Monday, February 28, 2011

Row Row Row Your Boat..

We almost needed to abandon ship today. It's true. Well, as true as that statement can be when applied to a house.  A house filling with water.

Aye-Aye, Captain. Full speed ahead.

Whenever there's a massive rain, we get dampness in the basement. We have it taken care of to the point where it's not a big deal. It never happens when there's time for it, of course, but it's at least not a big deal.
After last night's monstrosity of a storm falling on thick masses of melting snow, I was prepared for a wet basement. What I found was a slowly sinking ship.

A thumb-sized hole had sprung on the wall, allowing a stream of water to come gushing out. Unending. Constant. Watery.

I was completely dumbfounded by this new occurrence and enjoyed a moment of the absurd by sticking my thumb into the hole to see if I could plug it and if water would then spurt out of some other hole that would pop through the wall, a la cartoon style. (It didn't).
There was simply no stopping this liquid event; too much standing water stood ready to push its way in from the back of the house. So we created a conduit to take the water to the drain. A piece of white molded plastic, supported by wood, was angled from the hole to the bucket of our Shop Vac. As the bucket fills, it reaches the hose entrance and then drains through there. The hose leads directly to the drain. Voila, all fixed. For now. There is still a grievous amount coming up through the floor in one spot, and we can't do much with that other than to let it go and occasionally sweep the whole lot into the drain.

This means more work for me, naturally. After the water decides to stay out of our basement, there will be the fun of bleaching the joint out and making sure we don't start a colony of some new mold down there. Can't say I'm looking forward to that. But it's all good, right? I could see this as a nasty bit of trickery on our house's part. Or I could just see it as a Monday.

See what Monday can do?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Whine Whine Whine (And All The Jazz)

What is it about whining that has the power to grate at your nerves so exquisitely? When you break it down, what is it really? It's not the words, those repetitive "I Want" phrases that are fixed on an unending loop.  Heck, it's not even the repetitiveness of it, really (although that is annoying on its own).

It's the tone. Nails on a chalkboard would be a more welcome sound. Anytime.

Whining has the power to turn a perfectly articulate child (or adult, I've found) into a blubbering, incoherent fool. Yes. A fool. I'm not going to mince words. (That would be enabling, and that's an issue for another blog).

The girls have taken turns whining today. First it was Caedance, and now Ashlyn is enjoying her spin in the Whine-Mobile. The object of desire is a stuffed animal. "I want it!..buuuutttt, it's all I want....I can't stand not having's just the thing I want....." and on and on and on. Whine. Whine. Whine.

It's annoying. It's draining. It's downright painful.

I want to yell, "Stop! I can't stand it anymore, you're driving me crazy!"

I could do that. But I don't.

Instead we answer with hugs. In our house we've found that the root of all whining evil tends to be a need for one-on-one attention. It's as if the daily struggles of sharing everything get to them both sometimes and there is a breakdown of reason. Sometimes you just need to be heard. In whatever way you can be.

And sometimes you just need to cry. (Because really, not everything is fair, is it?)

After 10 uninterrupted minutes of Mommy or Daddy Hugs, the outlook to life is good again. Reason can be approached. A solution in sight. And even a 6 year old can be rationale once more. For the moment, a compromise has been reached. Caedance will have it for now and Ashlyn get it at dinner time. Who knows what will happen after that. Will Caedance be able to handle the hand off or will she take another joy ride in WhineyTown? Only time will tell.

Or maybe there's enough time between now and then to be distracted by something else, preferably something that we already have two of.

I hope.

Friday, February 25, 2011

In Which I Remember How To Play...

Friends, it seems I have inadvertently forgotten how to play in the snow. I can only imagine your shock, your collective gasp of complete and utter disapproval. But it's sadly true.

A Winter Storm dumped a wet batch of snow this morning. With the temps mild, the girls were eager to get out and get playing in their cottony front yard. We all layered up and headed out.

Around me the girls frolicked, picking up the snow and dropping it. They scampered about, trudging from here to there with ease and joy. With F-U-N. My husband, working from home on a rare Snow Day for him, even joined in with their adventures. The three of them paraded around the yard, seemingly doing nothing, and yet having a blast. Fits of giggles and lots of grins.

