Tuesday, November 25, 2014


(Written Sunday)
My little Henry achieved the age of THREE on Friday.  I am not ready for this.  Henry is still supposed to be my little boy, snuggly and sweet and charming.  (He is all of those.)  Henry being three means he's almost four, and that is so close to five.  And I'm not ready for him to learn to ride a bike, or pull his hand out of mine in the grocery store, or run to help Daddy take groceries out of the van.

The good thing is, I don't have to be ready, because it's not now.  Henry is growing just one day at a time, the same as every one of us.  Every day he becomes a little more independent, and every day I grow a little more accustomed to the idea.  For instance, we now allow him to be in the loft with Rowan's drum set.

I pulled Henry's toy drum out of the attic to distract him, but it didn't work out quite like I'd planned.

 Today we celebrated Henry's birthday.  We had a very difficult time deciding when to celebrate.  Weekdays we can't celebrate in the evenings, or Matthew wouldn't be there.  Saturdays it can't be during the day or Matthew can't be there.  Celebrating on Sundays means at least one of my sisters is automatically excluded.  To complicate matters further, one of my sisters and a nephew have birthdays tomorrow.

We finally settled on Sunday as the most likely day for the maximum amount of people to make it here, especially important because Daddy could be here.  Because I'm great at planning ahead, I sent a notification to my family on Thursday.  Some replied in the negative.  Some didn't bother to reply at all.  Some had last-minute issues this morning and texted that they couldn't make it.  (I am too familiar with that; I've missed a nephew's birthday and my sister's baby shower in the last week, sadly.)  Long story short, not a single person showed up.

Henry kept me up last night, so I didn't get to sleep until around 5:00 a.m.  I spent the morning making two kinds of cupcakes (36 cupcakes total), and sending my husband out for pizza, before seeing all the cancellation texts on my phone.  I felt strongly like scrapping the whole thing and going to bed.  After all, Henry didn't know we had anything special planned for the day.  He hardly knows what a birthday is.  As far as he was concerned, it was just another Sunday.

But--we went ahead and sang, and I "helped" Henry blow out his candle.  I wish I had pictures but I was so stressed and bothered that I didn't even think of my camera. 

(Written Monday...sort of.)
Well, long story short, Henry had a great birthday.  A neighbor boy came over and shot lots of pictures of Henry opening his presents (which he loved).  We ate cupcakes.  Lots of them.  And ice cream.  I got over my moodiness.  I even slept Sunday night, which was great.

It's still hard to believe he's three.  

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Busy, busy, busy!

This last week has been unusual in a few ways.  First, I did not have to go into Salem at all.  Gasp!  Admittedly, I did pass through Salem on my way to and from the airport, but that's not quite the same thing.  For one, I didn't have my children with me.

Second, I got all my primary grocery shopping done by 10:30 Friday morning.  This is very different from my usual schedule.  Usually I plan to leave by 10:00 to do shopping, but something or other (usually MS-related) delays it until after lunch, then delays it further, until I wind up going in with Matt when he goes to work, dropping the kids off at my sister's, then scrambling to fit shopping into the hour or so I have remaining before picking Matt up from work.  This time, however, I took Noah to school (the local community college) at 9:00, then went straight from there to the grocery store.  Everything (except for Salem-specific items) was done and I was back home by 10:30!  Oh, glory be!

Third, and possibly the most important, a Very Cool Person was in Salem for the week!  By which I mean, my totally awesome friend Julie!
Please ignore my double chin.  And the hat that makes me look bald.
 I wish I could say we partied with her every day, but since she's so cool and popular, there were lots of people who wanted pieces of her time.  So I got to see her Tuesday (since I got to pick her up from the airport, haha!) and today.

Ah, today.  Today was quite spur-of-the-moment and fun.  It started by being woken at 6:00 by a cute little guy named Henry.  When I got up and started to make breakfast, allergies hit.  So of course I took a Benadryl and by ten-ish I was ready to collapse.  So I did.  At 11:08 I received a text from Savanna:  "Ok, Fletcher said 11:30 - 12 works for him."

I should explain, Noah's friend Fletcher has agreed to help Savanna with a project.  Since neither knows each other extremely well, and since my house is rather Central Base anyway, they had planned to meet here.  A time had not been discussed.  So imagine my bewilderment at learning that they might be arriving in as little as twenty-two minutes.  Nevertheless, I rallied forth and attempted to get the house in some semblance of order.

When they showed up and sat down to discuss the project, I was suddenly very glad to be there, because they could not stay focused at all!  Not that it was terribly vital, but wow, they got distracted by all things geeky and had to discuss them at length!  It was actually extremely amusing.  We eventually sketched out a rough plan, and then I let them at the geekiness until I had to leave to get Julie.  Matthew and the small ones accompanied me.

We went to a park.  Hurray for parks!  The kidlings had fun.

The adults had fun.

