No Other Love…

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So, today is Daddy’s birthday.  It’s also the day he goes back to work.

Of course the boys are being total terrors and we have what feels like a billion things to do while attempting to keep them from going at eachother like a couple of wild cats.

Anyway, I wanted to take a minute and write something for the man who is crazy enough to want to marry me (aren’t you supposed to get wiser with age?).

Eight years ago I met this guy in a bar I frequented after work.  And immediately had the hots for him.  However, life doesn’t work that way, and we were both on very separate paths.  Then out of the blue one evening a few years later I received a myspace message (yeah, that really was only five years ago.  Weird to think about, right?) from this very man, who was out of the country and wanted to hang out when he returned home.  As luck would have it, my friend and I had tickets to a Less Than Jake concert, and one of our friends had backed out at the last minute, so we had an extra ticket.  I asked if he wanted to join us, he agreed, and that was that.

No really, that was that.  In those hours I spent time with a man who made me laugh, challenged me intellectually, gave me goosebumps when he looked at me, and (this was pretty close to a first when it came to my dating history) wasn’t totally insane.  A month later, after meeting a very large portion of my family, we became an official couple.

Over the last five years we’ve had so many ups and downs, highs and lows.  We’ve had good times that were really good, and bad times that couldn’t get much worse.  And through it all, we’ve managed to grow stronger.  Raising children is difficult enough.  Raising special needs children is a whole different beast.  Doing it while halfway across the world is another thing altogether.  Yet we make it work – we make our family work.  It’s not traditional, it’s not anywhere near normal.  But it’s ours, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

I know you often feel unappreciated, and I wish I could find a better way to convey to you just how untrue that is.  We appreciate you more than you’ll ever comprehend.  We appreciate the sacrifices you make for the sake of our family.  I can’t imagine having to spend more time away from our family than with them – and I know you do it for us.  I know you push and work, and struggle to make sure that the kids and I have everything we need, and often everything we want.

I know how much it costs you to provide the way you do – and I love you all the more for it.  But so often we focus on the big things, that we lose sight of the little things.  So, pay attention here because it’s high time the little things got some recognition.

I love you for…

  • I love you for keeping Mason out of the bathroom so I can shower in peace.
  • I love you for listening every time I need to rant and rave about something – even though you’d already forwarned me and I didn’t listen.
  • I love you for not outright laughing at me every time I manage to get myself in a stupid situation.
  • I love you for buying me a guitar based on some random stories I told once (and no, I still can’t play a single chord).
  • I love you for dealing with the flower bed because you know how much I don’t want to.
  • I love you for not banging your head against the brick each time I sign myself up for something, only to discover I overstretched myself once again.
  • I love you for not going crazy every time you run out of clean clothes because I have an absurd aversion to doing laundry.
  • I love you for going along with every harebrained scheme I come up with to help the kids.
  • I love you because you step on a Lego, curse a blue streak, and then walk right past it (sometimes I really think you are trying to get me to step on it).
  • I love you because after all these years you still haven’t learned not to play card games with me.
  • I love you because you’re just as sore a loser as I am when it comes to video games.
  • I love you because as much as you hate the kiddie pools, you let me get one every summer.
  • I love you for every small seemingly insignificant thing you do for me and the boys.

Never feel unappreciated.  The boys and I appreciate everything you do – from big to small.  I know this is a long trip around this time.  And I know you’re doing it so you can be home to marry my crazy self (and yes, it’s too late to back out).

I want you to know, every time you start to feel a little crazy, or homesick, or you just miss the sound of the children screaming loud enough to break the sound barrier – we love you.  We’re here waiting for you.  We know this is tough for you – just know it’s tough for us too, and we aren’t going anywhere.  I could keep writing for the next few hours, but you have to leave soon.

So, I’ll leave it at this.

It doesn’t matter where you are.  It doesn’t matter what drama is unfolding, or if we’re having a spat.  It doesn’t matter if the kids are making me crazy or I have too much on my plate to focus clearly on any one thing.  It doesn’t matter if you’re going stir crazy or over analyzing the world.  I love you.  I have always loved you, and I always will.  WE are here.  WE are your home, and we will hold your heart with pride.