Even bundled up in the vestiges of woolly-winter-warmth, I stood there cold and unsure of what my next step should be. Feeling the need for Purpose, I grabbed a shovel and started to work on the driveway. But that didn't feel right. It certainly wasn't fun. Next I thought about Practicality and reached for the bag of sidewalk salt, scattering it on our ever-treacherous porch steps. Again I stopped; still not fun.

When did I forget how to do this? I grew up in the country, with a wide expanse of a yard that held endless possibilities on a snowy day. I never thought about being cold, or being still, or being purposeful for that matter. Looking at my husband and my twins cavorting about aimlessly and with endless joy made me mildly annoyed. They can do it. Why can't I?

Darn it. I was going to.

Tossing the shovel aside and putting the bag of salt away for later, I jumped into the piles of snow my family had created. I even frolicked. (I did. It's not on film or anything, but you can take my word for it). We marched all around, seemingly doing nothing. Yet doing everything. We made a snowman (Arthur), we shook snow covered branches, we made snowballs, we got really cold. We made memories. Together.

That key word: together. How I love it.

We came in ready for some hot cocoa and a seat by the fire. We came in with rosy cheeks and tingling toes, with stinging fingers and 4 running noses. But we made memories today.

And I think I may have remembered how to play in the snow again.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sniffles In Stereo

Today I'm thinking about medicine. I'm thankful for it, and marveling at how just a few days of it can erase 3 weeks of awful nastiness.

For 3 weeks I had taken on a role I do not like: Nose Wiper.

I'll do it. I'm a mom after all, and part of the job description is to pick up other roles as needed.

But I do not like it.I spent my days chasing around 2 six year olds who were oblivious to their constant snot-snorting and the omnipresent drip of it on their lips.

I will tell you this, they hate having their noses wiped. Hate it. This made my job harder. Much. Harder. So  like a hunter scoping out the prey, I would nonchalantly observe my children, tissue in hand, waiting for the right moment, (my moment), to swoop in and wipe a nose before there could be any protests.

Of course, there was another nose to wipe. (There always is). So I had to wait and plot out my scheme to get to the other nose, which was sitting on the face of a now-quite-wary Other Twin. Bribes come in handy sometimes, you know. Who doesn't want an M&M? And so what if first you have to let mom swipe at your face and maybe blow into a tissue. It's candy. Sacrifices can be made for candy-coated chocolate.

In the end we literally blew our way through 4 boxes of tissues. A record for our house, I think.

Within 3 days of starting the Magic White Stuff That Sort Of Tastes Like Bubblegum, the sniffles cleared up. Seven days out, they declare they are "All Better Now, Thanks Mom".

And my glory as a mother is seeing them better. Finally. And relinquishing my Nose Wiper job for now. And the fact that MY nose needed wiped after all this (with nary a tissue in sight) is okay too. It's what we do; Moms.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


All children have changing interests and hobbies; things they like now but may not like so much later and are put away, only to be loved again later (so you better not have thrown it away). And you never really know what they'll pull from, what will interest them, or to what extent they'll let it carry them.

At our house the girls seem to be on a constantly rotating schedule of these interests, these Weekly Obsessions, if you will. While something is dear to them everything in our life must include it: movies and books (obviously), but also the meals we eat and the clothes they wear. It all has to include the theme of the moment. Then like a deck of cards, it will be be shuffled and a new theme revealed. We run the gamut of possible themes, from popular characters (Strawberry Shortcake! My Little Pony! Care Bears!) to representatives from reality (Mice! Cats! Trees!).

And recently, Bees.

This has been a first showing for the Bee Obsession; so I find myself fumbling my way through linking it to every single item in our daily routine. They've watched Bee Movie 147 times. They've read and re-read all manner of books on those busy little bees in their buzzing little hives. I've served countless dinners with renamed menu items like  "Bumble Beef with pollen potatoes and buzzing broccoli". And their play has been filled with shouts of "Quick! Let's get the nectar!" and "Watch out for rolled up Italian Vogue magazine! Buzz away!"

And today they've both announced that they are Pollen Jocks. Both of them. Bees on a mission for pollen collection; flitting from cushion to cushion, gathering the nectar and spreading pollen.

