Big changes…

Here we are, already February is almost over and spring will soon be here, though we’ve enjoyed a glimpse of spring already. The kids seem to all be on their way to their individual springs as well, big times of change.

Maggie took her first steps this weekend. How lucky that John, Dustin and I were all right there to see those first very tenative little steps. We all looked at each other in disbelief as if our eyes had had a collective deception.  The next morning Dorothy was playing in the playroom with Mags and she comes squealing into the kitchen shouting that Maggie walked! I think the point of no return has been reached, and before we know it, she’ll be running behind her brothers and sister. This summer should be a lot of fun!

Liam is at a very challenging age. Really. He is attached to everything. We were going to pitch a Christmas rug that has been fairly useless due to it’s lack of non-skid bottom and he got absolutely hysterical crying that it was his favorite rug. I find myself sneaking broken toys and unwanted items out to the garbage at night, after he goes to bed. He is also trying to find where he fits in in the big scheme of things, I’m hoping this is the path away from his extreme egocyntrisism. I think I speak for the entire family when I say the “Me” stage is getting old.

Dorothy is growing too. I mentioned previously that I was teaching her to knit. Last night she finished her first project, a scarf. She is very proud of it and has immediately cast on her next project, a matching hat on circular needles. She had hoped to make that sweater, but I think that she is re-thinking it for the time being. Dorothy is doing well in school and is never a behavior problem, she is the only child in her 1st grade to have stayed on green all year. Even though she does well and loves her teacher, she still wants to just stay at home and help me during the day. If the situation were different, I think she’d do well homeschooled. Perhaps someday.

Now Dustin, on the other hand, really enjoys school, or at least the social aspect of it. I think he could take or leave the academic portion of it, but he does just fine. Dustin is going to be in 5th grade next fall and he recently brought home his first document about next year. He got to pick an elective course. All fifth graders have to chose either intro to music, band, orchestra or choir and he chose band. He has the opportunity to play a variety of instruments, but wants to play the trumpet. He tells me he wants to join the Army when he is 18. I wonder if he will.

John is still working 30+ hours a week and plugging along at the junior college working on his associate’s degree in art. He wants to get a degree in graphic art, and it looks like he may pick up some work in the field part-time pretty soon. I think it would be a good opportunity for him. As he approaches 20, he’s also talking about The Big Move a.k.a. his first apartment. He has several friends who are moving out this summer and he wants to join their ranks.

John and I are doing well, no big change there. This June will be our 5th wedding anniversary and five years ago I thought it would be fun to do something BIG to celebrate, but I think our big thing will be camping with our kids and some friends….maybe we’ll renew our vows with all the kids there to witness. Our big thing right now is shopping for a camper/travel trailer, and I simply cannot wait to finally buy one and quit looking! I have a few requirements…enough beds to sleep all of us, a potty, a shower and a kitchen….and a/c. That’s it. Hopefully we get one in the next month or so.

A Purple Festivus Cake

Today Liam wanted to bake a cake. No problem – cake mixes are something we have. IGA had them 2 for $1 a couple months ago and I bought LOTS of cake mixes. I think I actually bought 16 of them. Down to the pantry we go so Liam can chose a cake. He picks a nice french vanilla.

We come upstairs and I suggest making it red for Christmas. Great idea! I reach into the cabinet and grab what appears to be red food coloring. Drop. Drop. Drop. Oh. That’s not red. Liam squeals in delight, “MOMMY, that’s purple! I like a purple cake!” Well, we will have at least one very eager eater of the cake. White icing, holly berries and little trees are on top of the cake. Today is Festivus, so maybe this can be our new tradition each year, to bake an unnatural food color cake. I’m thinking next year can be orange or green, either way will be a hit with the kids.

Happy Festivus to you and yours. If you are unfamiliar with this holiday it involves a silver pole erected in your home where you gather round and air your grievances after a delicious dinner (where we will serve the purple cake). The evening concludes with “Feats of Strength”. Now, this is where you’ll want to bust out the Kodak or your video phone. According to Wikipedia, “Traditionally, the head of the household selects one person at the Festivus celebration and challenges that person to a wrestling match… … Tradition states that Festivus is not over until the head of the household is pinned in a wrestling match.”

