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Thursday, July 28, 2011

A trip to simplicity.

We were recently invited to visit my dearest friend at a lake home that she shares with her aunt and mom in Northern Wisconsin.   We have been invited before, but this summer seemed perfect, especially since
1. I wasn't pregnant or nursing and
2. The boys were at an age where I could be sure they would have fun.
The trip is 7 and a half hours which took us over 9.  Blame it on google maps, Don, or the numerous potty stops..*hint,  if you picked Don as your answer you are correct! Regardless, we arrived unscathed.   I find that road trips are a lot like gambling.  You think you can make it to the next exit which you fantasize will have a clean McDonald's but your realize that you are gambling with your bladder, and the city engineer who decided to have a cluster of McDonald's together, than nothing but truck stop buffets for the next 40 miles.  And before you know it you are holding a cup while a 4-year-old pees in it, all while going 80 miles per hour down the free way praying you don't hit a bump.  I do all the driving on road trips.  I do this for few reasons.  The first one is that I get terribly carsick and cannot think about reading directions in the car.  Secondly, Don can jump in the back without getting nauseous to put out fires, change the dvd or open a juice box and lastly, Don can sleep. I cannot sleep while he is driving ever since the rainy incident in the mountains of Kentucky on our way to Florida last year. Just as I was dozing I was awaked by my heart flying out of my chest because a semi slammed on its breaks 3 feet away from us.  So we agree as long as I can drive, I do.  We arrived to a beautiful house and learned that we would have the entire lower level to ourselves. Three bedrooms, a bathroom, living room, kitchen, workout room and a walkout to the lake.  Pretty rockstar accommodations if you ask me. My only complaint was that the gates we brought along (mandatory when you have a 16 month old) were not wide enough to block the stairs. We figured it out with creative barricades or piano benches or upside down chairs.  What also was unexpected was the lake toys that were left in each of the boys room so they could catch bugs or read a nice book before settling in.  Did I also mention that one of our friends is a gourmet chef? She made us fresh dinner, lunch daily and one brunch.  Best of all, other than travel expenses it was free.  I had to go grocery shopping twice in the 4 days we were there, but that is because the boys were more than active while there which led to extreme appetites.  Because my friend does not have kids, they eat dinner (like normal people) when they are hungry, not because its 5 o'clock on the dot. So that meant the boys had two dinners, the first one of macaroni and cheese and the second of something delicious that they have never had and never will have again because it requires cooking skills, which I do not possess.   They went tubing and skiing for the first time. Explored the lake with snorkels and even had smore's. Don morphed into a 12 year old within 24 hours and was water skiing around the lake. I must say, its pretty amazing when you discover that someone you have been with, even had 4 children with in the past 11 years, can do something that you had no idea they could do.  Obviously, he hadn't skied in at least 12 years and he got up after 4 tries.   It made me feel a little inadequate because I don't have any of those things up my sleeve. What you see is what you get, I spent all my A game in the first year... now I'm on to my B or even C game trying to do new things to impress and falling extremely short, like the time I tried knitting. Trust me, nothing is more sexy or impressive than to find out that your wife is a knitter. Well, at least a knitter wannabe.   Don did learn some facts about me that he didn't know, albeit maybe not as impressive. Like, the story of when I went to my first kegger and blew my underage cover when I ordered milk (much to my friends horror.)  Or the fact that spiders and mosquitos LOVE me.   I was able to spend an entire 15 minutes by the campfire or as I call it, the mosquito thanksgiving, while they feasting on the other white meat, which was me.  And I have also handed that trait down to Jack who was bit by a spider which resulted in him having three bumps, two of which looked like Lucifer horns, this resulted in a reaction that made it look like he had 50  massive bug bites. After a while we decided there was no way he could have been bit that many times, especially since I had sprayed him. ( Did I mention there was a fully stocked bar?)  So the only option was Benedryl. I have been extra cautious about this drug ever since a co-worker gave me a Benedryl before a work reception( with wine) and it resulted in me telling my boss he looked like the bartender, who was an 80 year old toothless woman. So I cut the benedryl in half, and then in half again and gave it to him. The warnings were extreme excitability or noted drowsiness.  Once again, a gamble.  We noticed him stumbling so I decided it was time to take him to bed. As we were walking down the hallway I got a glimpse of his future fraternity persona. He kept repeating. "My name is JAAACCCKKK, J. A. C. K. Jack".  Yep, he is his mother's son. He slept like a rock.
Not only was this a vacation for us, but it was also a vacation from my makeup. I didn't wear an ounce, and I wore a sundress and my hair in a knot at the top of my head the entire time, and they still recognized me.  You know you have life long friends, when you can do that.  I can't even do that around family. It would only be a matter of time before my mom would ask if I was going to clean myself up, or before my mother-in-law would offer to watch the kids so I could take a shower.  I did shower by the way.
Before we knew it, it was time to go. Re- packing always seems to take twice as long.  We were sad to go, but knew that 4 boys and 2 adults are a lot for a previously peaceful house. No matter how much they say they love your company, you always kind of wonder if they are wishing they could sleep past 7 a.m. and go a day without hearing screaming.    We said our goodbyes and took off honking and waving goodbye, blowing kisses. Only to return 3 min. later because we forgot the bottle.  I swore they would be doing the jig in their lawn when we returned but they weren't. They actually had tears in their eyes.  And to solidify that they had just as much fun as we did, I received a text that they hadn't cleaned the little hand prints off the glass just yet. A little reminder to them of how laughing kids can make an already loving house even more of a home and a reminder to me that surrounding yourselves with good friends, laughing so hard you cry and taking a break from all that is stressful is what vacation is all about.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Love and Waffles

