Yes, yes. I'm alive. After a whirlwind that included a weekend of both boys vomiting for 12-hours apiece (the day before we needed to leave, of course), I'm at my parents' house in Western Washington.
It is lovely -- lush, green spring. Flowers are blooming, the air has that wonderfully-chill damp feel to it, and best of all, no coats required. Sweater weather! It feels so good. Particularly with the fact that it is 10 degrees lower than usual at home and the landscape is covered, yet again, with SNOW.
So we are here with my parents. I've seen all siblings but one, was delighted by a surprise visit from my SIL who I didn't think I was going to get to see, saw the tide way, way out during the Supermoon, and, deliciously, have slept with the window open every single night.
Exploring the mud flats while the tide is out
Reading with Grandpa
Just look what the Little Mister can do now!
I've been busy visiting, but I have also been kept on my toes by those little bouncing boys and my sweet baby. I started this post several days ago! I don't even know when . . . I've lost track.
As the baggage man at the airport said, "I don't know how you moms do it". Seriously. I don't know how we do it either.
The one thing I was pleasantly surprised by en route to my parents' house was the overall support and good attitude met by strangers. I was prepared to start a ticker-chart of how many times I heard, "Oh boy, I see you have your hands full!" but I didn't hear it at all. Not even once.
Instead, I heard "You are so patient . . . and what else can you be? Great job, Mom!" and "You boys were very good little travelers" and (as they were going bananas in the bathroom, Diego running out into the halfway by himself just before) "It gets easier, I promise - enjoy those little guys while you can" and "Escalator?? No. Let me help you find the elevator!"
It felt so good, particularly that first comment. I patted her on the shoulder and said, "Thank you so much! It is so encouraging to hear that." And it was. So encouraging. Without a doubt, it helped me stay calm and work towards patience.
Patience is a skill, right? One that we all have to work towards, especially with the little tykes.
We went to my in-laws last weekend for a mega-late Christmas celebration. A broken ankle, a new baby, tons of snow, and influenza were some of the many reasons we weren't able to celebrate it closer to the actual date.
The boys had a fabulous time playing with their cousins.
There are 13 cousins on the Borealis side of the family. That number includes our boys, as everyone calls all the grandkids simply "the cousins". My side of the family there are three cousins. Just us. The brothers.
There are three age groups of Borealis cousins: older, middle, and youngest. My boys are in the youngest group, of course, and got to play with the other little guys. It goes Levi (6), Diego (5), Mia (4), and Truen (3). As you can imagine, there is a lot of racing around and hollering. They just love it.
Unfortunately, I don't have pictures of the younger cousins playing (drat...I should have lined 'em up and got a shot), but I DO have a picture of the boys in the van in the garage after we got home. I thought the pictures turned out kind of neat.
Little Jamie all wrapped up and in the driver's seat.
(I swear by the swaddle, ladies...my boy-ohs love it.)
I hate Facebook for the fact that it is a timesuck. It can stir discontent and jealousy. At times it makes me wonder why my life is so boring. I sometimes feel frenzied, like I need to look-look-look and I don't have enough TIME to see everything I could or should. There are too many people to keep track of.
Sometimes I am bothered by seeing wear and tear on my peers' faces while knowing that I, too, am aging.
I love Facebook because it keeps me connected to people that I care about. Folks from my past, ones that I would only wonder about from a distance, and getting a glimpse of their lives. I love the reconnection factor. I really enjoy seeing my siblings in action and laughing at old and new jokes.
It can cause unforseen complications and delightful surprises.
And with all this howling, one would think I'm on there several times a day. Reality: a few times a month, tops. Sometimes I even avoid it.
Blasted thing. I love and hate you simultaneously.
My Number One Goal today was to get a picture of the brothers. I'm contemplating getting a birth announcement out before my babe is 4 months old this time around. Amazing, I know. My idea is to send a picture of "just Jamie" along with a picture of the brothers together.