This may be our most educational Weekly Obsession, I must confess. I'm learning more about those little winged furies than I ever thought I would know. And speaking as a member of the I'm Deathly Allergic To The Venom In Their Little Stupid Stingers Club, I have to say that I kinda like envisioning bee society in the way Bee Movie depicts it. It's nice to think that they are just out there, buzzing away, collecting nectar and spreading pollen, because quite frankly it seems that all the little buggers do is see someone who is allergic to them and attack.

I have to wonder how long this shuffle of the deck will last. Maybe we'll be eating Pollen Jock hamburgers with honeycomb fries tomorrow, or we may be back to Grumpy Bear Ham with Cheer Bear cheesy potatoes. Who really knows?

Not I.

But I like it that way. And when these days of Make Pretend pass, I know I'll be sad. And I have to wonder if they'll let me make Cherilee Chicken and Rainbow Dash pie for old time's sake. Or if they'll think their mommy has gone mad?

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Thing About Cars......

The van started making a noise today. I have to admit that I'm a bit crestfallen at this development. There is only one way this can go. I know how it will pan out; you know how it will pan out. It's always the same with these things.

I hear a noise. Something that's different. Something that's not The Same as the other 500,000 times I've piloted this red beast. It catches my ear and piques my interest. It momentarily causes concern and then swiftly leaves my brain as I think upon other more pressing matters. And then I'll hear it again, perhaps at a stop light, or in a parking lot. And I'll wonder.

And I'll be the only one who will hear it. Ever. I'll try to get Dan to hear it. "There!" I'll tell him, "Can't you hear it?" He'll nod politely and say, "I think so...", but the furrow to his brow will assure me that he does not. (How can he not hear it?? It's right there!)

Eventually my worrying will convince him to call our mechanic and make an appointment. I'll spend 10 minutes trying to get him to hear it too. "It's right there. Hear it? It's like a swishing sound....just under the hood. I hear it right now. Don't you?" And he'll slap me with "That Look". The one they reserve for people like me; people who are "hearing noises".

I'm sure they'll look at the van. "Give it the once over", they'll probably say. And when they do call a few hours later, it will be to tell me that everything checked out. No problems. Come and pick it up.

And it is okay. No lights are on. No warnings. It's just me and The Sound. That stupid, stupid, stupid sound that only I can hear. Forever being just different enough for me to pick up on and for no one else to notice.


I think I'll just skip all the steps between worry and acceptance this time, making it easier on myself.

My van started making a noise today. And apparently I'm okay with that.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Full Circle

I was just looking ahead on our school calendar and saw that Kindergarten Registration is coming up. In fact, there is a meeting for incoming parents on February 22nd.

Seeing that was a mile marker of sorts for me.

This time last year we were coming up on that very meeting. My blogs were filled with dread at the thought of my babies (my babies!) going to school. Filled with unease and uncertainty; plagued with worry.

In the darkest hours of my nights, when I had too much time to think about how fast time is passing us all by, I set February 2011 as milestone. "Just think", I told myself, "this time next year the girls will be nearly done with Kindergarten. This first year will be nearly drawn to a close. 365 days from now you'll have answers to all these "What Ifs" and "Hows" that daunt you now. Just think..."

And here we are. Just like that.

It's amazing how quickly we've come to this point. I'm glad for the experiences I've had as a First Time Parent of Schoolagers. But I won't be sad to see this school year draw to a close. Not sad at all.

Up ahead lie new challenges and goals; new adventures to discover. And the path behind has been traveled and traveled well at that, I would say. Memories made. Lessons learned. Grace. Patience. Trust. Faith.


I'm thankful for the journey that has brought us here. And eager for the path still foggy ahead.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Great Growly Monster of "Shush"

I was "Shushed" yesterday. Really and truly and actually told to "shhhhh". By my own offspring.

I was mid sentence when the moment occurred. Midway through a direction when it happened. "And then I need you to-" SSHHHH!! (Whaaa?)

Such betrayal. There was a flash of anger. A twinge of hurt. And a broad stripe of annoyance. "Did you just shush me?" I asked my precious darling little angels.

