Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Stupid Human Tricks

It's like an endless parade of blogging material around here all of the sudden.

Today we were out at the fancy schmancy grocery store that has a playground and restaurant. We were with two friends and their kids. After we ate lunch, Charlie had to go to the restroom, so I grabbed James out of the stroller and took everyone in there. I wouldn't have taken Wes, but I couldn't leave Captain Pathogen with my pregnant friend and the other friend had already moved to the playground. Plus, Wes never misses an opportunity to fool around with a paper towel dispenser.

Once inside the bathroom Charlie informed me that he had only wanted to wash his hands, not actually go potty. I strongly encouraged him to "just try since we're already here" in what might have been described as a "hiss" rather than a "playful affirmation of his spirit and individual needs." While he was doing that, Wes stripped naked from the waist down and climbed atop one of the potties.

Because what better time to start your public potty training than while I am standing there holding a giant sumo baby on my hip.

He sat there for a few minutes then asked me to close the door so he could have some privacy. So then I was holding a giant sumo baby on one hip, holding the door closed with the other hand, asking Charlie repeatedly to stop fooling around with the soap dispenser, AND supervising Wes's potty time through the half-inch space in the stall door hinge.

When he was finally finished (and after I had exclaimed "GREAT JOB WES!" without remembering that we were in public; the woman in the last stall was highly amused with us too--the naked kid, the peppy encouragement, the pile of diminutive clothing and Crocs, the way Wes was grunting "PUUSSSHHH" so loudly) he climbed off the potty and stood there waiting for me to dress him. Somehow. Without putting James down.

I weighed my options--carry James and a half-naked Wes back to the table and our stroller, where I could put James down and attend to the naked kid or figure out some way to manage with one hand that didn't involve James or me touching the floor with our hands. Even though we live in the hippy capital of the southwest, I thought carrying a naked child through a restaurant dining room would be a tad inappropriate.

Then I had a stroke of genius. I crouched down on the floor on my toes, stood James up on his feet, and squeezed his hips with my thighs.

I am a HUMAN EXERSAUCER!

Also, big thanks to Sergio and his Sunday afternoon yoga torture class (Yoga Torture Flow) for all the extra quad strength.

With my hands free I could quickly get Wes's pants put back on and we headed back to the table to bathe ourselves in Purell.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Just a virus!

I've been to the pediatrician three times in the last twenty-four hours. Three visits for a total of four appointments, if you want to get into the specifics.

James started screaming on Saturday night in an Embassy Suites hotel where we were staying while visiting family. He started screaming around eleven o'clock, right when I was thinking of going to bed, and after several episodes of "Storm Stories" it became clear that he would not be going to sleep. Ever. At one o'clock in the morning Ryan strapped him into his car seat and drove the Big Gold Minivan around for AN HOUR (AT ONE O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING) until he fell asleep. Then he drove back to the hotel, parked, and retired to the back seat with a sleeping bag and Charlie's honeybee Pillow Pet for the evening.

Sunday night after I tried to get him to sleep instead of comfort nursing (slash CHEWING), Ryan took over and the two of them ended up falling asleep on the floor. He then spent all day Monday howling in protest if I even got him near one of the many baby neglecting devices we have around the house (swings, play mats, exersaucers). And by five o'clock, when I returned home from the grocery store to more hysterical screaming, I had HAD IT. I impulsively called after-hours and made an appointment for him to be seen at 5:45. One hour and fifteen dollars later I had my "just a virus" diagnosis and still-screaming baby in hand. (Doctor's visit number one!)

The night did not go well. James had a well check (ironic!) this morning (Appointment Number Two!) where we added to his misery by giving him his six-month vaccinations. Since everyone was so wild in the exam room, I didn't remember to ask Pediatrician Man to take a look at the red marks on Wes's legs (FORESHADOWING!) and we left to get our donuts and take our screamy selves home.

By some miracle, Wes went down for a nap at a reasonable hour. I plugged Charlie into PBS and hooked James up to eat, then collapsed backward onto the couch, where I slipped into a light coma.

I woke up to the sound of coughing. It was Charlie and his face was COVERED in bright red blotches. I touched it and he said it didn't itch. I Googled "rash". Do not do this.

My mom was at my house, so I called and made an appointment. While on the phone with the nurse, I remembered the splotches on Wes's legs and ran upstairs to check on him. Not surprisingly, his splotches had also gotten larger and more pronounced.

