% off and $2.50 didn’t seem so bad, especially since I knew I’d be way to lazy to do double sided printing.   It was probably $2.50 worth of heavy weight paper.  So, I brought it home and tormented the kids with it.

Nate: Can we cut this?

Me:  No, you have to wait until I can help you.  We have to cut this very carefully.

Jake:  I’m a really good cutter.  I can do it.  It’s not even a squiggly line!

(In my head, I was thinking, BUT YOU MIGHT RUIN THEM!  But then I realized I was worried about paper.)

Me:  Fine.  Be very, very careful.  Cut slowly, in straight lines.  Take finger breaks often if your hands are becoming tired.  

And it was seriously the best $2.50 I ever spent.  In hindsight, I would have totally paid the $5.  For probably 2 weeks straight, in every spare moment Nate and Jake cut out fives, tens twenties and the occasional hundred.  The were serious ballers.   We have a gaggle of kindergarteners come over every week and one week they had a cutting party.  Turns out cutting is universally considered fun among the 6 and under crowd.

Also, it turns out that moms find scissors just as entertaining when they mustache their children.

 

 

 

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I have given up hope that Dave will ever say yes to another baby.  My ovaries might be overacting every month, all dressed up with their good bra and matching panties and cleavage shirt on and ready to go, but they’ve got nowhere to go and no one to go with.  All little insinators of mass fertilization are blocked at the gate and alas, it’s always lonely up in my reproductive tract.

This week friends came over with their baby and she was the first baby to put her tiny little feet on our stairs.  This house will never hold a baby crib or hear late night feedings.  This poor, poor house.  All those sweet baby kisses and laughs just broke my poor little heart too.  Though there isn’t much I can do about getting a baby*, there are a lot of things I can get instead.  First, I decided I wanted a dog.

Dave:  Want kind of dog do you want?

Me:  I don’t know.  I’m torn between a big dog who we can take camping and would run with me if I ever decided to run again, and who can run around with kids and jump in the car.  Or a little tiny dog who I can carry in my purse and dress up every day.  I think I have it narrowed down between a Labrador and a Yorkie.

And when you tell an engineer you’re thinking of doing or buying something, it results in extensive research.  An engineer never impulse buys.

Dave:  Turns out that Yorkies aren’t very good with kids.

Me:  I guess we could get a lab now and then when the kids are grown we could get a Yorkie.  It will be our airplane dog.  She’ll fit in my purse with the little bow in her hair, and we’ll take her everywhere in your airplane.  We will name her Kathrine Elizabeth Cordelia.  A Yorkie may be the perfect retirement/empty nest dog.

And so the hunt for a Labrador began.  I scoured Craigslist and the local shelters.  We needed a puppy, because I really wanted one.  And we already have Frank, the killer bunny, and 20 chickens.  We need to train a puppy not to kill our already existing pets.

Serindipideously, Sunday evening  I found a puppy available to adopt Monday morning from the Humane Society.

I printed out the preliminary adoption application.

Me:  I don’t know how to fill out some of these questions.

Dave:  Like what?

Me:  Well, it asks how old everyone is.  Should I lie and say the twins are 6, every web site says “not for kids under 5”.  I don’t want them to rule us out because they don’t know how awesome our twins are.

Dave:  Just put 5 and 11/12.  What else?

Me:  There’s this trick question, ‘How often will your dog go outside’  What is the right answer?  2 hours, 4 hours? 

Dave:  How about, ‘ as much as he wants to’.   You know these aren’t hard questions. 

Me:  What if they won’t let us have a puppy.  What if we don’t qualify.  How ironic, we can raise 5 humans but not a puppy from the pound. 

When we got to the humane society we were an hour early.  We were the only ones there.

10:15 another car pulls in.

10:25  A truck pulls up.

10:35 Another car drives in the parking lot.

10:40 Two guys get out of the truck.

10:42 A lady emerges from her car.

Dave:  Well, if someone gets out, we all have to.

Me:  Do you think they are all here for Licorice?

Dave:  You could ask them.

Me:  No way. Then we’ll have to block them at the door.

By 10:50 There was quite a crowd around the door, including a few families with little kids talking about the puppies they were going to bring home.  I was getting quite anxious.  And deciding if I wanted this puppy bad enough to break a 4-year-old’s heart.  I did.

Dave:  Well, it looks like you and that other guy might be the only ones who can read directions, since you’re the only ones out of this crowd who has the preadoption application.

Me:  Or maybe everyone else is already preapproved.  I’m getting kind of nervous. 

