Saturday, March 27, 2010

Avee's Five!

In a million years I couldn't have dreamed I'd have a more wonderful daughter. I love you in so many ways for so many reasons. And for no reason at all. Your smile still moves me. I love that no matter what, when I see your smile, the only thing that matters is that you smile like that again.

You have really grown a lot this year. You started preschool and you were still just so little to me. You grew taller and lost some of that sweet little baby face, for a more big-girl, beautiful face. You've really blossomed into this amazing little girl that I am so so proud to call mine.

You are always happy to see me after we've been apart. You loved your preschool teachers so much and it made me happy to let you spend part of your day with them. I watched you give hugs spontaneously when I knew the person you gave it to really needed it. You have that in you, an innate sensitivity, even if you don't understand. I hope you never lose that.

Your best friend is Ella. You two together are hilarious and darling. You are a match for each other too. I love to watch you play together, as you figure out the give and take of relationships and compromise.

For your birthday I got you a doll to play with because you love to nurture and care for and dress up other toys. I thought a doll was the perfect gift. While you liked it, it wasn't the perfect gift. You'd still rather canoodle with a hard plastic mouse and dress up a pink stuffed poodle. You are quirky that way. And you know it's quirky. And you love it. I love that about you.

You are so tender and so amazing with your little brother Daniel. There have been days when I've come into a room and you have your arms wrapped around him as you watch a movie. You've changed his diaper when you felt it needed changing. When he gets in trouble with me, he comes to you for comfort and you never let him down. You've often come after me with the threats if I "don't start being nice to him!" I try to explain to you that I'm not being mean, I just have to teach him things sometimes that he doesn't like. You don't care---if he cries, I'm not doing it right. What a sweet little heart you have.

You learned about teeth at preschool and how to take care of them and why we take care of our teeth and good foods to eat. You are so vigilant about it now. I've actually had to tell you to not brush so long or you don't have to brush that much. What a crazy thing for a mom to have to say! I try not to say stuff like that because I love your dedication to something that matters to you.

Your sense of humor really developed this year. You spent most of your twos and threes thinking that "poop" and "butt" were the funniest things ever uttered. And you uttered them a lot. I think being at preschool helped you figure out some other things that were funny. I'm pretty sure the other two are still front-runners though.

You are an amazing helper. You love to help me cook, and actually, I should clarify, you like ME to help YOU cook. You can do it all and love to. When it's time to clean up, you jump to it and can clean as well as any adult I know. This really impresses me, over and over. You seem to get the idea that getting it done feels good and getting it done faster leaves more time for what you want to do.

You love going to Missouri to visit Grandmas and Grandpas and aunts and uncles. You aren't afraid of Malachi anymore like you were when you were first four. Uncle David is still one of your most favorite people on the planet. I think the only person who even comes close to competing with him is Bubbaface. You adore him. When he gets older, he's going to adore you. It's inevitable.

You're a bit of a couch potato. On one hand, it kind of cracks me up, on the other hand, I want you to be doing more than singing theme songs for every show on television. It's hard not to be like that in the winter in Iowa though. You aren't a big fan of the cold. And I have video footage of you crying and crying because no one would let you throw a snowball at them. You wanted someone to go stand outside and just let you bean them with snowball after snowball. You didn't think it was reasonable that no one was willing. That's pretty much the only memory I have of you wanting to be outside this past winter.

This year you had some issues with swiping stuff. You never had bad intent, you just wanted something and even if you knew you shouldn't, you took it. The funny part of this was how/where you'd hide what you stole. The more serious part was, I didn't want this to be the beginning of a really bad/dangerous habit. It was hard for you to understand why you couldn't just take something if you really wanted it. I am happy to say, that with the help of a wise and kind friend (that you happened to steal from) you really did stop. Whether you like it or not, you seem to understand that it's not okay to take things that aren't yours. Even more recently you've gotten better about telling the truth even when it's something you don't want to admit.

I have a lot of admiration for your desire and effort to do what's right, even when you don't want to.

The first time you took something, you didn't realize you couldn't just have it. It was a huge fake diamond key chain. If ever there was something meant for you, that was it. After you got "busted" with that (we were in St. Louis visiting our friend Sharon), you figured out quickly to hide the loot until you were in the clear.

Avee, I could write about/to you for ages. You are one of my favorite topics in the world. You are beautiful, charming, sassy, sweet, intense, considerate, affectionate, caring, athletic, confident, and mine. Daddy and I love you more than we could ever tell you, more than you will ever understand until you have a beautiful, charming, sassy, sweet, etc----daughter of your own.

I love you bigger than Texas and to the moon and back.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

'Cause I Can

Has it really been over a week since I posted? Time sure is flying. Last night I mentioned something about Easter to J and he said, "Wow, it's already almost Easter!? Feels like yesterday was the beginning of January!" I seriously bit my tongue to keep from saying, "Yeah, that's what happens when you get older. Now you know how I've been feeling for the last two years."

