Sunday, October 31, 2010

The most overstimulating time of the year

A few weeks ago Ryan said "If the Rangers go to the World Series would you mind if I went to a game?" I didn't think it would actually happen so I didn't really look up from what I was doing at the time to say "Sure, why don't you take Charlie?" then mentally added "because I'm sure as hell not sitting on a metal chair outside for four hours watching everyone around me drink beer."

As it turned out, they just kept winning. Yay! And then Ryan's dad surprised him with two tickets to Game 3. Double yay! Last night found Ryan and Charlie and Ryan's family here:

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It goes without saying that taking Charlie to a World Series game was a pretty cool moment for Ryan, a lifelong baseball fan. Charlie asked to look at the tickets every day last week.

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I watched the game on TV and tried to pick a couple of quiet moments to call and make sure no one had been trampled, lost, or hit with a ball, but apparently there are no quiet moments when there are 54,000 people gathered to watch a team in its first ever World Series appearance. From what I could piece together, they were having a really, really good time.

I still can't get a lot of detail out of either of them other than "ITWASSOMUCHFUNOMG!" And Charlie had a hot dog and some nachos and learned how to do The Claw. Charlie pretty much hasn't slept in two days but is hanging on admirably.

Wes and I stayed here in South where we played with cousins, went to church, and oversaw the spraying of texture on The Wall. The texture is done, so all we have left is paint, baseboards, and doors. I am very, very excited about this.

Ryan and Charlie came back today just in time to suit up the superheroes and head out with my family for some candy.

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The Super Brothers.

Wes continues to try and kill me with the cuteness. He had no trouble picking up on the whole Trick or Treating thing. After accepting their offer of candy, he walked right into the foyer of the first house and was headed for the kitchen when I finally got his attention.

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Cute little backs.

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This one I think we should definitely have printed so we can hang it in the living room.

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After trick or treating we gathered at my house for lasagna and cupcakes then Ryan threw the children in bed so "we" could watch/yell at Game 4. So far it looks like it's good they went last night, lest Charlie learn some colorful new language to pass along to his preschool friends. A really great weekend all around. And now I'm going to go raid the kids' candy for some of that rock hard gum that only tastes good for two minutes because I've been thinking about that stuff for three days.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Something Doesn't Smell Right

We have a problem. Smelly is missing. I noticed that he was gone on Monday when we were leaving for the Community Center and Wes didn't have him. Wes takes Smelly everywhere. EVERYWHERE. I swore he had him at breakfast, so I figured the blanket was in the house somewhere and felt relieved that for once I wasn't going to have to keep track of our de facto third child while we were out. When we got home Wes started asking for Smelly. And I started looking. And I've been looking ever since.

Ryan and I (mostly me because I have lost all sense of perspective in this matter) have torn the house APART trying to find Smelly. I've looked under mattresses, in all the couch cushions, did all the laundry hoping he was stuck in some pile somewhere. Ryan even searched the trash before putting it out for the truck this morning. Wes better thank us for this in his valedictorian speech.

Thank GOODNESS that after a brief period of asking for Smelly and rejecting other, similar blankets, my late night trickery, in which I tucked Smelly II in with Wes once he was asleep, paid off. He jumped out of bed this morning, grabbed Smelly II, balled him up, held him close to the right side of his face, and stuck his thumb in his mouth, just like he has with Smelly I for the last twelve months or so. I was so relieved. Relieved doesn't even begin to describe it, actually, after a night of totally irrational anxiety dreams about a damn baby blanket. Yes, I've lost sleep over a freaking twenty-four by forty-eight piece of blue fleece, friends. I think we can thank Taco and the pesky hormone-emitting placenta for that one.

But, really, Smelly is so much more than a scrap of extremely dirty synthetically produced blue fabric. Smelly was the only thing that comforted Wes when he was an infant. It was the perfect size and stretchy-ness to do a really tight swaddle. He's taken Smelly on airplanes to far off destinations where it was the only familiar thing. For a kid who loves routine as much as I love refined carbohydrates, Smelly is a Very Important Lovey. Especially on trips. Smelly joined us at the Air and Space Museum and the Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., our trip to New England this summer, his first HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY day of school and the first time he was apprehensive about school. Smelly has comforted him through many a thunderstorm, new tooth, and fever.

