laborofwonder

Where Whine Meets Wine

My Eyes! My Ears! They’re Everywhere!


There’s something about this last week that has left me feeling like I have a newborn. Up in the night, crowded bed, awakened by crying… except with a newborn all you have to do is feed them and they’re happy again, and you get to have a teeny-tiny personal all snuggled up to you. These things need specific foods, and it’s never what I’m trying to give them. And where did that stupid box of Kleenexes go? Or the other three of them I just bought? And Littlest pinched Miss. And Miss is trying to shove Biggest out of the rocking chair because she was sitting in it first. Because she was the last to sit in it last night, that counts as first for today. Even though her older brother has been cozied up in it, quietly reading a book for the last half hour. Other than that book he just threw as I walked by- so that I could put it away for him and get him another one.

Suddenly, I find myself wide-eyed, and frustration burning in my ears. They get very quiet and lean as far back as they can, away from me. They know it’s coming. They can hear the kettle’s steam whistle a’whistlin’… I take a very long, deep breath. I close my eyes and I pray outloud. Lord, let me love these crazy, little children. Let me see them the way you see them today. 

They looked back and forth between each other. They looked at me skeptically. Are your eyes not working? I hear a small voice ask. Another one chimes in with, Do you not have eyes everywhere anymore? Followed by a whisper between them, Maybe she won’t be able to see us when we’re playing in my room anymore. C’mon, let’s go.

I don’t even bother suppressing my laugh. I just laugh. And I see them. Finally starting to see some relief from the cold/allergy plague that’s kept them down this past week. Tired from their coughing waking them up at night. Stir crazy from being trapped inside, between the sudden cold snap and their colds. But from amid all of that, they see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Mom may have gone crazy enough that she no longer can see us getting into trouble when she’s not there. 

And just like that, I am snapped back to reality. I see kids who are tired of not feeling well. MissE has asked several times in the last few days, What can I do to feel better? or Will this make it so I don’t feel like this anymore? And I have made homemade chicken noodle soup, which then turned into chicken pot pie (apparently adding peas and corn made it the most amazing meal for them!). I have made fruit smoothies and poured countless glasses of orange juice. I  have taken more showers in the last week (while holding a little one) than I normally do in a month. Ok, that may be an embellishment. But honestly, not by much. And finally I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Snot is drying, coughs are abating, and a little bit of sleep was even to be had. So there is the light. I may have to drag them by their shoestrings, or lure them with chocolate… but I’m dragging them to that light.

{Overheard}

(Biggest E:)You need to flap your wings some more.

(MissE:) Like this? Ok, here I come.

(LittlestE: )Turn! Turn! Mine! Fly! Me!

(MissE:) Do you think Littlest should take a turn?

(Biggest:) No, MissE, he’s too little to fly. Oh, I guess he wants to. Ok, let him try.

(Me:)  No more jumping off the top bunk, and for the hundredth time, do not teach your brother to fly!

(Biggest:) Do you think all her eyes are working again?

(MissE:) Yeah. [whispers] Least she doesn’t have ears everywhere so can’t hear us being naughty.

(Me:) Yes, I do. And I heard that.

(All): Scream.

Biggest: We’re never going to have any fun!

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A Direct Hit


Do you ever have one of those days where you want to just turn around, turn the lights back off, and get back into bed? Never? Ok, that’s it. We’re officially not friends. For those of you who know what I’m talking about… here’s to another round of coffee!

Saturday was such a day for me.

