On The Clock

  Monday afternoons are a testament to this busy mom’s ability to juggle schedules and various after-school personalities, as we begin our foray into dragging siblings along to one child’s extracurricular activity without the other two losing their damn minds.  I know I am just dipping my toes into the sea of insanity, so I’m glad we’re taking baby steps, but the pressure (to remember all the gear, to bring food no one hates or already ate that day, to bring books, toys and my cell phone charger for all manner of distractions…) is real. On Mondays, Little H and I peel into the elementary school parking lot, grab the big kids and head south to make it to Em’s ballet class just in time.  Their school teachers and I barely make eye contact before the kids are dragged out the door by the handle of their backpacks and herded through the parking lot to the van I left running so we can get in and go (if I haven’t even just parked illegally in front of the school and left Little H in the car to shave precious seconds off our time).  There are updates on our days to share, Purell to be passed around and snacks to be desperately devoured (do these children eat at all during the day at school?), and various forms of entertainment to be doled out to the biggest and littlest once we arrive at the dance studio, all before my attention turns to my tiny dancer, because we are on the clock.  Costume change, bun in place, ballet shoes on and she scurries upstairs to take her place at the barre before I have even had a chance to take off my coat.  Half the time I am still stabbing bobby pins into her hair at random as she is halfway up the stairs, Jax’s voice already echoing behind me that he is bored.  The only thing that gets me through it all are glimpses of this through the classroom window, that make it worth the sweat and tears (mostly mine).

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Once back downstairs, the natives have already begun to grow restless, and beyond Little H’s willingness to play PJ Masks for hours on end (“To the Cat Car!”), I usually come to ballet armed with a bag full of new library books to appease Jax and all manner of distractions for Little H.  This past Monday I knew was going to be unseasonably warm, so Jax, Little H and I took a walk around the neighborhood to enjoy some February fresh air and earn me a breather from little people begging to use my cell phone.

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The sky was gray with no sunshine to be found, and even as the sun sunk lower to the horizon and the chill began to penetrate my wimpy bones, Jax and Little H were having a blast.  Could outside play be the key to my Monday afternoon survival?  Since the two of them have only finally begun to find a middle ground–mostly centered around a shared love for Transformers Rescue Bots–and it’s freaking winter and freezing dark outside before ballet is even over, I have not really attempted this tactic before.  I forced myself to man up and stay outside as long as they wanted to see how this experiment would play out.

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The playground was a soggy mess from all the rapidly melting snow, but to my kids, all the world’s a stage, with plenty of imagination at their fingertips, With Jax in rare Patient and Engaging Older Brother form, and Little H not telling him to take a hike as per usual, these two didn’t need me at all.  When they discovered an actual stage, just perfect for an elaborate performance of Rescue Bots: The Dance Party Variety Show, I was in for quite a treat.

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Jax was born to emcee.

Their play was so elaborate and Little H’s dance moves so comical, I actually was sorry for it to end, even if I was shivering.  Stupid winter.  Never fear, I assume I will be attending Part II of this epic saga next week at about the same time, and will keep you posted on the dramatic conclusion of Which Bot Is The Fastest and What Will Boulder Paint This Week?  Ah, the fleeting joys of motherhood.  Cue the nonstop whining that they are hungry for dinner in 3…2….1…

Such is life in this slushy part of the year, with three kids all on the threshold of big extracurricular things.  Mud season appears to have arrived early, and I will attempt to appreciate these wintery afternoons while I have them, while dreaming of green grass and picnic dinners after ballet (even if that would require one more thing for me to remember to pack!).  I’m glad to have found a bit of a key to surviving the Extracurricular Activity Chaos Black Hole, and will try to look on the bright side and appreciate the chance for Jax and Little H to carve out some time together…at least while they’re getting along!

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A Tale of Two Sisters

Once upon a time there was a very little girl who wanted so much to be like her big sister.  She wore her sister’s old nightgowns that had been outgrown, even when they came down to the very tips of her toes.  She wanted her own hair to grow long like her sister’s and tried to style it like hers during the day, regardless of how crazy her hair looked before bed.  She wanted to sleep in her sister’s bed every day for nap and every night while sister played in their brother’s room next door, hoping she could get a big sister cuddle before they fell asleep.  They were very best friends and Little Sister looked up to Big Sister ever so much.

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Their mommy loves having two girls and loves that the two sisters enjoy sharing a bedroom, whispering deep into the night and waking her up with their laughter early in the morning.  But Mommy wasn’t ready to let the little sister grow up too fast; after all, she was the last baby and dear to Mommy’s heart.  So Mommy kept her locked in her tower as long as she could, but the day arrived when even Mommy had to admit that her baby girl wasn’t a baby any longer.

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So Daddy broke the littlest girl out of her tower and she was free to come and go as she pleased.

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And of course, she was delighted.

Now big sister can tuck her little sister in every night, and they can pass books and stuffies and secrets back and forth across the room like big girls do.  And the baby only naps in her big sister’s bed during the day because she misses her, not because she has something little sister does not.

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And without a doubt, they all grew up to be lovely young ladies inside and out and they both lived happily ever after.

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#NYEveSelfies

Everyone in the universe is going to be taking selfies while they drink, dance, carouse, frolic, fight, kiss, make up, break up, meet the love of their life, cram into an Uber, and generally cause a ruckus tonight.  Even though my New Year’s Eve plans consisted of successfully taking three kids sledding and watching a movie at home with my man, I didn’t think that it would be wholly undocumentable.  So after a short nap for Little H, and quick photo shoot in the rain for me, I thought we could all use a little New Year’s cheer.  It was time for some Big Camera Selfies.

