Monday, October 24, 2011


Joey and Guy were racing and chasing each other throughout our home screaming happily and loudly. I told them if they were going to wrestle they needed to go into the other room. "Oh no Mom" said Joey. "We're not wrestling, we're hitting each other with sticks!!" And simultaneously they each pulled out a tree branch 15 inches long. I took the sticks away and told them nature had to stay outside. So they started throwing matchbox cars instead. Oh Boys.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Trouble with Packing

The Trouble With Packing:
I used to think I was a really really good packer. Like for road trips. 15 minutes tops and I didn't forget a thing. But then I had children. The trouble with packing now is that, well, there is just a lot of trouble for packing. For instance: I used to only pack clean clothes. But if I wait now until clothes I need to pack were washed and dried it would be fifteen minutes before departure. So now I pack clean clothes for the kids the day before and then I make them wear the 'ugly' clothes for the last day we're home.
      Don't pretend you don't know what the 'ugly' clothes are. The shorts that you can't quite tell if it's for a boy or a girl or a t.shirt with some sort of creature on it looking weird. Like a reindeer. Anyway. Their clothes are packed - allowing them to drip ketchup over whatever they want on the last day. But forget about trying to pack things like toys or books for distraction in the trip. The second I complete placing all these little amusements in a bag- Joey has come around the corner to ask me where his tiny toy dinasaur is - and insist that he needs it immediately. As in- he'll either die or throw himself on the floor like he is going to die- kind of immediately.
          I try to pack food too. Special food- the kind only for road trips. But unfortunately Guy spotted the exciting Teddy Grahams last night and we ended up using them to bribe the boys to sit still for hair cuts instead of the treat on the trip. I thought I could use my oldest to help me and asked him to pack a bag. Now I have backpack filled with blocks, rocks, two sticks, a tape measure, a bear, a football, a spoon and two mismatched shoes that he is requesting that I drive across the country with.
           When I first met husband Joe we were able to fit all that we wanted and needed to live with  in a car. Then we expanded to an RV. Then to a home and a van. Now I am confused. I think I am packing to go to Connecticut for vacation and then look at the pile of stuff to go in the van and wonder if I am subconsiously moving there. Or to another planet. 
        I have to remind myself. They have diapers in Connecticut. My parents have a washing machine. I'm pretty sure if we run out of juice boxes, they might be in stock at least someplace in Ohio. I can travel without much. I just need to have a map. And at least one diaper. And a few snacks. And some caffiene. And my children. I should probably bring my children.

I just got back from a massive haul across the country with the kiddos. I thought of those who traveled west in covered wagons back in the day...They traveled for months and months, worried about death, weather, strangers, and feeding children on the way. Even though they traveled in caravans the isolation was incredible. When our radio went static in mid-Ohio I almost collapsed.  So- in comparison we did just fine.
           I like to compare myself to the ridiculous then I always end up “just fine.” For example I just traveled to Connecticut. I did not have to birth children in the wilderness somewhere in Illinois while on a trek across the country like those pioneers. Or another example:  Am I tired? Yes. But have I been up all night taking care of an infant and now have to run an air traffic control booth? No. I can sit on the couch and watch my children search for leftover cheerios for breakfast. I’m doing just fine. Are my children always dressed cute, matching and perfectly? No. But they’re not naked. We’re doing just fine.
             All this to say that we made it to Connecticut- and had the best vacation ever. And we made it back. There is nothing quite like going back to a childhood home. My family just enjoyed every single second with the kids and the kids enjoyed every second right back. It made my heart ache just a tiny bit that Minnesota and Connecticut are not neighbors, or that my sister and I are not neighbors… which I guess is what I am really saying. If we were neighbors I could run across the street and borrow eggs, or shoes, or sanity.
           We were there two weeks and then Husband Joe flew in for a cousin’s fantastic wedding and then drove home with us the next day. We left at 10.30 pm and drove straight through the night and 8 hours of the northern tip of hurricane Irene.  And by “we” I mean Joe.  I alternated between a complete collapse in sleep and frantic praying our car wouldn’t be swept away.
        But we are now in Minnesota home. Which I love. I love our friends and our life out here in the Midwest… but.. Our apartment seems to have gotten smaller – (which I swear happened) or the kids have gotten bigger (which Joe swears actually did happen). I miss Grammie and Papa and the rest of my family. I miss all the extra hands to help and hearts to love. But let’s not get ridiculous. It’s just 1300 miles. It’s not Russia. It’s not the moon. We’re doing just fine.

A Catch Up

So the last time that I even attempted to blog was March first... It's been about seven months. If I could only use seven words to tell you about those seven months they would be:
Joey three, Guy two, Elena born, happy.

