Saturday, August 26, 2006

Landscaping with 'helpers'

Our house is in SERIOUS need of some landscaping! Today, we decided it was time to do something about it. Apparently, just gazing out the window, shaking our heads, and hoping some beautiful flowers would overgrow the weeds wasn't quite enough. We woke up early this morning and within an hour had 3 huge bags of weeds (the 30 gallon yardwaste paper bags) and a large trashcan full of this horrible 'Juniper' groundcover that has bothered me ever since we moved in. It pulled out in one great big 'carpet'. It was so nasty!

I forget how much my boys like being busy! They were actually really helpful, especially Matt. He pulled all the weeds in this one corner and filled an entire yard waste bag himself! Twelve hands working, even when 8 of those hands are rather small, are much faster than just 4 hands. We then went to this great local nursery and browsed their plants. One of the helpful ladies, even helped me draw a plan! So, now we at least have an idea!
Here is a 'before' photo.
Next week, we hope to pull out those ugly red bushes, and put down a nice layer of garden mix soil to even out the beds. Then, maybe we'll plant some, bushes and flowers! Yea!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

It's a good thing little boys are washable!

Today was a day that I meant to get all my laundry done. In fact, I started this morning washing sheets (Will got a bloody nose in the night). I scrubbed and scrubbed, but couldn't get the stain out. Finally I washed the sheets with a double dose of liquid bleach. The blood was gone, but the sheets are now several shades lighter. I then turned my attention to some muddy socks. My boys use their selective deafness skills when I am repeating my mantra, "please don't go in the yard in just your socks." So, I am forever scrubbing filthy socks. Today's batch was not going to come clean, regardless of the amount of bleach used, so I just ended up tossing them.

Midway through my morning, I am walking down the stairs with a basketful of laundry when I hear a "crash" and then Nathan begins crying and repeating, "I sowwy Mommy, I sowwy I bweaked yow cwock." Somehow, my clock had become part of the boys 'bad guy' game and Nathans head had shattered the clock. Of course I couldn't care less about the clock! I ran to Nate and at first didn't see anything. But then he turned his head and the other side of his head was dripping with blood. I quickly carried him upstairs to the kitchen and began dabbing the blood away. It was clear that at least one of the gashes would need to be stitched, and I was worried about slivers of glass that might be remaining in the other cuts. I called my friend who rescues me every time I have a crisis (how come HER kids never end up in the ER..........?). She came right over and Nate and I headed to the hospital. Luckily, once the doctor got the wounds clean, it was not as bad as I had feared. Two of the gashes were fairly superficial and didn't require any stitches. The third gash, did need to be repaired and today I learned that staples are not just for office use anymore! I was so suprised when they brought out this staple gun and just stapled his 1/2" gash together! Nate was so brave. He didn't cry through the entire ordeal. Afterwards I took him to the hospital cafeteria where he modeled his staples for some old ladies, and we ate a bite of lunch.

This evening, after the little guys were in bed, Matt and Will and I were outside cleaning off the patio. Due to a project that I started, but never finished, we had some pieces of sod on our patio. The grass had all died, leaving big piles of dirt. In attempting to clean this off the patio, the boys and I got FILTHY. Really, we were all soaking wet, with mud everywhere. When we were finally done with our messy project, I sprayed everyone off, and we went to shower.

I am just so thankful that Heavenly Father made boys infinately washable! I stuck Nate in the tub after we returned from the hospital and the blood just washed right off. No staining - and no bleaching required! This evening, washing a ton of mud off two little boys and their mommy took little more than a garden hose and a warm shower afterward.

Today's clothes, however, might not have survived our adventures!

Monday, August 21, 2006

No matter how hot it is, it's not summer anymore

Today was the first day of school for my boys. Matt had a full day. Will went to Kindergarten orientation, and Nate and Drew went to meet their new preschool teacher. It has been a great, but very busy day!

I feel guilt, though, about the lack of organized activities/lessons my kids did this summer. They did, um....., none. No swimming lessons, no tennis lessons, no karate lessons, nothing. They did play T-ball and baseball, but that was more of a spring thing. They ran through the sprinkler a lot, and we did go on several picnics. We ran lots of errands together, and they climbed like little monkeys all over our new playset. Why do I feel like a failure because I didn't have each boy in 2-3 activities? When did our society become so activity oriented? When did our children's summer's get taken away from them? It used to be 20 neighborhood children ranging in age, running around barefoot, and making up their own games. We would go from house to house and play in everyone's backyard. There was little adult interference. I remember returning to school tanned, physically tired, and with an added measure of confidence. I love this quote from Ivy Baker Priest:

"My father had always said there are four things a child needs:
Plenty of love,
Nourishing food,
Regular sleep,
and Lots of soap and water.
After that, what he needs most is some intelligent neglect."

I want my kids to experience the 'intelligent neglect' my parents were able to give me. However, I would have social services called on me, if I did let them roam!

Not that I want our children to be in any danger, of course, it's just that I'm not sure there's anything inherently dangeorus about playing outside in a huge group all over the neighborhood.

I guess I'm just feeling strange because school has started, but I have yet to organize my summer!

Friday, August 18, 2006

A new corner has been turned.

