And Then There Were Four

We're creating this blog because it's the cool thing to do when people are having a baby. Just kidding, really we already have a hard enough time keeping up with everyone we want to, and our lives are about to get even more wonderfully busy. We can't wait - and we want you guys to be able to share in it too, so we both plan on reporting on it. Read at your own risk, and hopefully you'll enjoy it!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pickles and Rice

Ben is swiftly turning into "Mr. Personality." It's fun to watch....sometimes downright hilarious. The other day I asked him what he wanted for lunch and he said "Umm.....pickle and rice." The following photos are "pickles and rice" kind of photos. Enjoy!

By the children (or fathers) were hurt in the process of taking these pictures. Ben did not have something dropped on his foot. He is not crying out in pain. He is not laughing at something hilarious. He is not screaming because his Thomas train ran out of batteries. He's just making faces for the camera because he's silly.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Stinky Feet

The other day I was on the floor playing with Ben in the afternoon when my nose picked up a highly unfortunate smell. It wasn't alarming because it could have been one of many different things. Brian plays hockey....if anyone has been around used hockey equipment they know exactly the smell I'm talking about. The scent could be wafting up from my still not fixed basement. Our 55 pound lab mix dog definitely smells. I run and sweat like a pig....and smell. It could have been anything. Then I realized the odor was coming from Ben's feet.

I love baby feet. I think I spent more time gently stroking Ben's precious little newborn feet than I did sleeping in any given 24 hour period. I love the fact that they are still human feet but they're so small and delicate. They aren't hairy. There's no lint between the toes. No callouses or cracked skin. They're just perfect baby feet. Then Ben hit his super chubby phase and his feet no longer fit into anything....socks, shoes etc. We had to buy special "deep and wide" baby shoes for him because of his bubble feet. But they were still precious and I still spent countless hours nibbling on his toes and blowing raspberries on his soles.

That's why it was so alarming that his feet were giving off the mysterious odor in my living room. I took a whiff and had major flashbacks to high school athletics when we would travel to another school and get put in the boy's locker room for pre-game and post-game. After a day of running around in sandals, his feet smelled horrible. It was a yet another sad realization that he is growing up in so many ways. The innocence of new, fresh life is slowly fading away. My little man is growing up before my eyes. He has stinky feet.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Worlds Collide

On Sunday morning, Ben and I were enjoying a slow start to the morning- an extra cup of coffee, waffles with peanut butter and watching the news. Of course every station was covering the 10th anniversary of 9/11 so that's what we were watching. I still remember that fateful day 10 years ago. I remember arriving at school for a seemingly normal day senior year of high school kind of day. I remember spending the whole morning in the library with others watching TV. Nobody could teach....nobody could write papers or learn that day. Time stood still as we watched the terror unfold.

On Sunday, they showed footage of the planes crashing into the towers over and over again and many Americans relived the fear and utter sense of helplessness as our nation came under attack. Ben was happily playing with his trains (will blog more on this later.....OBSESSED with his new trains), when the clip aired of the second plane hitting the WTC. He watched it, paused, then went running to his books and grabbed his favorite book about airplanes called "I Can Fly a Plane." He brought it to me with a big smile on his face, plopped in my lap and wanted to read together. I couldn't help but recognize the irony of reading this happy, whimsical childrens book about how wonderful it is to take a plane ride. The child arrives at this fascinating place called the airport and sends their bag through this mystical tube thing that somehow can look inside of it. Then you scan your ticket and board the magical world of airplane where everything is exciting and new.

How will I someday explain to my sweet boy about the evil that has seeped in and now pervades this world like a flood? How can I shield him from the pain and agony that so many experience on a daily basis? How can I protect him from everything out there and keep him safe and protected from it all? If I could I would keep him in the "I Can Fly an Airplane" world forever....but alas, a time will come when words will need to be spoken and lessons will need to be learned

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Money and Sanity

There are many things that should last 20 minutes.....a good sermon, 1 period of a hockey game, cookies baking in the oven. Then there are things that really should not last 20 minutes.....including eating lunch in a restaurant.

Today was one of those days. Parenting is great but any parent would be lying if they said it was easy 100% of the time. Heck they'd be lying if they said it was easy 20% of the time. But today was one of those days where I was ready to throw in the towel, pull out my hair, scream. I planned a somewhat last minute lunch date with a friend who has a son who is a little younger than Ben. We have been talking a lot lately about how it's gotten more and more difficult to go out to eat with kids this age. I end up tipping more because I feel bad about the thanksgiving feast left behind on the floor and the sheer disaster normally left in our wake. But we naively ran the risk and decided adult conversation and an egg salad sandwich was worth the risk.

Less than 20 minutes after we arrived we were dejected and sitting in her car with the portable DVD player blaring Thomas and Friends from the center console and both boys being their loud rambunctious selves in the back seat of the car. We devoured our lunches....inhaled might be a better word. I don't even remember what it tasted like. I don't remember what I even ate. My kid refused to sit still. Hers refused to be quiet. Between the two of them, we lasted less than 20 minutes in the restaurant before we headed for the safety of the car.

