Sunday, October 2, 2016

Swearing at a Swearing In

My sister is awesome. She recently finished law school and passed her bar exam. Last week we watched her get sworn in as a bona-fide lawyer! We are all proud of her.

I love to expose my boys to lots of different situations and this was one we were not about to miss. I think watching things like graduations or official ceremonies when you're young exposes you to the idea that big things are possible.

We drove the nearly 3 hours to the state Capitol with little incident and parked with 5 minutes to spare for the first (state) ceremony. This is not much time when you have to unbuckle and put shoes back on three little boys, but I was giving it my all. Everybody was finally out of the car and I was yelling "Go, Go, Go" like a we were on a special ops mission. We got to the entrance and found out it was under construction so we ran around the back, several shoes somehow coming off in the process. I threw them in my bag and we kept on moving, some of us in socks, but this was a desperate time. The workers were less than helpful inside when I asked where the ceremony was taking place but did point me to a different building-across the street. We ran over there (by this time I was getting the nervous sweats) but were super late by this point. So I decided we would just cut our losses and make our way over to the federal ceremony-which, coincidentally, was right back across the street where we started (thank you government workers for withholding this information).

Upon re-entering the capitol building we made our way to the ceremony location as slow as molasses because we kept getting distracted by statues of famous Missourians.

Me: "Come on, buddy, we already missed one ceremony today, we don't want to miss another!"
Big J: "But this statue is William Clark and you know he's my favorite explorer!"

Fair play.

We finally got settled in our seats and the ceremony began. I looked at my boys sitting nicely and proudly watching their aunt. 1 minute later I started passing out peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to keep it that way. 3 minutes into the ceremony I was frantically trying to wipe peanut butter off the seats. 5 minutes in and we were being shushed by the lady in front if us because the seats were squeaky and the twins didn't weigh enough to hold them down so they kept folding up and making noise. 8 minutes in and we were running the halls outside the house gallery where we learned, among other things, that the Missouri state symbol has bears on it and the majority of state officials don't appear to work on Fridays. We also came across a sign detailing the rules to be observed in the House Gallery, of which we had broken all but smoking.

After the ceremony we had a celebratory lunch and drove home. Congratulations, O'Claire! Thanks for inspiring your nephews!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Breakfast Blues

My sons will consume two loaves of bread, five gallons of milk, two pounds of turkey, and a bag of frozen peas in a week of lunches but they will not touch breakfast. They will eat two pizzas by themselves and fall upon a bag of pretzels like locusts but all they will do at breakfast is work on moving all of the food from their plates to the floor in creative ways. No matter what I give them, unless it contains chocolate chips, they turn their little noses up at it. This is why I get the blues every morning while fixing breakfast.

I decided to involve the boys in making breakfast as a way to get them interested in eating it. Today we made belgian waffles, which sounded like a great idea until I realized we didn't have any eggs. No matter, I found an egg-less waffle recipe (I just have to marvel at the internet sometimes) 

Armed with apron pockets full of spatulas and whisks we approached the mixer and waffle iron. The boys love to cook and a good time was had by all (meaning that the entire kitchen was covered in flour and pride in our efforts).

As I placed a plate of waffles and orange slices in front of each boy I held my breath in anticipation.

Little H, "This awful is yummy in my tummy!"
Little O, "I wuv awfuls!"

Apparently, breakfast doesn't have to actually be awful if you make something called awful 😊

Monday, September 26, 2016

Covered in Circles

My oldest son, 4 year old Big J, likes to read text books, or at least pretend to read them.  Luckily I happen to have quite a large supply of them due to my colleges (both undergrad and graduate school) not buying the majority of them back from me at the end of each semester.  Most likely because the author decided to change one sentence in order to force the next crop of students to buy the latest edition, but I digress.

Today's choice of eclectic reading material was one of my Art History books from sophomore year at Mizzou.  He happened upon a picture of Color Study, Squares with Concentric Circles by Wassily Kandinsky.

Big J: "Look at this, Mommy! Such colors!"
Me:  "Yes, that is certainly colorful! I like it."
Big J:  "I like it because it's covered in circles! Don't you think circles are one of the best shapes? Can we make one?"