Something that has been a bit suprising to me as the mom of four boys, is the amount of errands I have to do. I could go to some sort of store for something everyday. If someone hasn't outgrown their shoes then we're out of food. Or, if we have groceries, we're certainly out of toilet paper. I try to remain organized and do all my shopping at once, but there is always some errand that needs to be done.

Today, we were at Target - which we spend a LOT of time at (not to mention $$). I always always put Nate and Drew into the cart. We usually get the big, red, two-seater. This cart has the perfect layout for boys to fight. Why on earth they decided to create a seat in which the toddlers face one another and have to share this tiny bit of leg space is beyond me - whoever invented it obviously didn't have children (or at least children like mine). But today was different. Today, Nate and Drew begged to not go into the cart. SuperDrew (yes, he wore his cape again all day today) said, "we be good Mommy, we pwomise." So, I let them try it. All four boys walked beside me while I pushed a regular cart. It was fabulous! They did so well. Nate and Drew stayed by me the entire time, even walking down the toy isle without any meltdowns or wandering off.

I feel elated and sad all at the same time. I guess I knew that they wouldn't have to ride in the cart forever, and it was nice to push a 'normal' cart. However, it means they are growing up, and they aren't my 'babies' anymore. My big boys still call them "the babies"! I can't believe 3 years have passed since they came to our family!

Thursday, August 17, 2006


I love toddlers. I am especially smitten with toddlers in dress-up clothes. Something about their swagger, and the glint in their eye that tells everyone who sees them that they really ARE Superman, or Batman, or a Doctor, or a Cowboy. Today we went for a long walk along the river near our house. The path leads to a playground, our city's downtown area, and the library. Drew was insistant that he "be SU-Per-MAN." He wore his shorts and shirt, along with red rubber rain boots, about 2 sizes too large, and a piece of fleece that I turned into a 'cape' several weeks ago on a whim. I had this extra fabric, and I had 3 boys who wanted capes, but only one 'official' Batman cape. So, I pinned two corners of the fabric together, and it makes a fantastic cape. It has been worn constantly ever since I made it. (Although, I'm not sure that safety pinning a square of fleece really counts as 'making' anything).

It was so fun to see Drew's little heart swell with pride everytime someone asked him if he was Superman. He would nod his head proudly, and look at me with a knowing smile. It was darling!

And, really, how often do you see a REAL Superman in the library?

Saturday, August 12, 2006

April showers bring......flooded basements

In April, we experienced one of the true joys of home-ownership. Our sump-pump failed over Easter weekend, resulting in a completely flooded basement (did I mention that our basement is 100% finished??) We had the water-mitigation guys out to dry out our basement. They had to saw out about 2 feet of drywall all the way around the entire basement. The carpet was also completely destroyed. It was so waterlogged that it had to be replaced (it was old and nasty, anyhow - I didn't feel that bad about the carpet ;-)). They then had to dry everything out with these gigantic fans and de-humidifiers and they put down some anti-mold chemicals all over. Then came the joy of putting it all back together. We hired a contractor to do the work and decided that while we were at it, we would turn the large utility room downstairs into a fabulous laundry room. It was better than I could have imagined it! It was perfect! I loved it - for exactly one week. Seven days after the brand new carpet was laid there was ANOTHER flood. This time it was in another part of the basement; my brand new laundry room. It was a significant amount of water - not the slow seepage that occurs when rainwater is raising the watertable into your basement floor. We panicked - and called the water-mitigation guys to come in again. This time we caught it quickly enough to save the carpet (but not the pad) and I begged them to not saw the drywall underneath my carefully chosen, beautifully applied wall-color. He agreed to put extra fans and dehumidifers to avoid the dreaded sheetrock saw. We got everything dried out and were once again left picking up the mess. We replaced the pad and had the carpet re-tacked. We also had a fancy plumber guy come out and assure us that the second flood was likely due to a non-functioning water softener that one of our well-intentioned workmen plugged in. It was a relief to know that there wasn't something terribly wrong with the pipes or drain-tiles under our house.

So, today was a BIG day. We FINALLY got everything put back together from the second flood! The trim is on, the toys are put away, and my laundry room is put back together. We are so excited, and PRAY that our flooding days are behind us!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

I really am here!

I am just going to pretend that I MEANT to wait several months until my next blog. :-) Life is pretty good here. Last Saturday we took the boys to get their photos taken. I am embarrassed to admit that my 3 year old twins have only had professional pictures taken twice in their little lives. And one of those times they were only 6 weeks old! The time in-between, when they were about 2, it was a disaster. They both cried and wouldn't stand still, and we ended up with sub-par photos that have never really made wall-hanging status (but you always feel like you have to buy SOMETHING!) I was dreading the experience. For one, it's always expensive. Just getting four little boys decked out in respectable clothing breaks the bank. This time, however, it was worth it! When we walked into the studio, and I met the guy who was to take our pictures, I knew it would go well. He was so great with the boys! He joked around with them and got them to sit right where he posed them. We ended up with so many great photos that I had a hard time choosing. We ended up with one large one of all the boys together. Then we got a close up of each boy - he just captured each of my children so beautifully! I also got a special picture of Matt in his suit because he was baptized two weeks ago. And I got a photo of Nate and Drew hugging each other with darling expressions on their faces. I am SO pleased that we got some great pictures. We bought a lot because we know that good photo experiences don't happen every time!