Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Peek-A-Boo!




We had an impromptu picnic in the backyard for lunch today. Pretty made sandwiches and mixed the lemonade. My main job was to fend off the flies. Everything really is bigger in Texas, including the flies. I have made a note to myself to remember to go get a TX-sized fly swatter...or some Raid.

At any rate, Snort's main job was to throw all of his jelly sandwich to the flies and dogs. He did that with gusto, too. But, he didn't let go of the ice cream that came out for a dessert treat. He ate every last bite. Well, almost every bite. He seems to have gotten just a little bit on his face. And then, just to be sure I knew he was pleased with himself, he played a game of peek-a-boo.
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Bonded




The King and I, as well as anyone else who has been getting to know my children, have been watching Snort and Little Guy with great fascination. They have a bond like no two people I've ever seen. Snort is somehow drawn to Little Guy, and just can't bear to be apart from him. We can't explain it. It's as if they remember one another from Heaven before they came to Earth. Little Guy is calm and serene when Snort is near him, and Snort finds within himself a gentle love for Little Guy.

Snort finds any and every opportunity to climb up to Little Guy and repeat his name over and over and over. If Little Guy is crying, Snort gently repeats his name until I notice and attend to Little Guy's needs. He genuinely worries for him. As soon as he can get close enough, he opens the palm of his hand and strokes Little Guy's cheeks. He looks him in his eyes and it's like they are communicating with each other in a language only the two of them can understand. Quite often, we see what is shown here; Snort leaning over to hug and kiss Little Guy.

Even as I write this, I find myself a little bit choked up. It's a real testimony to me of the magnitude of these spirits trapped in such tiny bodies. Their bond has shown me that love is innate and true and genuine. And, in its purest form, love is healing. These boys have vastly different needs and yet they're both so much the same. Sometimes I think they're here for each other more than as gifts for the King and me. They are each other's greatest blessing.
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You've Got a Friend in Me


The Beast is quite the social butterfly. He loves to make new friends, drive them nuts until they run away screaming for mercy, and then make new friends to torture. Okay, so maybe it's not really that bad. Well...I guess it's not that bad anyway. Despite his chronic verbal diarrhea (I wonder where he could possibly have gotten that from?), he has had a few neighborhood friends who have chosen to stick by his side.

Miss P. is pictured here with him and Pretty. We didn't really know Miss P. even lived around here until the Beast brought her home with him one day. She's tinier than Pretty, so I assumed she was about two years old and worried a little that she was roaming the neighborhood. Come to find out, she's the same age as the Beast and is going to be starting Kindergarten with him next year. We had been given the choice to allow him to take one friend with him to his class who already knew him and wasn't bothered by all of his hearing aids. Once I caught on to Miss P.'s age, it was a no-brainer. I had the perfect friend for him to have by his side next year!!!

These three have forged quite the friendship. The second the Beast gets off the bus in the afternoon, the three of them are attached at the hip. Well, actually Miss. P. and the Beast are running at full speed and Pretty is just doing her best to keep up with them. They go back and forth between my house and her house. Luckily, we're just four houses apart from each other.

It's amazing to me how blessings fall into our laps sometimes. I had been so worried about the Beast having friends next year when all of a sudden, Miss P. shows up. What's crazy is that her family has apparently been living just four doors away from us for about six years. Whatever the case may be, I'm just glad to know these little ones will have each other when they venture off to the big elementary school next year. Now to start praying for the sanity of their poor teacher.
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Saturday, May 16, 2009

New Glasses, New Hair, Same Old Me



After having five babies in nine years, three of them in under two and a half years, I've noted that my body is less (or should I say significantly more) than what I want it to be. I tried on some pants the other day, and got the snuggy of a lifetime. (For those who don't know me well, I refer to a wedgie as a snuggy.) Seriously, the number of the size on those things was higher than I can count to. Sad. To top it off, I noticed that driving is a bit more difficult than I wanted it to be.

So, I paid a visit to the eye doctor. As you can see from the pictures, the eye doctor said I needed glasses. Actually, his resonse was "I can't believe you're driving. Can you tell me the make and model of your car so I can give you a little more room when I see you coming?". So, yeah. New glasses. I let my friend, Jeanna, choose them. Lucky for me, she's got great taste.

Then there was the issue of my hair. I finally grew it longer than it's ever been in my life. Know what I found out? It was stringy and had split ends and was just generally unhealthy. While I loved being able to put it in a pony tail, I was looking remarkably like a frumpy housewife mother of five who was fat and wore glasses. And had twelve chins. And a more junk in my trunk than the luggage compartment of a 747. Yeah. Not a great image, right?

Anyway, on a whim, I called my hairdresser and hightailed it to her "office". Really, it should be considered more of a science lab. where extreme make-overs happen. She waved her magic wand...er...I mean her flat iron and hair color brush and voila! A whole new look. I don't know how well you can see the red or the length, but it looks SO MUCH better than it did before.

