Oh, Christmas Tree…Oh, Christmas Tree!

The first weekend in December:  I hauled up the Christmas tree box from the basement. I didn’t even get it set down on the floor and the boys were trying to tear into it like it was a present on Christmas day. “You have to wait. This is just the Christmas tree. Mommy is going to set it up. THEN you can help put the ornaments on,” I said. This seemed to appease the little Christmas beasts.

I pulled out the pieces. The top, middle and bottom. Gotta love these new trees that practically come put together, lights and all. No more sorting branches by faded color stickers at the end of each branch. No more waiting for Dad to put the lights on the tree.

 Oh, the childhood memories I have of pacing while waiting for the tree to be ready. Trying to wait patiently as my Dad made piles of similar sized branches. Getting anxious and digging through the boxes of ornaments to decide which ones to hang first.

“Dad, are you almost done?” and “Dad, can we hang the ornaments yet?” and “Dad…Dad…Dad…” We probably pestered him the whole time, but he kept working away, meticulously straightening branches and hanging lights. Now, I am the same way about straightening each branch, making sure the lights are strung around evenly. Thanks, Dad, for passing on this obsessive behavior about how the tree should look.

When I was pulling the tree out a sparkly green ball bounced across the hardwood floor. I recognized it immediately. It was one of Grandma Jean’s ornaments from last year.

I miss her. She would be so happy we are putting up her tree. I can hear her now, “Isn’t that a nice tree? Look how each branch is so perfect and how all the lights sparkle. It is a beautiful tree. Uncle Steve picked that tree out special for me (every year he would come and help her set up the tree and even come back and take it down. What a good son. I hope one of my kids will do that for me when I am old),” I can hear her now, as I sit here thinking about her. I can see her in her beige leather recliner int he big living room, crocheting away on a multicolored afghan, watching tv, and admiring her tree.

 

If she were here now, I know she would want to see all of our trees. She would ask, “What do the babies think of the tree?” and she would remind me (even though I know) to “make sure you keep the ornaments away from the babies. They could swallow one of those hooks. You have to keep them safe. Get down on the floor and make sure a hook didn’t fall off that you didn’t see. You have to be real careful. Run your hands along the floor.”  And even though I know this, I would reply, “Okay, Grandma,” and I would probably tell her about how I have the tree set up on a card table in the living room so none of the little ones can reach it. And she would say, “I know, hunny. You take such good care of those babies,” and she would tell me how proud she is of me. Man, I love her and miss her. 

It was a trial and error with the trees this year. I put up two. A small one and a regular sized one. I put up the little tree first just to see what the kids think of it…and I was also making sure they weren’t going to try to climb it. I set it up on a small table in the corner. I put the ottoman in front of the table and a small chest ont the other side. The twins couldn’t reach it, but it was still a bad idea. Collin just used the items as step stools to get right up to the tree.

See what happens when my back is turned?!

Needless to say, it was moved. I also used a taller table for the large tree so there were no stepping stools. One of these days when the kids are older and I am able to put the tree on the floor, like normal people do, they are going to be confused. I can hear them already, “Why is the tree ont the floor, Mom?”

I located the plugs on each different part of the tree and had that thing standing upright and lit in five minutes. Hallelujah!

I put Grandma’s sparkly green ornament right by a white light so it sparkles and glitters all the time.

I love Christmas. I love all of the memories, even ones as simple as a small ornament.

xxx

Just Go Back to Sleep!

Seriously, I want to sleep past 4 a.m. in the morning.

Why doesn’t he do this more often? (pic below) Or at least just until 6 a.m.! I don’t think that is too much to ask.

And don’t tell me to put him to bed later. Tried that. No matter what time this kid goes to bed, he is awake whenever he pleases and terrorizing everything. Can’t wait until he outgrows this stage.

Just stay asleep, kid!

****

I flew up in bed, startled by a presence in the room. It was still dark and I could hear the wind howling outside the windows, making them rattle and whistle; reminding me of how badly we need new windows. I looked around the bedroom as my eyes adjusted to the dark.

There was Collin. My pale little toddler standing by the tv, trying not to make a sound as he sorted through Brad’s change on the nightstand. He realized I was awake and stood as still as a statue, like maybe I wouldn’t see or notice him if he didn’t move or look at me.

Geesh, kid! Just go to sleep! (this is usually what goes through my head when I just don’t want to be awake at 4 a.m.)