So the big boys and I trooped back to Pediatrician Man (Doctor's visit number three! And four!!) where they were both diagnosed with Just! A! Virus!!

Symptoms of this virus include crabby, belligerent behavior, extreme silliness, and massive red blotches on the face (Charlie) and body (Wes).

Tonight after much trial and error, Ryan took James for a relaxing stroller ride while I laid in bed with my heating pad and Frontline. Holding a twenty-two pound baby for twelve hours does take a toll on your back, after all. An hour later Ryan came up the stairs carrying the entire stroller with James sleeping inside. He's woken up twice since then. It's going to be a long night, but Ryan? Is he not the best?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Animal House

There are some days when you are feeding a sweaty baby on your couch, exhausted from two weeks of church camp chaos, and your kid is driving his new-to-him remote controlled airplane all around the kitchen, around and around and around, and it's easy and calm and you think "This is nice."

But then the big kid in the kitchen exclaims "OH MAN!!" and asks you to get him a towel.

And you snap out of the haze for long enough to ask "What do you need a towel for?" still not lifting your head off the back of the couch or unhooking the now-dozing baby.

And he replies "The airplane drove in the THROW UP!"

And you sort of vaguely remember the baby hurling over the side of the high chair, under the table. Good grief, when was that? Yesterday? The day before that?

And then you remember that when it happened you made a mental note to wipe it up, but then you were distracted by some other emergency involving a child-sized guitar and a little brother's head or maybe by the sound of a tiny fist pounding the side of the TV to make the signal come in better, or maybe a phone call from a friend or a trip to the bathroom or the "beep" of the coffeemaker.

And you wonder how the big kid knew there was throw up on the floor and you didn't.

And then you remember that you live in a frat house now, and no amount of matching bathroom rugs and hand towels and well-balanced meals will change that.

And you vow to get more rest and maybe put some higher-wattage bulbs in the kitchen.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Seven Quick Takes

1. VBS (Vacation Bible School, a.k.a. "church camp") is this week. And last week. We're doing two weeks of VBS. On one hand it's great to have the kids occupied for half of every day. On the other, they're tired as hell and have the behavior to show for it. Last night at the pool I tried to force Wes to put his life jacket back on and he BIT ME. And then, Tweedle Dee couldn't help himself and continued to splash and otherwise goad his incarcerated brother until I dragged everyone back to the towels to wait for Ryan, who was expecting to arrive to happy fun swimming time. Instead, he took them home and left me at the pool with my friend and her two children. Who were behaving like human beings and not wolves.

2. We had huge thunderstorms last night, which is awesome because it hasn't rained in over thirty days around here. I love lying in bed listening to thunder and rain on the roof. I do not love sitting up in a chair nursing a terrified baby and listening to rain on the roof. Ryan sort of enjoys curling up in a twin size bed with a shaking toddler wrapped around him like a Snuggie, but probably not for four hours, which is how long it took Wes to calm down. We were a tired family this morning at six when everyone was up for the day. Yay rain?

3. My job at church camp involves a lot of wandering around checking on things and I often run into Charlie and Wes. Charlie signs "I love you" every time he sees me. If he can break away from his group he gives me a giant body-slam hug which I have learned from "Pink Brain Blue Brain" is the boy equivalent of curling up in your lap. I love it when he does this. And have learned to prep myself for the impact like a linebacker.

4. I try not to let Wes see me because sometimes he gets upset and wants to stay with me. One time, though, he ran by me holding two other kids by the hands and shrieked "WE HAD FUN IN DA JUMPING HOUSE!" over his shoulder. His face and shirt were sticky and orange with popsicle residue. The picture of a happy kid.

5. The other day I walked into a friend's back yard to swim and saw Charlie at the bottom of the pool. I screamed "SOMEBODY GET CHARLIE", but then he started kicking and popped his head out of the water, grinning from ear to ear. That is how I learned Charlie can swim under water now (Ryan was in the pool with him and already knew he could do it). My life expectancy is now five years shorter.

6. I am taking the kids on an airplane by myself soon. Two airplanes, to be exact. I'm currently accepting prayer and drink coupons (enough that I can also distribute them to the people sitting in our general vicinity).