"Mommy, it was time for you to be quiet just then."

"Oh was it?" (Was it really? Because I don't think so.)

Shuffling the Emotion cards in my deck of Feelings, I pulled out the Parent face. With great patience (love and understanding were thrown in there somewhere too), I explained that one of the many benefits of being a parent is that we can't truly be "Shushed".

Well, not yet anyway. Sure, the day is coming, but I think Dan and I still have a few "Get Out Of Shushing Free" cards left from enduring the crazy that was their infancy and toddler-hoods....We've saved them up. Simple put:for now, no shushing.

My cherubs smiled at me and the rest of the day passed in polite, complimentary bliss.

But the fact remains; I've been shushed.

And so it begins.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Journey

The girls in school; there's a lot I can say about that. Some good things, perhaps some not-so-good. "3 Pluses & A Wish", I would call it, using a term from my days at the helm of a classroom. (My "Teacher Words", which I sometimes dust off and use for practice).

This first year has brought with it challenges that were expected, and a slew of others that attacked us on the sly, sneaking up behind us and grabbing our attention.

My biggest challenge during this process of learning to let them be the learners has been this:
I have to let this journey be their journey.

It's not for me. I may be along for the ride, a watchful, helpful observer, but it's still their path to take. I'm grateful that they have each other and are not alone. I'm also grateful for the privilege of having a front row seat to the show. Everyday.

But this is for them to do. They've made progress; heaps of it. They've taken struggles and turned them into absolute smashing successes. The best compliment I've ever gotten has been to hear their teacher say that they are both different kids now. Different students. Unrecognizable from September. Improving and progressing beyond expectations. That compliment is for them, but I warm with it. I glow.

My children.

My improving, progressing, successful children.

I'll stand back and watch them. I'll enjoy this process of learning and exploration that they're going through.

And above all, I'll let this journey be their journey.

Monday, February 7, 2011

From The Mind Of 6 Year Olds.

My hubby is on an interview of sorts, giving me the privilege of an evening alone with my girls. Just us three. So far tonight they've been very chatty, sharing with me every minute detail they could think of, and firing them off at an impressive speed.

In one particular 15 minute span, I learned the following:

1. Ashlyn loves me, her daddy, & her grandparents. In that order. (She repeated it several times to drive the point home.

2. Apparently tonight (Monday), is Chase Anna-Cat & Zoe-Cat Night, (per Caedance). In fact, ALL "School nights" are designated Chase Anna & Zoe Cat. Sorry, cats.

3. Likewise, non-school nights are Chase Suki-Cat night, and should be both looked forward to and enjoyed when they occur. (According to Caedance).

4. The list of "All Time Favorite Bedrooms" is: The Budoir of Ashlyn & Caedance, Our bedroom, Grandma Peggy's Bedroom, and (last but not least), Grandma Leenie's bedroom.

5. Ashlyn's "Special-Good-Friend" at school is a boy named Tighe. He, it appears, likes her because she is Star Student; she likes him because she's Star Student. Such a matched pair! However, since her status as Star Student will only last for this week, I do have some concerns about the lasting power of this relationship.

6. If you have a cold, you are "Feeling Down And Out And Blue" and should spend a large proportion of time (at the dinner table as well), "Dozing & Drowsing".

7. Someone made up all the things in the world. (I thought that was a deep one, myself.)

8. School is a place to learn about All The Things In The World. (So true).

9. Cats have a winter coat.

10. Cats have whiskers.

11. Bunnies are most certainly NOT cats. (And perhaps are the poorer for it).

12. Dessert is the meal that comes after dinner, but both girls think we should also have "Lunch Dessert" every day as well. (I'm supposed to look into that and maybe add it to the daily schedule).

13. Being "Star Student" apparently makes for a "Best Of All Days" and,

14. it would seem, "The Most Un-nice Of All Days".

The list is going on, even as I type this. My brain hurts. I'm exhausted trying to follow the dichotomy that is "The Mind Of A 6 Year Old. Times 2".

"Mommy. I still love you."
(Smile). Thanks, gals.