I needed to pick up a few things from the grocery store. Not a ton, just a few. The kids weren’t yet dripping, but were sniffling, and I wanted to make them my homemade chicken noodle soup. So I needed some more Organic Chicken Broth, an MSG-free version of Chicken Bullion Cubes, and a few other odds and ends that we were out of/running low on. Not more than a basket-full worth of groceries. When I pulled into the parking lot I was in shock. I’d NEVER seen our little grocery store that busy. The parking lot was full. I might as well have walked there because I think it took me longer to find parking than it would have to walk the just under .5 mile. I finally park, and go inside. There are exactly 2 carts left in the store. This is all shocking because while Saturday’s are typically busy, they’re not so busy that they ever have more than 3 cashiers. (I’m not kidding.) I’m pretty sure it was busier than Christmas Eve. I’m already annoyed at this point, because c’mon people, you’ve known about Easter all year long and yet here you are, frantically scurrying around like the world will end if you do not try every new recipe you found on Pinterest, and trying to take my cart out of my hands and the onion from within my reach.

Don’t get me wrong, I feel for you, and I know what it’s like when you’re not as prepared as you perhaps, should have been. But I’ve got sick kids, and a day of fun cancelled. So my sympathy is a little short-lived.

I finally make it to the soup aisle, trying to gather the last of my soup ingredients. I find the broth right away, but the bullion is being elusive. I stand there, scanning the rows over and over. Knowing full-well it had to be there and I was just missing it.  The aisle was full of people, and I was doing my best to stay out of everyone’s way. There was one lady in particular that seemed to be looking for things in the area I was standing. Three times I smiled and moved so that she could get through or in between myself and the shelves. Not once did she apologize, say excuse me, or even smile in return. She seemed exasperated that I was continuously in her way. I apologized saying (more to the store worker who frequently visits with the kids and I on our many walks to the store), My kids aren’t feeling well and I’m trying to make them some homemade soup and I just can’t seem to see what I need, even though I know it’s here. Store worker asks what I’m looking for and I tell him, and he starts to scan the shelves for my ultra-elusive MSG free, gluten free, natural chicken bullion. And I kid you not, while he was looking, the lady had the audacity to half say to me, half mutter to herself, Maybe if you’d have waited till you were an appropriate age to have children, you’d be old enough to know how to cook and where to find things. I froze completely. I look at her wide-eyed and disbelieving. I had to rerun it in my mind to make sure that actually happened.

I stood there a few moments, just staring at her in shock, before finding my voice. I was a little surprised to hear myself saying, I am thirty years old! And I am glad my children weren’t here with me, to be experience your rudeness! (I’m not actually 30… but I’m in the latest of my 20’s, which is close enough.) At this point, the worker realized he may have a cat fight on his hands, interjected with, Her children are some of the most well-mannered ones that come through our store. She rolled her eyes! And then acted all offended and walked away muttering about how if I was really thirty, I would have more manners. I stood there for a moment, just taking it all in. And then I grabbed the bullion from the poor man’s hand and ran to the checkout and got the heck outta there. I knew if I did anything else one of two things would happen. Either I’d find her and deck her, or I’d burst into tears. So I fled. And had a cry in the truck before heading home. Not because my feelings were hurt, but because I was SO angry. I mean, who talks that way to a stranger, let alone anyone! Livid would not begin to explain my emotions.

Looking back on it made me think about when THIS happened, or when I wrote The Muddy Mommy. After my cry (and a few days to calm down) I realized that it wasn’t just that I was embarrassed at the whole scenario or that I was angered by her words. I was angered by the way I was treated by another woman, possibly by another mother. Maybe she is a young grandma projecting her feelings onto me. Maybe she is not a mother, projecting those feelings onto me. Maybe she is just one cranky lady. I don’t know the feelings, or thoughts behind her words. And with most of our daily interactions, we don’t know what is going on in the people we encounter. But I do know that now that I can be rational about this scenario, that I will be more intentional about my interactions with strangers. I’ve had strangers make my day seem worthwhile, and I’ve had strangers make my day infinitely worse.  That’s the thing about choosing to live with intention, and wanting to model that for my children… I need to be intentional about the way I interact with others, whether they’re people I interact with on a daily, weekly, monthly, one once in a lifetime. I can be passing out smiles and warm-feelings, or I can aim and fire to make sure of a direct hit, like the one I received. Either way I can choose. You can choose. Life is hard enough, why would we want to add to that? Besides, if you’re so busy aiming at me, you could be missing out on an opportunity for us both to walk away feeling some reprieve of life’s trials.

