Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Brettism Hump Day! Forever Young

This last weekend the kids were with bio-dad and I got an email from him; because sometimes when you are in the middle of a Brett seize, no one else appreciates it like a fellow hostage.

Brett had been in a mood, deflecting blame and avoiding personal responsibility like only Brett can. That night as they are sitting down to dinner, Michael decides to use Tabasco sauce on his food.

"You know, if you could drink the whole bottle, you'd be a real man." Brett says to his brother.

Bio-dad comments that there is much more to being a man than performing a stupid stunt.

"Like what?" Brett asks.

Well, for one taking care of your responsibilities, owning up when you do something wrong, and not try to blame everyone else." he says, tongue in cheek.

With a straight face, Brett replies "Well, then I'll be a boy forever."

Monday, August 25, 2008

Clean slate

Today was the first day of school here and like any good blackmail-loving mom, I took pics. This year was a bit of a change up here as Brett joined Mike on the bus to the Jr/Sr high school and Emma started full days in first grade. *sobs*

I snuck up on them in pairs as they were leaving and asked them for a nice picture, even suggesting that Lucas might want to hug his sister.

I love setting them up.

If you look closely you'll see Brett straining to give Michael rabbit ears. This was the first thing he did when I asked them to stand together. Michael still has no idea.

Brett loves setting Michael up.

Despite a bus mix up with the younger two on the trip home, they all had great days. When Brett walked in after school, I anxiously asked him how middle school was.

"S'okay, I mean, it's school. I guess the bright side is that right now, I have straight A's."

Friday, August 22, 2008

I'd like to thank the academy...

It hit me this morning that I have now exclusively breastfed Ellie for her first year, a feat I've never managed before. And while I am awfully proud of myself, what struck me most today was how damn grateful I am for all of the help and support I got. I'd be totally remiss if I didn't stop to express how just thankful I am to everyone.

I had the privilege of having some really cool online mommy friends, who shared their experiences and allowed me to see just how beautiful it could be. Who answered my 1001 questions about all things boobie related. Who pointed me in the direction of Janet Tamaro's brilliant book.
And who helped me realize that the hard nursing times were just as normal as the wonderful ones.

And Curt, the most amazing husband and dad. Instead of looking at my boobs as a great excuse to check out of the whole feeding process, he gets up with us every single night feeding. He gets Elle, changes her diaper, and soothes her long enough for me use the bathroom and find my brain. And I never once have to ask him to do this, he always makes me feel like this is something that we are doing together.

The kids, who don't mind that dinner is sometimes a little late to the table, and who gladly fetch countless glasses of water. Although Brett did once ask me "If you know you are going to get thirsty when you do that, why don't you just get a drink before you sit down?"

And for Ellie, who not only was a natural from the get-go, but who inherited a very stubborn streak and still refuses any substitution to the real thing. But most importantly for melting my heart every time she looks up at me and smiles.

Recovery and adjustment

I've spent the better part of the last week in a deep fog of self pity and denial. I'm not usually such a ninny, but having Brett become a teenager within days of Ellie turning one seems to have shaken me deep in my mommy core, and I've been teetering on a little maternal depression.

The party itself was a huge success. The weather was gorgeous, we had a ton of guests; and there was swimming, a campfire, tons of food, and lots of laughter. I even managed not to cry when we sang Happy Birthday. Well, on the outside anyway.

And in my attempt to make peace with it all, I'm finally posting the pictures from the weekend.

Then I'm going to pull my self up by my bootstraps and step back into the light.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Brettism Hump Day! Hope it floats

My best friend and her family are coming for a visit soon, and the men-folk are taking the older kids white water rafting. Brett is just over the age limit and I debated about whether to ask him if he wanted to go, just because he's rather small for his age.

So I pulled up the website and the video showing the trek down the river they'd be going on. At the beginning of the video it shows all of the riders, decked out in life jackets and helmets sitting in front of the instructor demonstrating paddling.

"Wait, I have to like sit through a class and stuff?"

"Yes, they have to teach you how to do it safely."

"And you and Aunt Michelle will be here, just hanging out at the pool, relaxing?"

"I think that's the plan."

"Yeah, I'll go with that, no one needs to teach me how to lay around."

