Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sugar Sugar

Today was one of those days.

You know the type.

A day where you need a little sugar to make it through.

So I had:
  • A coca-cola
  • Some M&M's
  • A cookie
  • Chocolate turtle cake (and no, there weren't any backyard turtles in it - just caramel)

And some chips. You know - to counteract the effect of the sugar.

Maybe tomorrow will be a veggie day. I hope so, at least.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I Dream of Owen

One of my favorite things about the new camera is how fast it takes pictures. With my old camera, I would click the button and w-a-i-t-f-o-r-e-v-e-r and then *snap*, the picture would take. By that time whatever cute thing I'd been trying to capture was over and done with, and my perfectly composed shot would consist merely of a ponytail flapping in the wind.

But this new This thing is so flipping fast! I just go *click* *click* *click* and it takes the pictures right then and there. It's amazing.

The only trouble with the quick shutter speed is the effect it seems to have on my little Owen.

For whatever reason, the sound of the camera click turns Owen into a miniature-sized little boy version of "I Dream of Jeannie." It is quite remarkable. He can perfectly time his blinks with every click of the camera. He also adds a head nod for emphasis and sometimes his own little personal sound effect. I think he'd add the arm motions too, but he's usually too busy eating crackers.

He finds himself hilarious.

(So do I. Which is probably why he keeps doing it.)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Parenting Dilemmas

When your three year old daughter repeatedly gets out of bed at night, some parenting experts might tell you that it's time to get tough. Especially when said three year old won't let her two-year old little brothers fall asleep either. Because she climbs into their cribs. And sings at the top of her lungs. And towel whips them with her blanket.

But I wouldn't know, because being a parent to three kids aged three and under means you don't have time to purchase parenting books, let alone read them. Or even if you do have time to read them, you certainly don't have the time to comprehend them. And the sleep books are the worst - I remember desperately trying to read Weissbluth when the twins were babies. I didn't understand a word of it. The only person it put to sleep in this house was me, which didn't help much because I only got about two hours before the twins woke me up again.

So since we are lacking in both time and reading comprehension skills, Scott and I just wing it the best we can.

Let's take tonight, for example.

1. Your daughter has been running around upstairs for the past 15 minutes. You yell up various warnings, then finally make your way up there to give her a stern talking-to. You walk in her room, only to find her drawing squares on an etch-a-sketch while wearing a santa hat. Do you:

(a) Proceed with the stern talking-to.

(b) Congratulate her for knowing her shapes.

(c) Remove the first santa hat, only to find a second santa hat underneath it, and a third santa hat underneath that - then you start laughing, because come on! Three santa hats? That's funny.

2. After taking the santa hats away, you head back downstairs only to hear your daughter start to run around again. Your husband handles this one. When he asks "WHAT are you doing up there?", she responds "I'm putting M&M's in your room for when the sun comes up, daddy!" Do you:

(a) Go upstairs and give her a stern talking-to.

(b) Investigate how she got her hands on M&M's at 9:30 pm.

(c) Think to yourself, "Mmm, candy for breakfast."

3. After expressing pride that your daughter is finally starting to share (and with candy, no less!), you get her settled back into bed only to hear her hollering in the hallway a few moments later. When you tell her to go back to bed, she says "I have a present for daddy!" Do you:

(a) Go upstairs and give her a stern talking-to.

(b) Get extremely nervous about what the "present" might be.

(c) Yell upstairs that going to sleep would be the best present she could ever give her daddy.

4. It is now 10:43 pm. Your daughter yells down the stairs at you that her sheet fell off her bed. There is a 99.99% probability that she put it on the floor on purpose. Do you:

(a) Go upstairs and give her a stern talking-to.

(b) Go upstairs and tuck her back into bed.

(c) Yell upstairs that you'll turn the air conditioner down so she doesn't need it.

(In case it's not obvious, we picked (c) every time.)