And next time I attempt a trip to the grocery store on a weekend, let alone a holiday weekend, I’ll make sure I am properly coffee-fueled.

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Lego Land


So we missed out on visiting my brother yesterday. And Biggest spent a good chunk of time, unmoving, on the couch. Which is pretty unusual for him. By lunch time he was willing to go for a quick stroll to the store for smoothies (hello! pump this boy with Vitamin C!) and ham! (2 of my Bigger Two’s favorite foods. Roll it in spinach and they’d be set for life. I know, my kids are  funny, little creatures.) Ok, so I maybe, might have, insinuated that he could pick out a redbox movie. But that wasn’t until we were already on the way to the store. If he really didn’t feel good enough, I would not have taken him. He’s not like death bed sick, but he’s cold sick. Where he has a cough when he lies down, has a bit of the sniffles (thankfully it’s not like the snot running down his face kind), and is all around stuffy. Which, obviously, doesn’t feel very good. But we were down to our last box of tissues and Biggest thought it would be cool to pick out his very own box.

The trip was rather uneventful. Littlest fell asleep while walking around the store. (And of course woke up as soon as we strolled into the driveway.) On the way home we received a phone call from another brother of mine. Whatcha Doin’?  He asks in a tone, that for him, always means, I’m a little bored and wondering if you have something to do that I’ll think is fun. That or, I miss the kids. Or I’m hungry, what are you making for dinner? But I digress. I told him of Biggest’s congestion woes and said we’re mainly just having a snuggle-up-on-the-couch kind of day. Having a feeling he’d be showing up, I picked up a couple of his favorite snacks and headed home.

The kids quickly snuggle up on the couch, munching on their ham, to watch a movie while I try to quickly do some “sprucing” before their uncles arrive. Thankfully our deck is arranged in such a way (with lattice for sides so that there’s no railings or slots or anything to worry about children slipping through) that a baby gate keeps Littlest in and he is free to “color” to his hearts content. By color I mean, eat chalk. Since that’s mainly what he seems to do.

Can you see the chalk on his face and the corners of his mouth (from eating it)? Its also all over his legs and arms.

Lo and behold, the Uncles show up. Along with over 15 lbs (that’s right, POUNDS) of legos. Biggest squeeled in delight. MissE squeeled in delight. Littlest dumped it all out, in delight. I also knew hubbyman would love this as well. In fact, I’m not sure who enjoyed building legos more. Biggest or his Uncles.

the tower started out as the chrysler building, but between all the other things being built, he ran out of blue and yellow. The tower is close to 4 feet tall.

While he is still a little sniffley, but he slept all night through- in his own bed. Wanted breakfast. And wanted to play legos vs watch a movie. So I’m thinkin’ that’s progress.

Welcome to Lego City

So…. I’ll just get to it. I am soooo thankful for such wonderful brothers who are amazing uncles!

I am thankful that even though visit with one uncle didn’t work out, we were able to reschedule for this weekend!

I am thankful Biggest didn’t get really sick.

I am beyond measure thankful that Littlest is more than well on his way back to his happy, clowning self.

I still can’t eat in the same room with him (or he won’t eat. He’ll just climb out of his high chair and cry and fuss and WILL.NOT.EAT.), but he has started eating more. And is overall happier. Which means hubbyman can come home without me bursting into tears for the first time in weeks.

I am thankful for a girl who is so mothering that she takes all of Littlest punches with humor. Sometimes literally. (*Sigh*)

I am thankful for warmer weather. (I’m just itching to get the garden all planned out and started)

I am thankful for all the flowers I transplanted from the house I grew up in. It is so fun to see them grow, and know where they came from.

I have more to be thankful for but they’re not quite ready to be shared (No, no baby news… why does everyone go there?). Hopefully next week there will be more to be thankful for, that can be shared out loud! (Or online…)

 I’m thankful for hubbyman. My feet get so cold at night, I could never sleep without him.

