Kev likes to help at the grocery store by putting food on the belt at checkout. Once, while putting a box of crackers on, he said to the cashier, “Here you go, Worker.” Sounded like such a snob. He sorta made up for it by then turning to the bagger and asking, “How are you doing today?”
While getting buckled into his carseat, Kevey was telling me a story. I interrupted to ask him to put his book down so I could get his arm through the strap. He grabbed his ears and said, “It is MY turn to talk and YOUR turn to listen.”
We think he has a future working for a radio station. If we’re listening to a cd he’s familiar with (OneRepublic’s latest is his current obsession), he makes sure to yell out the name of each song once it begins. “Mommy! It’s ‘Secrets’! ‘Secrets’ is on!! ‘Secrets’ is on right now, Mommy!” And with each song he asks the same questions every single time. “Why does he say he has no family he can blame?” “Why does he say that about truth?” “Is he playing the cello right now?” The rest of the time he strums his cardboard (or invisible, in the case of the car) guitar and sings along.
I think the Kevey-ism that we hate the most is “Actually…” (which he pronounces ash-she-lee). He will find a way to correct everything we say, starting or ending with that dreaded word. Bern and I just can’t seem to stop being idiots, so we’re thankful that Kevey can tell us how things really are. Here’s an example of how this works (with 4 options as Kevey’s response):
“C’mere and get your shoes, little guy.”
“No, I’m BIG actually!” or “Actually these are boooooots!” or “I have to get socks first actually!’ or “Actually I want Daddy to do my shoes!” As you can see, my request was moronic on so many levels, and poor Kevey has to settle on only one aspect to rebuke me about. It’s stressful for me to be so dumb all the time, but it must be even more stressful to be 3 and already decades smarter than your parents.
And the grand finale. We were chatting about how it will be nice to visit the Carbos in LA. Kenzi said, “When I go to Los Angeles, I will tell Penn that December is Diciembre in Spanish.” Kevey said, “When I go to Miss Angeles, I will give Buster [their super-silly dog] a hug. And then I will kiss him on the…….buttcrack!”
(That title is to encourage me to write a part 2. We’ll see.)
Kenzi started back at school on Jan 3rd and it was almost harder to send her back to school than it was at the beginning of the year. We’d adjusted to our routine of having her at school from 9-2 (aside from a sick day nearly every other week) and it had become the new normal. Then she had two weeks off for winter break and it just wasn’t nearly long enough. I loved having her around all the time. I loved that Kevey had someone to entertain him. I loved that we could have playdates involving both kids. And let’s face it, I loved having lazy mornings. Maybe when she’s in 5th grade and starting to think she’s too cool to hang out with me, then I’ll be the mom who’s relieved that school’s starting up again. But for now, it’s grudgingly that I took her back to school.
I’m thankful that Kenzi loves her teacher and loves her class and it’s so fun to see how much she’s learning. From what her teacher says and from what we’ve seen, the academic stuff is a breeze for her but the social/emotional aspect is an issue every now and then. She sometimes panics and overreacts if things aren’t working like she thinks they should, and I could take a lesson from her teacher on talking her off the ledge without getting upset myself. I also think sometimes she gets a little overwhelmed by the physical size of the school; when we drop her off, she usually just wants to stand at the wall until the bell rings instead of going off to play. She doesn’t act nervous or anxious necessarily but just doesn’t feel comfortable approaching a group of friends to play. It sounds like she does fine interacting with classmates for the rest of the day so maybe it’s just the size of the playground and number of kids, bringing up the small-fish-big-pond insecurity. I was a supershy kid so I may be oversensitive to how she’s adjusting – overall she’s a much friendlier and outgoing kid than I ever was so I probably don’t need to be concerned. It’s just that temptation to compare your kids to everyone else’s kids, and depending on the area of comparison you either come away thinking you’re kid’s way better than everyone else’s or your kid’s extremely weird and in need of an emergency intervention.
In other news, our beloved Carbos moved to Los Angeles last week (is that it? just a week ago?) and we miss our buddies like crazy. I’m thankful they’re close enough that we can see them a couple times a year but supersad about not getting to see them all the time anymore. Probably didn’t help that in their last two weeks here, we saw them more than we normally would in a year. Instead of getting sick of them, we just realized more intensely how awesome they all are. And of course it’s after they move that Keves decides that he’s going to marry Indie. Don’t know what he’s got ’til it’s gone, that boy. He also said they will have two kids, named Lamby and Rhino. Bern gave him a hard time about it, but really, Hebrew-speaking folk would think we’re calling our son Lamby so it can’t be that weird of a name.
