Monday, September 26, 2011

Sebastien and Spiders

My third child turned three over the weekend. I love the stage he is in right now. (now that he is potty-trained) He is still a sweet and cuddly mama's boy, but he is learning to be independent. He is the clumsiest child I have ever seen, but every time he trips over his own feet, he gets up again and keeps going with only minimal crying. I hope he never stops talking with the little voice he has right now, because it keeps us in stitches all day. And his goofy faces? We love 'em.

But maybe what I love about him most is his eye for the little things. He is a great noticer of small details that the rest of us don't seem to see, and is always so full of wonder over each little bug and leaf.
He loves to help me pick flowers (my zinnias are still going strong) and he forces me to smell each one as it goes in the vase, even though zinnias don't really smell like anything. As I was arranging a bouquet the other day he kept telling me to look at the pretty spider. I looked, but couldn't see it. He kept talking about it, and I looked everywhere but to no avail. He finally had to touch it to get me to see it- a neon-yellow creature in the neon-yellow center of the flower I was holding.
Some spiders give me the creeps, but this little guy was just so perfectly suited to the home he had chosen that I had to marvel along with my boy and take a few pictures.

Happy Birthday Seb. Keep reminding us of the wonder all around us.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Overshooting the Mark

As most of you know, I really love to cook, but one of the main reasons I do is that it is therapeutic for me. For some reason, it helps my brain sort itself out after a busy day and strangely enough, when the kitchen is a complete disaster, starting a big meal is the best way for me to get things straightened out. Also, I am a really big fan of good food and no one else around here is going to make it for me.
All that to say, sometimes when I cook, I get carried away. Take tonight's quiche for example. Steve loves a good quiche (Say what you will about real men not eating it. I can only say that he is French, so therefore his taste in cooking is not to be contested.)
The boys like quiche as well if it is basic, (bacon and cheese) so I like to make it. Everyone happy, right?
The crust took me longer than usual seeing that in my haste, I managed to overturn my entire flour bin all over the pantry floor. That was a first, and hopefully a last.
Next I started frying the bacon, but then remembered I had bought an enormous bag of Costco onions that were starting to turn. So I sliced up a couple. Then digging through my veggie drawer, I came across some mushrooms that I had forgotten about. Score! Mushrooms and onions fried in the bacon grease. Mmmm. All this started to seem a little heavy to me, but then I remembered Steve's reminder that we needed to use up the Swiss Chard still growing in the garden. Something green is always good, right? I ran out to pick some, but had forgotten that it needs thorough cleaning, chopping, blanching and drying. A further pantry ramble revealed a jar of artichoke hearts just begging to be added.
At this point I realized it was getting late, the quiche wasn't even in the oven yet and the boys were hungry. Then I saw their poor pathetic faces as they looked at their dinner to be- full of funky green leaves and slimy mushrooms, onions and what not. Sometimes I forget what it was like to be a child, and how I would have gladly eaten Ramen noodles and bologna sandwiches for every meal.
I have this debate with myself often. Do I make my kids try something new, and fight them on every bite, or do I give them what I know they will like? I was merciful tonight both to myself and them. And in response to their dinner of hastily baked chicken nuggets, pears and cottage cheese, I was rewarded with a resounding chorus of "Oh mom, you're just the best cooker ever!"

What greater praise could I ask for?

Plus, there's more quiche for me!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

And it was just right

I often feel like Goldilocks when it comes to the weather. June through August is too hot. December through March is too cold, but for a few weeks in Spring and Fall, it is just right.

This is where our thermostat has been sitting, morning and night for the past couple of weeks-

The doors and windows have been open with absolutely no use of the a/c or heat. I live for these days. I feel like I am waking up after the long lethargy of summer swelter.

It's the kind of weather that makes me spontaneous, and very willing to load up all the kids and meet daddy at the park for a picnic.

(Check out Seb's face. This is what he does every time I ask him to smile. He is not being goofy, it just takes him awhile to contort his face into the right position.)

Trying to figure out what that poky green stuff is.

Just chillin'

And just 'cause I can't resist those blue eyes

Thank you God, for a breath of fresh air!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Fraternal Relationships

It is very interesting to watch the dynamics between each of my sons when they play together. For instance, I couldn't be more pleased with the sweet way they all interact with Christian.
James and Etienne get along in a "let's wrestle and rough house" kind of way but James and Sebastien seem to have a special sort of bond. When we lost Seb in the Walmart for five minutes last week, it was pretty traumatic for me, but after we found him, James ran up to him, gave him a huge hug and said, "Oh Seb, I was so worried! You're my best friend!" This claim didn't seem to bother Etienne in the least. Anyways....

James started school again last week..... (sniff, sniff) that leaves Etienne and Seb with me- the two boys whose special bond seems to be fighting over everything. And without James to lead in the games and stories, they seem at a loss to know what to do with themselves. The first few days we had to have a lot of talks about being kind to each other, and learning to get along. (James often acts as a referee between them as well) But this morning, they seemed to have accepted the situation and are getting along beautifully. (so far)

Another thing I love about being a mother to boys, as I have mentioned before, is to try and figure out what they are playing at before they tell me. Today I failed utterly.

"Guess what we are mom!"

"Cockadoodledoo! We're roosters! See our wings and coxcombs?"

And my beak?

After praising their creativity, I went to put the baby to bed and came back to this guessing game.

I just watched them for awhile- sitting quietly, looking at the gently swinging but empty baby swing.
But finally I had to ask.

"What are you guys doing?"
"Shhh mom, our babies are sleeping!"
"You have babies? Can I see them?"

"Are they baby boys or girls?"
"Oh no mom," (very seriously) "mine's are baby tigers and Seb's are baby ghost-es."
"But don't worry mom" (reassuringly) "they won't eat you until they get bigger."

Monday, September 5, 2011

When it rains it pours

Oh, it was a rough night. Christian decided around 3 am that it was time to cry- and cry- and cry. Pacifier? - not having it. Feed him? - not hungry. Rocking him in the chair?- talk about back-arching. I'm still not sure what was wrong with him, but he finally fell asleep around 5. When he woke again at six, I got up to feed him, and thought the boys had turned the bath on and left it running. It took me a minute to realize in my groggy state that it was pouring in floods outside. We haven't had rain for so long that the sound of a good Southern rainstorm had grown foreign to me. I had to laugh, thinking about all the people who had been praying for rain and they got it- on Labor Day.

The other boys were waking about now, so I left Christian to play with them, told James to try and keep him happy, and stumbled back to bed, where I remained oblivious until 9! I haven't slept 'til 9 in forever, and I got that panicky feeling when I woke up, like- why is it so quiet? Where are my kids?
I threw on my glasses and found Christian all by himself on his bedroom floor, kind of fussy, but otherwise fine. I should have known where the other boys would be.

"Guess what mom- it's raining!"

"But mom, if I go outside, my feet might get wet."

"Mom- I couldn't find my rubber boots, so I used your garden clogs."

On Saturday, thanks to Moriah, I was able to get an early pick on a huge children's consignment sale, and found raincoats for all the boys. Talk about good timing. However, the only item I wasn't able to find on my list were rainboots for Seb and Etienne. It was hilarious to watch Seb put two and two together- looking at the holes in his Crocs and the two inch deep puddles in the back yard. He never did make it outside.
I had to laugh, but I was impressed too. They managed to find their coats and shoes and get them all zipped and ready to go without me. I wish I could say the same for their pants.

Hope everyone has a good (and dry) Labor Day!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Making do

Who needs a giant flat screen t.v. when you have an ipod?