See, that's funny. Because I'm two years older than J. You know, I never thought to ask, but I wonder how he feels about being 27 for the rest of his life. I'm so selfish sometimes.

I'm pretty sure I have the funniest babysitter on the planet. Earlier, I ran to the store quickly with the two younger kids. When I got back, there was a message from her. She said, "I was just calling to see if you needed me to babysit tonight because I remember you needed me to babysit a lot on Thursdays last year." I laughed right out loud. I should hire her to keep track of my life, because I sure has heckfire couldn't do that good of a job!

Earlier in the week I got a text that asked if I needed her anytime in the near future. I can always tell when she's wanting to buy something. That and she can't get enough of my kids.

Yesterday Avee came home with a rock that had her name written on it. She was told it would bring her luck. I guess if her preschool can't take her to the blarney stone, they'll just label some rocks and make do.

This is the little girl who tries to steal a rock every time she leaves her friends house, from their nicely landscaped front yard. This is the girl that once landed herself a smooth, gray rock that fit perfectly fit in the palm of her hand, and named him "Cole". Or "Coley" most days. She slept with Cole, bathed with Cole, tried to feed Cole, and loved him desperately.

So, you can probably understand my surprise and amusement when this morning she picked up her nice, labeled, good-luck rock and chucked it carelessly across the floor. "This thing is a piece of crap. It doesn't bring me any luck. It's just a stupid rock with my name on it."

I didn't say anything. I believe the relationship between a girl and her rock is sacred. I'm sure they'll work it out.

While I was at the store, waiting for my cash back from the cashier, Danyo did a little ballistic spaz attack on the debit/credit card machine thingy. Punch, smacking, shaking it. I grabbed his hands to stop him (He really was just being a spaz, he knows that kind of stuff makes Bo and Avee laugh, so he was shooting for the moon) and said, "Really, Danyo? Really!?" I learned that word from my friend Rebecca. It means a million things and in the moment you say it, it means one thing. And that thing is always very clear, in the moment.

Danyo looks back up at me with his ridiculously adorable blue eyes and squishy cheeks and says, "Ya! Rilly Mom! Rilly!"

The people behind me who had previously been annoyed that I went to the 20 item checkout with 19 things, the cashier who wasn't enchanted by my adorable little angels in the cart, all burst out laughing. I know they were laughing at me. I'm okay with that. All of them said something along the lines of "I guess you've met your match."

I never spoke to my mom like that!

You know how I can get away with outright lying like that on my blog? It's because my mom is too nice, she will never call me out. She reads every one of my posts, she almost always comments (in an email), but she will not out me on the internets. For the liar that I am.

Well, I got called in to work tonight. So that means instead of laying around in "workout clothes" eating snack packs of chips, I have to get dressed and comb my hair. It's a little depressing, but someone has to put the junior bacon cheeseburgers on the table. That's my husband's humor, by the way.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Nice Weather Makes Me Happy

It's beautiful outside and has been for a few days. It's making me doubt the scientific veracity of the Groundhog. I hate it when media lies to us and stuff.

I was outside fixing Avee's bike and got to enjoy the beautiful weather and watch the kids play. Some neighborhood "hooligans" came around (two brothers who stole Bo's teeny, tiny, piece o' crap scooter a year or more ago) and Bo immediately came and hovered by me. He watched their every move (15 yards away) like a hawk. I had a lot of thoughts/emotions about this. It made me happy that he stayed away from trouble naturally. I secretly delighted in being his mama and protector. And I was worried about his worrying. He is genuinely afraid of these boys, even though they've never actually done anything to him. He's just seen them be rowdy and knows they steal.

So, since Bo wouldn't leave more than a 3 foot perimeter from me, the kids he plays with were close by too. I asked the our neighbor, the one who's provided me with lots of entertainment while we've lived here, "Who's your teacher this year, Hunter?"

Hunter scrunches his face, thinking hard. He tips back his head and I can visibly see how hard he is working to remember his teacher's name. In March. I laughed and asked incredulously, "You seriously don't know your teacher's name!?" He responded, totally unfazed, "I'm not really good with names."

Later he came inside with Bo and they were wrestling. Bo called out, kind of gleefully, "I know why you are beating me, it's because you're so big and chubby!" He wasn't even trying to be mean, but my head whipped around and Bo caught my reaction and quickly added, "Kinda. Only kinda big and chubby."

"Kinda" makes everything better in Bo's world.

Later Hunter accidentally bumped Danyo and Danyo took a spill. He said, "Oh, I'm sorry Danyo!" Danyo got up, brushed off his hands and said, "s'okay Hunto." Hunter turned to me wide-eyed, "He says WORDS! Did you hear that!?"

