Friday, October 28, 2011

Cinderelly! Cinderelly! Night and Day It's Cinderelly!

With daddy gone and mommy more than a little pregnant, my boys have had to "pitch in" a little bit around the house. From kitchen duty to lawn maintenance, my boys have become my biggest helpers. 

Here is my #3 happily raking a pile of leaves...they will fly off those swings into that pile later!

Here's #1 mowing the yard. Don't feel bad for him. Some nice neighbors took care of the yard ALL summer (mom even mowed it twice!)

Again #3 pitching in. He's quite a happy helper actually. He loves to help mama with anything and everything. I hope he never outgrows that.

This is #2 and #3 scrubbing the shower. They may not make it shine, but trust me, they'll get more cleaned than mommy will at this point.

I honestly couldn't do this without my helpers! Gotta love these dudes (notice you don't see #4...he's not much of a helper. And since he's 3, he's declared himself the boss of this place.)

Let's hear for the boys!!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Lurking around Every Corner

When darkness consumes the night, and the chill in the air slaps your face around every corner, the quietness that ensues seems eery and ominous. Each trepidatious step raises the hair on your neck and your heartbeat begins to race violently echoing in your own head. Safety is around the corner...but salvation requires travel through the looming darkness. There is no telling what lurks behind, under, and around the cover of night waiting to make you its prey.

This very scenario was my hell growing up with a big sis who basked in the glory of her little sister's fear of all things dark, unknown, and spooky. Every Halloween season when the newest, greatest and ghoriest horror films emerged, big sis would delight in not only scaring herself with the gruesome movies but also in reenacting that hell on her unsuspecting, innocent little sis...who, by the way, has been scarred for life by the lurking unknown behind every door and dark corner.

Being a lover of all things involving either a happy ending or light-hearted animation, I am not one to partake in the eery suggestives of the demented minds that create these horror movies. Big sis, however, gains sickly thrills from the mere mention of a scare-your-socks-off, you'll-never-sleep-without-the-lights-on-again thriller! Unfortunately her thrills don't stop with experiencing the grotesquely horrific for herself. No. Indeed, her thrills need to be filled by scaring the socks off of little sis. To this day, big sis still finds humor in the many successful moments of torment she lovingly offered to little sis.

After one particularly scary vampire movie when we were children (why on earth did my parents allow us to watch these things??!!), I cautiously made my way down our dark, cold hallway to the death trap I shared with big sis. However, my innocent efforts were foiled by demented big sis who ever so quietly appeared in the dark and sneaked behind my unsuspecting self. The horror that ensued still haunts me today as I struggle not to race through my house (even at the ripe old age of 30ish) once the lights are off.

Big sis put her vampire teeth around my sweet little neck, bit me, and hissed. I've never been so scared in all of my life as I shrieked trembling with fear....and then pee-ed my pants. First traumatized...and then humiliated as big sis AND parents laughed at my expense. I've never been the same since that horrid encounter with my deviant big sis!

Dark corners still scare me even though I'm a mom of 4, noises in the night make my imagination play tricks on me, and I struggle to put on a brave face when my boys express a fear of the dark.......because I'm afraid too!

This is in response to Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop. I'm responding to prompt #3) Something that scared the Hell out of you when you were a child

Mama’s Losin’ It

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Give It Up Already!

I want you to try a little experiment with me. Oh come on! Play'll be fun! Give up something that you love and can't live without. Something that is hard to imagine a day without. BUT it can't be something trivial like soda, candy, or coffee. It needs to be utterly important to your day to day life and that you enjoy or experience morning, noon, and night. Something comes to mind...go along that line of thinking.

I'll give you a moment to think about it. You have to commit, however, and you get ZERO cheat days or moments. No sniffing, tasting, hugging, or even looking at this particular thing. Are you still with me? Or did some of you already throw in the towel? Once you give me your word there is no backing out. Not many of you left willing to participate is there?

Well, in case anyone out there is still playing my fun little game, I'm going to add one more teeny tiny rule. You have to give it up....for a year.That's right. You read that correctly. Give up something that you absolutely can't live without for 365 days! Does it give you a little anxiety just thinking about that kind of commitment? Or sacrifice? However you want to look at it. Are you starting to sweat the very idea of 365 days without ______________ (you fill in the blank)?

That is the very task you must accomplish, without cheating mind you, before you are allowed to utter one single word of ill-advised opinion, suggestion, judgment or advice regarding how to handle the deployment of my hubby (or anyone else's spouse for that matter). It's not open for discussion. Three hundred and sixty-five days without touching, seeing, smelling. Yes...smelling. Send your special something away for that long and the slight whiff of it will send you crumpling to the floor in weakness and emotion you have never felt.

I'm not giving up caffeine, sugar, or daytime soap operas for 40 days. I'm living and breathing without my best friend, lover, help mate...partner. The only other person in this big world that will ever love my kids with the same passion, fervor and craziness that I do. Just because he's a soldier doesn't make him any less of a loving, nurturing, protecting husband than yours. He isn't any less needed and wanted around the house than yours. And he's the only person the four most beautiful boys in the world call "daddy".