Thankfully, I have a lot more words... below are all the facebook updates from this spring, summer and fall. More regular post to follow. Really. : )


Joey was very dramatic and sad (as only a 3 yr old can be) when he told me in the car today that he is feeling left out because "you do the laundry and don't tell me..." .....ohhh. ooookay Joey. Sure
Elena is now six months old and crawling, Guy is two years old and talking, Joey is three years old and thinks he runs the world... : )
Joey and Guy fought this morning for at least 20 minutes over whether a toy vehicle that they were playing with was a "car" or a "hiccup truck".
We went to the apple orchard/pumpkin patch today! We told they boys they could each pick out a pumpkin. Joey chose a perfectly round orange one with a stem. Guy insisted upon two large rocks. At least they didn't charge us for the rocks.
 Joey thought I was the meanest mother in the whole world today --when I checked out multiple library books for him but had to refuse his request to try and check out the library trash can. Sometimes I just can't win : )
While I was making their breakfast today the kids wanted to watch the dvd 'Planet Earth' instead of 'Elmo'. I was feeling quite proud of their decision until 15 minutes later when over our toast and oranges I was trying to explain why a coyote would want to take a baby rabbit from it's mommy and eat it...
Went and grilled out last night. We caught Guy not only stuffing his pockets full of acorns but actually chewing them and eating them as well. Joey drew our attention to the situation when he started chasing his brother with a big stick yelling "only squirrels and deer eat those Guy! only squirrels and deer!!" .... needless to say, all mouths were emptied of the choking hazard and most sticks confiscated.
I was talking to the kids about how God is always with them. I told them that when they are happy God is with them, also when they are sad. I told them God never leaves them and then said, "What does God do when you're angry?" (looking for the word 'stay') -- Joey immediately declared, "Eats!" – No Joey- God doesn’t eat when he’s stressed- that’s mom.
Yesterday Joey and Guy were riding their bikes around when Joey suddenly stops and demands money from Guy. Guy dutifully hit Joey's outstretched hand and continued on his way. I didn't understand this game until I realized we drove a total of 30 hours on Toll Roads recently....
 if you see a two year old in Target wearing snow boots in August- throwing a fit because his mother won't let him suck on a bottle of bleach that she has in her cart--- he's mine.
I was playing with Ellie trying to get her to laugh saying things like, "where's your smile? Where is it? Where's your smile?" This- (for no good reason)- greatly annoyed Joey and from across the room he yelled, "IT"S IN HER MOUTH MOM!!"
I was so behind in laundry. Not one family member had one clean shirt. Yesterday I had huge piles of clothes around me that I was trying to separate into wash loads and Joey walked by and saw the display and said excitedly, "oh Mom! You're building castles?!"
I've given up on bibs so on macaroni night I just take off the kid's shirts and pop the boys in the bathtub after dinner. Tonight I was getting their plates ready and told them to take off their shirts. I turned around to hand them their food and saw Guy pantless climbing into his chair... ready to eat!
 Joey just informed me that the moon and sun are afraid of the rain. So whenever it rains, they run and hide. I know that one day I'll have to explain about cloud cover and precipitation but his explanation was much more interesting.
So we have a baby swing... but the baby is never in it. Guy has adopted this swing as his special seat.. he turns on this soft 'underwater' music that the swing plays and curls up even though it is way to small for him. I think I'm going to forget the toddler bed and move him straight from a crib to a personal hammock.
Today I dropped Joey off at VBS at a strange church where he ony knew one other person. There were probably 75 kids there. He was there 2.5 hours. I know that they sang songs, did projects, ate a snack, listened to a story, etc. When I went to pick him up the ONLY detail he could remember and tell me from this whole experience was that he drank a juice box.
 I went to check in on the boys after they went to sleep- only to find Guy curled up squished inside his pillowcase with his pillow. Just his head sticking out. I love Guy. He's so cute and just a little weird. Children are wonderful.
I figure I haven't slept a consecutive five hours in about three years. It's like nighttime is just a different kind of day. I think I should switch to a three hour awake/ three hour asleep 24 hour schedule. Playdate at 3am? snack at midnight? naptime instead of dinnertime? yes.
It turns out Guy is frightened of helium balloons... that's more than enough birthday fun for now 3 year old Joey.
So today I was excited because I beat someone to the last beach umbrella, frustrated because I could not find my coupon for strawberries, I used the phrase, "do I need to call your father...", and then I typed in to google search "How to make a dump truck birthday cake."..... I am so officially a mom I can hardly believe it.
We read a book about two boys and their dump truck fairly often. Like everyday. On the last page there is an illustration of both the brothers in the bathtub talking about the plans for the next day. Today we were reading this book and got to that page and Joey said, "Those boys- they've been in the bath a loooonnnggg time. Many days. When is their dad going to get them out?"
We had a super fun and busy morning but no plans or promises for the afternoon.. As I was putting Joey to sleep for his nap I asked what was his favorite thing we did today. "Swimming" he replied. "Hmmmm" I said, "We didn't go swimming ." Joey smiled... "Not yet....!"