The whole time, I’ve been positioning myself closest to the door.  So that I can be first in when the door opens (which I am not).  Fortunately the first two people in line hadn’t filled out their predoption application.  Thorough reading and direction following FOR THE WIN!

Me:  Hi!  I’m here to adopt Licorice!  

Her:  And will there be a problem with any of your other household members who aren’t with you.  Why aren’t they here?

Me:  Well, we didn’t want to break their little hearts if we didn’t get her.   If we don’t, they’ll cry and want something else, and we might end up going home with Giana, the geriatric diabetic cat over there with 4 teeth.

We went through a very quick interview and were left with the dog.

Please ignore my shaved belly, I'm now unreproducable.

Hedy

Me:  Oh, my gosh, I think if she likes us and we like her they’re going to let us take her home.

Dave: That’s kind of how it works.  I don’t think they’re too picky who takes the dogs home from the rescue shelter.  I think they really only care if you have $250. 

And $250 later we were the proud owner of a lab puppy.

When I brought her home, the kids were ecstatic.  We fight about who gets to sit closest to her, who gets to hold her leash, who gets to take her out to poo.  I can only hope that they are just excited about that next week.

We decided that though we loved licorice, she needed a better name.

Stormy, Abyss, Angel of Darkness, Gold, Killer, Cocoa, Richard Parker.

Me:  That’s a boy name.  And if she was a he, I’d name him Sean Connery or Indiana Jones.

Nate:  How about Christina? 

Me:  I don’t think Auntie Red would appreciate us naming a dog after her.  If she was yellow, we could name her Sunny, after my grandma. 

Dave:  I love that!  Sunny, is now the forerunner. 

Me:  I’m pretty sure my grandma wouldn’t appreciate a dog being named after her. I don’t think she even liked dogs, and I’m not sure if I could ever yell at a dog with my grandma’s name.  

We consulted the great internet.  I searched for famous women mathematicians.  I was partial to Sofja 

Mike:  Are you sure that’s a woman?

Dave:  Why a mathematician? 

Me:  I just think it would be better to be named after someone who discovered Calculus rather than a piece of candy.  Let’s keep the bar high. 

Dave:  How about Heddy, a beautiful smart actress who invented wifi?

Me:  It’s perfect!

And so is she!

A canvas for crochet torchet

*without losing a husband, and I’ll choose this guy over a new baby every time.

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marshall pitching

Baseball consumes our lives.  We eat, sleep, and breathe baseball.  We’ve figured that pretty much all of our time and disposable income goes to baseball.  Between the four boys, I think I spend about 30 hours a week driving to baseball practices, waiting at practices and watching games.

All of our conversations are consumed by baseball related facts.  Which team is in first place.  Who hit a home run this week.  What bat did they use.  How many pitches did so and so pitch in each game.  Can I pitch on Tuesday’s game.  Is there practice.  Are the fields flooded.  Couldn’t we just put in turf fields on all the fields.  I’m starting to find myself an expert on all things little league.

Dave is becoming even more of an expert.  Marshall wanted a new bat.  A $250 bat.  I wondered if maybe the bat was full of dollar bills.  Or if it was guaranteed a hit every at bat.  At this point in Dave’s research, I’m pretty sure that he could give up his job in Electrical Engineering and become a bat engineer.  Last week we decided to bite the bullet and order the bat.   Every day Marshall tracked the package.  What he failed to notice was that Amazon hadn’t actually processed the order.  On the day it was supposed to arrive, and didn’t, I checked the tracking.  I updated my credit cards expiration date and broke the news to marshall that he’d have to wait a few more days for el expensivo (what I’ve decided to name his bat).

Yesterday Fed Ex came at noon and brought me a new chicken feeder and watering system.  The look of disappointment on Marshall’s face was precious.  He went back to checking the bat’s tracking website followed by sitting on the porch waiting for the UPS man.  If he was a more demonstrative kid, he’d probably have kissed him when he arrived in time to take el expensivo to the game.

el expensivo

I wish I had gotten a clearer picture.  It’s almost like the look of a proud dad holding his first born son.  The look in his eye says, “Oh, baby, we’re going to have one amazing season.  I can almost count all the home runs.”

the proud owner and the picture hogs

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Bedtime is one of my favorite parts of the day.  It’s not just the peace that comes after a long day of noisy boys.  Nor is it the moment when all the kids disappear into their rooms and I can have an adult conversation without any arguing or fart noises, without any sounds of armed attack or crying or complaining.  That is nice though.

