Jul 30, 2013

Sometimes life is messy

Last week I forgot a load of laundry in the washer.  It sat, fermenting, for three days.  When I discovered my mistake, the load of wash (a big one--reds and pinks and oranges--my kitchen towels, bathroom rugs, and a good chunk of Kate's and Lexi's wardrobes) stunk. Bad. So I washed it again, and that didn't work.  I poured Oxy Clean and vinegar in the load, washed it again, and it didn't work.  Finally, I soaked the entire load in hot water and a whole lotta vinegar and baking soda.  The clothes soaked over night, and the towels soaked for 24 hours.  Here's what that looked like.

Eventually, after great care and patience, the stinky smell left and the laundry was fresh and clean once again. I've decided that's like life.  Sometimes an unexpected mess drops in my lap and I don't know what to do with it. I didn't go looking for trouble; it just found me and hurt more than I expected.  I try and try and try and that thing is still stupid and messy.  After a while, though, the mess lessens, and in time the stench fades and everything is back to normal again.

Right now my mess isn't super tragic.  It just feels stinky and stupid. I'm not sure what the vinegar-and-baking soda solution looks like yet, but I look forward to coming out on the other side all fresh and rosy.

P.S.  I'm being cryptic on purpose.  Giving details would be even more dramatic, and of course I wouldn't want that.

Jul 20, 2013

Do you love your neighbor?

There's a lady in my ward who has taken me under her wing.  She's probably my mom's age, with grown children and several grandchildren.  She checks in on me every so often and can always tell when I'm having a hard time.  She listens.  Plus she is super cheerful and funny.  I just love her.  Last Sunday she asked if my kids could come over and play in her back yard one day.  I agreed, wondering how that was going to work.

The outing was great, even for my big boys.  She had all kinds of games set up in her yard, including a basketball hoop, a jungle gym, and treasures buried in a sand box.  She baked cookies and made lemonade.  She and I sat in lawn chairs and talked while the kids played, and later she joined the boys in a basketball game or two.  It was great.

The one picture I took is a happy reminder of the morning we spent with Nancy, one of my favorite people.

Mr. T goes to the dentist

Apparently our kids hit the genetic lottery when it comes to teeth.  So far we have a child with an undersized and perpendicular tooth, and another with a missing adult tooth, a perpendicular tooth, and not enough room in his little mouth for all those big teeth coming in.  As you know, Zach was fitted with braces last week.  This week, in preparation for a semi-permanent space-maintaining device, our dentist had to pull four of Tyler's teeth. Poor kid!

Here's his pre-pull smile, with all baby teeth intact.  He did lose a bottom tooth just the night before.

Tyler first received a topical anesthetic (the sticks in his mouth), which didn't really work, and then a series of painful shots to numb him up before the procedure.  I didn't prepare him enough for that (in my defense, the staff was misleading about how much he would feel), and he was really hurting. Afterwards, with a total of five large gaps in his mouth, he chewed on some gauze to absorb the blood.  I'll spare you the internal photo Garry took.  It's gross.

Tyler was very, very brave during his appointment and has been mostly pain-free since the initial post-pull wave of pain came and went.  He has some trouble eating and has a slight lisp.  He's anxious for his adult teeth to fill in the gaps of his jack-o-lantern smile.

In other news, Tyler has been a reading maniac this summer. He has finished seven teen fiction novels, with at least one more to go before school starts.  He finished the library's summer reading program last month, but was disappointed to learn that the only t-shirts available are adult mediums, which drown  him.  He is still proud of his accomplishments. I'm so glad he is getting lost in the joy of reading.

Ball Boys

Tyler and Gavin have enjoyed a short season of baseball.  It has been short because they each missed their first practice and game because they were in Frisco, and they'll miss their last practice and game because we will be in Show Low, AZ for a family reunion next week.  That said, some commemorative pictures are in order.

Tyler did a great job on his team.  His fielding and batting improved.  He had some impressive hits and a couple of great plays.  He's a little unsure of himself, but he enjoyed the season and tried his best.

At Tyler's game last week, we spotted a funnel cloud atop Pike's Peak.  Pretty cool...from far away.

This was Gavin's first exposure to baseball.  His interest waxed and waned, depending on how much he was involved in the action.  Practices were very engaging; waiting in right field was not.  Running the bases was fun; sitting on the sidelines was not.

Before his game last week, Gavin ran around the skate park. He could scale the half pipes with no trouble at all.

Gavin loves to practice baseball at home.  He has a great arm! Hopefully the team experience will keep him motivated to play catch and practice the other fundamentals. We're always looking for a way to release that boy's energy!

Jul 13, 2013

Kate update

This girl is so great.

Kate is busy and crazy and talks non-stop.  She wants so much to be five, but she holds her own as a two-year-old.  As you can see, she tries/likes to put on her own shoes.  She is also completely offended that she can't take swimming lessons like her sister.

Kate adores being outside, especially when she has playmate.  She scales the play structure with such ease and balance that I don't worry (too much) about her anymore.  She loves the trampoline (and gets on and off like it's no big deal).  She has really enjoyed our little kiddie pool out back and loves the kid-sized picnic table.  The only thing Kate can't use on her own is the swings and she loooooves the swings.

