Friday, April 29, 2011

Back to two

I was WAY lucky this past week and got to see my sister and her family! They came to town b/c her husband had a few days of meetings for his job at Park Meadows (not exactly in our part of town, but certainly closer than Pueblo) so we chilled and played with the kids and shopped and ate pizza... things I do on a regular basis anyway, but it's MUCH more fun with my sister. In fact, it's things I do on a regular basis while on the PHONE to this same sister, but it's way better in person. Kind of a no-brainer that way :) We get to see each other often enough that we don't bother taking pictures when we get together, so I have no photographic documentation that this actually happened. To you, I could be making this all up, but believe me... I'm not. We hung out.

But after their awesome 3-night stay an awesome idea took hold: why not send Patrick with my sister when she left? She wasn't headed home to Pueblo; instead she travelled on to Grand Junction to visit my parents, our other sister and her family, my brother and his family, and my grandma (more on that in a second). As long as she was 2 hours closer to GJ from Pueblo, she thought she'd take advantage of it. As long as she was going, why not take advantage and send Patrick, too? He loves his cousins, his aunts and uncles, and he loves my dad so much it's ridiculous. As soon as we asked if he'd like to go for a week he said "ok! But first I have to go potty" like "drop everything! I'm gotta hit the toilet and then we can be outta here! But don't leave without me!" It took a little longer than that to load everything up, of course, but he was dying to get on the road and glad when they finally left. Now he's long gone and lemme tell ya, it has been GREAT. Not great like I don't love him, not great like I don't miss him, but great because now having 2 kids seems so darn easy. So straightforward! So many fewer fights! So much less backtalk :) I can't imagive how large families feel - is it easier when you're missing a kid or two, or do you even notice anymore? Eli really enjoys being the BMOC now, and I have really been able to enjoy Eli for who he is, without trying to wrestle Patrick into a separate activity so we can get some "alone" time. So while I miss Patrick a bit, I have gotten to know Eli a whole lot better, which is SO FUN. Turns out, he's really a cutie, and not just a cute terrorist.

Anyway, being at my parents' home for only a few hours, my grandma passed away. Not unexpectedly, she was nearly 86 and has not been well for quite some time. She had wanted to die for much longer than that, even (she was a bit dramatic, let's say). Because of her death Joe and I will unexpectedly be travelling with the 2 remaining kids (easy! travel with 2!) and seeing LOADS of aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, and (of course) our very own Patrick. Quite the unexpected week! We're looking forward to getting out of town, visiting, and remembering one crazy lady we called Grandma Gus.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Oh, you boys...

Patrick wants to everything just like daddy. Sometimes it's an issue when we only have one of whatever daddy is doing. We have extra cordless screwdrivers, extra hammers, extra tools of all kinds, so for Christmas I got extra headlamps for the boys. A flashlight AND a giant rubber band for your head AND matching dad? It's definitely a favorite! Patrick wants to do projects in dark places whenever possible.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Royal Weddings and Steam Cleaners

So I'm not a huge follower of this upcoming royal wedding, but I do think about it sometimes. I thought about it a lot today, imagining how my life would be different if I were a princess. First thing this morning I thought "princesses don't have night duty with babies; they need to look good for their kingdom (the media) and have nursemaids. I would definitely have a night nurse." Second thing, getting Eli dressed was like wrestling a wild pig into size 18-month clothing, and I decided princesses definitely don't have that job, some poor butler would be the one wrangling kids into their clothes for the day. Depending on how many sets of clothing they went through, the butler might have to do this more than once. For instance, Caroline experienced a Nasty Blowout that soaked through 2 layers of clothing today; the poor butler would change that. Then, 10 minutes later, when she did it AGAIN, the poor butler would dress her AGAIN. And do the goopy green laundry. Third thing, someone would cook for me (and do the grocery shopping prior to cooking, I suppose, but I didn't shop today so it didn't cross my mind too much) so I wouldn't end up eating a bowl of end-of-the-package cereal dust. Fourth, and most important thing, a princess would not only own a steam cleaner (perhaps that makes me part princess, since I do), a princess would own a SERVANT to USE the steam cleaner (rather than get her own hands dirty) when some feisty toddlers accidentally dumped an entire can of black paint on her light tan carpet. Yep, a whole gallon. Black. Exterior paint. Since I am not a princess, it took me over an hour of scraping, scrubbing, and steaming to get the mess as clean as it's ever gonna be again. The carpet isn't black, thank goodness, but it's definitely not light tan anymore. I'm pretty sure Joe's gonna be ticked about that when he hears about it tonight, but if I were a princess then he'd be a prince, we'd buy new wall-to-wall carpeting tonight, and we'd live happily ever after.