We need to get a lock on our bathroom door.  Our house is old and apparently back then people either left their doors open, or the kids were just born knowing what privacy meant.  My boys are deficient in the privacy awareness gene. For example, Jack was punished yesterday for streaking...outside.  They just think that being naked is funny. It makes me laugh too, but for obvious reasons he had to be reprimanded.  I was in the bathroom, dealing with my monthly female issue.  On a side note, after ever child I have been rewarded with a heavier period. As if my body was trying to put an exclamation point of relief each time there wasn't a baby in it.  Now after the fourth baby my middle name might as well be Flo.  So I was trying to deal with this and my second son walked in to discover some evidence in the toilet.  You would have thought that he walked into a CSI crime massacre. His alarm is justified, considering we determine the severity of an injury by the amount of blood it produces. To my knowledge he hadn't seen that amount in one place....ever.  He screamed what is that!?  As I slammed the door shut, he spoke to me through the door. Do you need a band aid??  This isn't the first time he had seen some feminine hygiene products before but I have gotten away with explaining that it was makeup or nail polish. That is my answer for everything I don't want them to touch. (Make up is for girls and nail polish stinks.)  I told him to go away and that I needed privacy.  When I came out he was sitting on my bed. Along with this monthly gift I get an added bonus in the form of killer cramps. And I mean these cramps have fangs. So I have been using a heating pad when I find a brief moment to sit down.  He looked like he had figured it all out, the blood, the heating pad, my irritable mood, yep. I was going to die.  I knew that this issue was not going to be consoled with the make up excuse and I was not about to tell him about a woman's cycle. I just explained that it was normal and not to worry about it because it was not fatal.  Although I would guess Don would beg to differ. He prides himself in predicting the exact date my period will start based on my increased ability to "bitch" at him.  But if there wasn't anything to "bitch" about to begin with... his "argument" has holes in it. Its the classic chicken and egg story.  That night, before I put the boys down, Finegan came to me and asked what my favorite breakfast was, I told him oatmeal. He told me he wanted to make me breakfast in bed the next day and to remind him.  I said ok and figured it was a fleeting thought.   While doing my usual nighttime rounds to be sure all the doors are locked and the boys have not strangled themselves with their bed sheets, I notice a Sticky note next to his bed. " make mommy breakfast". Next to the stairs another note read " breakfast for mommy" I felt the lump in my throat as I fought back a Niagara of tears as to not appear too emotional but I felt  my heart had melt a bit .  It wasn't mothers day or my birthday and to my knowledge he hadn't done anything wrong.  I figured that he was just showing his love for me.  I went to bed with a towel under my body...when I say heavy.. I mean heavy.  At 4 :45 a.m. I hear Finegan attempting to wake Don up.  After the 3rd and failed attempt I asked Fin what he needed. He came over to my side of the bed and said he wanted to make me breakfast. I said that I really appreciated it, but given that it was before the sunrise, I wasn't hungry.  He seemed to accept that and went back to bed.  At 7 :00 I was re- awakened with two frozen eggo waffles topped with frozen blueberries.  Before I start to wonder if has lost his mind and any recollection of anyone eating frozen waffles, ( and enjoying it) I remember rule number three in our house.  Don't touch the toaster or put anything into the toaster, for any reason.  Fin isn't strong enough to pour a full gallon of milk without spilling it. So he made due with the best he could.  He watched me take every single bite as if he had made them from scratch. By this time he had gotten his brothers involved and I had a little audience.  Frozen waffles never tasted so good, especially without syrup.   But my expression was magnified 100x in their eyes.  When I was finished they even took the plate.   I noticed that he was my shadow most of the morning and being extra helpful. Finally when he told me he wanted me to have his beloved dolphin that was given to him, I asked him what was up.   With complete sincerity he told me he didn't want me to die.    His first glimpse into the realm of estrogen had deeply freaked him out. It all became clear to me.  I hugged him and said that I was ok. I also explained that I had seen on the news that people are living to be 100 more and more and that the person or people that are going to live to be 150 have already been born.  He loves numbers so I continued. I also explained that I was 27 when I had him and if I lived to be 125 he would be.....I had to think for a second and he exclaimed "98!"  Yes.. I knew that.  So I told him by the time he was 98 and I was 125 we would be so old that we wouldn't even know who was the mommy and who was the son anymore and he would probably be changing my diapers..  He laughed and seemed pacified. I was touched that his way of showing his love for me was a unique glimpse into how he knows he is loved.  Although laying out their clothes every day and making them breakfast gets mundane and even overwhelming at times, there is a much more significant purpose to these chores that, up until now, I had overlooked.  Every single day that they get dressed and eat their breakfast, they are reassured that I love them.   A simple necessary gesture speaks to them in ways that make sense to them. I spend endless hours telling them I love them and all this time it was just a waffle that made them feel it.