Thursday, July 31, 2008


It's been a busy last few days.
Realize that I do most of my posting after kids go to bed so if I get distracted or have something else I have to do then I might not make it to the computer.
One night I was finishing a book because we had to return it to the library (someone had a hold on it...they probably heard about it on NPR just like Jim did). The book was good, it had a few graphic scenes in it but was an interesting concept of someone dieing and then waking up to find they could relive a portion of his life. The book was called Replay by Ken Grimwood and I definitely recommend it.
Then we had choir and watched a movie (No Reservations...another recommend on that was good) and it very easily got late and was time for bed.
And then, we have made an impromptu trip back down to Nana and Pop's so we can get the car fixed by someone we trust. I finally get a chance to get back on and blog...only to find! They think my blog is spam and have to review it. I am guessing it was the Josie dialogue perhaps? Who knows but it was a bit frustrating.
Now we are just getting ready for the start of school around here. My how time flies.

Monday, July 28, 2008


Josie is gaining a huge vocabulary....well...a huge vocabulary if you are around her enough to distinguish between the slight vowel differences between words. If you can translate these are some of words that she says:
Daddy (really "da")
Doug (du)
dog (do)
cat (at)
that (dat)
this (dit)
truck (druck)
duck (something similar to quack)

I have heard her say something for water (wa) but haven't heard it repeated, milk (mi), and various other things. So we are having a little vocabulary explosion around here. She is also really good at pointing (which is what is now accompanied by "dat" to add even more emphasis).

Andy, at the Monster Truck thing, saw the damaged cars that had been driven over. He said "I want to see the destruction mommy" so I don't know if destruction is a three year old word or not but I was impressed.


We are home. Impressively we made it in 5 hours with only really 2 stops that did not actually include any children exiting the car (one was a drive-thru and the other we were at a gas station and the kids got out of their seats but stayed in the car). Doug & Andy were only threatening each other for about the last hour of the drive so all in all not a bad drive considering.
Now I just have to recover from being gone for a few days. The laundry theoretically shouldn't be bad because we did laundry at Nana and Pop's yesterday...however this morning started with two out of three children peeing through their night-time diapers and one of those children decided that he would press himself up against me so that I had to change my shorts also.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

You might be a redneck...

I used to chuckle because when I was growing up the directions to my house really did include "turn off the paved road."

Well, now I have ventured into another area that might be considered "red-neck"...or possibly considered "ways to torture your three year old who is terrified of loud noises."

Some parents take their children to kid's musicals or concerts or to the ice capades or something like that. We went to a Monster Truck Rally.
The pit party before hand was great. The boys (we left Jo with Nana and Pop) did really well waiting in line especially because it was raining (we were fortunately under a roof) and they had just woken up from a nap. Then they opened the doors and we went in and got to see the Monster Trucks before the event began. I have to admit I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but we walked in and there it was...Grave Digger (or at least one of the Grave Digger trucks because there are several) and I really was like "OMG! There's Pablo Huffacker!" He isn't the number one guy to drive that truck but he is up there. In addition there were four other trucks and there were a bunch of FMX Motorcycle riders all sitting around to give autographs. So we bought the cheapest souvenirs we could get away with, got every one's signatures on the back of the boys' shirts, and took pictures (to be posted another day). Then we bought over-priced dinners for the boys (Jim and I ate ahead of time while they were napping) and found our spots in the stands (the first row you could sit in since we bought our tickets far enough in advance and all tickets were the same price).
We did have ear-plugs and Doug was ok when they first moved the trucks to get ready for the start of the show. Then...well, then they started and Doug had a melt-down every time they would rev their engines. So Jim held him with ear plugs and hands over the ears and tears running down checks while they did wheelies. Doug and I left and walked the hallway circle around the outside of the arena during the racing. We went back in during the intermission and Doug was ok with the Motorcross guys whose motorcycles are not as loud as the big monster trucks. (I also thought these guys were in many ways more impressive because they were doing tricks off a huge jump and when you think about the fact that they are so high up in the air and don't have a roll cage around them, just their helmets....).
So for the second half Doug and I moved up to the very back row in the arena. It was still loud and Doug had ear plugs and his head pressed into my chest with my hand over the other ear, and he would startle every time they revved their engine...but now he actually watched and didn't cry. So we saw the doughnut contest and the freestyle (which the Grave Digger truck that had broken something during the intro was fixed for the second half) and by 30 minutes after the show Doug decided that he had had a "great time."