And in other other news, today is our anniversary. We will celebrate by dropping the kids off at Awana and rushing to dinner before we have to pick them up again. But it’s free childcare and we will take what we can get! Until part 2…
It rained pretty hard through most of CA on our drive down. We got our first glimpse of sunlight right before the AZ border, just in time for the sun to set. The first two days in Phoenix were overcast and I was ready to cry about my sunny vacay getting rained out. But it cleared up nicely and Christmas Day must have been near 80. I luv AZ winters!
We put Kev in a diaper for the drive just in case he needed to potty in the middle of nowhere. The boy stayed dry on both of the long hauls. He’s even better than his sissy when it comes to using public bathrooms.
Related to that: at a Chevron somewhere in the middle of CA I used a Dyson hand dryer for the very first time. Very sleek, very efficient. Would have been much awesomer if there wasn’t toilet paper all over the floor and if there had been soap to wash my hands with. Priorities, people.
The kids had just gotten over a cold so I thought we would have our first ever healthy AZ trip, but Kenzi came down with a nasty cough halfway in and had to be quarantined for most of Christmas Eve.
When Kenzi’s sick she starts talking a lot about heaven since we’ve told her there’s no sickness in heaven. Usually she just asks us to pray for her sickness and talks about how it’s great that she won’t be sick in heaven. But this time she started out with a lot of talk about death and questions about how old she’s going to be when she dies (along with “Does God want me to die?”), before transitioning into how Jesus is preparing a room for her in heaven and she hopes it will be a Toy Story room with pictures of Jessie on the wall and there should be two bunks beds in it so the four of us can have sleepovers all the time.
Tata took Kev to visit the local fire station. After getting a tour and having a great time, the firefighter asked Keves if he’s going to be a firefighter when he grows up. Never one to suck up, he replied, “No, when I grow up I’m going to drive a garbage truck.” A little while later he told Tata that he’s a good tata, but wouldn’t admit to anyone else that he said that.
Team Lamb was also in town so Team Williams got some of the old crew together our first night in Tucson. It was just like the old Crusade days (except with 10 kids 5 and under!).
I played Monopoly for the first (and second) time. Beginner’s tip – never play against the uncle who works in the oil and gas industry. You will be destroyed.
I spent something like 6 hours straight with my bff Ruth. With NO KIDS. It. Was. Awesome. Next time we may get the kids together too but this kidfree thing has to become at least a once-a-decade tradition.
Tia took the kids to the Tucson Childrens Museum, which sounds like the coolest kid place in the world. When they got back, Kev told me that he’s going to marry his Tia. And when we took a family picture a few days later he insisted on ditching me and sitting next to her.
Nana suggested that I make egg rolls on Christmas Day, which was something my mom always did. It was fun to take on that tradition and to remember my mom while cooking her signature dish.
The kids had way too much fun getting spoiled by all the family members. These last two days have been spent doing laundry, unpacking, and decluttering. I asked the kids to consider which of their old toys and books they’d like to give away, in order to make room for the new ones and in order to help out kids who may not have gotten many toys for Christmas. Kev got way too enthused at first and tried to give away two toys that he absolutely loves and that I know he would cry about when he actually realized what he was doing. I convinced him to give away some of the things he’s actually forgotten that he even has and he was pretty good about it.
Kenzi was caught up in who exactly these kids are that don’t have enough toys, and why their families don’t have enough money, and why we can buy things for our kids but other parents can’t buy things for their kids. Every answer led to another question, and poverty and orphans are just not things I can really explain to a five year old so I tried to just impress upon her that since we are fortunate enough to have more than we need, we have the privilege of giving to those who don’t. After that, she did a great job of giving things away and I hope that compassionate decluttering is a value she takes on for herself, both for the sake of society and for my sanity.
Now Kevey has the devil cough (it’s a windy day and after a big gust he actually coughed so hard he vomited) and he’s quite the cranky pants so I’m going to release him from rest time and let him watch a movie so I can get back to unpacking.
