Monday, June 29, 2009

Attila the Hun-y-gienist

I have met her. Time and again, despite my every attempt to score a different dental hygienist. She has her claws in me, she has drawn my blood, and she will not let me go. Or my husband. She is Atilla the Hun-y-gienist.
She wields her tooth scraper like a scythe as she unconcernedly scrapes my gums, while gesticulating wildly as she talks. She laughs to herself, dabs the blood, and continues the carnage she calls cleaning.
There is a lull. She applies the cocoa-hazelnut-soy powder tooth cleaning paste, which is disgusting but painless. I spout water at Mr. Thirsty in my haste to get the cocoa-poo paste out of my mouth when she is done. I had told her to surprise me, when she asked what flavor I preferred. Oh, my mistake. It was indeed a surprise.
The lull is over, and I watch her wind her next instrument of torture around her meaty fingers.
Floss. Otherwise known as Attila's death-saw. She winds and drags it around my teeth with all the care of a kid whipping a willow switch. Yeah, all that care. She laughs again and a propos of nothing, tells me she changed her shower handles last night. Because she had been using a wrench to adjust the temperature. Yes, that's exactly the sensitivity I'm sensing here. Perhaps we could borrow your wrench, Attila, and trade it's welcome dullness for an inexact tooth-scraping.
My mouth is frozen in a wide "Ow!" formation as the dentist comes in, takes a peek and assures me that I'll live. He doesn't mention the blood on my sexy drool bib. He is familiar with Attila's methods.
I come home and lament my ability to get off of her schedule. Rick, the lucky duck, made a last minute cancellation and got switched out of Attila's torture rack. She tried to force him back, but the times wouldn't fit. (Yay, Rick!)
I have not been so lucky. I take extra strength Tylenol for the mouth-throbbing gum cuts, and wait it out. Twice a year I swear I will find another dentist.
Then Attila's reminder love-note comes in the mail, and I'm back in line.
And again.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

No way! Just... no Way!

We moved our troupe into the larger room on our second day at the beach. We settled in, got all greased up for the pool, packed the coolers and opened the door to walk out. We were greeted by this, right across the hallway. The very narrow hallway. The only other room in our hallway:

Was it a joke? Were they vampires? Was the concierge crazy? Were they messing with us, watching out the peephole to see our reaction? Because we certainly looked out of our peephole a the slightest sound of a door, trying to catch a glimpse of these Daytime Sleepers.

What I do know is that the room placement on this hallway had to be the most insane decision ever. I contemplated sticking my own sign on our door. My ideas ranged from the vaguely apologetic to the stingingly sarcastic. Were these the people we saw out on the beach at 10pm, combing the shores with their bright xenon flashlights, night after night? The world will never know.

What I do know is that they were gone the day after we moved in. The Daytime Sleepers had chosen another dwelling place, and we were free to bang our way down the hallway, squealing and hollering and feeling fine.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

the view - a quick glimpse

from our room...

of our boy...

of our other boy...

of our brood...
Look quickly, before the Green Sea Monster grabs the girls! This is how far back they stood, until the very last evening, when we walked along the surf and they finally got their feet wet. The Junegrass algae was disappearing, having bloomed the previous week, and the girls crowed "We're not scared anymore, 'cause that green stuff is gone." Oh. So that was it. Note to self: avoid N FL in June, due to Twin Fear of Junegrass.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

safe and sound...

...and tucked in their beds. All worn out, all sun-kissed, all glad to be home.

Sun, sand, cerveza.
Beautiful weather, interesting people to watch, ocean breezes to blow away our cares.
Dawn on the balcony. Shadows on the sand morph into shapes: umbrella, chair, shell seeker.
Small beings tumbled together on the bed like puppies, slowly awakening. Wandering to my side.
Busy days begin. Running feet get moving. Voices rise like the gusty wind.
On your mark, get set, go go go and don't stop until night comes, the sun has set and your parents are dropping where they stand. Life in motion.

Home again, home again, lickety-split.
Photos coming tomorrow for all the good boys and girls in blogville.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Postcards from FL - 2

Postcard 2

"I know you guys think this is some kind of great and fun vacation, but there's not even any ice cream!" As proclaimed by Cole, upon receiving "only" cookies and milk for dessert.

We took a surprisingly pleasant, undramatic family walk on the beach yesterday, just before sunset. Rick and I each held a little Phoenix paw, to keep him from dive-bombing in the surf. Fearless Phoenix joins our record of daredevil boys. The girls kept well out of the wet sand, far away from any sort of wet that may... well, may what? is the question. We're not sure what they didn't like. They had a lot of questions about sharks, so somewhere in their little heads, they maybe thought sharks would jump out and grab them. But they walked along anyway, on the crest of dry and wet sand, looking around and avoiding anything that appeared crab-like. Cole had fun digging in the surf for creatures, and carried some crab claws until we began to smell them down-wind.

