Wednesday, September 30, 2009

happy 1 year anniversary to 3kidadventures

I must have offended people with that last post of my innocent curtain climbers expedition to a beer factory (as is proven by the sad lack of comments), so I will begin this post by saying, there have been absolutely no questionable activities of that particular sort this week here at three kid adventures. No field trips to Ciggarettes R Us, no tatoo parlors, no BYOB potlucks. We did return to said beer factory though, but hey, the clydesdales were out again, and Cora wanted to try out her theory of whether or not one could be shop lifted (that's a no can do, crackerjack). And while I am trying not to complain, I will anyway. If you don't comment sometimes, I don't know if you're reading, and if you're not reading, then why am I writing, and if I'm not writing than I will be forced to do things like clean my house and unload the dishwasher and pay bills and homeschool my kids. And I don't need that kind of stress. And I also don't need to return to my site a sad, sad 15 times a day, hitting the "refresh" button in the hopes that someone loves me enough to say hullo. And besides, it's sort of my blogging anniversary and I expect lots of love.

So after almost a decade of parenting here, I think I am just about qualified to speak "child," so I thought I would share with you my translations, which I do believe are pretty universal to kid-dom:

Mom: No.
Child's translation: Ask again and again, much louder.

Mom: Maybe.
Child's translation: Never in a million years, plus twenty.

Mom: We will talk about this when we get home.
Child's translation: You are going to get it when we get home.

Mom: You get what you get and you don't throw a fit.
Child's translation: You're eating spinach for dinner.

Mom: Go clean your room.
Child's translation: Go clean your room while your siblings get to eat ice cream, ride ponies, and relax.

Mom: Next time.
Child's translation: 5,000 years from now.

Mom: Because I said so.
Child's translation: Because I don't actually have a good reason for making you do this.

Mom: Sit still.
Child's translation: You're about to be bored out of your gourd.

Mom: When I was a kid...
Child's translation: yadda yadda yadda.

Hope this helps you understand the little monkeys; I know the veil has been lifted from my eyes.
My little Luigi is about to turn 2 here very soon, and I am NOT planning a party, and NOT buying him a gift, and NOT lighting candles for him to blow out, because I am NOT ready for this. The little imp has been busy, busy, busy lately. He manages to do the naughtiest things, while being so incredibly adorable, that the urge to duct tape him to a chair only overcomes me a scant few times a day. The other day I was having a sweet moment with him and said softly and with tears in my eyes,
'Are you Mama's boy?'
He kicked me in the shin and ran off shouting, 'Gwamma! Papa!' which I assume meant he was not my boy, but rather his Gwamma and Papa's boy. They can have him, as I am now icing my sore shin.
I think this may be the difference between boys and girls (at least the stereotypical ones): boys are rawther prone to violence and working things out with their fists and steel-toed boots, and girls prefer the talking you to death approach. Girls are sneaky. They go for your emotional well being when they get even, boys just get even and then they're done. Another difference between the sexes is illustrated perfectly by men being able to rib each other about their weight or gray hair or clothes. Mike and his friends are always insulting each other, and get this: they're still friends. Now I don't think of myself as overly sensitive by any stretch of the imagination, but if one of you poke my muffin top and make the Pillsbury Dough Boy noise, I will come after you like a spider monkey. And THEN I will go after your emotional well being.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Just another benefit to homeschooling:

You can take a field trip to wherever you want! Yes, my children are standing in front of the Budweiser logo. At the Anhueser-Busch factory.

One of the famous clydesdales! His name is Darth.

The famous carriages. Sleighs. Coaches. Whatever. They took beer to Prez Roosevelt after Prohibition ended, and everyone loved them so much, it stuck.

A common sight that meets my eyes when I have misplaced the wee one. Yup, he is chewing on a cube of butter while sitting inside the fridge.

