Oh, how did I forget?

Today was an important day. Dixie has two more holes in her head than she started the day with.

Melody declined additional holes, on the grounds that 'earrings are for grownups and I am not yet a grownup.'

Dixie showed great courage, eventually. I'm still working on figuring out the pics thing here (new computer and not all the hardware is plugged in yet), but I'll get some up.

For my brother, and others who have never experienced being a woman of child-bearing age:

A point of clarification.

If you are a woman of child-bearing age you cannot mention the slightest symptom of illness or reference being tired without some smug, well-meaning twit smiling knowingly and nodding as they mentally plan what kind of sandwiches to serve at your next baby shower. There is no Number Four. Dear God, no. Nyet, Nichts, Nein, No, NO. My corporeal self is still in single-occupancy mode, thank you very much.


Charlie, Mr. Charlie Pants, Boof, Boofers, The Pants Mister, Handsome Fella, Charlie Pants O'Mister, Little Barley has an obsession so deep that I swear it is genetically tied to his possession of chromosomes X and Y.

His love in life is Balls. Thankfully, not his own.

He prefers all objects to be spherical. Perhaps he will be a physicist like his father. Don't they, after all, assume all objects to be uniform spheres for the sake of simplifying equations?

• Charlie cannot get in his car seat without a ball in each hand.
• Even the smallest ball is superior to any other toy when making a selection.
• Charlie, once possessing a ball, will only pretend to throw it, then chase after where he pretended to throw it. After all, a ball released is a ball relinquished, never to be recovered.
• Even the small orange fuzzy pompom with a diameter smaller than 1 cm is a ball, and to be cherished
• Charlie prefers Trix to Froot Loops. They taste the same, but one is a ball and one is clearly not.
• The instant he was released in search of Easter Eggs, he went wild, grabbing for them, calling out, "Ball! Ball!" and throwing them about.
• The first two words he ever put together to form a phrase were My and Ball.
• Ball is the only word uttered by Charlie that is understood outside of the family unit.


I've been off

In the last week, I have driven over 900 miles. I'm a little tired. But I took kids to see gmas, got professional pics made of all three children, took kids to the zoo, got a new computer, met up with Virtual Friends from two sources and have had my stomach feeling so bizarre that vicious people are trying to convince me that it must be #4 and I am showing great patience by not kicking them in the teeth.

Tomorrow I will make blog post #200 and I'm off to think of something witty.


Just checking in

We're visiting the grandmas for a couple of days here. They keep staying funny stuff and I'm too tired to notice.

Dixie is very worried about Charlie. She told me today that, "Someday Charlie is going to be a Handsome instead of a Handsome Little Fella. I'll be so sad, won't you be sad?"

Yesterday she told me, "I am going to be so sad when Charlie grows up and gets married. I am going to miss him."

I guess she's still firmly planning on only becoming a Bigger Dixie and staying put at our home. Boy is she in for a surprise.


Hey, it's me. Charlie.

Remember me?


I'm supposed to be the baby.


If I am the baby, why am I the one doing the laundry?




Want to know what's worse? Look at this:



It belongs to this one:


At least I'm just washing her dress, and not her panties. Ugh. I'm stickin' with the diapers as looong as possible.

On, and this other sister of mine:


See what she's doing here?


My toys. Mine! That's what Santa and the Easter Bunny teamed up to bring ME. But no, I don't get to play. I'm here:


And when I'm done here, there is more work to do:


it's a good thing i have Smithers the robot, to help me.


What is up with that?



Gee, I wonder where she learned sarcasm

Melody's first joke was at about six months old. Dowlan was snuggling with her, trying to rock her to sleep, and she was practicing taking her pacifier out and putting it back in her mouth. Her eyes suddenly light up like the cartoon light bulb and she slowly aimed her pacifier for Daddy's mouth. Daddy smiled, opened his mouth to take it and at the last moment she snatched it away, laughing maniacally.

So we always knew she had it in her.

She has always had a really keenly developed sense of humor, and you saw the SpongeBob joke she made up last week.

Well, Dixie was getting dressed by herself this morning and I told her, "Hey, silly girl! Your skirt is on backwards. You'll go to put your hands in your pockets and your pockets will be somewhere else."

Melody pipes up, "Yeah, doesn't that look genius."

I swear she didn't learn that one from me.


A couple more pics

I got some new silk flowers to put in the gorgeous raku pottery my brother made years ago:

roses2 roses

And I got the lampshade done:

lamp4 lamp3

Close ups:

lamp2 lamp1


Ta da!

The room is 95% done. I still need to sew and hang curtains, cut and install the threshold that we got all the tools moved and put away and THEN remembered, and do the fancy thing I'd had planned for the lampshade.

These pics were taken before I'd moved in their books, toddler beds and the rest of their clothes. This summer, they will get bunk beds to replace the beds they have now.

