Wednesday, May 25, 2011

There's a carrot under my piano (and other tales)

So there was a carrot under my piano that was winking roguishly at me for some time. "Come and get me, why don't you," it seemed to mock. "Just get down on your hands and knees one more time to pick up some random object that got here who knows how, and only I know how long ago."
Maybe it is the latent rebel in me, but I just didn't want to pick that carrot up- no matter how wrinkly and green it was turning. Or maybe it was the other voice in my head telling me not to bother, since something else equally disgusting would take its place in no time. I should learn to listen to that voice, because this morning I finally gave in, got down on my belly to fish the carrot out and ran my hand into a half rotten banana with it's accompanying cloud of fruit flies. That was the beginning of a long day. You know those days where you can't seem to find the humor in life? Those days where you are lashing out at your kids for stupid things like spraying their luncheon pbj with lysol?
After the discovery of the banana, I thought it was high time to give my house a good scrub down, and the only way I can usually motivate myself to do a thorough job is to move all my furniture away from the walls or put it up on tables and countertops. I felt even worse when I did this, for under my couch were no less than 12 match box cars, 17 broken crayons, another rotten carrot (I kid you not) and what seemed like mountains of other odds and ends whose identity was veiled in dust bunnies. I stared at it for a few minutes, and then had to nurse the baby.
And then I had to change my pants because the baby puked all down my leg. Then I figured the baby probably needed a bath too, so I scrubbed him up and had him all wrapped in his towel when he decided to pee all over my pants. Then I had to change my pants.
Next, James decided it would be a good time to beg me incessantly to build him a boat with his k'nex. Does anyone else have k'nex? I like them better than legos because the pieces are not so tiny, but they are a bit advanced for the boys. Usually I like helping them make stuff, but today was not that day. I put him off as long as I could, but they were all begging so I gave in. Of course half of the pieces were missing so we spent half an hour just searching for all the right parts, and then another half hour putting it together. Then Seb had a poopy all down his leg, so the older boys took their boat and fled the scene while I dealt with the diaper. All this time I am thinking "Is this why I went to college?" Then I put him to bed, and ran out to see what the other boys were screaming about. They were fighting over the boat, of course. Etienne had it and had locked James outside. I told him to let James in, so he unlocked the door just as James pushed hard. Etienne and the boat went flying. The boat got the raw end of the deal. "Mommy, build it again!" they wailed in unison. It was at this point that I nearly lost it, standing in the topsy turvy living room with poop on my hands and the remnant of that stupid boat at my feet. The boys must have noticed my frayed nerves because they gave up on the boat and quietly went outside.
It was one of those times where you have to decide if you are going to continue losing it or buckle down and do what needs doing next. Thankfully, God gave me the grace to start vacuuming. By the time Steve got home, the house was back in some semblance of order, dinner was almost ready, and I was able to start laughing at the craziness that is my life sometimes. However, just as I was relaxing after putting the boys to bed, Steve walked in the door with this backyard treasure.

I think I preferred the banana.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Monday, May 16, 2011

Hodgepodge and Handguns

It's cicada weather around here these days. For those of you northerners who have never experienced this exceptionally noisy insect, here is a picture.

The noise they make I cannot imitate, although my boys often try.
They are a fairly tame bug, and very easy to catch as James found out at church yesterday. He insisted on bringing one home. It kept crawling all over him in the car and trying to get onto Seb, who was screaming in terror. When we got home, Steve told James to let it go free. He was trying to put it on a tree when it suddenly took flight. The boys were all excited watching it go, when out of nowhere a robin swooped down and snatched it right out of the air. A bit traumatic, but hey, that's nature for you.

Saturday was spent installing this new item on the boys wall. Steve found it at one of the properties he was working on. It was covered with old marker streaks and masking tape with kids names on it(I assume it once belonged in a school) but it cleaned up really nicely and I am loving it. I can always use more cubby holes!

Can you tell what is wrong with this picture?

I am not sure which of my boys needed to make sure that the baby was doubly pacified, but I thought it was pretty funny.

James to Etienne the other day.
"I am sorry Etienne, but pirates cannot have deedees."(ie security blankets)

Have I mentioned that sometimes I feel like I have a lot of boys?

No wonder I drool over those little pink baby girl shoes with flowers on them. Brown sandals get monotonous.