So...until you are able to tell me that you have successfully played and finished my game...then zip your lip. Don't chide about how quickly the time is going if you are still living with your "thing". Don't offer suggestion about how I could do things- anything- better or differently. And don't underestimate the daily challenge and struggle that it is to live without.

365 days. One whole year without. That is your task...your challenge...Are there any takers???

Sunday, October 23, 2011

You're Not a Kid Anymore

Fall is one of my favorite times of year...the colors, the smell, the falling leaves...I love it all. I even enjoy the sometimes laborious task of raking those beautiful carpet of leaves. Truthfully, even at the ripe old age of 30ish I still love to play in the freshly raked, fluffy pile of leaves. Blame it on my kid at heart, fond memories, or both. However their are some childhood games that I have long since given up. And with winter looming around every corner, I start to ponder my younger years and the shenanigans we enjoyed in the blustery cold snow. Albeit fun (and worthy of retelling), I am not the butt of the joke this time. No. That glorious title belongs hubby...who can't even defend himself since he is somewhere on the other side of the world. Please join me in making fun of him!

The winter our oldest boy was 4, we lived in an apartment building that was conveniently located on a perfect sledding hill. It was our most favorite activity especially since we merely had to walk out the door with sled in hand....and then...let the fun begin! We would schlep that sled up (and careen down) for what seemed like hours! There were even some balmy winter evenings that we would all three bundle up and head out in the dark of night to enjoy some sledding fun under the icy, star-filled sky!

Every time I think about winter, my mind wanders to those memories on the hill. However, my favorite memory about that winter deems telling...and retelling...for all to partake of the debacle my hubby faced when he forgot he was, indeed, a grown-up and too old to enjoy the games kids play!

Daddy and Ty headed out one afternoon that pregnant mommy declared she was in need of an UNINTERRUPTED nap. My excited 4 year old gave me a kiss, bundled up and ran out the door with daddy trudging behind. Now...much to my disappointment, I was honestly not looking out the window when the episode unraveled. I regret that decision every winter! I laid down promptly, ready to enjoy a long-winter's nap...when my crying and very upset son loudly entered the apartment barely 10 minutes after his departure.

Apparently, daddy got to have first run down the hill. And daddy being...well, daddy...he decided he was going to channel the young teens new winter craze of snowboarding. Unfortunately, (I actually think it was pretty fortunate, however!) at that time, we didn't own a snowboard. Not one to back down from a challenge...or crazy idea for that matter...daddy decided to use the sled as a snowboard and show his wide-eyed son how to really have fun on the sledding hill!

Firmly positioned on sled, daddy started down the hill. I'm not sure which attacked his efforts first...gravity, speed, or the effects of an ill-thought-out plan, but he didn't make it further than half-way down the hill when all three variables turned against him. Balance went askew, speed increased, and gravity took over. Gravity is a law after all...and it ALWAYS WINS! Daddy went airborne...and from the description he "caught awesome air"! Bearings must have been lost whilst in the air, and he landed on the hard, frozen ground flat on his back all the while the sled finished the ride sans rider. Poor Ty was left watching from the top of the hill.

Daddy was unable to continue the winter fun and made the now very upset 4 year old accompany him back up to the apartment. But not before the 4 year old had to retrieve the rogue sled...not ever having gotten a chance to go down the hill. Daddy was unable to get to his feet and had to crawl on all-fours through the snow, up 3 flights of stairs and into the apartment...where trying-to-sleep-pregnant-mommy was now fuming with zero sympathy for moaning daddy.

As mommy bundled up to take the upset child back out to go sledding, daddy was granted growl, glare, and no assistance for his now unable to move moaning, groaning body. I have since forgiven daddy for his ill-advised snowboarding adventure. However, I love to retell his story...and every ounce of me wishes someone, somewhere had that debacle on video!

Hopefully, he learned his lesson and leaves the "games children play" to the children!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Wind Chimes In The Background

As I lay here awake in the middle of the night not sure how to shut off my mind as it races from one thought to another and stressing over issue after issue, I hear a faint noise in the background. Through the cracked window that lets the cool night air seep into my room, I hear the quiet, distant sound and gentle song of the wind chimes in my neighbor's yard.

My grandpa was a hard working, creative man...always gracing us with his newest creation. One such creation happened to be hand-made wind chimes that, until this summer, I have never thought about. As a child, my cousins, siblings and I grew up in grandma and grandpa's yard...playing, laughing, and growing all while those never-thought-about chimes sang in the background. It was just the sound of their the never-sat-at table in the dining room, the always-present-containers of cookies on the counter, and the grandchildren's drawer with our own deck of cards. It just was what it was.

I noticed this summer a familiar sound when I sat outside with my boys...a sound I have never noticed before coming from a few feet away...the sound of wind chimes. My backyard became my sanctuary as the kids laughed and played until we crashed at night. I would sit on my patio furniture and soak in the giggles, the breeze, and the warmth of the summer sun...letting it calm my soul and ease my guard...if only for a moment. And the sound of those wind chimes never failed to wash over me, ease my tension and give me peace.