Do you see why he's provided so much entertainment? He's just about the sweetest kid too.

In other news, Danyo is a rotten little stinker. He's so dang cute and so dang ornery. It's a terrible predicament he's put me in. He won't stop saying shut up. Seriously, we do NOT say this word at our house. I guess I say it on the phone with friends. I'm much more rude to my friends than I am to my family. But really, he is incessant.

"Danyo, let's change your diaper."
"Danyo, let's go pick up Avee."
"Sut. up. Oh! Okay!"
"Danyo, get down from there."
"SUT UP!!!!!"

The other night he got sent to his room, had to apologize, scolded over and over and he would NOT stop saying it at the dinner table. And I couldn't keep a straight face. I spent the entire dinner with my back to him because of it.

Today I decided that he liked the "wildness" of saying something he shouldn't. So I said it back to him one time. He kind of stopped short. So I did it another time. This time Avee heard me and she got ALL up in my bidness about saying bad words, especially to Danyo. Then tonight, while I was bathing them, he said it to me again. So I said it back. And Avee said, "What did I say Mom?! I do not want to hear you saying bad words! If you keep saying bad words, then I'm going to start saying them!"

I laughed and laughed. But she was serious. She used my exact formula for yelling at/threatening the kids. I ask a question, albeit rhetorical, then I give the scold, then I add the threat/consequence. She's a good listener.

Now it's bedtime.
I love bedtime. Well, I hate bedtime, but I looooooooove after bedtime. Sooooo quiet and peaceful.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

I Have No Title

The other day I was telling a friend about a conversation I'd had with Avee. She's been very sweet and somewhat sensitive of late. This particular conversation, she prefaced something she was going to ask me with, "I can do whatever I want you know." I distractedly responded with, "Well, actually you can't. As long as you live with me and dad, you have to follow our rules. When you grow up and move out, you can do what you want." I'm happy to say that I didn't bitterly add, "and being a grown-up on your own sucks". Mostly because I'm classy and don't say the word "sucks".

About two minutes later Avee popped up next to me. Her eyes were red. Her lower lip was trembling. Big ol' tears were streaming. She stared up at me pathetically. This is how Avee expresses her sadness to me. No words, no mournful sobs, no verbal accusations. Just the powerful, powerful accusation of her desperately sad face. She widens her eyes for effect, and the message of her expression is, "Do you see what you have done to me? Are you happy now!?"

I was startled by this. This time. I hadn't scolded, I hadn't told her no tv, I hadn't told her no "Robin Noodles". I didn't think I had done anything.

"Avee! What's wrong? Why are you so sad?"
She flung herself on me and sobbed, "You said I was going to move out. I don't ever want to move out!" I assured her she could live with us until she was 47 if she wanted, while simultaneously assuring J with my expression and a few head shakes that we'd be free of children sooner. I walk such a tightrope around here!

When I told my friend about this, she suggested I write it down. I kind of laughed. I pretty much have the whole "writing every blessed thing down" mastered. Then she told me about a hope chest type thing she did for her daughter, and gave to her on her "golden" birthday. She collected things from all the places they had lived (they had been military, so they had lived in more exotic places than Iowa and Provo) and other little meaningful things.

I thought this was such a fantastic idea. I thought about all the things I could get at Wal-mart over the years....

Really, I did think it was a great idea. I contemplated buying little books to write down what the kids say and do. Then I thought of all the pressure of finding just the right book. Then I thought of keeping track of the book. Remembering to record things. Actually paying attention to my kids...

It all seems like more work than I'm willing to do. So I'll just blog.

J went to Missouri this weekend for a quick trip. It's just me and the kids. I was hoping that J would take the kids and it would just be me and the cherry coke. But the trip ended up being a shorter one than we initially planned, and Avee and Bo weren't buying into that. It's about a six hour drive and they've done it enough to know one day in Missouri isn't enough for 12 hours of driving.

So, since J's gone and he gets to enjoy two days of no whining, no diapers, no stupid tv shows, no fighting, and no messes, AND doesn't have to be around the kids either---I've gone and rebelled.

We went and got a betta. I just took Bo. I thought he'd be thrilled, but he was acting pretty nonplussed about it. Then as we were leaving the first store we went to (I was price matching) he started singing and dancing about getting a betta. So I guess he's just a slower processor.

Anyway, we got a lovely blue betta. As we were driving home Bo was thinking of names. I was hoping he would name the fish something crazy, like "Van Gogh". He was thinking, "Zach". Which cracked me up. So I jokingly suggested his best friend's name. He hesitated a moment and I got nervous about having a fish named Caleb. Then he said, "That would be a little weird, how about Joe!?" Which is Caleb's older brother. So, Joe it is!

This morning when we woke up, Joe was dead.