Today brings 2 special occasions:
Happy Birthday to my Mom, and...
Happy 13th Anniversary to Rick and I! On this day in 1996, we were in Moravian Falls, NC... heading to the Blue Ridge Parkway to have our little mountain-top wedding.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Postcards from FL

Postcard 1:

The car ride was just fine, to answer question #1. I'm a baby-wrangler. I wrangle babies. Pass toys, drinks, snacks, diversions. Pass them straight on back, everyone take a turn, and no shouting in the car. Phoenix (blessedly) behaved, and only cried a little bit at the very end - and the water was in sight, so we could all stand that bit of fuss. Ah, optimism, thou art my friend!

The kids are wild with excitement. Though clearly there has been too much glamour-life TV watching. Because while Cole pronounced the pool and water slide way cool, the room (the first night it was very small - our suite with a separate bedroom was not ready - so, yeah, 6 people in one room? Not priceless. I would have pretty much paid a price.) anyway, our room was declared "lame." I rolled out the personal childhood experiences of sleeping on the floor and feeling lucky to be AT the beach. And admonishments to stop calling things lame.

And now? Our friendly desk agent, who must have young children himself, called us early to say the suite was ready. Whew. So I am perched on the 5th floor, overlooking the beach and pool, watching Cole slide, and the girls float around. Phoenix is snoozing.

Even though kids are just kids wherever you go, I am enjoying a change of pace and scenery. This may be all you see of me, since I am always behind the camera. But I'm here. Here and happy.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

30 second update

We're heading out Friday for Destin, FL. Our first vacation in years, and first ever with 4 kids. It's going to be fabulous! Awesome! Best ever! Top of the heap! The best part will be the 6-hour drive!

No really, I am pumped.

Actually, I've been told by a friend in-the-know, also a mom of 4, to set my expectations really low. That way, anything better than the worst will be good. My friend Susan mentioned that she tries to stay neutral. I am incorrigibly positive. I really do think this will Phoenix's big car-ride-breakthrough. There has to be a first time, right? At some point in this child's life, he will get into a car and not scream. This may be the day!

At any rate, there is a lot of preparation going on. Laundry, room-cleaning, list-making, toy-selecting and all that. I am alone in this prep work. I will spend 2 days getting 5 of us ready. That 6th person, well, let me tell you about him. He will throw his stuff in the suitcase at 6am, just before we pull away from the house at 7am.
And I will grimace and punch him and know deep inside that they would all just as soon be heading to Florida with a pack of crackers and a swimsuit. That's freedom, kids. I need to make it's acquaintance again one of these days. Would it really be that bad? I don't know. I just can't bring myself to try it yet...

Before I head back to the inner workings that {I think} make trips flow, let me distract you with some photos of my offspring. Pool time! It takes 2 of us to keep an eye on them all. But I managed to snap some action shots.

Phoenix blowing bubbles...

Jadyn loves to spin...

Cole swims like a fish...

(Sorry, got distracted for a moment...)

Bathing Bella...

The more typical shot of Isabella: lounging by the pool, chatting with our neighbors. This picture always gives me forward-flashes of Isabella as a teen. :)

This was way more than a 30 second update, dude. I must really be itching to get to my prep work. ;)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

In which I become the driver, or Miss Daisy.

Rick has always teased me for driving cautiously, slowly, ridiculously, whatever. I have always responded that I'm not in a hurry, every outing is not a race, there's no competition, etc. etc. Yesterday my lackadaisical driving style came in handy.

Last night after we got the kids to bed, I headed out for a quick bit of shopping at Kohl's, about 3 miles away. When I came out of the store and got back to the van, I saw Rick's work Blackberry sitting on top of the van. I spun around, poised for an attack (which may or may not have something to do with my recent reading of international espionage books), peered inside of the van for strangers, checked for bombs, and then just stood there.
My mind raced. Top of the list was suspicion that Rick was messing with me, and had driven by and left it there. I know, ridiculous. Who would have stayed with the sleeping kids? And why would he have even done that?
Finally my jaw dropped open. I slowly realized that he must have set it on the car earlier in the day, and that it rode right up there with me, all the way to Kohl's. Two left turns, 5 right turns and 5 stop lights to my parking space. Wow.
I drive like an old lady. (Big kiss to my grandmother! I love old ladies!)
I drove home stunned, and impatient to tell Rick 2 things.
1. He was right all along about my driving,
2. He was darn lucky.
(PS #3. Most likely it was MY infamous luck, not his. Just so you know. But you probably already do, if you know us. But I'll hush, before I jinx my luck.)
I tip-toed to his chair and started in about how he has always told me what a lame driver I am, and then presented the evidence of his Blackberry, describing it's travels.
But it was even worse than I suspected!
He had actually placed it on the rear bumper, when he was unloading the kids stuff out front!
So that is how carefully I mosey around town on my business. Carefully enough that a PDA can hitch a ride on the bumper for 3 miles, 7 turns and 5 stoplights.

