Monthly Archives: March 2011

Birthday Letter

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                                                                   March 25th, 2011

Dear Moosies,

Happy Birthday, “Baby Shrek!”  I love you even more than forever after.

I love how you tease, and joke, and then giggle your head off because you know you’re adorable!

I love how you remember people, and talk about them, and wish they could come back and spend more time with you.  Watching you read books with Uncle Ben yesterday, and peel string cheese with him, an uncle you’re still getting to know… I was so proud of you for loving and trusting.

I never have to worry about you outside, because I know you’ll just follow your brothers and sister around!  They love you back, you know.  Kbug and Cboy stayed up late last night to blow up balloons, hang streamers, and decorate the house with stuffed animals for your birthday.  They were so excited!  Daddy had to tell them several times to calm down a little.  They loved giving you presents and making you feel special.

Kbug loves getting you up in the morning, getting you dressed, and making breakfast for you.  CJ loves the extra playmate that you are, and tries to get you to join him in all his adventures.  He’s a good fighter, as you know, just in case you ever need a brother to beat somebody up for you!  Cboy loves just being with you  He always has, ever since you were born!  Tickling, peek-a-boo, rolling around on the floor… he loves to make you smile and laugh.  He’s a good big brother, and I hope the two of you always keep your special connection.

I love your big smiles first thing in the morning, your hugs and squeezes, the way you talk non-stop, love to read books, and dance, and make funny faces (just like Cboy!), and the way you still have a big smile and hug for me at the end of the day.

I love the way you sing “Jesus Loves Me,” and “I’ll Fly Away,” the ABC song, and any other song you can think of!

I love the way you help put wet clothes into the dryer for me, and pull a chair over to the sink every time you see me washing dishes.  I love having you work with me! 

I love the way you smell, still my baby for another few months.  I love your chubby cheeks, and the way your hair falls over your bright, beautiful eyes. 

Just now I asked you if I could put you down, to finish this letter, and you said, “Uhh… NO!”  Since the day you were born, you’ve been fiercely attached to me.  I know our relationship will change over time, even hit some rough patches.  But I know that I won’t stop loving you!  Ever, ever, ever!  I hope you know that too, and that I’ll always love you as fiercely as I do now.

A morning without coffee is like SLEEP!

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Five Minute Friday, on Waking Up…

Waking up time… do I really have to?  I don’t like this part of day.  And it takes me waaaaaay longer than five minutes!  Maybe ten slots of five minutes?  And coffee.  Always coffee!

Maybe my first thought should be more spiritual, but it’s not.  It’s, “COFFEE!”  I do manage to smile at my kids though, even before I grind the Africa to Africa beans.  Even grin at them.  And big hugs!  Talking?  No.  Just bare minimum like, “Here’s the fishy crackers.”  I don’t wake up until one of them does first, so my kids are always the first thing I see.

And they make waking up worth it.  Every time!

Why shopping with kids is crazy fun

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Last night Dee was working late, I was feeling brave, so I took all four kids shopping.  We hit Wal-Mart, Starbucks (strapped in the car, so it doesn’t really count!), K-Mart and Tractor Supply.

The kids were good, but now I remember why I go out all by myself after Dee gets home!

I don’t get whiplash from all the, “Look Mommy!” shouts.  (Since I rarely take them shopping, the kids get really animated in stores!)

I don’t get my arm yanked off if I don’t look in time.

I don’t have to explain why the bikes are hanging from the ceiling.

I don’t have to figure out how to get all four kids through the bathroom at K-Mart.

And I can go pee, if I have to!   I don’t have to hold it in until we get home, worrying that if I sit down on the toilet my CJ will run outside.

My Starbucks bill is cheaper.

I don’t have to explain why I can turn right on red (never left or straight), but only if there’s no sign that says I can’t.  And even if the light is green, I should still make sure there aren’t cars going through red lights.  (Which no, they’re NOT allowed to do!)

I don’t have to sing “Hokey Pokey” or “Farmer In the Dell.”  Unless I want to.

