The Delivery

Once Upon A Time…

A big brown truck drove up the hill to a little grey house. The mother of the house met the truck at the top of the driveway.

Could it be her twenty dozen quail eggs were here already?!? Could it be that fifty new copies of her book were here already?!? She waited in anticipation… and then she saw the red circles on the box and her heart sank to her toes. It was nothing more than a giant box of school supplies.

The giant box of school supplies was set on the table where three young girls tore into it like wild animals leaving behind a wake of Kleenex boxes and discarded wrappers surrounded by a fog of “No, put it in your backpack!”, “Wait, you need all your things!” and “Pick that up!!!”

Disappointed and disillusioned the mother forgot all about the giant box but the girls took that box and  transformed it into the best play house ever.

Where they played happily ever after…

(Or until the father decides enough is enough and the playhouse is discarded while they wail in harmony, “But I still like it!”)

The End.

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Camping Facilities

We recently got back from a week of camping.

This is the sort of news that not everyone shares my enthusiasm for.

There are the people who hear my family (as in Mom/Dad/Brother/Sister-In-Law/Nephew) were along and get a bit wide eyed.

There are quite a few people who hear we brought the boys (boys in my case always refers to my dogs) and raise an eyebrow questioning my decision making skills.

My boys, re-named “Fish Dog” and “Snail Boy” by the end of the first day due to their respective new odors.

There are even more who find out we brought all of our supplies to an island (Okay, this year it was actually a super long skinny peninsula, but it felt like an island) by boat and make some sort of surprised exclamation.

And then there are those who inquire and find out that our toilet facilities consisted of a nice long trail with a raised toilet seat over a pit in the woods and declare that it would never happen in their world.

Fortunately we only had a bit of rain (with awesome double rainbows as a reward for all the wet) the family got along well (and also there was Rum), the boys were fairly well behaved (if stinky), my brother and my dad had motor boats so we didn’t have to canoe all the stuff in (which was very nice) and so it was really quite an excellent trip.

But…

I wasn’t totally in love with that open air bathroom.

It wasn’t the long walk up the trail through the woods. That was quite nice and usually populated by cute tiny toads.

This is not a tiny toad, it’s a tiny tree frog. Toads are cute, tree frogs are cuter. Sorry toads.

It wasn’t the open air experience. I’ve been a camper all my life, a “throne” with a view is excellent perk.

It wasn’t the mosquitoes- well sometimes it was the mosquitoes – but it was pretty breezy so they weren’t much of an issue.

This face had nothing to do with bathrooms and everything to do with the smell of dead snails. Not coincidentally they smelled just like my dog Snail Boy.

It was the lack of locking door.

At home my kids, like everyone’s kids have magic sensors every time I go into the bathroom. In case it’s been awhile since you’ve had kids or you’ve yet to experience the fun, let me explain.  Once a mother goes toward the bathroom their magic sensors pick up on it and they come down with severe cases of “questions that must be immediately answered” or break out in rashes of “crisis’ that aren’t”. At home there is a door, and it locks and yet it’s still hard to break away from the children.

See how happy she is? It’s because her mom wasn’t trying to go to the bathroom while this picture was taken.

At the campsite there was nothing but a long trail.

I was at their mercy.

Our “island” home.

Good thing I like camping.

 

How Are The Girls?

You know when you run into people when you are just about to pick out the best of the red peppers and they ask how the kids have been?

And you know how when they actually know your family they seem to want to know more than, “Oh they are all good, Yeah, super good,”?

And you know how it’s hard to describe three kids and how they’ve changed in the last few months in 30 seconds or less in the middle of the produce section because, even though your fellow, friendly shopper cares, 30 seconds is actually all the time they have to talk about it?

It’s a conundrum right?

But I’ve got a plan.

For the next month or so I’m just going to show anyone who asks this picture.

“How are the girls?”

“Oh, good. Yup good. *scrolling through phone pictures* …  yeah this is them:”

Sums the three of them up just perfectly.

Waiting With A Camera

When you have kids you wait.

You wait for babies to wake up, kids to eat, shoes to be found, shoes to be put on, shoes to be discarded, new shoes to be found and new shoes to be put on. You wait for really, really, long stories to be told, one last swing, three hundred million tricks to be performed and kids to fall asleep.