7. I just made "Ants on a Log" for the kids and thought I'd try it myself since they think Ants on a Log is the most amazing thing since boxed mac and cheese (probably because I use chocolate chips instead of raisins). OMG Ants on a Log, where have you been all my (adult) life?

Friday, June 17, 2011

We went on a date

Since this week is church camp, we haven't had our babysitter over as much to watch the kids. She still likes being paid (and she says she thinks my kids are funny and cute too), so she suggested we go out for dinner and a movie tonight and let her handle bedtime. We slung some frozen chicken tenders down and backed out of the garage before she could even say "Can the kids watch a movie?"

Since it's a hundred degrees outside, we thought it would be fun to eat outside, so we headed downtown to where all the food trailers are. If you're not from the area, envision an empty lot filled with tricked out campers selling hipster versions of your fair-food favorites. Ryan got a cone shaped tortilla filled with fried shrimp and avocado pieces and coleslaw. I got a crepe filled with brie and eggplant (I wanted to marry that crepe). Then we went a couple of trailers down and had cupcakes.

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Then we moved the party to a miniature golf course. This shark almost did me in.

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Some of us can't take anything seriously.

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Oh for goodness sake.

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Ryan's ball got stuck and he had to look under the turtle's bottom to get it out. I am a supportive and helpful spouse. Heh heh.

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We wanted to play another round, but it was unbelievably hot, so we went and had a beer instead (also outside, it's summer dang it, even if it is too hot to leave the house).

When we got home our babysitter had cleaned the kitchen and living room and put all three kids to bed. She had good reports about everyone's behavior except for Charlie, who squirreled away and ate an entire steamfresh bag of broccoli while she was upstairs checking on James. When she questioned him about the missing broccoli he replied "It was just so yummy I couldn't stop eating it!" I sort of felt the same way about my crepe filled with brie.

Monday, June 13, 2011

They call him "The Lawn Sprinkler"

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We used to laugh when Charlie was a baby because he spit up so much. Every single night for several months he used to hurl right over my shoulder onto the carpet as I carried him back to bed after his 4:00 feeding in EXACTLY the same crusty, black, place. His daycare teachers used to run out of spare outfits for him because he threw up so much during the day. I once took him home in only a diaper and socks because not only had he exhausted his personal supply of outfits, he had gone through all the emergency, vagrant baby clothes too (our kids have come home many times in what I call the "pajama pants of shame"--a faded pink pair of girls' pajamas with a lipstick and shopping motif that, I assume, they dress little boys in when their mothers repeatedly forget to pack extra clothes. Or I might just be paranoid.)

Anyway, James makes Charlie look like a reborn in the spitting up department.

Last night he got me four times while I was putting him to bed. Just when I'd get one spot mopped up, he'd hit me again. I felt like I was on Double Dare. I was so grossed out when I finally got to peel my saturated shirt off. And I don't get grossed out easily. I have THREE BOYS.

Today he was in the church nursery all morning so that I could work at Vacation Bible School (VBS). I got a message that he was hungry, so I ducked into nursery and fed him. When I sat him up to burp him after the first side he sprayed at least twelve cups of milk all over my leg, the chair, and the floor.

His teacher, a veteran with four kids of her own, matter-of-factly handed me a fistful of paper towels to clean up. Then I fed him the other side and handed him off.

When I came back to check on him he had "spit up" (slash projectile vomited like a Kappa Delta on Spring Break) four more times and was wearing different clothes. They weren't so matter-of-fact that time.

"I bet he's hungry again. That was a LOT of spit-up" they told me.

I nodded and picked him up.

"Like, a LOT" with wide eyes.

I gave him a cuddle and looked into his eyes. He spit up on my arm. Twice.

"OK, well maybe I should get that checked out..." I laughed, then put him back down to play so I could finish up for the day.

When I fed him at home he did a lot better, but that time a friend called on the phone and while I talked he sat propped up on the couch between sides. That seemed to help. As did the giant man-burp I got out of him after the first side. But then he spitup all over the Boppy right after I took that picture.

It doesn't seem to be phasing him. He's very happy and growing well and eats on a regular schedule, so maybe I should just take ponchos to the nursery staff tomorrow for the next performance of "Stand By Me: A One Baby Show"? Because I think they're all sitting in the splash zone.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Day in the Life: Home Day Edition

Still waiting for a "normal" home day to tell you about, but I don't think we'll have one of those until school starts up again in September! I didn't work today, though, so here's what a typical home day looks like for us.