And there you go. It only took 3 hours to get her to fall asleep. I mean, really - who needs Weissbluth when you've got stellar parenting skills like us?? Right??

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Bee Not Afraid

Yesterday was a gorgeous day here in Nebraska, so when I got home from work I threw our french doors open and let the kids roam in and out of the house as they pleased. The boys were so excited that they refused to sit at the table to eat dinner.

"Who could eat egg salad at a time like this?", I'm sure they were thinking as I put their lovingly prepared meal on the table in front of them. Then when my back was turned, they hightailed it out to the backyard.

I convinced Ashley to stay put by engaging in questionable parenting practices - I promised her strawberry ice cream. With chocolate syrup.

She reluctantly accepted the terms of our arrangement (i.e., eat your dinner first), but eventually plowed through and was enormously pleased with herself that she would be getting strawberry ice cream for finishing her meal while her brothers would not.

(I said a silent prayer that the boys would remain outside during the strawberry ice cream portion of the evening, since I have not yet figured out how to say "No ice cream unless you finish your dinner!" in monkey language).

So I headed to the freezer to get the ice cream, when the unthinkable happened.

A bee flew into the house.

A bee!

I grabbed Ashley and we ran to the hallway to take cover. She said "Where are the boys, mommy?" And I replied "It's too late for them - we have to save ourselves!" I stood there, panicked, watching the bee circle our family room, and weighed our options:

1. Run for the backyard. Shut the door behind us, thus trapping the bee inside until Scott got home from school to fumigate the house.

2. Text Scott and tell him he needs to get out of class ASAP and come home because our house had been invaded by a swarm of angry wasps (you have to make it dramatic if you want fast action, right?)

3. Do nothing, and pray like hell that the bee manages to find its way out of the house through the still-open french doors.

4. Take a deep breath, find the fly swatter and try to kill it dead.

I still can't believe it myself, but I went for Option #4.

I found the fly swatter conveniently placed on the counter within arm's reach, got some final words of advice from Ashley ("Hit it with that, mommy"), took a deep breath, started my approach, and...

...the bee flew out the door.

Oh, thank goodness. I don't think I had it in me.

Next item on the Home Depot list: Screen doors.

Monday, May 18, 2009

As Seen In My Backyard

The other day I was watching a program on television. I cannot remember what the program was, although I assume it was something on Noggin or Sprout, since the children will not allow anything else to be played in their presence.

Wait, I take that back. They will let me play the digital cable music channels. Unless I start to sing. Or dance. Then they get angry. (How can a 3 year old and two 2 year olds already be so embarassed by a singing/dancing mother?? I will never become a triple threat if they keep this up).

Anyways, I was only paying half-attention to whatever it was I was watching, until it was time for the commercials. We are a TiVo household, so normally we zip right on through the commercials (ba-doop-ba-doop! ba-doop). But something stopped me that day.

It was kismet.

Because the commercial that came on was for the coolest invention EVER!!!

Sidenote: I'm easily swayed by "As Seen On TV" advertising. Not only do I get way over excited about the actual product, I get positively giddy about all the little doo-dads they throw in for free if you call within the next 20 minutes. The whole thing is just so exciting.

There have been a lot of really good products advertised on tv lately (e.g., Bumpits, anyone??? Fabulous!) But this one just spoke to me and I knew I HAD to have it...

The topsy turvy tomato grower thingamajig!! I didn't actually order it off of tv - I'm way too impatient to do that. Plus, the last time I ordered something off of tv (Monster Ballads, if you're curious - oh, the classics! This was before iTunes, baby - I was still rocking my portable CD player at the time, thank you very much), the person I talked to tried to upsell me for the next 45 minutes, and I hate having to say "No-thank-you-but-have-a-nice-day!!" super fast and then hanging up the phone on someone mid-sentence. (I can't help but be nice to telemarketers, seeing how I was one for a few short months in college. Worst.Job.Ever.)

