Monday, May 30, 2011

Oooooooh, ooooh, twitchy woman....

My eye has been twitching for about a week.  You know that little annoying tic that makes your eye spasm?  I feel like people are pointing and whispering about my freaky eyelid.  And do you know what one of the symptoms of eye twitching is?  Stress.  Hmmmmm...stress.  Why would I feel stressed?

Well, this is the last week of school.  As a teacher, I used to live for the last few days of school.  The sweet good-byes from the students, the parties with my colleagues, sleeping in, and getting to shake up my scheduled life.  As a parent, I dread having to explain day after day why there is no school, long days with no activities, no naps, and having to shake up my scheduled life.  The kids and I have had nine months of a great schedule; we have had some time together and some time apart.  Now we're looking at a LOT of time together.  Don't get me wrong.  I love my kids and I love spending time with them.  However, what I don't love is the constant fighting that goes on between them: hitting, biting, yelling, crying, tattling, and screaming.  I cringe even typing it because I can't believe that MY kids do that.  There are always kids doing that in the grocery store or the show store or the park, and I have always felt sorry for their parents.  Now *I* am one of those parents.  My kids don't act like that in public - usually - but they act like that at home. 

It's really starting to wear me down.  I can't leave Lottie and Dallas alone in a room for more than three minutes without some sort of trauma occurring.  That means I don't get anything done all day because I'm too busy playing referee.  The only way I can get dinner cooked is by letting them watch TV in the TV room that is six steps away from the kitchen.  Even then, there is always an incident or two in a thirty minute time span. I feel like I'm running out of ways to keep everyone happy. 

Lottie will be at school two mornings a week in the summer, and I'm grateful for that.  She needs to be with kids her own age and away from Dallas sometimes.  I wanted Dallas to have the same opportunity, but he won't potty train.   No big-boy underwear, no school.  That means Dallas gets to be with me.  All.  Summer.  Long.  I give it three days into summer vacation until my other eye starts twitching. 

I know that a lot of the fighting is a phase; at least, I hope it's a phase.  I want so much for my kids to be friends and to be there for each other through all the good and bad.  They're still little, so I know there is a chance they'll grow out of this, but I also know plenty of adult siblings who don't even speak to each other.  I don't know how parents with more than two kids deal with this.  Make the kids be nice to each other?  Ignore it all and let them fight?  Sell them on eBay?  Craigslist? 

I'm doing the best I can do, but some days, it sure doesn't feel like enough. 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Grumpy and....well, just Grumpy

Dallas is Grumpy.  He's not just cranky or crabby; he's full on GRUMPY.  Very few things make Dal happy anymore.  He bites, he hits, he kicks, he cries, he stomps his feet, he yells, and he is generally disagreeable.  I know he's two years old; I get it.  But I'm SO ready for this phase to be over.  I mean, I just went through this with Lottie a scant few months ago.  I should get a break.

Let me give you an example of a typical day.  Dallas wakes up in the morning and is generally mad about something.  He refuses everything I offer him for breakfast, and believe you me, Dallas is not a kid who can go without eating.  When he finally eats, things get better for a little while, but usually the fighting with Lottie begins early.  He snatches toys out of her hands about every ten minutes, sometimes giving her a brisk smack on the head just as an added bonus.  After playing that scene over and over for a few hours, we get to replay the breakfast scene again at lunch.  More crying, more hitting, more tantrums, more pinching, more, more, more.  There is very little eating at dinner, constant demands to watch TV which turn into LOUDER demands when I deny him, and finally, the sweet heaven of bedtime.