“It’s still the same old story
A fight for love and glory
A case of do or die
The world will always welcome lovers
As time goes by”

Happy Birthday Love.  Have a safe trip, and know that we miss you already.

I love you.

marsh13

 

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Food, Glorious Food…

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Kaleb has become a midnight snack thief.

This has been going on for about a month now, and it’s going to make us crazy.  I’m not talking about a little light nibble here and there either.  I’m talking about the half a box of donuts left over from breakfast stolen off the kitchen counter.  Snack containers full of teddy grahms and Chips Ahoy! taken from his grandmother’s kitchen window sill (none of us know how he reached them).  More donuts.  An entire package of birthday cake oreos stolen from his great-grandmother’s kitchen.  Boxes of fruit snacks that were hidden on the tallest shelf in a snack cabinet (don’t know how he got those either).  An entire container of chocolate covered marshmallow cookies (btw, can we say gross??).  Ritz Bitz taken out of Mason’s backpack.  Lollypops snuck from the bathroom (they were being used to unsuccessfully bribe Mason to sit on the toilet).  A gumball machine full of M&M’s also used in the game of Let’s Bribe Mason to Pee!

And the night before last, after Daddy and I each only got one small square before bed, Kaleb stole an entire tray of brownies.

First of all, don’t judge me.  I realize this is a lot of junk food – but the truth is, we usually only keep one dessert like item in the house at a time unless it’s sugar free or healthy in some way.  This does not include my secret candy cabinet (it took Daddy forever to figure out how I kept magically appearing with a Snicker’s bar in my hand) – but that’s for the grown-ups.  More so, that’s for me.  After having Mason my blood sugar tends to plummet randomly, so I keep secret sugar stashes.  But in reality, the kids eat a whole lot more fruits and veggies (thank goodness, because they are complete nightmares when it comes to feeding them meat) than they do junk.  Which makes the secret snacking that much worse.

I know that Kaleb’s meds have been known to increase his appetite, and I have never hesitated to feed the kid when he’s hungry (unless it’s right before dinner – in which case he can wait the twenty minutes).  But I’m completely worried about what this is going to do to his blood sugar levels.  I can just see it now – when he goes in for his blood work in two months and his doctor tears my head off over the amount of sugar Kaleb has been ingesting.

I have no idea what to do about this.  I’ve cleaned out the kids snack cabinet.  If I have to get a padlock and lock up all the snacks at night I will.  Because this has just gone too far.  When he took the lollypops he managed to stash half the bag before he was caught – for two days we found him and his brother with empty lollypop sticks all around (at least he was sharing, right?).  When I found the brownies yesterday morning I didn’t know whether I should scream or cry.

The first thing I did after getting Mason up yesterday morning was head to the kitchen – where the first thing I noticed was my missing brownies.  I’m not really a junk food junkie (okay, that’s kind of a lie.  Offer me a double quarter pounder and fries and I’ll take it over a salad in a heartbeat.), but still.  Don’t mess with my brownies.  It’s right up there with eating the last piece of cheesecake and attempting to even touch my Carvel ice cream cake (seriously.  I will do harm.).  Unless I offer to share with you, the only exception to this is Daddy – and even that’s not a guarantee since there have been times when I’ve looked at him with the promise of horrible things to come if he touches that piece of cake.

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So, I immediately go on a brownie hunt.  the first thing I do is check the fridge, in case for some unknown reason Daddy stuck them in there (I have no idea why, but just go with it).  It’s not there.  Now I pretty much know Kaleb took them, but I’m not going to say anything to him until I have proof – on the slight chance he didn’t and it’s some cruel joke the universe (aka Daddy) is playing on me.  Plus, I really don’t want it to be Kaleb.  He hasn’t snuck anything in almost a week since I told him that from now on each time I caught him sneaking food he was losing a day of snacks and treats – he could have breakfast, lunch, dinner, and veggies to munch on.  But no fruit snacks, no crackers, etc.