*Merde, he's decided to try it. Man, do I feel for that instructor.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Brettism Hump Day! Green card not necessary

The planning for Brett and Ellie's birthday party is full swing, and the guest list includes most every family member we have, including geekie brother. Brett has been repeatedly asking for updates on his RSVP, and all of the kids are really excited about the possibility of seeing him, since we don't very often.

"Brett, did you invite Uncle Mathew?" Lucas asks.

"Invite him, I put him on the VIP list!" he replies.

A few days later, after asking again if Mathew will be able to make it, Brett comes up to me while I'm making dinner.

"Mom, what exactly does VIP stand for?"

"It stands for Very Important Person."

"Ohhhhh. I thought it stood for Very Imported Person since we have to import him in from Virginia."

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Please pardon these hormones

It's just that soon my baby, my wee little baby, will be a year old. Actually, in 8 days, 3 hours, and 25 minutes, if you're counting. Which I am.

I don't know why it's hit me so hard this time, afterall I've been here before. I supposed because, barring something that was surgically severed growing back, she's it. The caboose. The last baby.

And I know it's a cliche, but I can't believe how fast this year went by, how quickly she grew and changed. It seems like just yesterday that her little newborn-squishy-face was happily snuggled against me.

I know this is all sentimental and indulgent, but I wanted to get it out of my system before her actual birthday. That day I want to spend looking forward to the wonderful, amazing things I know she'll do in this life, and knowing what a privilege it is to be part of her journey.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Passing the torch

Every summer when I was a kid we went to the local amusement park, and despite the dorky matching t-shirts we had to wear, I looked forward to that day all year. I loved the coasters, give me a few old wooden roller coasters and I'd ride until my legs were wobbily.

I'd always meant to take the kids, but it never seemed to come to fruition. Then, a few weeks ago Curt's work gave us tickets for the family to visit the park here. And I realized that I'd get to take the kids on their first rides, and began to really anticipate the trip. Sans dorky matching t-shirts.

Curt's mom and sister came with us and very nicely offered to sit with the four littlest ones, while Curt and I took Mike and Brett to the biggest coaster in the park. Brett was pretty silent the whole time we waited in line, and when I turned around and saw him, buckled in, ready for the ride to start, he was as white as a ghost, and I was glad we hadn't had lunch first.
Mike and I screamed with glee the whole time, arms up in the air. Brett got off, paler than ever, and then said "Whoa. What are we going to ride next?"

We headed over the the kiddie rides and Evan made a beeline straight for the airplanes. Then the motorcycles, then to the helicopters. Filled with trepidation in real life of new things, he was utterly fearless at the park. Curt and I even took him on the baby roller coaster.

We got in line for the Jack Rabbit, one of the few grown up coasters Emma was tall enough for. I'll never forget seeing her and Curt sitting in the very front car smiling at each other and laughing.

I took all of them on the Log Ride and Lucas got his first taste of what a drop felt like. Emboldened I talked him into getting on The Racer, and he clung tight to me the whole ride, looking shocked. We pulled back in to exit, and still not cracking a smile, looked up at me and said "That was awesome."

Michael was fearless, cut from the same cloth as Curtis, always looking for something bigger, faster, more thrilling. And they found it, the Skycoaster. Which isn't really a coaster at all, but a free fall. Suited in a harness, suspended from cables, and then dropped 180 feet. *gulp* I toyed with the idea of going, I really did, but apparently by bad-assery only extends to things with seats. Here's the pic from the website. Just sitting here looking at this makes my hands sweaty.

I handed my ticket off to Curt's sister and they headed to the ride, as the rest of us watched safe on the ground with funnel cakes. I couldn't believe how fast they came down, or how loud Michael was. They flew threw the air with such speed I had a hard time getting good pictures, I did finally snap this one when they slowed down.

The day was a huge success, and as I was loading the pictures on to the computer this morning, Emma came up and asked if she'd be big enough for "the really fun coasters" next year.

I can hardly wait.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Brettism Hump Day! Mortally wounded

A couple of weekends ago, the kids went down to bio-dad's for a visit. He'd bought a small motorbike, and after careful explanations and safety discussions, Lucas hopped on for a ride. Bio-dad tells me that he did great, going in slow careful circles, getting the feel for the thing. Brett, not quite too big for it, and not to be outdone by a younger sib, asked for a turn. Brett started out fine, completing the circuit almost flawlessly. Coming back towards the group of them though, he apparently forgets where the brake is and panics. His legs slip out and he hangs on by the handlebars before wiping out.