Also, I am thankful for legos.

I am also thankful they're keeping them off of the floor and out from under my feet!

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What Are You?


So I came across these on facebook and can’t seem to find the real, actual link to where they came from… but I thought they were interesting.

Here’s an article  and another article  or yet another article they may be based on.

WHICH ONE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN?

This may give away which category I fall into, but I took two tests to find my answer.

The first test I took said that I’m slightly introverted.

(you can take it here)

The second test I took said that I am equal parts introverted and extroverted.

(you can take it here)

It just got me thinking about the way hubbyman and I relate to each other, and in turn how we relate to our children, them to each other, and how our kids relate to us. It makes my head spin a little bit. Each of us generally relate to each other in the way that feels most comfortable to us. But what if we were to relate to others in the way that feels most comfortable to them?

I’ve actually been thinking a lot about that, as I’m trying to figure Littlest out. My happy boy is finally back after weeks of… I don’t even know how to describe it. But it wasn’t good, and it wasn’t fun, and there wasn’t much sleep. But he’s not exactly the same as he was before… and I know, he’s growing and every month he grows by leaps and bounds. Both physically and developmentally. So it only makes sense that he wouldn’t be the same as he was a few weeks ago. He’s changed. And I’m learning him anew. Today, I am trying to relate to him in a way that’s relatable. At least a toddler version.  And while we’ve previously done an “Unplugged Monday,” I’ve decided that we’re going to do an Unplugged Wednesday instead. Which means no TV shows, no computer games/programs, and especially no movies- at least not during the day while the sun is out and mommy is caffeinated. I am soooo enjoying the quiet it brings. Which is why  now, my friends, I am turning my computer off as well.

May your Hump Day be filled with whatever brings you peace- be it a room full of people or the silence of time alone.

And a good glass of wine.

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Ode To Sangria


This week has felt like it’s been a taste of extremes. We’ve had moments that felt like they were tastes of heaven, and nights that have surely been a taste of hell. Last weekend Biggest spent the weekend with his grandparents, and so I was left with just the younger two. And we had so much fun. Miss usually hangs with her bigger brother, so it was fun to see her and Littlest learning about playing together.

These two are something else. Miss is a chatter box and Littlest is the proverbial head strong bull in the China shop. They’re a little yin and yang, but usually, it works out. She’s mothery, and he’s fearless. She taught him to climb up all the ladders, and he taught her that the biggest tunnel slides are not so scary.

I just love that I captured their expressions!

On the way back we took a path through the “jungle” (a wooded trail), and Miss paused, looked closely at this pile of birch logs, followed by a sigh and a shaking of her head, nope, those aren’t diamonds.

Our weekend was followed by the crankiest, angriest Littlest boy we have ever seen. He has those terrible “2 year molars” coming in. Seems a little unfair, since he’s not even two. At least if he were 2, he’d have more words to convey his feelings. Yesterday was the first day all week for his nap to last even an hour, and last night he only woke up twice. Which in comparison is pretty good. However, his second waking was at 3:30 and while his teething medicine calmed him quickly, he lay restless and awake until around 5:30. Let’s just say this mama is going to need a lot of coffee for survival purposes today.

In the midst of the sleeplessness and the fussing, I am thankful.

I am thankful for the fun I had with my 2 littler ones.

I am thankful for the fun Biggest got to have- even if it was without me.

I am thankful I was with my dad when I locked my keys in the truck.

I am thankful that teething doesn’t last forever.

I am thankful for my hubbyman.

I am thankful for my family.

I am thankful for my friends.

I am thankful for friends who come over “just to hang out.”

I am especially thankful for the full pitcher of sangria I have sitting in my refrigerator.  So thankful, I’m even willing to share. Some.

(for my sangria recipe, go here. Do it. It’s worth it.)