I reached for my phone. What the heck time is it anyway? It glowed 4 a.m. When I turned back a split second later he was trying to escape, as if he was never there. Sneaky little guy.

Brad was starting to wake up a little bit. “Grab him,” I said.

He swooped down and wrapped his arms around him like a slippery fish. He knew he was caught so he snuggled in with us.

I know his tricks though. That kid will lay there, still as can be, until you doze back off. Then he will make his escape. One time he was petting my eyebrows to test if I was still asleep or not.

Brad rolled over and handed me something. “Take this.” he said.

I held something round in my hand. It was a perfect circle on the top. It was kind of sticky and moist. It looked like it might glow as I held it up to the moonlight. “What the hell is this?” I complained, still half asleep and wondering why he handed it to me.

I squinted. “Oh, it’s a corn muffin,” I mumbled and placed it on my nightstand next to my glasses and phone, like this was a normal thing to do. 

Obviously, Collin must have snuck downstairs sometime in those early hours of the morning to help himself to a snack. This kid is gonna be my gray hair; I just know it.

I slept with one eye open and alert ears the rest of the night, so if Collin did get up again, I would be able to hear him and get up with him. Just never expected him to be up at 4…but you never know with this one.

xxx

Every Book

It was quiet after dinner. WAY to quiet. The babies were toddling around the living room, looking adorable as usual. “Where are the boys?” I asked Brad. “Upstairs,” he replied.

Hmmm… I wonder what they are doing. It may not be good with all that silence. What am I saying? It is usually never good with all that silence!  (Unless they are sleeping.)

They play loud. They argue loud. Unless they are watching a movie it probably means they are going to be in trouble, and even that doesn’t stop them.

But I was pleasantly surprised.

I walked up the stairs and right around the corner two cute boys sat next to each other. Collin was holding, “If You Give a Pig a Pancake,” and Bradley was flipping through a book about Blue Tongued Skinks. Bradley would say, “Hey, Collin! Look at this.” And they would both stick their tongues out – “Blah!” they would say in unison over the picture.

I am a proud momma. I have been reading to them FOREVER and CONSTANTLY and it just makes me proud when I see them reading without me. I mean, seriously, I have been brainwashing them to love reading since they were in the womb.

Maybe next time they wont drag out EVERY SINGLE book off the bookshelf though. That was a mess. Oh well… anything for reading.

These are some of the moments that I love, but easily forgotten with time. This is my way of remembering.

xxx

October/November Recap

It has been so crazy here I haven’t blogged in a while. I feel like I have missed a lot. So I am just going to condense it into one big recap.

First we had Bradley’s 6th birthday.

And then my birthday.

Then Halloween. The kids got a lot of candy. I ate a large amount of chocolate.

 

 

 

 

 

And the day after Halloween was Elsie and Mallie’s first birthday. They really chowed down on the cake.

And the day after that was Brad’s birthday. And then Grandpa Don’s birthday.

And then my computer went haywire, not all by itself though… partly because of me. But thanks again, Dad, for fixing it.

And between all of that was the everyday jobs of keeping up with dishes, laundry, and all that fun stuff.

And finally a break!

It has been so busy I kind of felt like this (check out the video below). DIZZY!

It just makes me dizzy watching it. The first time Collin did it, he stood up and fell over. It was hilarious. I guess he learned, because from then on he just crawled afterward.

Actually, this is just one example of Brad’s way of entertaining himself with the kids on Sunday when he is watching football. I guess you have to do something with those commercial breaks.

xxx

Pumpkin Carving

The newspaper covered the linoleum floor. We sat the fat pumpkin with the chewed up stalk (thanks to our dog Mickey) on the kitchen floor, ready to be carved. I examined the knifes in my kitchen. I picked the one I thought was sharpest and started cutting the lid. It was hard and I was barely making any progress. I scanned my knife selection again and chose an old one. It was skinny and extra pointy at the end with a good angle to it, it looked like a Jack the Ripper knife, perfect for Halloween. It cut right through the pumpkin flesh.