This morning, everything seemed fine.  I should have known that Dal was lulling me into a false sense of security.  We read a book and snuggled together before breakfast, and he even told me that I was "the best woman he ever had."  Maybe a slightly disturbing statement but still sweet.  Things went downhill after that.  He did eat breakfast - hooray - but then he started throwing a fit about his shoes.  I was glad it was a school day because I got to send him off for his teachers to try to contain.  When I picked him up from school, his teacher told me he was fine and hadn't been crabby all day.  Nice.  As soon as we got home, the insanity began again.  He asked for oatmeal as a snack then refused to eat it when I made it because he was too busy playing ghost.  He hit Lottie three or four times, and he apparently did something to annoy Judy because she took a swat at him.  After I got him calmed down from that trauma, he flung himself into the kids' bathroom and slammed the door.  I didn't hear any noise, so I figured he was just taking a moment to calm down.  It wasn't until a full five minutes later that Lottie casually informed me that Dallas was stuck in the bathroom.  By the time I got to him, the waterworks had begun anew and his nose was running like a faucet.  There was another shoe fit, and then BOTH kids started crying.  Sheesh.  My poor dad got caught in the middle of the hubbub when he came to watch Dallas so I could take Lottie to get her hair cut.  Dallas "throwed a fit" and wanted to go to the salon, too, so we packed everyone into the minivan.  About halfway to Alure Salon and Day Spa, my little man fell asleep in the car.  My dad graciously stayed in the car so Dallas could continue his nap.  He slept for about an hour and only woke up when Lottie and I came back to the car.  Things were better after that, though he still gets pretty physically aggressive when he's tired or frustrated.  He's very verbal, and he knows how to express his anger, but I think sometimes he just reacts without thinking.  Gee, that's so unusual for a kid.

He still asks me to snuggle with him at night when I'm putting him to bed, so all is not lost.  My sweet Dallas is buried underneath the frustration and need/desire to be independent.  All I can do is (try to) stay calm and keep hugging my boy to let him know that I'll always be here for him.  I can also cross my fingers that his future spouse will potty train him and make him chicken nuggets every day.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Keep your friends close...

I'm always amazed when I watch Lottie and Dallas interact with one another.  Some days, it takes all I have to keep them from seriously injuring each other.  Dallas is especially aggressive lately; he's moody, he's ill-tempered, he's erratic, he's two.  Sometimes Dallas will walk into a room where Lottie has been quietly drawing or playing, and he'll haul off and hit her.  And laugh.  Other times, I'll hear Dallas wail quickly followed by Lottie saying, "Sorry, Dallas!  I'm sorry!"  I feel like I am constantly playing referee and sending people into the time-out chair.

The weird thing to me is what happens after the initial sting of the physical injury has passed.  Whichever kid is the injured party gets hugs and kisses from me and then immediately asks for the party who did the injuring.  For example, Dallas thunked Lottie on the face today with a small figure of Grumpy the Dwarf. Lottie immediately ran to me and sobbed.  Within two minutes, she flitted off to find Dallas to see if he wanted to play with her.  Two minutes after that, they were ensconced in her room playing some weird game together.  There have been times in the past where Lottie has smacked Dallas and been put, crying hysterically, into the time-out chair.  Dallas always goes to her and hugs her, comforts her, and takes her a toy.

Last week, I took the kids to Monkey Joe's to let them burn off some energy after numerous rainy days.  When we first walked in, there was only one other kid there.  Lottie immediately gravitated to him and spent an hour running around and playing with her new friend.  Dallas was happy to go to the little kids' bounce area and throw himself down, face-first, on to the big inflatables.  Soon, more people started to show up, and Lottie was thrilled at the prospect of finding even more new friends.  I noticed a group of moms who were obviously all friends sitting at a table close to mine.  I tried to chat with some of them, but they weren't really interested in letting me into their circle.  No big deal, right?  I'm a big girl.  But their kids apparently shared their desire to keep exclusive company because none of them would play with Lottie.  My sweet girl was sad and confused and just didn't understand why no one would run around with her.  At the time, Dallas was sitting at the table with me eating a snack - shocking.  Lottie turned to him with tears in her eyes and said, "Dallas, will you please play with me?"  He smiled at her with granola stuck to his cheek and said, "Of course, Lottie!"  He climbed down out of his seat, and they walked off together holding hands.