Today, I finally gave up on Smelly being in our house. There is really nowhere else to look. So I called the restaurant where we had brunch with Ryan's family on Sunday. Wes carried Smelly all over the playground, dragging him through the sandbox, up and down the slide, held him in his left hand while he ate his pancakes with his right hand.

"We had lunch there Sunday and my son may have left his blanket behind, you haven't seen it have you?" I asked. "Was it really dirty?" she responded. I knew it was Smelly. "I found that blanket and I knew someone would really be missing their lovey!" she said. My heart leaped. "Let me just go upstairs and check the lost and found. No one would have thrown it out." She happily chattered all the way up the stairs about the lost and found and all the strange things they find. And then her tone changed. Smelly was no longer in the lost and found. She took my name and number and promised to ask around.

So now instead of cleaning up my house and prepping dinner for my six dinner guests before I have to spend the afternoon teaching, I am listening to Christmas Carols on YouTube and trying not to be sad over this ridiculous situation. And yes, I do realize how ridiculous I am being. But did we really have to lose the last piece of Wes's babyhood just weeks before he's officially not a baby anymore?

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

(Red)

I want to be a RED SUPERHERO, MAMA. All red. Red pants, red shirt, red cape, red "C". NO, those are too short. I want my legs to be ALL RED. EVEN MY SHOES. I DON'T WANT ANY STRIPES ON MY RED PANTS! No buttons. ONLY RED. RED PANTS.*

He wants to be a "Red Super Hero"

*Do you have any idea how hard it is to find red pants with no decoration? I went to the boys' and girls' departments at four stores before finally finding a pair of long johns at Goodwill. Charlie immediately seized them and refused to let go, even for the cashier to ring them up. And then he and Wes started head-butting each other and we had to go straight home instead of stopping at the library. Wes's blue cape is up next.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Bedtime

The scene: Me, Ryan, watching Desperate Housewives, eating leftover chili and birthday cake, trying valiantly to ignore the pitter patter of little should-already-be-asleep feet above our heads.

Finally it sounds like someone is playing bongo drums. And since, regrettably, Matthew McConaughey doesn't live with us, curiosity gets the best of me and I begin the process of hefting me and Taco off the couch. Ryan takes pity and heads up the stairs for me. I settle back in with my chili. The bongo drumming noise stops, but Ryan doesn't come back. I feel guilty and head up to take over.

Ryan is standing in the hallway, looking amused. Charlie is on the potty. Wes's door is closed and his room is dark. Charlie grunts. Wes growls from inside his bedroom. A little hand shoots out from under the door. Giggling all around.

"Hi Mama!" shrieks Charlie.

"MAMA!" says Wes from behind the door, followed by crazed cackling. The hand sneaks out from under the door again.

Charlie laughs hysterically. "Did you know there is a whole poop family?!"

Wes shrieks "POOP!" then screams, then laughs.

Charlie grunts.

"ROOOAAAAAARRR!" from Wes.

Hysterical, shrieking laughter all around.

I settle myself on the edge of the tub. Charlie is still on the potty. A nice family moment, this.

Wes is screaming happily and pounding on the back of his door.

"Should I let him out?" wonders Ryan.

"He seems pretty happy in there."

The hand comes out from under the door, darting back and forth accompanied by crazed laughter.

"Yeah, a WHOLE POOP FAMILY!" Charlie is beaming the smile of a child who knows he's getting away with something and wondering just how far he can go before someone pulls the plug.

Wes thinks hearing "poop" again is a riot.

I try to reign things in. "You know, if you can get up like this and go potty at night and keep your PullUp dry all the time you'll get to sleep in undies!"

He looks me in the eye earnestly. "Like you? And Papa?"

"That's right." I nod solemnly.