Friday, July 25, 2008

Random kid thoughts....(warning-some of it is a little X rated)

Doug- Apparently, as I was informed in the car the other day, Jesus owns a train.

Andy- If you don't see a dump truck as it passes, then mommy should run after it until she catches up to it and then she can drive it back so he can see it.

Andy- Only grown-ups have crotches...little kids only have butts.

Doug- Everyone should have a penis...mommy's should get one to pee out of and little girls can grow one.

EDIT*** Andy told me while we were in the car that "my booboo is leaking"....

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Are we there yet?

We made it to Nana and Pop's. I think it must be innate that children ask the question "are we there yet" because I heard it starting about 90 minutes into the trip and it is a five hour trip. Every child slept at least some. Everyone ate a bunch in the car. The boys actually opted not to watch DVDs all the way (they watched the first third of the way) and Josie watched some too. I actually sat up front with Jim so that we could listen to a book on CD. That also meant that I had to get out of my seat a few times to help the boys in the back of the car. Did you know that if I stretched out over the large cooler that was in the seat behind me that I could pretty well reach the boys in the back?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Roasted Toasters...

While Ann was here with her kids they played in the backyard some. Her youngest would get on the tricycle and ride down the slope in our backyard. Now, Doug & Andy have done this but they don't have quite the steering and thought processes of a six-year-old so William was able to steer and go clear to the back corner of the yard. He decided that it was a "roller coaster."
Somehow, this label got lost in translation by Andy. Andy walked around declaring that he was fixing the "roasted toaster" to make it work.

Monday, July 21, 2008

One of THOSE days

So it definitely has been one of those know, the one where everything you wanted to get done got pushed aside by all the things that needed to get done...and even some of those were substituted by things that suddenly became priority....things like cleaning the spilled chocolate milk out of the car seat, etc., etc.
But! It is getting better. Jim has arranged for a girl from church to come watch the kids and we are going out in (post-)celebration of our anniversary (it was Saturday). We have been married for 11 years and known each other for closer to 16.5 years. Wow...that is hard to believe.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Came, saw, forgot to take pictures...

My sister and her kids came to visit us. We had a good time, but of course I forgot to pull out the camera until the last hour when they were packing up the car. We showed them around our house, took them on campus, went to the Children's Museum, in general hung out (did laundry, dishes and all those things you have more of when you have nine people in a house), and then sent them merrily on their way. The kids played pretty well together (somehow three little boys ages 6, 3, and 3 are going to run into the occasional problem and it's all fun and games until someone gets hurt). So hopefully they will have a safe trip home that is uneventful.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


My modem died yesterday morning...or more technically sometime during the night before that. It was working reasonably ok the evening before and then yesterday morning I got up and tried to get online only to discover that there were no lights whatsoever on the modem. I tried it in several outlets and resetting etc., but no luck. So amazingly I got the modem today even though it was theoretically being mailed today. So blog world I am back online! (Despite the fact that you probably hadn't realized that I was even offline).

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

To every thing there is a season....

Right now at our house it is fig season.
It was exciting at first to see the tree loaded with figs, and then there was the anticipation of when they would start getting ripe. We had to do a bit of watering and then they finally started to get ripe, and just have a ton of figs.
Jim has done a bunch of canning, but we still have a ton of figs.
If Josie is out with me picking them then she alternates between taking bites out of the ones in the bowl and picking the green unripe figs that are at her level. If the boys are out with me then they play on the swing-set for awhile and then gradually migrate to the fig tree (which really could be called either a giant bush or perhaps even a very small grove) and then while I am trying to systematically work my way around the tree they yell at me that they have found a ripe fig here or there and that they can't possibly reach it on their own.
So anyway, if you know anyone who would like a fig, or two, or even two hundred...send them my way with a big, big bucket...turn, turn.