It’s the whole bedtime routine I love.  The reading and the cuddling, the singing, the tucking in, the million drinks of water, the giggling and talking long after they were tucked in.  I especially love it when Dave is home and he sings to the kids.  Dave has this amazing ability to remember any song he’s ever heard.  He can sing all the words, he’s got the general tune.  From a tone deaf wife, who can’t remember the words to the “Wheels on the Bus”, I’m constantly amazed.  I rarely participate in this nightly singing ritual.    It’s too much pressure for me. I am glad that my children haven’t inherited this fear of performing.  Nathaniel will sing along whether it’s the hundredth time or the first he’s heard the song.  He’ll sing along even if the song’s in a different language.  It’s rather sweet.

Dave’s song selection runs the gambit from Contemporary to hymns.  The twins especially love the duck song, it’s usually their first request, it’s the Freebird of our house.  They also regularly request The Man in the Moon Song,but Dave normally saves that one for the eve of a business trip.

When Dave is gone, the song repertoire is much smaller (and sometimes replaced with an extra chapter or picture book).  I class it up with songs like: Jesus loves me, The Barney Theme song, the ABC song, George of the Jungle, or Jingle Bells Batman Smells (as an aside, my cousin taught the kids this song when he came to visit.  When he left the twins told me how impressed they were that he had made up such an amazingly awesome song right on the spot. I let them go on believing he was the author of that little gem.)

Some nights, when Dave is singing, I’ll walk down the hall and hear Our God is awesome God, in Spanish.  Or maybe some B.I.G.G.Y.  Nothing is really off limits for Dave, but each session is normally ended with a hymn.   Nothing sounds sweeter than a couple of five-year-olds singing about Jesus.

 

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Last spring started the beginning of my “we-will-survive-the-zombie-apocolypse” plan.   We went to the feed store and brought home 6 chickens.  Originally we only wanted  4, but then we were afraid that some of them would be roosters, so we bought 2 more.

The original bunch of ladies

Then mid winter, I decided it would be a great idea to let the ladies out to free range.  Bobby the Bobcat thought it was a great idea too.   Poor Henrietta.  We saw him drag her into the forest.

Marshall:  Wow! That was very nature documentaryish

Me:  I was thinking of the theme song from “Lion King”

Mike:  Hakuna Matatata, means no worries.  Wait?  Why are you thinking of that song?

Me:  No, I was thinking the Elton John song, “The Ciiiircle of Liiiiife” but Hakuna Matata works well too.

McKayla:  Aren’t you going to go rescue her?!?

Me:  No way.  I’m not taking a chicken away from a hungry bobcat and I am definitely not taking a chicken to the vet.

bobcat

Once Bobby got a taste for our ladies, he was unstoppable.  The next day Mike came running in screaming that the bobcat was inside the chicken coop.  Awesome, just awesome.  There went Pooper McPooperson.

We had a bit of a reprieve because Dave chased the bobcat around the yard with a look of menace in his eyes.  Whatever he did worked, and the bobcat was scared into hiding.  Yet when Dave went to China, Bobby came back for some more.  My cousin was spending the week.

Him:  Um, cousin, are your chickens supposed to be out?

Me:  No.

Him:  Oh man!  Bobby is back!  Marshall bring me your baseball bat!  We’re going to protect these chickens!

Somehow Bob had scared the ladies out of the coop and was picking them off one by one.  There went Ducky and Big Momma.  Poor, Poor big Momma.

Now we’re just down to two.  And though we’re not supposed to have favorites, I am a little upset that Mrs. Noisy was the one that made it.  I’m pretty sure she thinks she’s part rooster.

We're the queens of the roost

We’ve bobcat proofed the coop and bought 18 baby peeps.  I don’t know what it is about peeps that makes them so darn adorable.  It makes me sort of forget how disgusting adult chickens are.

Aren't we a little bit adorable

I’ve already started naming them.  Collette, Francesca, Henrietta the second, Katherine, Elizabeth, Genevieve, Victoria…

Nate:  Those are girly names.

Me:  These are girls.  And they’re the only baby girls I’m going to get to have.  If my ovaries can’t overact, I’m going to have 18 babies chickies.

Jake:  How are we going to know who is who, they all look the same?

Me: Maybe we could tag them.  We could write their names on the tags.

Dave:  You’ll be hard pressed to write Genevieve on a small tag.

Me:  Maybe I could crochet them little bonnets.  How tolerant do you think they’ll be of Harry Potter sweaters with their initials on them?

Turns out I wasn’t the first one to think of it.

A CHICKEN SWEATER?!? That sounds AWESOME!

 

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