Sunday, July 27, 2008

I know we aren't the only ones

She was part of our family before we were a family. The mainbain got her before we started dating. She was his anchor during some very rough times and a constant companion for all of us after that. She was the most compassionate, loyal and loving animal I have ever known.

Whenever it was learning-to-walk-time for the boys she was more that willing to have quite a bit of fur ripped out while that particular toddler learned to pull up. When limabain was having night terrors every night last year – I could hear her going down the hall to his bedroom to go lie down in front of his bed and “help” him. When I took up running and began training for my first 5K several years ago – she was always at the door wagging and waiting. Ever cheerful and ready to go, even on the mornings I would have rather stayed in bed. She was happy for your to pet her, content if you didn’t. Didn’t mind if butterbain used her as a bean bag or totally ignored her.

She was a constant in our family - we didn’t know how great we had it. Of course there were glimpses of what an amazing animal she was. Did we tell her how much we loved and adored hindsight not nearly enough.

The fact is there will never be another Molly. No matter if we get another Golden Retriever and try to train her the same way and spay her and do all the right things. The fact is, that dog was made for us, before we there was an “us.”

She was 14 and counting. She could hardly get up without help, but her mind was clear. Since we live so far off the beaten path, we have the great advantage of a vet who makes house calls. He called on Friday and after lots of tearful goodbyes she was gone. All those years, just like that. She just lay down and let us pet her and now she’s a memory.

Goodbye Molly - we are really gonna miss you sweet girl.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Little Revelations

It isn't about the $6.00. It isn't about the half-eaten, 95% melted SpongeBob head on the kitchen floor. Or the practically tasteless snowcones in the flimsy paper cups.

It IS about The Big Three on the curb dancing to the ice cream truck music, waving their arms, jumping with joy together to get the SpongeBob popsicle and tasteless snowcones in the flimsy paper cups. And it IS about them all sitting still for more than 2 minutes together on the kitchen floor enjoying the treats.

I tell myself, "They will remember this one day." Maybe not this exact day or exact ice cream, but they will remember that I said "Yes!" more often than "No!". They will remember they had fun days with nothing to do or worry about except for what flavor to pick.

Another day, another story,

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Living in the moment

There's still stuff all over the floor, the windows by the front door still have handprints and there's quite a bit of laundry...but it's quiet. I mean really quiet. I can even hear NPR in the kitchen, instead of mexicanjumpingbain's too-loud-for-the-morning voice.

Since the first bain arrived over 10 years ago, I have learned that taking a break from my children is a good thing. Everybody needs one sometimes, and this weekend was my turn.
All four bains went to their grandparents on Friday and I am going to get them this afternoon.

A whole weekend to enjoy being alone. I love the quiet: no doors slamming or fights to settle or meals to cook. But I still miss them - I always do when they go away. I think I can't wait for the time off, and then wonder what I'm going to do while they are gone.

I heard a quote about child raising: "The days are long, but the years are short." I remind myself of it from time to time. Especially when I have a glimpse of my life without all 4 of them here - I know it will be here before I'm ready. So, I will go pick them up with the fresh resolve to enjoy them today. After all, that's the only time I've got....

Friday, July 18, 2008

Pest world

No, it's not all four of them incessantly screaming "Mom!" at the same time - it's a website I found.

We found it yesterday and I played "Archibald's adventure" with mexicanjumpingbain and butterbain and loved it. I left stringbain to the detective game himself. Obviously he enjoyed it because I had to pull out the big "right now!" to get him to come to breakfast. It's not the most high tech website, but I like it because 5 year olds can navigate without constant supervision.

We live on a farm and there's hardly a day that goes by we don't find a turtle or a beetle or a frog or something that must be cared for. One of the coolest things ever appeared just a few weeks ago; stringbain found a huge Luna moth. I am all for education when it arrives at your doorstep. So we "study" insects, amphibians and reptiles - all of which are in abundance in our part of the world.

The website just takes it one step further on things we do not ever plan on collecting - mosquitoes and flies and other pests. Hope you enjoy it too!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Risky Business

Two words: potty training.