My brother is six years older than I am, and Trevor's brother is nine years younger than Trevor.  Neither of us has a lot of experience with siblings who are close in age.  My kids are only twenty months apart; Lottie was still so little when Dallas was born.  I had no idea what to expect or how they would get along.  So far, they have exceeded my expectations.  Sure, they fight, they argue, and they disagree just to spite each other, but deep down, they enjoy each other's company.  They play together on the playground at school, they make up games at home involving pirates, blankets, and a broom, and they almost always hug and kiss each other good night.   When it counts, they are there for each other and they're friends.  That's really all I can ask for.  Well, that and two minutes of silence a day.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The unsung heroine

As much as I adore my kidlets, there are times when it's easier to get things done without them around.  For example, it's impossible to clean the house with Lottie and Dallas dogging my every step and pulling out everything I just put away.  It's almost always easier to do the grocery shopping without the kids...or Trevor.

We were insanely lucky in the summer of 2008 that one of our neighbors moved to Colorado.  Before she packed up her family and left, she handed me a small piece of paper with a name and phone number written on it.  Little did I know that it was a gold mine: Nicole.  A babysitter named Nicole.  At the time, Lottie was 18 months old and I was 7 months pregnant with Dallas.  No one had watched Lottie other than her grandparents, so I was a little nervous about using anyone else.  However, I knew that I was going to need help with two kids under the age of two.  I remember being a little nervous the first time I called Nicole.  When she answered, it was loud and she told me she was at Kings' Island with her friends.  I had some reservations, but we scheduled a time to meet.  She came to the house, and I liked her right away.  She was sweet, funny, honest, and great with Lottie.  

We started slowly by having Nicole come over a few times.  Lottie was hesitant at first, and I didn't blame her.  She was still so little, not even 2 years old, and didn't know Nicole very well.  The first couple of times, Lottie cried when I left and it was really hard to enjoy whatever I was doing.  Soon, though, Lottie really started to enjoy her time with Nicole, especially after Dallas was born.  As Dal got older, we started having specific days every week for Nicole to watch both kids so I could clean or run errands or just sit in silence.  

Before I knew it, Nicole had really become a part of our lives.  She is beyond incredible with the kids; she treats them like I do.  She makes them mind their manners, she teaches them yoga, she reads book after book to them, and she really loves them.  She takes care of our house and Judy when we're on vacation, and I never have to worry if everything is okay.  When she and Dallas play trains in the basement, Nicole tidies up all the toys strewn around.  I mean, the girl cleans!! Both Lottie and Dallas are crazy about her.  At breakfast, they often ask if it's a "Nicole day."  She vacationed with us at Disney World.  She texts me funny, random things all the time.  She's always available to help at the last minute, and she even VOLUNTEERS to sit so that Trevor and I can have a night out.  Who does that???  I refuse to even use her first name when I gush about her to my friends because I don't want anyone to steal her away.  I don't think she would ever jump ship for another family, but I'm not taking any chances.  

Nicole is like my younger sister; she's really family.  I honestly don't know what we would do without her chez Wells.  

Thursday, May 19, 2011

PT drop out

For the last four weeks or so, I have been faithfully going to physical therapy.  I am trying to strengthen my shoulder blade muscles in an attempt to ease the pain of a torn tendon that I got from two separate episodes of clumsy.  I usually start with ultrasound, then electronic stimulation with meds, weights, bands, and the arm bike.  Today was different.

I had a cortisone shot a little over a week ago.  At first, I was optimistic that I felt some pain relief and the thought of surgery would be a distant memory.  But by the beginning of this week, I realized that the relief I felt might be just in my head.  Once again, everything I did was making my shoulder hurt, even just sitting.  I told Bethany, my physical therapist, how I was feeling on Monday, and I did the regular therapy routine.  This morning was a different story, though.  When I told Bethany that things still hadn't improved, she said she wanted me to take a break from PT next week.  Obviously, it's not helping me a great deal, and it might even be hurting me.  Bethany wants to see if the PT is irritating my shoulder more than it should.  If I feel better after next week, we'll try therapy again with a few tweaks; if not, I'm supposed to see my orthopedist before my scheduled appointment on June 8.  Not only is the PT not making a dent in my pain, but our insurance only covers twenty PT visits a year.  I have already burned through nine of those, so I want to save some for possible post-surgery.

