Friday, June 27, 2008

Will's Latest Antics

1. We had the electrician over to install some lights and an outlet. Rob wanted different lights, so he ran to the store to buy some quickquickquick. While he was gone, Will ran in and insisted that he had to talk to Papa. I gave him the phone and he called Rob on the cell.
I didn't find out what it was about until the next day. Rob was walking around the electrical department in Lowe's and gets a cell phone call from Will. He says "Papa, the electrician said a swear word"
It didn't even occur to me until two days after that to ask what the bad word was. "The C word, mama!" which I thought could indeed be very, very bad. But no, the electrician said "Oh, crap" which makes him more fit for raising children than I am. Remember, gentle readers, that during his Permanent Marker On Furniture phase, Will himself was known to yell "Gambit! Gambit!"
2. This one takes some backstory: Rob has been holding German lessons once a week. At one, he decided to introduce the Struwwelpater, a classic children's book which has cautionary tales about children who possess some awful behavioral tic which then leads to their downfall and the moral to the story. They are pretty Brothers Grimm; for example, the boy who sucks his thumbs ends up getting them chopped off; the girl who plays with fire gets burned up; you get the idea.
Rob read some with the kids. They examined the elements: the character has a flaw which overcomes them, there is a moral, and it has to have rhyming couplets. Then he assigned them to make up their own. He gave them each an appropriate topic thinking he would be slick and have them work on their own shortcomings: Maddie's was a girl who whines and Will's was a boy who always says "no".
Maddie has a very serviceable text about "Die Motz Marie," but Will would not show his to Rob until it was almost completely finished. Here is what he turned in (with a rough translation following).
Nils der Neinsager war ein Papa
Er sagte den Kindern "Nein!" und "Klappe!"
Weil das doch viel zu oft geschieht
Kauft sein Sohn viel Dynamit.
Bum! da ist der Vater tot
Weil er dem Kind zu viel verbot.
Nils the naysayer was a dad
He told his kids "No way! Too bad!"
His kids got sick of it, so one night,
They blew him up with dynamite.
And six feet under he was hidden,
For all the things he had forbidden.
So crafty of Will to take Rob's sneaky little lesson and turn it on its head! And while Rob helped him with the meter and some verb tenses, the most brilliant and diabolical rhymes (Papa/ Klappe, tot/verbot) are 100% Will.
3. He calls the springs on the side of his new retainer "mouthtraps" because his tongue and food keep getting caught in them.
4. I gave him the iPod while I fed Joss in the front of the minivan. He usually plays the few games on it, but he began singing songs from The Ramones in his best British accent. There we were with all the windows down while he belted out "I Wanna Be Sedated" and then "Beat on the Brat with a Baseball Bat.'.
5. While the rest of the family watched the sun set over Monterey Bay, Will insisted that he still had to jump into the roaring incoming tide and get completely wet. We were annoyed but, as usual, got worn down by Will's iron will. And so he went into the surf--and was befriended by a family of passing sea lions. We had all "ooh-ed" and "aah-ed" when a head bobbed up way off in the waves somewhere, but only Will-O has the anamistic aura and sheer chutzpah that attracts his fellow wild animals to come within a few meters. We shook our heads. Even though it is hard to explain why, we sure love this boy--he is a force of nature.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Upgraded: Barking, Raving Lunacy to Mere Ambition

Greetings, inhabitants of the blogosphere. This is Rob, joining you for the first time. When Mary Ann heard that my neighbor Super Steve and I were going to be building the fence ourselves, she looked at me as if I had started wearing bedsheets and moved into a yurt in Krakpotistan. After all, Fluffy has been a pretty good infant as far as those things go, but he still howls for hours at a time and has gassy periods where you might as well tie a ribbon to his big toe and let him float around like a screaming balloon.

And I must admit that MA has a right to be unnerrved by the lumber stacking up on our porch. There is a large pile of railroad ties that have been there since the time that many of you were still arguing that they were going to find WMDs any day. But, thanks to Super Steve, we finished (well, 90%) the fence this weekend. Here it is, in all of its glory.
We made it jog a bit so that our backyards do not feel like bowling alleys. Those are 10 foot 6x6 posts, each of them has a special notch on my vertebrae. (and you all should send comments in support of these hollyhocks--Mary Ann has gone Lilburn Boggs on them and sent out an extermination order).