On with the pics . . .

Here is the tea set that my Aunt Carol sent the girls last fall. It was my design inspiration. You can see behind it the green stripes Emily and I painted on bead board for the lower half of the wall. The top half is the darker pink that is on one wall. And the chair rail has carved roses that I hand painted with some help from Oma.

Here is the tea set sitting on a chest of drawers we touched-up and moved in from a different room. It is flanked by their 'closets'--each girl has bins for their socks and such, hanging dresses, and shoe bins underneath. This was before I got their billions of fluffy dresses moved in and all the canvas bins emptied. (They'd been in Charlie's room before that.)


Here's the toy shelf, desk with a chair for each, pretty rug and doll house bookcase from a couple of angles:




Corner with invisible beds and imaginary curtains:


See the light fixture:


And up close:


Charlie's take on the changes:


I feel compelled to point out that this room had white unfinished walls and green carpeting. Everything is new--paint, bead boards, chair rail, trim around doors and window, base boards, etc. The only things we pulled from other rooms are the chest of drawers and the wooden shelves with canvas bins and pegs for clothes.

And I also feel compelled to point out that my parents are freaking awesome and came Sunday evening through Wednesday morning to work on the room, watch the kids and work on our SUV.

Please, please, oh, please leave me comments on this!


Go back to sleep, Melody

In the fuzzy haze of being not-quite awake, Melody told me this morning, "I didn't have a pillow so I just used my beard. That's a good pillow."

I wonder how much cushion it provided.


A few thoughts on painting

Saying that you're 'painting a room' is gross oversimplification. Especially when your existing walls are basically drywall with little strips running over the seams. What you're really doing is emptying a room, taking everything off the walls, dusting it off, taking out the nails, puttying over the holes, discovering more holes, vowing to not make so many holes next time, losing the putty, finding the putty, wondering what happened to your putty knife, puttying over the new holes, taking down the strips, pounding in the nails that are left jutting out, running drywall tape over those seams, realizing at three a.m. that you are eight feet of drywall tape short, mudding over 13 of the 14 seams, washing off materials at 5 a.m, falling asleep on the couch in the joint compound covered sweaty clothes and awakening to the kids tugging on you seventy-nine minutes later.

Then you take three children to a hardware store, pick a paint color, sanding blocks and a couple of door frames, almost get to check out, realize that you've forgotten the drywall tape, go back for it, check out and leave the store to discover that it is raining, they're hungry and you went in with eight shoes and came out with only seven. You go home, tape the last one, mud it, do the second coat on the rest of them, curse yourself for being one step behind on one aspect of the project because you know it will add an additional half day. You paint the trim boards and door frames, realize that you bought two different door frames, stick one back into the van and then put the first coat on the other and then load all the children back in the van to go out in the rain to exchange the frame that you have no receipt for because it was used to keep chewing gum from becoming lodged in the carpet of your van and doubt they'd take it in that condition.

You take your children to McDonald's for almost two hours, just so that you can sit still.

You drive the longest possible route home so that they will all three fall asleep on the way. Only two of them, however, make the transition from car seat to bed peacefully. The other is screaming and you are tempted to lock her outside so that no one else wakes up. Instead, you get her to become your Special Helper who hands you things. You run out of things to be handed and tell her to go to sleep in your bed. It is just easier that way.

You mud the last tiny section and start sanding.
Breathing in dust, coughing out dust and sanding.

You tape off the crown molding. You realize that you are too short for this and your calves start cramping from standing on tippy-toe on the highest ladder rung. You vacuum up drywall dust. You begin wondering if this can cause black lung. You vacuum more. You go shower because you can't remember the last time you showered and your hair is no longer the color it used to be. Washing out drywall dust is Fun.

Then the priming begins. Only the stink is worse than you bargained for, so you open up the window to the 90 degree outdoors and no wind is blowing your way. You remember that the last time you went to get a fan you totaled your car and decide against it.

That pesky last stripe of drywall tape gets sanded. More priming. eh. More coats on trim boards.

All this, and no actual paint has graced the walls. So you try out a section. Eh. Is that really the same color? You hold up the curtain fabric, the trim molding that you've hand-painted with roses, the bedding and the teacup from the tea set that your aunt bought the girls last August that you looked at one day and said, "Hm. Pink and green are really lovely together."

You drag out all the different paint colors in the house. Eh. You take the half gallon of white remaining and start mixing it to various intensities with the pink. You have nine different color segments drying on the walls. Every person that comes to the door is asked their opinion. The UPS man swears by a color entirely different than the one cherished by Aunt Emily or the opinion Daddy dared to voice.

Did I mention that in all of this I'm (somewhat) caring for three children, sometimes more, and painting all those little roses on all the moldings and painting all the bead board and for some idiotic reason decided that the bead board needed green on green stripes? Yeah, that.

