Sunday, May 5, 2019

You Can't Save Them All

There was a bee. And a five year old.  

We were listening to Chris Colfer’s Land of Stories series on audiobook and making breakfast and I heard this buzzing sound.  

“What is that?” I asked. And the boys went outside to track down the noise. 

We quickly discovered it was a bee who had somehow trapped himself between the double screens on our windows (the windows all have double screens to help keep the mosquitos out.). I have no idea how he got between them because there didn’t seem to be any holes large enough for him to fit through.  

“We have to save it,” Chumbercules declared. Thus, our mission was born. 
I examined the screen and observed the bee. It was using its sweet little fuzzy bee face-claws (is that a thing? Face claws?) to try to bite its way to freedom. It was climbing back and forth through the little space that existed between the screens. I saw there was a small hole up near the top that I could enlarge to give the bee an escape route, so I grabbed the scissors and created the escape route. 

For the next twenty minutes, I applied gentle pressure to various parts of the screen, trying to guide the bee to freedom. The bee was so close to the exit, but didn’t go through. I’m not sure if the metal from the screen was too sharp or what. I enlarged the hole and tried again. 

“Why isn’t the bee climbing out?” Chumby asked. And I told him, sometimes you can do everything in your power to help someone or something, but it still doesn’t work. Sometimes, you have to recognize when to walk away. 

It was sad. And now there is a dead bee between the screens. Could I have completely removed once of the screens? Yes. Did I? No. Because I’m renting and when the five year old broke the window, it took me five weeks to get a new one and, that’s because I finally learned where I can buy window glass and I bought it myself. While we were waiting, all of the mosquitos in the world entered our house and bit us. And, with rainy season approaching, there are even more mosquitoes and I don’t want Dengue. And the kids don’t know what it is, but they don’t want it either.  

In related news, we live in Costa Rica now. 

So, there you go. I could have done more, but I didn’t because I think the life of myself and my children is more valuable than that of a bee. But I still love him. And if I ever figure out how to free him from the screen, I will give him a proper burial. And, if not, he will stay there as a warning to his friends. 

Rest in peace, bee. I wish you had made it out. I imagine it was terrible, working so hard, frantically, fruitlessly, searching for an escape, then giving up. It’s so sad.  

Pura vida. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Greetings from Team Sports Hell!

Hello! It's nice to see you again! Chumbercules is 4.5 now and Cthulhu is 2.5. The littlest one is a menace, I tell you, but my own personal hell is currently other people's parents. Specifically three dads out there. You know who you are.

Chumby decided he wanted to play hockey. They start hockey 1 at 4 around these parts, so I signed him up. I had to go get him outfitted last week so he would be ready to be on the ice at 5:30 last night. The desk where our local ice rink has the equipment is located in a back corner near a bunch of broken video games that your (or at least my) children whine constantly about wanting to play. So that was the first part of my fun. There were two women waiting with their kids and two kids were being fitted when we got there. There wasn't really a line, but people were jumbled a bit near the front.

Enter: Some Dude. I need you all to know that I HATE people who cut in lines. I get that your time is more valuable to you than mine is, but I may stab you if you push me far enough. Don't cut in lines. Seriously. Don't do it. I knew he was going to cut. I watched him come in and thought, "that mother fucker is going to cut in front of me." So I tried to keep Chumb near me and near the front, but no! Video games! Lights! Fake guns! Fun to be had even though I wouldn't give him any money! So, of course, when it was nearing our turn, little dude ran the opposite way and Some Dude sent his kid around to be fitted. First, I got Chumb, then I loudly declared, "What the Fuck?" Then some Behemoth of a Man (he was like a 9 foot tall brick wall. Put him between Texas and Mexico and that could prevent any border crossings, both authorized and unauthorized) with a thick east coast accent who declared, "Watch your mouth in front of the kids." And I, because I am an adult, burst into tears. "I'm sorry!" I cried, "I've just had a really rough day!" Which was a total lie. My day was awesome. I scored tickets for The Flaming Lips and my boss's boss told me how much I'm killing it at this whole work thing.