I'm seriously bummed about this.  I thought I would be able to PT my way through this, but I'm not so sure anymore.  The constant pain is really getting to me: it hurts when I drive, I can't sleep well, I can't lift my arm above my head, and I can't hold my kids.  As much as I dread recovering from surgery, I know I can't continue like this.  If this all comes to pass, it will be interesting to see how I handle being one-armed for a while.  Well, let's be honest.  I'll handle it just fine.  Trevor, Lottie, and Dallas are a whole different story.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


As parents, we all do things that are a little embarrassing: singing "Found a Peanut" in public, hauling a rage-filled toddler out of the grocery store, or unknowingly walking around the mall with spit-up all over one's sweater.

The epitome of debasement has to be what I did this morning: I decorated one of our bathrooms, the one all of our guests use, to look like a pirate paradise.  Why?  Because I love to fritter away my free time with crafty projects?  Because I love Johnny Depp?  Nay, my friends.  I did it to try to entice Dallas to go on the potty.  When I picked the kids up from school today, I told them that pirates had visited our house and decorated the bathroom because they wanted Dallas to start using the potty.  There was skepticism from both of my offspring.  Maybe telling them pirates had been in our house was not the best way to start.  When they saw the bathroom, I held my breath in anticipation of their reactions.  I should have gone ahead and breathed as I was met with complete silence.  

Dallas takes a while to warm up to new things, so I held on to the hope that he would eventually come around and enjoy the new pirate lair.  Instead, he spent the rest of the afternoon using any stick-like object he could find to knock down all of the decorations that the pirates had put up.  Sigh.

After dinner, Dallas was getting wiggly, so I asked him if he needed to potty.  Surprisingly, he agreed.  We both went into the bathroom, and I showed him the "treasure chest" the pirates had also left for him.  Any time he used the potty, he could pick from the treasure chest.  It was filled with lots of junk awesome stuff like gold doubloons, stickers, temporary tattoos, little pirate figures, eye patches, and pirate masks.  (There is also a treasure chest filled with bigger and better prizes for when Dallas decides to attempt "the big one" in the potty.  He doesn't know about that yet; I'm not completely loony.)  Dallas saw the booty, sat down, and did his business on the potty.  He picked out a pirate figure, and all was right with the world.  That lasted about six seconds.  You see, my kid is smart.  In those six seconds, he figured out that he could squeeze out some more and get another toy.  Which is exactly what he did.  Four times in a row.  

In the meantime, Lottie, who is also a smart cookie, decided that something was amiss chez Wells.  She already knew how to use the potty, and she wasn't getting bupkis.  She cried to me, she cried to Trevor, and she came back crying to me claiming that she felt cheated: her exact words.  Double sigh.  I gave both kids two Skittles, another subset of the potty bribery, because sometimes I find it necessary to live by the motto: "Whatever it takes."  

All in all, it wasn't a bad start to the "Please-potty-train-or-it's-going-to-be-a-looooooooong-summer" day.  We'll see what tomorrow brings.  

Heeeeeeeeeere's Mommy!

I'm officially sick of the rain.  Sick.  Of.  It.  The cold temperatures don't bother me, but I need the sun.  I can't take the kids outside to play in the constant rain, and it's really getting on all of our nerves.  Lottie and Dallas fight more when we're stuck inside, and I am exhausted by the end of the day from refereeing and trying to distract the kids from one another.  Lottie burst into tears today and sobbed because she wanted to play outside so much.  If this continues, I'm going to end up like this:

The Weather Channel website claims that the sun will shine in my zip code on Friday.  I hope that's true or I'm going to have a mutiny on my hands.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Random fact of the day

We did the weekly grocery shopping yesterday. In the past 29 hours, Lottie has eaten eight of the ten cups of Yoplait yogurt we bought. That's an average of 3.625 cups of yogurt an hour. Pretty impressive considering she was asleep for eleven of those hours and at school for three of them.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

It's fun to stay at the YMCA

Thanks to Trevor's generous gift to our family, we have all been spending some time lately at the local YMCA.  Lottie takes swim lessons.  Trevor and I work out.  Dallas usually sits and eats a granola bar.