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I SHOULD Be Napping


I was hoping to do a post on maple syruping today… but I left my CD with all the pictures I took during the season in the truck… that is currently being driven by hubbyman. And can I just reiterate how annoying it is to have letters that don’t work on your keyboard! I had no idea how often I used those letters! Ugh. So I may still do the post later today, as he should be coming home for lunch. But the day has yet to unfold so we will see how it turns out! But you will see a post on it eventually, because I love the photos, I love the season, I love the syrup, and my syruping family!

I stayed up waaaay too late trying to catch up o the ever mountainous piles of laundry. It was pretty successful, but I am completely exhausted. I am hoping that it means we can just enjoy our day today. So far we’ve had movie snuggles, breakfast, and we’re currently doing some school work. Littlest is coloring Elmo. (Or Melmo as he calls him) MissE is requesting she get new letters in her name so she can try writing something else. I told her that she could just write other letters, but apparently she can only write letters that are in her name. And biggest is practicing his number writing skills. I am so thankful they enjoy learning and sitting and doing their lessons. Even if it’s just for now.

Aaannndddd since it took forever to write this with the on-screen keyboard… here are some things I’m really thinking.

(credit: designismine.blogspot.com)

(credit: www.someecards.com)

This is why I live in Minnesota!

(credit: pinterest.com)

(credit: someecards.com)

(credit: someecards.com)

And lastly….

(credit: someecards.com)

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Choose Joy


It sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? To just choose joy. But it’s not. But I’m trying. The truth is, when we first became parents, hubbyman had a bit of a short fuse. But his patience has grown with every year, and every child. And the sweet, sweet man that he is prays for patience and a softening of his heart, every night. Heartmelting, right?

My story is not so heartwarming. I’m pretty sure I was much more even-keeled, cool, calm, collected, and patient when I was a brand new mommy. But the brand new, wide-eyed mommy soon became the mommy of three. Three of the age where we’ve had 2 times of 2 in diapers (Biggest & Miss, and then Miss and Littlest. I guess by the time of littlest she was down to just nighttime, but still.). Which means that they are still ages where they often wake up at night. Ok, so the bigger ones don’t get up nightly and sometimes they’ll both stay sound asleep for weeks. (Ok, they don’t sleep for weeks, but they stay asleep, in their own little beds every night for weeks.) But Littlest normally still wakes at least once. Usually twice. And I’m with them all. day. every. day. EVERY. DAY.  I guess what I’m trying to say is that they have worn me down. My sweet little children that look like they could do no evil have (on more than once occasion) left me hiding and crying in the bathroom. My ego and my pride feeling bruised and beaten at the fact that I’ve been outdone by three children under five.

Part of the problem is my own fault. I am not good about fulfilling my own needs. Allowing myself a break now and then, instead of the every few months that it usually ends up being. Hubbyman gives himself breaks in the form of projects in the garage, working in the yard, or planning things on the internet, or drowning himself in the latest political debacle. What does that mean for me? Well, it means that after having a baby on my hip, a girl hanging on my leg, and a big boy who follows behind me closely… it means that I am also the caretaker for the evening. Suffice it to say by the time the kids go to bed, I have to stay up for another hour, just to regain some sense of self before going to sleep and doing it all over again! But when I take a breath, a very deep breath, I can remember all the things I really love about them and staying home with them. And I can refocus on the truth: that there’s really no place I’d rather be, no job I’d rather be doing, than staying home with them. And that’s the truth. And today I am choosing joy. I am choosing to end this post, turn off the computer, turn off the cartoons, and really listen to their sweet words, to really play trains, even if he won’t let me choose my own words to say. To brush a million different dollies’ hair, and to take Littlest to the bathroom for the bazillion time, just because he likes to sit on the potty and sing songs to me. And that’s a whole lot to be thankful for.

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Simply Organized


Ok, so this isn’t a foodie post (sorry!) and I do promise to do more of those. Especially as summer comes around! But today was grey and rainy. Which left me with kids jumping off furniture and onto each other.  So we sat down with puzzles. If you have kids, they have puzzles. Ours have 14 of them.

