Ethan decided to go shirtless around the house after church today. I didn’t notice for a while until he came and stood by me at the piano. His skin was blotched with purple and the following conversation ensued:

Me: “Your skin is blotched with cold. Go get a shirt on, buddy.”
Ethan: ” But I’m not cold!”
Me: “Yes you are. Your skin says it all.”
Ethan: “I don’t hear it.”
Then pointing to his tummy, “Look, it doesn’t have any mouths!”
Last night, shortly before bed, Caleb was enjoying a bowl of popcorn with his Hi-5 DVD when suddenly we heard:

Hubby: “What is it buddy?”
Caleb: “My teefs! Paw-corn’s stuck!”
Hubby: “Show me where.”
Caleb pointed to the offending popcorn kernel stuck between two of his “teef” and hyperventilated while daddy went to grab a tooth pick to get it out.
Hubby: “Say Aaahhh.”
Caleb: “Aaaaaahhhhhh!”
Hubby: “There, I got it.”
Caleb: (After licking his teeth and smacking his lips a couple of times) “Yeah, you dot it!”
Hubby: “Give me a hug buddy.”
Caleb: “Fanks for sabing me daddy!” (now looking at me) “Daddy sabed me!”
And with a satisfied smile he went merrily on his way, leaving Hubby and I to giggle over the daring rescue that had saved our son.
I am thankful every day for a multitude of things, but on different days different blessings are in the forefront of my mind. Today, I am so thankful for laughter and for the children who make me laugh every single day. I love them more than…well, if you’re a parent you know that my love for them cannot be described. But it is there and feeling love like that brings the greatest joy I’ve ever known.

And because I wouldn’t want Hubby to feel left out I guess I should say I’m thankful for him too. :)
In all seriousness, I can’t imagine a better husband, better marriage, better father, better counterpart. I know not everyone has found someone like that. I am truly thankful I have. Whether you’re thousand of miles from family and alone (like us) or surrounded by numerous loved ones, I hope today is a wonderful Thanksgiving Day for you.
I came home exhausted last night, vowing never to try getting professional pictures taken of the kids again.

It all started at Walmart. They’re inexpensive and I just wanted one nice picture package of my 3 children together. I should have known the first time we tried that it was not to be.

We entered Walmart at around noon. The kids were dressed in church attire, well fed and ready to go. We had been sick all weekend, which is why Ethan was home from school, but I felt the children were well enough and calm enough (due to illness) that now was the time to try. We had been in the waiting area for 20 minutes when Ethan told me he had to go to the bathroom which was right around the corner. So I sent him on his way.

Moments later I heard a small anxious sounding, “Momma!” coming from the bathroom. I saw Ethan peeking out of the door and he slowly emerged. There were mustard like stains down his pants and at the bottom of his white shirt. He was nearly in tears as he told me he got poop on himself. Diarrhea. He was clearly embarrassed and I wanted to thump myself for not thinking to accompany him in case he was still suffering from it. You see, Ethan has been in the habit of squatting on top of the toilet seat to relieve his bowels, since his earliest days of potty training and we’re still working to convince him he won’t fall in if he sits his butt down on the toilet seat. Thus the sprayage of the diarrhea on everything.

I put his jacket on him so at least his shirt was covered and whisked the kids over to the children’s clothing section where I quickly picked up some clearance slacks and a white dress shirt. At the check out I reached into my diaper bag and, behold, no pocket book.

Did I mention that this Walmart, the closest one with a photo studio, is 25 minutes from our home?

I keep blankets in the back of the car in case of emergency so Ethan sat on top of a blanket in soiled pants for the ride home. Once showered and dressed in new clothes he asked to go back out. You see, I had told the kids we could go visit Santa at the mall today (to avoid having to do it later when crowds are big and lines are long) so I told him we would indeed go back out to see Santa. But since we were going to go back out we would try getting pictures again. And try we did.

After another relatively long wait and then a 1 hour photo session, we had pictures of all three children alone, but none showing them all together.

It proved impossible to get all three children to look at the camera at the same time, while smiling, with eyes open and sitting up straight. Caleb kept slouching and leaning into Ethan. Vanessa kept trying to squirm out of Caleb's arms. It was a fruitless endeavor and I still feel that it ought never to be attempted again.

Afterward we did make our visit to Santa even though I really just wanted to go home. The boys sat in his lap and told them what they wanted for Christmas and then I put Vanessa in Santa’s arms as well and asked for a picture. Miracle of miracles, they all three looked at the camera. The boys were smiling, Vanessa was not, but she still looks cute of course. They all looked at the camera and that more than half decent picture took 3 minutes to take.

Why didn’t I just go with Santa in the first place?
I awake to the tinkling of raindrops against my window. I see the trees, their bark a drenched, dark brown. The autumn leaves are more vibrant when wet. Clear drops of water cling to their undersides, until a falling drop shakes it off, replacing it.

I turn away from the window and look at the baby sleeping next to me. Each inhalation is accompanied by snorting sounds and a tiny snot bubble popping out of one nostril. Placing my hand gently on her forehead, I smile to feel that her temperature is now normal. I think of our night together. Her waking often because the snot was too thick to breath through. Me offering my breast each time because I knew it would comfort her and lull her back to sleep. I pull her close to me.

My youngest son now enters the room. “It’s seben o’cwock!” he announces, coming to my side of the bed.

He looks at me and the baby snuggled in the covers and with a visible shiver says, “It’s fweezink!” and begins to climb into bed. I help him in and he snuggles up next to me. Then, looking up with those wide blue eyes he says, “I wub you mom.”