He reaches down the neck hole of my shirt and points at first the left, then the right side of my bra. "Do YOU sleep in THESE?!"

I make a mental note not to wear this shirt to work.

"Uh, no, I don't."

"Why not?" incredulously. Ryan is laughing so hard he is now shaking silently in the hallway, not daring to make eye contact with me.

"It's not comfortable. Are you done going potty?"

"POOOOOOP! ROOOAAAAAAR!!" The little hand is back under Wes's bedroom door.

I heft Charlie off the potty and get him dressed again. Ryan takes him back to bed. Wes settles down.

Later Ryan finds Charlie asleep with his bedside light on, apparently having fallen asleep while reading his Children's Bible. Wes was asleep right behind his door. He usually falls asleep there and after I go in to move him to his bed I always step in the little drool spot on the carpet as I walk out of his room. Ahh, priceless memories.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

At the Firehouse

Today we had a birthday party for both of the boys. While Ryan and Charlie were at soccer and Wes was asleep, I made an enormous pot of chili. The recipe said "It will taste better the longer you cook it" so after a couple of hours of simmering, when it was time to leave for the fire station, I threw it in the crock pot to cook a little more. I was a little nervous when it was time to add all the veggies because it looked like it wasn't going to fit in my biggest pot. I had about two inches to spare. Also? When I planned the menu two weeks ago, I didn't know it would be eighty degrees today.

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When I went to bed last night Ryan was making the second of two cakes for the party. The plan was to frost them in the morning, but when I got up in the morning Ryan had made this awesome firetruck cake. He even dipped pretzel sticks in melted white chocolate to make the ladder!

Ryan's Firetruck Cake

When everything was ready we met Charlie and Wes's friends at the fire station for a tour. We got to see their sleeping quarters, kitchen, living room, and bathroom. And then we got to get in the trucks and Charlie got the undivided attention of Firefighter Michael. He had a lot of good questions. He also had prepared a short monologue comprised of every single thing he learned during Fire Safety Week at preschool last week. He finished up with a short demonstration of "stop, drop, and roll." Charlie had a really, REALLY good time. All three firefighters were wonderfully patient and kind.

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Wes was a little overwhelmed by being inside the firetruck, but he sure loved the front bumper. He also loved Charlie's friend C. And the lights. Really just standing close enough to a firetruck to put his face into the grill and scream to see if it will echo was good enough for him.

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And then, because we hadn't bothered those poor firefighters enough, we made them pose on the firetruck with the kids.

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Did I mention how patient and wonderful the firefighters were? If there hadn't been a cake at home Charlie would probably still be there talking to them.

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After the fire station we headed back to our house for a crockpot full of chili, peanut butter and jelly buffet, and cake (and lots of fun playing and a little screaming and fighting, ahh brothers).

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

When Nerds Get Married

When Nerds Get Married

Tonight I was sitting on the floor grading a stack of labs at the coffee table while Ryan rubbed the last twelve hours of carrying around a twelve pound fetus out of my shoulders. I had just graded two or three flagrantly awful assignments in a row (No names on papers! Half completed reports! Totally half-assed I know you know better short answer questions!) and was feeling punchy.

I mused aloud "I wonder if our ME [mechanical engineering, both of our undergrads] professors graded papers in their living room, in their pajamas, periodically yelling out "WTH?!" or "'Short answer' does NOT mean THREE WORDS WITH NO PUNCTUATION!"

We both immediately thought of my absolute favorite professor who once went through a stack of assignments shouting "YOU FIRED!" in his Iranian accent as he slammed each one onto the table. Every once in a while he would stop and hold one up gently with thumb and forefinger and say "This! This is engineer!" and pause a minute to bask in its glory before returning to the stack.

"YOU FIRED, YOU FIRED, YOU FIRED, I don't drive on the bridge you build, YOU FIRED."

Ryan and I still say "YOU FIRED" to each other once in a while.

