Monday, April 30, 2012

Patent Pending

I've always fancied myself a "jack of all trades, master of none" kind of girl.  I have a lot of interests and possess a minor level of skills in a bunch of areas.  But there isn't really one place where I excel.

Until now.

I've decided that I will become a successful and masterful inventor.  They say that all great inventions are born as a solution to a problem, and Lord knows I've got problems.  Remember me?  I'm the woman whose kid just about took out the neighborhood with a 6 ton roll of tin foil.  I'm familiar with problems.

So here is an exclusive for you, my friends-- my first three inventions, albeit in the planning stages, for you to consider, conceptualize, and eventually fund.  My funds are all wrapped up in train sets and bulk packages of hot dogs.

The "Stay There" Chair

About 6 months ago, Cael graduated from booster seats and specifically from the one that strapped into his chair at our dining room table.  He relishes in being a "big boy", but in real-world terms, I find that he is simply covered in relish.  Or beans.  Or pasta.  Whatever it is that we're eating, it is all over him, and not because of poor table skills, but because he won't sit still.  I could wrap a leather belt around him and cinch it down, or I could hog-tie him with a jump rope or even a series of interconnected colored pipe-cleaners.  But all of those options lack the finesse and lucrative potential of a product that could command $89.99 at Babies 'R Us.

So here's the plan.  Take any old table chair and outfit it with a series of metal arms that pull down and lock into place similar to those on a roller coaster.  One over the child's legs, one across their abdomen, one across the shoulders, and a cloth strap that tethers their head to the back of the chair, leaving their arms free to feed themselves and clearly not overstepping the lines of abuse at all.  Not at all.  And for only an addition $9.99, we'll throw in a spring-loaded fly swatter to whack the back of their heads each and every time thy shout "poop" during the meal.

The MacMommy

Think "swiss army knife", minus the knife, or the Scandinavian military.  This gadget is every mother's dream, swiftly changing us from inept guardians into the MacGyver of all parents.  It's a flashlight.  It's a black light.  It's a projector, clearly and flawlessly displaying 101 Dalmatians on the exterior wall of Dick's Sporting Goods as Daddy stops inside to "get something quickly", only to emerge 101 minutes later. 

It sprays hand sanitizer for those moments when you most need to be sanitized after changing a diaper in a scary gas station bathroom that looks cleaner just for having you there.  And in its most impressive feature, a small laser light painlessly cauterizes  wounds as well as trimming toe nails without so much as a blade, and avoiding the mouthy shouts of "ouch, you're hurting me... stop, stop!" that escape my son's mouth like a woman in labor with no epidural.

Lastly, let me introduce you to the Disguiser.

The Disguiser does just that-- it disguises any object and causes it to take on the likeness of something more appealing to a a two year-old, a four year-old, or even a 28 year-old husband with a fondness for tacky old Cadillacs and beer signs.  The Disguiser takes "smoke in mirrors" to the next level, transforming a plate of steamed broccoli into something that more closely resembles chocolate cake, while still preserving the nutrition of the tree-topped vegetables that my children would never touch, even with the aforementioned all-purpose tool. 

The possibilities are endless.  Imagine never having to listen to your children fight over a toy because you are able to transform a potato into a second Gator in a very Cinderella/pumpkin turn of events.  Consider never feeling your stomach lurch as you gingerly throw away a dirty diaper filled with a substance easily as potent as Anthrax, because you were able to disguise it as a very expensive Dooney & Bourke handbag.  One that even compliments your outfit.

So while I may not have made a career for myself using any of my skills, I know that I will always be able to disguise my failures.

And I promise that, should any of you choose to invest in my life-changing products, the first thing I will do is go back to today's post and disguise the fact that I had nothing better to write about today.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Ism of the Week

"Mommy!  Graham has crabs!"

"Excuse me?"

"See?  One on his shirt and the other from the bathtub!"


"Mommy, what's so funny?"

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Driver's Miseducation

So we have this motorhome.

This motorhome has so much purple and dingy carpet in it that we have taken to affectionately calling it "Grandma's Place".