After all this, I'm thinking "Waity Katie" has definitely taken the easy route.

Good Question, posed by Kari: Why was the paint open and accessable? Well, it wasn't open, it was hammered shut. It came open when said feisty toddlers took to stacking paint can upon paint can. We have a BUNCH of mostly-empty paint cans from all our projects around the house; some are less empty than others. The 6th can up was black, it was heavy because it was full which caused it to tumble (all sorry coincidences), and it opened when it hit the floor. The paint cans are currently stacked along the wall, single-file, where NONE should fall... unless crazy kids get a hold of them. They are there because last week (2 weeks ago? time flies) we moved the freezer into the house from the garage and stole the paint cans' former location. Neither of my kids ever seem to spend time in the basement, and they certainly hadn't noticed the paint cans, but when we have friends over I often overlook things that my kids don't get into. I hadn't even thought about other kids noticing them! I don't think any of them are bad kids, my own or our friends (Patrick said they all worked together), they were just having fun stacking things and it was an accident, just an accident that had all the odds stacked against it (and against me). I hadn't moved the paint to the garage because extreme weather, like our garage has, ruins paint. It seems clear now, though, that little kids ruin it much faster.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wagon Train

Some of those tidbits I mentioned...

Patrick LOVES riding his bike. He's got good speed and has started getting good distance, even biking up a sizable hill to the neighborhood park. Now we're going for good endurance because I hooked up the wagon to the back of his bike (notice the tension in the rope tied between them).

Eli WANTS to bike around with Patrick, but can't reach the pedals of either bike that we have, so he often feels frustrated and left out. This was the perfect solution. It worked GREAT! I was really surprised that my contraption not only made it around the driveway, it cruised around our entire neighborhood! The only trouble was that Patrick was so excited, he kept checking behind him to make sure the wagon was still attached and Eli was still doing alright (notice the huge amount of slack in the rope). While he was checking he would run his bike off into the grass or lose his momentum and have a hard time getting started back up... it took a lot of convincing to let him know he was doing great and that he needed to keep up his speed so Eli didn't feel so heavy. Eli chilled out the whole time and didn't mind almost being flipped backward when Patrick would start suddenly after untangling his bike from the neighbor's shrubbery. Now THAT'S team spirit!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tidbits and Big Pictures

I realise that mostly my posts are tidbits about the kids, or quick stories from our lives, or a photo or two of something mildly interesting to those who know our family. I think I often choose this format because I really live my life in tidbits. Not every day is awesome, not every day is even necessarily GOOD - I've had my share of days when I've felt unbelievably depressed that this is my life. These kids are getting older by only minutes at a time, and those minutes can draaaaaag. Then again, not every day is awful, not every day is necessarily BAD - the kids can be so sweet and they show me so much love, it's wonderful that I get to stay home and enjoy them! But mostly the days aren't good, bad, or ugly - the days are tidbits. Funny stories about what Patrick did that made me laugh, followed by huge sighs over how how the kids are fighting over who gets to be closer to Caroline, followed by a sweet photo of them spontaneously hugging in the kitchen. You can't really lump all those feelings into one simple sentence, "our day was good," and have anyone understand how your day was.