 The kidlings and the adults had fun together.
I think Rowan might be in love with Julie.

All the way to the top!

Perched in their nest.

Reliving youthful days!


Hurray for swings!
Then I made Julie come home with me for dinner, because I'm selfish and I wanted to keep her around a bit longer.  So we had fettuccine alfredo, which is amazing.  And then I had to take her back to Salem. :( And she gave me a book, which I hope will be very enjoyable.  Rowan fell asleep before we got to Salem, and Henry fell asleep at home while I was gone, so I consider that a win!

How was your week?


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

From Clutter to Cleanliness

Today I cleaned a corner of my bedroom.  I know you're shocked.  A whole corner!  Wow!

Being organized is something I have never managed.  Too much stuff; too few places to put it.  Having children made the disorganization worse.  When there are six baskets of laundry sitting around and you don't have time to fold them because children need food, or bathing, or to be played with; then finally they're in bed and you can't face the laundry because you need just a few minutes to yourself, at last..  Then the shelves are overflowing with books, because you have so, so, so many books, and they get piled on night stands and chairs, and perched on the edges of book shelves, and they fall on the floor and get scattered around and it's almost pointless to pick them up because there's nowhere to put them anyway..  When the cupboard where everything gets stashed is so full of disorganized items that things begin to spill out onto the floor, mixing with the laundry and books and toys that are already there..

Well, it's really hard to maintain order, and even harder to find time and energy to do anything about it.  It all seems like such a monstrous job, and I hardly know where to begin.  And no matter what I pick up, the children will fling more things around tomorrow, so it almost feels pointless.

So despite all that, this evening I cleaned one corner of my room.  Yes, a corner; the one between the built-in overflowing cupboards and the overstuffed book shelves.  I picked up books and stacked them on the shelves.  I smiled at boxes of pictures and set them on top of rag towels in the cupboards.  I picked up formerly clean clothes that had fallen out of baskets and were now covered in hairs, and put them in the dirty hamper to try again.

And you know something?  It feels really good to see the carpet again.  It's not perfect--yet--but I have an expanse of floor where I can walk without stepping carefully over or around junk.  And I have faith that tomorrow I can do another corner, and then another, and that at some point my room will be clean.  I may have to purge a lot of our possessions, but it will be worth it.

What corner in your life did you attack today?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Cloning: It's Not Just In Star Wars Anymore

Let me tell you a little secret:  Rowan was spontaneously cloned from his father's cells.  Or so it seems at times.  But wait; let me start at the beginning.

Yesterday, as Rowan and Henry ran and played in the house together, shrieking with laughter, suddenly Henry started howling.  Rowan had been pulling him in a small wagon and it had tipped over, spilling Henry.  I cuddled him and checked him over for injuries, and found none.  He eventually stopped crying and ran off to play again.

Shortly after, Paul noticed blood on my sweater.  Not my blood.  We checked Henry again, and there, under his chin, blood was dripping.  Oh me oh my!  Quick, for the bandaids and Neosporin!  He howled and protested, of course, but we did eventually manage to get him bandaged, thankfully.

Well, Savanna and I left shortly after that to pick up Noah from school and stop by Safeway to buy a pumpkin.  That is, a pumpkin pie pumpkin, as specified by an online recipe I found.  We couldn't find one, so I bought a butternut squash instead.

It wasn't until after lunch, when Savanna had gone home, that I had opportunity to try my Fresh Pumpkin Pie scheme.  I got the squash washed and cut, and set it to steam on the stovetop.  While it was steaming, I made up the pie dough and put it in sandwich bags to protect it from the air until time to roll it out.  The squash finally was soft enough, so I took it out chunk by chunk and began scraping it into a bowl.  Henry came toddling around and I took another look at his wound.

It was still bleeding.

Now, I'm no expert when it comes to medical stuff, but I'm pretty sure injuries aren't supposed to still be bleeding several hours after they're sustained (and subsequently bandaged).  I decided to take him to the Dallas Hospital.  I put my squash in the refrigerator and abandoned my plans to make it into pie that evening, then Henry and I set off.

I had thought it would be a simple matter of gluing his chin back together.  After all, Rowan's lip had been glued after he split it open four years ago.  But no, the nurse explained, the area under his chin moved too much and would pull the glue off.  He needed to have stitches.  He wound up getting two stitches, about which he was NOT pleased.

Later that evening, Henry and I went into the day room for a snuggle and a movie.  I walked through the doorway and found a surprising sight--Rowan was sitting at the counter our TV rests on, having hooked up my laptop via HDMI cable to the TV.  He was drawing on MS Paint while looking at it on the TV screen.

Uh, yeah.  My 5-year-old hooked up my laptop, by himself, to the TV.  And it worked.  At this point, I just thought how very much he was like his Commo daddy.  (Thinking of your speakers, Paul!)  How cute!  My little boy is like his daddy!