Something had to be done.  We called a flooring guy to see if he could put in some laminate flooring, and in the process we decided to purge as much of the purple as possible.  So what was supposed to be a quick job turned into a massive moho overhaul.

He started this week.

On Monday, the junky stuff came out.  Tuesday the wood flooring went in.  Wednesday the purple wall panels were replaced.   Slowly but surely, mauve was out and modern was in.

The flooring guy discovered a long abandoned bra under one of the beds and I emphatically assured him that it wasn't mine.  He seemed convinced, and I breathed a sigh of relief as the big picture was coming into focus.

I took my nephew (and Cael, who was trotting along behind us in his socks) into the motorhome to show him how the renovations were coming along.

And then we started moving.

While I was pointing out the flooring and the panels and yes, further distancing myself from that bra, Cael shifted the motorhome into neutral and we began rolling down the driveway.

And I came unhinged.

I tried to put it into park, but when I shifted, nothing happened.  I tried to reach the brake, but Cael was in the way and I was too paralyzed with fear and horror to function.  So instead, I rattled off an ill-advised torrent of words my son is too young to hear as I waited for us to bottom out at the end of the driveway.

But we didn't.

We slammed into the road and the weight of the motorhome propelled us backward across the street and up the neighbor's driveway and into their yard.  As we got closer and closer to impacting their garage, I secretly wished that ugly bra had been mine.  Maybe, if my dirty underclothes had been somehow unearthed, I would have been too embarrassed to take my nephew, Ethan, out to check out the flooring and this nightmare would never have taken place.

We gaped out the back window until, in a miraculous feat that can only be of religious proportions, we slowed to a stop about eight feet from their garage, the front of the trailer just clearing the street.  Had we traveled in any other direction, we would have hit our mailbox, a car, their home or, God forbid, a child playing outside, not suspecting that Grandma's metal palace would beginning careening in their direction.

Once we'd established that everyone and everything (save for the scratched up street) was safe, we gingerly climbed out of the motorhome and I chased Cael into the house and to his time-out spot where I just barely resisted the urge to string him up by his toenails.  I frantically called Joel. 

"Honey, something happened..."

My good husband dropped everything and drove him to resolve the problem because I was certain that, if I was left to guide the Airstream back into our yard, I would certainly damage the undercarriage and quite possibly rally the beast right up our own driveway and straight into our own house.

He parked it in its proper location, chocked the tires so that we wouldn't repeat "Cael Foreman's Wild Voyage", and as soon as the neighbors were home, told them what happened despite the fact that there was no damage.

So today, as my blood pressure is still slowly declining, I'm adding yesterday's mishap to our list of "holy-cow-that-was-close" moments-- right under our Christmas gas leak.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the list is completed.

And I'm throwing out that bra.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Report Card

Let's take a walk down memory lane, shall we? 

Picture yourself in a musty junior high hallway, searching for your locker and quickly identifying it by the faded Lisa Frank stickers that you just had to have along with your Saved By The Bell themed folders.  If today was any other day, you'd walk straight home, nothing weighing on you other than your Jansport backpack and french horn case leaving fresh bruises on your shins.  But today isn't any other day.

It's report card day.

Now if you were like me, report card day is no big deal.  You get good grades, you do your best, and there are few surprises on that small paper that determines your fate.  But as you reach the mailbox and rip into the letter like it's a Christmas present from your least favorite relative that you know has gifted you long underwear or an otherwise social life-killing item, you stop in your tracks and see it. 

Physical Education:  D-

Goodbye, cruel world.  Remember the feeling?  Not the feeling of terror, but the confusion and shock?  The feeling that the paper in your hand, heavy with meaning, was surely meant for someone else?

I remember it well, because I felt it again yesterday.  As I drove up to Cael's preschool for his first parent-teacher conference,  I practiced my lines.

"Yes, I know that Cael is a handful."
"Why, no, I didn't know that he'd glued your glasses to your face."
"Let me know how much that necklace cost.  If it can't be snaked from the urinal drain, we will pay to replace it."

I was prepared.

