28 October 2009

Career Change

So, today as we were loading into the car for a routine doctor's visit (from which I returned with one angry five-year-old, and one screaming three-year-old, both of whom got shots, but never mind the details of why I wanted a gin and tonic at 11 o'clock this morning. I'll just add, we had to hold them both down, and Monkey2 screamed for 20 minutes AFTER IT WAS ALL OVER.) Anywho, as we were loading into the car, I had a lovely conversation with Monkey1, who received a pirate hat, eyepatch, and earring for his birthday. (He has barely removed them at all since). He, I was informed, wants to be a pirate until he is "a hundred!"

"Oh!" I replied (this is usually safe). "And what will you do when you're one hundred and one?"

"Not ONE hundred" he corrected, "A hundred."

"Oh, ok, then what will you do when you're A hundred and one?"

And he answered, "Volunteer!"

24 October 2009

My Lesson For the Day

You know how They say that you learn something new every day? Well.

Today, I learned that, should one's middle child come running in a tizzy and rather upset because her younger sibling "is bothering all of our beautiful things!", and should one ascertain that said beautiful things include a large portion of the living room furniture, one should not assume that the middle child is merely being a pill and not wanting her sibling to climb on the furniture. Oh no.

Because it is entirely within the realm of possibility that what she actually means is, that Monkey3 has appropriated an entire stick of butter, and is carefully smearing it throughout the house. And all over the living room furniture.

Now, where else in life will this lesson be applicable? I shudder to think.

21 October 2009

Daily Life With Monkey3

Wishing Kristin over at We Are THAT Family a very happy 2nd blogiversary. Here's my post on just ONE of the reasons that we are THAT family too...

Monkey3 is...sometimes a bit of a challenge. Well, actually, I told someone at MOPS the other day that "He is my 'strong-willed child.'" Which is ridiculous, because Monkey1 and Monkey2 have wills that are plenty strong. But my beloved third child? He's the only one who's ever tried to climb the drainpipes...or the fence around the yard...or, well, here I'll show you. First of all, he's really strong. I mean, his upper-body strength always surprises me. Which is probably why he can climb the fence with so little trouble:

Then, there's this. I'm going to have to stop calling him "Fat Baby."

Note the sopping wet cuffs. Because water is for wading in. Also, apparently, the hamper is there for his amusement, and clothes (clearly) are meant to be worn. He's not particular as to how, but he's very pleased with himself!

Oh wait, can't you see what that is? Lucky for you he turned around and took off for more interesting things in the middle of that particular photo shoot. Here you go:

Those would be his big brother's skivvies. They make such a fantastic hat. (Incidentally, I refuse to take any further responsibility for the fact that there is laundry, both dirty and clean, scattered all over my house All The Time. It's Monkey3's fault.) Tonight, he tried to climb into the dirty dish bin. He spent five minutes ascertaining that he could not push his head through the bottom:

I'll leave you with one last photo. I have to say, first, that the Mad Scientist doesn't really approve of photos of babies less than fully clothed. But when Monkey3 climbed out of the tub, donned his brother's snow boot (singular) and decided to head out for a walk, I HAD to grab the camera. It simply couldn't be helped:


14 October 2009

One of those days

It was almost a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. First thing this morning I decided we were skipping school today. I have some loose ends left to wrap up since my mother left, and I wanted to work on those. Day off from school! (I love homeschooling). Thing the first was a large antique pickle crock in my pantry, which was a gift from my husband's grandmother. Now that my pantry is all clean, it was rather...exposed. Which was making me nervous. But I knew exactly where I wanted to put it! And since the Nester is talking about tablescaping, that was thing the second. I think we can all agree, the top of this bookshelf needs a little help.

However, I wanted a before picture, and the battery on my camera was dead. So I plugged it into the charger, thinking I would let it charge for just a minute, take one picture, and let it finish charging the rest of the day. Then the after picture could happen later. While it was charging, ever so briefly, I went into the bathroom to put up my hair. Just as I finished coiling up my bun (and before I put in any pins to keep it that way) I heard a crash.

Did I mention that my wonderful mother bought me a laundry sorter while she was here? Yes, and Monkey3 helped assemble it. Which was great, except that meant he thought it was his new toy. He's not allowed in the pantry, but that rarely keeps him from going in when he wants to. And the pickle crock was on top of the laundry sorter (trying to keep it out of reach). So this is what I saw when I came around the corner:
One broken pickle crock.

The day didn't really improve from there. I took the monkeys to Chick-Fil-A for lunch, because we had no food in the house (I'm a bit behind on the baking). I packed my knitting. I started a pair of baby booties for a friend at the beginning of August, and was hoping to finish them so I could put them in the mail on the way home. Well, I knitted the last few rounds, bound everything off and wove in all my loose ends. Then I realized I forgot to put the ribbed cuff on the second bootie. And I forgot my address book, so I couldn't mail them anyway.

So I haven't really had a great day. Sorry to be depressing, but days are like that sometimes. I'm going to ask the Mad Scientist to glue the crock (in all his spare time) so that may be redeemable. We'll see. In the meantime, I have two tired monkeys, one that is going to bed anyway, and a date with my tv and vcr. I'm going to drown my sorrows in a video, and wait for this day to be over.