When you have kids you wait.

A lot.

In theory during all this waiting I could focus all my love and attention on my wonderful children. (Three hundred million tricks people!?! I ran out of attention long before we hit 500,000.)

In theory I could practice zen like patience and being calm. (Hello, my name is Jessie, have we met?)

In practice I take pictures.

Taking pictures looks just like focusing all your attention on your children but really it’s the camera that is focused on the kids while your brain focuses on lighting and composition. As an added bonus, with the wonders of digital photography, zen like patience is completely unnecessary as you can just click and click and click some more.

Now pulling out a camera when forced to inactivity is my default mode.

Today I was waiting for Jane.

I wait for Jane all the freakin’ time often. This time I was waiting as she crossed a foot bridge at my parents’ house. The bridge used to be a Billy Goats Gruff bridge.  Now, partially under construction, it’s more like the tightrope at the circus.

Jane was not impressed.

Falling off the bridge would have dropped her a maximum of two feet into shallow water and mud. I was unimpressed by her drama and sat down to wait.

Of course that really meant that I sat down and started taking pictures.

Balancing her way toward me with all the flair and high drama of a real tightrope act, she caught me snapping a photo.

“MOM! THIS IS NOT THE TIME FOR PICTURES!”

I’m not sure she was correct on that. It sure seemed like a good time for pictures to me. But it became quite clear that it was most certainly not the time for laughter.

Note: If you are going to laugh at children in the throes of high drama, I highly recommend hiding your face behind a nice large DSLR camera rather than the smallest smart phone on the market. 

Bike Rider

Jane has been using a scoot bike for the last few years.

A scoot bike, for those of you who are not familiar, is a bike that has no pedals/gears/etc (some people call it a balance bike).  Kids can learn to balance and steer while they push themselves along on their feet Fred Flintstone-style. Jane was a master scoot biker but until this last week was completely unwilling to make the transition to *gasp* *shudder* *panic* …pedals.

But, this week, she, with help of a ridiculous purple Disney princess endowed bike (thank you Grandma Mary) was convinced to give the pedals a try – sans training wheels. There was panicking. There was whining. There was moaning. There were two really unconcerned and unhelpful parents because they had seen her navigate the downhill slope of our terribly rutted gravel driveway on her scoo

t bike and she was going to be fine as soon as she tried it.  Twenty min. later Jane was riding a real bike.

An hour later she called me out to watch.

Personally “Mom, watch me!” inspires feelings of dread and desperate wishes to have something, anything, else to do. But not this time. This time I was excited for her. She was riding a real bike.  With pedals. It’s a big milestone. I willingly went to the driveway to watch.

Foolish, foolish mother…

“Mom, count how many times I can go around the circle.”

(the circle being the small paved area in front of our two-car garage.)

“One!”

Foolish, foolish mother.

….

“Five!”

I was still proud of her.

“Twelve.”

I was still proud but the novelty had worn off.

“Twenty one.”

I sent Clara for a camera so I would have something to do.

“Thirty seven.”

“NO! You didn’t’ say thirty six, this is thirty six.”

“Oh, I just counted in my head.”

“That doesn’t count!”

“… thirty six….”

“forty five…”

Foolish, foolish mother.

“MOM ARE YOU STILL COUNTING?!?!”

“SIXTY EIGHT!”

“Aren’t I good at bike riding?!?!?”

“… seventy… three…. *yawn*”

I started daydreaming about setting time limits. As in, “Yay! You learned something new, I’ll be encouraging that new skill for the next five min and then I’m moving on. Ready… Go!”

“eighty eight”

This is right about when Clara, also bored out of her skull wanted to show off her bike riding skills too. Complete chaos ensued. Bike crashes, screaming, fighting, gravel needed to be brushed out of palms, the whole nine yards.

The dust settled, and there was Jane, still riding her bike and also demanding the entire driveway to herself.

“Fine. You can have the whole driveway but I’m not watching anymore after one hundred.”

My feelings of pride were lessening, the novelty was gone and my encouragement was getting mighty thin.

“ninty nine.”

“one hundred!!!”

Foolish, foolish mother.

“Aren’t you going to keep counting?”

 

Moral of the story: “Watch me” never, ever, ends well for the mother.