I walk into his room and it’s decimated – like Thor came crashing down from the heavens into Kaleb’s closet and went a little hammer crazy.  I’m actually stunned.  Every book is on the floor.  The curtain has been ripped off the dowel.  The sheets are ripped off the bed.  The drawers are pulled out of the night stand.  The lamp is dangling by it’s cord.  My mind can’t even process the destruction.  I don’t even know where to start looking for the brownies.  I tried to step in the closet, but there was no way to do it without clearing a path.  My first thought is “booby-trap” Goonies style.  My second thought is misdirection.  There’s no good spot for him to sit and scarf a tray of brownies.  So I move on.  After tossing the room, I eventually find the brownies hidden under the bean bag chair.  And they’re just as decimated as the bedroom.

Which is so much worse.

After coming to grips with my lost chocolatey heaven, I sat Kaleb down and informed him that he would be cleaning that room today, no excuses, whining, screaming, throwing, hitting, or door slamming about it.

That was at 8am yesterday morning.  It’s now nearly 10am today and his room is worse than it was yesterday morning, and he was in there basically all day “cleaning”.

Of course, what makes this all so much better is that within the same week I both crashed the car, and slammed the back hatch of the car on my phone – thus completely destroying the screen on a phone that is only 37 days old.

I would stuff my face with brownies in an effort to drown my sorrows – but I can’t.  Because my five year old stole them.

You and Your Parrot…

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Mason has come up with a way to drive his brother completely insane.  And it is foolproof.  I mean it works 100% of the time.  0-200 in .5 seconds.  Perfectly happy Kaleb to complete and utter meltdown in the blink of an eye.

Unfortunately, Kaleb isn’t the only one being driven insane by this new habit of the Mini Monster – it’s going to put Daddy and myself right in the sanitarium.  Curious as to what Mason has got up his sleeve?

He’s become Pete the Repeat Parrot.

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He’s copying Kaleb.  Constantly.  Words, actions, facial expressions.  On top of that, he’s copying us when we’re talking to Kaleb – which is usually the final bridge that leads to meltdown city.  At first, we were letting it go to an extent.  I mean, it’s a good thing, right?  Mason copying Kaleb means he’s using more language, practicing words, etc.  Of course, we didn’t take in to account Kaleb’s volatile reaction to this.  At first, it was just a bit of whining.  The normal tattling complaint you will get from a kid when his brother is annoying him.

It didn’t take long for that to change.  Now it goes a little something like this:

“Mommy, I don’t want to clean up.”

“Mommy, I onna cean up.”

“No Mason!  Don’t copy me!”

“No Mayo!  Opy me!”

“Mason!  Stop it!  Mommy Mason is copying me!”

“Mayo!  Stop it!  Mommy Mayo opy me!”

“Masoooon!  You don’t copy!  That’s not nice!”  (Insert Kaleb whacking Mason on the head)

“Mason!  Knock it off, leave Kaleb be.  Kaleb, don’t hit your brother, stop screaming, and go pick up that mess.”

“Kaweb no hit Mayo go cean up mess!”

“Arrrggghhhhhh Mason STOP IT!!  Copying is not nice and you’re supposed to be a nice boy!”  (This is a new favorite saying of Kaleb’s)

“Argghehhherhhhh!  Opy not ice Mayo ice boy!”

*Insert extremely high pitched squealing scream*  Masooooooonnnnn!  Noooo!  Stop it!”

“Mason, get away from your brother, now.  Kaleb clean up that mess, now.”

“Kaweb cean up mess now!”

*shrieking I could not copy down on paper if I wanted to*  Kaleb runs at Mason and wacks him on the head.  Mason throws something at Kaleb and starts crying and screaming with enough talent to make a stranger think his toe nails were being removed with rusty spoons.  Mommy separates them both, only for them to go back at each other.  Inform Mason that I know he’s faking.  Inform Kaleb that the next time he screams or goes after his brother he will end up with the mother of all time-outs.  Only to be completely ignored by them both, and have them go at it again.