I don’t have to put shoes on, again, at every stop!

I don’t have to freak out if I forgot the diapers and wipes.

Or if I can’t see one of my four little heads…

…Or I just don’t like the looks of somebody.

It’s not bad, shopping with kids, just crazy.  If you’ve never taken a passle of kids shopping, you’re missing out!  It’s kinda fun.  Because really, if you don’t take the kids, you won’t stop to see the fishies, or pet the ducklings, or get to sip left-over hot chocolate.

Wal-Mart was easy, just picked up flea collars to replace the over-priced ones that Dee bought at Tractor Supply and K-Mart.  (Actual grocery shopping? I probably wouldn’t have braved it.)  We did get some food items, too… but hey, I’m pregnant!  That’s an excuse for everything these days.

K-Mart was exciting just because we never go there, and they had MICKEY MOUSE!  Just little stuffed Micky and Minnie mouses, but it’s Moosies’ obsession right now.

(My big kids’ obsession right now is Pillow Pets.  They don’t have one, but really, really, REALLY want one!  Or two or three.  I don’t get it, the Pillow Pet thing.  Does anyone else have kids attached to Pillow Pets?)

At K-Mart, I thought I just had to return a flea collar.  But then CJ had to go pee.  “I have to go pee!” coming from a three-year-old means, “Take me pee NOW, or you better hope there’s a change of undies and jeans in the car!”  And that started the whole public bathroom adventure.   (Which is always in the very back of the store!  Past ALL the toys!)

Tractor supply was the best.  My honey met us there!  Dee returned the last flea collars, lugged around the 50lb bag of rabbit feed, and made sure CJ didn’t drive off with any of the lawn mowers he was trying out.  I just stood with Moosies by the little ducklings and chicks, and wished we could scoop them all up and take them home!

As Dee and I were kissing in the parking lot before heading home, Cboy yelled, “Mom, you’re going to get crushed!”  He’s still working out how to use that word in a sentence.  You know, when a girl likes a guy?  Or the other way around?  He meant I liked Daddy — a lot!

You knew I was obsessed with trees, right?

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You might be a tree-lover if…

You can’t keep your eyes on the road, because you’re looking at all the trees you pass.

EVERY SINGLE ONE.

And you study them, trying to determine if they’ve been pruned or not.

Once you decide whether or not they’ve been pruned, you try to figure out if you like the shape or not.

If you do, or don’t, you then try to figure out if that’s what your own trees will look like in ten or twenty or thirty years.

All while you’re driving.

(I’ve never seen “tree watching” on a list of stuff not to do while driving, but it probably should be added.  It’s right up there with texting, applying make-up, and feeding your kids breakfast.)

If you are a tree-lover,

DON’T drive by Lowe’s or Home Depot or anywhere else trees are sold.  It will give you a strong urge to walk in and buy all the little saplings that need good, loving homes.

Even if you have to buy all the property on your street so you have room to plant your new babies.

Green oatmeal and boiled beef

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Okay, so who else ate corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day?  I didn’t — not this year!  I ate corned beef and cabbage once a year for twenty-two years, and that was enough.

I bought a hunk of corned beef eight March’s ago, right after I got married, just because it was tradition.  That hunk of meat sat in my freezer for a whole year and a half before I finally threw it in the trash!  I still love cabbage in just about any form, but the corned beef?  Not so much.

The tradition, I loved.  I didn’t mind eating the once-a-year boiled meat meal.  It was special, even then.  My family had traditions for just about every holiday, major and minor!  Mom was rather amazing about that kind of stuff.

Every March 17th morning, my mom would serve green oatmeal.  (These days she turns the half-and-half green, so the family drinks green coffee!)  We’d hang out curbside for the huge St. Patrick’s Day parade in Holyoke, and then drive to my grandparents’ house for the corned beef and cabbage meal.

I still always wear green on St. Patrick’s Day.  Always will, too!  I give you permission to pinch me if I don’t.  Other traditions, I have yet to develop.  I don’t even think my kids knew it was a special day today!  Tomorrow I plan to study the history of St. Patrick with Kbug, and maybe we’ll celebrate a day late with some green food.