6:35 Ryan in shower, I'm half asleep half fretting about all I have to do before leaving for our fun pool day today.

6:45 Wes manages to escape child-proofed room and climbs onto Ryan's side of the bed, demanding "cubbers" (covers) and proudly telling me that he didn't bother Charlie, who is still asleep.

6:50 James begins squawking over the monitor. Go get him (happy smiles and laughing!) and bring him back to bed to eat, noting with pleasure that I haven't seen him since I laid him down to sleep at 7:00 the night before!

7:10 Leave James in bouncer in bathroom where Ryan is getting ready, take other kids downstairs for bananas.

7:15 Start coffee and sit down with laptop to get directions to friend's neighborhood pool.

7:16 Remind Wes to get back in his seat.

7:17 Remind Wes to get back in his seat

7:18 Tell Charlie to get back to his seat

7:20 Finish directions. Sit on floor with Ryan sunscreening the children and changing diapers.

7:40 Pack pool bag -- towels, snacks, James's swimming clothes, Wes's floaties, travel mug of coffee

7:45 My sunscreen and swimsuit, coverup and shoes

8:00 Into the car!

8:35 Arrive at pool easily thanks to great directions from friend. Huge hug for my friend who I haven't seen in a very long time

8:40 Get two whole families of small boys down to pool deck from cars. Realize I've left the swim rings in the car. Leave kids sitting in the shade with friend, use voice-of-sternness to ensure they listen to friend and don't move while I am gone, back to car.

8:45 Change James into swimsuit. Remember belatedly to take off my coverup and shoes before getting into the pool.

8:50 Everyone in the pool, finally!

8:50-9:45 Relax beside pool with friend, pass James back and forth, occasionally dash into water to push Wes back towards the steps (he can float in his vest, but prefers to touch bottom)

9:45 Massive Wes tantrum, stay calm and leave him flailing facedown on pool deck. Awesome friend laughs with me and gestures at her youngest (now six), "that was him! I totally get it!" Feel wave of warm appreciation for my more experienced friend.

10:00 Pool snack time for everyone, crackers and grapes all around (milk for James). Schlep everyone to the bathroom.

10:10 Back in the pool! Friend's oldest son arrives from swim practice. He is twelve. Charlie is awestruck.

10:10-11:45 Oversee massive pool-noodle battle between all five boys. It's hilarious and Charlie and Wes are so happy. Feel so lucky to be here watching them play. Rethink plan to get full-time job in five years (I start obsessing five years out, don't you?)

11:45-12:00 Get everyone dressed and back into the car (get in your seat, get in your seat, get in your seat, get in your seat), leave for home. Hope everyone falls asleep by the time I pass that cupcake stand I saw on the way in.

12:15 Pass cupcake stand. Charlie and Wes still going strong. Damn.

12:30 Drive through Schlotzky's, cheese originals, cookies, and lemonade for everyone!

12:45-1:15 Arrive at home, put sleeping Wes in bed. Let Charlie eat Wes's rejected sandwich. Set Charlie up on the couch with a quilt and airplane movie. Read blogs, eat cookies. Feed James.

1:15 Fold load of laundry

1:30 Start a new load of laundry. Note that I don't have a full load to wash owing to my recent effort to do laundry every day. Woot!

1:40 Hang up all swimsuits so they are ready for swimming with my niece this afternoon.

1:45 Sweep kitchen floor, marvel at quantity of messy crumbs produced by children

1:50 Change James, put down for nap

And here's how I project the rest of the day will go...

3:00 Wes up from his nap, have a snack to compensate for rejected lunch

3:15 Start getting everyone in car to head to sister's house

3:30 Start backing out of garage, realize I forgot swimsuits drying on porch, go back in.

3:35 On the road.

4:00 Arrive at sister's

4:00-5:30 Kids play in wading pool. Break up lots of fights related to child to noodle ratio. Remind Charlie repeatedly that he's the big kid and needs to calm the heck down before someone gets hurt.

5:30 Eat dinner outside

6:00 Ryan arrives, children will either fling themselves at him joyfully or melt down in exhausted overwhelm, coin toss!!