Until next time…whenever that is…
The last couple days were better than the previous ones. Tuesday we went to an open house playdate at a friend’s house and the kids showed just how starved they were for interaction with peers and with different toys. I broke my sickness semi-fast with pepperoni pizza – not the best idea straight out the gates but I couldn’t resist. I absolutely loved sitting in a comfy patio chair under the warm (but not hot) sun, talking and laughing with friends while watching Kenzi splash in the pool and Kevey scoop wood chips with a toy tractor. That night we went to the softball game. A few people were surprised to see us there since Bern wasn’t playing – I guess they didn’t realize that I go to the games to see my friends almost more than I go to see Bern. I may be a textbook introvert but I was sorely in need of that time out and about.
Wednesday we went to the beach with two of the pastors’ wives and a couple other ladies. I was the only one with little bitty ones, and it was an interesting glimpse into the green grass on the other side. The other ladies went for a long relaxing walk along the water. While they were gone the kids and I got out our pails, shovels, toy trucks, bananas, and fruit snacks. After they returned, they got out their beach chairs, their history novels, their sketchbooks, their high-powered cameras, their salads and grilled chicken and homemade guacamole. It’s like some weird parallel universe where going to the beach is play, not work. Don’t get me wrong, despite my jealousy I had a fabulous time. It was fun talking with some of the women that I don’t usually spend much time with, and the kids really did entertain themselves well, digging in the sand and exploring. I won’t go into the major meltdown that occurred when it was time to leave and we couldn’t find one of the trucks…
Today we went to the park and Mcdonald’s with the Carbos. I love seeing how the four stinkers make each other laugh and egg each other on (usually in a good way). If those Carbos end up moving, so help me I will buy a private plane so our little monkeys can stay supertight as they grow up. When we got home I decided to let the kids skip nap and play in the pool while I met with one of the college girls. It’s worked before but today it was a complete failure – they’re so sick of each other and I’m not sure why I thought the little mortal enemies would get along better in the water than they do on dry ground. Though I was contemplating telling my guest, “Surprise! You’re not here for discipleship – you’re actually here to babysit! I’ll be back in the morning; help yourself to anything in my empty fridge,” I decided to put on a video for the kids in the hopes of getting a half hour of meaningful conversation. To my happy surprise, the kids giggled and chatted through the video, then turned it off and played nicely together for another hour. But I’ve still learned my lesson about having meetings with kids.
Tomorrow we have our neighborhood playdate at the park and by the time that’s done, Bern should be ready for us to come pick him up from church. I know he has stuff to prepare for Sunday so I’ll try not to just run out on him the second he steps on our property. I’ll save my escape for Saturday afternoon when Nana gets here. Can’t wait!
Bern’s gone till Friday (took college group to help lead a Bible camp out in the middle of nowhere, near the CA/NV border) so let these next couple posts serve as official documentation of our time as a trio. Right now it’s pretty lame – we’ve passed around a stomach bug and have been sequestered from friends for five days now. It started Thursday, when we were getting ready to visit David and his super-pregnant mommy Michelle. I heard Kenzi upstairs yell out, “Ewwwww, Keves pooped on the floor! I just stepped in some poopoo!” I was both relieved and disheartened to find a little puddle of vomit on the carpet instead. So we called and canceled our playdate and relaxed around the house. In between the vomit and diarrhea diapers, that is.
Friday Kev was done throwing up but he went through diapers like a madman. Bern got home from work after I’d regulated a “naptime” of four diaper changes and he popped Kev on the potty. Wouldn’t you know, that dried him right up? Until a half hour later when he was back in his diaper and felt free to soil himself. Ugh. Potty training is for yuppies anyway.
Bern would be taking the church bus to camp the next morning so we made a family trip out of gassing up the beast. Kev wanted to tell stories the whole ride. “Shh, you have to be quiet. I telling a story. One time, Penn and Indie did not ride on the bus.” “One time, Thomas was driving on the track. He did not crash. He just drove around.” “One time, we were playing at church and Christopher squished a ladybug.” (That last one was true, and my kids can’t stop talking about it. And they’re on the lookout for more sociopathic tendencies, Mr. Christopher.)