Still wondering about the word handguns in the title? First of all mom, don't worry, we are all fine and I don't want you losing sleep over this. I have only lost a little bit myself.
Saturday afternoon I was sitting in the living room with the boys when I heard the front gate flung open (I forgot to lock it) and hurried footsteps. The next thing I knew, two rather large men were trying to come through my front door, so I did the first thing that popped into my mind and yelled for Steve. Thankfully he was home and came running. The men turned quickly around when he asked them what they wanted, mumbling something about getting the wrong house. I thought it was weird, but seeing as they walked away, I put it out of my mind (after locking the gate again). I went back to doing laundry when I heard Steve talking to someone on the phone that sounded suspiciously like the police. I looked at him questioningly and he pointed out the window. There in the dirt of my side yard were lying two rather large handguns. They were not toys.
It took me a while to register what I was seeing, but by then Steve was outside talking to three cops who apparently had been looking for the guys. I put a movie on for the boys in my bedroom and shut the door, so they wouldn't need to wonder why there were several policemen in our yard unloading guns and examining bullets. They ended up catching the guys, but couldn't arrest them because they had no proof that the tossed sidearms were theirs. As far as I know there was no shooting involved, but it was pretty scary nonetheless. All in all, I am thankful that nothing worse happened and that God was looking out for us. Even so, we are letting the dog off of his chain and Steve is never leaving the house again, right honey?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Not your ordinary boys

So I made a big batch of orange marmalade today.

Why, you may ask? Two reasons- first my husband is half-British and is in love with the stuff and second, we bought a 25 pound box of oranges from a roadside stand on our way back from Florida. These hands can only handle so much orange peeling before the citric acid starts eating away my fingernails.
Unfortunately, today decided to be the hottest day we have had yet this year and our AC isn't functioning so well. The marmalade making made the kitchen extra cozy, which in turn made me grumpy, which led me to usher all of my boys outside to play so I could sweat in peace.
There are days when I simply can't get my boys to play outside. I always thought boys just lived outdoors and I would have to be yelling from my front porch half the day to get them to come in. Granted it was hot outside, so the third time they came in whining, I got their swim trunks on and set up a sprinkler. I even ran through it a few times to show them how fun it was. They didn't buy it. They were all knocking on the door, begging to be let in while the sprinkler sprinkled merrily all by itself. I told them they had to stay outside just a few more minutes- gave them all full permission to have a waterfight or make as many mud pies as they wanted. Still knocking. Then James had the brilliant idea to sneak in the back door.
"All right", I said. "If you want to be inside, you have to clean." (Ha Ha, sneaky mom wins, right?)
His response was "I would love to do that mom." And he did. He cleaned up his bedroom, even vacuuming it, and then I came into my room and found this.

"I thought these looked better like this than on the floor mom."

By then his brothers had found the back door too, and were wanting to know what they could clean. I was running out of stuff by this time, so I told them if they wanted to be inside they had to play in their bedroom with the door shut.
This they did for five minutes or so, until I heard crying- and I mean really heartbroken, end of the world crying, so I went to check.
I found Etienne sobbing away, while James was obviously holding something in his fist that couldn't be seen. I asked him what he had done to Etienne. He admitted to doing something to him. When asked what it was, he opened his hand. It was empty. I asked again what he had done and again he showed me his hand, cupping it as if he were actually holding something. I looked to Etienne for clarification, and he was pointing at James's hand too, but crying too hard to talk. James then explained that he had been making pretend sandwiches for his brothers, but that Etienne was copying him. He didn't want Etienne making sandwiches too, but since he wouldn't stop, he insisted that Etienne had to put pepper on them just like him. Etienne didn't want to put pepper on his pretend sandwich, but James was making him do it anyway. That is when the crying started. What James was "holding" was a pretend pepper shaker. !!!!????
At that point it was dinner time, so we forgot about pepper sandwiches and hunkered down for some gourmet buttered noodles with leftover broccoli (Steve was not home).
After dessert of a piece of 85% cocoa dark chocolate (my boys won't eat milk chocolate. What in the world?) I sat down to play the piano for awhile. I noticed it was strangely quiet, and I also noticed it was bedtime. I went to their room to tell them it was jammie time, but they weren't there. I opened the front door and lo and behold, there they were having a grand old time. And then the inevitable- "Don't make us come in mom, we are having a waterfight!"

Where do these people come from? Maybe from a mother who is silly enough to make orange marmalade on a 95 degree day. Who knows.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Thanks to my father-in-law, we were able to spend a week for free at a condo down in Florida. It was so much fun- perfect weather, lots of adventures, and lots of time just soaking in the pool. I was a bit lazy about getting pictures every day, but here are some highlights. Thanks Grandpa Lewin!