Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Heavens to Betsy!

So I've been trying to think of things to write a post about. I thought maybe I would write about how Dylann uses phrases he picked up from Grandma in Minnesota and it makes him sound like an elderly person, waving a cane around. "Heavens!" "Geez oh man." "Goodness gracious!" "Holy smokes!" "Gee whiz!" I think gee whiz is my favorite. He sounds like he should be in a 1950's Ovaltine commercial.

I also thought I would write about how Dylann is growing up and blah, blah, time flies, but I've written about that 50 times already. So yeah, Dylann is growing up. Time flies. He takes the bus to school and two of his teeth fell out! My big toothless boy is on his way to becoming the proud owner of adult-sized teeth. Isn't it weird that kids get full-sized teeth at such young ages? Little kids running around with giant adult teeth and they can barely tie their shoes. I guess it's better than if they had adult-sized feet.

And the weather here is FANTASTIC. I love spring in the south and its loveliness is magnified 50 times after our long winter in Minnesota. Every day I look out my window and sing like Snow White. How enchanting.

Donn is coming home in about 10 days! Hopefully he doesn't look in the garage!

Ok, so that's all I got.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Now we just need a golden retriever

I started down an inevitable path 6 years ago. A baby came screaming into the world. I became obsessed with that baby and didn't talk about anything else until he was 22 months old. Then I had another. Shortly afterwards we discovered we couldn't take these whippersnappers camping. With two car seats in the backseat of our pontiac sunfire there was no room for anything else. My husband suggested a minivan. I said, "I'm not ready for that yet." One month later I took a ride in a friend's new minivan and a few days after that spacious ride we bought the exact same one. A kia sedona that has carried us over 80,000 miles in 4 years with no problems to speak of. The van is like an extension to our house. Now it has brought us here, to the next stop on the cliche highway:

I am a soccer mom.

But I think I'll hold off on buying the bumper sticker.

Also, just wanted to note that shinguards and soccer socks on kids under 4 feet tall are the cutest things I've ever seen. Almost.

When Jack was done and we were loading up into our MINIVAN, one of the kids said goodbye and he said, "Bye! See you next time...AT SOCCER!" With the same level of excitement as if you replaced the word soccer with Disneyworld or A Toy Store Where Everything is Free!

Did I mention that this was cute?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

First the packing, now the unpacking

My garage looks like a warehouse. Or like I have a severe eBay addiction. At least over half of the boxes are empty now. Progress.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Babies and waffles

This morning Jack announced that he hopes the next baby I have is not a girl because a boy would probably like the same things he likes. Also when he gets tired of fighting with Dylann, he would have someone else to fight with and totally dominate.

This little revelation surprised me because I'm obviously not pregnant (husband deployed for the last 15 months) and am not planning to be anytime soon. The topic comes up a lot though with other people. When I told my family that we would be moving to England at the end of the summer, their reaction was, "Oh no! That means you're going to have a baby over there!"

In my little world of family and friends there are babies crawling out from behind every corner, cute little fuzzy-headed monkeys with big fat cheeks and twinkly eyes and toothless grins. They are hard to resist. However those thoughts have been tempered with gritty labor and delivery stories, some of which actually scare the pants off me. It's been about 4 1/2 years since I had Jack and the memories of my own experiences in the delivery room have faded with time and seem almost like old fables. I'm sure some of the details have been lost and some things exaggerated.

When Donn and I compare stories we each remember different parts more vividly. He was able to pay attention to more than I was in my hysterical, half-naked state. If there are any discrepencies it's only because there was so much going on it was impossible for each of us to take it all in. Now it seems almost unreal, an experience so beyond the realm of normal daily life and so physically daunting that my mind has a hard time believing it really happened.

Although I think we will have another baby at some point, I honestly cannot imagine going through it all again. We've made it through two pregnancies and deliveries with everyone in tact. Another try seems like it might be pushing it. It would mean starting all over again with the diapers and middle of the night feedings, setting up the crib and pulling out all the old baby clothes, but it would be different with a new little person in the mix. It would be another chance to experience the first moments all over again.