Inside, Kate continues to raid the pantry and my make-up drawer.  She adores dolls, especially dressing them (aka having me dress them) in Granny's hand-made clothes. She enjoys the play "tichen" (kitchen) in her bedroom. Incidentally, I just rearranged her room to accommodate the little-kid toys that were living in Gavin and Lexi's bedroom.  I think she will love it.

Yesterday she figured out how to climb out of her crib, but she hasn't messed up the bedtime routine with her new skill. Yet. When I put her to bed I sing a few Primary songs to her. Her favorite is "I love to see the temple," and  she likes to go to sleep with her small, framed picture of the Denver Temple under her arm.  That makes me happy.

We gave potty training a try a couple of weeks ago.  Kate has been asking to use the potty.  She can talk and dress herself and half the time she wakes up dry in the morning.  I think she's too young to be completely independent, but I set aside some time to work on it.  Kate would have nothing to do with the whole thing.  She wouldn't drink and she wouldn't sit.  She did have fun playing all of the games I brought out.  I think the only upside to the failed attempt is that Kate is more aware of her body functions.  I have my eyes set on next summer.

Kate talks more than any of our other children did at this age. She strings together all kinds of phrases.  Some of my favorites: "Gavin did it."  "Mama kiss it better."  "Tank you."  "C'mere"  and "c'mon."  "My cup." "Hode you."  "Champeen (trampoline)."  "Mof (moth) scawy." "Brekdis (which sounds like breakfast but means meal or snack--she's hungry)." "Sippy tup."  "No go bed!"

Our little girl will be two in just six weeks.  I can hardly believe it.

Paper boys

Our boys became paper boys last week.  In other words, they each got their first job.

The Woodmen Edition is a free paper that is supported by advertiser money.  It is delivered on Fridays by kids and teens (and their mothers, I imagine) all over the city.  Several families in our ward have paper routes, and Zach and Tyler have been begging for the job and the income.  The pay is tiny--just 5 cents per paper per week--so our route of 200 papers pays $44.25 per month.  Zach and Tyler split the pay.  Twenty-two bucks seems like a ton of money to the boys, and they are happy to do the work (so far).

First they roll the papers and secure them with a rubber band.  On days when it's raining, or rain is forecast (like yesterday), the papers must be bagged.

Then we deliver them.  We were lucky enough to pick up a route very close to home.  I drive up and down each street and the boys throw the papers from the right side of the van.  Gavin and Lexi are mightily jealous of the whole operation, and they are desperate to fold and throw a few papers themselves.

Last week it took us over an hour to deliver the papers.  This week it took 30 minutes.  It would be super simple except that there are several houses on every street that have requested no delivery.  We have to watch out for those, and about once a month we have to pick up "dead papers," or the ones that have been sitting in the gutter for a while.  If papers pile up at one house or another, we add the address to the "do not deliver" list.  It's an interesting process.  I'm glad we'll have several weeks of experience when school starts and our afternoons are crunched.

I hope the boys stay excited about delivering the paper.  They would really like to pick up more routes because more papers mean more money.  We'll see.

Rites of passage

It's a new frontier: our first child has braces.  Here's Zach's final pre-braces smile.  He was plenty nervous but made it through like a champ.

I didn't stay next to him for the installation (is that the right word?) process, but here's Zach in the final stage:

And here's the boy-turned-teen afterward:

I think Zach looks at least a year older with braces on.  He's still really sore (48 hours later) and prefers drinking liquids to chewing foods.  Zach is already too thin...I hope his mouth heals soon!

Another rite of passage happened this week when Zach had his first sports physical.  Instead of handing intake paperwork to me, the receptionist handed it to Zach!  The doctor talked to him instead of me.  It was so interesting to pass the baton.

Zach's current height is 5'4" (98%) and 101 lbs (78%).

Zach is really interested in athletics and hopes to play a different sport every season during the school year.  We look forward to seeing what he chooses and how he progresses.  He has great potential as an athlete and we hope he can find his niche.

Jul 10, 2013

Simply summer

Oh, what do you do in the summertime?  Here's what we do.

Play in the pool.  (And also fill it will cereal, shoes, a bike, and a scooter.)

Read a good book.  (Tyler has read a few thousand pages this summer.)

Jump on a wet trampoline.  (See the five kids in there?)

Swing and climb.  (It's nice to see Lexi up there for a change.)

Play in the driveway.  (Or chill on a beanbag in the driveway, because that's normal.)

Enjoy a movie night with friends in the back yard.  (Garry built the stand for that screen the afternoon of the 4th.)

Color.  (This was a moment of silent wonder.)

Dance in the rain.  (Brotherly love...for a split second.)

In some ways, the summer is flying by.  I feel really busy, with at least one "something" on the calendar every day.  We are past most of the big events of the summer, and I'm surprised to realize it's the 10th of July.  How did that happen?

In some ways, though, the summer days are and I think we won't survive until school starts.  The kids are largely without friends and we all feel the deprivation.  I haven't been my usual rosy self (ha) so we haven't gone swimming or visited the zoo a single time (gasp!).  There are lots and lots and lots of sibling rivalry/duel-to-the-death scenarios.  The house is an utterly hopeless disaster all of the time, and that drives me bonkers.


Seeing these pictures reminds me of the happy moments, where everyone is smiling and relaxed and just having fun.  I guess we are doing OK after all.

pass it on!

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