I squeeze him tight and kiss his forehead. There is nothing better than morning snuggles and freely given I love you’s from a child.
Does anyone know how long it takes for permanent marker to come off of skin? Because in the one minute time span I left Vanessa with Ethan to get a diaper the other day, I found him with a Sharpie and the beginnings of what might have been great art, drawn onto her head. It has now been three days and washing and time have not dimmed it’s obvious presence.

In other news, I forgot to mention in my previous post the 4 rolls of Christmas wrapping paper I found yesterday morning, unrolled or crinkled beyond repair lying in my closet and in the boys room. I guess Santa can’t even use the pieces that weren’t destroyed if he’s doesn’t want to blow his cover.

Also Vanessa, who was previously attached to mommy has recently become completely dependent on mommy. And it’s not in the, I’m so sad I’m not in your arms, puppy dog eyes kind of way.

It’s in the, “You did not just put me down!!! I am so ticked!” kind of way.

It’s in the, “I was happy in daddy’s arms until I saw you!!!!” kind of way.

It’s in the, “I’m dragging myself across the floor towards you wailing with fury so pick me up already!!!” kind of way.

Hey, she knows what she wants. Food. That’s me. Come here Food!

There are the bad times, the really bad times and the downright ugly times. But eventually I can laugh about them all. Some things are much more funny in hindsight. And some things are funny in the moment and for no reason at all. Like Caleb who is right this moment pounding on the toy guitar causing Vanessa to giggle uncontrollably, causing Caleb to giggle uncontrollably. And mom is now giggling over their adorable little giggles. I love moments like these.
It was 6:30 a.m. The boys were wide awake as usual, slamming doors, playing their SpongeBob CD at top volume, all without thought of the sleeping baby that jerked in her sleep at each loud noise. I lay in bed in the state between awake enough to know I should do something about it and too tired to try. So I waited until little coos told me that the baby had woken up. She greeted me with sleepy eyes and a huge smile. I picked her up, and I very hesitantly opened my bedroom door.

The hallway floor was completely covered by blankets. On top of the blankets lay legos and Vanessa's entire package of diapers, strewn about. I could feel my temperature rising. Then I walked by the bathroom and stared in disbelief. The floor and counter top was covered in towels. I took a few steps backward and stared into an empty shelf in the hallway closet. A shelf where every towel I own had been neatly folded the night previous.

I stepped forward, went back into the bathroom and opened the cupboard beneath the sink to find sanitary napkins and scrunchies soaked. Everything else was covered in droplets of water.

Wow, it rained beneath my sink this morning. I could not believe what I was seeing. I could not believe that after I had told the kids time and time again not to play in the sink that they did this. Even more so, that they felt they could do it because I was half asleep.

I was so mad, for a minute. And then I took the baby out into the living room and just sighed. Sometimes, you get so tired of repeat offenses, you feel like yelling or inflicting punishment just won’t do any good. So I sat and read some blogs till I felt sufficiently calm. I reiterated to the boys that we do not play in the sink and that they were to pick up their mess right away. Which they did, under my supervision. I was proud that I did not lash out in anger.

Now how in the heck do I get them not to do something they know they shouldn’t do in the first place? *sigh*
Once a year, our church has a sacrament meeting program put on by the children in our church. Today was that day.

Hubby, Vanessa and I sat in our pew while Ethan and Caleb sat up front with their Sunday school classmates and teachers. The children took turns reciting memorized lines about various aspects of the gospel: family, church, Jesus, etc. And interspersed were sweet little voices singing songs that had been learned in Primary (children’s sunday school) over the last month.

I loved watching Ethan and Caleb hop off of their seats as the music director stood up, waiting for the cue to start singing. Ethan’s voice carried over to us for the first few songs. Caleb just stood staring at the audience with slightly glazed eyes nearly the whole time, obviously day dreaming about something. Toward the end of the program, Ethan had decided that 30 minutes was way too long to be on the stand singing songs and was fidgeting accordingly.

Caleb on the other hand had decided that now would be the perfect time to imitate the music director’s hand motions and make silly faces. So I watched, trying to stifle my laughter over my boys silly antics. And then I saw Caleb's Index finger pop up and head for his nostril. Yes, there must always be at least one nose picking child in every public performance, and this time it was my child. Unashamedly picking his nose and then *cringe* inserting the finger into his mouth. *splutter* *cough* *gag*

I was so proud.
Twas the day after Halloween and all through the place
Goofy grins were plastered on every kids face.

The sweet smell of candy pervaded the air
Wrappers lay strewn through the house everywhere.

The kids flew from room to room bouncing and twirling
While mom in her jammies, thought about hurling.

She held her poor head, tried to block out the light
She should not have snuck so much candy last night.

But the Runts and the Nerds and the Smarties so yummy!
Stop after just one? Not so said her tummy.

She ate then she slept and when first light, it came
She found herself hearing her kids yell her name.

“Momma I’m hungry for candy,” one said
While the other did cartwheels atop of her bed.

She looked at the clock and then let out a moan
“It’s 5 in the morning! Please, leave me alone!”

But the sugar that still buzzed through each kiddos brain
Gave them energy they found they just could not contain.

The day began too early, the mamma too tired
The house all a clutter and kids super wired.

Mamma’s grumpy and sleepy and feeling quite green
Maybe she will be smarter the next Halloween.

© Summer Owens 2007