Then we talked about the "Purple Shaft Award" which was given by the student honor society to the professor they deemed the worst one in the department every semester. During the nominations one semester a guy Ryan knew, who had very recently severed his index finger in an accident, raised his hand and said he had asked one professor if he could type a problem set because of his injury (instead of writing it out longhand, probably at least ten pages) and the professor responded "We all have our challenges." That professor won handily that semester. It really makes me wonder what my unfailingly polite in class students are saying about me once they leave the building!

We laughed about the time Ryan went somewhere for a minute while we were studying together and I filled his textbook with amusing post-it notes for him to find during the rest of the semester. He found the first one over Thanksgiving Break and called me, hysterical. I had written "I'll show YOU a free-body diagram!" Oh my gosh we were such NERDS. It's no wonder Charlie is so apprehensive about team sports.

I wouldn't have had it any other way and I'm so glad Ryan was there with me the whole time. And not just because he took all the same classes a year ahead and then shared his textbooks and superior intelligence with me!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous



Last night we went to the Eagle Scout Court of Honor for my cousin, Matt. Each of his brothers played a role in the ceremony, which was led mostly by the boys in the troop. I listened to most of the ceremony from the hall with Wes, who had spied a plate of cookies and wouldn't take no for an answer, but Ryan and I were both impressed by the maturity of the boys in the troop, their pride in the two Eagles, and the way the older boys lead the younger ones during troop activities. At the reception afterward Wes ate cookies and cake for dinner and Charlie hit up the chocolate fountain with a SPOON until we had to rip it out of his hand and remove him to another part of the room. The boys watched, fascinated as the older boys jostled and roughhoused and goofed around. Their big cousins ran them ragged. It was pretty much the best day of Charlie's life.

After the boys went to bed, Ryan did some Googling and was disappointed to learn that we have to wait THREE MORE YEARS to buy Charlie his first neckerchief (which means five more years for Wes). I don't know who wants to be a Boy Scout more, Ryan or the kids.

After spending the evening soaking up the influence of all those nice boys Charlie woke up this morning in an awesome mood and continued to amaze me with his great behavior all day. After we played basketball this morning Charlie said "Thank you for taking me to the Community Center, Mama. I had a great time. I hope we can come again soon!" Then he went and got Wes's basketball for him (Wes was very displeased that we were leaving), carried it to the rack, and walked nicely out to the car, holding doors for me all the way. It was WILD y'all.

The amazing behavior carried over to the grocery store. They haven't BEEN to the grocery store in weeks because the behavior was such an issue I'd rather go at ten-thirty at night than take them with me. Today it was unavoidable, but amazingly they sat placidly in the cart feeding each other grapes as I got everything on my list. When Wes started to fuss because the tower he built out of cans of beans tipped over Charlie stroked the back of his hair and said "It's OK, Wes, you can build it again."

I actually started to feel a little bad, like maybe I've been too hard on him. But no, you really can't be too hard on a kid who is eating directly from a chocolate fountain with a spoon and starts up again every time you turn your back. He just had a good night's sleep and is growing up a little more every day.

And he watched his Big Cousins, whom he ADORES, lead all those younger boys in the Eagle Ceremony last night. It had a big effect on him. I've answered countless Boy Scout questions today. What do Boy Scouts do? Do they play sports? Do they play with toys? What is it like to go camping in the woods (One detail of that conversation seemed to stand out; this afternoon he ran out into the back yard, went potty in the grass, and exclaimed "I'm a BOY SCOUT!" Ryan was so proud.)?

Would it be so wrong to sneak him into a few meetings now?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Gonna be a dead scorpion if I see it

After a very pleasant day doing nothing in particular Ryan and I had just put the kids to bed and were settling in for an evening of junk food and Dateline when Charlie started screaming. Ryan sighed and looked at me. I rolled my eyes. Then Charlie ran from his room to the top of the stairs, screamed incoherently, and shrieked "I NEED YOU TO COME UP HERE!" before dissolving into hysterics again.

Well that was a little out of the ordinary.

Ryan went upstairs to check things out. I followed when Ryan wasn't able to calm him down. When I arrived, Charlie and Ryan were sitting on our bed, Charlie puffy faced and screaming something about ants.