The next morning we got up early(ish) to drop Bern off at church and I felt horrible. And not just because I’d miss my shnookie wookums. I had the Kevey disease. Not bad enough to throw up, thankfully, but pretty awful. Since Kev had seemed better by bedtime we had planned to stick around that morning to see everyone off but I wasn’t feeling it. So we trooped off to Walmart for Gatorade and just enough food supplies to see us through the weekend. I got to be that awesome role model of a mom dragging her biscuit-eating kids around the store in their pajamas. Then we came home and I spent the day on the couch, aside from diaper changes, meal prep for the kids (I mean that very loosely; we’re talking Kix with bananas for lunch and ramen with pretzels for dinner), and pulling apart my brawling children. By 7 I was starving so I had a handful of pretzels and was rewarded with a big wave of nausea. So I pretty much tossed Kev in bed after an impressively fast diaper change, ignoring his cries that he was going to get cavities because I didn’t brush his teeth. I told Kenzi to get herself ready for bed and go lay down, and she assured me she had it covered. Then I hopped in bed and watched tv for an hour before zonking out.
I woke up feeling a million times better, until I tried eating breakfast. Bad choice. Definitely skipping church. And skipping lunch, while we’re at it. We spent another day at home and I did a really poor job of entertaining the kids. By 4pm we were dying to get out so we went to church to look for a coupon I’d printed off for Kids Party Central, the big inflatable playplace we were planning to visit Monday morning. I’d invited some friends to join us and use our coupon. Usually the kids run around all crazy in the fellowship hall outside Bern’s office but Kenzi just went in his office and curled up on the chair, saying, “My legs are just so tired of running.” Yeah, that’s a bad sign. By the time we left, she was clutching her stomach and saying that it hurt. She didn’t want any dinner and spent the rest of the evening moaning on the couch. I emailed everyone that we weren’t doing Party Central and put the kids to bed. I thought I’d give this eating thing another try and heated up some chicken broth – let the nausea and early bedtime commence.
This morning, Kenzi woke up saying she was feeling great and she was able to have a good breakfast with no problem. I was glad to see she wasn’t sick but bummed that we’d canceled our playdate because I had looked forward to three hours of the kids bouncing themselves into exhaustion. We made a Target run and cleaned the garage and just putzed around the house. Right now we’re watching Jungle Book for the first time, and Kenzi keeps asking, “Is that a nice kitty or a mean kitty? Is that a nice wolf or a mean wolf? Is that snake nice?” And we haven’t even met Shere Khan yet. She is going to be seriously freaked out.
So the first half of the post wasn’t really for Bern’s sake since he was around for it, and the second half is really just a sad plea for pity. And definitely no pics since I’m ashamed of the state of my house. But we’re really doing ok, and tomorrow we have a playdate that I’m not canceling unless there is actual vomit pouring forth because we’re all in serious need of socialization. It’s humbling to realize that I’m not going to get a bunch of cleaning and organizing done like I’d thought, but resting’s not too bad either. I’ll update again soon, hopefully with tales of all the fun we’ve had and the people we’ve seen.
We just returned from our first family vacation in two years. I’m thinking we need to start doing this once a month. It was fun and refreshing and beautiful…and we forgot to pack the camera so the cell phone pics will have to do as usual. A family in the church let us use their cabin in Truckee, which is close to Lake Tahoe. It’s about 4 hours from here, which my road warrior kids can do with their eyes closed and one hand tied behind their backs, but I’m so used to our trips to AZ that I just couldn’t shake the hurry up and get in the car and let’s GO mentality. The kids and I get home from church, I throw some sorry excuse for a lunch at them and put on a video, and I start the final trip prep. When Bern* texts to say that he’s on his way home, I shift into hypermode. Then he sorta saunters in the house, casually loads up the car, washes the dishes that I was going to leave in the sink in hopes that our housesitter would pity me and wash them for me, and I’m going, “Who are you? This is not how we do road trips.” He says, “This is vacation, there’s no rush to get there, let’s just relax.” That just doesn’t compute.
Halfway there Kenzi says she needs to go potty. Inwardly I grumble, “She just went right before we left; since when does she need to potty after only two hours? This is totally throwing us off schedule.” Bern takes the next exit and asks if I want to stop at Ikea. I figure he’s joking so I choose the McD’s/Chevron combo, with the intention of running right back in and out. Instead we end up taking a half hour break and sharing some grub.