13 October 2009

Les Petites Artistes

My mother has been visiting the last few days, which means the Monkeys have gotten to do crafts nearly every day for a week. I wasn't sure they would let her leave. :-)

Today my oldest two asked if they could paint, and I decided I could handle watercolors. Monkey1 has turned out some really fantastic (in my totally unbiased opinion) paintings of animals over the last few days, thanks to some guidance from this book. Today he decided to try rabbits:
He's been told he must give up his pacifier when he turns five. That's in a bit less than two weeks. I fully expect him to take up pipe smoking the day after his birthday.

He's very pleased with his new-found ability, and informed me today multiple times (and with great delight) that he is An Artist. The paper became a less-than-fully-engaging medium after a short while:

Monkey2 was inspired:
She very delicately and deliberately painted her whole face red, from hairline to jaw.

I drew the line (get it? haha) at letting them paint their hair, however. I told Monkey1 I didn't know if the paint would wash out, and he's going to be getting pictures taken very soon, so I want his hair to look nice. He said "I don't want my hair to look nice. I want to paint it, so it will look even better than nice." Maybe I should have let him. Pictures are supposed to capture memories, after all... :-)

We also assembled our new vacuum during naptime. I thought two helpful monkeys was probably all I could handle. They're all thouroughly enthralled with the new toy, and vacuumed the rug for me. I rescued the vacuum before they destroyed anything vital, so it was a good time all around.

12 October 2009

And Then There Were Three...

I don't have any way to say this that isn't going to be difficult, so I'm just going to be blunt.

On Saturday, I had a miscarriage.

I will spare you all the gory details. Suffice it to say that I suspected what was coming before it really got started, and called my midwife. She told me what to expect, and how to tell if I needed to go to the hospital.

When I nearly passed out, I went to the hospital. Everyone was very kind, and very gentle.

Everyone assured me that there was nothing that could have been done to prevent this, and nothing that I did that caused it. But still, I am mourning the loss of the child I had hoped and prayed for, and rejoiced over so very recently.

Physically, I'm fine. Emotionally, maybe not so much.

I'll be that way for a while, I suppose.

03 October 2009


I would include pictures with this, but they would frighten you. Suffice it to say, that I have a lot of laundry. Every so often I beat it into submission (a really big stick helps), and by the next afternoon it is winning the race again. I haven't figured out how that happens.

It doesn't bother me as much as some mothers. Laundry actually is one household chore I don't really mind. I mean, really, you toss stuff in the machine, press a button, and come back later to clean clothes. Then you toss it in another machine, press another button, and come back later to dry clothes. Maybe because I'm a history buff, and know a lot about how washing clothes has changed over the years, I have a hard time getting too worked up about laundry. (The chore that I really abhor is cleaning the kitchen.) I do have to admit, though, that as simple as the actual washing of clothes is, my laundry still breeds in dark corners, and creeps across the floor in a not-so-subtle attempt to take over the entire house.

Where do all these clothes come from? How can one family of five possibly need this many clothes? (Whoa, "family of five" sounds so...huge. When did that happen?)

Then there are the stains. I used to swear by Zout. I had never used it and not had it work. Then, shortly after Monkey1 was born, it stopped working. I don't know if they changed the formula, or if it was the nature of my stains that changed, but it doesn't work for me anymore. I just switched out our summer clothes, and threw away five or six of Monkey2's things, that were just too grubby to keep...and all of Monkey3's undershirts/nightshirts. I wasn't going to insult anyone by trying to pass them along. They were...well, not gross. I mean, they were clean. But you could see evidence of several meals, and more than one afternoon in the dirt pile, all over them.

Stains make me crazy. Clothes are expensive, and I get so tired of having nothing presentable to go anywhere in. I'll buy a shirt, and then tuck it into the back of my closet for some mythical "date night" in the future, because I know that if I put it on at any other point than ten seconds before I walk out the door, alone, (and even that is dangerous, five would be better), it will instantly be spattered with something that won't wash out. Then one afternoon I'll grab it in desperation because everything else I have to wear looks dirty, even though it isn't...and ten seconds later, the new shirt has irremovable spots all over it, too. Apparently motherhood doesn't wash out very well.

It's not just my clothes, either. Some days I toy with the idea of just letting the children run about, naked, until they're old enough to get jobs, do their own laundry, and buy their own clothes. Or I'll leave them in their pajamas so their clothes don't get dirty. That's how Monkey3's undershirts wound up headed for the trash. I know I'm not the only mother who makes her children (ok, just the youngest, we're not TOTALLY uncivilized) strip before eating anything with spaghetti sauce in it. I should do that when Monkey2 drinks hot chocolate too, because it's always all down her front. And chocolate (surprised?) doesn't wash out.

So in the midst of all the craziness with clothes that are dirty, don't fit, or are stained, it was a blessing to come across this post, and remember what all of that means. That really, dirty clothes are symptomatic of a life that overflows with many wonderful things, too. I'm posting that prayer over my washing machine, and possibly in the kitchen and dining room, too. To remind me that stains represent something else. And for that, I am very grateful.

Here's the prayer:

A Laundry Prayer


Thank you for this pile of laundry.

Thank you
that my house is filled with people whom I love
who have health and vigor enough to get dirty,
who live and laugh well in their clothes,
which you have provided.

Thank you
for machines to help me wash and dry,
for the little hands that help me fold,
for the closets and drawers to hold what is clean.

Thank you
for baby drool on my t-shirts
and chocolate milk spots on my daughter's playdress,
for the endless parade of dirty work socks in my husband's boots.
These things are the footprints of blessing
and if those footprints are at times muddy,
it is a grace that we may tidy up in their path.