So . . . I've had to be strategic about it. I gave Truen a haircut this week. They took a bath this morning and even washed hair (a nightmare with Truen, still, at age 3 -- will it never end?!). We picked out clean clothes and converged on the sunroom when it was nice and sunny, but not too bright. It was in between naps for the baby, so I was hoping he would be sunny and bright as well.
He was, kind of. I guess. For a split second.
Here's how it started --
"Truen, look up! Look up at me!"
(Oh dear . . . I think the baby is going to lose it)
Then things started going downhill fast,
still with "Truen, look at me! At me!"
and poor Diego, disheartened.
Then the calamity hit the peak of ridiculousness. I picked up the baby to calm him and stuck a pacifier in his mouth, which can usually turn his mood from rain-clouds to rainbows. Sure enough, it worked. He was happy and calmed. I had the boys position themselves again, placed a refreshed baby back on their laps, got the camera ready, pulled out the plug, and two things happened simultaneously: the baby SMILED and the camera battery DIED.
Murphy's Law, right? Sheesh. I couldn't believe it.
So I put the battery in the charger and did something else for awhile. After 5-10 minutes I figured the battery had enough juice and doggone it, we had spent the entire morning getting ready for this and I couldn't give up.
But this time ------- it didn't work.
The baby started hollering, which necessitated
Truen to cover his assaulted left ear,
while Diego languished in despair.
Amazing. I couldn't give up, could I? So I did what any frantic mama would do. The most moronic and frenzied noises started flying out of me as I rocked backward and forward, acting as if I hadn't a brain in my head. Muah! Mrar! Gpkkkkkkkk!
Annnnnnd they loved it.
The big boys giggled endlessly
while the baby seemed satiated, if not intrigued.
This one is my favorite of the two older boys
I like the baby's fat hands too ---
(he's starting to figure out how to get those buggers
up to his mouth for a nice long suck)
That last picture would never do in a card. Ohhhhhhh well....
This cacti is a descendant of a plant that was half-eaten by a squirrel while it summered on our back patio in Minneapolis. It lived and, as you can see, prospered. I adore the flaming vibrant orange of this cacti. It seers my eye-sockets and leaves me begging for more. Particularly on these still wholly white spring days.
There is something so charming and perhaps a little mysterious about a spiky plant blooming, isn't there? I actually had to pull a sliver-spike out of Diego's hand this morning from this little beauty. He's the one who found it in full bloom late yesterday afternoon (I had seen there were buds on it, but had forgotten). The flowers close at night and re-open in the daylight hours, so some of them were half-closed when he showed me.
Diego brought it to me again this morning and I placed it in the middle of the kitchen table so we couldn't forget about it again. I am keen on cultivating an interest in plants with my children. There is so much intrigue and beauty to explore -- I want them to be awed by it.
Why does salmon and squash taste so good together? Has anyone else discovered this delightful combination? It has got to be one of my favorites.
Today's lunch: leftover salmon cakes and the remnants of our very last butternut squash. Delicious.
In other news: I've been virtually housebound for the last three weeks. Influenza is to thank, of course. "Spring" in Southwestern Minnesota feels like the dead of winter this year. The snow has got to be mid-thigh and everything is still completely white.
With this combo, I think I'm getting a little batty.
(I ended up getting sick, btw. I can't tell if it is a minor version of the flu or the secondary infection [a cold]that the boys had after the initial sickness. It isn't horrific, though I can't stop coughing, I've been terribly cold, and my hips in particular have been sore. The baby is still healthy . . and hopefully will remain so.)
Diego ended up getting sick, unfortunately. His fever started on Thursday night and broke in the early morning hours of Sunday AM. He had all the same symptoms as the other two: fever, chills, headache, hurting eyeballs, etc.
Now what we are left with is that lingering hacking cough and a severe need for an early nap every day.
The baby and I are still holding out. I've washed my hands so many times that my fingerprints must have worn off by now. From what we've read, children can be contagious for up to two weeks after initial onset of symptoms, so I still have to exercise extreme caution for another week and a half. The agony.
I was having thoughts last night of giving up while nursing at 3:00 AM, which is insane, but I am so tired of being paranoid and viewing my own children as the enemy.
I just can't wait until this whole mess is behind us.