My job for pumpkin carving is simple. I cut the lid and help the kids clean out the pumpkin. Brad carves the face. Before I had kids I would spend hours designing and carving elaborate designs on numerous pumpkins. Now with so many little ones and limited time, we carve one or two and clean it the best we can. A little innards left gives it a spooky feel. I forget about the day of a perfectly smooth and even flesh of the inside of the pumpkin. I have forgotten about the elaborate designs. We go by Bradley’s ideas on how he wants his Jack-o-lantern face. It always ends up really cute. Oh, and my other job is snapping a lot of pictures until Brad grumbles so much that I just put the camera away…for a few minutes.

My favorite part about carving pumpkins is that last cut and pulling up the lid. I love the smell of the fresh pumpkin that rolls out when you pull off the lid, the strings and seeds trying to hang on to the inside, even though they have no chance of clinging on. I love digging my hands in the slime and pulling out all the junk and seeds. I love the smell. I love feeling the cold fall nights that are stored in there.

We did pretty good and it went pretty well. I rolled up Collin’s sleeves and the boys dug in, grabbing handfuls of pumpkin brains, as Bradley calls it. For the first few minutes they did good working together. It didn’t last, though. Before I knew it they were thunking each other on the head with theirs spoons and throwing pumpkin guts at each other.

“Mom! Collin just hit me,” Bradley whines.

Collin stands up and points at Bradley and yells something back. I’m assuming he is trying to whine and yell back to defend himself. It’s the same tone as Bradley’s. They stick their tongues out at each other and bicker.

I eventually get them on track, after I sit back and enjoy a little bit of the show. Because I know one day they will look back at these time and miss them. I miss fighting with my sister over silly things.

“Mom, it’s a pumpkin until you cut it. When you make a face on it, it’s a jack-o-lantern.” Bradley is very particular about which is which.

I’m very particular about my pumpkins, too. I like a clean-cut so you can see the light of the flickering candle shining through. I also like a properly cut lid. This means some sort of crazy shape that kinda resembles an octagon with way too many irregular sides. I don’t like a pumpkin lid cut around in a circle. It’s too hard to figure out which way the lid goes on. I like an obvious shape to match up. It’s really quite obvious if you think about it. You always know which way to pop on the lid.

We turned on our fake plastic candles and the boys dropped them in. We turned off the light and admired our jack-o-lantern.

I love Halloween!

xxx

Just a Few More Bits & Pieces

I watch the kids play and they are getting so big. Bradley has a birthday in four days! I can’t believe he is going to be six. The girls will be one in less than a month! And Collin just turned two, and you can tell, he is perfecting the art of toddler temper tantrums lately.

Oh, my dear Collin. He is so cute and sweet…and ornery. He  does love helping. though. The other day at my sister’s house Elsie was crying. Collin jumped down from his chair at the dinner table and swiped Mallie’s pacifier from her mouth and stuck it in Elsie’s. He then got back up and finished eating. One less baby crying. Poor Mallie, but she didn’t seem to mind.

Collin also loves fighting with his brother. Oh, they torment each other so much. Sticking their tongues out at each other or making faces. Collin will steal Bradley’s markers when he is doing homework and take off running. It can be a regular zoo around here sometimes.

My sister and I were talking:

“Where do these boys get this orneryness? I mean, Jonas did those same things when he was little,” my sister said.

“I know, and so did Bradley,” I say. “Couldn’t be from us! They must get it from each of their Dad’s side,” and I can’t help but laugh.

“Remember that time Bradley got so mad at you for eating that cookie?”

“It was one of the greatest temper tantrums I have ever seen.”

And sweet Mallie, I can already tell she is going to be his partner in crime, like stealing pacifiers and chasing her sister. You can read more at this previous post and watch a video. It’s too funny.

The girls are starting to get too big for the sink. I’m going to start having to give them baths in the tub. But they are so cute in the sink.

Mallie’s bubble beard. She tried to eat the wash rag full of bubbles.

Mallie finally has two bottom teeth AND she took her first little baby step the other day. She holds on and walks around the furniture like a pro. It will be no time before she is walking and chasing Collin.

Below is Elsie waiting for her bath.

She is finally crawling and working on pulling herself up and standing by things. AND she is finally starting to pick up her own food with her fingers and eat. Mallie shovels it in. Elsie will sit there with her mouth open and screams until you feed her. I finally just walked away and left her with her favorite treat. She started picking it up and eating. FINALLY! I think sometimes she would prefer to have you do it. She was the same way with her bottle. She wouldn’t hold it either until I just left it on her chest. She finally quit crying and started holding her own bottle.

