Thursday, March 26, 2009

Ava's Day of Attention

When you have a such an easy going little girl as Ava, she easily and often gets overlooked by two punky little brothers that demand a lot of time and energy. But today she got an overload of both my time and attention and I think she rather liked it, as did I.

I'm the room mom (and a crummy one at that) for Ava's preschool class but since I'm not allowed to bring the two little boys, I haven't got to spend much time in the classroom. We're making an auction item for her school's annual fundraiser and today we painted the frog stepping stones that we've been making for the past three weeks. My awesome friend Jayme, offered to keep my two little ones along with her 2 yr old twins while I went in and helped the preschoolers paint. As I helped them I finally got to see how Ava interacts with all the other kids and the teachers. Last year Ava was so reserved and shy that I was really nervous about how she'd do in school this year. I noticed today that she's still the quiet one but she's definitely making her own way into the social scene. Sometimes it's hard for me as an extra extrovert to watch her and not get frustrated. I'm learning to bite my toungue and try to take her as she is and wants to be. John always tells me that's just her and I guess he would know cause she's so much like him. Around just a few close friends she's bubbly, giddy and talkative but in a crowd she'd rather hang back and observe. Some days this makes for frustration on my part cause I want to push her into the group and make her have fun and I think she sometimes senses my exasperation. But today at preschool I could tell she was so excited to have me there cause she kept coming up to me randomly and hugging my legs or pulling me down for a kiss. It was quite sweet and helped remind me that even though she's my mature, grown up almost 5 yr old, she still really does like and need her Mama. She's usually all about Dada so it's nice to reaffirm that Mama is cool too sometimes.

Then this evening we had her first soccer practice with yep, you guessed it, me as the coach. She's been so excited to play and put on her cleats and shin guards for the past few weeks. So when we walked into the gym and there were about 10 kids already running around like crazy I was ready to see her jump right in. But she sidled up to my legs, clutching her ball and kinda whispered to me, " It's kinda crazy in here for me, I think I'll wait till the little kids get here." My first thought was, "Oh, no. I've volunteered to coach for this team and now Ava won't even play on it" but I was proud of myself when I told her that's ok, just stay by me for now and you can play when you want too. At 4 1/2 she's by far the youngest player on the team. You are supposed to be at least 5 to play and there are actually about four 6 year old rambunctious boys on the team so maybe it is a little to much for her all at once. She stuck to my leg most of the night but did try a few of the drills and activities. Then when we came home I realized she really did have a good time after she asked me if she could take her cleats, ball and shin guards to Florida with us to show Papa how good of a player she was.

I hope that as she gets older and more aware of other peoples opinions of her she will understand that I'm proud of her, anyway she wants to be. I think this is one of the hardest parts of parenting - watching your child turn into someone totally unique and different, but totally cool with their own character. I just hope that as her first cheerleader, I can give her the confidence she needs to go conquer the big bad mean world. Can my baby really be almost old enough for kindergarten?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Today I Pulled My 2 yr olds Hair

I knew the day was destined to fail, but I tried it anyway. We're leaving to go to Florida on Friday and I have no clothes so I packed up 3 kids and went to town shopping. Shopping for clothes = never successful for me. Why, why, why did I think that all the kids would help with that in any way?

So we get through the trip to the gym, the kids are snacked out on cookies and we head to Kohl's.

Everything starts off great. I'm loading the shopping cart with potentials as we make our way to the bathrooms. Change a stinky baby - check. Potty the two others - check. We make our way to the dressing rooms after running through 3 more aisles and me grabbing over 30 shirts, jeans and one pair of flip flops that look decent. By now Lias is really fussy but he'll be happy once I let him down to play in the big handicapped dressing room that holds me, a honking huge double stroller, 30 pairs of clothes and 3 kids, right? No. He wants to nurse now and Ava has to use the bathroom AGAIN - number 2. Too bad kid. Hold it. I rip clothes on and off, leaving them on just long enough for Nathan to tell me that he doesn't like any of them. I finally keep one shirt and grab Lias, who's screaming now that Nathans pulled the stroller away and made him fall.