For the record, we never get fast food on road trips. We pack sandwiches so as to minimize our stops and our spending. While I still can’t quite reconcile it with the man I married, I decide I should just relax too. I think I like traveling with Vacation Mode Bern. (Also for the record, we did stop at Ikea on our way back home. I love letting the kids climb on someone else’s furniture for a change.)
On to the actual vacation. The cabin was perfect and had a great deck that we spent a lot of time on. The kids got to sleep in bunk beds but since there were two sets in one room, we made them each sleep on the bottom bunk. They still thought they were hot stuff though. Bern and I enjoyed sprawling out in a king sized bed, although last night back in our own eensy weensy queen bed we kept fighting for space. How quickly we adjust to luxury, and the thing we were once accustomed to now seems like slumming it.
Monday was our first full day. We drove up the mountain from the cabin and went for a hike. Kev is superslow, which I wouldn’t mind if he wasn’t also so cranky about it. “Mommy, I too tired. You should carry me. I tired of walking.” Two minutes in. We drug that boy up the mountain anyway and I know one day soon he’ll enjoy it a lot more. Kev quote for the hike: as we were going up a really steep part, he asked “Mommy, is the sky coming down?” “No baby, we’re going up.” “Oh. Yeah. We are.”
We saw a little patch of snow and Kenzi agreed to go check it out with me.
That afternoon we went to King’s Beach, which was the #1 recommendation we got from people who’ve taken kids to Tahoe. Neither Bern or I brought our phones to the beach so you’ll just have to take my word that it had the most amazing view. We were burning our feet on the sand while looking at snow-capped mountains. Keves was uncharacteristically brave with the water and we all had fun getting wet and playing in the sand.
The next day we went to the Donner Museum – totally fascinating to adults, a complete bore to children. Didn’t help that when they hear “museum” they think “Discovery Museum” and don’t understand why there’s no playground or water tables. I guess they liked the gift shop. And the sprinklers outside. And I don’t know about you, but I’ve never lived anywhere that it’s ok to have your lawn sprinklers running for the entire morning. I can’t even fathom not being in a drought. I wanted to bottle up all that water to bring home for my own lawn. I took the kids outside to play so they wouldn’t be traumatized by the Donner video presentation.
I gave Kev this clump of pine needles and said it was like a broom. He swept for a bit then asked me to find him a mop.
Then we drove up to a vista point.
See, it looks like I’m drinking Donner Lake.
We spent the afternoon at Donner Lake, which was a rockier beach but still lots of fun. I even scored an awesome mostly-full bottle of spf50 continual spray sunscreen that some sucker left behind. Bern teased me about taking it, but since he was coveting the Lake Tahoe jacket that some lady pulled out of the water and wishing he had grabbed it first, I know he has no room to talk.
Burger Me for dinner. So. Good. Everyone should offer chipotle mayo at the condiment bar. I don’t know why it’s not standard. And the mustard was apparently so good that you could eat it straight.
Or that could just be my disgusting little boy. Burger Me recently filmed a bit for Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives so keep an eye out for it, all you lucky souls who have cable.
Wednesday we went to Emerald Bay off Lake Tahoe. It was a mile’s hike down to the beach and steep enough to warrant a “people with medical conditions should not enter” sign at the entrance to the trail. Which meant that dragging Keves down was excruciating at times. Our saving grace was all the little springs of melted snow that were running down the side of the mountain at different points of the trail. He loved sticking his hands in the chilly water, and telling him, “Look, I see another little river up ahead!” could motivate him to move like nothing else. Aside from some really aggressive chipmunks, the beach was relaxing and the kids liked watching all the tour boats that went by.
The bummer for me was that Bern left the sunscreen spray on a picnic table and it went missing. Later we saw a dad using it on his daughter. We figured since our kids were already sunscreened up and it wasn’t actually ours to begin with that it wasn’t worth reclaiming. That soggy jacket may have been the better find after all. Winning quote from Emerald Bay: a ranger came by and called out, “Has anyone seen a duck wearing a pair of goggles?” Oh, how I wish I had.
As we loaded up to hike back out, barefoot Kenzi got an inchlong splinter on the bottom of her foot. She didn’t want me to take it out because she knew it would hurt, but no way were we carrying her a mile uphill so we carried her screaming little self to the ranger station to bum some tweezers. The actual removal involved no crying. The splinter broke in two pieces – I handed her the first one while I worked on the second. I looked up and she had the thing in her mouth. Such a smart girl and yet so…..I don’t even know the word to use. She was able to hike back out at a nice easy pace, and Bern put Keves on his shoulders (protesting the whole way) and booked it out in half the time it took us girls.
