Sunday, March 30, 2014

Well that was bewildering

As we all know, putting kids to bed SUCKS.  It's nothing like you envision when you are expecting your first child and spend hours sitting in their room imagining yourself reading them stories and kissing their freshly washed hair before they gently sigh and fall to sleep.  Even on the best of days it's a dead run from dinnertime until Jon Stewart.  The worst days are more like that scene on The Perfect Storm where the crew works feverishly through the night only to have a giant wave smack the ship over sideways.

Tonight was no exception.  We had a reasonably good time having dinner together and getting jammies on.  Wes lost his books for not cooperating with changing his clothes, but everyone brushed their teeth and we had them in bed at the usual time, between seven and seven thirty.  And that's when the shenanigans began.

We were attempting to relax downstairs when we heard the pitter patter of little feet on the floor above our heads and then voices.  Ryan went up to investigate.

Wes was helping James put his diaper back on after James had gotten up to use the potty.  Go James!

Then Charley appeared downstairs.  "I'm not tired and it's still daytime."

"Back to bed" I said firmly without looking up from Facebook.

Then Wes was out of his room again, running around the upstairs hallway.  Ryan made him go back in.

Then there was commotion in the bathroom again.  James had to go potty again.  A likely story.  I put him back in his room and closed the door.  He screamed and kicked the wall for at least fifteen minutes.

Then Wes was out knocking on the wall at the top of the stairs to get our attention.  He wanted a stuffed animal he had left in the car.  I said no.  He returned to his room to scream.

Then Charley came out of our room where he falls asleep so he and Wes don't keep each other up.

Then before I could even get back downstairs Wes came out again.

This time I had HAD it.  I ran down to the kitchen and got two wet rags.  At the top of the stairs I handed them to Charley and Wes and said "You may sleep, or you may clean the bathroom floor."

To my surprise they merrily skipped off to the two upstairs bathrooms.

I heard rigorous scrubbing for about fifteen minutes while I sat on the floor in the hallway feeling a little guilty about punishing the kids for not sleeping by making them clean bathrooms.  How very Mrs. Hannekin of me!  I felt less guilty when I remembered that the choices I had given them were SLEEP IN YOUR COZY BEDS or clean the bathroom floor on your hands and knees.

Then Charley came out and handed me his rag.  "I'm done in there" he said.  "OK, do you want another job?" I asked, very surprised at how cooperative they were being.  He did, so I sent him down to work on the playroom, a job I ask them to do nearly every single day that results in so much histrionics you would think I was tearing them limb from limb.  And the playroom was a MESS tonight.

He headed downstairs without another word.

Wes was done with his bathroom moments later so I set him to work putting all the books back in the bookshelves in their room, a chore I've needed to do all week after moving them out for the big room overhaul last Friday.

He CHEERFULLY AND WITHOUT GETTING DISTRACTED shelved an entire laundry basket full of books, stood up and said "I think I'll go to bed now," then climbed into his lower bunk, pulled up the covers, and asked me (very nicely this time) for his stuffed animal from the car, which I happily retrieved.

Meanwhile Charley was doing an AMAZING job on the playroom.  He got everything up off the floor.  When I went in there to put an action figure away he said "Oh, here's the action figure bin I set up."  When he was done with that room he swept through the living and dining room picking up toys and dirty clothes.  Toys went in the playroom (in their appropriate spots) and laundry went in the washer.  He put a few things on the island and when I asked about that he said "I thought you could help put those away since you're the experts on going into James's room at night."

And then he said he was done, bounced up the stairs and into our room, turned out the light, and got into bed.

 SO WEIRD, you guys.

And I have not heard a PEEP out of them since then, about an hour ago.  And the house looks amazing.  This is REVOLUTIONARY.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Does this happen to anyone else?

You know how your hair grows in really nice and thick while you are pregnant?  And then how it falls out by the handful for the first year of your baby's life?  Or possibly the stress of living in a frat house/zoo while attempting to create a career out of thin air is making my hair fall out?  Either way, I've been finding enough stray hairs on my clothes to knit a sweater.  A hair sweater.  Cozy!