So you decide to just pick a color, and start painting. You mix up about a gallon of it, add in the sand texture, then start painting. You cut in around the edges, door frames, outlets, insanity. You start rolling and get some paint on at least three walls before you realize that there may not be enough paint here. And because it is a color formula derived by stirring pink into white until you think, "Eh, that'll do" there is not one iota of a chance of acquiring more.

And here we are--painted bead board, painted trim, delicate roses and three pink walls and about 12 oz. of pink paint yet to be slapped on a wall. The paint roller is in a gallon zip-lock baggie so that no paint is washed away. We eagerly await the drying of the paint, yes we are watching it dry, to discover how much of a second coat we will need, or if wall number four will have a different fate.

  • Using your paint-splattered shirt to clean up a bit of mis-placed primer is a great idea. Unless your ladder is positioned in front of the shadeless window.
  • Four-year-old girls are amazingly helpful at painting. Their eagerness is not matched by anyone (not husbands, at least). There is a lot they can actually do, and they will do it in ways that no one has ever dreamed of. Remarkable, really, their ideas.
  • When painting with sand-texture-filled paint, coat as much of your body as possible. As you attempt to scrub it off you will get as close to a microderm-abrasion spa treatment as you are ever going to get as a mother of three.
And I promise that, at some point, there will be pictures.


Melody's Joke

What do you get when you have SpongeBob with no eyes, nose, arms, legs or anything?

(I dunno, what?)

A sponge! Just a regular sponge!


Again, Random

I am sitting at the computer with one leg crossed under me. Charlie is playing with the undersides of my toes. He is fascinated by them and his cold little fingers are about to make me squeal. I wonder if he is thinking, "Hey, can I eat these?"

Mommy: Melody, Charlie's soft fuzzy kissin' head is not for licking. It is not a soft fuzzy lickin' head. Especially not when your tongue is coated in yogurt.

We're in the middle of fixing up a new little girls' room. If I'm a bit absent, or absent-minded, blame it on the combination of the fumes and the amount of time I spend cross-legged on the plywood underlayment of the room, painting beadboard and trim to install.



The girls are mad at me because they didn't get to come to our wedding. I keep trying to explain that really, it is better that way, but they aren't buying it.

Melody cut her fingertip this morning. When I got done putting a Band-Aid on it, Dixie told her, "Oops! You can only count to nine until it heals!"

Melody requested that her breakfast be strawberry yogurt with no strawberries in it and strawberries on top. Whatever Daddy made, she rejected.


The Princess of Disaster strikes again

Today, in honor of our fifth anniversary, Dixie spackled the couch.

Anyone know how to get joint compound out of microfiber?


Dearest Husband~

I realize that you are only vaguely aware of the society around you at times, but I still cannot fathom how one has made it to the age of 39, the vast majority of these years residing in places with modern kitchens, and not learned that dishwashing soap and dishwasher soap are not interchangeable.

I realize that it is a great enormous flaw on my part that the Jetsons box of Electrasol was not magically refilled for your using pleasure. But I am not Mrs. Jetson and Rosie does not live in this house--and forgive me for lacking in her thoroughness, what with these three very small children, enormous remodeling project, perpetually dirty house and poor health to attend to--and so boxes do occasionally become empty on my watch.

I also realize it is a failing on my part that I was not by your side in your hour of need. How could you have possibly known how to handle the situation? It is my fault that I was almost 19 feet away from you and in another room. Granted, it has different flooring and function, but it isn't like there is a dividing wall or cone of silence between the two. So of course, asking if we have more Electrasol (and receiving the answer, "yes, nine boxes in the pantry") would have been simply too much.

I find you going to Walgreens in the middle of the night in the cold and nasty climes to attend to this problem admirable. Thank you for buying not one but two boxes of inferior product neither on sale nor with a coupon. But do you think you could have perhaps done this before filling the little cup with dishwashing soap and turning it on to fill our kitchen with suds and then leaving?

(Remember the $1400 in damage caused when you let the bathroom sink overflow for an hour or two, discovered it then told no one, attempted to halfway clean it up yourself, and then left it in standing water for another hour before admitting what you'd done and letting someone help? Have you seen the number of cabinets in our kitchen? Twenty-three. I did not overly mind handcrafting one new bathroom cabinet, especially as it is completely beautiful, but I draw the line at twenty-three.)

And while I appreciate watching a recorded episode of Lost is of utmost importance, I am glad that you reminded me of my role as your wife--to prod you along and remind you of what you should already know--and allowed me to exercise that role as you kept trying to sit down while there were suds yet coating the floor and along the bottom of the cabinets.

I realize that I left you in charge of the children for an hour Saturday and that we have been bewildered ever since as to how to get the green Sharpie off of the linoleum in front of the dishwasher that you could not have possibly noticed Charlie so diligently applying, as you were in another room with the door closed, listening to your MP3 player. But this is perhaps not the best plan of attack.