This has been happening multiple times a day, every day, for far too long now.  What’s worse, is when they’re going at it in the car or the store.  At least in the house we can separate them and get a few minutes respite from the screaming.  What are you supposed to do when they’re offering up ear-splitting shrieks in the closed, confined space of the car?  Turn the music up.  At least, that’s what I do.  And sing.  Loudly.  It doesn’t totally drown out the screaming battle going on behind me, but it’s a whole lot better than it was before.

What’s funny about this, is that just a few years ago Kaleb was guilty of doing this exact same thing to my nephew.  It drove the poor kid crazy.  And again, I let it go for a bit, because Kaleb was learning.  But once I saw just how nuts it was making my nephew I did everything I could to put the kibosh on it.  Of course, I was pretty much as successful as I am right now.  By that, I mean not at all.  Even now the kid runs like the devil is on his heels when Kaleb comes at him.

Hopefully we can find a way to get things calmed down soon, before we all go crazy and Mason ends up being the only sane one left.

Now that is a scary thought!

Enjoy The Teeth…

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Kaleb has started to lose his baby teeth.

Of course, when it comes to the first one lost, what I really mean is, he swallowed it.

I don’t know why I’m surprised by this, it is Kaleb after all.  We didn’t even know it was loose!  Friday night he was sitting at the dinner table when he declared that he had a loose tooth and ran to the bathroom to inspect it.  When he came out I asked to see – only to find he didn’t have a loose tooth – he was missing a tooth.  After searching the bathroom, the route he took from the bathroom to the kitchen table and back, we came to the conclusion that he must have swallowed it while drinking his water.  Sigh of course he did.  Mason eats fish, why wouldn’t Kaleb eat teeth?

The second tooth loss occurred sometime between him falling asleep last night, and waking up this morning.  When he came running up to me to show me he had “Another loose tooth!” (which I yet again corrected as being a lost tooth, since it’s already out of his mouth), my first thought was that he swallowed another one.  After exclaiming over the hole in his mouth (I still don’t quite get why my mom was always so squeamish about this.  I still think it’s pretty cool!), I asked him if he knew where it was.  Only to be told that he put it under his pillow last night.

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What???  You WHAT???  Now, it’s not like I can show panic, because I’m supposed to be confident in the tooth fairy… but that only works if the tooth fairy knows that the kid has lost a tooth!  I start scouring the house for money, and all I can find is a $10.00 bill (really, who has cash on hand anymore?  Certainly not me.  I knew I should have gotten cash back at Target yesterday, I just knew it!).  I wake up Daddy a bit frantically, to inform him that I have to steal his ten dollars to put under Kaleb’s pillow.

He comes pretty awake at this point and looks at me like I have gone and lost my mind.  The conversation went something like this:

“You cannot give him ten dollars for teeth!”

“It’s all I can find!”

“Give him a quarter!”

“A quarter?!  No way!  What a rip off that would be!”

“You cannot give him ten dollars for teeth!”

“Why?  My tooth fairy gave me around 5 bucks a pop for my teeth.”

You.  Can.  Not.  Give.  Him.  Ten.  Dollars.  For.  Teeth.

At this point I moved on to plan B and started scouring all of my little cash stash spots to see if I had any dollars laying around.  I used to randomly stash extra cash I got back from shopping – usually used for buying presents without giving away what the present is, also helpful for all of the crap the school asks you to buy to support your kid.  I haven’t done this in quite a while.  For starters, most of the presents I buy for Daddy are purchased online now, and Amazon is such a giant playground for shopping it makes it much simpler.  Plus, Kaleb’s been out of school since the end of April.

In other words, I had no cash.  None.  We have a bucket full of change, and a ten dollar bill.  I make the kids breakfast, and make a decision.  The tooth fairy is going to give Kaleb $1.25 for every tooth he looses (until we get to the big ones – those bad boys will get double).  So I make the boys some waffles and rush to dig through the change jar and find $2.50 worth of quarters.  I sneak back to Kaleb’s room, lift the pillow, and…

What the hell?  Where’s the tooth??