He finally calmed down enough to speak. "AN ANT BIT MY FOOT!" he wailed.

Charlie is a little weird about ants, but not this weird.

Sure enough, Ryan found a swollen red place with a white bump in the middle on the instep of his right food. Ryan touched it with his finger. Charlie howled in pain and thrashed away from Ryan. I held him and asked him if he had seen the ant that bit him.

He sobbed, "It was like THIS!" and held out a curled index finger. My heart stopped for a moment.

"Charlie, did the ant look a little like a lobster?"

"YEEESSSSSS!" he shrieked, and started sobbing again. Heaving, panicked sobs. I was pretending to be calm. Ryan came back with a flashlight to get a better look. While he inspected the bite I asked Charlie to tell me more about the 'ant'.

"It had a brown head and a black stinger" he sniffled. "And it was ALIVE!." He showed me with his index finger again how it moved its tail when it stung him. It was not an ant. It was a scorpion.

I casually told Charlie I was going to get him some ice for his foot then walked downstairs and dialed the on-call nurse as I frantically Googled "scorpion sting." Finally, I got in touch with someone who said she'd leave a message for the nurse to call me back and that it could take thirty minutes. THIRTY MINUTES. I SAID SCORPION NOT CONGESTION AND FEVER, CRAZY LADY!!!

After a few calming breaths I said in an eerily serene voice "I really need to know if I should take him to the emergency room." She said she'd call the nurse supervisor herself.

Google said you should always take a child with a scorpion sting to the emergency room. I was ready to go, but decided to give the nurse ten minutes to call back to see if I could avoid spending twelve hours sitting in a vinyl chair contracting H1N1 in the middle of the night.

She called back in two minutes and prescribed Tylenol and ice. And she said to observe him for two hours for any signs of seizure, rash, or muscle spasms. And did I have any idea whether the scorpion was brown and black or brown and yellow, because the only deadly scorpion is brown and yellow. Like, hang on, let me just go ask the kid who described a SCORPION as a "Mama Ant" twenty minutes ago to describe it's markings in detail. Sure enough when I asked him what color it was again he said "It's head was light brown and it's stinger was black" and when I asked if it had any yellow markings he said "No" and shook his head. Then "Yes" and nodded. So we kept him awake for two hours for observation. He was more than happy to get out of bed to watch his Charlie Brown movie with Ryan and me.

He seemed fine so Ryan put him back to bed. The scorpion is still at large. Upstairs. With my two little barefoot babies. Ryan thinks we should buy one of these. I want to hunt it down and beat it to death with my shoe. Our pest control guy will be hearing from us in the morning. I expect to see him at our house with a tank of some kind of scorpion neurotoxin by nine-thirty. I'll make extra coffee. For now, I'm going to put on my sneakers and go to bed.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Inflexible

I thought this was a temporary matter of fetal positioning, but I haven't been able to bend at the waist in over a week. It all started after I hurt my toe and had to sit there in the exam room staring at my toes as I waited for the doctor. They all looked awful, not just the swollen purple one. After that I tried to do a DIY pedicure sitting on my bed and nearly blacked out.

I look like P-Diddy if I try to sit in a chair. You know, that weird man-sit thing where your body is completely straight with only your butt perched on the side of the couch cushion? That's me. I should start wearing some gold chains and changing my name every year or so. It would be a great look with the UPS truck I'm going to have to buy so I can drive standing up.

The biggest problem is that putting the kids' shoes on is nearly impossible. I tuck Wes into his bed at naptime under the covers with his shoes still on. This morning I made already-late Ryan put the kids' shoes on before he left because I was afraid I'd rupture the blood vessels in my eyes from the effort. I've scared Charlie so thoroughly that now FINALLY asks me before taking his shoes off. This from a kid I once had to make walk barefoot across the parking lot to the pediatrician's office because I was so sick of him taking his shoes off every single time we got in the car and I had to make a point SOMEHOW.

