Friday, October 31, 2008

Post-Halloween Requirements

Let's just get this out of the way, shall we? Halloween was tonight, in case you missed the crazed children dressed in costumes from movies I hope they have not seen. Also, Raggedy Ann and Andy, super heroes, and Wizard of Oz characters. Those are heart stealer's!

Our family had a gaggle of Princesses.Baby Pod? Yes, she was there. She can't have candy, yet, so I let her eat tulle. She was kinda Snow White (I didn't put a whole lot of effort into authenticating her costume). We just need a Jasmine Princess and I think we'll have the whole round up. Of course, that would mean birthing another girl and I don't know if the oldest pod could take it if I did that. He may just curl up and die if one more princess comes with her with her lip gloss and ribbons and dolls; endless dolls.
We thought of putting the poor boy in a dress and beard and calling him the Ugly Step-sister. We feminine types were quickly vetoed. Instead, we have Rocky and Adrianne.We went Trick or Treating to the business in our small town's Downtown. The kids enjoyed it, and I saw this, which was a little disturbing.
But, you know, dress-up and candy. Could anyone have possibly come up with a better idea? Look at my son trying with every ounce of Rocky strength to decide what the maximum amount of candy would be that he could take without appearing rude.
Then we had this nice run-in. Maleficent. Sleeping Beauty is obviously terrified. So is her mother, who waited to save her until after the picture. Kind of like when a child breaks a dozen eggs or gets in the tub with their clothes all on or falls asleep on the toilet--the priorities always list Picture First.All in all, a great party.
Sweet dreams, my sugar coma baby.

How Does She Know?

I can hear the cellophane crinkle from the other side of the house. I holler, "Get out of the cookies!" Then I hear a discouraged sigh from the kitchen followed by, "How do you know?"

Mom's know everything. (We at least know the important everythings: "I know you didn't put your clothes in the laundry" and "Pushing stuff under your bed is not cleaning your room" and "Do not look at your sister that way" all without our moving off the couch or looking at the pod.)

My mascara is three years old--it is dry and I'm sure it's chock full of those dangerous bacteria the make-up companies warn you about. It's been on my list for a while to buy new mascara, but I can't make myself pay for the gunk.

Enter Mom. I just got a box from my mother with a bunch of random stuff--mostly for the kids. However, in it was a brand new mascara!!
How do mom's know everything??

This particular mom is particularly good at this kind of thing. I mentioned something about my sheets being low quality. A few weeks ago, when visiting, she walked it with gloriously soft, high thread count sheets. Now, when I crawl into bed, I feel like I'm doing in advertisement for the linen company with my "ooh"s and "ahh"s and squishing around with my eyes closed and a satisfied grin on my freshly washed face, my too bright teeth and my glowing skin. Wait. Delete that last part. I'm actually crawling in with milk stained pajamas, day-old make-up and a lot of freckles. Still, let's focus on the sheets! Ahhh.

My niece (17 yrs) was saying she needed some new skin care products. She said something in front of Grandma hoping Grandma (my mom) would pick up on the clue. I'm sure my niece has received the needed products. You see, all I have to do is mention on the phone how my skin has been dry lately, and the next thing I know, a package arrives in the mail with a whole regimen to improve the health of my skin.
She sends socks for the pods, favorite treats, rugs, and gift cards for grocery stores. Every box is a surprise and always there is something that I didn't know she knew we needed.

Mom's are really amazing. Just don't ask us about hard stuff, like "What does the tooth fairy do with all of our teeth?" and "How does Santa know we can't have a pony" and "Why won't you put a band-aid on my tongue?"
Moms are good at putting band-aids on knees and hearts. And we really do have eyes in the back of our heads.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hide and Seek, of Sorts

Every day, from Noon until 6 and then (usually) from 8-11pm, my beloved is in the library studying his brains out. Okay, maybe not out, but sometimes he swears that his brains have been thoroughly dissolved then chilled to set in their new mold. I don't know a lot about medicine, but I'm pretty sure he's exaggerating.