The kids zonked out on the drive back, and having them sleep from 4:30-5:30 is bad bad bad news. They didn’t fall asleep until at least 11 and were up again by 7:30. Kenzi was happy to zone out in front of cartoons while Bern and I packed and cleaned, but Kev spent hours whining about how he’s a little bit tired. He fell asleep on the drive back just after 11 and woke up refreshed and in a great mood for an In N Out and Ikea stop.
We’re so grateful to the Young Family and their generosity – they really view time at their cabin as a gift to people in ministry. Especially after a week where we had something going on 6 out of 7 nights, it was the perfect way to reconnect with each other and create some great family memories.
*Despite the fact that it feels totally awkward, I am trying to call my hubby Bern because that is what he prefers. I’m taking suggestions on what I should change my name to so that I can throw him for a loop as well.
Our first big event was Indie’s 2nd birthday party. When Amy mentioned it a week before in front of Kenzi, she didn’t have the heart to say no when Kenzi asked in her please-oh-please-oh-please-say-yes voice if it was a dress-up party. So Kenzi was the one kid who came in costume, not that she or anyone else minded.
That afternoon I gave Kev a haircut, because when you can do this with your son’s hair, it is just out of hand.
Moving on to Easter. It was a windy, rainy day but we’d miss so much church recently that we were excited to get dressed up and go. But no cute pics playing out in the grass this year. You’ll have to settle for them crawling around on the futon, waiting impatiently for me to tell them it was time to grab their Easter baskets and head to church.
We actually had no plans for the rest of the day and it was pretty relaxing. A little Panda Express for lunch, a little Sequence during naptime, a little walking into Kevey’s room to find that he’d had a blowout during naptime, a little poop on the carpet, a little screaming while Kev got washed off in water that takes way too long to warm up. But he cheered up once he was in some clean jammies and the kids took a footrace around the house.
The next Saturday was Christopher’s 2nd birthday party. After a week of perfect weather, we had another chilly, rainy day. The kids didn’t mind since they got to ride the train at the park. I stole these pics from Krista’s blog.
Thankfully I haven’t seen any of the pics taken of the carousel. Bernie was out of town and therefore unable to fulfill his standing responsibility of accompanying the kids on things that make me carsick. It could have been worse; the kids wanted to sit on this sleigh-looking thing that didn’t move up and down, so I only had to deal with the round-and-round portion. Blech. But the kids loved it, and we make sacrifices for the ones we love and all that mumbo-jumbo.
Yesterday we missed yet another week of Bible study week since Kenzi was sick. (Digression here – how is it that Kenzi is a total veggie-phile and Keves will maybe eat two bites of a carrot in a week’s time, but she’s sick twice as often, and even when he does catch it his symptoms are milder? Is his self-imposed Fruit and Meat diet the secret weapon to immunity? It’s hard to convince him that veggies will make him feel good when his sister is crunching on bean sprouts and sweet potato peels, pausing occasionally to hack up a lung.) Anyway, since we were at home I decided to have the kids help me plant our vegetable garden. I’m hoping that if Kev is invested in the growth of the veggies, he might more strongly consider eating them. This is the concrete that Bernie found at the bottom of our garden bed a couple weeks ago.
Who does that? We’ve found concrete chunks buried in the front yard too. So annoying. But now that it’s just soil in there, we were ready to plant. Our main reason for doing this is to save a little money in the long run, so my rule of thumb is that I will only plant things that I can’t buy at the store for less than a buck a pound. So, I could buy orange bell peppers for $4/lb, or I can spend $3 on an orange pepper plant that will last us through the summer. Orange bell pepper it is. We also did red bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, Big Bertha tomatoes, yellow pear tomatoes, snow peas, spinach, and butternut squash. Who knows if any of this will actually grow, but with only $20 worth of veggies here, I’m willing to give it a try.
And a shot of our Gravenstein apple tree. The teensy blossoms reassure us that we haven’t killed it yet.
The second half of the month includes Bernie performing a wedding, a college girls retreat (Bernie’s first weekend alone with the kids!), a playdate at the Bay Area Discovery Museum, and a visit from Nana that coincides with a conference that Bernie and I are attending. In the course of a week and a half I will have spent as many nights away from my kids as I have in all of my motherhood to date. Maybe I’ll snap a pic or two somewhere in there?
