Thursday, July 31, 2014

Redneck Camp Out

After the two weeks of nonstop rain we had back in June, the sun finally came out and stayed out.  It stayed out long enough, in fact, that we had to begin watering the lawn and all of the plants to simply sustain life.  But when Joel finally scheduled a camping weekend (sans Mommy and Adler), the storms returned to the forecast.

With family invited and kids excited, it seemed like canceling wasn't a real option.  So what would a redneck do?

They'd probably rig up some system with duct tape and trash can lids to keep the tent from taking on water.  So maybe we're modified rednecks --we opted to keep the tent in the house-- but the guys chose to stay outside the entire day and enjoy what was promised to be limited sunshine.

In redneck fashion, there was bocce ball, but the boys chose to beat on each other instead.

There were cold push-ups that dripped all over and left sticky belly buttons that collected dirt I'm still trying to remove.

Instead of water guns, there were water cannons that nearly blew off Graham's swim trunks...

...but that's okay, they were on backward anyway.  I guess rednecks do that.

After a few minutes, we realized that the cannons wouldn't be enough to combat the heat, so Joel used his redneck ingenuity to rig up a waterslide with a hose and a cheap inflatable pool. 

After a dinner of bratwurst and ketchup from a red Solo cup, the whole family came over for a quick bonfire and s'mores before the rain began.

While everyone threaded their marshmallows onto the skewers and assembled their picture perfect treats, Graham found a way to turn eating into a full-body experience.

His subsequent spray-down with the garden hose wasn't redneck at all.

As Adler began to drift off to sleep on my sister's shoulder, we felt the first few drops of rain begin to fall.  But as soon as they started, they stopped again, and we were all treated to a bright rainbow that signaled the end of the storm. 

The "storm" that is, that ruined the boys' travel plans and led to our redneck camp out.  But if being a redneck means sunshine, campfires and creating our own fun, sign us up.

Maybe tomorrow I'll put a sofa on our front porch.

Monday, July 28, 2014


It's true what they say; kids grow up so fast.

Like, crazy fast.  Too fast.

Between Cael and Adler, we've been hitting milestones left and right, but neither of them have brought on my latest bout of nostalgia.  No, that honor belongs to Graham, who seems to have made the transition from innocent four year-old to hormonal teenager in record time.

It all started with "The Sandlot".

Photo credit here
We introduced the boys to the classic because they love baseball, and because, well, this is America, and "The Sandlot" is the quintessential American boy movie.  We knew we'd probably endure a few weeks of movie quoting, but it seemed a small price to pay.  And with our basement inaccessible, the main television is in the living room/kitchen area, where I could watch as well.

As I expected, Cael liked the movie, watched it a couple of times, and moved on to whatever cartoons had been recorded.  But after about a week, I noticed something unusual happening with Graham.  While Cael was busy with other things, Graham would start the movie from the beginning and watch until the pool scene.

(If you haven't seen The Sandlot, you'd better check out this part.  Just keep your smarmy four year-olds out of the room.)

Graham thought the kiss was really funny, and at first we all agreed.  He giggled and hit the "back" button on the remote to rewind ten seconds, and watched it again.  We laughed some more and went on with our lives. 

All of us but Graham, that is.

As I made dinner several nights later, I noticed that I was hearing the same music repeating, and when I looked up I saw that he was watching the kissing scene over... and over... and over again.  I chuckled and blew it off until I caught the same thing happening the next day.  And the next.

Surely this is a slippery slope toward other lewd acts.  Will he be peeing on the sides of buildings soon?  Will he be brought home in a police car for drawing inappropriate images in sidewalk chalk?  Will I ever be able to take him to the public pool without fear of life imitating art?  Is "Yo Gabba Gabba" simply a gateway to dropping acid?  (Sure feels like it.)

Perhaps we are better off keeping the baseball in the backyard.

You're killing me, Smalls...

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Throw (Way) Back Thursday

"You know, sometimes I wish I could repost an old favorite blog entry.  You know, like on days like this when I'm too busy to write, but I need to put something up before everyone loses interest.  And hey... it's Throwback Thursday, even!"

"Mom, what's Throw That Thursday?"

"Throwback.  It's just a silly thing on the internet where people put up old pictures and stories on Thursdays."

"Like a picture from yesterday when we stayed the night at Amy's house?"

"No, longer ago than that.  Like a few years ago.  Look at this picture, Cael.  You were three and Graham was only one.  I took that photo two weeks before I started the blog." 

"I like looking through our old pictures-- it's like going back in time, Mom!"

"Graham is showing his middle finger.  Don't you think he needs a time out?  GRAHAM!"

"No, Cael, he was little and didn't know what he was doing."

"Fine, then.  Here's mine..."

"Mom?  Is this from when we lived in a cornfield?"

"Grammy, we never lived in a cornfield.  This picture is from the pumpkin patch."

"I like going to the pumpkin patch.  But I really think we lived in the corn!  In a house in the corn?  Mom?  Don't you remember the corn?  We had a house by the corn and we lived there.  In the corn.  Kind of like the pumpkin patch but just corn, not pumpkins.  Do you remember now?  Mom?  About the corn- do you remember?"

"Okay!  Sure, I remember."