When I sat down with his teacher, she first handed me his self-portrait.  I immediately recognized his signature pig-nosed artwork from the graffiti he scrawls across the shower walls with his bathtub crayons.  But then the teacher slid his very first "report card" across the table, and I gasped internally at the first words that caught my eye. 

"...Cael is quiet..." 
"...plays well with others..." 
"...follows directions..."

My eyes skimmed over the check marks indicating his mastery of skill after skill, and my brain, clouded with confusion, hung on the words of his teacher as she told me of his timidity and gentle spirit.

The paper in my hand, heavy with meaning, was surely meant for someone else.

But it wasn't.
  As it turns out, my surly and energetic Cael has developed multiple personalities and quickly transitions into an eager-to-please teacher's pet as soon as he enters the classroom.  And just as I feigned interest in running laps or playing dodge ball, perhaps Cael has been pretending to be difficult all along, reserving his true, maternally inherited introversion for the neutral ground of his preschool classroom.

So whether it was an act or him showing his true colors, there is one thing for sure-- he gets an "A".

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Life's Not Fair

Nobody ever promised me fair, and I get that.  But could someone please explain that to Graham?

Somewhere along the line he picked up on the phrase "it's not fair" and has been angrily grunting it from a wrinkled, pouty face.  While he has the spirit of "unfairness" down, he clearly doesn't understand what it means, unless chickens, chairs and cars truly have it out for him.

So I sat him down this morning and thought I'd try to understand what, exactly, is so unfair about his life of playtime, meals placed before him and warm clothes laid out for him that he didn't have to wash himself.

So I quizzed him.

Yep, that's right.  The most unfair things in the world are people, puppies and kitties.  And while I can probably be pushed to agree with his first conclusion, the furrier items on the list are simply ridiculous.

Almost as ridiculous as a kitchen sink that flooded last week for the umpteenth time, a dog that has developed an affinity for peeing in the house and on the carper just one foot from the hard floor, having a schedule almost completely contrary to my spouse, and forgetting to put my shoes away and waking up to the cat throwing up partially digested pieces of shoelace. 

Come to think of it, puppies and kitties are kind of unfair...

Monday, April 23, 2012

Couple's Retreat

Several months ago, I watched the movie "Couple's Retreat".  Overflowing with Vince Vaughn's usual 800-words-per-minute banter, both Joel and I thought it was pretty funny.  Clearly not Oscar-worthy filmmaking, but good for a date night nonetheless.

So with images of a tropical paradise in my head and hilarious expectations in my mind, Joel and I headed off to the oh-so balmy beaches of Davenport, IA for the "Weekend to Remember", a Christian marriage conference that had been recommended to us by several friends.

Now, I'm not going to share the gritty details of the weekend with you because they are personal and, according to the ticker at the bottom of this page, you've all clicked on over here close to 50,000 times.  That feels like exhibitionism to me, and this weekend I learned that exposing myself to people other than my husband is a healthy marriage no-no.  Who would've thunk it?

But, with Joel's permission, I thought I would share a few things I did learn this weekend. 

1.  Davenport, Iowa is NOT a tropical paradise.
In "Couple's Retreat", the four couples are whisked off to a Caribbean island to explore the inner-workings of their relationships from the comfort of a beach-front hut.  Joel and I listened and talked until our buttcracks hurt from the discomfort of two Davenport Radisson banquet chairs. 

2.  Life goes on.
On Saturday night, ample time was set aside for a special "date" night.  And while we did take advantage of the time allowed and treated ourselves to a fancy dinner and dessert, we also found that we had ample free time before and after dinner.  And what do two parents of young children do when they are finally alone?

Nope, not that.

They shop for water pistols and pick out fabric for their motorhome.  You get your mind out of the gutter.  We will work on pulling our minds away from housework and wallpaper samples. 

 3.  Joel has no deep side.
After spending a considerable amount of time spouting forth the thoughts in my head-- thoughts about our relationship, things that I feel about myself, my fears, my likes and dislikes, list of allergies, my horoscope and social security number, it was Joel's turn to talk.  And... nothing.  So as it turns out, the guy who is light-hearted and fun-loving at face value is the same way at his core.  And I guess I'm okay with that.