Playing Phone Tag

Here is my (at least) third attempt at typing this. I had "help" from Josie and I still don't quite know what she Dr. Cox once said on the series "Scrubs"..."I need trouble, I have some help."

Our cordless phones are all connected so that if one of them is turned on it tells you on the others that the "line is in use." My kids always seem to know exactly what buttons to push to turn things on, to adjust the volume, etc.
Last night as Jim and I were getting in bed I noticed that it said the phone was "in use" but we could only find 3 out of 4 of the phones. I think Josie had been playing with them and left one of them on. Now once we were short a phone for about a month and a half because we couldn't find one and the battery depleted and we couldn't use the locate button (that time the phone was off but just lost). So now we have learned that you have to look while the battery is still good. We did finally find the phone by Jim listening on one and walking around to make noise until we could hear it (we didn't want it to ring to locate it for fear that it was in one of the kids' rooms while they were sleeping). I should have had Jim look at how long the phone had been on because our record for one of the kids leaving the phone on is 4+ hours. During that time I was trying to call Jim to tell him I was driving home on a 3 hour drive and for at least 90 minutes of the drive I tried calling but of course I couldn't get the home phone since it was already on and he wasn't answering his cell phone. I think last night might have topped that record. So if you ever try and call us and we don't answer and it doesn't go to the answering machine it might just be that the kids have lost the phone.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


Each boy got a special trip alone with Daddy to the store today.
Andy got to go with Daddy to help buy a 25 foot Plumbers Snake.
Doug got to go with Daddy to help buy a 50 foot Plumbers Snake.

The good news is that we think we have it fixed. Jim ended up on the roof going at the main drain for that bathroom and I was down in the basement workroom trying to listen at the pipe to see how far it was going. Thank goodness for cell phones and free calling between our phones because we didn't have to holler at each other the whole time. He got a big old wad of what look like cleaning wipes (hmm...I wonder how those got in there) and perhaps some dental floss (????) out of the pipes. Things seem to be draining smoothly now. Anyone want to buy a very slightly used 25 foot Plumbers Snake?

Jim also cleaned out the pipe for the AC unit and reattached it and it doesn't seem to be dripping now. We have a fan on and the area seems to be drying up nicely. I suppose it is sort of a temporary fix but hopefully it will last us until next month which is likely to be the first time we can act on any sort of purchase of a new unit.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

They just don't make'm like the used to...

We ended up doing "movie night" tonight rather than Friday night. I won't make you try and guess this movie because it is so old that it is unrated. We watched the first half of "The Great Race" with all sorts of famous actors in it (Tony Curtis, Natalie name a couple). I got this movie because I remember watching it from when I was probably elementary school age (my dad liked it) and I thought with the whole car and race connection and the comedy part of it that it might just hold my 3 year old boys' attention....and it has! We only watched the first half because the whole thing is 2 hours and 40 minutes, but since it is an older and longer movie it actually has an intermission which made a nice stopping point to put the kids to bed. It has just enough outrageous slap-stick comedy to keep the boys interested...and other funny things that Jim and I get. Josie watched some but then she started wandering and dancing when there was music on and then she was being really coy with me and sitting down next to me and making "small talk" in the form of noises but she did watch occasionally.
They just don't make many (if any) movies like that anymore...where it is funny for the whole family.