I'm not one to ask for help, cry on your shoulder, or complain about our circumstances. I usually hold my head high, my shoulders back, and carry a smile. But underneath,  questions, concerns and knowledge from the past never really go away. A year is a long time. War changes people on both sides, and I wish I had the luxury of not knowing what I know. Quiet moments are often a curse instead of a luxury...except when I sit outside and listen to those chimes caress my soul and feel the breeze gently kiss my skin.

We've lived in this home for 5 years, and for the first time I've noticed that comforting once forgotten song of the ever-present wind chimes next door. I sit in my chair and am soothed by their gentle lullaby spurred by the delicate breeze. Maybe they've always been there. Maybe the wind blows and makes them sing even when I'm not outside. But maybe, just maybe, it's a grandpa trying to soothe a hurting granddaughter.

I wish I had my own wind chimes...chimes to become the background to my home...chimes that warm my heart...chimes that I'm certain sing for my grandpa...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Having My Baby...What A Lovely Way To Say How Much You Love Me

I'm ususally quite resistant to photos during pregnancy. But I've had some friends hounding, I mean asking me to document my bump. Plus, the hubby wouldn't mind seeing his preggo wife's tummy a couple times along this long road of pregnancy! So...I've relented and allowed my boys to attempt their hand at photography. Keep in mind my "professionals" were the ripe old ages of 8 and 12. They had zero care about which angles made mommy look good, sexy, or slim!

This is "Mommy assuming the night-time position after a loooong day of being single mama to four busy boys!"

This is "classy mommy going to church".

Full Frontal heffalump-ness

Profile: I still have 3 months left!!

This was the afternoon post "walk the kids to school day"! This mama needs a nap!

Obviously...ready for bedtime!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

It's For The Birds

When we first moved to the Black Hills I was enamored with the beauty of the landscape. And the fall proved to far exceed my expectations of the magnificent terrain. We only had one kiddo at that time (man! that was a LOOOOONG time ago...since I'm working on baking #5 as I type!). Every morning I would load up my 3 1/2 year old and drive to the park to partake of the falling leaves, cool temperatures, and wildlife that called the park their home.

It was always an excitement to take our old bread at the end of the week and feed the ducks and geese that would flock around us as we waved our delicacies their way. Ty loved tossing the crumbs for the ducks and seeing which ones were fast enough to snatch the prized treasure. However, some of the geese would get a little "bossy" if they weren't given their fare share of the treats. And often they would ever-so-slightly invade your personal space if you didn't respond quickly enough to their demands.

Most mornings we were pretty successful at avoiding the big, bossy geese. The ducks are more fun to watch anyway. Unfortunately, for Ty, those darn geese were very persistent! Normally I would give Ty one slice of bread at a time to disperse at will. However, on this particular morning, I let him carry the entire bag....which proved to be my son's demise!

If you have never been reprimanded by a hungry goose...then consider yourself lucky. They can reach easily past an adult's midsection when those scary necks are outstretched. But for a 3 year old, they were easily towering over his floofy, blonde head! The higher he held his little hand (which was holding the prized bread), the higher those geese reached and the louder the squawked with their ominous, flapping beaks!

Fight or flight took over...and fear won out. My 3 year old took off as fast as he could trying to escape their advances. They have obviously never been taught that "no means NO". Determined to save his bread Ty refused to drop the "booty" for the party-crashing pirates. And hence the chase was on!

Where is this young lad's mother, you might ask, to save the day...or the child anyway? I was cowering on the top of a picnic table trying to avoid the same torture as my son. It may not have been my proudest moment...but in my defense, he didn't heed my warning to "throw the bread!!!"

I believe in survival of the fittest...or brains over brawn. Whichever the case, my kiddo finally escaped the tyrannical geese. But he has never enjoyed feeding the birds at the park since that fateful day!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Penny For Your Thoughts

For the most part, I am handling this year long deployment pretty well. We had some unexpected surprises and hiccups...but I can usually handle them all with grace, dignity and laughter. I try to find the silver lining, the funny twist...the strip-and-go-naked alcoholic drink I'll make from the over abundance of lemons!

Sometimes, however, thoughts and emotions (and probably some pregnant hormones) overwhelm me...usually in the most inopportune moments. A malfunctioning washing machine has the potential to drop me to my knees in tears swearing to myself that I am going to throw in the towel. Praise and worship music on Sunday mornings never fails to leave me clenching my jaw, tightening my throat and fighting tears. Exhausted evenings without help causes ugly-mommy moments, growls, frowns and not enough hugs and kisses.

It's hard to understand how a good day can turn cranky or a morning at church can feel vulnerable and weak. But I'm trying...I'm doing my best even though at times it doesn't seem to be enough. And my mind questions...will we make it to a year? will we survive once their are 5 kids? will I be able to do  all things for everybody and maintain a smile and positive attitude?

I don't have the answers. So I focus on one day at a time...sometimes, one hour at a time. I try to ignore the to-do list to spend time with my boys. And I try desperately to forget that I miss and need my husband every single moment of every single day...........