Except that he's now preoccupied with the fact that he has no deeper level.  Maybe that's progress in and of itself?


4.  We're not needed.
I've never gotten to leave either of my children alone unless I was absent to birth one of them.  So having the opportunity to spend nearly three days with my husband, a person I might not have been able to identify in a line-up before, was a luxury I couldn't have imagined.  But since my sister moved to town last August, I have had much more flexibility with my time and with my marriage, and for that I owe her a huge thank you.  Now I'll know Joel's face with certainty when I point him out to the authorities.  

But when Cael emerged from his nap to find that Mommy and Daddy were home and Amy's family was suddenly absent, there was no disguising the look of disappointment on his face.  And cookie.  There was no disguising that either.  And while I suppose I could be offended by the lackluster welcome, I am choosing to be grateful that he was so comfortable with her family that we simply weren't needed.  I am going to need some of that cookie for my emotional trauma, however. 

5.  I still love my husband.
As much as I tease and joke and push his buttons, my husband is an unbelievably patient person.  He wakes up before the sun and works all day so that I can stay at home and complain about my children to you kind people.  He comes home, often when the kids are asleep in bed, and shows me nothing but a smile when he feels the wrath of my play-doh-in-the-toilet induced angst.  He dedicates almost all of his limited free time to spend with his family and to take care of our home, lovingly mowing our dog pee-stained grass and trimming the bushes that disguise a archeological dig's worth of broken toys and tangled kite string. 

One speaker said one thing that really resonated with me as well-- that the things we find irritating in our spouses are often abundances of a strength.  This means that the things that get on our nerves are the very things that once seemed so appealing when we first met.  So when Joel walks away from me as I'm busy telling him an important story, it's not because he's a bad listener, it's because he is a really good multitasker.  A REEEEAALLLY good multitasker.  And when he makes big decisions on a whim when I feel they need more discussion or planning, he's not doing it because he is impatient or irresponsible, he is simply spontaneous.  He is all of the things I always loved about him; just more.

So even though the chairs were uncomfortable and we shopped for fabric and throw pillows, and even though my husband isn't "deep" and the kids didn't miss us, it was worth it. 

Here's to the next seven years.

Friday, April 20, 2012


If it hadn't before, the technological age has finally rubbed off onto my children.  Never mind the television addiction, the video game addiction or the way my iPhone has become a digital extension of Cael's hand.  My children are now speaking in Internet abbreviations.

I've probably uttered an "OMG" here or there, and perhaps an unrelated "ASAP" or "HTML" while working on the blog, but Cael has taken that concept even further, stringing together random letters and claiming that they possess special meaning to him. 

Before I continue this story, I must make a confession.  It is not truly fair for me to be critical of Cael's odd linguistic endeavors because I, at about his age, had developed an entire language all my own that I called "Schmidt" (yes, really) in an effort to save face when I would pronounce a word incorrectly or use it out of place. 

"I'm so minted!"

"That doesn't make sense, Mary."

"Yes it does.  You just don't get it because it was in Schmidt!"

In Cael's circumstance, he has taken to speaking in acronyms just as I fluently as I shouted, "You are GOCK!" at my family members, leaving them to wonder if I was complimenting them or plotting their demise.

Maybe both.

I questioned Cael's motivation as well as he told me that he was hungry for lunch.

"Mommy, I am starving.  I need to eat cookies now because I'm gonna DGG."

"You're going to what?"

"DGG.  It means I have to eat cookies or I'll get a belly ache."

"Does DGG stand for something?"

"No, Mommy.  I'm sitting on a the couch." 

So maybe he doesn't understand what an acronym is.

But then again this morning as he begged for a flashlight to play with, I learned that he needed the light so that he could see in the dark, and because without it he was "SBO".

"What is SBO, Cael?"

"It means I can't see."

"Like being blind?"  I really tried to understand where this was going.

"No, not blind.  It just means I can't see with my feet."