But the worst part of shedding like a golden retriever in July is the way the loose hairs always seem to find their way INTO MY BRA.

You know how it is.  You're teaching your class and feel this absolutely unbearable itching/tickling sensation in your cleavage area and have to use every ounce of will to not start wildly scratching your boobs.  Then as soon as the last "I'm sorry I was late did I miss anything important (!!)?" leaves you tear down the hall to the privacy of your closet-office (cloffice) to jam your hand down your shirt and pull out the ONE SINGLE HAIR that was somehow causing that much discomfort.

It also happened during a university ceremony in which I was wearing a cap and gown and subject to intermittent jumbo-tron filming.

That ceremony was ninety minutes long but I made it.  I could be a sniper.

Today I was talking to Wes's science teacher at dropoff when I couldn't take it anymore.  I didn't even try to be discreet as I pulled what appeared to be a small hamster out of my shirt.  I would have been embarrassed if I wasn't so relieved.

I'm not sure what the solution is but I'm thinking either a short summery haircut or a trip back to 1987 to get some of those turtleneck tank tops.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

This morning at dropoff Wes's teacher asked me if I'd remembered to bring him a plastic water bottle for a project and when I replied that I hadn't she said "That's OK, I have an extra right here!"  I apologized and told her that I'd been home for about forty-five minutes total yesterday, but that it was all good stuff, just a LOT of stuff.  She said "You know, whenever I have a busy day I think 'At least I'm not Becca!'"  HA!!

I love our preschool.  We've been there since Charley was two and loved every minute of it.  We've made it work, through many different and complicated arrangements involving various grandparents and nannies, since I started working part time four years ago.  I love the teachers, the playground, the building, the traditions.  The sweet chapel song they sing as they process out every Monday morning.  The Thanksgiving feast.  The cute graduation Wes will be part of in May.  I love our preschool.

But last month my chair came to me and told me they were adding a FOURTH class section to my schedule for fall (a change I welcomed).  And then I was talking with another faculty member in my department who told me that THREE sections was a full-time load.  THREE.  And that's when a lightbulb blinked on in my head.  I am going to be teaching (more than) full-time and this means I need full-time childcare.

This was a bittersweet realization, because I LOVE our preschool.  But it's twenty minutes away in the opposite direction from my house and starts at nine which means that after driving the kids to school, walking them in, and then driving to work, it's quarter to ten!  Which gives me fifteen minutes to rip off my coat, pee, and open my powerpoint, which is HOPEFULLY (BUT NOT USUALLY) ready.

This makes for a stressful morning.

So, that day, on the advice of a friend, I checked out a sweet little Montessori school that's midway between my house and work.  It was lovely, affordable, started at eight o'clock every day, and had spots for both James and Mary starting in August.  I went in the next day to sign the paperwork and breathed a huge sigh of relief.

Telling our current preschool was very hard.  Because I love our current preschool!  But I think this will work much, much better given the amount of hours I expect to work in the fall.

There's more exciting news!  You guys know a bit about the struggle we've had at Charley's school, yes?  Well, Ryan and I learned about another school.  A charter school nearby that had a different approach.  It's inquiry based and centers all its instruction around broad themes of global awareness, social justice, and environmental sustainability.  It's highly recommended.  It's FREE.  They wear UNIFORMS.  It goes all the way to 12th grade!

It's also...hard to get into...especially for grades above kindergarten.

I went to the info session in February and nodded along with every word, mouth slightly agape, then considered offering to write a check for WHATEVER FREAKING NUMBER YOU TELL ME JUST PLEASE LET US INTO THIS SCHOOL.

But that's not how it works.  There is a lottery for all available seats.  So we applied and waited.  And waited.

And then, the Monday of Spring "Break" I drove up there to check the results.  There were pages and pages of names taped to the windows at the front of the school.  One side said "Congratulations!!!" and the other side said "Waitlist".  I checked the kindergarten list first on the "Congratulations!!!" side.  And there was Wes's name!  OMG!!

