Thursday, March 31, 2011

Life is all about learning. This week, I learned that family vacations are not restful. "let's take the kids!" I pleaded. "They LOVE the beach!" The MOG reluctantly agreed, and the children for whom we have prayed tantrumed and peed their way across Galveston Island.

I can still get fairly idealistic, even after almost 12 years of parenting. I'm so in love with my kids that sometimes I forget they are capable of great chaos and malfeasance. (that is a gorgeous word) 

I had a mental picture of all of us parked on the shore, soaking up a few rays with a book while the children played happily in the sand. That didn't happen. It was cold and wet and windy, and everybody was a little grumpy. After a while we did settle into a groove and had some excitement buying a seashell. I had to work hard to talk a 3 littles out of a shark magnet that read "Bite Me". 

Yesterday morning I woke up idealistic again. "I'll make a big breakfast!" thought I. And I did, eventually. By the time it was ready, little people were strewn across the furniture, crying for God to take them now, and I was plugged into my Mellow Mix on the ol iPod, after crying twice. TWICE. I don't usually cry twice in a YEAR. 

Breakfast was delicious, ultimately. I think the kids had fun, and they'll have good memories of their very last beach vacation. I kid. We'll take them again, someday. Maybe when THEY have kids. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Where am I? I am with the MOG at the beach, attempting our first family vacation as a party of 6. We haven't actually hit the beach yet, and it's a cool, cloudy day, so I'm not sure we'll do anything beachy once we get there. I did buy a little play tent at Ikea and am intrigued by the idea of sitting inside the tent with Tristan, looking at the beach. Don't know if that will work out.

Currently little people are bingeing on PBS cartoons and we're getting stuff ready for 11:00 checkout. And by "getting stuff ready" I mean I am typing a blog and the MOG is composing songs in the shower.

And now: Tristan!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Dear Texans and foreigners lucky enough to live in Texas: don't be wusses, it's not befitting of the great nation of Texas. Get in your truck and drive to Magnolia tomorrow, it's not that far, and sing along with the new album while we're recording it. It's gonna be awesome! See you there, and don't mess with Texas.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I hate making plans. It takes so much brain power and micro-analyzing, and then you have this ^%$ plan you're stuck with, and you have to do it, and it will bug you when you're supposed to be sleeping. I prefer to live life on the fly, and not know what I'm eating for lunch until I'm halfway through making it. When people ask me those what-will-you-be-doing-in-5-years questions, it gives me hives. Heck if I know! ANYTHING could happen in 5 years. I could be living in a moon colony, raising robot bears. 5 years. Sheesh.

Every now and then, though, living spontaneously bites me in the butt. Like when I come to Texas and I have a limited amount of days to see people and eat Texas food (note to self: need crawdad). The MOG comes here to work, with ministry most nights and days full of song and sermon writing and rehearsals and setup and spiritual trances, whatever, so I'm on my own with my sidekicks to plan most of my days. This time I've tried really hard, even typing in all my tacos appointments in my calendar on my phone. It's just weird, though. You people live like this? Always knowing you have somewhere to be? Clocks and alarms and forward thinking? and waiting? Where's that calamine lotion?

Still, though the I protesteth, I made the plans. If you were wanting to buy us Mexican food and have not given a shout-out, shout out, yo. There's always second breakfast.

Monday, March 21, 2011

After a very tense weekend of R2 pointing angrily at a photo of himself on a trampoline, the school bus came back. He knows we're going to Texas, to his Bedste's house, where the trampoline is. What he doesn't get is why aren't we going, right now, immediately. So I was happy to send him to a day of school prior to the trip, just to distract him.