Elsie is also really into clapping right now. She claps when she is happy…and she claps when she is mad. Check out the video below.

They get big so quick. I just try to remember to slow down and enjoy the  little moments in this crazy, beautiful, busy life.

xxx

Another Bloody Lip

It was one of those days…

It seems every other week since Collin has became mobile he has busted his lip. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but it is at least every other month.

It is not uncommon for him to be sitting on my lap crying, snot running down his nose, mixing with all the blood streaming out of his mouth, and pouring into the towel I am holding to clean it all up. This is a common scene at our house.

When he started crawling and standing it seems he always fell on his face, resulting in a bloody lip. When he started walking he would always fall on his face. Now that he is running…well, he just can’t stop and runs into things with his face.

I worry about his adult teeth coming in all crooked and out of the roof of his mouth. He went to the dentist before he was two and had most of his teeth. But that was because he chipped his front tooth at daycare by falling on his face on a windowsill.

Today the boys were racing to the door to let the dogs in. Bradley, who is older and naturally faster, got there first and opened the door. Brad and I hear a “Wham!” and then a screaming toddler comes around the corner. I put him in my lap and checked his mouth (which is just what you do when Collin comes a cryin’) and sure enough, blood is everywhere.

I didn’t think to much of it. I did what I always do – held him on my lap and catch the snot and blood. I tried to look, I tried to distract him, I tried to tickle him, I hung him upside down to get a look. It just looked like the normal busted lip. So I made breakfast and went to work.

Brad calls me around lunchtime. “I think we are going to have to take Collin to the doctor. He just woke up from his nap and he looks like Bubba from Forrest Gump.”

“Is it that bad?” I ask.

“I’m calling you, aint I?” Brad says, always sarcastic.

So I’m thinking it is that bad. If Brad notices and thinks he needs a doctor then it must look pretty bad.

The drama continues. Aunt Brandi brings popsicles.

Brad took him to the ER. It does look like he bit through his lip. They glue the outside cut and said to the leave the inside alone. They sent him home with a stapled pack of papers with common sense instructions.

At least the swelling finally went down.

Until next time…

xxx

Happenings Around the House

Bradley got glasses.

Haha! Not those. The ones down below.

These. He is so cute in glasses. Of course, I’m partial because I’m his mother and think he looks cute even at his scariest moments.

Collin is sitting in a big boy chair, sort of. He is sitting half the time, the other half of the time he is on the table. “Collin, get off the table! Sit in your big boy seat,” I say every day at every meal. He will eventually catch on.

He had to give the high chair up to the babies.

And the girls enjoy their baths in the sink.

Elsie has two teeth on the top and bottom. Mallie has no teeth yet, but she has all the hair.

Time flies by so fast. They are all getting so big!

xxx

This Can’t Be Happening

This post is part of “Mama Kat’s Pretty Much World Famous Writing Workshop.”  Awesome blog! You should stop over to check it out. She just cracks me up.

As I was thinking about the writing prompt and doing dishes, I was relieved; I mean, I have no major mom fail moments. Oh, sure…there are the little things, like letting your kids paint with watered down food coloring and dying themselves blue and orange.  It eventually washed out. Or there was that other time… Ok. So I have plenty of mom fail moments. This parenting business is hard, especially with three kids under the age of two. Thank goodness I have a 5-year-old also, he brings sanity into the mix; “MOM, don’t turn the light off on me. I can only see in the dark when my eyes are glowing!”

Then the memories started floating to the surface and popping like the bubbles of the dishwater, fast and furious. The memory that stands out the most, and I would call my largest mom fail moment… AND that I feel really bad about… is when I locked Collin in the bedroom. Not on purpose though!

I was exhausted, pregnant with twins, and trying to get ready for work with Collin under my feet, who must have been 9 or 10 months old, something like that. He was barely walking, but he could crawl fast. I had him on the floor by the full length door mirror. He was kissing it and making it all slobbery. I was trying to do something with my hair and darn it, I forgot the hairspray. So I took the two steps in the hallway to reach in the bathroom to grab the hairspray, and shut the bedroom door behind me because Collin was hot on my trail…and the doorknob fell off in my hand. I stood there dumbfounded for a second, feeling the weight of the old knob in my hand. Seriously!?! What the hell?!

A screaming wail from behind the door shook me out of my bewilderment. I tried to put the doorknob back on. No luck. I wiggled and jiggled it and tried to will it with my mind to go back on. No luck.