I can tell you where it isn’t.  It isn’t under the pillow.  That’s for sure.  Oooooooh CRAP you have got to be kidding me.  I lift the mattress to see if it fell down the headboard while he was sleeping.  No tooth.  Look on both sides of the bed.  No tooth.  I start to get a little panicked, knowing full well I can’t just go ask Kid Vicious if he is sure he put the tooth under the pillow – since the stupid tooth fairy was supposed to have already taken it.  I start running my hands up and down the sheet, hoping against hope I just can’t see it against the busy background…

Ta Da!!  Tooth found!  Quick and quiet fist pump in the air (grateful nobody is watching me), drop the quarters under the pillow, and go stash the tooth.

Kaleb finishes up his breakfast and cleans himself up.  I hand him his milk and ask him if the tooth fairy came to visit.  This is where it gets tricky, since I have no idea if he’s already checked.  He then insists that the tooth fairy did not come, because there is no tooth fairy in our town.  There are tooth fairies in other towns in Florida, but not this one.  Ummmm, okayyyyy.  How about you go check, just in case?  He starts to panic a little bit, voice ratcheting up, fidgeting getting more pronounced… oh crap.  Is he afraid of the tooth fairy?  Really?

Kaleb afraid of stuff is still new to me.  He’s recently become afraid of just about everything, and considering the kid was never afraid of anything before that, it’s still really disorienting when he suddenly has a new seemingly irrational fear.  Five minutes of coercion later, and I’ve got Kaleb standing by his bed, staring at the pillow like it’s going to bite him.  I finally lift the pillow up and gasp in excited surprise – “Look at that Kaleb!  Look what the tooth fairy left you!”

Kaleb stands stock still for about thirty seconds until he finally takes a closer look and says “Whaaaattttt?”  I help him pick up his quarters, and we count them together.  I tell him how much money he got, and we go put it in his bank.  As we’re dropping in the quarters he says “Mommy, how did the tooth fairy do that?  How did she get those moneies there?”

To which I reply…

“Magic!  The world is filled with magic buddy, you just have to believe it in.”

Truer words…

I’m Only Happy When It Rains…

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Even though it would appear we exchanged the rainy weather in Florida for the rainy weather in Massachusetts, so far the rain here has proven to be much more entertaining.  At least, when it comes to a couple of little Monsters.  You got a glimpse of that yesterday when I put up the pictures of Mason playing in his first “real” mud puddle.  obviously with all the rain we get at home, there are puddles all of the time – but rarely do you see an actual mud puddle.  Mostly it’s just sand or concrete.  That little adventure was magnified yesterday tenfold.

First, we had to go shopping yesterday to get food for the week, as well as some bug spray and anti-itch cream (OMG did the mosquitos up here get genetically modified or something?  They’re like the size of baby ptyerodactyls!) because Mommy and the boys are more sensitive than most to bug bites (read:  we swell up like balloons around the spot that’s been bitten, and the itching is so unbearable we tend to claw the bites open in our sleep).  Unfortunately, as Daddy was showering and everyone else was getting ready to head out, Mason was not.  Mason realized he had a rare moment to himself, so what did he do?  In under 30 seconds he spread dirt from a potted plant across just about every surface in the dining room.  Table, window, baseboards, floor, and so on.  He was covered in potting soil.  As was the dining room.  And all it took was 30 seconds of freedom.

I cleaned him, Granny K cleaned the table, Grandpa Dave cleaned the floor, and Daddy marveled at his child’s ability to create havoc in such a short amount of time.  Grandpa Dave made a comment at some point similar to “If that’s the worst he does while he’s here we’ll be fine.”  Daddy said exactly what I was thinking – that is almost certainly not the worst thing he will do.  So, mess cleaned up, we headed off to the new Super Walmart – at about the same time Mason would normally go down for a nap.  Now, there’s no point in trying to give the little rascal a nap while we’re here, because he’ll just weasle his way out of it, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t a bit crotchety during the day.