We've been invaded by sinus issues here at our house. Dan and I are managing to hold our own against the constant, throbbing headaches and congestion. My personal mantra is, as ever was, "I will not let snot beat me. No.No. Not snot. Snot will not win and make me feel like crap again." Admittedly it's on the long side for a mantra, but it kinda works to the tune of Jingle Bells, so I think it's a keeper.

But I digress. Dan and I may be doing well, but the girls are struggling with it. This Season Of Gooey Noses makes for changes and challenges around our house.
First off, it means that the Kleenex boxes have multiplied and are cozied onto every nook and into each cranny I can find. (My placement strategy pretty much mirrors the movements of the girls: I walk around in a circle with my eyes closed until I bump into something. When I open my eyes and look around, I should be able to easily reach a box of tissues from where I am. If not, get one there, pronto.) 

It also means that I have to up the laundry duty, because if the girls DON'T get a tissue, they use their sleeve. Again and again and again.

During Seasons Of Sniffles there is the unwelcome noise of "Sniff" everywhere I turn. In the house. In the car. In the store. It matters not where I am, I will be immersed in the cacophony of "Sniff-Sniff-SNNNNNIIIIIIIIFFFFFFFFF". Really, it's enough to drive a girl crazy.

And of course the nose wiping. The ever constant wiping of noses that do not belong to me. My pockets and purse
run-eth over with large wads of tissues. I must be prepared in any situation, at any time, for Wiping Duty, because it would seem that the average 6 year old does not care about having mass quantities of snot hanging out of their nose at all. They have the uncanny ability to perform many tasks while balancing that gunk on their upper lip, and are completely unfazed by it. I on the other hand, tend to get disgusted. So I wipe.

Oh, Season Of Sniffles, Season of Goo. I cannot wait until you turn into Spring, at which point you will morph into the Season of Allergies. I'll have something else to write about then, indeed. But for now, you mock me with your duration and your tenacity to hold fort even when you are not welcome....

(Ahh,it appears my services are needed elsewhere).

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Oh, Sweet Slumber...and a Kleenex Box.

Every night the girls sleep with 2 items. Every night. Two things. The first is non-negotiable: their "She'll". Before you ask, it's their blanket. The name? Well, it's from the song, as in "She'll Be Coming 'Round The Mountain". This is what they named their blankets too many years ago for me to recall the exact moment. But it has stuck. And so has 'She'll' since it still must be tucked in with them, every night.

Item 2 is forever changing, based on their interest at that moment. While I long to fill that position with cute dolls and stuffed animals, the girls opt to choose odd items instead. Very often it's a book. How you can curl up with a book at night eludes me, but they do. Last night, Caedance snuggled to sleep with a Golden Book. A hard, cardboard covered copy of Disney's Alice In Wonderland. Because nothing says, "Sweet Dreams" like the flat rigidity of a book, right?

Other times it's household items that win that coveted "Next To She'll Placement" under the covers. They've each slept with feather dusters (unused ones, don't worry), Kleenex boxes (an odd choice), a wooden spoon they named "Nettie-Pie" (that one was kinda cute, I've got to say), and even my Bundt pans. In truth,  watching your child slumber alongside the gentle shine of a fluted tube pan is an interesting sight. Odd, but interesting.

We've also had the random articles of clothing as Item 2 title holders. Rolled up socks were a favorite for a period of time. They called them Cher-Chers and would love to pilfer them from Dan's sock drawer. That poor guy could never find the socks he wanted because his favorites tended to make the best Cher-Chers. For awhile they loved cuddling with pants and folded shirts, and I recall one night when they insisted on sleeping with their
Tu-Tu. Not "In" their tutu, mind you. With it.

I look with longing at Glow-Worms and stuffed dolls. Cute little kittens and furry bears call to me in the toy aisles, and sometimes I almost want to buy them in hopes that I can convince the girls to sleep with them. But what really  happens is that our stuffed animal collection continues to grow, left largely untouched and stuffed into the various over-flowing toy boxes.

I find myself sighing even as I write these words. (Can you hear it? Sigh...). Though odd, it has its charm. I suppose whatever brings them comfort should be what sends them off to dreamland every night. And while I'm waiting for the day they ask for my muffin pans or mixing bowls, I guess I'll be glad that they are quirky enough to know what they want. Even if it is odd.