So here's my day, in a big-picture sense (and in a very long paragraph. Feel free to quit reading when you get bored). Joe goes to work in the morning before anyone else gets up. Often I only have a snippet of a memory of him kissing me goodbye before he goes, when I still had dried-up drool on my cheek and I wonder how he could stand to kiss me like that, but I'm glad he did. The kids all have internal alarm clocks set to exactly the same time and they typically get up at 6:45, within 15 miutes of each other, no matter how quiet I keep the kid who wakes up first. They have a 6th sense about it, I swear. I typically make eggs for breakfast because it's the most important meal of the day, because I'm starving and they're quick, and because I know the boys will eat them. Patrick has become OCD about his hands being sticky, so anything with syrup is out, and cereal is just too difficult for Eli so I'd have to make him his own breakfast anyway, so I might as well make everyone eggs. We have breakfast and they're off to the races outdoors, often so eager to get outside that they simply grab shoes and head out in their pajamas. They spend almost all day outdoors, playing in the sandbox or on the dirt hill with dinosaurs. Five days a week we have something going in the morning, either a meeting or a lunch with friends or me going to the gym. It adds a bit of structure to our day, lets the kids see some friends, and helps me remember which day of the week it is! Otherwise they would all be so similar... Anyway, I stay inside with Caroline when she's awake, doing chores around the house - she likes the be up and around, perfect for picking up the living room and putting away dishes. When she naps I work on the yard and then the boys want to help dig/water/weed/supervise. In spite of playing outdoors all day long we always eat inside because I am so afraid of one of them falling off the picnic table - it's a sizeable drop onto concrete, and they inevitably fall head-first. Joe broke his collar bone falling off that picnic table as a kid, which lends to my paranoia. After eating lunch indoors Eli takes a nap, Caroline usually naps then as well, and Patrick likes to watch movies on Netflix on our computer. I take a break and read or nap on the couch next to him, inevitably getting woken up by the phone or the door or Patrick wanting more juice, and I curse them all and hide under a blanket to finish my snooze. After naps we head to the front yard to do work out there, and the boys ride their tricycles on the driveway. I dig weeds and haul rocks and water my garden, which leads to the boys watering the lawn, their bikes, and themselves. We head inside when Caroline wakes up so I can nurse her (they aren't allowed to be out front without me) and the boys run rampant in the house and destroy all the picking up I did that morning. They like to create "loops," as I call them - running in a circular semi-obstacle-course, following each other. One favorite loops is up onto a toddler chair, over the arm of the overstuffed big chair, somersault onto the floor, and climbing back to the toddler chair. Another is using the toddler chair upstairs to boost onto the table of the play kitchen, falling face-first onto the bed, then rolling off the bed and climbing back to the chair. After nursing Caroline (while they run loops) she sits in her bumbo while I cook dinner - usually something kid-friendly because I know Joe won't be home to eat with us. Often I cook a second "adult" meal that will take longer, like roasting a chicken, while the boys eat so that I can eat dinner with Joe. The boys eat at 5:00, play outside for another house, take a bath if absolutely necessary (we've seriously cut down on baths due to Eli's eczema), then it's a bottle of chocolate milk for Eli at 6:30 and he's asleep. Caroline goes down about 7:00. Patrick stays up and we either read books or he asks for stories about Joe and I when we were kids. Joe gets home about 7 or 7:30, so he hangs out with Patrick until I nix their guy time in favor of bedtime, usually about 7:45. I know it would be nice to have more time together, but I'm the one who's here with a crabby 3-year-old if he goes to bed much later, so I have the final word. Joe usually eats after Patrick goes to bed, then we relax and talk about our days for about an hour. Lately he has brought work home so he'll work on his laptop the remainder of the evening and I get to do my own thing, like read or scrapbook or (like right now) blog.

It's almost ridiculous how similar every day is, even down to the food we eat and the boys running loops while I make dinner. There are certainly things I would change about our day if I had the chance, but those things are really in Joe's hands. One day he was able to sleep in a bit and didn't leave for work until 7:30 - we all got to eat breakfast together and it was AMAZING. I am so jealous how people who get to do that with their husbands every day take it for granted. One night a week I work, but other than that we hardly vary. And that's our big-picture days. The rest is, as you know, tidbits. And I'll fill you in on those as they happen :)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Various state of disrepair

I've noticed as I take and post pictures that there are varying states of disrepair at my house. I don't typically clean up just to take a photo, though I do clean up throughout the day, so it just depends on when the photo happens. Sometimes I go to post a picture and I think "I can't even post that, everyone will see how messy my living room is!" Or WAS, at that particular moment. So it's interesting to me to look through all my pictures and see not necessarily what the kids were doing but if the background behind them is good, bad, or ugly. I don't know if anyone else really notices this - do you? One things' for sure - taking a picture of a room you THINK is clean is the quickest way to discover what it really looks like. I just don't know how anyone can ever get their house to "Better Homes and Gardens" level.