Who turned off the lights?

We had a near miss tonight. While vacuuming the damn blue carpet tonight, it was noticed that the outlet was sparking. Oh crap. Down to the electrical panel John flies. Seriously, I’ve only seen him move this fast on a few other occasions, namely when I fell down our staircase in the 1st trimester with Maggie, and the time he fell down into the concrete drainage ditch behind our old house while trimming a tree. The latter occasion was obviously not by choice. Anyway, downstairs he goes to turn off the circuit.

Now, it’s a good thing John is so smart, otherwise we’d have had to have an electrician here on a Sunday night, and that’s not cheap. A lot of doggone stuff is on that circuit too, like the kitchen lights and microwave, so cooking dinner had to wait. Like I said before, my husband is smart, but he is also a Jack of all Trades too, so he replaced the outlet right then! Gotta love a handy man.

Of course, the kids had some interesting reactions. Dorothy wanted to make sure we knew that “They” turned out half of our lights…I think she assumed the power company was just having a good time with us or something like that. Dustin was hoping the TV wasn’t going to be next. Liam’s prime concern was not the lack of lighting, but why he couldn’t be right in the mix of things helping Daddy.

I’m convinced that if it weren’t for the blue carpet and it’s constant need to be vaccumed, that this would have never happened. The plug in the blue room would have never otherwise seen so much action, and it wouldn’t have burned up.

Christmas is Coming Soon

The first of October this year, one of our local radio stations switched to All Christmas All the Time. I thought it was a little early, but perhaps I should have taken it as a clue to start shopping. I know that now we are only mid-way through November, but I just blinked and that month and a half passed me by, so I’m certain that Christmas is going to be here soon.

The catalogs have been littering my mailbox and I’ve been handing them to the children as they arrive. My mistake. Now Liam believes that Santa Clause A) shops from the Fisher Price catalog, and B) is going to bring him everything within it’s pages. While he may be correct on one account, Santa’s budget is stretched a little thin this year, and everything in the entire catalog will not be under the tree. However, there are some really great ideas in the now crinkled, ripped, cupcake covered pages and I better sieze the opportunity today to order some of the *exclusive* items before the item numbers are completely unreadable.

Dorothy is fairly easy to buy for this year. Between Hannah Montana, High School Musical, Barbie and American Girl she is covered. Add in a couple of cute outfits, some corker bows and a small bottle of nail polish and she will have won the proverbial Christmas lottery. I really enjoy shopping for her, because I just think of all the stuff I would want to play with and she will like it.

Shopping for Dustin is getting harder every.single.year. He is a fourth grade boy. He plays outside and he plays video games. I really try to discourage the heavy usage of computer & PS2 gaming, but obvious gifts would include Guitar Hero II and more computer games. While I think we’ll get him Guitar Hero, I think we’ll stop there with the technology gifts – which leaves us where? He’s got a couple of basketballs, baseball gloves, footballs, soccer balls and a basketball goal. Clothing is not on the list, though he’ll probably get his annual supply of socks and underwear. He likes playing Army games, so I think maybe a Nerf assualt rifle, some camoflauge pants, shirts and targets might be in order. I know some people think it is a heinous crime to give children toy guns, but over the years I’ve found that little boys as little as 18 months will turn everything into guns from Barbie dolls with their heads removed to gun shaped sticks. We’ll save our dolls and sticks and stick to something intended for the purpose.

John is 19 this year. I just don’t know that Christmas holds the same level of excitement as it does for the littles. After all, he knows the Santa Secret, and bigger than that, he knows that he has to ante up and buy his own gifts for people. This morning though, he really surprised me by telling me that he wants to get Maggie a special doll and that he wants to get Dorothy something to take back and forth between here and her dad’s house. I’m so pleased that he wants to get them something meaningful, and even more pleased that he’s already thinking about it. Because John might come across my blog, I won’t talk about his potential gifts.

Maggie is the baby. She will like anything we give her, but most of all she’ll like the excitement, the bows, the wrapping paper and she will pick up on the happy time that the family is sharing. I think we could all learn a lesson from her.