6:45 Leave for home in midst of epic, multi-child meltdown

(Wow, I sound awfully pessimistic about this afternoon, don't I? Let's hope I'm happily surprised)

7:05 Get James in jammies, nurse him to sleep

7:30 Help Ryan finish up big boy bedtime

8:00 Sit on couch with Ryan, watch mindless entertainment.

9:00-11:00 Turn off TV, talk about the day. Watch Daily Show online. Talk about vacation plans and wish it was here already. Practice guitar together.

11:15 Fall asleep reading in bed

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Drama in Real Life

Have I ever told you about the time I got to ride in a police car in Tallahassee?

It was 2002 and our hurricane data collection team was staying at a Holiday Inn (stayin' at the Holiday Innnnnn) in Tallahassee waiting for Tropical Storm Isidore to get her (his?) act together and make landfall already. We spent our days fixing our towers in the parking lot of the hotel and our nights eating at Outback Steakhouse with our $40/day university per diem. We also spent a lot of time lying around eating garbage and watching The Weather Channel. Those were heady times!

We had been there for a week and I started to become anxious about the coursework I was missing back home (this was during undergrad when coursework actually had a due date, as opposed to graduate school, which was more fluid and ultimately I think that is why it took me six years to get my PhD). Thanks to a marvelous new development called "email", I was able to stay in touch with my professors and answer questions like "Where the hell have you been?" and "Are you coming back?"

I think my professors were starting to question the scientific merit of this "field project" I kept going on that almost always resulted in me returning to class with a great tan and natural highlights.

So that I could stay in my professors' good graces, and graduate on time, thus securing several more years of cheap labor out of me in the form of a graduate assistantship, the future Dr. Advisor faxed an entire chapter of my Controls textbook to me so I could complete some homework assignments and prepare for an exam (THAT was a tense fifteen minutes in the lobby of the Holiday Inn, as we all stared at the fax machine waiting for it to finally finish printing all forty pages).

So I did my Control Theory homework in my room at the Holiday Inn and when it was finished, I needed to scan it in so I could send it back to my professor. Several team members were headed over to FSU to use the library's computers (no wifi at the hotel, CAN YOU EVEN IMAGINE?) to check on that deadbeat hurricane we were supposed to be monitoring, so I hitched a ride. They were to drop me off at the Kinko's right by the school where I could use a scanner and submit my homework, then they were supposed to pick me up in thirty to forty-five minutes.

Best laid plans, right?

Important to know is that I was wearing sneakers, athletic shorts, a tshirt with the name of our field project on it, and had only my wallet and my homework assignment.

I did not have my cell phone. I don't know if I even had a cell phone at that point.

And it was nine o'clock at night.

And the whole time I was at Kinko's I could feel the floor vibrating with the bass beat of the music coming from the SKETCHY NIGHTCLUB DOWNSTAIRS.

In about twenty minutes I was finished sending my homework and the rest of the team had not yet come back to get me, so I walked across the parking lot to a McDonalds, ordered an ice cream cone, and sat down to wait by a window (so that I could see if they were coming)(They were not).

After waiting for a while, I went back to Kinko's to check the time and was HORRIFIED to learn that it was TEN THIRTY. I asked the cashier if he'd noticed a guy in a red tshirt come in here asking for me. He had not. I stomped out of the store and stood on the sidewalk, wondering if somehow I'd missed him, or if something terrible had happened.

Finally, around eleven, I used my credit card and a pay phone to call the guy who was supposed to be picking me up, we'll call him Tom (not his real name), and got sent straight to voicemail.

I evaluated my position. I was in a strange city, standing in the parking lot of a very sketchy-looking nightclub/McDonald's/Kinko's in the middle of the night armed with only a wallet and a five-page engineering homework assignment. Raucous club goers were spilling out of the bar into the parking lot and the whole thing was starting to seem really scary.

Conveniently, there was a policeman standing nearby (I CAN'T IMAGINE WHY!), so I approached him and tried to maintain calm as I explained my situation. I failed. As I opened my mouth to ask if he would call a cab for me he reached up and pushed the button on his walkie-talkie.

"I'm transporting a twenty-one year old white female from [I have no idea] Street to the Holiday Inn on [not a clue] Avenue."

Holy crap.

"10-4" came the reply.

And then he escorted me to his patrol car and (Thank God) opened the passenger door for me. Once we were safely inside and headed toward the hotel he said "You know, this is a really dangerous area, you really need to be more careful."