I feel like I have a lot of "grumbles" today.
  • Doug and Andy seem to be entering a "new" stage because they are getting a lot more physical in their interactions with each other. This means that they wrestle for fun, they wrestle when they are mad at each other, etc. etc. It also means that Doug bit Andy (which he hasn't done for many months now...and despite the fact that he didn't like it the two times that Jo bit him).
  • We are having plumbing issues in the kids bathroom. Granted it has had a lot more use than it has probably seen in about 17 years since we have been potty training, but sometimes when you flush the toilet you get water up through the bathtub (yeah....ewwwww). It took me a little to figure out that connection. It don't know what is causing it for sure...could be that the kids flushed something. It is definitely letting some water past so I am not ruling out that it is the cleaning wipes that Doug & Andy flushed about a month and a half ago. But to top this off I realized that due to the workroom being directly underneath that section of the house that I could walk down and see how the pipes are connected...well this lead me to discover that the pipes are dripping....
  • ...Which lead me to discover the next issue...that the condensation in the ancient heating/cooling system is sweating enough without draining that there is water around the inside portion of the unit...which meant that it is leaking out along the walls getting some of the carpet wet and some of the nearby boxes wet. There is no telling how long this has been going on. It could be the last few day; it could be the whole summer since we turned on the AC. We had already started getting estimates on replacing the system but this puts a bit more urgency on it.
  • We went and looked at what it would cost to replace just the cabinets and counter top in the kitchen today. Now granted, this was for them doing it all the way with pre-finished stuff...but good gosh the cost didn't even include such things as a new dishwashers, ovens (ours are probably circa 1970something), garbage disposal (to replace the one that most definitely quit), or the flooring that already needs to be replaced (and we can't do until we we do the cabinets). The 1968 built-in cabinets are sagging and have sawdust (which yes I have tried to get rid of in various ways) and the counter has lost it's finish and it is all wood paneling and dark and hard to get back in the deep corners and it would be very nice to do it at some point where we could actually enjoy the new kitchen rather than having to do it just to be able to resell the house when I am done with my PhD and if it sounds like I am whining I probably there!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Creative Problem Solving

Andy started peeing in the potty today....but with a little "outside" motivation. No, not that we actually went outside (I'd have to slather him in sunscreen at the moment to run around naked). After discussing with Jim last night, the issue that Andy can sit on the potty or run around naked without peeing and then pee immediately after putting on underwear or pull-ups, we decided to try "helping" him a little. So today we tried it...and it worked!
What, you might ask, did we try? Well...a little warm water poured over crucial parts has done the trick all day. He did manage to stop and start the stream on his own at least once today so now we just have to work on him doing it without the help of the water. I don't want him to get addicted to pouring water on his private parts and I'm not quite sure what we will do if we are out somewhere because cold water doesn't appear to work....

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Mr. Literal

I just love how kids can be so literal sometimes. At the pool they have a "lazy river" that is an outer portion of the pool with a current and there are inner tube like floats that you can use to float around it. The floats for the little kids have a "bottom" to them. Andy was trying his hardest to stretch out in the big floats for adults but he was spread eagle trying to stay up. So I put him in the ones for the little kids and told him that he could lay back and put his feet up. So of course he starts to stick his feet straight up in the air.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


We have gone the last two days to the pool on campus. It is great because they have a children's pool that only gets a foot and a half deep, is partially shaded, and has fountains. However the issue is that Jo wants to "drink" the water. Last night I ended up giving her some Mylanta to settle her stomach....

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

News Flash from the Front Lines

The battle wages on. Some progress has been made in certain areas while great resistance has been found in surprising places.
Some minor skirmishes have been won. Doug is now peeing in the potty as long as he is told to go at a regular interval (we're up to around an hour in between times and since he has definitely figured out how to make everything work he is pretty quick). Due to the combination of sticker incentives and finding unique places to pee (rocks anyone?) he is delighted to be able to do it. The next battle front will be poop. He actually asked to be put to bed in a pull-up tonight (rather than the usual diaper...thanks Nana for the nighttime pull-ups).
Andy is another matter. Despite the fact that he probably had more signs of interest and readiness than Doug (gotta love twins) he keeps saying it is hard and I have to coerce him into sitting on the potty for more than a few seconds. He impressively wet three pairs of training pants in less than ten minutes today despite me trying to get him to sit on the potty (would it be considered abusive to duct tape him to it?). He obviously has not yet figured out what muscles to use and despite how stubborn he can be it is going to take some pushing to get him to stick with it.
So the battle wages on.

It's a good thing...

It's a good thing I don't care about the front of my cabinets (comes from having a 40 year old kitchen with at least 30 year old linoleum). Somehow when three year olds wash dishes they have no concept of wringing out the washcloth....or even keeping it over the sink. I was able to mop roughly half of the kitchen with the water that was on the floor.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Analyze this....