The remainder of the children and I took the minivan to the carwash, in our semi-annual cleansing of the vehicle prior to the 12-hour devastation of driving to Texas. It's kind of like washing your hands directly before mud wrestling. After eyeing our carpet, which is mostly Cracker Jacks, the guy told us it would be over an hour to get it clean. I signed things and considered hanging out in the lobby with the 3 little ones, snacking on Skittles and catching up on my People's Court. That lasted 90 seconds. We decided to hit the road and walk the miles and miles to McDonald's. (it is probably less than a mile, but I don't go outdoors)

Spirits were high as we headed down the sidewalk. It is gorgeous gorgeous today. It took a while. We had to stop and pick a flower, and look at the sewer manhole thingy, and discuss the sewer, and talk about water treatment plants. The Western Sizzlin sign has fallen over, and there was a LOT of talk about that. "It might FALL on us!" they squealed, standing as close to the Caution tape as possible. Brynn wanted to walk alone, then she wanted to ride on top of the stroller, then she fell over a couple of times and had an emotional breakdown.

By the time we reached the crosswalk, I was pushing the stroller, carrying Brynn and threatening Toby with things like, "If you get hit by a car, I will KILL you." (that statement is for humor purposes only) I actually had very mild Woodlands-mommy threats like, "let's be careful and wait for our turn, precious." (that statement is understated)

Finally we reached the promised land, where we feasted on a smoothie and waited it out. All too soon, it was time to walk back. The walk back was much quicker, although we had to stop to discuss railroads, and then we almost lost it all when a small dog walked by.

My van looks awesome. I expect the MOG to ban all eating and drinking until 15 minutes into the trip when he realizes the only time they are quiet is when they are chewing.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Tried on jeans today. Whatever, I'm over it. I'm totally not over it. Pioneer women had it easy. One threadbare old calico dress, and one nicer Sunday dress. The end. They wore them in the fields, at the mercantile, through their entire pregnancies. Muffin top? Fuggedaboutit.

But we modern women are so smart and so advanced, aren't we? Hey! we thought! The way it's worked for centuries is no good. Let's fashion for ourselves garments made of stretched denim, as to draw more attention to our shape, because that's a good idea, for that short moment we are 18. Did we think? Did we think about all the things that could go wrong? Like all the strange little flabby places that would pop up? No, we didn't. And now I am reaping the consequences of your thoughtlessness, flappers.

I have one pair of jeans that I love so, so much. If I were a male pair of jeans, I would marry them. They fit just right, even with the 5 pound fluctuations ("winter fluff" says the MOG). I've worn them for 2+ years, and the knees went out, but, hey, I don't have a "job" and my husband's in a band, so I can wear kneeless pants, legally. But now they've started wearing thin all over, and shoot... I was raised in Christian school. I wore shorts under my dresses until I was 18 or something. I am not gonna wear floozy pants, no matter how much I love them. And I bought them at a thrift, so even if I worked up my nerve and went to the real American Eagle and bought an unworn pair of pants, they probably wouldn't be the right ones. Plus, I'd throw up and pass out from spending money. So.

So. I'll wear my backup jeans, with all of their problems, and I will think dark thoughts.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

In a rare excursion from the house today, I took the kids to the park. I learned a couple of things.
A) the sun makes Tristan sneeze. will have to do follow up experiments on camera, for my own amusement and
B) Brynn is a feminist, or at least really empowered...

She sang for a good 10 minutes while she conquered the playground. The lyrics were along the lines of "I can do anything, I can climb this slider, I can walk on this, I can be careful, I CAN CLIMB THIS ROCK! I can do anything."

I had a long video but like a good soccer mom, held my finger over the mike, so it sounds like Brynn is in Kosovo, and I am listening to her play via Skype on my phone. The second clip is not quite as victorious of a female anthem, but you still get the concept...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

We're driving to Texas in a few days. It's March, so it's a little early for bluebonnets, but I'm still hopeful.

I'm terribly predictable, y'all. Point me toward Texas and I'll start writing poetry and posting achy songs about home. I'll say something about how time moves on and everyone changes and home will never be the same, ever again. Then I will drown my sorrows in Mexican Coke (the drink, haters) and queso until it's time to go to my other home that is not home again.

I'll pontificate on the beauty of the state, of the people, of the curious thing that is Texas pride. I'll talk about lasting friendships and family and the ache of belonging but not belonging.