His dad gets over to him and helps him back up. "Are you okay? Is anything broken?"

Brett looks up from his scraped elbow, "Just my self esteem."

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Mental note...

Never tell a complaining teenager to "get creative" when entertaining the baby so you can cook.

And yeah, I have no idea why he decided to wear his sunglasses indoors. But considering some of the crap his contemporaries are pulling, I'm just going to thank my lucky stars and call it a day.

Monday, August 4, 2008

If you were the individual honking at the lady pulling weeds in her garden while wearing her pajamas...

Let me just clear up a few things. See, a few weeks ago Curt started a new job. A much better job; with great benefits, excellent pay, and making annually what he did for the last company, only working 16 days a month instead of 29. The downside? It's 12 hour shifts and *gulp* he rotates between days and nights.

For the first two weeks he was in training and leaving at a respectable 6 and coming home at 4. Even the first week in Operations wasn't too rough, he had the 5am-5pm shift. Life was good.

But last night was the first 5pm-5am shift. And the preparations began Saturday night when Curt decided to stay up as late as possible to try and acclimate. Which apparently works best if you watch movies in bed, and talk to your wife about them until she very subtly puts a pillow over her head.

And now that it's for real, it's proving to be harder than I thought. To keep the house as quiet as possible I can't properly clean anything during the day. The kitchen is off of the hallway to our room and just doing the dishes makes a hella racket. The vacuum is out. I can't even really put folded clothes away, instead piling them up on the back of the couch, hoping Evan doesn't knock them down.

And there are only so many pretend "whispering" games you can play with a rambunctious toddler and a very mobile walking baby. This morning I had to serve breakfast in shifts of two, just to keep the din to a minimum. Lunch was served al fresco while we played and weeded the garden.

And not to sound mushy, but it took me forever to fall asleep alone last night; and of course, Elle decided to get up twice during the night before finally starting her day at 6am. Just when Daddy was rolling in.

This was all a little rough, but do-able. It wasn't until about 8 o'clock this morning when I realized I'd really screwed the pooch. I took Elle back to her room for her nap and was half way to my room to get dressed when I remembered that the sleeping ogre was in there. With my clothes. And my toothbrush and deodorant.

So as weird as I'm sure I looked from the road, still in my pajamas, hunched over the squash, trust me when I tell you that it was even more special up close and in person.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

If he talks in his sleep, I'm pretty sure it's to get the last word

I brought the kids outside yesterday afternoon to kill the time before I had to trudge back into the kitchen to make dinner. Everyone mostly enjoyed this but Brett, who was on restriction from his bike and spent the whole time alternating between looking dejected and bugging the snot out of me.

"How much longer until I can ride my bike? If I do really good with my chores tonight can I have it back a day early?"

"Um, no."

"Well can we go swimming? I'll help Mike clean it."

"No, we can't Brett."

"Well can I at least have a freaking snack?"

"No, it's almost dinner time."

"Just some pretzels, I've really been craving some pretzels."

"You know what I'm craving Brett? Some peace and quiet."

He slumps and walks off mumbling "It'd be real silent if my mouth were filled with pretzels."

Friday, August 1, 2008

Three degrees of separation

Last night right before we were to give the kids baths Curt remembers that he is out of green tea for his lunches. Which in husband speak translates to 'Please, please, please go get me some tea or I will whine like a girl until you want to stab your ear drums out with a rusty nail'. I left him in charge and headed over to the store by our house before it closed.

Ten minutes later I'm walking in the door as he is carrying Ellie down the hall like she's toxic waste, a look of sheer disgust and terror on his face.

"Oh my god, I was bathing Emma and Lucas and I went into our bathroom to get a towel, and Ellie wandered into the bathroom and started playing in the toilet."

"Um, okay."

"Well, Emma went pee right before she got into the tub and then didn't flush and Ellie grabbed some of the toilet paper and put it into her mouth." He looks close to vomiting. Ellie is still dangling from his outstretched arms like a worm on a hook. The worm is still making 'Nom, nom, nom' noises.

We're sitting on the couch after the disinfection, still mentally shuddering, looking down at Ellie who is playing on the floor.

I turn to him "You know later, she's going to put that mouth on my nipple."

He's silent for a moment and then adds "And then after that, I'm going to have to put my mouth on that nipple."