Theology is a little confusing. I told Joey that God was always with us and he ran to the window then raised his hands in a frustrated manner and said, "I don't see his car. Where is Jesus' car?!" Yes Joey. That invisibility aspect can be tricky.
Tonight I asked Joey where Jesus lives, looking for the answer, 'my heart' and instead he says (super confidently)- "OH!! Connecticut!!"
Guy decided his new 'security object' is going to be this large rock. I can barely hold it in one hand. He carries it around in both his hands and won't put it down anywhere. Normally I require that it stay in the car when we go out but this afternoon it wasn't worth the battle and I had three different people in Target ask me if I knew my child was carrying this rock. Yes. I'm aware.
BEACH DAY !!!! And by beach I mean the little man made lake -and venturing no further out then up to my knees because that's Joey's chest height and I'll have Guy eating sand and a baby under the umbrella. And by day I mean 2.5 hours. Because little children get overheated easily. Then cranky. And hungry. And tired... ...... nevertheless... BEACH DAY!!!!!!!!!!
Elena Jane is seven weeks old! It feels like she's been here forever- but it's been the quickest forever that I've ever known.... : )
Every morning when I do pilates on my living room floor Joey normally tries to do the moves with me... but now he has graduated to sitting on the couch and yelling out phrases such as, "Sit taller mommy!" "reach longer!" I'm lucky to have such a cute personal trainer but I think I'm going to start moving my routine to after his bedtime.
Close your eyes. Imagine covering your shirt entirely in peanut butter, jelly and applesauce and then rolling in the sand. Sand is also your shoes, pants, ears, mouth and hair. Eat an ant that happened to be crawling on your arm. Open your eyes. Aren't you glad you aren't 21 months old?
The other day Joey saw a school bus and yelled excitedly, "WHOA! it's SOOOOO big. It's SOOOOOOOO BIG! IT"S HUGE!! Just like you mommy!! " I decided to feel amused rather than insulted. Obviously he's still working on comparing like objects.
Well. Trying to go clothes shopping, (for myself), with an infant, is about as productive as trying to wait in a 20 minute post office line with a two year old. Will I ever be able to function efficiently in society ever again? Probably not for a good five years.
It was naptime and Joey goes to get his little green blanket-- "nightnight"-- he's slept with since birth and then suddenly turns and hands it to me, paused, then said, "I don't need it. I don't need it. I'm a big boy."... my heart hurts a tiny bit.
I checked in on Joey to make sure he was sleeping during naptime only to find him standing on his bed with his head tucked under the blinds looking out the window. I asked him sternly if he was looking at lawnmowers instead of sleeping. "Yes." He said, totally thrilled "They are just so special mom. So special."
Elena Jane Spadino is here!! April 17 2011, 10:55am, 8lbs 15oz!!!
I have a to do list printed off with tasks written such as, 'organize Joey's infant clothes' and 'have professional photos taken of kids', 'go on vacation without children' and 'figure out how to use grocery coupons effectively'. This list is literally titled, "Things to Do Before Joey is Eight." I like to keep life realistic.
Lesson for the day: never ever say, "okay! Fine!! WHATEVER!!" in response to a two year old's inaudible voice from the next room. Always, always, clarify the terms of the question. This is how you can avoid a broken lamp.
There are endless April Fools jokes to play when you're nine months pregnant. Most variations involve a glass of water and labor. Predictable yet still hysterical. to me.
I called the doctor to set up an apt. for Joey and for the life of me could not remember his birthday. Not even the month. Just completely blanked. But of course I kept guessing until she just cut me off and looked up his records based on address. I should probably not hold a conversation with an adult until I get some sleep. So in about 2 years.
Last night I was up with Joey at 9,10,11.30, 12.20-1.00, 1.30, 2.45-3.15 and 4.00 am, because he had a 103 fever and double ear infections. This morning at 6.30, he got another dose of tylenol. I got up for the day and ate a large piece of chocolate cake for breakfast. This might be a day.
The other day Guy was throwing a fit because I apparently wasn't making his lunch quick enough. Joey says to him, "GUY JAMES STOP IT! Mom's 'GOING AS FAST AS SHE CAN.' YOU JUST NEED TO WAIT A MINUTE." Normally I would follow Joey's correction of Guy up with a 'I AM the mom' lecture-but this time I just accepted the parenting help. It was extremely accurate.
Husband Joe spent some time today online researching winter camping gear. Then I spent an hour researching couch slipcovers. Unless a more reasonable compromise can be made I might end up covering my furniture in zero degree sleeping bags, or Joe may be freezing in the wilderness in a 'one piece sure fit cocoa cotton sofa cover'.
So when Joey needs a break from the world, to "regroup his emotions" , or when he is being punished, we have him sit in a central location in our home with his back to a wall. Yesterday Joey and I were looking at a photo of an angel statue leaning against a wall. He asked me what it was and I told him. "Ohhhhh", he said knowingly. "That angel's in timeout."
Yesterday Joey heard the "beep beep beep" of a garbage truck backing up outside. Not being able to place this sound he frantically ran to stand underneath our smoke detector and started waving his arms around. I obviously need to either review "transportation noises" or become a better cook.