It was like the scene from Titanic where Leo and Kate are romping around in the back of that old carriage thing and all of a sudden you see a hand slap the fogged up window. The windows of the car were totally fogged over....not sure if it was from our boys yelling and jumping around or from us just literally fuming. It took a solid 15 minutes to unwind from our frustration and be able to even think about laughing about the fiasco. Goodbye money...goodbye sanity. I lost you both today and am hoping at least one of you will come back by morning. Parenting is hard.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

When It Rains....It Hurricanes

I just re-read my post "Anticipation" about the calm conditions and almost excitement in the air before Hurricane Irene hit last week Saturday. Had I known what we were in for, I would have blogged "OH CRAP.....what the heck am I doing online instead of preparing for this thing??" Note to self in the future: When Mother Nature decides it's time to exude her power and give us all down here a little taste of her less than pleasant character, don't blow her off or she will kick your butt.

Most of Saturday wasn't so bad. We had the news on and were watching the reports as Irene rolled up the coast but other than some steady rain, we didn't have much to talk about. We bundled up "Hurricane Ben" and went to the neighbor's house for a hurricane potluck. Ben enjoyed the rain suit in his closet that was given to us by friend's from church. I wondered when we would ever use that thing but kept it in the closet just in case. Worked like a charm and he loved it.
We got home Saturday night and it was definitely raining hard and the wind was starting to pick up. We went to bed, knowing the worst of the storm would hit us in the middle of the night. We made sure the windows were closed, doors locked tight, gutters cleaned, drains cleared. Sometime around midnight the power went out. Since we were sleeping, we didn't realize it right away. While we were sawing z's upstairs dreaming of things like perfectly genotyped mice, playing a beautiful concert grand piano, and a day without cleaning up potty accidents, the water was seeping into our house at an astoundingly fast rate. By the time we got downstairs, about an hour and a half later, the basement was totally drenched because the sump pump went the way of the electricity. So we bailed. And bailed. And bailed. Trying desperately to keep up with the water pouring in our house felt useless. Poor hamsters. Now I know how it feels to keep going and keep going and never really get anywhere. Anyway- sometime around 5:00 a.m. the power mercifully went back on. The sump kicked in and we finally felt like we could stop hauling economy sized painters buckets of water back and forth from the sump pump to the utility sink. We stood up and stretched out the permanently damaged muscles and went upstairs to try and get some sleep before morning. We had humidifiers running and got the standing water out. We realized that's all we could do and it really would be better to get some kind of sleep rather than tackle it all in one exhausting night.

I woke up and went stumbling for the coffee pot and had it in my hand ready to fill it with water when the power went out again. So we went back to bailing. Luckily, the rain stopped in the late morning and we were only having to bail out the sump every 30 minutes towards the end. But we had a soaking wet basement and no power. Power went out on Sunday morning at 8.....we got it back on Wednesday morning around 11:00.

Things I learned:
- I need to clean my basement more often. More stuff= more opportunity for disaster. Less is more.

- It is possible to live simply without power. It's not easy but it's definitely possible.

- It is different experience throwing food out of the fridge that still has a valid expiration date. I'm dutch....waste is more painful than the stomach pains from eating bad food.

- Washing dishes by hand has value. They feel a lot cleaner when washed by hand. That being said, my dishwasher is running right now......

- Garbage disposals are really gross when they aren't run for 3 days

- When I can actually see my husband wearing his boxers inside out, I know it's time to take up my friend's offer to come over and do laundry.

- A 2 year old can survive almost 4 days without Thomas the Tank Engine, Bob the Builder and Jeopardy. It forces a parent to become creative and playact these favorite shows. Call me Alex Tribek.

-There is nothing romantic about candlelight when you get to a certain phase of life and you don't have power. It has lost its luster. Not romantic when you're bailing water, checking to see if the potty is full, attempting to find something in the dark fridge. Lost its romance.

Things I appreciate:

- FAMILY AND FRIENDS. Brian's dad drove all the way down and back from NY in one day to bring us a generator. Our neighbors who did have power let us run a line in their house so we could at least run the refrigerator and a dehumidifier before we got the generator. Another good friend brought baked treats and coffee and was willing to help with whatever we needed. We had so many offers from friends to come over for meals or to stay until power came back. So many I couldn't even respond to them all. Amazing outpouring of love and support.

- Brian. It's a good thing I married Brian and not somebody who gets as worked up as I do. Talk about chaos. Brian is so calm and able to get things done even under stress. I sometimes think he thrives under stress and is able to excel in spite of it.

- My steam cleaner. Do I really have to elaborate on that one?

- God's protection. It could have been so much worse. Yeh it was a bummer...but could have been so much worse. My house smells....but it's still standing. We all are tired and stressed....but we're alive. Weather is unpredictable and who knows what is coming next.....but "he's got the wind and the rain in his hands."