Since Scott was headed off to Home Depot anyway, he checked out the garden area for me to see if they had any of "those tomato things my wife saw on tv." And they did! And the Home Depot guy said they're selling like hotcakes! (not to be confused with pancake puffs.)

So Scott bought me a couple to hang from the pergola. I'm sooooo excited. We'll see how long I can keep them alive - I have a really good feeling about this one.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Pictures of You

Have I mentioned how much I love my new camera?????

Well, I do.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


The boys love it when I push them on the swings.

But when the ratio of kids to mom is 3:1...

Sometimes they have to improvise.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Maintaining Balance: A Fairy Tale

Once upon a time...

...there was a working mom, named Schmegan. Schmegan thought that balancing a demanding career and the needs of three children with a husband in school would be a piece of cake.

"No problem! I can do it!" said Schmegan, time and time again.

Then one day at work, a partner asked Schmegan if she could be on a conference call at 6:00 pm that night. The only trouble was, Schmegan's husband would be in class at that very same time.

"No problem! I can do it!" said Schmegan.

So Schmegan drove home from work early that day, sent her husband off to school with a kiss, gave the kids a snack, turned on their favorite show, spread out her legal paperwork on the kitchen table and got ready to dial in.

Beep-boop-beep-boop-boop-beep-beep-beep-boop (etcetera etcetera...there are a lot of numbers to dial on those dang conference calls.)

At the tone, please state your name followed by the pound key.

"Schmegan," said Schmegan optimistically.

Thank you. You will now be placed into conference.

Little did Schmegan know, however, that one of her children (let's call her Schmashley) had heard Schmegan dialing in, and was about to subject her mother to what is known as a "career-limiting move."

No sooner had Schmegan said to the gathered conferencees: "We have a situation where [insert boring legal situation here]...", when Schmashly popped up out of nowhere and said:

"Mommy, let me talk?"

Schmegan flashed her dagger eyes at Schmashley, and emphatically pointed at the snack/television diversion items she had so thoughtfully prepared pre-conference call. However, the dagger eyes backfired, as they only convinced Schmashley further that this must be a really good conversation.

"Mommy, I want to talk! I want to talk! I want to talk! I want to talk!"

Schmegan panicked - what to do? Her fellow conferencees could clearly hear Schmashley hollering her desire to participate while struggling to pry the phone away from Schmegan's ear. Schmashley is loud. And strong. Schmegan finally managed to regain the upper hand, but only at the expense of sending Schmashley into a full-fledged tantrum.

By this time, Schmashley's identical twin brothers (Schmaidan and Schmowen) had picked up on the fact that there was something much more interesting going on in the kitchen than whatever they were watching on television. Schmegan tried to overcome the mass chaos erupting around her by talking louder, but with Schmashley freaking and Schmaidan and Schmowen starting to join in, Schmegan decided her only chance was to make a run for it.

Unfortunately, Schmegan chose to run through the living room, which her husband had recently converted into a deluxe cardboard box fort/castle play area, so the run was more like a mouse and cheese maze than the mad dash for the front porch she had envisioned.

But eventually, Schmegan made it to the front porch, where she continued the conference call in relative peace after apologizing profusely for trying to practice law in the presence of three toddlers. The other conferencees were gracious, and Schmegan crossed her fingers that they couldn't hear the muffled sounds of three tiny bodies hurling themselves against the door in an effort to follow her outside.

Luckily, the conference was cut short due to spotty reception on another participant's part, so Schmegan was able to head back inside a few moments later. Once the children realized their mother was back within the four walls of the building, they all delightfully exclaimed "Mama!" and clamored to hold her hand.

Schmashley said "I want dinner, Mommy." And Schmegan said:

"No problem! I can do it!"

And they all lived happily ever after.

(At least until the next evening conference call.)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

What a weekend.

Yesterday we made Great Strides in the fight against cystic fibrosis for my niece.

Then today we celebrated Mother's Day. My children (with help from their dad) brought me breakfast in bed. Everything was delicious - especially the strawberries, or so they told me.