Strip the bed? Check. Add some light to an overcast afternoon? Check. Wide angle lens plus as slow a shutter speed as my fidgety kids can (mostly) handle? Check.

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Two big kids who know the drill and understand sometimes it is worth just getting into the spirit of things rather than fight Mom about how insane it is to prop her big camera on the dog bed? Check.  One grumpy and not-at-all-in-the-mood-for-this toddler?  Yup, got one of those, too.

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Timer ready? Check. Let’s take some #NYEveSelfies! Just one good one for Mommy to use as the last photo of her 365 day photo project, please, kids?

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Okay, one with all our eyes open.

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Okay, one where we are all looking in the right direction.

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Okay, so Little H looks like she has to poop in that last one. We are #WinningAtSelfies!

Let’s just try it one more time, without the timer.  Just one cute one for posterity.  Is that too much to ask, pretty please for Mom?

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Apparently, yes.

So our #NYEveSelfie experiment failed, as do so many New Year’s Eve ideas that start with good intentions.  I’m glad we got a few laughs out of it, though!

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Better luck next year, Mom!

Wishing a Happy and Healthy New Year to you!

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Traditions Made To Be Broken

Traditionally, I take my Christmas card photo kind of seriously (shocker), so no one in my family is surprised when I ask the kids to put on their Christmas pajamas, leave the house in their bathrobes and go stand and smile in front of a barn.  Photo shoots are pretty status quo around here.  With such a mild winter so far, I didn’t even have to worry about winter coats or mittens, and we got a great photo on our first attempt.  That was definitely a holiday miracle!

Another tradition we have is to take out all the Christmas decorations along with our ornaments when we are ready to decorate our newly-cut tree.  We always get our tree the weekend after Thanksgiving, and we open up all of our holiday boxes after dinner, playing Christmas music for the first time and laying out all our Christmas goodies.  But with Jax home from school that Friday and everyone in the Christmas spirit, I decided this year traditions were made to be broken.  I brought out all the decor and toys other than the ornaments a couple of days early, and with three kids at home, tired from a whirlwind trip to Massachusetts, I was sure happy I did.  They were, too!

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When we combine tree-decorating with the unloading of all our Christmas gear, the kids go into a holiday overload and everything gets admired for two seconds before they move on to something else.  Spreading out the decorating, letting them fully appreciate all our little Christmas treasures–coloring books, nutcrackers, Little People nativity set and Christmas train, Playmobil and Lego knicknacks–while Little H napped encouraged the big kids to play quietly and independently longer than they had in a long time.

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What a wonderful, peaceful beginning to the Christmas season, and what good kids.

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Okay, maybe they’re not that good!  Or photo ready, for that matter!

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I think this new tradition is one we’ll be keeping for a long time!

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Home Alone

Little H and I have been enjoying each other’s company these busy school mornings, and she often gleefully says, “It’s just you and me, Mom!” as soon as the big kids are out the door.  But sometimes I think she might miss some of her other favorite people in her life when we’re home alone all day.

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It’s not that I’m not fun, or that we don’t have many fabulous adventures together.  It’s just the smiles that light her face when big brother and big sister get home, and the quiet hugs she gives them out of nowhere, that makes me think she misses them more than she lets on.  Or that maybe being away from them all day makes her appreciate her favorite playmates.

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She will randomly talk about how her “bwuddah” (brother) and sister are at school, or announce as we drive in that general direction where they are, or show such excitement when we go to pick them up.  She’s finally reaping the benefits of being the only child left in the house, but I think sometimes she wishes there was a bit more of a crowd.

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Only about 160 more school days to go, Little H!  They’ll be home soon.

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Making Rainbows Out Of Rain

Into each life some rain must fall,” stated Henry Wordsworth Longfellow. With that sentiment in mind, it seems appropriate that on the last day of our vacation in Maine, when I was feeling a little down about not getting to the beach one last time because of afternoon storms, we were treated to this delightful sendoff after dinner.

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Which prompted us to think, What are we waiting for? and take the kids to the beach one last time, even with Jax and Em already in their pajamas.  We couldn’t leave without saying goodbye to Drakes Island, and while the rain sputtered to a stop, we had every inch of the beach to ourselves.  Rainbows make the best messengers.  Ours said, Get out and enjoy every last minute of your vacation!  So we did.  Who are we to argue with a rainbow?

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Farewell frolicking waves, farewell footprints and sandy toes!

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Farewell countless memories made, hours spent together just the five of us, solidifying bonds that go beyond just siblings into true friendships.

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Farewell to our happy place, until we meet again!

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Thank you for another amazing week full of breathtaking memories!

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Three In A Tub

These three babes in one bathtub always remind me of the rhyme Rub-A-Dub-Dub.  So much so that I have written about this exact scenario more than once, with striking similarities!

It’s like deja vu!

2014

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2015

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Even though I keep telling myself it’s not worth it to put all three of them in the tub together with the squabbling over who sits next to the faucet and the fact that they’re just running out of room, every now and then I give it one more try for the sheer joy that I still can.  Privacy and peeing in the tub and arguments about Paw Patrol squirt toys be damned.  It’s still worth it.

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