We get to the store and headed over to look for something Daddy needed to help Grandpa Dave fix a light socket (this completely reminds me of a Dr. Who episode when Rory’s dad ends up in the Tardis while trying to help Rory fix a light socket).  Of course, to do so we have to go by the toys.  Or, should I say, the giant evil aisle filled with matchbox cars and monster trucks.  In other words:  Mason’s instant screaming ON switch.  Daddy and I were looking at outdoor toys when the screaming started.  We could hear him ten aisles down as if he were sitting right next to us.   We exchanged a glance and with a quick “He sounds like he’s dying” from Daddy, I headed toward the sound to see if everything was okay.  Of course it was.  Mason just wanted a car.  Kaleb was walking around with one of those giant balls they set up in nets all over the store like mean little “there’s no way you’re leaving this store without a ball you don’t need” traps.

Mason, sitting in the cart, proceeded to scream like someone was removing his fingernails with a rusty spoon for fifteen minutes.  Eventually Granny K caved (as pretty much all of us do at one point or another) and took him back to pick out a car.  Quickly, we headed over to the grocery section to avoid another incident if at all possible.  Eventually we figured out a plan, everybody ran around grabbing food and throwing it in the cart, and we headed to check-out.  One more quick stop at a store for produce (Daddy, Grandpa Dave, and the Monsters stayed in the car), and we were homeward bound.

We made lunch – which neither of the kids ate having eaten a bunch of snacks while shopping – and put the boys down to have some quiet time.  After a couple hours we headed outside to see what Daddy was up to, as he’d vanished shortly after lunch never to return.  While I discovered that Daddy was resurrecting an old fire pit (much to my delight, the future S’mores dancing in my head), Mason discovered a lawn mower while Kaleb enjoyed swinging and taking in the sights.

Mason has an obsession with lawn mowers.  I don’t know if this has been mentioned before or not, but he is absolutely in love with them (as well as anything else that has a motor and moves).  Mondays at home are Mason’s favorite because practically every house on our street within viewing range gets their lawn cut on Monday, and Mason gets to run around from window to window all day watching the lawn mowers in action.  Daddy notices Mason excitedly inspecting the lawn mower, and decides to take Mason for a ride.

This did not go as we had expected at all.  We anticipated glee, excitement, laughter.  What we got was a shrieking, angry little Monster who wanted “DOWN!”  Though I did get a good picture anyway.

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Shortly after that little adventure, Granny K, Grandpa Dave, the boys and myself walked over to the playground next door.  Kaleb and Mason both immediately honed in on the slide for a bit, then we went to swing.  Kaleb loves to swing.  I’ve been trying to figure out a way to hang a swing from one of the trees in our backyard for years, but it just won’t work.  Mason on the other hand, both loves and hates to swing.  He ended up sitting on my lap, facing me, with his legs wrapped around my back like a little spider monkey while I did the best I could at swinging without dropping him on his head, or falling back on mine.

Kaleb learned how to roll down a hill, and Grandpa Dave taught him how to pump his legs to get the swing to move.  After a while it was time to go, since they wanted to take the boys to a place called Natural Bridge.  I’d never heard of it, so I did a bit of googling on the way.  Here’s what Wikipedia had to say:

 “Natural Bridge State Park is a Massachusetts state park located in North Adams, Massachusetts, in the northwestern part of the state. It contains the only natural white marble arch/bridge in North America. The “natural bridge” for which the park is named, according to geologists, is 550 million year old bedrock marble, carved into an arch by the force of glacial melt water over 13,000 years ago.[1]

Formerly the site of a marble quarry from 1810 to 1947 and privately owned tourist attraction from 1950 to 1983, the site became a state park in 1985. The arch and associated quarry have long attracted attention from hikers, including Nathaniel Hawthorne in 1838, who wrote of it (among other local features) in his An American Notebook”

And of course, it started to pour on our way over.  Luckily, by the time we got there the rain had pretty much stopped and we were looking forward to a bit of a hike and some cool sites.  We managed to get almost there when the next storm came through.  And of course, Mason could not help himself, he was going to find a puddle.  This presented more than just a few problems – the biggest being that we were in the middle of a bunch of slippery marble on the edge of raging waters.  Foregoing the nice dry luxury of the umbrella, I went after the Mini Monster to help him find a place where he could play without the threat of slipping down a deadly slope.