Maybe we wouldn't screw up as much with the third one. Poor Dylann had to break us in to our new roles as parents and he lived through our ineptitude somehow. When Jack came along we spent an entire year in a cycle of changing diapers and warming milk because Dylann was still a toddler. Our house was so childproofed it was like running an obstacle course to get from one end of the house to the other, leaping over baby gates and unlatching doors along the way. A lot of what we spent time and money on turned out to be unnecessary, because the things that made the biggest impact and the best memories didn't cost any money. The third time around might be that much easier since the first two have worked out most of the kinks. At least up until age 6. Beyond that lies unexplored territory. As always, poor Dylann leads the way.

Just the idea of having three kids scares me a little bit. They would outnumber us. The baby would have to don a helmet and full-body protective gear in order to be in the same room with Dylann and Jack. Chaos might ensue. Or worse, we might turn into one of those families that goes out in matching shirts and fanny packs, going to square dancing festivals and being wholesome.

I guess I'll just keep hemming and hawing and waffling. It's what I do.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

That sounds pleasant

Jack: When it's your birthday, I'm going to tell Daddy we need to buy a teddy bear for you.

Me: That would be nice. Or you could just make me something. I like things that you made yourself.

Jack: Okay, I'm going to shoot a bear and take all of it's skin off. Then I'm going to put stuffing in it and sew it up. Would you like that?

Thursday, March 6, 2008

At times we felt like hobos

We drove, we hauled, we laughed, we cried, we got gas, we yelled, we got gas, we yelled, we got gas, we sang songs, we got gas, we got gas, and we yelled. No one was injured.

We had a full load. The van was packed and the uhaul was loaded so tight, we didn't dare open it until we were ready for everything to come flying out the back. The scenery in the first few states was the same, repeating shades of gray and white with the occasional billboard for Jesus.

As we got further and further south, we started to feel like dazed time travelers every time we got out of the vehicle. We went from the coldest part of winter to what felt like the middle of spring, complete with green trees and birds and sun. The van was still covered in salt from the roads in northern Minnesota and the boys were wearing t-shirts and winter boots, squinting at the sun, wondering how it is possible that the weather can be so different in two places at the same time. Our skin was so pale from a long winter of being covered from head to toe in layers of wool and flannel and down that we looked like sheep after they are freshly shorn, feeling half-naked and confused.

When we arrived, we drove around for a while until I eventually remembered my way around, but we found out the hotel we wanted was only available for one night so we had to unload the back of the van that evening and load it all back up in the morning. Then we would drive about 2 miles away to another hotel in the afternoon and unload it all again. And that hotel would only be available for one night, so we would do this 3 more times, each time causing the van to look more and more like a dump truck. Hello! Don't mind me, I'm just the garbage man.

The boys had reached near-lethal levels of boredom and were so ready to run and jump and climb that we almost had to sedate them to get them back in the van. Whenever we would get to our hotel room at the end of the day, Dylann's natural reaction was to leap from one bed to the next like Tarzan. When I came out of the shower one evening, my aunt Wendy was sitting on the bed looking like she had been abandoned in a chimpanzee cage. She said Dylann had been flying through the air on the beds and she just didn't know what to do, so she told them we would go down to the pool if they would calm down, even though we were exhausted and hadn't eaten. We had learned that ceaseless bribery was the only slightly effective tool we had. Without it, we would not be here today.

By our fourth evening here I had found the house I wanted, laid claim to it, and we were unloading the uhaul and the very disgusting van into the garage. That was followed by two days of loading and unloading everything we own from a storage unit into the uhaul and then into the house. As hard as it was, we still had a lot of laughs, mostly because we were so exhausted there was nothing else to do but laugh and laugh and laugh. I don't know how I would have done it without Wendy! There would have been a lot less exhausted laughing and more angry cursing. She was a lifesaver on this trip.

We managed to stay pretty upbeat throughout everything, because each little hurdle is one more thing to check off the list and it all leads up to that day which is now less than one month away. We'll be back at the parade field waiting for the white buses to pull in and unload a group of very tired, very hardworking people who will be able to go home for the first time in many months. Until then I will be waiting just as patiently as the boys were on the drive down here.