Thursday, December 31, 2009

You drive a hard bargain

It's 1:00.
I just got out of the shower.
Lizzy and Charlie are back in bed. They're still in their pajamas.
So is Jane. And I'm trying to convince her to get in the shower.

"Come on Jane, go get in the shower."

"No. I'm building this stuff and it's going to take me a long time."

"I'll make you a deal." (her interest perks) "If you go get in the shower right now, I'll clean up your whole mess for you... I'll even take your blankets upstairs to your room for you."

Long pause.

"Ok, I'll do it, but only if you give me some ice cream first."

Is it wrong to be so proud of her?

Fun Mom! We meet again.

I really like the word 'pandemonium.'

I like it a lot. I've started working hard to incorporate it into my regular vocabulary, but I'm not finding as many situations to use it as I would like. Maybe I shouldn't WANT to find myself in pandemonium any more often than I already do, but it might be worth it just so that I could use the word.

It's definition is as follows

1. wild uproar or unrestrained disorder; tumult or chaos.
2. a place or scene of riotous uproar or utter chaos.
3. (often initial capital letter) the abode of all the demons.
4. Hell

(courtesy of since i wanted to make sure i got it right)

All things that we should want to avoid, right? But the word itself is so fun. It makes me think of a circus or carnival, it almost makes you feel like you're in the middle of all the disorder and chaos and demons and such, and you relish every single moment of it. If you accept my improved definition, then last night, I found myself in complete pandemonium.

Brent wasn't coming home from work until L-A-T-E, late and I decided that instead of doing what I was inclined to do, which was sit around feeling annoyed with my kids and sorry for myself, I would distract myself by being momentarily altruistic and make the night fun for the kids.

I told Leslie and Cam that I'd watch their boys for them and then told Jane that she could invite 2 of her friends over for a late-over (which is NOT a sleep over.) That added up to 7 kids under the age of 5 here and no one but me to take care of them. It was pure pandemonium and I loved (almost) every minute of it and I took a gazillion pictures that I will now share with you.

The usual suspects. Abby, Eva, Jane.

Davie and Ben. I know these boys aren't mine, but I like to pretend sometimes.
Davie spent most of the night under the table, eating everyone's scraps, like a dog, only cuter. Like a puppy.

Charlie, doing what he does best... latching onto me and howling (again, like a puppy) for me to pick him up.

What were they doing up there? Nothing good, I'll tell you that much.

About 10 seconds later, Lizzy fell down and was in hysterics.

Leslie and Cam brought dinner, which was VERY much appreciated. MMMMM, veggie delite pizza from Papa Murphy's is my fave. Try it! You'll like it!

Why do small children always feel the need to be on the counter?

When Davie wasn't scrounging, he was hand fed by Chas. Chocolate chips from the cookies. Yum.

I might be in love with Davie.

By then end of the night, he looked like this. Covered in chocolate and adorable.

The chaos WAS punctuated with moments of peace and quiet.

I can't guarantee that I'll be up for a late-over again any time in the near future, but last night, it was better than the alternative.

P.S. We did, in fact, celebrate Christmas and some day I'll fulfill my blogger's obligation to post pictures of said celebration. Some day.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I'm cold.

This was the view from Lizzy's window. I feel cold just looking at it. When is Spring again?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Stringham Christmas Extravaganza

In honor of the last Sunday before Christmas, we got all dolled up in our formal festive attire this morning AND we were almost on time for church, which was a Christmas miracle in and of itself. Since we were all looking so fancy, I tried to get some photos of the family before we left which ultimately led to the "almost" in "almost on time for church."

As usual, most of them turned out looking as though half of us were possessed and the other half were asleep, but I'm posting them anyway.

Jane sported this same outfit last year, but it still fit and it's stinking adorable, don't you think? Or is it just her?

Charlie was looking particularly dapper today, if I do say so myself. I kept buying clothes for him, justifying my purchases by calling them "Christmas presents" and then decided just to bust them all out early. I wish he'd have been more cooperative so that you could see his $5 clearance pants. They might be my favorite thing about Christmas so far this year.

Lizzy is completely obsessed with candy. Particularly chocolate. She'll do just about anything for chocolate, with the exception of using the potty. Oh, the irony!

And then after church, Jane and I took some armpit pics in an effort to get a photo of me where I didn't look like I wanted to eat you.

And as usual, Jane steals the scene.

Oh... and I bought a hat.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

You are my sunshine

Subtitled: The boring thoughts of a momentarily introspective stay at home mom living in suburban Utah. Read at your own risk.

I'm not the kind of parent to pick favorites. Honestly, I don't get how any parent could actually have a favorite child. I can understand getting along with one better than another or connecting with one more than another, but I don't think that I could ever say that one of my children was more valuable to me than their brother or sister. Ya, I totally couldn't and shouldn't and wouldn't pick a favorite.

That said... I totally pick favorites.