Last week, I decided to try the Kids' Corner at the Beaumont Y.  I explained to the kids that they could play with all the toys and other kids while I was exercising in the same building.  Lottie was fine with it; Dallas had some anxiety.  I did my workout, went back to pick up the kids, and was greeted by a smiling Lottie holding a picture she colored for me and a sobbing Dallas.  He kept saying, "Mommy, I didn't know where you was" over and over and over.  He calmed down after some hugs, kisses, and reassurances that I would always come back for him no matter where he was.

Fast forward to three days later: Trevor and I both wanted to work out after Lottie's swim lesson on Saturday morning.  I hesitated to even suggest the Kids' Corner for fear that Dallas would start foaming at the mouth.  Shockingly, Dallas brought it up himself and begged to go to the Kids' Corner so he could play with all the toys.  His only caveat was that Lottie be there with him.  I confidently agreed to that since she seemed to have enjoyed herself the time before.  Wrong, Mommy.  Quite erroneous.  When I brought up the idea to Lottie, she was vehement that she didn't want to go to the Kids' Corner.  No way, no how.  Trevor and I ended up doing an exercise time-share because I didn't want to make Lottie go if she didn't want to.

I went back to the Y this afternoon to exercise, and when Dallas heard where I was going, he immediately started to sob, "I want to go to the Y!  I want to go, too!"  Sigh.  If he continues to beg, this could be good for me this summer when Lottie is at school and Dallas is home with me because of the continued reliance on diapers.  But that's another blog.

Do not go gentle into that good night...

Obsessions are pretty commonplace around here.  We've been crazy about Tinkerbell, fire trucks, dinosaurs, princesses, Woody and Buzz, puppies, and Spiderman.  The new obsession chez Wells is death.  Lottie talks about death constantly.  All.  The.  Time.

It all seemed to start around Easter.  There was a lot of talk about Jesus on the cross and the holes in his hands that had "bleeds" on them.  The talk gradually turned to Heaven and dying.  Lottie asks a lot of questions about when Judy is going to die, if she'll go to Heaven, and if we'll ever see her again.  She even asked Trevor  if we could put Judy in a box when she died so we could keep her forever.  (Cue _Psycho_ music.)  She worries about whether or not Lamby, her beloved stuffed animal, will be in Heaven with her.  When I settled down to read a bedtime story to her on Mother's Day, she cried and said she didn't want me to die because she would never see me again.  I have reassured her time and time again that I won't die for a long, long time, and that I firmly believe that everyone we love will be waiting for us in Heaven.

I know it's just a phase; she's trying to puzzle out in her brain exactly what it means to be dead.  It makes me a little sad, though, to know that she has these thoughts running around her sweet little mind.  Sometimes I swear I can feel my heart breaking into bits.  Such is the life of a mom.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Hello again, twos

First of all, the word "twos" looks weird.  I want to pronounce it "t-woes."

Okay, so the terrible twos are back chez Wells.  Dallas is in the grasp of the two mighty beasts called independence and opposition.  My sweet and happy boy loves to disagree, act contrary, and be overall unpleasant.  I know it's a phase, but that doesn't make it any easier.  It is easier to laugh at it all, though, since we have already been through this with Lottie.

A few nights ago, Dallas was mad about something and threw a Buzz Lightyear action figure.  When Trevor asked Dallas what he threw, Dallas replied, "I throwed a fit!"  I had to turn around so Dallas didn't see me laughing.  He also likes to announce when he's upset by yelling, "I'm mad!" and crossing his arms in front of him.  I hope I can get a picture of that soon; it's classic.