So I know you're laughing at me for taking my kids to a beer factory, but it really was fun. Of course the girls loved the clydesdales the best and were sad that no rides are offered, but the rest of the tour was surprisingly educational for them. Really! For instance, they now know more about the process and history of beer than you do, so there. Gianni was the life of the party, getting all excited with the big machines (or simply, the elevator) and at one point, attempting to take a snooze on the floor. He looked like he'd been sampling. And yes, there was sampling at the end and you should have seen Cora in the lounge, her feet propped up, a bag of free pretzels in one hand, a rootbeer in the other, watching football, cherishing her clydesdale poster, and saying dreamily,

"This was the best field trip ever!"

We still don't know where we will be living and/or working past December. We aren't stressed though. I was always married to a small, white-haired gnome, right? And if you hear rumors that a payday loan was nearly acquired in order to purchase toilet paper I will deny them. All I have to say is, thank goodness for piggy banks and dollar stores.
Our days waiting for employment news are quite long and dull (and as a result this post probably will be too). The girls aren't signed up for anything extracurricular, like the typical swimming and gymnastics and book clubs, since I didn't see the wisdom in having them make new friends only to rip them away when we move. We do have art class with the lovely and talented Miss Genesis which they started today and which made me thankful that I am not teaching that particular subject. They had homework (paint a self portrait) that they were excited to work on right after class: I have major difficulties not sticking my nose into their projects and ideas. I remember a couple years ago having them do paintings on canvases for christmas gifts: I hovered over them endlessly, pointing things out, "helping," and generally making a nuisance of myself until Cora burst out, 'Mom! Would you stop helping and just let me paint?!' Another filler on our schedule is something called Fun Night at church, and for that Mike and I actually have the homework. This week we are supposed to write down our schedules for the entire week and then carefully go through them, making sure that what we are doing pleases God. Hmmm... I'm not sure how vacuuming and cooking and bathing small children and scooping dog food out of son's mouth and chasing naked toddlers can be done in a manner pleasing to God, although I'm sure I could attempt to do them with less yelling, which would please everyone. How about trying to grease up a two year old boy with VaporRub without loosing your grip on him? If you're confused, just try that one, I dare you. Or how about when you make $40 at a yard sale and when you spend it all on groceries at Walmart, making the brilliant decision to go through the do-it-yourself check out line, thus spending approximately 100 years coaxing each crumpled bill into the cash machine, one at a bloomin' time? In between each accepted dollar, nudging your oh-so helpful children ever farther away since the blasted machines stop working any time any extra weight is distributed on them. This includes not only children, but stray eyelashes, dust mites, and dust mite's eyelashes. An eternity went by while this was happening, all under the watchful and annoyed glances from the check out clerk who had to push his magic button every time we did something wrong and who probably thought I had made interesting career choices to have such a large bundle of one dollar bills. I'm pretty sure there was praying involved at this point, so maybe, just maybe, God was pleased with me after all.

Monday, September 21, 2009


Today we spent the morning at the Allergy and Asthma Clinic of Wyoming, getting Luigi re-tested for all that plagues him. I was hoping and crossing my fingers that he would have grown out of some of his food allergies, but it was not meant to be. Sadness. It looks like he will be celebrating his second birthday with yet another dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free (actually, as we all know, peanuts are a legume, so make that legume-free) concoction. We also tested him for goat's milk, hoping that would give him some yummy stinky cheese options, but it was a big no for that one as well. Mariah breathes a sigh of relief. Also slight allergies to corn and tomatoes, which is new, but not strong enough to steer completely clear of them. Have any of you ever been scratch tested? Lorna, I know you have sympathy here. He does really very well, and the scratching itself doesn't bother him much, but the hard part is not touching the area that is shot full of the offending ingredients until the timer goes off and the nurse comes back. We had to do the peanut one three times because he somehow kept rubbing it off (one time was a bit like Baloo the Bear rubbing his back up and down on a tree). I should have brought my camera so you could see his back: pen marks, poke marks, and then the enormous red reactions that swell. He zoomed around the office, which is conveniently shaped in a big circle, shirtless, charming waiting patients and staff, with me trying to catch up, for a large part of the two hours. Keeping a toddler entertained in a doctor's office is an exercise in creativity. How many verses of Wheels on the Bus are there? Find shapes. Find colors. Find the bathroom. Remove the cotton balls and Qtips from up his nose where he was stashing them like the end of the world was upon us and well, you're gonna need all the cotton balls and Qtips you can get. Read out loud from super outdated issues of Redbook magazine. Weigh yourself 15 times. Crinkle up all the sanitary paper on the examination table. Play your sister's DS until you stick the pen up in the same place the cotton balls and Qtips had formally been, and then you aren't allowed to play it anymore. But all in all, he was good. He didn't cry at all, although he did get annoyed, and he was happy to give everyone "sugar" when he left. Our allergist is great: he's Indian and has a heavy accent so sometimes I can't tell when he's telling me to "do" something, or NOT to "do" something. At the end of the appointment he asked how badly he confused me, but I assured him we were understanding each other quite well. I think. So now we stay the course, avoiding dairy, eggs, potatoes, and peanuts, just like before. We ate at McDonalds as a reward (for the under 30 crowd obviously) and spent half the time slapping french fries out of his chubby little paws. My next step is to get him a medical ID bracelet...because that's what paranoid moms do... And seriously, you can tell someone about his allergies 50 times before they pay attention enough to rethink the nacho cheese potato chip they were about to hand him the half second my back was turned. If anyone has theories about how food allergies come into being, no one in the medical/health industry knows, so I'm sure they'd appreciate your ideas. Some of them are:

A too sterile environment. Well, I am a rather clean person with plenty of pet peeves like keep your dishes out of my sparkly sink, people, that's what dishwashers are for, and I used to be infamous for vacuuming everyday back when I had carpet, and I think you can safely assume that my entire family bathes practically on a daily basis (hey, I said practically!), and maybe I don't wash my sheets quite as often as Martha Stewart recommends. But I'm not going to end up on a talk show panel with OCD tendencies, so I think that theory's bunk. I don't use anti-bacterial soaps either. And if you've spent time with me and my babies outside, I have no problem letting them eat a little dirt. Or straw. Or gravel. We're building up their immune systems! There's a leather strap on the high chair at my house that is as old as me (I used it as a baby), and every baby just feels the need to suck on that strap at some point in toddlerdom. It has got to be full of some real good and tasty germs by now. We call it the immunization strap. Well, I think it's funny at any rate. Bring your own chair then if you're grossed out.

Eating lots of crap when you're prego, thereby passing on allergies to the baby. I did eat a lot of Frosted Flakes now that I think about it... but only in between the tossed salads and homemade soups and lean meats. And I hardly eat any dairy myself other than cheese. I didn't go overboard with peanut butter although I probably ate a couple PBnJs during that nine months. There goes theory #2.

Introducing solid foods too early. We all know how long I nurse my kids and by the time I do introduce solid foods, we have passed the baby foods stage and gone straight to the good stuff. No go with theory #3.

Vaccines. Ha ha! If you've know me longer than 15 minutes you know where I stand on those (far, far away). Farewell theory #4.

A family history. Well, I didn't think this one applied to me and my little ones, but after telling the doc about my seasonal allergies, Mike's shrimp allergy, Cora's cat allergies, he held up his hand said, "that's a family history!" Or maybe he said, "that's NOT a family history," I'm not sure. So perhaps theory #5 doesn't bite the dust, and maybe that's the one that got him. Kind of like inheriting my height or Daddy's booming voice, the poor guy got all our messed up histamines as well.

So, armed with Epi-Pen Jrs in every bag, we march on through life, resigned to never making omelette's or hash browns for breakfast (unless he's happily occupied with oatmeal with rice milk), a name tag for the church nursery that reads "Gianni - DO NOT FEED," and the slightly odd information that LifeSavers Gummies are made with potato starch. Oh, and so is egg substitute. Nice. And we've had to limit our vodka intake. That was a joke. Vodka's made from potatoes, get it?

But in all seriousness, he doesn't seem to be one of those poor kids who go into antiphylactic shock when their cousin's aunt's dog's second wife went down the peanut butter aisle at the super market and then gave them a kiss, so really, we aren't complaining. We've never had to use the Epi yet and hopefully never will. And who knows, he may just grown out of them yet, and then all he'll have to overcome in order to become normal is that pesky fainting habit and the unsocialization that comes from being freaky/weird homeschoolers.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Can you hear me now?!

