Friday, February 27, 2009

Rainy day catch-up

We headed out to our neighbor's for some Friday fun, and what a motley crew we were. Jadyn in her raincoat with 2 Elmos, Isabella with an umbrella & Elmo, me pushing the stroller, holding an umbrella and toting a bag of clothes to give away.
Isabella informed me that I made her get wet, and we should have taken the car.
I happen to think rain is pleasant when it's warm out, and usually it does wonders for tiny moods, right? Well, usually. But 4 year olds have extreme moods.
I returned to find the roofing company had left all the supplies in the driveway - a very good sign that this project may just get done soon! The guy called to tell me the weather was bad... *cough cough* and asked if Sunday would be okay. I held in the sarcasm, as we have now waited FIVE months, and were told it would only be 4-6 weeks. I simply said Sunday would be fine with us. Simply fine. Simply get my roof on.

Next up is Mr. Big. He had his 9 month check-up last week, and was informed that he needs to start crawling and stop trying to stand and pull up. The latest wisdom is that crawling is linked to reading comprehension, so if he doesn't crawl first, I will have to get a play tunnel for him to crawl in later. Okay. I love his doctor, and she thinks he is the best, and totally understands that in a full house, someone always picks up a fussing baby. He can't stand to be on his tummy, and they can't stand to hear him fuss, so we will see how this goes.
He is trying to say mama now, having learned dada, zzzzissseee (sissy), and daydee (Jadyn, I think). But I am Baba. Sometimes Mbaba. Always accompanied by a smug grin, as though he has been holding out on me on purpose. Little stinker.

I leave you with a conversation between Cole & I. Second graders now have that combination of utter naivete, and budding speculation.

Cole: Mom, what does sexy mean?

Me: Umm, it's when a grown-up finds another grown-up attractive, or thinks they're hot.

Cole: Oh. Barysh, my friend at school, said that sexy is when a man kisses a woman and the man is naked.
Cole: (eye roll, snort, head-shake) Barysh lies. A lot. That dude is such a liar!

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Hi friends. Today I am reflecting on my Dad, as it is 2 years on this day since he moved on to the next phase of his Being. [Still with me?]

One of these days I'll hit on the perfect phrasing for death, one that sounds less cold, less trite, and more personalized.

For now, I share with you a reflection. This day in particular does not bring me sadness per se, only a review of what the time passed has brought to me in terms of growth.

Dad's greatest joys for me: that I would write, and that I would seek purpose in this life. (Well, and that I would have tons of babies for him to love!)

So today I bring him his joys.

As He Wished

My last glimpse of my Dad was cellular
A fine grainy powder of ash
That constituted the physical presence of a giant to me.
A small sack of matter, easily toted
That has appeared where once he was.
I hold it in my hands, gingerly,
Trying to wrap my head around this possibility
And trying not to imagine the fiery mechanics of
The transformation
The reduction from man to matter.

Part of me longed to see him, still and silent in death
Dreaded to see him.
Knew that I would throw myself onto his chest
To keep him here just a moment longer.
All the while knowing the ashes were coming
The fire would consume him as he wished.
So there could no longer be an idol, a sepulcher of Floyd to lay my head on.
As if he knew that as long as he became
One with the wind
I would have to lay my head on the very earth
To commune with him.
As he wished.

Even now he has his way with me.
Effectively forcing my acceptance of the Oneness that is us all.

BWL October 6, 2008

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

This life...

My wayward attempts to post during this month have been pathetic. And no signs of improvement on the horizon, since as soon as we all get well, some different scum-sucking germ comes around and hits us. Does Costco sell huge jars of Tylenol Cold & Cough? This is crucial information. I use it very sparingly, and even so... 4 kids getting dosed at night = a vat of it. I'm pretty sure some of the yuck coming out of these noses should be turned over to Jacques Cousteau. I know I have seen it in some of the deep sea studies, where the creatures have neon-glowing parts. peace...ommm...sleep-filled nights...

Hope you said it with me.
Now on to more interesting topics...