Then I went up to Some Dude and the poor young woman who was about to start fitting his son and I said, "So, is there any kind of order to this or are we just fitting people however? We were here before you." And the young woman looked at me all giant-eyed and shrugged and Some Dude said something like, "Sorry. I didn't see you." The fuck he didn't. At this point, it's too late to get a refund and just say to hell with hockey, so I said, "Come on, Chumbercules. We are going to go home." And, like mother like son, he, too, burst into tears and declared, through his sobs, "But I want to play hockey!" Honestly, I just figured we would come back on another day to get him outfitted, but then Some Dude pulled his kid out and the staff fitted Chumby super fast. All this time, Cthulhu was messing with the video games and having a great time.

Last night was the first practice. I picked my tiny turleys up from daycare and had them to the rink by 4:30 for a 5:30 practice. I planned ahead and made sandwiches and stuff for them so they could have an early dinner. But, once again, so many new and exciting things were happening all around! Fuck food! So they nibbled a bit then went to go look at the video games. At 5:00 is when I learned I was supposed to provide a helmet. For some reason, it wasn't on the paper work and nobody thought to tell me that and it wasn't obvious to me. Because I'm an indoor kid. So, while I was trying to get Chumb fitted for his helmet, Cthulhu disappeared once again.

I got Chumb his $53 hockey helmet, found Cthulhu, and got them down to the changing area. Me, being all unprepared and disorganized, I never practiced dressing Chumb in his hockey gear at all before the first practice. And he wore jeans yesterday. We were just grossly unprepared all the way around. Then, while I was trying to get Chumb dressed while seeing what other people did, Cthulhu grabbed a kid's skate and took off with it. So then I had to stop and go find him. Luckily, moms tend to be more sympathetic about kids being their natural dick-ish selves than Some Dudes are. So, I secured the toddler, Coach called everyone together, Chumb was only half dressed. Another coach came to help him while I held Cthulhu and tried to listen to the coach. But, this tiny son of a me has never enjoyed being restrained. He hated being swaddled when he was a baby and did not want me to hold him last night. So he screamed and tried to kick me while some other kid's dad kept giving me the side eye periodically. I wish I had studied under the tutelage of Pai Mei because I would have snatched that stink eye right out of his face. But I didn't. So I didn't.

Chumby finally got on the ice and Cthulhu decided this was an excellent time to try to sneak onto the ice through any door that opened and to climb the bleachers using other people as hand rails and all sorts of awesome behavior that is in no way embarrassing at all. And I know what you're thinking, "What do you expect when you name your kid after a cosmic entity who has driven people insane merely from them gazing upon his statue?" I know. And I regret that decision nearly every day. This is what happens when you let your ex name your kid. (That's another story.)

Anyway, we finally made it off the ice and back home. And I went to bed at 8:30 because it was officially "fuck this shit" o'clock. And I was exhausted from trying to wrangle my tiny terrorist. Sadly, daycare closes at 5:30 and there is no one else to take Cthulhu during that time. So, next time, I am going to bring his stroller and just strap him in and bring him some toys and books and let him cry if he wants to. And, in the mean time, I'll practice my eye pluck technique so I can prepare myself for future side eyes.

In closing, I would like you all to know that hell is other people's parents.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

On Dying

Hi. I've missed you all. All six of you (because at some point, my readership doubled. In my head, at least). Here is the long list of excuses as to what may or may not have kept me away:

Monster truck sized fire ants
The ballet
Day drinking
Real life responsibilities (family, work, day drinking, what have you)
My father dying

Most of these are probably true in one way or another. Though the only things I'm day drinking are coffee and water. I have only been to the ballet once and it wasn't recent (though I did go see Elvis Costello in April. The only thing that really has in common with the ballet is that they are both performances).

Before I delve into the sadness and complexities of grieving over a relatively estranged parent and explaining death to a 2.5 year old, I would like to start with good news. I earned a promotion at work! It's bittersweet because I've spent the past decade being a damned good trace metals chemist. I've always been a laboratory scientist and now I'm the QA/QC Coordinator for the metals lab. With great power comes great amounts of bureaucratic bullshit responsibility. It's been a big learning curve. But that also means that my time at work is spent working. Pretty much nonstop.

I'm also one of the representatives for my department on the City's team (kind of like a mini congress) that creates and informs policy recommendations to the actual people with the power to approve those policy changes and we are starting to offer 6 weeks of paid family leave to all permanent employees, paid at 100%! This is huge because, with Cthulhu, I was only able to take seven weeks off. Another six would have been perfect. And it stacks with family medical leave which means a new parent (for birth or adoption) could have up to 18 weeks off to bond with their child!

And now, sadness.