But I'm afraid it runs much deeper than that.  I suspect that really he must be a clone of his father, put into my body through IVF while I was sleeping.  You see, when I went back into that room twenty minutes later, he was playing chess on the computer while rocking out to "The Great Unwound" by Poor Old Lu.  It's Matthew, I tell you!  A cute, charming, way-too-smart-for-his-own-good, pint-sized version of Matthew!  The fact that he LOVES C.S. Lewis just cements it.  (We're almost done with "Voyage of the Dawn Treader"!)

Both boys are sleeping now.  It's nice to have the quiet after the looooong day today.  (To sum it up, Savanna and I picked up a good friend from the airport, then drove to Wilsonville for lunch, where I promptly locked the keys in the van.)  I think it's time for snuggles with my honey. :)

Oh, and the pumpkin pie was excellent.  I've discovered I can justify it as a dinner item.  Squash, eggs, butter, and milk, and the sugar in it can't be any worse than the brown sugar we ordinarily put on squash at the table.  Plus, Rowan and Henry actually eat it!  I can officially classify pumpkin pie as getting my children to eat their vegetables!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Fun with Phones

Rowan and I have discovered a fun way to spend time together.  It involves my phone, the camera on it, and AR Effects.  It goes something like this:

 Me:  "Rowan, look at me!  Now, hold still!  Hahahahaha!"
Rowan:  "Let me see!"

And we get something like this:

Then, of course, he wants to take a picture, and we get something like this:

 Then we have to take pictures together, of course.

Obviously, we're cool.  We're stylin'.  And it's become a game to see if we can capture Henry on camera.

Henry and his dapper twin.
In conclusion, we are so awesome.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


Okay, folks.  I'd like to take a moment to say, Thank you.  Really, really, truly, THANK YOU.  I looked at my blog stats this morning, and they said this:

Note:  This is all-time stats, not just from today.
 For someone like me--a busy mom who's unsure anyone is listening--for someone who isn't sure what she says is worth reading, who posts sporadically and nonsensically, who sometimes thinks no one would notice if the words stopped--this is incredible.  People read what I write.  People from other countries, even.

This is a Big Deal for me.  An author is nothing without her audience.  To know that people out there find my posts worth their five or ten minutes of time, time that I know could be spent in more entertaining ways, is astounding.

May I ask a favor?  If you read this, please let me know you did, even if you just say, "Hi," or, "I read this."  I would love that.  In return, I'll give you this incredibly cute and random picture of my kids drinking from a public splash park.

That's right; instead of stopping them, I took a picture.
 And this one of me, that I snapped right now.

I'm supposed to look contemplative and brooding.  I think I just look like I have intestinal discomfort.  Oh well.

Writing or Not

My writing group was canceled again this week.

That's right; the group of people I get together with one evening out of the week, the one time I can interact with other adults without a small child tugging on my sleeve or climbing into my lap between myself and the screen or sitting on my keyboard and typing who knows what, canceled on me.  Again.  This is, technically, the second week in a row.  Even more technically, the week before that one member was missing, and we really didn't get any work done anyway.

This displeases me.

 It is tough to find babysitting.  I mean, it is really tough.  Those with children understand.  Those with no children sometimes ask me why I can't just take my children--ages 5 and 2--with me to my writing group.  I want to shove a great big HA! in their faces.  I've actually tried that a few times, when I can't get any babysitting.  It generally means I get nothing useful done.  (I'm typing this at home, at the dining room table.  Just writing this much, with all the distractions I've had, has taken the better part of 40 minutes.)

Part of the trouble is, I am extremely picky about the people with whom I choose to leave my children.  The list is short--my in-laws, my parents, my sisters, two friends.  All of them have extremely busy lives and are available only infrequently.  Three of my sisters have their own children to care for.  

(To give you a picture of how busy and distracted I am, it is now nearly five hours later than when I finished the paragraph above.  The children are in bed, Matthew is home, and we are snuggled on the couch watching a documentary of China.)

I should mention that Savanna and her mother visited us this evening.  It was very pleasant, particularly since they had just gotten back from a week's travel.  They might not have ventured forth from their house except that apparently during their travels, the man of their house ate All The Food.  And didn't buy more.  Better luck for us, getting to have dinner guests!

My disgruntlies have turned into gruntlies, as I have now (yes, it's 2 hours later) found a website that makes me very, very happy.  http://thiskidreviewsbook.com.  The address alone should tell you why I am so pleased!  A 12-year-old boy who reads an unbelievable amount of books and writes reviews for some.  And he reads good stuff!  Tolkien!  Brian Jacques!  Fablehaven!  Jerry Spinelli!  Tintin!  I want to mail the contents of my book shelves to him!  Haha, my missionizing attititude is asserting itself!

But now I must go to bed.  I will try to write another blog Soon, and hopefully it will be more coherent than this one.  See, Neta, when you cancel our writers group it takes me 7 hours to write a simple blog post.  NO MORE CANCELIES!  NO NO NO!