And do you have any idea how much crap little kids leave all over the floor? THAT I CAN'T SEE? Four or five times a day I shuffle around the kitchen and kick all the toys I can feel towards the door to the living room.

I know I was this uncomfortable during the other two pregnancies. I just don't remember it happening at THIRTY WEEKS. I honestly don't know how I'm going to last another ten weeks grunting and swearing every time I drop something or have to get up and down from the floor (who wants to play at the kitchen table, kids? No one?).

It just occurred to me that Taco isn't trying to snap my lower right rib off like a dry twig like the other two did, so maybe this is the price I have to pay for that small concession. All I know is that I can't cross my legs, even ankle to knee, I can't bend over, and I'm going to be in the market for a gently used UPS truck before long. Is it too much to ask that the doctor had my dates wrong by a month?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Helicopter? Paprika? Only he knows!

Every day after dinner Wes puts on an entertaining show for all of us. This is after dinner, that's why he's so dirty. I mean, that's one reason he's dirty. The other reason is the sand fight he had with a bunch of four year olds on the playground today (he's little but he's scrappy).

Hopefully you'll never need to converse with Wes about both paprika and helicopters at the same time, because you'll be totally lost.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Wall, Part 2

When we last spoke The Wall was just a big pile of wood nailed together across the space formerly known as the set for Hoarders: Season 4. Well now that we know the kids can sleep through all manner of hammering and sawing (and grunting and pounding) Ryan's been making great progress.

This is how it looked a few weeks ago when Ryan was finishing up the framing for the main wall.

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Yes! Main wall! He's actually building three walls--a big long one and two smaller ones--because I suggested, as he and my dad were leaving for Home Depot to buy supplies, that it would be kinda great to have a linen closet out there in the hallway so we could have easy access to the twin sheets and towels should a violent stomach virus ever afflict all of the children at once. And also, it would be nice to have a master bathroom not decorated with tiny sheets adorned with insects, firetrucks, and circus animals. You know, as long as you're building things. So they came up with a really nice plan to make the closet in the hall AND a built in bookcase in Charlie's new room. I approve.

The boys signed the inside of the wall on Wes's birthday.

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And Ryan finished up the drywall on that side shortly after that. Here's the same view from the top of the stairs. The two doors are just leaning on the wall there. The big door goes in that hole on the left and the closet door goes beyond that, out of the frame. I really like the new landing. I think we have a great spot for some more built in bookshelves and maybe a cabinet/bench thing. Ryan doesn't like it when I make suggestions like that while he's hefting fifty pound sheets of drywall up the stairs. We will also install a new light at the top of the stairs at some point, since we were relying on the one that's now in the room (That's a really good way to trip over a toy in the dark, almost fall down the stairs, and badly sprain your toe).

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And there's my closet/Charlie's bookcase on the right. Ryan would also like me to point out his electrical handiwork down there by the floor on the right side. He had to move an outlet three inches to the right. Naturally, this required sawing a gaping hole in the wall, screwing some new two-by-fours in there, moving the outlet over, then making a new piece of drywall to put in the hole. I did not know the plan and when the boys and I returned from church and Panera this afternoon I walked up the stairs, saw the huge hole, and shrieked "HOLY CRAP WHAT HAPPENED?!"

But now the hole is all better, as you can see, and there won't be an outlet hidden inside the wall between the closet and bookcase, so that's nice. Ryan made Charlie help and pointed out that if he and Wes were ever roughhousing and made a hole in the wall, that they would be doing a very similar job all by themselves one day. Probably while Ryan supervises and enjoys a Shiner and a Rangers game.

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It's really starting to come together and someone who is not me told Charlie he would be sleeping in his new room by his birthday, which is November 2. As much as I enjoy the marriage enrichment opportunities afforded by a long-term home improvement project, that was music to my ears.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Soccer Mom

In an effort to help Charlie hate soccer just a little bit less and make the remaining eight games of the season less painful I took the boys to my school today to watch the ladies' soccer team play. It was convenient that Charlie has the class mascot, Honeybee, home this weekend because I'm feeling some pressure to make our weekend a little more interesting so Charlie will have something to say to his class on Tuesday other than "Honeybee and I ate cereal for breakfast then watched TV for nine hours while my parents built a wall upstairs."