I don't really know how to grieve. I keep hearing there is no wrong way to do it, but it seems strange and complex when the person you should be grieving wasn't very close to you. My brothers have been writing all of these epic "You were my hero, the best father in the world" kind of things, but that wasn't my experience. I mean, he was all right. And he was my father. But my parents divorced before I was born and I never had the feeling my dad really wanted to be a father. At least, not more than the summer holidays he spent with us. A lot of stories and things come out after a death. What's done is done and a lot of the stuff seems petty to even write about, but I do have a better understanding of my dad, who died on Leap Day.

Some of you know that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer the summer of 2014. He lost his hair, his teeth, his jovial youthfulness, his hearing in one ear and his vision in one eye to the cancer and its treatments. Watching him go through chemo and radiation and the bone marrow transplant helped me see why someone may choose to forego treatment when diagnosed with late stage cancer. I think his quality of life would have been better, though he possibly wouldn't have lived as long.

He was on maintenance chemo when this terrible bronchial infection swept through the valley in February. When my dad caught it, it turned into pneumonia and he wound up in the ICU at the veteran's hospital. My oldest brother came from out of state and we all gathered around his death bed. I think he probably liked that. He always wanted his family gathered around him. When death was imminent, the ICU staff let me take young Mr. Chumbercules to the hospital to see grandpa, who he was always asking about but wasn't really allowed to spend time with because of chemo and toddler germiness.

Before we went to the hospital, I talked to him about how grandpa's body isn't working very well and he won't be able to pick him up or hug him and he will be connected to machines and tubes and if Chumby gets scared, just to tell me and we can leave. I told him again when we arrived at the hospital. I left Cthulhu at home. My dad seemed glad to see Chumby. He held out his shaking hand and Chumb grabbed his finger and proclaimed, "Your body isn't working." because toddlers and young children have this beautiful ability to plainly speak the truth. And my dad died the next day.

Every day since then, Chumby has said, "Grandpa is dead. We can't see him anymore. His body stopped working." Which was much better than his initial question of "Who shot grandpa?" when I told him grandpa was dead.

We aren't a religious lot in our house, but the Little Miss goes to church with her mom and stepdad and I think she and Chumb were talking about death and grandpa because after one of her visits, Chumby declared, "Someone taked grandpa." And I looked at him, confused, and said, "No one took him... well, I guess the coroner did." And he asked if the coroner was a person and I said yes. So, the daily story changed.

It became, "Grandpa is dead. His body stopped working and the coroner taked him away."

Sometimes he tells me he misses grandpa and we talk more about death and the more involved his questions get, the more information I provide him. Mr. Adventure tried to talk to him about cremation, but I don't think we are ready to talk about burning bodies yet.

The funeral service, which happened in March, was nice. I was kind of surprised by the turnout. I didn't realize my dad had so many friends and had touched so many lives. His old commanding officer from the Airforce was there and spoke. Then there was a potluck back at my stepmom's house. We didn't stay long since we had all the kids, including the Little Miss with us. My younger brothers came, too, even though they have a different dad. Which was nice because I was able to make fun of my youngest brother, turning 28 this year, for still living with our mother.

So, there's that.

Cthulhu has his 9 month exam tomorrow. He is very different from Chumby as a baby. In addition to having a much smaller head and being smaller over all, he has hair. And it's dark. And he plays. Chumb never really played at this age. Not like Cthulhu does.

And this made me laugh yesterday.

And that's what I have time for today. I'll be back soon with updates on Cthulhu and life with two boys and how I never seem to be able to find the time to touch up my damn roots so I kind of look like Courtney Love's fat younger sister.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Hitch hiking and potty training

My mom used to pick up hitch hikers when I was a kid. She would do it alone, but she would also do it with us in the car. There were never any incidents that I recall. I used to pick up hitch hikers, too. I also used to get around by hitch hiking when I was a teenager. I found myself in precarious situations a couple of times. I wouldn't feel comfortable picking up hitch hikers with kids in my car.

When I was 13 or 14, my mom found a blonde-bearded homeless man somewhere. I don't know where he came from, but he came and lived in our garage. He got a paper route and started delivering newspapers in the neighborhood to make some money. My cousin and I used to mix concoctions of kitchen spices and encourage him to drink them. I'm not sure what our motivation was or whether or not he tried any of our drinks. I know we did.

I was driving to work this morning and I saw a man in a flannel shirt walking on the sidewalk on the right side of the road. He turned and looked at my car as my headlights approached, like he was expecting someone. And it got me thinking about hitch hikers.