I can't quite go so far as to say "Oh ye of little faith," because our bathroom still has holes in the floor that could swallow a microwave oven. But at least the fence is done-ish, and any snide comments about the rag stuck into the vacant tiolet pipe can be countered by a wistful glance toward the back yard. Lunacy and ambition--it's a fine line.
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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Personality Alert

In the last 36 hours, Joss has learned to smile. Will can make him go crazy better than anyone else. He catches your eye and then starts to perform, and it's come with some other great leaps forward. Now when he's awake, he wants to interact, and when he goes to sleep, he actually takes a nap. I couldn't believe it yesterday, he would stay up for an hour or so, and then take a nap for two. Three honest-to-goodness naps. I could really get used to this.
The most-asked question this time around his how his siblings like him. His crying has stressed them out (Ole! or not), but I'm amazed that they still want to hold him. Must be hard-wired.
I still can't catch his smile with the camera yet, but it's there. And the Most Exciting News (to me anyway) is that he slept six and a half hours last night. Now that is something to celebrate!
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Cinderella: a Drama Camp Production

This summer, Maddie skipped swimming lessons and all the other activities going on so that she could attend a two week drama camp at her elementary school. The production was Cinderella, and she was thrilled to find out the first day that she'd gotten exactly the part she wanted: ugly stepsister, Germentrude. It helped of course that her dear friend Abigail was playing Sophronia, the other stepsister.
We have heard nothing from her for the last two weeks except the drama, the intensity, daily occurrences and the pressure of being an actress. I helped her to memorize lines a few times and she seemed to be getting it. We went over enunciation and inflection, but I didn't know any more about the show.
Here are Dave and Brittni, newlyweds and co-directors. Dave was the singing meister and Brittni was the empress of dance. Did I mention it was a musical? I was dreading the performance, thinking that a musical by an elementary cast put together in two weeks would be pretty painful. We were all pleasantly surprised. The performance was short and sweet. The choreography was cute; they had costumes and props and even sets; the kids were enjoying themselves immensely. Aunt Kiecoo and her roommate Kim came (they said it was either this or the new Disney movie with the Jonas brothers) and so did our friends Sarah and Ella, which is way above and beyond the call of duty (thanks Allen!).
And here are Sophronia and Germentrude hamming it up after the production. They pushed and whined and wheedled and screamed and got the hiccups and tummy rumbles. Abigail's mom did their hair and came up to apologize beforehand: "I couldn't help it. I grew up in the 80's!"
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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

5 guys, a hike and a slurpee dare

I'm late posting this, but I had to show that sometimes people around here are actually doing something besides home improvement projects. Last Tuesday we had our friends Liam and Tomas over for the day. After a lunch with a lot of cheese and ketchup, Rob took all four boys up Rock Canyon for a hike. After ascending in the heat, he got them down by the stream where he threw sticks into the water and they tried to sink the sticks with rocks:
Eventually, as it usually happens with Rob around water, everyone got wet. In fact he told them that if they stuck their heads in the stream he would buy them a slurpee. All four took him up on it, though they had a hard time finding a spot big enough to fit their heads (our boys) and ended up getting pretty silty. Slurpees were enjoyed by all.Posted by Picasa

Monday, June 16, 2008

Five Week Update

Here is the latest on Joss, for a few people who are keeping up remotely:
He's five weeks old today.
He's 11 lbs. 5 oz. and is getting some wicked acne.
Still likes to be warm.
He smiles.
He is getting resigned to his wicked cool stroller.
He's been as far as Salt Lake to visit his great grandparents Nelson.
He likes curtain rings and window frames and has a tendency to focus on your right ear.
When in his car seat, he has to have some acoustic Everything But The Girl to calm down.
He likes electronica best -- a big fan of Imogen Heap and FrouFrou.
He has tried banana, yogurt, and Marie's marinara sauce.
Bathtime always quiets him down.
He sleeps well at night, at the expense of his parents.
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Father's Day