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Phent, Charlie, and Honeybee enjoying the game.

Charlie was very interested in the game and asked a lot of good questions. Wes learned to heckle!

Then it was time to go and Charlie, enraged that he couldn't flush the portapotty he had used (that DIDN'T FLUSH as I explained to him many times), locked his door before I could buckle him in and lost the lemonberry slush we had planned on getting on the way home. Both boys screamed all the way back to the highway and several exits down before Charlie conked out as we approached our neighborhood. I had to wake him up from his nap (more tears and screaming, super freaking duper) when it was time to go to his soccer practice, but I managed to calm him down by taking them to Sonic for dinner and letting them get corn dogs, which they think are hilarious.

Are these the best kids' meal prizes ever or what? It was like I was chauffeuring U2 around.

Bono and Edge

Ryan coached soccer today because I had a bad toe accident involving a toy airplane and the stairs (and some profanity) this morning. It's not broken, according to my PCP, just purple and swollen and hurts like you would not believe. They gave me a really sexy velcro shoe to wear, but it seems a little ridiculous because it's NOT BROKEN so I've been wearing sneakers. No one asks questions when a pregnant person is limping, velcro shoe or not. And no, I did not fall DOWN the stairs, I fell ON the stairs, all gentle-like. Except for the toe. Taco is safe.

Since Ryan was coaching, I finally got to take a picture of Wes practicing with the big boys. Wes LOVES soccer.

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He even played in the dads vs. kids scrimmage and high-fived all the players after the game. Charlie had a great time, like he always does in practice when there is no whistle or pack of other kids clamoring for the ball. I really hope he enjoys the game tomorrow.

I picked up Chinese food on the way home and after bedtime Ryan and I had our first uninterrupted conversation in several months over mouthfuls of General Tso's and spring rolls. Perfection.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Surprise Vacation

A long time ago in a galaxy far before the third trimester began I agreed to go with Ryan to a conference in a nearby city just for one night so we could take the boys to the Space Center as part of their birthday present. As the trip got closer and I got less and less comfortable and memories of Vacation Wes were burned in my mind my attitude about the trip got worse and worse. But still, SPACE CENTER! Disneyworld for my nerdy little space-loving children! So we went. I'll post more about that when I have the pictures from that day. They are in Ryan's camera, which is still at the conference with Ryan. BOOO.

I was only supposed to stay Sunday night. But after we went to the Space Center we went to the hotel, which was very fancy and had elevators that went so fast it was kinda scary. After Ryan checked in the guy saw me walk up with the kids, called Ryan back to the desk, and gave us coupons to eat breakfast at the restaurant every single day of our stay. The $22 per person breakfast FOR FREE for FOUR DAYS for all of us (and Charlie counts as two eaters these days). I'll leave it up to you to decide if it was because the kids were that cute or Ryan and I are that smokin' hot. So the next morning as I was enjoying my free coffee, juice, brie, chocolate croissant, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, and fruit (my off switch, it is broken) I wondered aloud "Maybe we should stick around another day. What's one day of preschool? I'm sure we could find something to do while you're in the conference."

So we did!

I was jealous of all the women in suits at the restaurant. NOT FOR LONG!

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I LOVE those brothers. Look at them together then pinch me. Additionally, they have no qualms about swimming while fully dressed. In jeans. While it's sixty-five degrees outside. I spent a lot of time yelling "Stand up! You're getting SOAKED!"

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Later it was time to play King of the Sand Dune. They looked like snickerdoodles. I had high hopes for this picture, a rare moment of cooperation, but even yelling "POOP" didn't get them to look at the camera at the same time. Charlie's been wearing his super cool conference-issue sine wave hat ever since Ryan put it on him Monday morning.