Also, happy new year. And happy almost my birthday.

My boys are growing. Brown Sugar wants to crawl so bad. He hasn't sat up yet, but I've started calling him my magical teleporting baby because if I blink, he will somehow have turned 90 degrees and be underneath the coffee table.

I think the novelty of being a big brother is finally wearing off. Bed time has been hard. Chumby grabbed his brother the other day, temple of doom style. I think I'm going to try to swap their bed times. Get the baby down first then spend half an hour of Chumbercules time before he goes to bed. I always ask him if his brother can read stories with us and he always says yes and then asks for his brother to lay in his bed with him.

The Ugly Volvo has a couple new posts. You should check them out.

Also, I've fallen in love all over again. This time with a mom from across the pond (or should I say mum?). I want to be her friend. She writes Hurrah for Gin.

Things have been so hectic in the House of Adventure. Mr. A is back in school, taking evening classes. His earliest classes start at 4, which means I am under pressure to get in to work as early as possible so I can be home early enough to bathe before heading off to class for the evening. And his car broke down, so we are vehicle sharing. I've also been super busy with all these projects at work and have all these meetings I have to go to. I'm pretty sure the only purpose of meetings is to make people feel like they are actually making progress. 90% of what happens in meetings could be conducted via email. My birthday is Friday. I joined the Twin Peaks birthday club and I got a coupon for a free meal for my birthday. So, I'm going to make Mr. Adventure go to lunch there with me on Friday. Because I feel like Twin Peaks (aka Lumberjack Hooters) isn't really a place to be once it gets dark outside. I need to get Brown Sugar a picture with the girls there, anyway. Chumby already has one from when he was super extra tiny.

Chumb and I checked out both of the Cooperative Preschools in our neighborhood and I think I found one that will be an excellent fit. He seemed to really enjoy himself and their cut-off is October 1st, which is nice for my September babies. Oh! I forgot to tell you the super most exciting thing!

Chumbercules has been pooping in the toilet! I know it's cliche to get excited about the bowel movements of your offspring, but not having to change double the poo diapers is pretty awesome. He did it for the first time on the Little Miss's birthday. He had a stomach bug and had the runs. I think that's why he was able to so clearly identify the feeling that he had to poop. And he keeps doing it. We have to tell him to go sit on the toilet and try to poop at times we know he normally does (like right before bed). And he gets a marshmallow for doing it. There's only one jumbo marshmallow left, then he will be downgraded to mini marshmallows.

I know there's a lot more, because I think about what I want to write next all the time, but I don't remember what it is right now. So, happy my birthday to all of you. I encourage you all to go see Deadpool this weekend in honor of the 9th (?) anniversary of the 25th year of my life.

I need a nap.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015


This is my 100th post. I feel like it should be something super amazing to commemorate, but it's not really.

There are moments, when you have kids, that you just kind of soak into and think you will remember forever. But, like a lot of moments, you forget them eventually.

Chumbercules needs a lot of love lately. He spends a lot of time with Dad, but he and I don't get to go on our special just-the-two-of-us outings anymore. We haven't been to the library in over a month. We don't go on walks downtown. Dad puts him to bed about half the time now and it used to be me. 90% of the time. Normally at bed time, after we read stories and he climbs into his crib, he asks for hugs and kisses and to be tucked in. He cries and says, "Wait!" when I'm walking to the door. The night before last, he asked for two hugs. Last night, he asked for four. I wonder if tonight he will ask for eight?

Having one kid is constantly having your attention divided between your partner and your child. (And the dogs but, sadly, they are the lowest priority for attention and I now understand why people get rid of pets when they have kids). Add a second kid and nobody gets any love. Except for the baby. Because I'm breastfeeding and I kind of have to hold him to do that. So, I've discovered stationary games I can play with Chumby. He makes guns out of his toys and he will hand me a gun and we shoot at each other. The other day, Brown Sugar took a nap right after I got home from work, so Chumb and I ran around the front yard, sword fighting with sticks and hiding behind trees. It was nice.