I miss living in Texas, I miss being with family. At the same time, I am content here in this wonky house in this Midwestern city, with these crazy little babies.

I was the one in grade school who couldn't stay the night at the sleepover without breaking down from homesickness and calling my dad to come get me. Shoot, I probably did that in high school. One time, though, when I was 16, there was a flood and I was at the MOG's house and I called my dad and left a message that I'd just sleep over at Richy's mom's, because of the flood, you know. On the couch. Next thing I knew my dad was there, soaked to the skin but determined to rescue me from one last slumber party.

Anyway, if you would have asked me at any point in my life if I would be okay with living outside of Conroe, much less Texas, I would have said an emphatic Aw Heck No. But God moved us here and there's been so much grace. I don't feel like I'm fully myself, though. The part of me that is used to being a Yablonski, in the middle of the drama, is lacking. Although there's no shortage of drama around here...

just rambling here, trying to type and think while simultaneously vigorously patting a baby bottom, kissing bonked heads and trying to talk certain people into taking me to lunch.

The thing is, my little family is my home now, and that's good.

Monday, March 14, 2011

I'm no history buff, but I can make a pretty safe hypothesis: I bet the Black Plague happened during a holiday. At least a weekend. Because children get very sick when the doctor's office is closed.  

Another thing: when one kid gets sick, there's some kind of secret signal to all the other children in the house: find the sick kid and lick them. Literally. Find their bacteria-ridden sippy cup and pass it around. Sneezing competition in each other's faces? Oh heck yes!  Obtain their germs, that is the goal.

Brynn woke up from her nap at 4-something Friday with a fever of 103. She could have had a fever at 3, but the pediatrician would have been open then. She then went through a cycle of losing her fever and earache during the 4 hour periods our weekend walk-in clinic is open, and then as soon as hours were over, she'd get flaming hot, lose all the color in her face, and complain of pain in her ears, throat, stomach and emotions. 

Toby described similar maladies, although he didn't really have a fever or anything. He felt remarkably improved when I gave him a Tums. Yeah, and I pretend to salt their food, too.

After a long and emotional weekend, I took them in this morning. As expected, Brynn has an ear infection and Toby is not sick. R2 didn't go to the appointment, but I don't think he's sick. He's just ticked about being forced to have spring break. You and me both, pal.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Today, the baby wouldn't stop crying, so I took him to the pediatrician.
He had an ear infection, so she called in a prescription to Target.
It wasn't ready, so I tried on some clearance jeans, but they wouldn't zip up.
Depressed, I took the baby to the snack bar and ate some nachos while he downed a bottle.
Only ate a couple because the baby was fussy, so I took the leftovers to the trash, but the THANK YOU door to the trash can bounced back and slapped the bowl of cheese out of my hand, sending it in a glorious arching flight across the floor, my shoe, and the hem of my fat jeans.
And that's how it goes.

(Disclaimer: I'm actually feeling pretty cheerful, I just thought it was kinda funny)

As I was writing this, a bloodcurdling scream came from the linen closet. It was Toby, who went to bed an hour and a half ago. I opened the closet to find a panicked Toby screaming, finger pointed behind me. I was pretty concerned that it was a demon or a burglar or something, due to the screaming and the shaking outstretched finger, but it was a papercut, which he got from reading an animal encyclopedia in the linen closet 90 minutes after he went to bed. Because my life is NORMAL.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I dropped Brynn off for her first real playdate today, at least her first one without me or her brother. When I opened the van to get her out, I thought for a second about picking her up and carrying her into her friend's house. I mean, she's still tiny, and maybe I could soak up the babyness, just for a minute. I decided just to let her walk, and hold my hand. She's growing up, and she was so excited about going to play.

This morning at breakfast, we had to break the news to her and Toby that they couldn't marry each other when they grow up. I told them they'd marry someone else and live in different houses. Toby was not cool with this idea.
"You can't marry your sister." I told him, "It's against the rules."
"But we'll be GROWNUPS," he explained, "So it will be okay!"
Brynn was not as bothered about living separately from Toby. She told me she would have a husband and some babies, while the MOG muttered threats under his breath.