Livin' the dream

Two chocolate ice cream cones and a rocking horse. THAT'S what I call livin' the dream.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Greased Lightening

Eli had some nasty eczema for a few months, starting in the winter time. Didn't think much of it, Patrick gets nasty skin in the winter, too, but Eli's kept getting worse and worse and WORSE. Hurt my eyes just to look at it! Finally it got to the point where he was scratching his dry, itchy skin until it bled (all together now: "ewwwww!") and the itchiness would wake him up at night. Not so good when you're already getting up with a baby at midnight. So we took him to the doctor, who prescribed some meds that worked wonder within a week - clear skin! He can wear shorts without any self-consciousness! (or would he have done that anyway?). The trouble with the prescriptions is getting them on him. One is a body oil, DermaSmooth, and you're supposed to apply it to damp skin. Sooooo... apply OIL to a SLIPPERY TODDLER who is already a DIAPER-CHANGE ESCAPE ARTIST.... it's like trying to catch greased lightning. I think Joe comes home late from work just to avoid being stuck with the task.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

More Faith

No new info on the car accident situation, but today was an especially good day in terms of religious faith. General conference was excellent, was it not? My favorite talk was from Richard G. Scott on loving your wife; he had very humble stories and very good advice. Can't wait for the Ensign to come out to post it somewhere around the house (or in Joe's lunchbox - you know, a little light reading over his sandwich). Today has been ridiculous, weather-wise. This morning at 8 a.m. the boys wanted to roam outside, so Caroline and I sat out on the porch swing and the boys played in the dirt as usual. It was warm! Sunny! Not even a breeze! But I could see the clouds rolling in from the mountains, and by the time the 10 a.m. conference session started it was turning bitterly cold. By the time the session was over it had started to snow, so we gathered some firewood from outside and built a fire in our warm, cozy house. We even got out marshmallows and roasted them! During that time it snowed like CRAZY and before the 2:00 session started it had accumulated enough to build a snowman, so Joe went outside and had a snowball fight with Patrick and helped him build this beauty: Now it seems to be warming up a bit and starting to melt. Springtime in Colorado is quite possibly the most unpredictable thing I've ever encountered, and that includes toddler tantrums or how my day will go with three crazy kids. And that's saying something!

Chocolate forts

Joe has been gone on loooong work days the past few weeks (seems like years) so we've gotten a little more creative on ways to pass the time. One morning I built a fort for the boys. In order to Patrick to not exclude Eli (his favorite reason to build a fort is to block Eli out of it) I said it was a "Boys Only" fort and no mommies were allowed. Then I gave them each chocolate milk and they sat inside sooo quietly, drinking their milk. It was heaven, even if it only lasted until the milk was gone.

Burrito-wrapped swing-sleeper

Since about the day she was born Caroline has slept in a swing lent to us by my big sister. It takes 4 C-cell batteries to run and her many naps a day quickly depleted those batteries, twice. Expensive! So I started just leaving her swing off and putting her down for nap and bedtime there anyway, and she still loved it. She quickly went from sleeping 2-3 hours at a stretch to sleeping up to 9 hours her first night-time stretch. It was wonderful!

Enter Joe's good intentions. He doesn't want her to get too used to being in the swing to sleep, so he started putting her to bed in her cradle again. All of a sudden, she was up every 2-3 hours again, all week long! The poor girl was exhausted and had a much harder time during the day, so I started putting her back in the swing for naps so she could catch up on her sleep then. After one week, I needed some catch-up, so she's back in the swing for bedtime. And she only woke up once last night. Thank you, swing!

Now Joe had better not put her down in the cradle tonight while I'm at work...

Friday, April 1, 2011


My religious faith is pretty strong, but my faith in humanity? Gone.

We got a call today from Geico, our insurance agency, to get Joe's permission to release the photos from his car accident back last June. They needed some backup because the person he hit got a LAWYER and is trying to file for damages that Geico deems a little excessive, and are refusing to pay for. SERIOUSLY, now. Joe was not speeding. He was not on his cell phone. He was not texting. He was not running a red light or a stop sign or failing to yield. He was not following too closely or driving erraticly. He was not drunk, not high, not on a strong dose of cold medicine. It was stop-and-go-traffic and traffic stopped more quickly than he realized, but he braked as hard as he could and rear-ended this lady not going more than 20 mph. It was and ACCIDENT in the most honest sense of the word. Minor cosmetic damages to both cars -back or hers, front of his. He didn't hit her hard enough for her to hit the person in front of her. She got out of the car, perfectly fine, she's only about 35 years old so she's not exactly old and frail, so at most I'm imagining she had a sore neck the next morning. When she and Joe got out of their cars her first words were "I hope you have insurance." NICE, lady, NICE. I guess we should have seen this coming....

So I'm standing strong on that religious faith and hoping that first, all the ambulance-chasing lawyers are sent to outer darkness, and second, that she gets hit by lightning as a sign from God, because she can't sue God for damages.