Thank you to the kind stranger that found it on the bumper, and put it on top of the car. Close call.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

An open letter to VBS (ie The Kicker)

An addendum to yesterday's Holy Week excitement.

Dear VBS,

Your graciousness in allowing my preschoolers illegal attendance this week is humbly appreciated. It was truly a great week. I particularly enjoyed the small collectible figurines you sent home each day with my 3 children, as well as the delightful array of booklets, bracelets, necklaces and coloring pages. Two of my children have been enthusiastically singing one of the VBS songs all week, called something like "Unchaining" as far as I can tell. Sounds very progressive and rock 'n' rollish to me, but who am I to complain!

We are gigantic fans of your summer program and promise to be back next year. But before I go, I would like to extend an excited thank you, for the free kid's meal at Chili's vouchers. You know, for the children of volunteers. We had a delicious meal out last night, to celebrate the end of VBS, and boy was it affordable! Those 2 vouchers really make eating out for a family of 6 quite inexpensive! Particularly when the exact cost of kid's meal equals the exact cost of a grown-up-celebratory-beverage, if you catch my drift!
VBS Rocks!

With Sincere Blessings and Hugs of Gratitude,

Friday, June 12, 2009

A Holy Week

Oh my dear sweet online-identity, how I have missed you! This non-voluntary absence is courtesy of a non-comcastic internet, phone and cable outage that lasted THREE days. Yes. Three days off the grid. Three silent, eerie days, and six customer service phone calls later, the tech finally arrived and fixed the problem in 5 minutes. Man I wish I had some smooth techie skills.

While I was off-planet, a story fell right into my lap. Imagine.

The last week of preschool, the girls had Vacation Bible School (VBS) flyers in their school bag. It mentioned ages 4-12, and I went in to get the appropriate registration forms.

I noticed the 4 year old form said "for volunteers only," and I asked the receptionist for a "regular" form, as I would not be able to volunteer this year. She informed me that was the proper form. I shrugged, and thought to myself: "Self, you received the VBS invitation in their school bags, so they are probably making an exception for children who attended preschool at this church."

My self concurred and gave it no more thought at all, having turned in the form, checked the box proclaiming non-volunteerism, and receiving confirmation and VBS class placement.

Cut 2 months and 4 days forward, to the very last day of VBS this week, at pick-up time, as I was thanking the sweet teacher the girls had all week.

Teacher: Hey, were you a volunteer this week?

Me: No, I wasn't able to do it this year. (looking over at Phoenix on my hip)

Teacher: Oh, wow! This class was for volunteer's children.

Wide-Eyed Me: What? I asked the church receptionist if I had the right form, and if they were allowed!

Teacher: Wow, you got really lucky!! I'm so glad they were in my class! They were my favorites! Well, next year they will be allowed, you know, really. I love your earrings! Where did you get them?!

Even-Wider-Eyed Me: Umm, Roswell Arts Festival, Mother's Day weekend show.

Teacher: Wow! They are so cuuuute!! How much were they???!!!

Me: Well, hmm, thank you very much, the girlshadagreatweekIreallyhavetogo BYE!

Ruh-Roh. Dear friends, please tell me you believe in my innocence in this case! Please defend my children's burgeoning reputations as illegal Bible School attendees! We are Bible School vigilantes now, and we didn't even know it. I am so embarrassed. Yet somehow giggly. And a little bit mortified. And what was with all the earring questions?! Really I am somehow shocked...and... (pumping fist and doing rock 'n' roll fingers) bwahahaHAHAHA! No. Not really. Mostly just wide-eyed.

Oh no. You know what this means.

Next year my penance will be volunteering for Bible School. (And by penance I mean simply that rather than a small break from my older 3, I will help with a class of 503. You know. Penance. Of a sort.) Probably sorting boxes of Jesus fish beads into tiny baggies of 10 for each of the 500 attendees to make a necklace. Or poking holes into 500 plastic cups so a ribbon can be tied through them. Or cutting 500 squares of stickers to send home with every child. 500. That's how many kids go to VBS at this church.