"Told you."

"Cael, this is one of the last pictures of you I took before you became a big brother."

"I look happier.  Probably because I didn't have to share my stuff."

"This is one of my favorite pictures of you, Cael.  You were watching out the door and waiting for Daddy to come home."

"I like this one better, Mom.  I look like I have a chef's hat on.  And I'm probably pooping in the sink."

"See, Mommy?  There you are in the corn."

"That's the Field of Dreams, Bubba.  We went there for a little trip right away after Cael was born, because Bamma and Bampa were in town and wanted to see it."

"And now we're all the way back to when Daddy and I got married.  This is why I like to take so many pictures-- so I can show them all to you and we can remember all of the great things we did."

"But Mommy, where was I when you got married?  And where was Cael?"

"You were in the corn."

Thursday, July 17, 2014

That's How We Roll

When we were in the hospital after Adler's birth, we were told repeatedly by the nurses that preterm babies often grow into scrappy, strong kids.  And even though my baby can't yet hold his head up reliably or even smile back at me, he's mastered rolling.

During a tummy time session last week, Adler flung his big ol' head to the side and flipped his whole body onto his back.  After repeating the movement, I grabbed my camera because it became clear that his acrobatics weren't a fluke, and my seven-week baby was really rolling over.

I had to go back into the video vault and see how old Cael and Graham were when they hit the same milestone.  But what shocked me, other than how much younger Adler is (especially when adjusting for his age because of his premature birth) was how my level of documentation and unbridled enthusiasm has quieted with each child.

Everything that Cael did was miraculous.  I couldn't believe that I'd created this tiny person who was growing and changing all on his own.  Joel and I still laugh about how we high-fived when Cael laughed for the first time.

Baby Cael
Graham's accomplishments were also quite exciting, but with him the focus was more on his abundant sweetness.  He rarely cried and smiled every time we'd glace at him, something he continues to do today.

Baby Graham
So it shouldn't have been any surprise to me that Adler would find a way to be different and capture my attention with renewed excitement.  Maybe this will be his modus operandi-- exceeding my expectations and finding new ways to surprise me.

Here's hoping those ways begin with more sleep. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

By The Skin Of His Tooth

Cael, despite the tough exterior he likes to portray, is a bit of a wimp.  He is timid in water, least likely to try new foods, and cowers in fear when it's time to trim toenails.  He comes by it honestly, though, because his dad has a bit of a weak spot when it comes to cuts and pain, and has warned me several times that his parenting duties will suspend right when tasks like tooth pulling start.

Enter Mommy.  After birthing three kids, I've got this.

After waiting nearly seven years, all of Cael's teeth seem to be attempting a rapid escape from his mouth.  And yesterday, when one was literally hanging, he winced and asked me to simply pull it.  After all, there is no pain that cannot be overcome by the thought of a winged adult female sneaking into your room and removing your hidden bones and leaving you spare change.

So I pushed it.  I pulled it.  I thought hard about digging up some needle-nosed pliers and yanking it, but in the end, I couldn't do it either.  So Cael, in a very unCael-like fashion, twisted the sucker himself until it fell right off.

I was so happy for him.

I was proud of his bravery.

I had no idea that he wouldn't shut up about it until he went to bed last night.

Everywhere he went, we shared tales of his epic accomplishment, and whenever anything looked like it might not go his way, I was quickly reminded that it was his special day.  But it started to get a little weird when the conversation turned to the next tooth on his agenda and Graham piped in.

"I have loose teeth too, Mom!"

"Do you, Graham?"

"Yep.  And loose fingernails and loose hairs."

"Well, you don't get money for hair and nails, unfortunately."

"What else gets you money?  A toe?"

Before we started amputating digits, I diverted the attention to putting Cael's tooth under his pillow for fairy extraction.  But when Cael realized that the tooth would be taken away, he full-out freaked.

"I want the tooth!  I want to keep the tooth!  She can have MY hair and nails!"

As much as I'd love to attempt cleaning up that mess at midnight, we opted instead to pen a note to the fairy alerting her to Cael's predicament.

To the Tooth Faree:
Can I keep my tooth and get some monee or a toothbrosh?

The note was cute and all, but I really wanted that first tooth for the baby book, and I knew that if I let Cael keep that tiny tooth it would be only a matter of minutes before it was lost forever into the depths of the sofa or eaten by the dog.

So I did the only thing I could think of with my limited brain capacity so late at night-- I wrote a note back.  But the tooth "faree" wouldn't have my handwriting, and she wouldn't use the same paper, so I went on a scavenger hunt throughout the house for some paper that Cael hadn't seen before.  Once located, I cut a tooth shape and wrote a message back that I hoped would make us all happy.

I knew that Cael would wake up and come to me to verify that I did indeed have the tooth, and unless I wanted to answer a plethora of questions about my interaction with the creature, I'd need another note.

Before I knew it, my evening became dedicated to an elaborate hoax, and the steps needed to cover my tracks.  But when this morning came and Cael bounded into my room with his note, money, new electric toothbrush and beaming smile, it was worth it.  That was, of course, until Graham upped the ante.

"Mommy, what about a really big poop.  Can I get money for that?"

The tooth faree can't wait for next time.