Today was one of those beautiful spring days that makes you consider letting the kids skip their naps so you can soak up as much sunshine as possible before the rain comes back tomorrow. Consider, but not do. Maybe another day. But now we’re done with dinner and back outside, and I’ve got the laptop on the picnic table while the kids collect teensy pieces of trash they find so they can load it in the Hot Wheels garbage truck, then dump it out at the “dump.” Which is an arbitrary spot that’s about three inches from my left foot. So maybe not so arbitrary after all.
Kenzi has some weird possible sickness that causes her to cough like crazy for a random half hour, usually right before we’re about to go somewhere and interact with other children. Then after we’ve decided to stay home, she’s fine for the next few hours. I guess it could be allergies but it’s so inconsistent that I don’t know what she could be exposed to that would cause such intermittent reactions. Kev seems to be fine, and usually the two of them pass stuff back and forth pretty quickly so who knows if she has anything contagious. As for myself, I have the weird achy body thing, where I take some Motrin and feel fine so I get a bunch of stuff done, then when it wears off I feel worse than before since I haven’t been resting. I’ve decided that tonight when the kids go to bed I will lay on the couch and watch tv and ignore the mess in the house for another day. But enough of that.
I thought I’d make a list of the top eight phases my kids are in that I hope will pass quickly. In no particular order…
1) Kenzi – using Kevey’s bad behavior as an opportunity to point out her good behavior. Ex: Kev tosses a piece of food on the floor. Me – “Kev, pick that up right now! You know that is not acceptable.” Kenzi – “Mommy, I’m not throwing my food on the ground. That is acceptable.”
2) Keves – “I got two’s hands.” This is his way of saying he has something in each of his hands, and he regrettably is unable to accomplish whatever we’ve requested. Ex: Me – “Hey Kev, you need to put away your trucks before you come have lunch.” Kev – grabs a blanket or toy with both hands, steps away from the trucks and says, “I got two’s hands.”
3) Kenzi – really loud cackling. She does it when she’s having fun, but it’s really contrived and she knows it’s obnoxious. I once overheard her doing it in her Awana class; I was in Bernie’s office with the door closed and her class was playing some running/chasing game in the big room right outside the offices. She did it for nearly 10 minutes straight. Her teachers are so much more tolerant than I am.
4) Keves – pooping during naptime. Takes quite a while to air out the room.
5) Kenzi – Disney Princesses. Ugh.
6) Keves – “That was silly!” or “I just being silly!” This follows some type of behavior that he knows isn’t allowed. Ex: Me – “Put your shoes in the closet please.” Kev – runs to back door and throws them into the yard. Me – “Keves!” Kev – grinning. “I just being silly!”
7) Kenzi – being afraid of the vent in Kevey’s room. She’s not afraid of any other vents in the house and I can’t pin down what happened to make her afraid of Kevey’s. But when it comes on she runs out of the room covering her ears. With the weather warming up I imagine we won’t see this one anymore, and maybe by next winter she’ll have forgotten about that mean ol’ vent.
8 ) Keves – Insisting that he’s snatching when he’s actually being given something. Ex: Kev – “I can’t find Blankie.” Kenzi – “I’ll find it for you!” Runs off, then returns with Blankie. Hands it to Kev, who yanks it out of her hands. Kev – looks at me with devious grin – “I snatch Blankie from Sissy!” (Maybe he figures he doesn’t misbehave enough, so he has to create drama where there was none?)
Of course they go through some really sweet phases that never seem to last long enough. Some of the current ones:
1) Keves – hugging me with all his might and saying “Mommy, I taking care of you.”
2) Kenzi – telling us repeatedly, “I will never stop loving you! I am always going to love you!”
3) Keves – sharing something with Kenzi and saying, “Here ya go, Sis.”
4) Kenzi – running into Kevey’s room as I tuck him in for nap, climbing in his bed, grabbing his chubby face and kissing him on the forehead.
Ok, so I can only think of four big sweet ones right now, but they more than outweigh the 8 previous ones.
This whole playroom idea is good in theory, but the reality is that the kids end up playing in the living room more than anywhere else. Perhaps one reason is that I won’t let them climb on the arms of the futon but we let them go crazy on the living room furniture.