Mr. Adventure and I need a date night. Chumby needs more attention. The dogs need a walk. And I am seriously slacking on the picture-a-day thing for Brown Sugar. For Chumb, I took a picture nearly every day (I missed a few, but whatever). I haven't taken Sugar's picture since the 13th. Maybe instead of a 365 I'll do a 52? Maybe aim for one a week? One a month? When he's older and asks why we didn't do one a day maybe we can tell him it's because we love him 85% less? Just to be dicks? Or because time goes by about 85% faster when you have two kids. I've been back at work for two months now and it simultaneously feels like I've only been back a day and that I never left.

We have the Little Miss this week. I went to her school and saw their little Christmas program and I almost started tearing up in the beginning. But then I didn't want to be the crazy lady in the audience crying at the 1-3rd grade holiday program, particularly when I'm not related to any of the kids.

There's a guy in the southeast part of town who goes all out for Christmas. He gives rides on his vintage fire truck and on his sleigh (that he pulls through the streets with his ATV). We went and checked out his amazing holiday decorations and took a ride on the fire engine on Saturday night. Then we went back home for hot cocoa with marshmallows. Mr. A got a great picture of the kids next to the fire engine and the dude, all decked out in a Christmas poncho and Santa hat, holding Brown Sugar. I think we are going to hit the botanical garden on Wednesday night for Winter Garden Aglow and there's another house in town who does this ridiculous Christmas light show that we will probably go see. The Little Miss goes' back to mom's on Christmas morning, so we are doing our gift exchange on Christmas Eve, with Santa gifts (assuming the kids are well-behaved) coming on Christmas morning.

For gifts, the Little Miss (age 7, nearly 8) is getting:
A super awesome Kite from Santa
A 7" tablet with a fancy purple case (thank you, Groupon Goods, for your affordable prices!)
Russian Nesting Dolls
Pajamas. With a hood and feet. That are purple. Because they don't come in my size, I'm living my dreams through my stepdaughter.
Playing cards, rings, a ball and cup and various little things for her stocking.
And I still need to get her a book.

For Chumby (age 2):
Janod Robot Magnets The whole Janod toy line is pretty amazing and I'm pretty excited.
A shark backpack with dinosaur pajamas and a flashlight inside.
A recorder, some plastic dinosaurs and various things for his stocking.
Mustache Baby Meets his Match
Chu's Day at the Beach
I really want to get him the Playskool Alphie Robot and a balance bike, but he's two. And, instead of buying him an amazing Power Wheels Dune Buggy that I could have purchased for a reasonable price, I bought myself Elvis Costello tickets. Because he won't remember this Christmas, but I will remember blowing all my money on Elvis Costello. And seeing him live. And buying tickets within the 10-15 minute time frame they were available before selling out.

For Brown Sugar (age 3 months):
The sock rattle I made
A new hat exactly like a hat he has now in the next size up
Chumby's old teething toys
Odd and the Frost Giants
And a new bottle and medium flow nipples.

Let me tell you about this bottle.

I never thought I would think a bottle was amazing. It's just a bottle, right? No. This. Is. Amazing.

I was invited to join the Wee Spring parent panel and test out MAM's fancy new anti-colic bottle in exchange for writing a review on the MAM website. Mr. Adventure is the one that does the Bottle Feeding and we used Dr. Brown's and Life Factory bottles for Chumby.

I told Mr. A the bottle was coming and he opened it and washed it as soon as it came in the mail. Then he started texting me about the amazingness. He said Brown Sugar was swallowing half as much air as with the Dr. Brown's bottles. The design is pretty spectacular and it is super easy to clean. It can be microwave sterilized. The nipple design is a little flat and has ridges or something inside that does something magical. The base has holes in it designed for air flow so when the baby sucks harder, instead of collapsing the bottle nipple, he gets more milk. Mr. A loves this bottle. He had a friend over who also fed the babe and he also loves the bottle. He said if his son hadn't just turned one, he would be switching to the MAM anti-colic bottles. So, there you go. Stay at Home Dad approved. And baby approved, too, I'm sure. Who doesn't want to swallow less air when they are eating?

I think that's it. Did anyone else watch the Miss Universe Pageant the other night? I can't even imagine how horrifying it would be to be Miss Colombia. Or Steve Harvey, really.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Curse of the Monkey Skeleton

Halloween happened recently. We took Chumbercules out trick-or-treating to score us some candy for the first time. He was a tiny blonde Superman who kept trying to go into people's houses and, as the night progressed, was saying, "trickamatreat" when people opened their doors. It was pretty freaking cute. And it was warm here, which was nice. Though it isn't warm anymore. It's snowed the past couple of days.