Which should I be concerned about?  The fact that he has identified, diagnosed and abbreviated a mysterious and unknown condition, or the fact that he thinks he can see with his feet? 

Maybe both.

I'm sure there will be more to come, and I'm sure that with each "BTW" and "LOL" I will be immersing him deeper into Schmidt.  But for now, I'm throwing up my arms and throwing in the towel. 

"Mommy!  There is a really huge BIF in the bathroom.  Come and see!"


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Ism of the Week

Graham is not one to be left out.  Not only does he have a set of lungs that could alert me to an earthquake on the other side of the globe, but he has a tendency to nudge his way into conversations that don't otherwise involve him simply so that he can feel included.

So when Cael and I spent the earlier part of the week discussing future plans, Graham would not be ignored.

"Cael, what do you want to be when you grow up?"


"Cael, what do--"


See? Relentless.  

"What is it, Graham?"

"What I be?"

"I don't know, Graham, what do you want your job to be?"

"I want to be a bird."

"For a job?"


"What would you do if you were a bird?"

"I fly around."

"I guess so.  Sounds like a great job."

"Yep.  I fly around... and I poop on yours head."

 They make me so proud.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Lofty Goals

Cael and I have spent a great deal of time lately discussing the future.  Nothing heavy, of course, no predictions for the presidential election or solutions for lowering gas prices.  Instead, he's shared with me the details as he considers the path his life might take, and I've struggled to find the right words of support.

Like his career, for example.  At four years old, his understanding of "work" is limited to getting up in the morning, donning a tie, and coming home after dark and eating a bowl of ice cream in front of the television. 

So when I asked him what he wanted to do-- to be, he had to give it some serious thought.

"A guy that drives a big semi."

"A truck driver?"

"Yeah, that would be so, so cool!"

Perhaps not the occupation I would have chosen for my son.  I was expecting something more like "a baseball player" or "a fireman" or even "teach music, like Daddy!"  But as all good parents are instructed to do, I tell him that he can be whatever he wants.  And if a lifetime behind the wheel with a John Deere cap and AM radio is what he wants for his life, so be it.

"Maybe I'll be a 'struction guy."

"A construction worker?" 

"Yeah.  I could break up stuff."

"You are really strong, but I think you could do so much more."

See, that wasn't very supportive.  

"I could cook food instead."

That was more like it.  Hearing him suggest a future with the career I'd most love for myself, I had to smile.

"You want to be a chef?"

"I want to be a cook.  I want to make burgers and fries."

It's at about this time when I start debating the merit of telling your child to choose their own destiny.  I picture a future where we move to an obscure country in Europe where I can choose the path he'll take on his behalf, even selecting the woman he'll marry so as to avoid the realistic potential future in which he spends his life alone, watching episodes of Caillou and assembling model trains.

"There are so many neat jobs and things to do, and I'm sure you'll figure out what's right for you when you're older."

There, I finally found the right words. 
But tell me-- is there ever an appropriate response for when your four-year-old tells you he hopes he grows up to have a pee-pee as big as a horse?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Last Nerve

This weekend in my house, a scientific mystery took place-- one that defies the laws of time and space.  Well, maybe not space, but it may as well have been.

The 48 hours that linked together Saturday and Sunday inexplicably morphed into 100.  Or maybe 150.  For that matter, it could have been a month.  There is one thing for sure, however, and that is that my children erased 100 days from the end of my lifespan.  Or maybe 150.  For that matter, it could be a year.

Sure, there are days when they push and push, finally identifying my last nerve and running over it with a toy lawnmower.  You know, the kind that is supposed to make bubbles but instead makes a loud noise that irritates my cat and gives me a headache.

But this weekend went beyond mere headaches and bubble-less yard maintenance.  Every request was met with a complaint.  Each time I enforced a rule, one would cry.  The other would whine.

"Mommy do this!"
"I don't want that now!"
"Can you help me?"
"I don't want your help!"
"Go away, Graham!"
"Cael won't talk to me!"

Hitting.  Pushing.  Not sharing. 