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After the beach we had lunch at the Rainforest Cafe. Wes loved the animatronic gorillas (not pretend, don't even suggest it). Charlie, as you can see, was terrified. He preferred the elephants, they're plant eaters.

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The simulated thunderstorm was a little too much for both of them and by the time our food arrived we were only using one of the six available seats in our giant booth.

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They managed to peel themselves away when dessert arrived. Gummy worms in chocolate pudding for everyone. Including me.

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When we arrived back at the hotel the escalator was broken so I had to schlep the snickerdoodle brothers right through coffee hour at Ryan's conference. I had almost made it (no small feat considering the hallway was about six feet wide and packed with people in suits) when Wes fell flat on his face and screamed on the floor for no reason. Tres professional. We spent the remainder of the afternoon taking the elevator up to the thirtieth floor, pressing our faces against the window to the outside, then yelling "HEEEELLLLLP!" as it descended to the first floor (only rule of the game: wait until you get an empty elevator) and raiding the conference's "Spouses' Reception Lounge" for fruit and pastries.

Today we returned to the smorgasbord for breakfast then the kids and I took the hotel shuttle to a wonderful park for "Toddler Tuesday." We played on the playground, ran around in the interactive fountain, and attended a free outdoor Gymboree class. The kids were exhausted and I didn't have the stroller so we took a cab six blocks home and fell asleep in a pile in the hotel room until Ryan came back at lunchtime.

Now the kids and I are back home and Ryan's still at the hotel enjoying the housekeeping service and made-to-order omelets. Tomorrow I have to squeeze grocery shopping, laundry, and a nanny interview (gulp) plus all the associated driving around into the four hours of preschool and then it's the All Mama All the Time show until bedtime. Ryan comes back Thursday afternoon. We're all looking forward to it.

Monday, October 4, 2010

In which listening comprehension comes back to bite me in the bottom

We're all sitting on the hotel room floor, changing kiddos. I excitedly ask Charlie if he's excited about "going swimming in the dark."

Wes shrieks "SWIMMING IN DA DARK!"

Ryan freezes with the pajama top partway over Wes's head and shoots me a death glare.

Oh, right. I continue to stuff Charlie into his swimsuit. "Alright Charlie!" I chirp "Let's get on your JAMMIES!!" He looks at me like I have two heads.

"Mama, this is my SWIMSUIT!"

"Charlie, we're going to put on your JAMMIES just like Wes is putting on HIS JAMMIES!" then stare at him.

He says quietly "But I want to go to the pool with Papa."

Wes screams "POOL!!!"

I plead with Charlie with my eyes. He does not understand.

"Why are you calling my SWIMSUIT my JAMMIES?"

Wes is bouncing in Ryan's lap. "SWIMMING!!"

I whisper "Only you and Papa are swimming tonight. Wes neeeds to go to bed."

Charlie perks up "Maybe we could ALL go swimming!! Me and Papa and Wes!!"

I can't stop laughing.

"OK, Charlie, let's get in your bed!" I trill, scooping him off the floor, still wearing his swimsuit. His whole body is stiff. He is totally pissed off. I hiss into his ear. "You're still going to the pool just play along PLEASE."

"I don't want to go to bed. I WANT TO GO TO THE POOL WITH PAPA!"

Wes bounces. "POOL POOL POOL!"

I am beyond laughing now. Just shaking silently.

Ryan is flustered "Charlie just go put on your shoes so Wes can go to bed."

Wes looks sad. Very, very sad. He buries his head in my shoulder when Ryan hands him off. "Do you want to go swimming tomorrow, Wes?"

He nods his head solemnly then puts his thumb in his mouth and settles into my chest. He goes to bed easily then begins freaking out as soon as the hallway door clicks closed. Only after he manages to squeak out "MAAAAMAAAAA" do I realize he's crying becausee he thinks we all went to the pool and left him alone in his Peapod on the bathroom floor and maybe I should stop trying to find "Say Yes to the Dress" and go reassure him. He's asleep now. I hope. Until Charlie comes crashing into the room soaking wet and smelling of chlorine and yelling about "THE POOL!"