We head to the bathroom, feed the baby, potty the preschooler AGAIN and everything calms down enough that I'm tempted to just glance at the kids section. 20 minutes later, the kids are done tearing the toy aisle apart, I've got more clothes for them then I could ever find for me, and the baby is stinky AGAIN. Its also 45 minutes past lunch and I haven't fed anybody anything but cookies. We quickly pay for the junk, head to the car and try to load up.

You'd think since we load into the car at least 20 times a week we'd be pretty good at this but no. Here's where it all really starts to break down. Ava and Nathan are told repeatedly to get into the van and in their seats. Ava listens. Nathan does not. I'm trying to change a very stinky diaper doubled with a nasty diaper rash from out of the blue and juggle a adventurous 2 yr old that thinks he wants to start the car. Lias is laid out on the seat with the seatbelt digging into his head, arching his very messy bum while Nathan is stepping on the very messy diaper and I can't even yell like I want because the door is open and everyone will hear me. I finally get the diaper on the screaming baby and get Nathan off the dirty diaper and back towards his seat. I wrestle the unused wipe I needed 2 seconds ago that glued itself to the the velcro diaper tabs on the dirty diaper, wrap up the diaper and jump into the car to Nathan's screaming. His all out ear piercing, mind numbing, I'm-losing-my-brain, scream and then it happened.

I reached out, grabbed his hair and pulled for all it was worth. And told him to STOP SCREAMING NOW!!! Not my finest parenting moment, that's for sure. Right after I did it I felt horrible but amazingly, he actually stopped screaming. We all took a few deep breaths and then he said in a little voice, "Mama, you no hurt me like that." I tried to reason my way through the whole situation but ended up at "You're right Nathan, it was very naughty for Mama to pull your hair." Way to go Mama, way to go. I just thought I'd document the whole situation so I can really remember how it was when I'm old and senile and think everything was all rosy all the time. Please tell me I'm not the only one who looses it occasionally like this?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

He crawls! He stands!

9 month update on Lias

This baby is a mover and a shaker. He decided to crawl about 3 weeks ago and he really hasn't stopped moving since.

He got around pretty good before that by being a bum scooting baby but I think he's decided crawling might be a little faster.

He's also sprouted 5 new teeth in about 5 weeks. All my kids have gotten their first sets about 4 months, but he was a little behind and got his about 5. He's caught up to all the others though and is holding even with 8 teeth at 8 months, just like Ava and Nathan. Fun times, fun times.

He's definitely got Nathan beat in the movement department, who didn't decide to crawl till 11 1/2 months, and Ava wasn't very good at it till almost 9 months. But what's amazed me (besides the fact that I've posted a whole series of my baby extremely snotty nosed) is that he's decided to pull up so fast.

He pulls up to anything and everything - stable or not. His favorites currently are the table chairs, cardboard boxes and the 4 potted plants in the hallways. He's also become quite good at throwing things, with his favorite being the dirt from the potted plants. "Lias in the plants!" is the cry that gets me moving the fastest these days. Luckily, spring is right around the corner and they're all going outside where he can throw to his hearts content.

Please also note that he's still too chunky to even think about buttoning his pants. I'm hoping some of this movement will slow him down a little in the growth department cause I'm running out of clothes for him. Too get out of this stand, he just plops down on his cushioning and he's off to another adventure. Busy, busy, busy but, uuummmm, he sure is cute.


So here's what we did in our spare time on Friday. For about 2 years now I've been admiring my sisters-in-laws cute kids and crafty skills so I finally got it together and learned how to make some of these. Every family reunion Ava's the little rag muffin that doesn't have any fancy bows but now we have no excuses since I've proven I am capable of making corker bows. Alas, I'm now sure my crafty sister-in-laws are onto bigger and fancier things but maybe someday I'll catch up to them.