Rather than subjecting my loved ones to what can only be compared to war-time torture, I sequestered the three of us (three because Joel was out of town, further cementing the notion that this particular torture was designed specifically for me) at home, avoiding public places and any situation that might lead me to snap and hog-tie them to a shopping cart or hand them over to stranger along with a sweaty bundle of one dollar bills.

I'd offer fives,  but we've spent all of the bigger bills on train sets and disposable diapers. 

I threw myself in bed both nights praying for a behavioral miracle, and I even took a blogging "day off" yesterday to let my mind rest, to scrape the farthest recesses of my brain for an idea for a plan to turn things around.   

One didn't come.

What did come, however, was the realization that mothers must have a great and instinctive ability to compartmentalize.  While the boys have pushed me to the brink of anger and, let's face it-- insanity, their behavior and actions are completely separate from my love for them.  And my gnawing frustration with them only exists because I want them to grow to be the men I know they can be.  My bottomless, never-ending, sick-to-my-stomach love for them stands as a barrier between their naughtiness and my desire to mail them to Abu Dhabi.

So with my last nerve hanging on by a thread, I'm going to approach this week with new resolve, and the determination for success that only a mother can manifest.

"MOMMY!  I took off my underpants and Graham put them on Oscar's head!"

Forget it.  They'll be on Ebay by dinner.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Ism of the Week

"Who is ready to find a train?"

"I do!"  

"No, Graham!  Hrmph."

"Why don't you want to see a train, Cael?  It's part of our Wednesday night tradition."

Apparantely that was intriguing enough to bring a halt to the whining, but invited another set of questions.

"What's a tradition?"

"It's something special you do every week or month or year.  Like at Christmas time... you know how we always leave cookies for Santa and carrots for Rudolph?  And how we open stockings and then presents?  What about how--" 

"Like when we eat breakfast!  That's one of our conditions!"

I could have corrected him, but I'm used to him making demands and listing his conditions, so this is nothing new.

"Well sort of, Cael.  But eating is something we have to do to live, not really a tradition."

"That's not right, Mommy.  We have lots of conditions.  Like eating and drinking and sleeping, because we do those every day.  And pooping!  That's my favorite condition.  And it's special, like you said."

Special?  Not so much.  Toxic?  Completely. 

But again I don't bother to correct him because I get a kick out of this particular mistake, and while I want him to learn, I also have to create some fun for myself, right?  It's one of my traditions.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Moment A Mother Is Born

Hey Everyone!  I'm guest blogging today over on my friend Courtenay's blog Soup: Midwestern Mama Cooking Up Life in the Heartland!  So click the button below to head on over and read my entry in her series about when I truly became a mother-- and it might not be when you think. :)

Remember Courtenay?  She guest posted here on It Is What It Is in March.  Check out her submission!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Hunting for Bunnies

(This post is a continuation of yesterday's post.)

I think that Easter probably could have been complete after our mid-morning photo shoot, as little can top the world's cutest boys dressed up like high society folk and talking about bodily functions.  But alas, my family was scheduled to arrive for a big, ham laden lunch.

Yes, the side of my house is that dirty.  Better the siding than the children.
For the next two hours I scurried around the house to scrub away the appearance that I never clean, and for several hours after that, all thirteen of us ate, socialized, and did our very best to communicate solely by mobile device.

After our family left, we readied ourselves for a visit from the Easter Bunny, who we'd texted earlier and asked to come a little bit later in the day since we were so busy with other activities.  Since Christmas is our family's biggest overindulgence, we have always taken a more modest approach to Easter; playing up the fun of the treat hunt and playing down the potential for full-on anarchy if one feels jipped by the fluffy-tailed rodent.

But secretively, inexplicably, the bunny did his modest magic while the boys were making a run to the store with Daddy.  He (or she?) slyly placed two buckets on the counter with a few goodies that would be sure to excite Cael and Graham. 

Cael was thrilled to see that the Easter Bunny had, in fact, seen his faxed request fora chocolate bunny and delivered on his promise, while Graham was enamored with the new kissing Simba and Nala for he and his brother to share. But the real excitement, the real drama, came when they saw the first plastic egg outside on the deck.