Then I checked the very, very short list of accepted 2nd graders.

I almost screamed when I saw "Charles Academomia" about halfway down the page.

You guys they had SIXTEEN spots for 2nd graders.  SIXTEEN.  And over a hundred kids on the waitlist.  We are so, so incredibly lucky.  Lucky and excited.  This is going to be a good thing for them.  For us!  I can hardly wait.

I'm not sure I can convey how desperate we were for this to happen.  This has been such a hard year for Charley and due to the way the school handles the 1st to 2nd grade transition and host of other things, we would not see any relief from those difficulties for at least another YEAR.  We know many, many kids who are thriving at the current school (and we've also had some great experiences there, he's learned so much this year), but our kid was sinking.  Our smart, happy, funny, usually very nicely mannered boy was SINKING and nothing we could do was helping (and we did a LOT OF THINGS last semester).  This semester his mood and attitude have improved dramatically and he's getting "smiley face" after "smiley face" in his folder which is kind of amazing to me but has not resulted in any improvements in the behavior category on his report card or any kind of acknowledgement from the teacher, who sent negative email after negative email last semester when he was SEEING A PSYCHOLOGIST AND WISHING HE'D NEVER BEEN BORN.  Infuriating.  But at least he's happy and seems to be thriving.

The icing on the already awesome cake is that Charley and Wes's new school is about a mile away from James and Mary's new school and BOTH ARE ON THE WAY FROM OUR HOUSE TO RYAN'S WORK AND MY SCHOOL.  will pick everyone up around three and head home for outside play and dinner prep! We are thrilled.

 The catch is that Mary needs to be walking by August 4.  We've been giving her a LOT of tummy time.


I was only home for forty-five minutes yesterday but it was a GREAT forty-five minutes.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Things that are annoying: Ikea furniture, temperatures below sixty that occur after February

We finally bit the bullet this week and bought the kids some bunk beds at Ikea.  When I say "we" I really mean "I did it" because I am impatient and couldn't wait the three more days it would have taken Ryan to have a free moment to go to the store to buy them.  I began to regret my decision as I rolled the two giant boxes, along with a kiddie picnic table I found in the "as is" section and some dishtowels, across the parking lot (down hill in a stiff thirty mile per hour tailwind) toward the van, but folding up the seats and sliding the boxes inside was fairly straightforward, except for the part where I tried to push one of the boxes with my leg and twanged my kneecap a good two inches out of place causing me to swear audibly in the crowded parking lot.

Ryan hid the boxes in the garage and on Friday my dad came over to help me assemble them.  The original plan was that Ryan and I were going to let the kids sleep on the floor in our room the night before under the guise of "we're getting the carpets cleaned tomorrow" so we could take everything out of the room the night before, but *someone* was uncomfortable lying to the kids, so we left everything where it was.  Ultimately, this made for the most satisfying element of surprise later, even if it meant doing lots of furniture moving and heavy lifting immediately before assembling the most complicated Ikea product in the history of the world.

Once we had cleared out their room and vacuumed we opened up the two boxes to reveal a huge pile of nondescript looking wood and about forty-five thousand assorted screws.  My dad (BS in Mechanical Engineering) and I (same) spent several long minutes looking from the pile of wood and back to the directions saying things like:

"Huh."

"Maybe this one goes over...?  No...?"

"Oh but maybe this goes like this?  Wait a minute."

"Here it is!  Oh no, whoops."

"Huh."

Finally we decided to separate the one big pile into ten or so smaller piles of pieces that kinda sorta resembled each other.  This helped us be slightly less confused and eventually we were rolling.

By the time my mom brought Wes and James home from preschool we had something vaguely bunk bed looking assembled in the room.  Wes came upstairs, suspecting nothing, rounded the corner, and said slowly "AAAAWWWWEEEESOOOOMMMMEEE."  Two hours later when it was time to get Charley, we were done with only four or five random pieces of hardware leftover.

When Charley came home Wes attacked him.  "CHARLEY!!!!  COME SEE OUR ROOM!!!!!"

Then I took this picture.