We managed to celebrate Father's Day after a manner. Rob got breakfast in bed (with a little coaching to the chefs about what they might make, since I knew that I, for one, wouldn't be up in time to supervise), cards, chocolate, garden hoses, and the procedure he's been asking for every Father's Day for years. You'll have to ask him for the details or look at the certificate on the fridge.
This picture is very much like the one he had with Maddie 10 years ago. Same age, same expression.
We attended church, Rob sang with the choir, and then we had Roger, Betsy and Karen over for dinner. It was Karen's birthday too, so we had candles in the rhubarb cake and then celebrated by pulling an all-nighter with Joss.
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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Because We Are Insane

Or perhaps just sleep deprived. It wasn't enough to have a new baby. We also have to be working on a new back fence (since the other one blew down in April). Now we've all moved to the basement and Rob is demolishing the kids' bathroom.

I didn't realize that the kids were doing it too, but they seem to be right in the thick of it here. At least Rob has them wearing eye protection, right?
All three of the kids got these orange shirts from the library for the summer reading program. This was in a fit of organization when I dragged them all down there, paid my late fine on the Baby Name Bible, signed Will up for a science class there, and got them new books and videos. Since then, we have forgotten to take Will to his science class, Maddie to a performance of Esperanza Rising, Will to a dental appointment, and Rob to the chapel to clean.
Oh, oh! Not the beauteous sunflower tiles!
After the kids did their worst, Rob found that he could actually break the cast iron tub. It only took breaking two sledge hammers, four trips in the wheelbarrow, and throwing his back out again. But the bathroom is demolished now.
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Sunday, June 08, 2008

Are we in the trenches?

Or are we in the dumps? Sometimes it's hard to tell. Joss has had good days and bad, good nights and bad, but it seems that no matter which it's been, the parents are not getting up and taking care of the kiddies in the morning. Today, for example, I was able to keep him asleep until 10:00am, and hence I slept until 10:00am when a deeprooted need for coffee cake roused us both from bed. I found a strange brew in a cardboard cup in the bathroom. It was army green and had peanuts floating around on top. I didn't check to see if it was meant to be consumed or painted with. I sloshed through jungles of Legos and two boys in pajamas with acute cases of bedhead. The kitchen was covered with utensils and cups and milk and jam, with a smattering of peanuts and more mysterious green liquid all over everything.
I tried to do the laundry, but when I opened the washer, the load of fleece blankets was all covered in something weird. It was the earthly remains of a beloved Pokemon card. So after consoling its owner, I cleared it off and started the load again. I made the coffee cake and found out that no one had eaten breakfast. We ate at 11:00 (I'm not normally a fan of the late schedule of church, but it is sure working in my favor right now). I tried to move the laundry ahead and found that this time, I'd run the load with a diaper in it, so everything was covered in those weird little gelatinous clumps from the diaper. Third time was the charm.
Everyone else walked to church, but I couldn't get a move in with Joss between his screaming, feeding and messing his pants. We made it to church ten minutes late for Sunday School, and managed 12 minutes before we had to leave, which is 12 minutes more than I saw last week.
All of this is against a backdrop of remodeling. Our back fence has been down since late April, and though there is a lot of amenable walking back and forth on the property line, so far we are no closer to actually getting something else up (though there are now 16 ten foot posts lying on our back patio).
Then Rob ripped out the bathroom last week. The smelly bathroom (the kids'), not the ugly bathroom (ours). He found that some of the plywood has been reduced to granola, which at least explains the smell. And he found out that cast iron does actually break. This is grand news, because he's been trying to figure out how to remove a 60" tub from a 60" room. Now that he's busted the end off, it's only 56" or so. But the cast iron is also doing another number on Rob's back. He's laying on the bed right now, sandwiched between the heating pad and Joss, who only deigns to sleep with someone today.
Rob didn't want to, but he decided yesterday to cancel his trip to Boston for a conference at Harvard. He's sad about it. I'm sorry too, though it will be easier having him around this circus.