It's true, though. With the exception of R2, all of these small people will continue growing and eventually leave me. So I was thinking today about that, and about what I'm doing now and how much it matters. I mean, this is a job here, just the parenting. And if I invest the next 15-20 years of my life in teaching these guys how to work and love God and be respectful and cover their mouths when they cough, that will pay off. Think about that. I will live for a long, long time, probably, and one portion of my life, a relatively short portion, is essential to training children for their whole lives.

Anyway, I guess I get philosophical or whatever when I only have 2 kids in my house and may or may not still be under the influence of sinus medication. So there you go.

Monday, March 7, 2011

If the room is made dirty, who then shall clean it? For you say, "It was not I who dirtied the room!" Yea, even with marker stains on your hands you say these things, even when the wall testifies against you. It is not to me to clean the room, for I am your mother, and indeed, you should obey my commandments, lest a curse fall upon you, the curse of being grounded from PBS kids.

And when you fall to the ground with a loud cry and ask the earth to swallow you up, for there are too many toys, then I will inquire of you if I should bag them up and give them to grateful children. And the weeping shall be heard across the land. Then you will turn from your ways, and with promises of gratefulness and cooperation, you shall pick up one furry pink dog and put it in the toy bin.

But you are easily distracted, and focus is not in you. For upon placing the dog in the bin, you then pick up a bag of Hot Wheels and pour them in your snow boot, for safekeeping. This is not pleasing in my eyes. And after carrying your snow boot to the other room, indeed you do not return. And my cries fill the house, for my wrath is great toward deserters.

I will come to you. I shall come and find you, in the living room watching Nemo, and I will scoop you up like a mother bird and carry you back to the playroom. Even while you kick wildly at the air, I will carry you. And when you are placed on the ground, I will heed not your pleas.

Yea, and great confusion will be upon you and your sibling. You forget where the toys go, yea and you inquire of me many, many times, though there is only one place to put them. Then violence will rise up in your hearts, and brother shall smite sister, and sister brother, with Buzz Lightyear, yea, and the throwing of small alphabet blocks. Then my anger will burn against you, and I will quit playing Angry Birds and rise from my tiny plastic chair in the playroom.

Then you will relent, and with cries of "ImsorryImsorryImsorry" you will begin putting cars away with great speed.

After a time, and a half time, and a few more times, I will again rise from my chair and begin folding blankets, for my legs have become numb, and if the room is made dirty, who will clean it? I will.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

There are perks to having a rock band in your basement 3 hours a day. 

For one thing, it's harder to hear the screams. I see the clenched fists, the red faces with wide open angry mouths. I can perceive that a preschool misdeed has gone down, but the specifics are lost. Also, there's always a dance soundtrack. Sometimes it's Blue Oyster Cult, aka Cowbell, sometimes it's an extensive techno robot jam or screaming 80's guitar lead, and on occasion, our take on modern worship. Another pro: my kids can sleep through anything. In fact, sometimes when the shredding stops, they wake up, irritated at the silence. There are 5 extra people filtering through the house and entertaining my kids. Sometimes T & B go down there and sit on the stairs until they are overcome with temptation, probably because of the "rock beat" and try to get in on the band space, only to be bounced.

It's not all gravy, though. (For you poor Yankees, gravy is like heaven, but liquid) It's loud, and sometimes it makes your brain rattle a little. Sometimes rockers have to perfect a riff or something and they play the same thing over and over for 1,324 days, or they plug everything into in-ears and so you just hear drums. For hours. I mean, it's  quality drumming and all, my favorite! But you know. 

Lucky for me, we have the sunroom. The sunroom will be the first to go in the apocalypse. I have a feeling it's being held together by household nails and mold. It was a crazy experiment by an amateur homebuilder in the late 70's, as far as I can tell. Anyway, it's this crazy room tacked on to the back of the house and therefore, relatively disconnected from the vent system and the wood floors, which are the primary sound conductors. Here I sit, with 3/4 of my children and a bag of trail mix, listening to a faint continual guitar playing in the baby monitor and drums, always drums. 