Maybe that doesn’t sound like a huge number, but when you think of it in terms of how many individual puzzle pieces you’re left with- it’s a lot. And when they all get dumped out all over the place, it can be downright overwhelming.

I once blogged about it, but there were no pictures, and not a lot of description, and since we’ve spent the afternoon doing puzzles, I decided to share with you my puzzling system!

Take a puzzle: the board and the pieces.

Turn them all over and write a coordinating number (or letter) on the back!

Boxes get destroyed quickly, so I put them in zip-locks, marked with the corresponding number!

This is awesome on many fronts! First of all, it’s no longer a huge headache to figure out which puzzle goes with what board, or puzzle pieces. And hello, number recognition!? My kids can (5, 3, and 20 months) can look at the back of the puzzle piece and find the bag with the corresponding marking. Teaching, cleaning, organization all in one? You know I love that!

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You Might Wanna Stand Back


Ever wake up and just feel so cranky that people just instinctually move away from you as quickly as possible? I’m pretty sure that happened this morning when hubbyman dared to wake me up. At least, I think that’s what happened, he moved away so quickly that I can’t really be sure. Today is the day of supposed tree trimmers. I had to get up before the sun this morning because they were going to be here early (I don’t understand why so early because they couldn’t start working that early, without my neighbors lining up with pitchforks -I wouldn’t blame them, if it was people in their yard when I was sleeping, I’d do the same.). It’s a half hour past when they said they’d be here and no sign so far. If they don’t show up before too long, they should be more afraid of me than hubbyman was this morning. 

So they got here. Right after I posted that they’d better show up (maybe they knew their lives were in danger). And promptly began cutting trees in the front. Even though they said they’d start in the back. (I may be nit picking.) And it also promptly woke up Littlest. Who is not used to the sound of chain saws with his morning snooze. Have I mentioned I’m an absolute delight in the mornings? Or that Littlest woke up at 3 and demanded (and I mean demanded) a bottle. When I came back with a bottle, he had found a pacifier (a new discovery of his. that’s right, new, at 20 months.) and refused the bottle. And then laid there, just looking at me with his wide-awake, wide-open eyes for the next two hours. At least Littlest is enjoying watching the big truck they have parked in our driveway instead of whining.

I was going to write 2 reviews today (of some really lovely products- a facial moisturizer and some laundry detergent), but I can’t really think straight with all the whirring, and barking, oh, and the whining. But I’ll probably stop all my whining when the coffee kicks in. Which should be about noon. Crap. Here come Biggest and MissE, and from the sounds of it, they’re as pleased to be awake as I am. We’re off to a great start. Maybe I can convince them to climb back into bed with me and we can rewind this whole scenario. Or at least pretend like we’ve had a fresh start.

*New Addition*: If I was cranky before, I’m pretty livid right now. After hearing a huge thud of a big branch landing directly on my cute, vintage, irreplaceable patio table, I ran to the door and apparently said what I was thinking out loud. I know this, because my daughter ran to the window to say, who did you yell oh, hell-o to? I have found one thing to be thankful for this morning- my daughter’s hearing, or interpretation of my words.

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Days Like These


our stairs are in there

the only face he's willing to have photographed, his winkin' face

the only way to get a non-wiggling picture

We went to the outdoor zoo a week ago, how come now we have to stay inside THIS zoo?

Welcome to winter... even though spring is 3 weeks away, winter decided to come last night. In the form of snow, rain, ice, sleet, and hail.

I’m tired, it’s cold, and everything is covered in white icy-ness. So a photo blog day it is!  I’ll be staying warm by folding mountains of fresh-outta-the-dryer laundry, staying inside because the idea of spending an hour getting them all dressed and ready to go outside only to come in five minutes later raises my blood pressure,  and I will be cuddling up with littlest trying to convince him to take a nap so he’ll stop unfolding all the laundry.  Hope your day brings you warmth like a cup of hot chocolate, the joy of staying inside, and someone to cuddle up with!

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