He has also starting talking a lot more. He has always been verbal, but now he's downright chatty. I officially have two loquacious children. I guess this shouldn't be a surprise. When I was four years old, I developed nodules on my throat from talking all the time. The doctor told my parents that I would have to have surgery if I didn't stop talking. They Obviously get some of the talking-gene from me. However, Trevor isn't blameless, believe you me.

My boy is searching for independence.  It's such a difficult transition.  Like my mom said, it's hard for Dallas to break away from his mommy when the separation process just makes him want comfort from his mommy.  The vicious cycle of love.  I'm just happy that he still asks me to snuggle with him every night when I tuck him into bed.

Edit: I just had to add that Dallas told me I was the best mommy in the world tonight as I was tucking him in...for the third time.  He also put his fire hat on my head and told me I was a beautiful fireman mommy.  Yes, my sweet boy is still in there.  :)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Tendon, shmendon

If you look under "clumsy" in the dictionary, you just might find my picture.  Last July, I went on a teacup-like ride at the Porter County Fair with Lottie and Dallas.  I was holding Dallas with my left hand and twisting the disc in the center of the ride with my right hand.  When I woke up the next morning, I could barely move my right arm.  Serious pain.  I got on a regimen of anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxants, and the pain seemed to dissipate.  Fast forward to January which finds me falling down the back staircase of our house.  Yes, the inside staircase; I can't even blame the ice and snow.  I threw out my right hand to break my fall, and the shoulder pain returned.  I tried the medicine route again, and nothing made a dent in the pain.  I tried acupuncture, and although I found it relaxing, the pain simply wasn't going away.  My doctor finally ordered an MRI of my shoulder.  Drum roll...I have a "significant tear" in one of the tendons.  Yeah, duh.

I have been doing physical therapy for the last few weeks to try to strengthen the muscles of my right shoulder blade in hopes that it will support the tendon better.  I also got a cortisone shot Monday morning, and so far, that seems to be helping.  I still have seeing-stars-gasp-out-loud pain sometimes, but I think it's getting better.  If it's not significantly better in the next four weeks, the orthopedist wants to talk about scoping the shoulder.  Um, no.  No surgery.  I can't be in a sling for six weeks.  I can't be in a sling for six minutes!  The only way I could have the surgery is if we built a HUGE room in the house that would be completely padded, walls and ceiling.  We could put a small hole in the door where I could slide in trays of food - just like prison.  If the kids were in this room day and night throughout my recovery period, I might be able to make a go at it.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Strange and stranger

We had a nice visit yesterday from Will, one of Trevor's colleagues, and his family, including his one year old son, Mac.  Lottie was desperately sweet to Mac and spent most of the visit hugging and kissing him.  Dallas largely ignored Mac and spent his time running around like a crazy puppy.  At bedtime, Trevor tucked Dallas in and asked if he had fun seeing Mac.  Dallas answered, "Yes, he pretended to be Voldemort."  You know how toddlers are always pretending to be wizard villains...

At some point in the last few days, I walked into the living room and found Lottie with a white sheet draped over her like a cloak.  When I asked what she was playing, she said, "Oh, I'm just pretendin' to be Jesus."  I didn't see any crucifixes, fishes, or loaves, so I just walked away.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother's Day weekend

Mother’s Day weekend was fantastic!  Here’s the breakdown:

On Friday morning, the whole family went to Ecton Park to meet up with Dallas’s preschool class for a play date.  It was hilarious to watch the kids play near each other but not quite with each other.  Trevor stayed with Dallas at the park for the rest of the morning while Lottie and I left to go to “Muffins for Moms” at school.  The kids served all the moms blueberry muffins, chocolate-dipped strawberries, and lemonade.  Lottie ate all of the chocolate off my strawberries and left me two bites of a muffin.  The moms were serenaded with some songs about how much moms rock.  There were even presents!  I got a heart-shaped keychain with Lottie’s sweet face in the middle of it, and Lottie made me a pipe cleaner bracelet that she decorated with beads.  It rained Friday afternoon, so the kids played in the basement while I packed up some of their outgrown clothes.  Bourbon N’ Toulouse, a great Cajun restaurant down the street from us, was collecting clothing, toiletries, and food to drive to Tuscaloosa to help the victims of the tornado.  I explained what I was doing and why I was doing it to both kids.  Dallas stared at me for a second, and then he asked to watch TV.  Lottie really took it all in.  I was worried that she was going to start freaking out about a tornado hitting our house; I know how her mind works.  Instead, she started to beam and said, “Mommy, we have lots of bricks in our garage.  Let’s send those down so the people can build new houses!”  I had to hug her quickly so she didn’t see the tears in my eyes.  She’s truly a sweet girl. 

On Saturday, I got a nice surprise at breakfast.  I told Trevor weeks ago that I didn’t want anything for Mother’s Day, and I really didn’t.  Trevor got me something anyway, but it was something for our whole family.  He signed us up for a family membership to the YMCA.  Lottie takes swim lessons at the Beaumont branch in town, and the facility is incredible.  I mentioned to Trevor once that I would like to swim while Lottie is in her lessons, but since we weren’t members, I wouldn’t feel right doing that.  I love the fact that Trevor knows me well enough to know that a gift for our family is exactly what I would want.  My other Saturday surprise was a delicious meal that Trevor made.  I hung out with the kids while he cooked; it felt decadent!  He made lamb chops, grilled eggplant, an Indian dish with chickpeas and eggplant, roasted brussel sprouts with anchovies, and fresh strawberries with ice cream for dessert. 

Mother’s Day itself was a wonderful day.  I got to sleep until 8 AM (!!!!!) and had a fresh donut from Magee’s for breakfast.  Since Dallas can’t have donuts, he was allowed to have fruit snacks with his breakfast.  I got some very sweet cards from the kids, and a confession from Trevor that he would never take both kids shopping again at the same time.  Welcome to my world, buddy.  After breakfast, we took a family jaunt to Lowe’s.  Family time at the hardware store is always a good time!  When we got home, Trevor worked hard on digging up some sod to transfer from beneath the new sandbox to where the old sandbox used to it.  We dumped the bags of sand we had bought at Lowe’s in the new sandbox and realized we had misjudged how much we needed….by about ten bags.  Trevor graciously made the return trip to Lowe’s and came home with ten more bags of sand, 500 pounds worth.  I think we could use a couple hundred pounds more.  Trevor’s parents came home early from their camping trip and wanted to see the kids.  I (happily) dropped the kids at their grandparents’ house for a visit and returned home to help spread the aforementioned pounds and pounds of sand.  We mowed, trimmed, and blew away the grass clippings.  It was a lot of work, but it felt great to be working and sweating in the sun.  I was lucky enough to have another brilliant meal cooked for me after all the yard toil.  Trevor made short ribs in the crock pot with beef stock and red wine, roasted fingerling potatoes, and broccoli rabe cooked with lots of butter and ham.  I don’t think we spoke to each other too much at dinner.  We were busy enjoying the delicious food and reveling in the silence: no one spilled any milk, no one dropped a fork, no one said any part of the meal was yucky, and no one cried. 

I feel so lucky to have my family.  They make my life busier, crazier, and far more colorful than I could have ever imagined.  

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The great experiment

While Frankie and Tiffany were here visiting, Lottie and Frankie had two nights of little girl bliss.  That's right: sleep-overs.  Lottie has a trundle bed, and the girls had fun giggling, playing, talking, and sleeping.  Since then, Lottie and Dallas have been begging to do a sleep-over of their own.  Last night, Trevor and I agreed they could give it a try.