We all ended up under a big tree that was blocking most of the rain, and Mason played away.  The rain let up and we continued our trek.  We found ourselves at the top of a waterfall, looking out at a dam as fog rolled in.  And we were in that same spot when the rain rolled back in as well.  Mason at this point had become downright miserably angry at all of us each time we made him leave a puddle to go look at a different spot.  We headed back over to the tree to wait out the rain, while Mason headed straight for a new puddle to play in.  After the first time he started to take off I jumped back into the rain to stay by him to make sure there were no more escape attempts.

Once the thunder rolled in it was decided we needed to leave.  This did not work for Mason.  Kaleb had been running around wearing a hat he took from Granny K’s car when we arrived, so most of the rain water didn’t so much as touch him.  Mason and I, on the other hand, were soaked right through.  I picked Mason up, and carried him back down to the car while he screamed to be let down the entire way.  On a really big plus, there were some pretty slippery stairs we had to tackle to get down to the car, and Kaleb managed to walk all the way down without freaking out.  I’m still really proud of him – I know he was probably freaked out of his mind.

We got back to the car, looking like a couple of drowned rats, while Mason continued to scream over the injustice of it all.  Daddy got a blanket for him and got him in the car, Grandpa Dave got a blanket for me and we headed out.  Of course it stopped raining as soon as we left.  The rest of the evening was spent trying to keep the kids happy and dry.  When they finally fell asleep Daddy and Grandpa Dave tried to start a fire.  After 30 minutes of battling damp branches, they finally got it going.  Just as the skies opened up again.

Whoever it is out there doing the rain dance, could ya give it a rest for a few days please?  We really want S’mores.

Here are some pictures from the adventure of yesterday – I never did get a picture of the Natural Bridge – it was raining by the time we got there and I couldn’t pull out my camera.  I’m sure you can find a good one if you google it though.

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A Kind Of Hush…

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Mason, the murderous fish Monster has struck again.

And this time it was catastrophic.  7 dead fish.  Every single fish left in the tank is now floating in the bottom of a bowl.  Life cruelly ripped away from their glowy fins.

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And of course, it couldn’t have come at a worse time.

I’m writing this from the quiet comfort of Granny K and Grandpa Dave’s house in Massachusetts.  The fish incident happened on Sunday night – as Daddy and I were attempting to pack everyone’s bags, clean the house, and make sure we weren’t forgetting anything of relevance.  As I sat on the floor in the office switching Kaleb’s clothes to a different suitcase (I am constantly forgetting how big he is now – therefore, I always forget how much room he needs for clothes), Kaleb did something he wasn’t supposed to do.  I can’t even remember what he did at this point.  What I do remember is yelling “Hey!” which was followed immediately by a sinking feeling in my gut when Mason was the one to react to the admonition.

His reaction was typical trouble maker Mason.  He squealed, he laughed with conspiratorial joy, took off across the house, and when he thought nobody was looking he pulled a 180 and went back to what he was doing.  I asked Kaleb to find Mason and then tell me what he was doing.  Daddy heard this and went to look for Mason as well. Before Kaleb could tell me Mason was playing in the fish tank, I could hear the vein in Daddy’s forehead yelling (telepathically of course, I do know that veins cannot speak) for me to get my butt in gear and get over there before he succumbed to a stroke.

For two minutes we just stood at the counter (after properly yelling at and shooing away Mason) staring at the fish tank, wondering what on earth he’d thrown in it.  Finally, it was Daddy who figured it out.

“It’s Ritz Bitz.”

“What?  It can’t be Ritz Bitz.  I watched him shove practically the entire bowl in his mouth not fifteen minutes ago.  Where would he have gotten more?”

“He must have chewed them up then spit them back into the tank.”

“Why??  Why would he do such a thing??  Who spits half eaten Ritz Bitz into a fish tank??”