Photobucket Photobucket

The boys ran at full speed, scooping up eggs and tripping over one another as if they were running for the freedom of the Mexican border after robbing a bank.  Or a bunny with a sweet tooth.

The Easter Bunny had smartly hidden eggs around the backyard and on the firetruck to provide a challenge for Cael, but also created a path of colored eggs to give Graham the opportunity to participate as well.

But the bunny had apparently not done his homework and underestimated Cael's hunting speed.  At the same time, he overestimated Graham's ability to stay on two feet while excited; the slightly wet grass coupled with an adrenaline overload kept my youngest off his feet and his eggs in a constant state of "spill".

After just a few moments, all of the eggs had been found and, just like Christmas (or Valentine's Day, or Halloween) we begin the daunting task of rationing the candy, a job only slightly more enjoyable than cleaning the cat's litter box after he's gotten into the candy himself.

So for now until what seems like the end of time, the boys can choose one piece of candy, provided that they don't choke one another or skin either of the pets that day.  But in the grand tradition of holiday indulgence, it seems that one is never enough...

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Once all of the gravel and mulch was begrudgingly dealt with, we were able to switch our focus to Easter and all of the accompanying festivities.  And what holiday would be complete without overindulgence, from start to finish?

The night before Easter we ransacked a few clothing stores in search of something cute for the boys to wear to church in the morning, because we seem to be obsessed with their cuteness but also seem to be incapable of accomplishing anything more than 20 minutes in advance.  So after breezing through Target, Kohls, and Target again, we headed home (a little too late) with a shirt for Joel, a skirt for me and and a full suit for Cael. 

A big personality requires big fashion.

At church we were a big hit.  Honestly, I'm not sure which was better received-- Graham's ear-to-ear smile, Cael's dapper attire, or the knock down, drag out meltdown that occurred in our pew.  While Joel was busy playing with the praise band, I was more than busy trying to occupy both boys with a tub of Cheerios and a coloring book.  It was going fairly well, too, until Cael decided to play dead, perhaps in an act of rebellion against the holiday itself.  Sprawled out across the pew and banging his feet against the backs of those in front of us, he eventually recruited Graham to join him in his shenanigans.  When I picked Graham up to separate the two of them, I accidentally knocked his head against the hard wood and he immediately began yowling.  Not so much from pain, but more because he knew it would embarrass the heck out of me.  And it did.  His cry was timed so strategically that the peak of his objection happened at a moment when the service was transitioning and no one had anything to do but watch as my own situation unraveled.

Isn't she the one with the blog?  About parenting her kids?  Oh yeah.  That's me.

I tried to make a quick escape, but Cael was still assuming the position and I couldn't squeeze by him to remove my screaming child from the sanctuary.  Finally, I had to put Graham back down on the pew which sent him into a new spiral of anger while I physically removed Cael, knocking his head against the pew as I had done with Graham.  By the time I actually managed to escape to the narthex, Graham had calmed himself down and Cael was left alone in the pew with all eyes on him.  And while he normally favors being the center of attention, this time was a bit more than he could take and he sprinted on out of there, thus ending our Easter service.

And it wasn't until I got home that I realized my shirt was oddly tucked into the back of my skirt and part of my underwear was showing.  Happy Easter.

After I'd adjusted so as not to flash my family that would be arriving for Easter lunch in a few hours, we headed outside to take some photos of the boys before changing clothes.  I would have loved to leave them in their dressy clothes to show off for family, but knowing my boys as I do, they likely would have tried to flush Graham's vest down the toilet and skewered Cael's tie with a makeshift harpoon.

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So for the sake of clothing preservation (okay, and to remember the moment), we replicated last year's Easter photos, complete with scaling the large cedar tree in our front yard.  First Cael...

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And then a somewhat reluctant Graham.

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Kisses on the cheek for Daddy are just as special now as they were then...

And hugs for Mommy were still in full supply.

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But as if the clothes and photos and snuggles weren't enough, the overindulgence of Easter wasn't quite complete...