So, I have new glasses and new hair. But I'm still the same old me. And I'm okay with that.
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Brotherly Love


Snort loves to go up to his baby brother and say his name over and over and over and over and...well, you get the idea. It's pretty cute because he's so enthusiastic about it. He gently strokes his head and gives love. He does it repeatedly several times a day. I'm pretty sure he's just buttering Little Guy up to steal his binky, which also happens repeatedly several times a day.
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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sometimes He Can Be Such a Bear


Number One has been a proud Boy Scout since he turned eight. Since his parents are a little slow to figure out how things go, he didn't complete his Wolf book as quickly as he would have liked. Once we figured out what we needed to be doing, though, it was full speed ahead. We helped him catch up, and he worked aggressively toward meeting his goals.

Finally, at this month's pack meeting, he was able to earn his new ranking. He's a BEAR! (That describes him well, too). The new book looks a little bit more challenging, but who's not up for a challenge around here, right? Our plan is to get through one section a month (maybe even two sections a month during the summer...if we're lucky) so that he'll be ready to rank up right on schedule next time.

I'm proud of my little Bear. He's come a long way over the past few years. I can't wait to see what's to come.
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Choo! Choo! Ridin' the Potty Train


Pretty decided this week that she was ready to potty train. I turned around and she was wearing a pair of the Beast's underwear. From there, there was no turning back. I gave her some girly panties, which made her very proud. We had to get past the part where she tried to pee standing up like her brothers, but then it was all good.

We haven't had one single accident yet. She sleeps through the night staying dry, plays all day, goes shopping, and even stayed clean and dry all the way through church. Talk about a great Mother's Day gift. Now to teach her to flush AFTER doing her business rather than before. One step at a time, right?
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Saturday, May 9, 2009

Strawberry Soda

I don’t have very many fond memories of my mom. I’m sure they’re there, but perhaps I’ve blocked them all out for some unknown reason. On occasion, though, something will happen and I’m instantly teleported back to that place in my childhood where innocence prevents me from knowing anything was off about my life, where life is simple and happy, and where my mother is the most perfectly beautiful person on the planet.
As I was checking out at the grocery store, I spotted a bottle of strawberry soda in the refrigerator by the register. I just had to have it, so I purchased it without a second thought. After loading my mountain of groceries into the van, I opened the bottle. The sweet scent of fake strawberry wafted its way through my front seat and straight to my nose almost as soon as the “whoosh” of the bottle being opened was done. It’s amazing what those olfactory senses can do to our brains.
Instantly, I was four years old again and with my mother doing one of my favorite things with her.We were in the local Laundromat. Each week, we’d load all of our clothes into her wheeled laundry basket and trek off to get them cleaned. It was about a six block walk, but I never minded. I’d walk along beside her talking about whatever came into my silly little head, and she’d nod as if she were interested in every word I had to say. I can still hear the rattling of the metal laundry basket along the concrete as we walked.
When we got there, she’d go to her favorite washer and start sorting and loading clothes in. Her washer was in the back of the facility, up on the “second floor” as I liked to call it. Really, there were just two steps that led to a second level, but I loved bouncing up and down those stairs while she went about her work. I’d also go to the vending machine and inhale for as long as I could. I loved the smell of the fabric softener in the machines.
Once she was finally done with the loading of the washers, she’d come over to me with a smile and offer me some coins for the soda machine. She didn’t have a penny to her name, so this was big. It wasn’t something I took for granted, but instead it was something I savored and looked forward to. Without fail, I’d choose a strawberry soda. I’d sit in one of those hard plastic chairs sipping it proudly. Since we always went at the same time of the same day of every week, there was often a familiar crowd of elderly women there with us. Often, one of them would give me more coins to get something to eat. Usually I chose a twinkie or a chocolate bar. Nothing compared to the sweet flavor of that strawberry soda, though. Nothing.
After all was said and done, I’d go an bury my nose in the freshly scented towels while my mom folded clothes. They were so warm and I remember wanting to just wrap up in them. I knew I couldn’t right then, but I remember knowing that all was well with the world. It felt so good!
Sometimes, we’d go to the pizza store next to the Laundromat and get a dinner. Again, I had to sit “upstairs”. Again, it was really only two stairs. I didn’t care. I felt so big and so special when we got to do this. If it was a really great day, I’d even get a couple of coins for the juke box. I always chose the same two songs; “Smokin’ In The Boys’ Room” and “Girls Just Wanna’ Have Fun”. Then, I’d sit on a high stool at the counter while I watched them toss the pizza dough in the air and put it in the oven using a giant wooden spoon. Just like the soda, I savored every bite of a warm, fresh mushroom pizza. It was perfection.
Finally, we’d start our walk home. Again, there would be the loud rattling of the metal laundry basket on the concrete and the sound of my tiny voice going a mile a minute talking about nothing at all. And there would be my mom walking beside me and smiling down on me like I was the most precious thing in the whole world. She hung on my every word.
After my bottle of soda was gone, I was right back here where I am today. Back to reality. Back to being a grown-up with very few happy memories of my mother. But, thanks to one bottle of strawberry soda, that one memory is once again fresh in my mind.