Scott gave me the day to do whatever I wanted - at first I thought I would spend it as a lady of leisure, catching up on my TiVo'd episodes of One Tree Hill (we all have our vices) interspersed with spontaneous napping.

However, I surprised us all by instead choosing to clean out everybody's closets. Oh, how glorious it was to have a day devoted solely to organization!! I cleaned and tidied and organized to my heart's content, with a few pauses here and there to play with Ashley and snuggle Owen and tickle Aidan. And a pause or two to remember the little one I never got to meet, the one I lost so early on that Mother's Day long ago.

Now all my little ones are tucked into bed, and Mother's Day is almost over. But I still have a half hour left of unlimited back rubs from Scott. Whoever invented this holiday was a genius.

Happy Mother's Day to all of you mothers out there - I hope your day was as lovely as mine!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Turtle Time

Nothing cute and/or funny happened today, either.

So I'm just going to post my second-choice backyard turtle photo from yesterday's post.

Note: This is not the same turtle. Or at least I don't think it is.

Isn't it crazy to have wild turtles roaming free in your backyard? I was always flummoxed whenever I saw one crawling around. Where did it come from? Where was it going? Didn't it need a lake or an ocean or something to survive??

And isn't it fun to say the word turtle?

We didn't have backyard turtles when I was growing up in Nebraska. At least not in my neighborhood. St. Louis, on the other hand, is quite the turtle mecca. So much so, that fancy restaurants in the Lou like to serve up a little concoction known as "turtle soup."

I tried it once, unbeknownst to me.

Well, I knew it was turtle soup...but I thought it was a trick name, you know. Like these kinds of turtles...

I was wrong.

I knew after the first bite that something was horribly wrong with my turtle soup...

(It was made out of turtle.)

I couldn't look my backyard turtles in the eye again after that. Oh, the guilt...

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Spaces and Places

I have been struggling with blogger’s block lately.

I like to think of this space as my little parenting haven, where I get to reflect on all the lovely and amusing aspects of raising three children. This usually involves me focusing on whatever made me laugh most that day, but I also have a tendency to get a wee bit sentimental (sorry, Matt). But no matter what I write, there is one thing about this blog that is constant....I have always found something positive to say about parenting.

Until now.

Apparently my three muses (i.e., the children), have been abducted by aliens and replaced with demon spawn. Or something like that. Basically, Aidan and Owen have fully committed themselves to the terrible two’s, and Ashley has decided to mentor them through it.

They have done nothing cute lately. Nada. Zip. Zilch.



So, instead of blogging about my children, I’m instead going to write about backyards.

Yes, backyards.

Bear with me for a moment while I wax nostalgic...

A few months after Scott and I got married, we purchased our first home. I loved this was perfect in every way, and easily could have been my forever home.

Scott was less convinced - apparently it didn’t have some important man-things like a walk-out basement (who cares about the basement anyway?). But he gave in when he saw me fall in love with the backyard.

This house had a view. Granted, this was St. Louis we're talking about, so the types of potential views were limited - but I loved looking out our bay window to the forest behind our house. And before you got to the forest, there was a huuuuuuge backyard.

It was perfect for Ashley to run around on in the summer time.

And perfect for me to photograph in the winter time.

Perfect for Scott to stargaze from at night time.

And perfect for various wildlife to explore no matter what time...deer and turtles and birds, oh my! (Sorry. I had to say it. But I admit it doesn't have the same ring to it.)

Then life changed and we decided to move back to Nebraska.

In our new backyard, the child-friendly running space is much more limited. And my "view" looks into our back neighbors' rec room. And the glare from the Target across the way limits Scott's stargazing abilities. And the only animals who visit us are bunnies and two angry stray cats who like to rumble at midnight.

But even so, I find myself out in our new backyard way more than I ever was in St. Louis.

My muses wouldn't have it any other way.