Anyway, every day, The SC is in the library for about 9 hours (he's in classes all morning). We don't get to see him a lot, but we know the absenteeism is temporary. We know he'd rather be with us, on a hike, enjoying all of the fall colors and eating a picnic lunch on a natural meadow. But he's not. He is in the library. We had a miracle happen in our family. All of the children were dressed . . . with hair fixed . . . with faces washed . . . with dry diapers . . . with brushed teeth . . . with shoes AND socks . . . with full bellies SO we went to surprise Dad at the library.

Now, I feel I must explain a seemingly backwards feature of our family: We do not own a cell phone. There is some pretty serious science to show that cell phones cause cancer and car accidents and autism and sickle cell anemia. Also, they are often held by dolts who do not know how to read signs that proclaim, "No Cell Phones." We don't want to be thought of as dolts. I am sure that none of you, my dear readers, are that type of cell phone user. Cell phones are bad for your neck and the extra weight owners have to carry around, even when they are not using the phone, is bad for their lower back . . . and feet . . . and stuff.
Err, yeah, and, um, we can't afford one.

So we didn't know where our dear daddy was. 'Cause we couldn't call him. 'Cause of the cancer.

One of the pods spotted his bike in the massive chaos of bike racks so we were sure he was there. It was a beautiful fall day and we thought we'd kidnap Dad for a few minutes.

Up and down the aisles of ceiling-high book shelves went my children's feet. We went from wing to wing, floor to floor looking in every cubby, at every table. The kids thought it was fun--like a huge game of hide-and-seek.

We never found him.

We left him a note on his bicycle and went to the park.

If we had had a cell phone, we would have discovered he was at a building right across the street.

Now, who's the dolt?

Monday, October 27, 2008

A Day in the Life

Does anyone else have climbers? All of mine have been climbers and the newest pod is promising to maintain the Fleet expectations. Some parents don't have any climbers. Some parents don't have any wall-colorers. Some parents have children who go to bed before 10. Whatever.The boy is going through what I call a Sandlot phase. I grin every time I look at him. (Well, not every time. There are the "I told you 15 times to put your sweatshirt away" times and the "Please stop pestering your sister" times and the "Yes, I have heard that joke--you have been telling me that joke for the last three years." Actually, wait. I do grin at that.) Independent two year olds; a two edged sword.

Oh, help. Have you ever seen anything so sweet? She is running a very effective dictatorship. We all jump when she says "jump" and melt when she says "melt."

I mean, could you stand up to this?!

And here we are--I think we are supposed to be in charge. Ha! I was told to include some pictures of the SC and I. I set the timer and ran. The SC is saying, "Did it go yet?" or something like that. I'm trying to look like I was just sitting cuddled up to my sweetheart and someone with a camera walked by and randomly took our photo.
Um, no. I just ran, dived, and posed.
I was in a royalty court for my city when I was a senior in high school. We were constantly posing for pictures; pictures with government officials, admiring children, other royalty, city monuments, etc. Then, of course, everyone in the picture wanted a shot with their own camera so we had to hold the pose (a natural one, preferably) for about 12 minutes.
One night during this time, I woke up a bit confused. I was, in my sleep, propped up on my left elbow, full-on princess smile.

As if we ever get to sit next to each other anymore. Guh.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

He Knew My Name

Several years ago, I gave my grandmother a journal that had questions at the top of each page. Recently, she gave it back to me--all filled in. 365 pages of facts, thoughts, and stories that define my grandma. I am slowly transcribing those valuable pages and sending them out to all of my extended family.

Today, I transcribed a brief story about her school days. She grew up in Nebraska during the dust bowls of the Depression. Sometimes school would be let out early because of the terrible dust storms. The high school and elementary school were on the same lot, in that small town, and during a dust storm, the high school students walked the elementary students home to ensure their safety. Grandma wrote about her escort, Wayne Parks, who "talked to me like a grown up." She always liked him and patronized his floral business through old age. One young man, who was kind to a little kid, changed her, if even in a simple way.

I had an experience like that, also. Jason Haltunen was a tall, popular kid in my school. He always treated me kindly, even though I didn't run in his circle. If others ever spoke poorly of Jason, I always defended him. He was my friend, he made me feel important--he knew my name.

I have always been "good" at names. When I meet someone new, I always try to remember and use their name. I think it's because I have experienced the significance of a "Wayne" and a "Jason."