(Also, see that sticker on Charley's shirt? He has two of them. Those are stickers they give out at his school when they notice a kid doing something especially good. Charley hasn't gotten one all year and he got TWO on Friday. He proclaimed school "great!" Dude. He is doing so awesome right now.)

The bed came out GREAT and makes their tiny room SO MUCH BIGGER. We're hoping that they will play up there more so we don't have to spend fifty thousand dollars moving to a house with a second living area so we don't all kill each other. So far they've been spending noticeably more time up there, although Friday most of that time was spent providing any willing neighborhood kid/cousin with the grand tour.

Friday night my mom and aunt and dad and sister and brother-in-law and niece came over/stayed for pizza and ice cream sundaes. The weather was warm and the kids alternated between running wild in the culdesac and hanging out in Charley and Wes's room. James and Mary manned the play gym on the porch. Ryan ripped out that giant dead plant in the background this afternoon. It's Lantana so I'm sure it'll be back by morning.



Here are some randoms:

Wes and James give Mary "crawling lessons."



The weather has been so nice this week I took this afternoon to pull all the kids' warm clothes out of their drawers, add in new/bigger (EIGHT. Charley's shorts are size EIGHT. And I wore his jacket to preschool dropoff the other day. He's practically a MAN) summer stuff from our stash of hand me downs, find all the swimsuits for this year (also from hand me downs, which is awesome), and do seven-ish loads of laundry. I was feeling really good about how great it's going to be when the kids come home from church tomorrow and head upstairs to rip off their nice clothes and put on play clothes, which will be SOOO EASY TO FIND now that everything is sorted, only to learn that tomorrow it is supposed to be FIFTY FIVE AND RAINING. BECAUSE OF COURSE. So now I have to dig around in the bin to find everyone some long church pants because my plan to be all earth-mother and let them wear shorts tomorrow has been foiled by the Zombie Winter of 2014. FOILED.

But let's end on a high note: Friday morning I took this picture of the kids eating breakfast because they were looking so cute and loveable.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Family. Camp. The best.

It's the last weekend of Spring "Break" and you know what means: ALL CHURCH FAMILY CAMP.  In case you didn't hear that, I will let Wes tell you where we went this weekend:

FAMILY CAMP FAMILY CAMP FAMILY CAMP FAMILY CAMP!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The kids love family camp.  We love family camp.  Mary, who has never been to family camp, loved family camp, particularly the night we spent squeezed into my mummy bag together like a two-pack of Yodels.

Charley and Wes had the run of the campsite this year, disappearing on their scooters at sunup (OR BEFORE), showing up for meals (then eating with friends) when alerted by the bell, drinking who knows how much hot chocolate and lemonade (spoiler: A LOT) from the neverending supply that lived outside the dining hall, swimming, canoeing, and scrambling up a rocky hillside and exploring the woods at the top with a gaggle of other kids like some kind of Peter Pan utopian fantasyland.

The courtyard entrance to the dining hall served as a parking lot for twenty or more razor scooters at any given time.  Adults took to walking on the grass so as not to be mowed down by the scrappy throng of kids zipping around on the sidewalks.  Last night I had to retrieve Wes from the amphitheater, where he and ten other kids were riding in tight circles on the circular floor while another kid stood in the back flashing the lights like some kind of scooter derby/rave combination.

We spent lots and lots of time enjoying our friends.  I love our friends.

It's the first time in a long time I've gone on a trip and come back feeling relaxed (tired, SOOOO tired, but RELAXED).

Had to stop at the store for baby food on the way there because we are planners.



They greet you at registration with brownies and ice cream. At nine PM. Camp is the best.



The water is FREEZING, but Charley and Wes both jumped in. Charley swam to a float in the middle of the river and stayed there goofing around with some older boys for so long he was completely dry and didn't want to swim back. This caused him to miss family fun canoe time, but I sense that he had more fun on his adventure (and also it was fun to not be trapped in a canoe with a screaming seven month old). He was back on land when we returned, looking very proud.



James did not get in.



But he and Mary had a good talk on the waterfront.