Allow me to explain. (or rather, try to stop me from explaining...maniacal laughter ensues)

Siblings can be SO different, which never ceases to amaze me. Having kids totally puts a new perspective on the whole nature vs. nurture thing for me. And there are some days that I can look at one of my kids and wish that a band of gypsies was passing by so that I could sell said child to them. There are some days that I can look at three all of my kids and wish that I could sell them to a band of gypsies, but then there are other days when the same children can make the tedious life of a stay at home mom worth every frustrating, mind numbing moment.

I guess what I mean (in too many words) is that each of my kids has their good days and bad, each of them brings me happiness and vexation and peace and frustration and moments of insanity and moments of absolute bliss. It just depends on which kid and which day. So my favorite changes from day to day and sometimes they all have to share the highly sought after title and sometimes they are all in the dog house.

Jane is my favorite because she's so creative and she's getting so smart and she can be responsible and she always stands up for me. She's totally starting to develop a sense of humor, which a nice relief from the usual humor of a five year old girl which consists largely of...

"knock, knock!"
"who's there?"
"potato who?"
"i'm a potato and i'm purple and like to wear pajamas!"

followed by several minutes of hysterical laughter on jane's part and nervous laughter on everyone else's.
ya, i'm ready for those jokes to move out and real ones to move it.

Lizzy is my favorite because she's Lizzy. To know Lizzy is to love Lizzy. There's something so peaceful and tender and earnest about her. She gets away with way more than anyone else in this house. It's after 10:00 and at this moment she's sitting on my lap watching me type instead of being asleep. I'll tell you right now that the other kids would never be sitting here. She's just special and I still don't understand and I still love her for it.

And Charlie, well today, Charlie was my favorite. I think that I'm enjoying Charlie because of the stage that he's in right now. I think that for most people, life is just a series of epiphanies. Once something connects in our minds, we aren't ever the same again and we have to adjust and learn to live under our new circumstances, until something else connects and we start the cycle all over again. I think that my favorite child is usually going through one of those epiphanies. I'm infatuated with the growth (that sounds weird. "i am the growth").

Charlie is growing up. He's learning new ways to communicate, i.e. bringing me a cup when he wants a drink instead of screaming the copy righted banshee scream until I figure it out. He seems to be understanding me and my role as his mom a little better, he's starting to know his boundaries and test them and he's started to enjoy us more and vice versa. I love it. I can't get enough of it. I need it.

Charlie, being my favorite, was the only child to have his photo taken tonight at dinner. Jane and Lizzy have had and do and will have their days, but today belonged to him.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Would you think less of me if I wore a hat?

At Thanksgiving I borrowed the movie Bonnie & Clyde from my dad. My dad's always got movies like that lying around. If you ever want to borrow a movie, my dad probably owns it. I had never seen Bonnie & Clyde. Seriously, I've made it all these years and I had never seen Bonnie & Clyde. I found it to be surprisingly violent for a film that wasn't rated. My brother, who is my authority on these matters, first congratulated me on finally viewing the monumental film and then informed me that the violence in it contributed to the development of our current rating system. Who knew?

John knew.

Anyway, it was good. A little strange. Kinda choppy. Rather violent. I feel a little more well rounded and slightly more hip having seen it. I intend to try to bring it up in conversation from time to time in an effort to make other people feel as though they aren't as well rounded and hip as I am. But what I really took away from it was that Faye Dunaway was hot and she made me want to wear a hat.

John would be so proud. Seriously though, can you blame me?

You want to wear a hat too, don't you?

Several days later, I was shopping and I came across a hat. I wanted that hat. It was very important that the hat came home with me, but I was insecure. Can I pull that off? Can I wear a hat? I don't know. So I called my sister, who is my authority on these matters. She immediately started questioning me...

"Where are you?"
" I don't want to tell you."
"Why? Are you at Forever 21 or something?"
"No, I'm somewhere embarrassing."
"I'm at Tai Pan Trading."*
"What? (laughing, of course) They sell hats at Tai Pan? Are you sure that you want to be seen in a hat that you can buy at Tai Pan?"
"No! That's why I'm calling!"
"What kind of hat? Like a cap? or a fedora?"

I then thanked her for thinking so little of me as to assume that I was calling to ask her permission to wear a fedora and tried to explain to her the kind of hat I was looking at. I couldn't figure out what it was. It was molded and wool and formal and black and classy. If I were going to wear a hat, it would be a classy hat, not a fedora, for pete's sake. It looked a little something like this:

Only all black and instead of a buckle, there was a black flower made of wool. You get the picture though.

Had I been with my mom, who is my authority on these matters, she would have easily identified it as a cloche and then probably would have proceeded to tell me that I could get it if I wanted to. In my imagination, she wasn't helpful at all. Which is why I called my sister, who was equally UNhelpful.

I went home still insecure and empty handed, but I haven't forgotten about that hat.