!!!!

I, slightly more calmly this time, explained my predicament and thanked him for helping me. I'm not sure if he believed my story until we pulled into the hotel parking lot and he saw the thirty-foot instrumented towers and Honey-I-Shrunk-the-Kids car parked nearby.

I pounded on the door to my room until my friend let me in and then laid awake for over an hour, shaking with fury, until "Tom" knocked on the door (sometime around 12:30) to make sure I was home safely.

Apparently he'd been quite worried when I wasn't at Kinko's when he went back to get me (God knows when) and the cashier told him "You're looking for Becca? She left. And she was PISSED." Indeed.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Day in the Life

This is for my blog friend, Brooke, who is posting a schedule of her day every day this week. I think it will be interesting to read later when everyone is older. And now that I'm rereading it I sort of get why I'm so tired all of the time. Next I'll tell you about a non-work day, which will be considerably shorter (i.e. 10-4, played with hose, ate popsicles).

4:00 (AM) Feed baby, fall asleep in chair, wake up, return baby to crib, return to bed

7:05 Awaken with a start to learn that the alarm clock has not yet appeared by my bedside to inform me of 1) Other awake children, 2) A Pull-Up mishap, or 3) Imminent death by starvation. Wake Ryan up and hurry him into the shower.

7:07 Remember that Ryan's car is dead, text babysitter, see if she can come early.

7:20 Join children milling around in hallway. Respond to pressing questions re: when can I turn on the TV. Find baby and remote control. Get back in bed for feeding and news time.

7:35 Hand off baby, hop in shower for hair-only three minute, incredibly disappointing shower.

7:38 Throw on jeans and nice-ish black shirt, necklace, sandals, deodorant ("getting ready" routine complete).

7:40 Join chaos downstairs. Start a load of laundry. Make sure everyone has sufficient clothing to cover important parts. Buckle children in car. Ensure there are enough shoes in the car that we could all walk to a gas station in case of mechanical failure. Leave for Ryan's work.

7:43: Two frantic texts from babysitter. SO SORRY, OVERSLEPT! Pull over to relieve texting-inept husband. Respond: "No problem! I'll take the kids out for breakfast tacos. See you at nine."

8:10 Arrive at Ryan's work. Kisses all around.

8:20 Arrive at breakfast taco place to find it packed with policemen and firefighters having breakfast. How fortunate. For the boys, I mean. Order tacos. Take crazy-parade back through seating area to car. Fireman holds door. Well, hello there! Boys in awe.

8:40 Get home. Set kids up with tacos at kitchen table. Switch laundry to dryer. Remember abruptly that the babysitter is coming and the living room looks like a halfway house. Perform "quick sweep" of living room: Toys in playroom, clothes in washer, diapers in trash.

9:00 Sitter arrives.

9:01 Reassure Wes.

9:05-9:10 Load various bags (laptop, breast pump), make bottles, provide tour of refrigerator. Feel guilt about lack of food selection. Feel like antagonist in "Nanny Diaries".

9:15 Leave for school.

9:45-10:30 Arrive at office. Check email, brainstorm ideas for paper, write two pages of notes, get nowhere. Go to library website to search for papers relevant to my ideas. Print paper to read. There are a lot of equations. Not my favorite.

10:30-12:05 Read mathy-hard paper. Wake self up repeatedly. Stretch a lot. Remind self to bring coffee next time. Resist urge to login to Facebook approximately twenty-million times.

12:06 OK one little peek.

12:15 Walk to dining hall. Gorge self on $4 all you can eat buffet.

12:30 Return to office, purloined cookies and tea in hand. Return to boring paper. Finish it to satisfaction, write down several more questions.

12:45-2:00 Search for more relevant work. Read some. Print some. Feel like kind of a badass when department chair finds one of the papers on the printer and knows it's mine because it says something about velocity spectra in the title.

2:00 Realize I've forgotten to schedule thank-you lunch with administrator who helped me with the proposal. Send effusive apology email to set up a time. Wonder who thinks I'm more flaky, this administrator, the boys' preschool teachers, or my mom.

2:05-2:30 Research jobs in parts of the country where it's not a hundred degrees in May. Weigh potential for lake-effect snow against sweltering late-spring weather.

2:30 Check 7-day forecast for any mention of rain. Stew.