James expressed himself creatively with bubbles.



This morning for breakfast Wes ate cinnamon toast crunch with chocolate milk, two cups of hot chocolate, and the icing off a cinnamon roll like Buddy the Elf. After breakfast we cleaned out our cabin, took a few more laps on the scooters, went to worship by the river (one of the highlights for me, always, even though today it was FREEZING), and then packed in the car and went home. The kids were all asleep before we reached the highway and Ryan and I talked about how it had been the best family camp EVER with almost zero discipline issues (possibly because there were so few rules to actually enforce, LIVE IT UP KIDS FAMILY CAMP COMES ONCE A YEAR!) and lots of relaxing fun for everyone. Everyone wants to go back, like RIGHTNOW.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Next time we will eat at home

We were all lazing around the house this morning when my mom called and asked if we wanted to meet at my sister's house so the kids could meet my sister's new dog that my mom is caring for while my sister is on vacation.  The kids have been DYING to meet Frank the dog for weeks, so it was easy to convince them to get in the car so we could leave.  Except for James, who ran to the other side of the yard and sat down, refusing to get in the car.

Five minutes later I had hog-tied him into his carseat and we and my permanently borked shoulder muscles were ready to go.  No one had eaten in the last five minutes so we ran through the Schlotzky's drive through on the way.  I wouldn't let anyone have their sandwich until we got to my sister's house.

It was a LONG five-minute car ride for all of us.

We got there first and with no way to get inside, I told the kids they could eat a picnic on the driveway.  It took us ten minutes for everyone to get out of the car.  Charley had to go over the third row seat and out the hatch.  Then Wes, who had already climbed into the middle row to get out through the door, had to do the same, which meant climbing BACK into the third row before climbing out the back.  James I just unbuckled and pulled out of his carseat.

Once everyone was out of the car we had a lengthy discussion about whose completely full cup of lemonade was whose.  Mine was red!  Mine was green!  Mine was red too!  Dear Schlotzky's: I will pay double if you will give us three cups that are the same color.

Then James had to go potty.  I instructed him to go around the side of the house where no one could see him and go there.  I was distracted for a moment with Mary and when I turned around he was standing in full view of the street, pants around his ankles, peeing perilously close to the neighbor's air conditioning unit.

Finally, what felt like an hour after we'd arrived, all three kids were settled on my sister's porch chairs eating their lunch.  It was fifty degrees outside so Mary and I stayed in the car.  I had just started to relax and eat my own lunch when all three of them appeared next to the car, lunches in hand, as if by magic.

"I'm COLD, I want to eat in the car!"

Of course.

Wes opened the back door and wriggled between Mary's seat and the pile of crap on the floor.  Charley tried to crawl in after him but Wes kept accidentally kicking his head so he climbed over the console and into the passenger seat, which meant I had to find new places for all of the super important crap that I usually keep there.

James stood next to the open driver's side door and ate with his lunch balanced on the two inch piece of plastic adjacent to the seat.  I had to hold it with my foot.

I took one bite of my lunch before the two kids inside the car began complaining about being cold and asking me to close the back door.  "James," I said, "close that door, please."

He tried to close it for several minutes before Wes helpfully climbed back out of the car through the hole under Mary's seat (hold my drink for a minute, please, Mom!).  Standing on the driveway, he closed the door.  Then stood there thinking...thinking...thinking...

"I'm cold.  I need to get in the car," he finally said, realizing his mistake, then opened the door and climbed in without closing it.  I was still holding his drink.  And holding James's lunch with my foot.

So I extricated myself from all of that, carried James, his lunch and drink, and Wes's drink around the car, opened the opposite door, put James in his carseat, and closed both doors.

Then I settled myself back into MY seat and opened my lunch again.

Thirty seconds after that my mom arrived.

I explained that we would be in when we were done with our lunch.

Epilogue: Frank the dog is cute, James broke a lamp, Mary pooped then screamed through the rest of the visit, and everyone is now watching TV.  Spring "Break".

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Family Dinner

Charley: My "amen" is that I got to spend alone time with Mom.  My "aw man" is that church is boring.