I went around the world in 50 minutes this week - and no, I was not taking Nyquil at the time. Cole & I went to International Night at his school! And my neighbors, toting their 2, 3 and 4 kids respectively, eyed me enviously and called it a "night out" since I had only Cole with me. Various parents volunteered to create table-top displays of their home countries, and many of them had food from their native lands. It was very interesting, if a bit rushed since Cole's goal was to:

1. Find every country that was giving out candy (like favors in prison, the kids whispered to each other as they passed "Russia's got candy! Switzerland's got chocolate!")

2. Get his "passport" stamped at each table in the manner of the Amazing Race.

Which is how we whirled around in 50 minutes.

It was spectacular to see how many countries were represented by people that had recently immigrated from that country: Sweden, Turkey, Serbia, Pakistan, Russia, China, India, Japan, Sri Lanka, Iran - the diversity at this school rocks.
I can only imagine the tolerance these kids will grow up with. No longer will their world history lessons be about strangers from across the globe. No longer will the conflicts and wars of their time be about cultures foreign to their eyes. When you sit with a Japanese child as you learn about WWII, they are simply humans, not former enemies.

This is beautiful to me.

What was also beautiful was the expression on Cole's face when he greedily scooped up a British scone - and found out it was clotted cream on top, not whipped cream. Those limey Brits, with their trickery and unsweetened cream & floury lumps! I say good day!
Better luck at the Swedish table, where the lovely lady handed out cake with real whipped cream and fresh strawberries on top. I rolled out my Swedish, having secretly hoped there would be a native Swede at that table. Cole and I exclaimed "Tack!" as we received our cakes, and said "Hejda!" as we stepped away. The Swede smiled and asked "Ar du svensk?" Aha! A moment to be proud of - with 2 words I sounded native, and she had asked if I was Swedish. I hated to spoil it. Could have nodded and simply split. But I was not done yet - "Nej... men jag kan pratar en lite." I 'fessed up that I could only speak a little.
I walked away proud that I had retained the lessons learned 14 years ago in a land far away. And promptly called Mimmi to squeal! Particularly because it was simple luck that her lessons included that phrase - her idea of education being more along the lines of Bethany-as-a-bizarre-pet-that-can-speak-goofy-phrases. Funny? Yes. Useful? Only if I meet a Swedish lunatic that needs no rhyme or reason to conversation. Or one that drinks a lot.

So International Night was a brief whirlwind of unfamiliar tastes and the familiar packed heat of many small children in a frenzy. Next up is preschool registration for the girls today, in which I will hope to get TWO spots in the ONE class they have at the elementary school. Visualize, visualize that.
And now back to the whirlwind of tending my brood of small snotty ones.
House pictures coming soon! The new roof will be on by the end of the week, so I'm waiting to take the real "wow" shot...

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Babies all around

Greetings on a Saturday morn!
No more than the usual number of my babies around here, so sit back and stop clenching.
I woke up to some good news from my friends:
Allie Mae had a baby girl last night, Julia Avery, and I am excitedly waiting details of what sounded like a precipitous (yet welcome!) delivery brought on by spicy Indian food and a walk. :) Much more appealing than the labor-inducing methods I tried. (Though I did stop short of the castor oil method. Couldn't quite fathom the connection.) And, Susan broke the suspense with an XX post - as in chromosomes, not dirty, ya'll.
The tally of pregnant friends holds strong, with 5 remaining.

Meanwhile at the Lear home, the house renovation continues at a rapid pace. The house painting is almost finished, with only the trim left to be done. Pictures will be forthcoming! It's looking great.

What's not looking great is me. The wreck of 8 days of Yuck has taken it's toll. And though I am dutifully applying peppermint-oil steam treatments, to clear my sinuses, I am not yet recovered. Though my minty-fresh smell may fool you. I smell like a candy-cane. Suprisingly, sitting under a steam-filled towel softens the noise of the household. So, I apply this treatment liberally.

Mama continues to hold out on me, refusing any further Natural Remedy Tips in retaliation for my review of her previous tips. I told her I would pour olive oil and green tea anywhere she said, but she continues to withhold. I think that is in violation of the Hippocratic Oath, which declares to aid and heal anyone who appeals? Though I guess a self-proclaimed root doctor has not in fact sworn an oath. Oh alright, you're off the hook for the moment, Mama. For the moment.