I tried to reach in and grab the old metal piece that the doorknob should be connected to and tried to turn it. No luck.

Baby still crying on the other side of the door. I’m a frantic pregnant mom trying to keep my cool, even though a million pictures from my demented mind kept racing through my head.

My bedroom is sooo not babyproofed! Did I turn the curling iron off? Please don’t be hot. He could find a bobby pin and stick it into the outlet. He could find the pen by my bedside and poke his eye out. He could get tangled in the blankets and suffocate. He could find a penny and choke on it. He could climb onto the dresser and push on the screen and fall out the window.

Adrenaline flowing, mind racing, I tromped (I wish I could have run, but I was ginormously pregnant already) down to the kitchen to get a butter knife. Bradley was zoned out in front of the tv in his SpongeBob underwear. I tried not to alarm him, no luck. “Mom, what are you doing?”

“Oh, nothing hunny. Collin just got locked in my bedroom. Mommy has to try to get him out. Watch your cartoons.”

“Hey, Mom! I know! Maybe Special Agent Oso (courtesy of the Disney Channel) can fly up to the room and go through the window and unlock the door.”

How sweet and helpful. “Great idea! You watch for him and mommy will be right back down in a minute.”

Baby still crying behind the door. I talked to him as I tried to unlock the door with the butter knife, “It’s okay, sweetie. Mommy is right here. Hey! Can you open the door? Open the door!” He can’t even reach the doorknob, but it was worth a try. I was getting nowhere, except for bending the knife all up.

“Hold on just a second, hunny,” I said. I can take the hinges off,  I’ve seen that done before. But the hinges were on the inside. Crap!

I go to call somebody. CRAP! My cell phone is locked in the room with him. How can it get any worse? I instantly picture my neighbors’ houses, who would be home? We just moved in, so I don’t even know any of them. I decided on the old people across the street, since old people are usually awake at 7 am.

I held my pregnant belly and trotted as fast as I could across the street barefoot. Please answer the door. I didn’t have a clue on what to say, but it just came out. “I locked my cell phone in the bedroom with the baby and I need to call 911.” He let me in.

The 911 operator kept asking me, “HOW did this happen?” Like I deliberately locked him in. A very young cop, probably just turned 21, came to the door. He kept asking, “And HOW did this happen?”

By this time Collin was screaming uncontrollably behind the door. Bradley was excited, a cop at our house to help us, how cool. “Mom! He has a gun,” Bradley whispered.

“I might have to break down the door,” the cop said. “I’m just worried I will hurt him.”

“I don’t care what you have to do. I just want my baby out of there!”

It seemed like hours; baby screaming behind the door, babies doing somersaults in my belly from all the excitement. I wished I could drink.

Finally he hit the place where the doorknob should be with a screwdriver and hammer and the knob popped. I hoped it didn’t clunk the baby on the head.

It was all quiet except for the gasping baby in my arms with  big crocodile tears covering his face, along with a lot of snot. Tears were streaming down my face, too. “I’m so sorry. It’s okay,” I said softly to him and rocked him back and forth.

I felt terrible.

xxx

***Note: I made sure I explained to Bradley’s daycare teachers what happened. I’m sure his version was much more entertaining though. I can just hear it, “My mom locked my baby brother in the bedroom and the cops came…***

Super Baby

Baby by day, Super Hero by night.

He can scale counters with his bare toes. He can climb tall cribs in a single bound. He can open juice containers with his bare teeth and drink milk from the jug. He can swipe a refrigerator clean in one turn of the back. He can spill anything before you can say “sp…”. He can get what he wants with a single grunt. He can ride a dog like a drunk cowboy on a broncking bull. He can pull hair harder than a mad hairdresser. He can herd babies better than an Australian Sheep Dog. He can flood the bathroom with one turn of the faucet. He can empty all of the toy boxes faster than the speed of light. He can slam doors louder than a mad housewife. He can throw a toy out of orbit. And he thinks he can run through walls.

But the best thing of all…He can give hugs and kisses better than them all.

But seriously… this kid has destroyed EVERTHING in his path today. He kind of reminded me of something like this:

Don't ever turn your back on a baby with a gun, Kool-Aid mustache, and dirty feet.

There is never a moment’s peace…unless he’s sleeping.

xxx