Friday, October 24, 2008

Not Just An Old Book

I just finished reading this book:
It is called Freckles by Gene Stratton Porter. I have read a lot of old books--some even older than this (not by copyright, but by publication). I love to hold the hold books, turn their thick, soft pages. If you look closely, you can see the imprint of the type. I love to think about how many people were educated, entertained, and intrigued by the book. This book is special, though. In the front cover, several previous readers are named. Among them are my great-great grandma. She was raised on the Nebraska prairie in a soddie and, after her mother passed away, raised her younger siblings while her father worked the farm.

It was also read by my great grandmother. She was a champion of genealogy. If you were from anywhere in or near Nebraska, she could tell you about your family. I attribute my love of my ancestors to her passion.

And here is a picture of my Grandma, who also read this copy of Freckles. I love her dearly. She has always been a reader and faithful diary keeper. She is a mother, above all else.

When I found out I was expecting my fourth girl, I wondered why I was sent so many women to raise. Looking through these photographs, I know why. I have been given a great mothering legacy. My people are feminine, womanly people. It is my turn to pass it on.
As I read, I imagined their work-hardened hands turning the worn out pages, I imagined them young and falling in love, I imagined them wondering about the same passages I wondered about. Reading this old book, I connected with my grandmothers in an intangible, priceless way.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Five Year Olds Define Fancy

Pod # 3 recently had a birthday party. I don't usually "do" friend parties, but she had been invited to several over the last couple of months, so a fever developed. (By the way, while you are viewing these pictures, remember the nature of this particular pod.)W had a Fancy Nancy party. If you haven't read this book, especially if you have girls, you need to go to the library and get it, right now!
All of the friends came dressed up in their fanciest clothes. One girl wore every piece of dress-up she owned, I think. We spoke with accents and had a runway show. The boy was our butler and won the hearts of all the little girls.Look at the little girl with all of the feathers. She had on layers of dress-up. This may have been the best day of her life.

Parfaits were served instead of birthday cake. The girls decorated their own which meant more sprinkles than ice cream. Oh, but they were Fancy!
This child lacks personality, don't you think?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Wood Haul

This was a very familiar scene in my childhood: Dad with a chain saw. Not only did he start a lot of projects around the house with one, he also cut wood. Weird, huh, using a tool for what it was intended (butter knives are not screwdrivers, fingers are not toothbrushes). Anyway, we had a wood fireplace and it was our sole heat source. We cut a lot of wood.My uncle had some slash piles he needed cleaning up and though my parents don't rely on the wood heat as much now, they still burn as much as possible. What a great chance for my pods to learn about my childhood! It wasn't nearly as rugged as our old wood hauling days, but . . . they got a taste.We all worked. It didn't matter how cute your outfit was, everyone pitched in. "Someone please pull up my pants."
Our work force consisted of a lot of kids and my two retarded brothers. So much desire. One of the four adults (me) was holding a fussy baby and taking pictures.

This is Mom and Zachery. The Good Daughter and Danny Boy. Daniel was the happiest boy you ever met while I was visiting. He has always been my little boy. This was not just smiling for the picture, we had a great time. Hauling wood was always a fun adventure for me as a child, too. There is something about working together as a family; it is a fun, unifying time. As our great-grandma used to say, "Many hands make light work."Now they know me, their Mothership, a little bit better. And there is wood for winter.A regular modern-day Ingalls Family.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Another Hit

For those of you with a child (or children, of course) in the 7+ category, this is a great, first sci-fi book. I had been hearing about it for years and we finally picked it up for a family read-aloud book. I read over an hour each night until we finished because NONE of us wanted to put it down (this includes 31 year old me). We finished last night and raced to the library this morning to pick up the next in the series. It reads fast, but brings up a lot of discussion points (totalitarianism, population control, propaganda) that are difficult, but worth coming up with an opinion about. I love when pods asks questions like, "Why would any government think that (the evil thing that will give too much away) is okay?" Alright! Let's talk about it now, in the safety of home, when you are 9; otherwise you will be forming an opinion when you are 19 and vulnerable with the advice of a professor with whom I don't agree.

Wow. That last sentence was awfully pregnant.

Well, anyway, good book.