Today promises to be filled with activity. Apparently my befuddled shopping trip earlier in the week failed to meet the needs of a family of six. I think I bought a bag of cranberries and some olive oil. Maybe a cucumber. At any rate, the children are all using words like cupboard, bare, and starving, and asking if I am feeling any better. The solution is Trader Joe's and a kid's cart for each of them. Fill it up. Don't forget the wine.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Baby got wheels

This will be a practically wordless Wednesday, because what can I really say to describe this little video? It's a little bit cute, a little bit fun, and little bit redneck. Take a peek.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

It's Quiet, Don't Tell

Silence. Kids at school. Baby napping. Only the sound of my congested breathing to break the silence. Ahhhh.

But before I sit down with yet another cup of hot tea, I will share a picture.

I have always liked the fact that my girls are so different from each other. The expectation a lot of times is that twins will be similar, particularly when they are the same sex. Not so in this case. They are yin and yang, and night and day, and sometimes seem like they are not even siblings.

But this day? This day, they were twins. Synchronized. This day they were on the same page at the same moment, undressed at the same time, making the same expression, and I happened upon it. And I was delighted to see them looking, well, twinly.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Bad Day Rankings

Today I'm pulling from my archives, and since they are off-line archives, well, then it's new to you! Not all of you, but surely I can recycle a good tale? I promise you will laugh, or at least shiver. After all, what's better for a Monday than a little poo story - nothing, I say! And I deserve a small break after being sick all weekend. The Yuck found me and it hated me and I hated it and now I am on the mend. End of story.

Let's move on too Poo and Friends.

The phrase “having a bad day” takes on all new meaning when a child unceremoniously hands you a glob of poo.
From that day forward all days bereft of poo-handling will seem brighter. In fact, you know you have one-upped a certain percentage of the complaining adult population. Friends with kids, singles – anyone that calls to bemoan their day can be brought to a screeching halt.
Them: “So, little Timmy woke up at late… we were late for music class… late for a play date… late for hieroglyphics lessons…”
Me: Hmmm, that’s too bad. Say, have you touched poo today? No? Then you’re a few steps up the bad day chart from me.”
Really, any run-in with poo outside of conventional receptacles constitutes a great big icky moment. And you will ever after find yourself comparing notes with other Moms. (Kids Are Gross, Shah!)
Poo thrown around bedroom? Check.
Poo smeared inside crib? Check.
Poo as a handheld accessory? Check.
Poo as play dough? Oh, ever-loving check.
Poo as decorative statue? Check.
Poo as votive candle? Uh, yeah-yeah.
Inside I secretly gloat over the poo-wars I have fought. I know that I have met unexpected poo face to face, and lived to tell the tale, ummm, tail.

My best poo quote goes to Jadyn, from about a year ago. The girls were playing industriously out back for a very long time, so I walked out to check on them. As I stepped out the door I heard Jadyn say: "Wait a minute Bella. Let me poop out another one and we'll make a rabbit."

Ah, yeah. Really. Poo-dough.
Have a great Monday, ya'll - and may all your poo-ey days be at least funny, if not poo-free.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Guest Blog from Phoenix

Dear Mommy,

Let's get right down to it. I'm really loving the cereal puffs you've been throwing my way. They are so easy to munch and drool on. They also make me feel big. Which reminds me, I like the way you call me Mr. Big. Lovin' that name. It is just so "me" and I hope it sticks. Though if you are gonna call me Mr. Big, you could lose the Boppy pillow when you sit me down. I mean, really. On the off-chance that I tip over, it's carpet. Chill out. If my sissies knock me over with all their rough lovin' I will just giggle. Promise.

Also? What is up with my ears? They are seriously floppy. I know you think it's cute and all, and sometimes I hear you call me Yoda... but if they don't learn their place, I'm gonna need some hats or something.

You and Dad are doing a great job at feeding me every time I feel a tummy rumble. Lose the greens though, I am not diggin' those at all. I have tried to tell you, using grunts and spitting and all, but those greens keep showing up. And hiding them in sweet potatoes is not working. At all. I know my colors, people. Orangey/green is a dead giveaway.