On this one I learned that focusing too much on what I’m filming means I’m not using my peripheral vision.
Background for this next one – the kids’ favorite music video is “Awakening” by Switchfoot. (You can watch it here if you want to really delve into their psyches.) Kev’s really into it, and anything he does that was also in the video, he reminds us that he’s doing it “jus’ like Swishfoot.” “I eating my dinner, jus’ like Swishfoot!” “I take off my jacket, jus’ like Swishfoot!” Bernie thought it would be fun to make them their own cardboard guitars, a la the video. We must have spent an hour playing our cardboard guitars and jumping off the couch (“I jump off da couch jus’ like Swishfoot!”). Here’s a clip of the kids playing to their 2nd favorite song, Soul Sister. At the end Kenzi reminds me of one of Robert Palmer’s creepy guitarists
…to say hello. Bernie’s at church tonight and the kids are watching Cinderella so I thought I’d take a few moment to check in, in between fastforwarding the dozen or so scenes that the kids are too scared to watch. Life has been a little bumpy lately. Like literally bumpy. In the last couple weeks: 1) Kev has fallen off a chair and hit his head hard enough to warrant an urgent care visit; 2) Kev tumbled down the top half of the stairs; 3) I slid down the bottom half of the stairs, and 4) Kev faceplanted on the concrete. The last two incidents happened this morning, so I’m writing this with a sore elbow, bum, and leg and Kev is shoving popcorn into a face that’s red and scraped. Early bedtime is looking really tasty right now.
What else, what else…Kev is talking so much right now but his favorite word is no. He’s not doing anything to help break down the stereotype of the defiant toddler. But he’s so sweet and squishy and silly that I still think he’s the best little boy ever. I also think I know what Linus Van Pelt was like as a two year old because Kev is unhealthily attached to his blue blankets. When I saw the attachment growing, I kicked it into high gear and spent the Olympic Opening Ceremony crocheting him another one so we could have a backup. He calls them Blue and ‘Nother Blue and he treats them like other kids treat dolls or stuffed animals: the Blues talk, take naps, cry, have time-outs, read books, and various other toddler activities. While all that is cute and only slightly disturbing, our least favorite Blue moments are when Kev is feeling fussy and he cries into Blue, all the time crying for Blue. We’re like, “You have Blue! You have both Blues!” but he just wails “Bleeeeuuuuueee! Bleeeeuuuuueeee!” and we consider having a blanket-burning ceremony since the stupid thing isn’t serving to make him feel any better.
But…Kev is adorable and funny and worth every second of grief. He’s also developing some sort of crush on Amy (we’re trying to teach him to sing Indie’s mom has got it goin’ on) where he acts indifferent around her but asks about her all the time when she’s not around. The doorbell rings – “It’s Eeemy!” We walk into church, he looks around – “Eeemy is not here?” He calls her on his toy phone and says, “Hi Eeemy. Daddy is not here.” I’m sorry, WHAT? All this time of acting googly over Indie – I think she was just the gateway girl.
As for Kenzi, that girl is All Princess, All the Time. We’ve had to limit the time she spends playing with her Disney dolls and coloring her princess activity books because it was getting way out of hand. Yes, she’s watching Cinderella right now but she’s had very little princess time today so I agreed. She’s handled the new boundaries really well so I think we’ll find a good balance of letting her enjoy her little obsession while making sure she’s getting lots of other activities in.
She’s gotten good enough at her reading that we can’t write or type anything in front of her that we don’t want her to read. I was trying to set up a kid-free meeting with one of the college girls and I sent her a text saying “Wanna grab an early lunch? I have Panda Express coupons.” Kenzi leaned over my shoulder while I texted, then yelled, “Yeah! We’re having lunch at Panda Express!” Or she’ll read out loud while I’m writing on facebook so I have to distract her with some inane task so I can finish my business in privacy. So much potential for good and so much potential for mischief.
Cinderella’s almost over and the kids are asking to have a sleepover in Kenzi’s room tonight so I’ll sign off for now. I won’t leave you with any empty promises to be better about writing regularly or to put up pictures soon. But I’ll promise to try. How’s that?
**Edited to add: right before I posted this, Kev whacked his head on the coffee table. But it was a minor hit. Didn’t even require Blue and ‘Nother Blue to make him feel better.