It started off well.  We read stories, sang the good night song, and tucked the kids into bed.  Trevor and I left the room, and that's when the hilarity ensued.  We sat on our own bed and watched the action on the video monitor.  First, there was lots of bouncing on both beds.  I think there was some talk of pirates, too.  Then Lottie settled into her bed and invited Dallas to sleep in her bed with her.  That lasted for about eight seconds.  More bouncing on the bed, more laughing, more get the picture.  Finally, Lottie got snuggled into her bed for real, and that's when the trouble began.  Dallas actually took a nap yesterday, so he wasn't tired.  He decided that essentially trashing Lottie's whole playroom while talking to himself - loudly- was exactly what he should be doing while Lottie tried to sleep.  Lottie did everything she could to get him to go to bed: coaxing, threats, more coaxing, more threats.  She generously invited him to sleep in the bed with her; he gave a resounding "NO!" She told him he would have to sleep on the hard, hard floor; he didn't care.  She told him that she was "just exhausted" and she was done hearing his talking.  When I heard her say that, I snorted and said, "Welcome to my world, kid."  In the end, she came in our room and begged me to do something about her loquacious and wide-awake brother.  I decided to put an end to the sleep-over; it lasted 90 minutes.  We'll try again another day...maybe.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Bon Apétit

When I called Dallas to dinner tonight, he asked the usual mealtime question, "What is it called?" That's his fancy way of asking what I have cooked. Before I could answer him, he plunked himself down in his chair, looked at me expectantly and said, "Is it pork and jelly toast?" Yes, the classic combination of pork and jelly toast. Move over, coq au vin: there's a new sheriff in town.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Yo ho, yo ho

Lottie refused to eat dinner the other night.  This happens from time to time, and it doesn't worry me in the least.  She was hungry, of course, after play time and before bedtime.  She cried and cried and said she couldn't "handle it" anymore.  She told Trevor that she was sure she would turn into a skeleton like the ones from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney if she didn't get food.  And I'm pretty sure it was all my fault that she hadn't eaten.  It's always the mom's fault, right?

We relented and Trevor took her downstairs to get a snack before bed.  She chose bread with butter, and Trevor thought all was calm.  Silly man.  On slice number two, he apparently put WAY too much butter on it, according to Lottie, of course, and then he "let" her fall out of her chair.   It's hard to be four years old sometimes.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Little pitchers

Lottie and Dallas pay attention to every single thing Trevor and I say.  Most of the time I feel like they don't hear anything we say.  For example, when I tell Lottie to get dressed, I usually find her five minutes later lying on the floor looking at a book or jumping off her bed into the pretend ocean.

But listen they do.  Apparently, they listen when Trevor and I talk about Harry Potter.  The other day in the yard, Lottie picked up a pool noodle.  She started to flail around with it and told me she was Harry.  By default, I got to be Voldemort.  Sweet.  Dallas finally jumped in and took over my role.  Tonight, the kids were running upstairs to get ready for bed.  Lottie yelled, "Come on, Harry!  Run!  Voldemort is trying to kill us!"  Daddy got to be Voldy today.

Dallas and I were reading one of his favorite books tonight: an animal encyclopedia.  He loves to look at bugs, rodents, and pretty much anything gross.  He pointed out mosquitos, spiders, and lizards.  Then, he yelled, "Look, Mommy.  That's a really big dick!"  I sputtered and told him, "Tick, Dallas.  T.  Tick."  He's certainly his daddy's boy.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Mother's Day planning

This morning, Lottie asked me if we were having a party for Mother's Day.  I told her to talk to her dad about it, and maybe she and Dallas could help him plan something.  She asked me what my job would be on Mother's Day, and I told her that I wouldn't do anything, that was the point of Mother's Day.  She cocked her head, frowned, and said, "That's not going to work."  Smart kid.

Lottie also asked me this morning if Santa was always watching her.  I went with it and told her yes.  Then she asked if he was a wizard.  Huh.  I guess all of our Harry Potter talk is not lost on her.

And let's not forget Dallas who has started saying, "Happy Smothers Day!"