Anyway, one of our Halloween decorations is some skeleton I scored in the discount bins several years ago. It's a coated wire frame and burlap, basically. The head has straw on it and the eyes glow red and it laughs. It's motion-detected, so when you walk by it, it does these things. Chumby thought the laughter sounded like a monkey, and from there, the dreaded Monkey Skeleton was born.

Chumb is both intrigued by and scared of the Monkey Skeleton. He cried when he first heard it laugh. The day after Halloween the Monkey Skeleton was sitting outside and we were going grocery shopping and dude wouldn't go out the door because the Monkey Skeleton was there. So, I tossed him in the laundry room and we got in the car.

I came home from work on Monday and the Monkey Skeleton was sitting on the back of one of the couches. I guess when Chumb woke up, he was asking about it, so Mr. Adventure pulled it out and let Chumby examine it. When I got home, it was kind of creepy. He was giving the Monkey Skeleton high fives and saying, "Monkey Skeleton loves me." or, "Monkey Skeleton gonna get me." I'm pretty sure both of those things come from Mr. A. Because Monkey Skeleton quickly became his new parenting tool.

"Eat your dinner or Monkey Skeleton is going to get you."
"Potty on the toilet or Monkey Skeleton is going to get you."

I come home from work and am greeted by these giant, round, blue eyes, asking me, "Monkey Skeleton gonna get me?" I have no idea how many times I have said, "No, the Monkey Skeleton isn't going to get you."

Hamburglar is two, so he's at the prime age for night terrors. Some of these bad dreams have horses and all sorts of things going on, but the other night, he was dreaming about the freaking Monkey Skeleton (which we still hadn't put away). I told the Mister that I thought it was time to pack up the Monkey Skeleton. Last night at dinner (Monkey Skeleton sits at the dinner table with us), Chumb looked at me and asked again, "Monkey Skeleton gonna get me?" and I said no and decided to put him away. Little Man ran from the dining room, screaming, when I picked up the Monkey Skeleton. I just tossed it into our bedroom on the bed, which prompted a whole new series of questions during dinner. "Monkey Skeleton on your bed? Monkey Skeleton sleeping? Monkey Skeleton tired. He sleeping," and so on. Finally, after dinner, I removed the batteries from Monkey Skeleton and shoved him in the Halloween box. Hopefully that will be the end of the Monkey Skeleton concerns.

In Brown Sugar news...

He went in for his two month exam. He weighs 13 pounds, 8 ounces, has a 16 inch head circumference and is 23.75 inches long. They say you should never compare your first and second child. I don't know about anyone else, but that's pretty much all I do. Chumby was 14 pounds at his two month exam. I don't remember the rest of the stats, but I see some sort of growth comparison chart happening within the next year, comparing the growth of my two boys. Because that's what you do when you're a mom scientist, right? Scientist mom? Mother of dragons? Chemistry? What?

Having another kid and a single income family can be pretty straining on the budget, so I'm making Christmas gifts this year. I will post pictures of things I make, if you're interested. Really, I will do it anyway. Because this is my blog, y'all.

I was inspired by the folks over at Happy Hooligans and their 70+ Homemade Toys to Make for your Kids. I already made the sock bunny rattle for Brown Sugar. The rad thing about that was, even with my shoddy sewing skills (I only know one stitch!) I was able to bang out the whole thing in a couple of hours. I did the cutting during nap time, around two in the afternoon. And between nursing, making dinner and putting the kids to bed, I had the whole thing done by 8p. I haven't put a face on it yet. I'm not sure if I'm going to.

I'd like to make a balance board for Hamburglar, but I'm trying to find an old skateboard deck for free or cheap that I can repurpose. And I have a ton of cardboard at my work I can use to make some cardboard construction pieces. I was going to make a couple foam lacing toys, then one of the moms  in my local moms group let us all know that they have wooden 8-packs of lacing toys in the Dollar Spot at Target for $3. So, I scored Chumby some robot ones. I also found a little wooden shape puzzle and some spiderman socks. And some ladybug playing cards for the Little Miss. Who isn't really little anymore. Kid isn't even 8 and she's a freaking Amazon.