Then, tonight, Brent and I watched Julie and Julia, which I very much enjoyed, and I was again inspired by the amazing hats that everyone wore and again I felt an overwhelming desire to wear a hat. Seriously, why did women stop wearing hats? What led to this? Who is responsible and where can I send my letter of outrage?

It's all gotten me thinking. If I WERE to buy said hat, I need to know...

What exactly are the rules for female hat wearing these days?
Where is it appropriate to wear a formal hat?
If I were to wear it to church, do I have to take it off when I get inside? Because that would kinda defeat the purpose.

and lastly,
Will you commit to supporting me in my hat purchase?

*let the record show that i'm not actually embarrassed to shop at tai pain trading. i shop there and buy there and love there. no, i wasn't embarrassed to be shopping there, only to be buying a HAT there. it just doesn't seem right.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

House Guest

Pardon me for a moment while I climb up on my soap box...

When I was growing up, my parents used to walk everyday. Sometimes we got to go and sometimes they went in the morning before we woke up. We would wake up and no one was home and we'd say to each other "I guess mom and dad went for a walk." and then we'd turn on the tv and hang out and wait for them to get home.

When are my kids going to be old enough for that? It sounds so luxurious.

One morning, they returned from their walk with a dog that had followed them home. She was a fox hound that we named Polly. We tried to keep her, but being a fox hound, she had some pretty strong hunting instincts that conflicted with our suburban lifestyle. After one particular incident wherein her instincts we taken out on a neighbor kid, we all concurred that it was time to find her a new home.

She wasn't the only animal that took shelter in our home when we were young. It seems like someone was always needing a temporary home for their dog or bringing home a stray cat. I liked living that way. I'm not a crazy person with 27 pets, but I have always felt that when you are put in a situation like the Polly situation, you have to look past yourself and your needs and instead look at it as a responsibility.

Whenever Brent is mean to our cat, Nina, I always tell him that some day, he's going to die and he'll see God again and when he does, God is going to look at him and say "You were really good at this and really good at that and mostly did a great job down there, but I've got a bone to pick with you about how you treated my cat." And I totally believe it.

So when our friend, Jaime saw a kitten get hit by car, stopped to pick it up and brought it home, it wasn't even a question of whether we'd let it come in. The kids have really enjoyed having this adorable little guy around to play with the last few days. He's such a sweet little kitten, so cute and patient and cuddly.

He's in really good shape considering he was hit by a car. Either the car didn't hit him that bad or he's got fur of steel. (yes, i just typed that. yes, i regret it.)

Jane was disappointed to find out from the vet that it's a boy. It's really going to take the fun out dressing him in pink and calling him Princess Kitty.

He really likes Charlie. Before long he'll be big enough that he won't put up with the tail pulling, but for now, it's a relationship that works for them. I'm also glad to see Charlie taking an active role in caring for the kitten by feeding him so well.

We aren't actually planning on keeping him, assuming a suitable replacement home can be found, so if you know someone who would like a kitten for Christmas, send them our way.

I guess the real point of this post is that it's kinda fun to have something like this happen. It feels like home to me. These kinds of life events can be unexpected and inconvenient, but they also add such richness to your life. This is the stuff that makes you a family and some day, Jane will start talking about the time Jaime found that kitty and we all thought it was a girl and then we found out it was a boy and wasn't that so funny.. and we'll all have the memory to share and smile about. I'm grateful that my parents taught us the importance of opening our hearts and our homes. It's something I'd like my kids to learn from me.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Saturday is a special day

This Saturday, we went to Sam's Club. I love Sam's Club.

Why doesn't the rest of Utah like Sam's Club? Going to Costco on a Saturday in December does NOT induce a holiday spirit, but Sam's? Sam's is like a ghost town. I mean, you can still get your cheap pizza and hot dogs (ok, they're kinda greasy and usually a little cold) you still get all your samples (ok, you get them from people who may or may not still posses all their teeth) and you're still surrounded by tons of merchandise that you feel like you can't live without (that, admittedly sometimes isn't as well made as the counterparts you'll find at the competition.) Ok, so one could argue that Sam's is what would happen if Walmart got their hands on Costco. Which is exactly what it is. Go figure.

So this Saturday, we went to Sam's and I think we all enjoyed ourselves.

Jane ate sour kraut straight from the package.

Lizzy looked like she just rolled out of bed.

Charlie got his hands of the enormous orange soda and wouldn't let go.

He held it the entire time we were there and if someone tried to take it from him, he did this:

This is an actual photo of what happened when we took the drink from him. He's a wee bit dramatic and I'm a wee bit irresponsible for allowing my one year old to have his own 44 oz. orange soda. I just really needed a little quiet time while I spent money that we may or may not actually have.

And Brent just tried to pretend like none of it was happening.

Ya, it was pretty much business as usual.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Anyone else have this problem?

Classic Charlie. He's driving me nuts, so I put him in bed where he screams and screams for an hour. Finally, I'm feeling bad and need to leave the house so I get everything ready to go and run upstairs to pick him up, only to find...

Dude. That's really inconvenient.