Wes: My "amen" is that we are having cookies for dessert and my "aw man" is that Charley got to spend alone time with Mom.

Me to Ryan: I saw a house for sale online that had five bedrooms and an extra living area.  It was so nice and big!  And affordable.  If I sell one of my kidneys.

Charley: I don't want to move.  I like to play in the woods here.

Me: Well as long as you and Wes can share a room without making me crazy, then we can stay here as long as you want!

Charley: Can we get bunk beds?

Me: We are not getting bunk beds until you two can agree on who gets the top bunk.

Wes: Oh! Charley can have the top bunk!

Charley: (wordlessly gets up and circles the table to envelop Wes in a huge bear hug.  Returns to seat.)

Wes: (continues eating spaghetti) I said Charley could have the top bunk because I was afraid he would get angry at me.

Charley: Maybe we could switch off who gets the top bunk.  We could do rock paper scissors!

Ryan, me, in unison: NO!

James: My "amen" is....is...is...is...is... ... ... church?

Charley: Rock! Paper! Scissors!

Wes: Three...two...one... blastoff!!

Me: Wes, please put down spaghetti and use your fork.

Charley: Roooooocccck! Paaaaaaper!  Scisssssors! KABOOM!

Me: Wes, use your fork or no cookies.

James: I no want a bunk bed. I sweep in Mary's room?

Charley: I could have the top bunk one day, and then Wes could have it the next day.

Me: What about "Whoever washes the kitchen floor the fastest gets the top bunk"?  WES.  FORK.

Ryan:  I'm not putting up that bunk bed until I know it's safe.  Mom sat on Wes's bed once and fell straight through to the floor.

Me: Anyway, I really like our house and our street.  We're probably have to move out before we listed our house anyway because it's such a pit all the time.

 Wes: What if we both slept on the top bunk?

Me: Eat.  Please.  Fork.  (I make eye contact with Ryan and wonder if we will ever have a conversation again)

(Time passes.  General hubbub continues.  Children are reminded to stay in their seats.  Cookies are distributed and eaten)

Me: OK everyone!  Jammies!

Kids: Scurry up the stairs.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

An average afternoon

Getting home after work at 5:15 is not unlike getting shot out of a cannon in that you have to hit the ground running or you will fall flat on your face.  Today I walked into a tranquil scene with the kids watching Thomas and/or playing nicely while our nanny put the finishing touches on a King Cake she had made with the kids (aside: AWESOME).

Tranquil, that is, until they spotted me, and then after that it was effing chaos.

The dog was barking, Mary was screaming, and a cloud of humanity was jumping all around me trying to get my attention.

After an appropriate amount of hugging and kissing and hellos and how was your day's I had to put my blinders on and slap dinner together before all hell broke loose (more loose than it already was of course).  I had three pans going, sausage, scrambled eggs, and pancakes (Shrove Tuesday.  I do love a good obscure holiday) while Miss N fed Mary some sweet potatoes and Charley and Wes put sprinkles on the King Cake.  I also attempted to maintain four conversations at the same time.

Dinner was almost ready when James wandered in from the laundry room, stark naked.  He stood there, looking at me blankly.  I smiled and told him "You just need to get your undies back on before dinner."  He pouted and ran to the living room to pick a fight with Wes.

Charlie ran through the room singing.  "DO YOU HEAR THE PEOPLE SING? SINGING THE SONG OF ANGRY MEN! IT IS THE MUSIC OF A PEOPLE WHO WILL NOT BE SLAVES AGAIN!" in a deep opera voice.  Wes joined in.  Everyone was singing at the top of their lungs, BADLY, Charley holding his arm out dramatically like one of the three tenors.  Mary started howling along with a huge smile, arm outstretched in a perfect imitation of Charley.

Finally the kids' dinner was on the table and everyone was sitting down.  I made them do math problems to get syrup.  Because they will do anything for syrup and I like to ensure they don't have a normal childhood.

Me: Wes?  What is two plus one?

Wes: Twenty one!!