About that sippy cup. The red is a cool color, and I enjoy the chewy rubber tip. As far as drinking? Um, no. Mom does just fine in that department, and you are really mucking up the works with that cup. Tried to tell you that, too, with lots of spitting and grinning, but you're not getting it. I only want to play with it, so don't be surprised when it ends up on the floor. I got a perfectly good milk supply, and don't intend on changing that anytime soon.

Which leads me to Mommy. When I grab your face in my small talons and drag it to my mouth? I want to get my teeth on something. You can call it a kiss, call it a smooch, but really? I am hoping from some chin or cheek to soothe my aching, teething mouth. Stop dodging me and just hold still. You know you love it.

I'll keep in touch.

Love, smooches, and all that good stuff,


On the occasion of his 9th month.

P.S. Kinda new at this photo-loading stuff, and this one is crooked. But gotta say, I am lovin' being dressed up by sissy and sissy all the time. And when I make that Zzi-sssee sound every time they are near? Yeah, that's really "sissy" I'm saying.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Sideblog: The Mob Boss

The girls came home from preschool with tons of loot from their Valentine's Party. As Isabella pulled each treat out, she set some aside.

"Those are for Cole."

As though he is a Mob Boss and she owes him a percentage of her take...
I'm thinking that's pretty smart of her, actually. He does stage a pretty mean hit when candy is involved.

Monday, February 9, 2009

15 Directions

I could go in 15 directions here, probably because the ham-ham-hammering all day long has my noodle rattled. Seriously? The guys were hammering siding on BOTH sides today, and all I could think of was the Buffett song "...fins to the left, fins to the right..."" [insert hammers for fins].
So as the day went on I concocted tales on Phoenix's First Mischief, Mom's Natural Remedies (e.g. Get Out The Vinegar), The Kids Are Feeling Well Enough to Get On Each Other's Nerves And Mine, How Phoenix Got Pink Eye, Ear Infections And A New Tooth In One Week - and now?

Now, The President is on. He's on every channel & he's talking and I'm listening and all my stories have crumbled into dust because I have missed him.
I listen to him and I trust that he is the Man For The Job. He's not duped by the Congressional wish list touted as a stimulus package. He recognizes the same old political game going on.
Savvy. The man is savvy. He will do the best he can.
You see? Throw another topic in my rattle-trap mix: Why I Love Me Some Presidential Speeches.

You'll have to wait for First Mischief chuckles, because I have to load pictures first.
The other titles tell the tales of sick-almost-well kids bickering, so that leaves....
...drum roll...
Mom's Natural Remedies!
My mama proudly declared the amount of months it has been since she used chemical pain relievers such as aspirin and sinus medication. As though she "used" as a junkie would, uncontrollable amounts of pain relievers in her daily life. What has taken the place of those dear little pills, you may ask? I will tell you.
Steamy water.
Hot olive-oil ear rinses.
Green tea compresses.

Let's vote.

Mama has been body-snatched by:
1. Winnie The Pooh
2. Still thinking about Pooh
3. Let's just say Pooh really loud, and all our troubles melt away!
I say this in my best Pooh voice, and you know you have tried a Pooh-imitation before: Honey is good for many ailments and especially rumbly tummies.
I'm gonna guess that standing over a steamy pot of water, with hot oil dripping out of my ears simply ain't gonna cut the pain radiating around my noodle from hours of pounding, hours of bickering and far less hours of sleep, kids. Quote me on that.
And the only Pooh making an appearance around here is missing an "h"at the end.

Let's move on to green tea compresses, e.g. Mom's Remedy for Phoenix's pink eye. I am still working out the logistics of how the hail I was supposed to keep the compresses on his eyes for longer than the second it would take him to swipe them off and gnaw on them.
Ditto for the olive-oil down the ear chute. The kid writhes and bucks like a bull when I wipe his nose - so I am thinking some oil in the ole ear will be a right mess.
(I too am trying to figure out why Home Remedy Talk must be done in a down-home accent. Yeehaw.)