I love when my kids get enthusiastic so, I got out the stack of felt that has been sitting in my closet and cut out a bunch of circles and squares (as a former art teacher, I have large quantities of such things that I saved at one point or another.  Frugality is key when you are a teacher and have to spend all of your paycheck and half of your soul on supplies just to do your job).   Big J and his brothers, 2 1/2 year old twins Little H and Little O spent a (mostly) pleasant morning arranging the felt in different combinations on the felt board and arguing/agreeing in intervals about which combinations worked best.  I loved this so much because 1) I got to drink my coffee warm, 2) it was an art project with no mess (winning!) and 3) there was nothing sharp involved so the squabbling couldn't turn into shanking.

After a while I had to get to a meeting at the Children's Museum where I work.  This is great because my boys can play while I work.  After the meeting, I was helping the boys clean up the things they'd been playing with-and by helping I mean doing it myself and singing "Clean up, pick up, put away" in the hopes that this would entice them to join me. Finally we were ready to go but unfortunately the twins have an aversion to wearing shoes and had taken them off and stashed them somewhere in the museum.  I finally found them in the climber and had to shimmy down it to grab them.  Because the weather here in St. Louis has finally cooled off and we all had our shoes on now, I thought today would be the perfect day to go for a hike on the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge.  This is a bridge that was relegated to foot traffic when a new one was built across the Mississippi.  It was a beautiful day-the leaves were rustling in the trees, the river was rushing below us, and the boys were laughing and enjoying the trip.  All was right with the world and I just wanted to breathe it in!

Me, hoping to instill some appreciation of nature: "What a beautiful place!  The river is amazing, isn't it boys!  It does your soul good to be so close to something like that, doesn't it!"
Big J, fishing a rock out of his pocket that he had evidently been saving for just such an occasion: "Yes, now let's throw stuff in it!"

Not wanting any of my children to topple into the river, we found a spot near the river where it had rushed over and formed a puddle.  The boys picked up rocks and threw them in that puddle to their hearts' content.  It's the little things, really!

Little O, throwing a rock in and pointing at the ripples: "Circles! Look!"
Big J: "Look at all those circles!  Is the whole world covered in circles, Mommy? We just keep on seeing them today."

I love to hear my children make connections and watch them learn.  I love their quirky souls.  I hope they never get too old to go on adventures with me!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

My Barefoot Puddle Jumpers

It's 11:30 p.m. and the rest of my family is asleep.  As so many mothers are doing right now all over the world (I imagine) I was thinking over all of the things I have to do tomorrow and my brain was firing off so many things at once that I was having a hard time keeping up: I need to fold the mountain of laundry in the basket...what are we going to have for breakfast, and for that matter, lunch, and dinner too...we have to be at archery class tomorrow evening at 5:00...I need to call the doctor and make a follow up appointment for Little O...what things do I need to remember to bring up at my morning meeting at work...crap I forgot to plug my phone into the charger...oh no (!) Darth Vader is in the car and what if Big J wakes up wanting him in the middle of the night (I can't believe that kid sleeps with a toy villain every night)...maybe I should sneak out there now and get him...but what if I wake him up when I go in to put the toy in his bed...I really should have swept up all that popcorn the twins gleefully tossed all over the living room before bed like flower girls at a wedding but I'm so, so tired...etc., etc., and on and on until the thought of what I should do tomorrow with the boys after my meeting popped into my head.  After all, I can't stand staying home and there are so many things I want to do with them and so many places I want to take them and...OH. MY. GOD. Big J starts kindergarten in less than a year! This stopped me in my tracks.

Now I'm sitting here in a puddle of emotions thinking about how little time I have before my baby is gone forever (ok, I know he will still be living in my house but I'm really going to miss him during the school day and I am also really sleep deprived.) When you have a baby, everyone tells you that these first years go by so quickly and that you should cherish them.  I remember having a hard time believing such things having spent so much time covered in spit up and at such a high level of exhaustion but right now I know that they were right. So, because I want to remember this crazy, messy, beautiful season I am starting this blog as a record of it.