The answer, of course, is Mason.  Mason drags a stool over to the bar where the tank resides.  Mason removed the lid from the tank.  Mason spit a loaded mouth full of chewed upon Ritz Bitz into the tank.  And in doing so, Mason sealed the fate of the fish.

Daddy left to get a haircut, and I got to work on the tank – all the while giving Mason an imaginary verbal lashing the likes of which he will likely never see.  I emptied the tank, scrubbed it out, scrubbed the rocks, refilled the tank, and dumped the rocks back in.  Only to have a couple hundred tiny pieces of Ritz Bitz float out of the rocks.  Oh, Come on.  Really?

Empty the tank, clean it again, scrub the rocks again, fill it back up, dump the rocks back in… and still there are Ritz Bitz.  You have got to be kidding me – I would be pulling out my hair if my hands weren’t prunes.

Empty the tank, clean it again, say to hell with it and grab the small back of spare rocks in the cabinet, dump those in the water – no Ritz Bitz!  Pull out the filter and throw it in the trash upon realizing it’s covered in a gooey, buttery cracker layer.  Open up the new filter and run it under the water for a couple minutes, put it back in the tank.  Treat the water in the tank and start up the filter.  Daddy comes home from getting a haircut.

Finally, we transfer the fish back to their nice clean home.  And one by one, they completely spaz out.  Twitching, spinning, slowly sinking to the floor.  some of them seem to react when they get close to the filter.  Some of them just act all nuts for no visible reason.  Until, fifteen minutes after taking them out of the yucky Ritz Bitz infested water – they are all dead.

Kaleb watched this whole thing happen – and it was a bit disturbing to see how easily he took the whole “the fish are dying right now as I watch” thing.  One by one we pulled them out of the tank.  They ended up sitting in the bottom of a bowl on the kitchen counter because I was sad and couldn’t bring myself to flush them (yes.  I am sentimental about the fish.  The fish I didn’t even want.).  I then catch Mason throwing popcorn in the bowl of dead fish.  Oh child.  What on earth is wrong with you?  Why would you torture the already dead fish??

Anyway, I’m pretty sure we’re done with fish.  It was a nice idea.  In practice, it was traumatic.  Especially for Daddy, the fish, and myself.  I’m really glad we didn’t end up getting a hamster.

So, we are on vacation.  We’re spending one week with Daddy’s parents and family, and then we’re spending four days with my grandparents.  The last time I was up north Mason was barely a year old, and it was winter – so I froze my bony butt off.  But now… well, when I said earlier that it’s quiet – I certainly wasn’t talking about my kids (when are they ever quiet??), I was talking about the area.  We’ve lived in our neighborhood for a little over four years.  In that time I’ve becoming increasingly better at ignoring all of the constant noise happening around us.  But sitting here this morning, I listened to nothing.  Nothing.  I barely even knew what to do with myself.  There was no traffic, no planes starting up or flying overhead, no lawn mowers or any other kind of motorized noise.

It’s been so long since I’ve been around the quiet, when I first woke up I legitimately thought something was very, very wrong.  I knew I wasn’t deaf – I could hear Daddy snoring.  Zombie apocalypse?  Maybe.  But there are too many houses around for us not have heard some zombie-like noises throughout the night.  Nuclear bomb?  Well.  Really.  I happen to be really fond of myself, but even I know I’m not good enough to survive a nuclear attack that wipes out every other noise around me.

Of course, it was around that time that I fully woke up and realized it was just that quiet.  And as much as I relished it, a part of me was silently grateful when the kids got up and started running amok.  At least the chaos confirms that not only has there been no sort of apocalypse (after all, Mason needs at least three more years to finalize his plans), Hell has obviously not frozen over since neither of them were behaving.

Anyway, as soon as we arrived yesterday Mason jumped out of the car and headed for a mud puddle (it was raining).  Which he proceeded to jump, skip, and crawl around in with the kind of glee you rarely see on his face unless he’s making his brother crazy.  It will definitely be an entertaining week.

 

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