I'm just sayin'.


At this moment

The girls are on the porch, sniffing their toys.

Charlie is having his First Tantrum. Funny how people don't record this moment as they do First Steps and First Word. It is just as much a part of childhood.

He is screaming I NANA and stealing Diet Coke.

See, I already gave him the nana, but it wasn't good enough for him. He wants a different nana. I hand him the nana, he looks me square in the eye, lets it dangle and drops it. Then resumes screaming.

Dixie is standing in the doorway, screaming WHY.

Yes, why won't I let her run along ther curb between our yard and the street? Why, oh, why?

The screaming stopped, as he discovered something fascinating in the garbage, but it resumed shortly. He is grabbing me with his cold little hands and trying to pull me to the nanas with his little manly arms.

I again hand him the nana.

Charlie is finally eating the first nana I gave him. Oh-no. After two bites, he has resumed leg tugging and screaming.

Wait. he found the cell phone. Is he going to cry to grandma or simply fulfill his duties as a button pusher? Answer? Some of each. We are now in the fourth cycle of tug, sob, phone, repeat.

Dixie is holding an antique silver serving spoon we got as a wedding gift and saying, "If you don't let me play in the street, I'm dropping it."

It is dropped, Dixie is in time out. Charlie's head is rested on my calf, sobbing. I have boy snot on my pants.

Melody is oblivious and dancing.

Charlie, in another clever attempt to get Mommy to pay attention and give him a banana, is climbing onto the computer desk by climbing onto the robot workbench toy, sliding over to the top of the computer tower, and trying to hoist a chubby knee onto the desk.

Dixie is out of time out and eating canned carrots, straight from the can.

Charlie is temporarily distracted by a small pile of foil chocolate wrappers. He sprinkles them down to the carpet, then resumes his fit. Oh, wait. More wrappers.

I can already tell that this kid is going to be a pro at the hissy fit. Many clever angles here.

Oh, wait. A penny. Two. Oh, crud. Where did they go? Climbing down.

Crying again, but now for a different reason. He finds the penny, then toddles to the kitchen to drop it down the A/C vent. Spies the inferior nana, and begins to cry again.

In the background, I hear Melody say, "But I can do anything I want to."


When I called her a 'Little Heathen' I didn't think it was going to be taken so literally

Dixie has announced: I dont want to be baptized, ever. If Jesus doesn't want to come live with me now, I don't want to come live with him after I die.

A few hours after that bit of heresy, she decided it was time for us to move. "We should get a great big house in [town where grandparents life] that is big enough for all us S----s, for Oma and Papa, for Grandma and Granny and Bitsy--for all the people I love and even big enough for all their junk."

I wonder if it will be big enough for Jesus, or if He is still on her bad list.


Signs you've been watching too much Lost

  1. You get a new headband that lifts the hair off the back of your neck and pulls your bangs out of you eyes and think, "This will be nice to have on the island."
  2. You see a bald man walking ahead of you at church and think, "It's Locke! He was one of the Oceanic Six?"
  3. You are driving to someone's home and aren't sure which road to take. Your eldest child pipe's up with, "We're about to be Mommy's favorite show!"

So the girls are fascinated with days, weeks, months, years. Melody was quite displeased with me recently when I wouldn't tell her what the weeks are named. It did make me wonder why the days, months and years have names, but not the weeks.

Specifically, they are concerned with August. August is really important around here. Charlie will turn two, Dixie will turn five, Dowlan wil hit the big four-oh, Melody will start pre-k, Dixie will get to move from the Faithful Fish pre-k class to the Shining Stars and the girls will get their bunk beds. So we have a daily discussion about what day it is, what month, blah, blah, blah.

While it generally centers on August, the girls were also quite eager for February to end. They were borerline ecstatic on Friday when I told them that, "Tomorrow is March." And then I threw in the real kicker:

Tomorrow is James' Birthday party.

James is an Important Guy around here. James and Melody have palled around since Melody first learned to walk. James' dad, aunt, uncle and I palled around when we were first learning to walk. And James' grandparents and Melody's grandparents ate ice cream together in college and did things that I'm probably not supposed to know about or mention in a blog designed to hold the memories of their grandchildren. When Dixie first came to live here, she was basically invading Melody's life. But Melody was fine with that. She was perfectly willing to share her mommy, her daddy, her toys, her room, her life--but she put her foot down when it came to sharing Her James and it has been a point of contention ever since.

So, I've announced that Tomorrow is March and I've announced that Tomorrow Is The Seventh Birthday of The James and you know what I get from Melody?

Instead of eager anticipation, I hear, "No, Mommy. Tomorrow cannot be James' party. Tomorrow is March and we have to march alllll day. We can't possibly have a party, because we will be too busy with all the marching."