Speaking of the Little Miss, we scored her a great tablet for $50 from Groupon Goods. I think she'll be pretty excited. And, since I'm making things for the boys, I thought I would make her something, too. I've seen those story boxes that are, like, $50, that come with a story printout and some dolls so you can act out the story. Then, I thought, "I bet I can make that for way cheaper!" And I found a tutorial online. I decided to go with Little Red Riding Hood because I will only need to make 4 dolls. Though, I keep thinking I should do a Little Prince theme instead. I don't know. She knows the story of Red. I have about a month to decide for sure. And I figured I would gift the dolls in their little story box with a copy of Grimm's Fairy Tales. And, since she's nearly 8, I imagine she will make Present Face.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Nursing, swearing, reading, creating

I always have brilliant ideas for what I'm going to write about either late at night or super early in the morning when I'm feeding Brown Sugar. But I never remember what they are later. Oh, well.

I received a text from a friend on Sunday. She said, "I'm nursing a hangover!" to which I responded, "I'm nursing a baby!" It's interesting to see how different paths lead people different places. She graduated college a year before me.

I was thinking about that the other day. I think it was late Friday or Saturday night when I was up with the babe. Or maybe I was doing dishes. I realized that if I didn't have kids, I would probably be nursing a hangover, too. And then I wondered what I used to do with all my time. Aside from drink, I didn't really do a whole lot. I went to work. I bought really expensive glasses that are super fancy and made of titanium. I walked around a lot, looking for new places to drink. So, having kids has made me sober but also made me want to drink. A lot. By next September, I will be drinking all the wine in the world. I will have one of those beer hats with the straws, but I will have wine on one side and water on the other. Because hydration is really important, you guys, and I need to set a good example.

Speaking of setting a good example...

We've entered the parrot phase. Chumbercules repeats nearly everything either Mr. Adventure or I say. I really need to watch my mouth while I'm driving. Like, really. I'm not even going to write what I said (and what Chumby repeated over and over again for the next 3 miles). Because it was bad. Very, very bad. At home he tends to swear in context, though. Some people talk about how genius their children are. Ours is a swearing prodigy. And I don't find that surprising.

Breastfeeding is way easier this time around. It has been since the beginning. I think Chumb may have had a slight lip or tongue tie, or maybe I was just really bad at breastfeeding. But, things are way easier with Brown Sugar. For me. Mr. A is staying home again and Brown Sugar isn't a fan of the bottle, I hear.

We had the Little Miss over the weekend, though I think she may have Amazon blood because the kid is a giant. The Home Depot has kid's workshops the first Saturday of each month. They're totally free and they do some cool stuff. Last month she made a wooden fire engine for Fire Safety month and this month she made a wooden jet for Veteran's Day. They get a little apron and a pin to represent the activity they did. She's 7 and it's something fun she gets to do, just her and her dad, which is nice.

Chumb loves his baby brother, but sometimes it's hard. Like if Tiny wakes up from his nap and is all, "waaah! I'm a baby and I'm crying because I'm hungry!" And Chumby will say something like, "No! Put nipple away. Don't feed brother, I hungry, too." because he wants me to make him some food. So, that's a challenge. It's definitely way easier when Mr. A and I are both home. I don't know how people do it once they're outnumbered. Mr. A was sick on Sunday and was in bed and it was very hectic in the House of Adventure. I wanted to take the kids to the park, but I also didn't want to take three kids somewhere by myself. I guess I'm just not brave enough.

I know it isn't even Thanksgiving yet, but I've been thinking about Christmas and Christmas gifts. We are trying to get rid of pretty much everything we own and trying not to spend a lot of money. We scored the Little Miss a tablet from Groupon Goods for $50. She will be 8 in January, so it seems like a good age. But, with the little guys, we are kind of in this magical place where neither of them really give a shit. Sure, Chumby is starting to figure out this whole present thing (he sang happy birthday for about two weeks after he turned two, then got really excited  for his Uncle's birthday. So excited that I made my brother blow out a candle because Chumby thought the cake needed some fire). So, I think I'm going to DIY it. The only problem with that is, like with most things in my life, I get things about 85% complete before I just stop working on them.

I found this list from Happy Hooligans of over 70 DIY toys and crafts to make. I'm thinking a sock bunny rattle for the baby and maybe some of those wooden roads for Chumby? Or a drop box? Maybe some of those alphabet clothespin dolls for the Little Miss? That's the other tough thing for us. Mr. Adventure and I were early readers and we both loved to read. We were super advanced readers by the time we were in second grade. The Little Miss doesn't really care for reading and isn't reading at grade level, so we are constantly thinking of things we can do to help her improve her skills without her realizing she's learning something.