2:30-3:30 More brainstorming and summarizing old notes (older than Wes old) for potential new paper. Some staring off into space. Some blog reading followed by some self-chastisement.

3:30 Leave for home.

4:00 Arrive just in time for Wild Kratts. Listen to rundown of boys' happy day. Playing with the hose, Playdoh, coloring, a movie, naps. Sounds like a great day. Note evidence of origami-making on kitchen table. I love our babysitter. Fold laundry, straighten kitchen.

4:30 Wake Wes up from three hour nap. Put everyone in car. Leave for Ryan's office.

5:00 YAY Papa's back! It's the weekend!! Charlie is asleep. Oh crap.

5:30 Return home, put Charlie in bed for the night (?). Warm up some leftovers for Ryan and Wes. Open some leftover pasta salad and make a piece of toast for myself. Mix some oatmeal and banana for James.

6:00-6:30 Ryan puts Wes to bed. Give James a bath. Dress him in jammies. Nurse him to sleep. Fall asleep in chair. Wake up, put him in bed. Perform vital sign check of still-sleeping Charlie. Head downstairs.

6:30-9:30 Sit around reflecting how tired I am and promising myself I'll go to bed soon. Eat multiple slices of coconut cream pie (homemade by Ryan). Watch Dateline with Ryan. Realize how lame a Friday night this is somewhere in the back of my mind. Am too tired to care.

9:30-10:30 Read Bossypants and fall asleep.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

On my third twenty-ninth birthday

It was a very thirty-one kind of day, I'd say. It began with Charlie appearing at my bedside at 7:00 sharp to show me the globe he'd drawn. Ryan whisked him downstairs to prepare my birthday surprise where I heard lots of whispering and shuffling around. They called me and I stumbled down the stairs, slightly alarmed by the eerie orange glow coming from the kitchen.

Did they get me a nuclear reactor for my birthday, like I'd asked? No! They put thirty-one candles on a birthday cake.

Wes came downstairs and everyone sang, I blew out the candles, we ate cake, Wes ate a candle, we coerced the children to shore up their blood sugar by having a banana too, tantrums were thrown, shoes were found, Curious George was turned on, coffee was made and delivered to me in a brand new travel mug to replace the one the kids use in the baby pool now, Ryan left for work, I folded laundry.

Then we went to a cool toy store with a playroom and spent the morning building trains and dragons and log cabins and playing junk yard. My friend and I got a little crazy and took all five children, aged four and under, to a sit-down restaurant for lunch. Mac and cheese and peanut butter-banana sandwiches for the kiddos, BLTs for the ladies, a mashed banana for James (this is a whole other post, but there was no way that kid was going to make it to six months before eating fruit with his little tractor beam eyes and pitiful wail of starvation, sorry Pediatrician Man, a hungry kid is a hungry kid). Cupcakes on the way back to the car rounded out a really nice morning.

And then NO ONE NAPPED. Charlie managed to convince me he wasn't tired. Wes laid on his back kicking his door and demanding water for nearly an hour before Charlie let him out. James had a diaper incident that woke him up (possibly definitely related to the banana).

I sent Charlie and Wes out into the backyard to do *something* that did not involve me for a while. When I heard laughing and checked on them a few minutes later, this is what I found:

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Which is a huge improvement over yesterday when they teamed up to spray hose water directly through the open back door into the kitchen.

Later, after Wild Kratts, I found a scorpion stuck to my pool bag in the kitchen and flung the whole thing onto the back porch (Yes, I did check out the window to see if anyone's husband was home before I tackled that job myself). With the back porch now off limits until Ryan could perform a full inspection, they played Superheroes in the front yard.

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Superheroes who loooooove each other:

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Which was really fun and cute for a while and then Ryan came home and both older boys hit the freaking wall and there was an entire hour during which at least two kids were screaming hysterically for one reason or another (or no reason at all). James was placated by sucking down the last of the baby oatmeal (two bowls) and another half a banana, but Charlie and Wes just had to be put to bed. I choose to blame the terrible behavior and moods on the fact that it is now summer "break". Boo.

Through all the screaming Ryan made a delicious dinner of huevos rancheros for us, complete with homemade salsa. Now that everyone is in bed and we've eaten our coconut cream pie I hardly remember all the multi-child mega-tantrum. And now I've got some Bossypants to read and some gift card Zappos shopping to do. All's well that end's well!