Mud pie gifts

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Mud season is here.  Maybe more mud than usual?  We got hammered with rain last week, so rivers rose and roads overflowed.  There are new lakes where lakes shouldn’t be!

And my kids track all that mud through my house.

First, I want to clarify that I LOVE my job!  I’m happy being mom (five times now!), and love my life.  When I talk about the messes and all the work, I’m not complaining.  Just stating facts, and usually sharing how God threw down love and grace in the middle of my struggles.

My mud and dried-up chicken nugget littered floor is His holy ground!  And I love standing here.

So the mud.  Clumpy trails of it all over my house, and smeared into knees, hiding behind ears, and ground onto scalps of hair.  In the bathtub, sink, and toilet too!  I gave myself a talking to last week, after I groaned at the dirty footprints on my freshly cleaned (how often does that happen?) floor.  I said, “Self, just smile at the mud!”   It’s here to stay for a while.  Not long enough.

The muddy footprints will be gone one day, and the muddy grins as well.  Today, Cboy brought me my very first mud pie offering, with a stick candle in it.  I almost teared up!  How could a mother not treasure this gift?

I did finally get the mud and crumbs cleaned up, after the kids went to bed.  Earlier was just too busy!  Cboy kept asking, “Mom, will you come outside with us?”  So I did.  I pruned more trees, one of five clematis plants, knockout roses, and one butterfly bush from my collection.

The kids played around me as I worked, and dragged branches to the burn pit.  CJ, my worker, got his own pair of snips and “helped” me prune.  I got a lot done, but I wish I’d done less.  Cboy asked me to play tag, and I didn’t.  We ran out of time.

Cboy didn’t complain, didn’t even bring it up again, and was as full of smiles and kisses as ever.  His sweetness sometimes makes me cry.

Tag tomorrow?  I hope so.  I hope I don’t abuse my sweet boy’s cheerful acceptance and obedience.  “Mommy’s busy.  That’s just how it is.”   I hope I remember to spend time on just him, which will never be time wasted!

Just a little weekend pruning.

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My bunny is back in his cage.  He’s been running wild for a few months, fending for himself around the farm.  Doing quite well, too!  He ate the bottom branches off of a bunch of bushes and cypress trees, polished off the grass and weeds he could find in between snowstorms, hung out with the chickens to eat our food garbage, and ate a good-sized portion of Grammy’s blueberry bushes.

Yeah.

That was bad.

He was going to be rabbit stew if he wasn’t caught, so we borrowed some have-a-heart traps and finally caught him.  We’d tried the chasing thing many times!  Rabbits are fast, just so you know.

He looks so sad cooped up in a tiny cage, but I guess it’s better than getting shot.

I also pruned my trees this weekend.  Not all 36 of them!  My crabapples all got pruned, but the redbuds have to wait until after their flowering is done, in June.  I tackled most of my maples too, but realized I’d missed the “late winter” time of pruning.  The sugar sap was just gushing out with ever cut I made.  Kbug and I had fun licking trees!  I should probably wait until June to finish pruning. 

Maybe I’ll grab a ladder and at least finish the tops of the maples I started.  When I told Dee I pruned the maple trees as high as I could reach, he said, “Oh, so you mean you didn’t prune very much?”  Whatever, funny guy!  Mama’s have a long reach, especially with pruning shears.

I realized again how much I LOVE trees!  I liked trees when I was little, too.  I studied the leaves and barks of trees, looked trees up in tree books, and memorized different kinds of trees.

Trees were my favorite place to hang out!  I remember climbing trees with a book tucked in my pocket, so I could read up in my own leafy castle.  Growing up didn’t stop me either!  I climbed trees at night when I lived at an orphanage in Indianapolis.  I was 20.  Nobody knew about that until now.

Ahem.

So, it looks like June will be a busy month for me!  Bummer that it will be sweltering hot and I’ll be 7 months pregnant.  I predict a lot of swimming in my near future!