G and his buddy, Rowan

Cora and a lizard she found. Sorry about the blurriness, Gianni smeared peppermint lip gloss all over the lens.

Mike's side of the fam: Brian, Mamma Alice, Grandpa "Nonno", Matt.

Anna at the petting zoo.

Goat meets Moose

Learning horseshoes

Cora was, as she puts it, unbeatable.

The perks of hotel livin'

We had us some Christmas in September this month. Knowing that if we still live here in Wyoming we will not be making that holiday trip home, we took a final road trip of 2009. Mike's dad, Keith, spent a couple weeks with us here at home before we left, and then we headed to Pocatello, Idaho together to meet up with two brothers and a mamma. After lots of visiting and swimming in the hotel pool and eating out and petting animals at the zoo, we moved on into Boise. We had a lovely Christmas type dinner at the High House (I say Christmas type, because there were no turkeys to be found but we made due with yummy roasted chickens). Time went by too quickly, especially as we don't know when we will see everyone again, but there was plenty of fun. I forgot to take many pictures but here are the ones I got.
No news on the job front yet, but we are anticipating moving. So begins the agonizing process of getting rid of all that junk you'd just as soon not pack. The girls are going through their precious belongings trying to locate things that they'd be willing to sell at the Kohler's yard sale this weekend. They are entirely motivated by greed (we live within walking distance of the dollar store). They cannot comprehend why no one would want to buy a chewed up dog collar, a stuffed animal with a missing ear, markers without the caps, and naked Barbies with homemade haircuts, so I think I may steer them towards the idea of a lemonade stand as a Plan B.
Here in Wyoming, Road Construction season is winding to an end, to be followed, oh yippee skip, by Almost Winter. Then, naturally, comes Winter, and finally, Still Winter.
On our long drive back, we heard Brad Paisley's song, Letter to Me, and Mike, being the philosophical guy that he is, asked me what I would say if I could go back in time and talk to myself at 17. So, here goes:
Stop worrying what other people are thinking and saying about you. They are more than likely talking and thinking of other things anyway. Don't be afraid to be the goofy person you are inside, outside. Laugh a whole lot more at yourself, and actually mean it. Stand up for yourself, and don't apologize for things that shouldn't be apologized for. Don't try to blend in with the crowd because you don't. And while it's nice that you have enough courage to 'just say no' to so-called friends, go ahead and go one step further and refuse to hold their cigarettes while they go to the bathroom. No need to be a doormat.
Don't be afraid to try new things, even if you know you'll be terrible at them and quite possibly fail. Don't just do the things that come easily. You hate the expression 'get out of your box' now, and you're going to hate it just as much later, but the idea still holds.
Keep your good friends close. Don't trust absolutely everyone. Those people that seem to have all the answers, don't. The ones that you swear now will rule the world later, won't. The girl that had all the boys will get a divorce. The confident boys weren't really all that confident especially now that they're losing hair and gaining beer bellies. There will be deaths and situations that will be far too sudden, leaving hard questions that will make you wrestle with God himself. There will be loss of friendships that will make you sad because you know they're gone for good.
You worry about finding the perfect man, but don't worry, you will. Together you'll have crazy adventures and won't try to change each other, and you'll have some sweet kids to boot. Ten years are going to by fast and he'll still call you his love and think you're perfect.
You think now that you'll be a flawless mom someday. Well, sorry to break it to you, kid, but you won't be. Your children are going to make you grow and change so much you could spend the next decade pondering it and not come up with all the right descriptions or realizations. They'll boggle your mind with how much you love them, and the very things that you love the most will be the ones that drive you nutty and test you the most. They're going to bend your spirit and the limits of your unselfishness way more than you think possible.
Appreciate your family and the things they've done for you. It looks so easy to you, you've never really given it much thought. Do. Remember they're there for life. And when you grow up, don't leave them behind, waving sadly. After all, you'll be moving back in their basement soon anyway.

Oh, and one more thing. You're not fat. Trust me. You'll never be that size and shape again, so for crying out loud, put on a bikini and enjoy it while it you can!
On that deep, wise note,
yourself at 31.