So I wonder what Freud would say....
At 3:30 am last night I heard Andy crying. He was laying behind the door when I went to check and absolutely clung to me when I took him back to bed with me.
This morning I asked him about it. Yes, he had a bad dream. This was the first one that he has really been able to verbalize what was in it.
His bed wasn't on the ground.


I have decided that life is about the "spin" you put on it.
For instance:

  • The fact that the garbage disposal quit today really is a sign that we should go ahead and move forward with the plans to redo the kitchen that we talked about over the weekend.

  • The fact that all of my children decided they were strippers and got down, by themselves, to their bare nothingness 15 minutes before we needed to leave is really a sign that they have definitely mastered the benchmark of undressing themselves (NAKIE BOY was the collective battle cry...except for Josie who doesn't have that many words yet).

  • The massive after dinner clean-up is really about the fact that my children can feed themselves.

  • Doug wheedling his way to the front of the group of kids during the Library puppet show (we barely got there on time) means that he was interested and a "go-getter."

  • Doug & Andy scramming the lines to "Drummer Hoff" as loud as they can is actually a sign of reading readiness

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Survival Instinct

I have decided that children who are the third child in the family have a naturally strong survival instinct. I have seen Jo scavenge snack food that the boys drop. She helps herself off of every plate that is within reach (and boy her arms seem amazingly long for her size). Somehow she has convinced her brothers to share food with her without using any words because they are always terribly concerned about sharing or getting her food. Tonight she climbed up, on her own, onto Doug's chair and grazed off his plate. A couple weeks ago she walked up to Andy, grabbed his poptart, turned around and ran the other direction.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

July 4th

I realized that it has been awhile since I have taken pictures let alone put some on the blog. So I made an effort to take the camera with us to the Independence Day celebration that we went to. They had all sorts of those blow-up bouncy play things, face painting, balloons, food (though we brought our own ribs, salad, drinks, and cupcakes made in ice cream cones...and we were meeting friends who also brought food), a train (really a tractor dressed up to look like a train), and of course fireworks.
The memorable things are that Andy, who normally talks a mile a minute, who will talk your ear off, who talked all through the fireworks show....was struck speechless when we went over to say hi to the firemen who were standing in front of the firetruck. Doug did better with the fireworks then in previous years, probably partially to being a little older but probably also to the fact that they were setting them off a good distance from us (Jo fell asleep). I also predicted it right that Andy was willing an excited to hold a sparkler after brief hesitation and you would have thought we were torturing Doug to try and even suggest handing one to him. Jo just flirted with everyone and tried to follow every dog who walked by.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Natives are restless...

To whoever finds this note,
I have only been here for a week but it feels like longer. The natives are starting to accept what they apparently feel is a strange ritual that we have collectively dubbed "potty time." They are more willing to participate if I entertain them with stories or have toys on hand. We have developed a compromise by setting a timer to enforce how long to convene for our powwow sessions.
I look forward to the day when I am delivered and the natives become part of a more civilized society. However, I realize that it will be a long journey.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Monkey see, Monkey do

Jo obviously is paying attention to her older brothers.
While Nana and Pop were here we discovered that Jo (13 months old mind you) is "jumping" off the bottom step of the stairs when she goes down to the basement. Somehow the arm motions look remarkably like those that her brothers do.

Today we were outside playing on the new swing set. After watching her brothers for awhile she managed to climb the rock wall and then went down the slide (on her tummy because she has more control that way).

Tonight after eating dinner she stood in the middle of the kitchen "singing" and spinning around on one foot. Gee that looks familiar....

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Mommy senses...

So today I discovered that "mommy senses" are good for more than just having a premonition that your children are about to do something disastrous. I don't know what caused me to have a feeling that I needed to check on it but I asked Jim what day it was that he needed to return the library DVDs that we had. He couldn't remember. After struggling with the online system and not getting it to work for Jim's card I just called and...sure enough the videos were due today.

Hmm...I wonder if this was just a day my mommy senses were extra sharp or if I can regularly expect this level of protection.