I could NOT believe it. I mean, goldfish are notorious for this kind of thing, and I've kept goldfish alive longer than that!!!

If you are in the least bit inclined to criticize me or scold me even REMOTELY about not keeping a fish alive---you should probably just step away from the keyboard. I will make fun of you mercilessly for months. I will probably even hunt you down and throw our future dead bettas at you when you go to get in your car. Every day. For a long time.

I just had to put that out there because as I was googling "How can I tell if my betta is really really dead?" there was all kinds of crazy talk as though people like me were willingly participating in the gross and cruel practice of fishocide. How do people like that function in the real world!?

Anyway. I think we'll try again. Maybe not a betta.

RIP Joe. I truly hope you really were dead.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Things I Just Have To Record

Often when I don't want to do something, instead of coming off as lazy or uncaring, I ask Bo, "Do you want me or Daddy to....?" and 98% of the time, Bo chooses Daddy. I know this about him. I don't ever pose that question with the other two because I am the sun the moon the stars and the squishy jungle gym for the other two. The only thing I win over J with, is snuggling. I always get picked for that. Again, the squishiness.

Anyway, Bo has a little St. Patrick's Day race thingy coming up and I sweetly asked, "Who do you want to run it with you, me or Dad?" When he chose J, I dramatically protested.
"Why?! Why not me!? You know I'm prettier than Daddy, don't you want a pretty person to run with you!?" Bo gave me a look I often see on J's face that says, "I think you are joking but I'm not sure, and I'm afraid to laugh in case you aren't." So I asked Bo, "Who's smarter, me or Dad?"

"Daddy is."
"You didn't know trees could be male or female!"
"Neither did you!" Knowing full well I was accusing a 6 year old of not being as smart as a 32 year old.

So I thought I'd show Bo that we are all smart in different ways. "Hey Daddy, what season am I on the color wheel?"
J answers confidently "Winter."
"Ha! Not even close!"

They both stared at me like I was ridiculous. Because I am.

"See, even I know things that Daddy doesn't know."

To which Bo proclaimed the most truthful statement that has ever been uttered, "Yeah, things about YOU!"

And Bo won that round.

The other day we were all sitting on the couch, the kids may have been vying for space on the highly coveted, and rarely accommodating lap, when Bo accidentally bumped Danyo. Danyo who is still hard to understand at times, often speaks very quietly if he does speak, and rarely more than the requisite minimum, pointed sternly toward the door, scowled at Bo and commanded, "Get. Out. My. House. Bo!"

We all laughed at such authority from the smallest member of our family. Where in the heck do they come up with this stuff?! Pretty sure I haven't kicked anyone out of my house recently...

Today Bo did a trial run for the upcoming race. I thought he would run the equivalent of about a quarter mile, at most. He ran an entire mile. He pushes himself and really likes to learn how to do things right and well, but running doesn't come naturally to him. You may think that's an odd thing to say, but probably not if you've met either of us in real life. When J asked him how it was he started with a rote, "Good--" and then cut it short and switched to "Heartpounding!"

I love his little exploration of words. Which actually leads me to another hilarious conversation I overheard the other day. It's a little crass if you are offended by the subject of "bathroom humor" so skip to the end if you are. :)

Avee is really into "tricking" people lately. "Do you sink my toes are moving inside my boots?"
"AHAHA! They aren't, I TRICKED YOU!"

She does that about everything.

So it was not unusual that she thought of yet another thing to "trick" us with. This is the conversation I heard:

Avee: Bo, do you sink I'm going to toot?
Bo: Uh, yeah.
Avee: I am!! HAHAHAHA I tri--! Heeeey, no fay-yoh! You weren't supposed to guess yes! You can't tell if I'm going to toot!
Bo:It doesn't matter if I know or not. If you ask me if you are going to toot, eventually you are going to, so the answer will always be yes.

That's when I interrupted and said, "Did you really just say the word 'eventually'?" Later the actual content of the conversation had me in tears. Predictable Avee, outwitted by logical Bo.

Oh yeah, this one I posted to FB and have told about eleventy-billion people about it, but I need it recorded forever.

About a week ago we were all puttering around on Saturday morning. Bo is often working on a project at the table or the computer, drawing, writing a story, crossword puzzles, etc. Out of nowhere he asks, "What would win in a contest of more important, gravity or Martin Luther King?"

J and I are getting really good at not laughing right out loud anymore. Really good.

I of course had no answer, so later I asked him what he thought the answer was. He stated matter-of-factly that gravity was the obvious winner, because without it we would all be floating around everywhere.

So I asked then what would happen without Martin Luther King.

"Well, Shawn just wouldn't be in my class."

There you have it, in case your children ever pose this question or even if you ever make it onto Jeopardy or Smarter Than a Fifth Grader---you can say Nobody taught you nothin'.