No wonder we slipped in the back door.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Halloo there internetz. I've slacked off lately, but tried to cover it by posting un-labeled pictures and super-cute baby videos. Did it work? Do you really need stories?

The stories are still percolating, it's just my writing time that has shrunk. I've sat down to start 3 different tales, and ended up saving the world. My world, that is. You know. Never let it be said that one knows all the baby tricks! Because as soon as that phrase gets uttered, Baby 4 brings it on.

Me: Quickly clickety-clacking the beginning lines of a post.
Phoenix: Playing quietly behind me, in the kitchen. Only, now he has dashed into this room on his brand-new-super-fast -lunging little legs and grabbed a handful of dirt from the plant, in a blink.
Me: Lunging from my perch in slow motion, yelling No! Phoenix! Stop!
Phoenix: Shoving the dirt in his mouth as fast as he can, and flinging the rest of it around the room.

Cut to the next day.

Me: Quickly (and smugly) clickety-clacking away again on the computer.
Phoenix: Playing quietly behind me, on the other side of the gate I put in the doorway.
Me: Ha! Fixed him!
Phoenix: Stealthily throwing away the kids toys, right into the kitchen trash. Webkinz puppy? Check. Sunglasses? Check. Doll hat? Check.
Me: Well, ahem, at least he's quiet...

You may wonder where the other 3 were during this little interlude, and you'd be wise to do so. Me, I didn't wonder. I knew. And was prepared for the fallout if I could please, oh pretty please have a few stolen moments. Only, it's really not a fair trade, time for mess, considering that I didn't actually finish the post.
And what I got for my troubles?
Three heads full of sand.
Apparently it was hilarious at the time, sand flying, party going on, sandboat a-rocking. But like all hilarious parties, there's always that one party-goer that takes things a little too far and maybe drops his drawers, maybe pukes into the punchbowl, maybe pours buckets of sand all over people's heads.
Freshly washed heads.
And I so wish I had a funny story to give you all in trade.

So that's what is up with all the skimpy posting and mucho photo-ing. Summer.
Let's hope I get a chance to regale you with the trial of swim lesson, because boy oh boy! What a treat! I wish every week was swim lesson week!
To be continued....

Friday, June 5, 2009

flashback friday

*Edited to add - I did not mean to be mysterious! :) My friend Shah has crow tracks on her foot, in honor of her Dad, and she went with me when I got my tattoo. She also lost her Dad when he was 58, and became an especially close friend to me when my Dad was going through his health issues. Today was the anniversary of that day, 2 years ago, when we got pedicures and went to the Inksomnia parlor to ink my infinity for Dad. The picture is from when I finished, and we went out for a beer. A memorable day.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

just looking out the window

Today I just looked out the window. For 20 minutes. I sipped hot, fresh coffee and looked out the window at the rain. And wondered when the last time was that I just sat and sipped and breathed. And fidgeted a bit at the solitary unfamiliarity. And almost wished for a book, a paper, a magazine, a brochure. But I looked. And I breathed. I listened to nearby conversations between teen-aged boys about customer's quirks.
Was I hiding from the brood? Did I run away from home?
Nope. I made a smart move, want to hear it?

I scheduled a weekly babysitter.

Did you hear that?
Let me repeat myself, and this bit of breaking news.

I scheduled a weekly babysitter!

Something I haven't done since the twins were infants, and my teen-aged neighbor helped out when Rick was gone. Something I needed to do this summer, but had trouble justifying. Something that is making me feel a little bit spoiled, just for having a few hours to myself each week. Something that makes me so thankful for my friend & neighbor. Her daycare kids are back with their teacher mommies now that school is out - and I guess her house felt a little empty, and her toys a little lonely. :)
So now and then, in between kid-free errands and grocery runs and post office stops, I will be stopping to sip coffee and look out windows and do simply nothing.
Not a thing.
It's harder than it sounds.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

And then the baby smiled...

And our hearts were full
and we were in love.

We watched him take steps
and we looked as he wobbled

And our hearts they celebrated
and our pride it flew

We leaned for his kisses
and giggled at his slobber

And our hearts they swelled
and our arms they squeezed

We heard him say words
and we listened to his sweetness

And our hearts grew around him
and we knew he was ours

We felt his first hugs
and smiled at his pinches

And our hearts forgave all
never-minded his rough love

We endured all his fusses
and wound our way through it

And our hearts they were his
yes, he dwelled in the middle.