They took a ton of time but I did have three helpers and they demanded I feed them lunch and change a few bums in the process. My awesome sister-in-law Dawne was patient enough to walk me through it step-by-step and I'm glad she did cause I think they turned out cute. Dawne's little girls are much more fashionable than us, since she usually makes her bows with 45 corkers (curly things) and I called in good with only 18 each. We have to ease us East Coasters in easy to the whole Utah fashion trends.

Ava loved making these, but not so much wearing them. The whole time we were making these, and other assorted flower bows, she kept asking me "Wow, Mama, I'm a good bow maker huh?" and " Do you think I should make bows for a job when I'm a teenager?". She made some monstrous pink poofy flowers and I glued them onto a clip for her but I seriously doubt she'll ever wear them. I did convince her to wear these beauties to the tiny little St. Patrick's Day parade in Little Washington and she got at least 5 compliments on them, which made them all worth while.

Now if I could just figure out how to fix her hair we'd be on our way to divas.

Up next, I have to conquer these fancy little numbers and then I'm having a party. A fancy, shmancy bow making party for all the friends I know. I'll be the coolest kid on the block then, huh? Or at least in Virginia, where these aren't a dime-a-dozen like in Utah. Bring all your ribbons, bows and craftiness my way and come have fun.

Spring Is Coming....

(This is a little song we sing over here - compliments of years of Joy School in the Donovan Household)

Spring is coming...

How do I know?

A little birdie told me so.

Ahhh! This is what happens when you don't post for three weeks! Little birdies turn into scary teenage birds!!

Welcome spring. Welcome garden. Welcome 50 new strawberry plants, 2 dinner plate dahlias and hundreds of sprouting tulips. Welcome dirty feet and hands and faces and nightly baths. Welcome wide open front doors and all-the-time outside playing kids. Welcome dirty crawler knees and dirt-eating-for-the-first-time babies. Welcome newborn calves with fuzzy hair and wobbly walks. Welcome green grass and lactating mama cows. Welcome popcorn trees and little purple flowers that bloom in the snow. Welcome soon-to-be born hundreds of baby goats and the sound of "maaaaaamaaaaaa" from the field all day long.
Welcome to our farm spring - we're glad you came our way.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Kinda Freaky

About a month ago I got one of those "urban legend" forwarded emails that talked about some random people going around Centeral Virginia door to door posing as college students. It said that they would try to give you a bottle of dish soap or an erosal can of Febreeze or something of that nature and then tell you they were conducting a study or taking a survey, then try to get into your house. There would be another few people in an SUV in the driveway and if the first was able to get into your house then the others would follow in an attempt to rob you or do harm. I thought, sure whatever and deleted the email.

So today about 2:45pm we (me and the kids) were doing laundry when we heard the doorbell ring so we gathered us all up and headed down. Ava got there first, then came running back to tell me she didn't know who it was but they were still there. I opened the door, with Lias on my hip, to a clean cut guy who held out a can of Febreeze and told me he was in the neighborhood giving out free samples. A little chill came over me and the email came rushing back to me so I immediately told him I wasn't interested and started pushing the kids back inside. He kept holding it out to me and telling me it was free and I just shut the door and locked it and he headed back to the SUV waiting in the driveway, with another guy in the driver seat. I had enough sense to try to write down the license as they drove away and I think I got most of the plates. Then I started checking my trash mail and found the email that talked about this and got kinda freaked out when it listed exactly what had just happened to me.

I called the local sheriff to report it and they told me I was the 5th person to report this in 3 days in our county. The email I had read had mentioned that it was happening in counties south of us and in the town we hang out in, which is about 25 minutes away. I guess a few people have gotten robbed at gunpoint and the email mentioned someone had been shot but I'm not sure how accurate it was. I decided not to call my neighbors since the sheriff said they usually pick only 1 house in an area and then move on.

I guess we're an easy target since we're off the road and have a pretty conspicuous house. It kinda unnerved me that someone would be that bold with all the trucks and office and going-ons on the farm around our house. I just wish that John would have been in the office (he was out in a field) so I could have sent him after the guys with his arsenal. Anyway, it was kinda freaky and I've got my doors locked tonight.