The vinegar? Oh that one was good. I was lamenting that this family had caught various brands of The Yuck for the past 3 weeks and I was ready to douse every un-moving object in the house with Lysol.
Mama begged to differ.
She breathed out the beginning suggestion of a vinegar wash that I could clean with, but I admit I cut her off. She had me at vinegar. And wash. And vinegar wash that would require a trip to the store with 4 still-sick kids and leave my house smelling, oh, vinegary fresh.
Besides, spraying Lysol all over was somehow therapeutic. But I promise I did it while enjoying a spoonful of honey.
The rest? Go ahead, try it. Let me know how it goes...

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Nearly a Century

She was born in 1912, into a world much different than today.
Her parents were Italian immigrants that settled in the environs of Cleveland, Ohio, and she was one of 8 children.
1912-2009. A world of changes from then to now. A blooming country. She saw it happen.
In her middle years, she would bear 5 children in 4 years; Rick was her youngest. Her eldest grandchild nears 40, her youngest {Phoenix} nearly 9 months, in a family that spans decades. Through the challenges of life and circumstance she would prevail, with strength and determination cloaked about her.
She seemed indestructible, as though anything life tossed her way could be overcome by sheer force of will.
96 years.
I suppose that is rather indestructible.
The potential memories of all those years could be a flood. A flood of places, decisions, emotions, and change. She held those memories well.
Today will begin her celebration, as those who walked the years with her will pass by to remember.
To remember, to weep, to laugh, to know that nearly a century of constancy has found rest.
Here's to you Jane Lear,

June 1st 1912 - February 6, 2009.

The Great Walk comes to us all, and you staved it off with heart.

Jane on the occasion of her 90th Birthday. Yeah, that's her natural hair color.

The 5 Lear children, circa 1957: Ken, Rick, Brian, Kathy and Dennis.
Jane, your strength has passed down.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Yuck

You knew it would take more to keep me down than a house renovation project! (Susan:))
Especially since the noise of hammers could hardly distract me more than the daily noise inside the house.
And that leaves The Yuck.
The Yuck moved into our house, and stayed for about 7 days. In fact today is the first day in 8 days that all four children have been completely fever-free. Yes, they are fever-free, but still coughing and snotty and generally a mess, literally and figuratively. Poor Phoenix has the cold coming out of his eyes, spurring a “burger” report from the girls every 10 minutes. A “burger” report, as in “Mommy! Phoenix has eye burgers again! On both sides!” (Jadyn, Queen of Mispronunciation, calls boogers “burgers.”)
Truly, you should be glad I did not blog about this mess – it has been ugly!
The good news is that the handymen started the work today, after a delay due to c-o-l-d weather and h-i-g-h winds. They are still ripping off siding and repairing rot around a window – and I have hopes of the window being back in its place by the end of the day. Brrrr. I also have hopes of not returning to Home Depot again, so that we can stay within our squeaky tight budget. Though I must say, the desperate look I portrayed in HD, while toting a sick, eye-burgery baby was sufficient to get me very speedy assistance.
I’ll keep you posted on the building crew & the burgers…

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The domino effect is playing out at our house.
Here's how it started.
~The Tale of a 20 Year Old House~
Got insurance money to replace hail damaged roof.
Replaced rotted trim under windows and on chimney.
Needed quote for painting replaced trim.
Needed trim painted post haste, as roofers are coming in one week to replace roof.
Trim quote came in way high, almost same as re-painting entire home.
Decided to paint entire home.
Needed to replace some bad siding.
Replacement/patch job for siding came in way high, considered replacing all siding of both sides, due to insanely good quote.
For the economy, ya know.
And to stop the slow disintegration of this place.
Everything old made new again.

And that's how a few pieces of trim and a new roof started to become a new roof, new siding, new paint, new house. Our heads are spinning, our eyes are goggling, but we are getting excited. Well, I am getting excited. Rick is tugging the wallet reins, threatening to bolt it shut.
If it happens it will be f-a-s-t. Within 2 weeks. What has taken us 4 years of discussion and planning of time frames for each project.
Domino effect.
The End.