It's important, what they're doing. The hours of practice pay off in a live environment, when they don't have to worry so much about remembering the songs, so they can be freer and more prophetic. It's loud, but it's worth it. I love what Richy does for a living, and I love being part of it.

And I will love it in an hour, when they stop and I can relax my ears to the sound of my children hitting each other with Hot Wheels. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I like to turn over my new leafs on the first of months. It seems fitting, a shiny new month. Hey! I think. This month I could get super-skinny and read the whole Bible and teach Brynn to read and maybe take over the interwebs.

Yesterday I decided to start working out. I've put on about 15 pounds, which doesn't look that bad unless I look at myself in a mirror or try to wear non-maternity clothes. That's the thing. I just wear what I always wore, and it looks kind of like my clothes, but considerably lumpier. Not cool. No problem, I think. It's all under control. My jeans are stretchy, and I have a fair collection of empire-waisted shirts. Except I'm not really shooting for the 5 months pregnant look.

Now, maybe you've seen me and you think I look great. I do! I do look great. Especially my FACE. But you know, you have comfort levels with your own size and so I can gripe about the lumpiness, because, sheesh.

Anyway. All that to say I actually went to the Y yesterday, and re-signed up, because I cancelled my membership last year, and then I went and did 45 minutes of exercise. It wasn't that bad. Once I actually get there, I like exercise. It's the dressing of the childrens and the driving and the MILE LONG sidewalk that I dread.

So I did all that, and burned a couple hundred calories and then rewarded myself with lunch at McDonald's and a candy bar.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The goal is to be heard. We're all striving for it, humanity. But especially 4  and 5 year olds.  Here's the way it works. Everything goes along fine, you know, with the cute little faces and the kangaroo hopping and the bringing us plastic chicken, whatever. Moderate volume, relatively civil behavior with each other, just fairly peaceful. Until I need it to be quiet.

I don't advertise. I sneak away to put the baby to sleep, or call a doctor or the IRS or whatever, and everything changes. Everyone needs immediate attention, immediately.

Let's say, for example, that I am attempting to discuss something with my mom. I don't know, groceries or a united front on the Toby/sass battle. Or I answer the phone, or God forbid, take a shower. This is a cue to small people to come from everywhere, and fall down 4 times on the way. Also, they are hungry and somebody hit them or called them a lizard when they are clearly an alligator. They find me, like bloodhounds. They bang on the door and make bleeding sounds until I drop everything and hang up on neurologists and run. "Hey, mommy!" they say cheerfully. "I saw a BUG!"

I hug them tenderly, thinking of how fleeting time is, and how sweet are their childish questions. Just kidding. I gripe for a while and then lock myself in a room and call the water company back, getting in the back of a 45 minute queue.

No problem, they think. I just need to TALK LOUDER. "I SAID I NEED A DIFFERENT SNACK BECAUSE I AM A CARNIVORE AND ALSO I HIT THE BACK OF MY FOOT OVER HERE AND I NEED A KISS NO NOT THERE, THIS SPOT RIGHT HERE NOT MY HEEL THIS HERE I NEED A KISS" "BRYNN SAYED MEAN TO ME AND I DROPPED A BUCKET ON HER HEAD ON ACCIDENT IT WAS AN ACCIDENT! IMSORRYIMSORRYIMSORRYIMSORRY!" Tristan wakes up and decides that a 24 minute hiatus from eating is long enough, thank you, and he is mad as heck and not going to take it anymore. R2 squeaks, increasingly frustrated.

And it builds. "I'M SORRY!" I yell to the President. "I'MMA HAVE TO CALL YOU BACK!" I give up. Their volume, the sheer power of their volume wins. I devote my full attention to these, the children I prayed for.

And they get bored and go play quietly in the sunroom while Tristan spontaneously naps because that whole hungry thing? A fakeout.

What a funny, noisy, tumultuous and chaotic joy my life is. I honestly wouldn't trade it for anything.

And now: some random cuteness. 

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