Me (holding up fingers): Good thinking, but let's try again, TWOOOO?  plus ONNNNNE?

Wes: Three!!

Me: Great job, here you go!  James, what is the number that comes after one?

James: Nine?

Me: Nine is a number, very good!!  Charley, what is two times three?

Charley (in a deadpan, while chewing): Six.

Me: Great!  Here you go!

(Later, after bedtime, while Ryan ate his dinner, this happened: Ryan: The derivative of x cubed is three x squared.  Me: What?  Ryan: I want syrup too.)

After dinner I held a fussy Mary on my hip and stood in the middle of the living room barking orders about putting toys back in the playroom, cleaning up fort materials, putting dishes in the sink, and practicing piano (Play your LESSON MUSIC FTLOG STOP WITH THE CHRISTMAS CAROLS).  Finally Mary consented to sit in the Exersaucer and I tackled two days' worth of dishes and pots and pans that were all the freak over the kitchen.  This went on for thirty-five clock-watching minutes until Ryan finally burst in the door, very apologetically explaining that he had gotten Hey Peter-ed on the way out the door.

I ran to the nursery with Mary and my Kindle shortly after Ryan got home.  I was hiding putting the baby down.  Ryan's kind of amazed when it only takes me ten minutes to get her down on Downton Abbey nights because it takes me almost thirty minutes every other night.  SO WEIRD.

When I heard things quiet down I gave her one more kiss and laid her down in bed and tiptoed into Charley and Wes's room for the tail end of storytime.  Everyone was all smiley and cuddly and wearing clean jammies and aww, they're so cute and nice, let's just sit here and snuggle together forever!  Until Ryan finished the last book and then someone wanted his slippers, someone wanted a glass of water, someone couldn't find his book and OMG PLEASE JUST GET IN BED AND DON'T GET OUT AGAIN.

So now, I am having my second slice of King Cake and a glass of wine and am about to settle into a book about Python, the programming language that I need to know for school.  As soon as Ryan's done with HIS brief work thing it will be time for Parenthood and pajamas.  Dude.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Catch up.

YOU GUYS! How did I forget to tell you about this.



Charley played the prelude last Sunday at church. He and his old preschool teacher (Wes's current preschool teacher, not pictured) played "Jesus Loves Me" together on the piano. He was amazing, which is not surprising since he had been practicing in every spare minute of every day for three weeks. That's a lot of Jesus Loves Me.

I, of course, held my breath through the entire performance. It was amazing and terrifying to watch him up there, at once tiny and incredibly grown up. I do not know where he gets his poise (confidence derived from hours of practicing the same song perhaps?). Also notable: there was a CROWD of people who love Charley gathered in the front pews. What a wonderful morning it was.

Yesterday it was EIGHTY DEGREES so we joined the rest of civilization at the park.

The park has a pretend city block complete with working stoplights and lifelike signage and storefronts. Because going to the real grocery store and the real bank and stopping at real stoplights is boring, but riding your bike around a kid-sized version of exactly the same thing is my kids' freaking Disneyworld.



I had fun watching until Wes ran the red light on his bike and Charley screamed at him "THAT WAS A RED LIGHT YOU IDIOT!" and Ryan and I looked at one another and then hung our heads in shame.

This is a weird picture but I included it because when I saw it I was startled by how normal I'm starting to look.



Big girl on a SWING!



That night we had Charley's Blue and Gold banquet for Scouts. I momentarily took my eyes off of James as I moved to another table to get this picture and when I turned around to check on him I heard "I GO UP HERE PAPA!" and saw him dash across the stage to stand with Charley's den. Oopsy.



Proud Bobcat.



Luckily we had indoor activities planned for today because when we woke up this morning it was in the fifties and raining and by the time we got back from a very nice lunch at my parents' there was ice all over Ryan's car--a FIFTY DEGREE TEMPERATURE DIFFERENCE IN TWENTY`FOUR HOURS. SOB (That is sob, like cry sob, not like son of a b****, but that too, you know? FREAKING WINTER OF 2014 WHEN WILL YOU END??).