I am walking down the hall tonight to go outside and play kickball with all the bains and butterbain comes in and is crying/whining about having an accident. Well, actually he just doesn’t have his aim quite right and had gotten it all over his shorts. So I put a clean pair of underwear on him and with the popped collar all I could think of was Tom Cruise and the famous scene with the shirt and the underwear. While potty training is not quite the same as having to buy back all your parents furniture with the help of someone in, shall we say the entertainment industry, it can be a learning experience.

You’d think after 3 successfully trained boys I’d have a pattern or a system or something, but I’m much more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of mom when it comes to potty training. My only hard and fast rule is this: do it in the summer when there's not nearly as much to wash when they have accidents. So here we are in the summer and it’s going well. We started while on vacation at the lake and it went pretty well except for an episode that involved swimming shorts….and the water hose…use your imagination for the rest.

I am still in awe everyday he doesn’t wear a diaper and keep reminding myself that after the initial “take a change of clothes just in case” phase I will be done with hauling diaper bags. It seems impossible that one day – soon – I could say “Let’s go” and everybody just gets in the car and there’s nothing to carry except what I need. A small bit of freedom, but as out numbered as I am I’ll take it where I can get it.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

What Keeps Us Going

It is amazing the range of things that can happen in just one day.

On the way to a meeting at church, I couldn't contain my laughter listening to Number 1 and Number 3 (recently so-named The Prime Duo by Number 1) singing with gusto the lyrics (more or less) to "I Like Big Butts". Yes, that's right, the hip-hop/rap song "I Like Big Butts". The sheer irony of our destination combined with the semi-baby talk from Number 3 singing along with his big brother, was classic. Appropriate, probably not. Hilarious, you bet!!!

For lunch, we met Daddy for pizza. As we were finishing the meal (with an unusually small amount of misbehaving, dropping, spilling, crying), a nice older gentleman walked over to say, "ya"ll have a ramp, rather than a stairstep" of children. He went on to tell us he was the youngest of 10 children, only had 2 himself and that we were blessed to have 4 such nice looking and well-behaved kids. Quite honestly, we don't really get those kind of comments every day. But when we do, it makes us even more grateful for what we do have.

Another day, another story,

Friday, July 11, 2008

There Is a Difference

After spending a couple of nights out of town at a good friend's (a mother of 2 girls) house with all four Thomas Boys, I realized once and for all There Is a Difference between boys and girls. Such as:
  • Boys eat...A LOT.
  • The language of Pokemon (and ballet) is NOT universal.
  • Boys make very distinct bodily noises...A LOT.
  • Boys have to jump, throw, kick, hit and otherwise move around pretty much constantly.
  • Boys eat...A LOT.

We had a wonderful visit despite the gender gap. We also realized that all kids - boys and girls - do have the most important things in common. Swimming, playing house and school, watching cartoons, eating pizza and chicken nuggets, and most of all just being with good friends.

Another day, another story,


Friday, July 4, 2008

I can see clearly now - and so can limabain

Limabain is 8, and has been a squinter since he was a little boy. So we had his eyes checked - the doctor said he was fine, it was just a bad habit and we should encourage him not to do it.

Well, that seemed like yesterday...until I called to make another appointment and it's actually been 2 1/2 years! My sweet SIL offered to take him since I was working and her son had an appointment too. I really wasn't worried about it, until she called and said "limabain really needs glasses. they can be ready in two days if we pick them out now." "Of course, " I replied...but I had this nagging how did his eyes get so bad so fast?(yes, I am aware that TECHNICALLY 2 1/2 years isn't that fast) What does this mean...and am I really so wrapped up in the basics ( food, water, bike rides and bedtime stories) that I didn't notice how bad his eyes were?

And my feelings of total inadequacy only heightened once we picked the glasses up. He walked around with them on his nose, comparing the world before glasses to the one now with glasses. Things like trees, flowers and grass are totally new and exciting for him to look at. I wonder if this the the reason his summer reading project has been such a chore....

A million accusing questions firing through my head and my mother in law answered them with one statement. "Liberty, everybody feels guilty when their child gets glasses." And all of the sudden, I felt the guilt fall away.

Of course, I am not the only mother out there who occasionally questions her capability to stay on top of big for those teeth....


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