Thursday, April 23, 2015

old friends.

I've tried writing this post four times.  Just know this post was originally the size of a novella. I decided to erase it all and let the pictures do most of the talking.
Last weekend we visited friends that we hadn't seen in 5-7 years. Lost time disappeared and our time with them seemed to slow. We ate amazing food, rode waterslides (not pictured), and had wonderful conversations in Spanish and English.  The kids got along all weekend (except when Ray stole Gianna's hat).
We left feeling refreshed.
We had a blast.
I have one story to share with you.

Sunday morning after church, Ray and I stood outside looking at the statues embedded in the wall.  He mistook a rough hewn Mary for Jesus (I could understand his confusion), so I brought him back in the church to show him the huge crucifix and tabernacle... to show him Jesus.
We walked up the isle. The church was almost empty.  A woman's voice chanting ancient hymns floated above our heads, echoing off the high arched ceiling.
As we neared the front of the church, I pointed out the crucifix hanging above the tabernacle and asked, "See Jesus?"
He replied, "Yes. Look at that Christ on the cross."


Then, as if it needed explaining he continued, "Mommy, I just farted... with my butt."

I wheeled around and we headed for the exit. The angelic voice continued it's haunting melody overhead.
"Mommy, whasso funny?" Ray whispered.
"Mommy! SSSHHHH!!!"
I was cry-laughing by the time we got outside.

some people make their beds everyday...
others destroy it. Ray teaching Gianna how to play "bird nest".
playing bubbles after getting caught in the rain.
backyard soccer, with toddlers.
can you guess which ones are not like the others??
L to R: Mark, Gianna, Etel, Brad, Taresa, Philomena, Ray, me, Greg and Jimmy 
drive home sunset 
best shot of a rainbow... they're hard to capture!
Ray pretend calling Gianna, proof he had fun.
Jimmy's waiting his turn to call Philomena.

Monday, April 20, 2015

heart to heart.

Greg's brother, Kevin, stayed with us for a few days.
Jimmy bonded with his Uncle Kevin. Once when he was crying, Kevin and I were sitting on the couch, I opened my arms to Jimmy but he walked right past me and climbed onto Kevin's lap.
If Jimmy fussed Kevin scooped him up and carried him outside, all crying ceased. He took both boys outside every morning so I could shower and get ready.
Kevin and I took the boys to the beach.  It was relaxing. Kevin did the usual beach stuff, burying Jimmy in the heavy sand, chasing Ray 1/2 mile down the beach because he never stops running... ever.

It was getting close to leaving time. A couple showed up and the woman started burying what I though was a spike for a beach umbrella in the sand. I thought it was strange that she was placing it in out direct path to the water from where we were sitting, and there was literally no one else around, so why there? Turns out it wasn't for an umbrella, it was a spike for not one, but two dog run lines for their pit bulls. The couple started playing catch and I watched the dogs getting really excited. The woman brought out a soccer ball because the dogs were interfering with their game of catch, they wouldn't release the football on their owner's command. Then I saw the dogs play fighting over the ball, clenching the entire ball in their mouths like they were biting into an enormous hoagie sandwich.

Did you know that my kids' heads are smaller than soccer balls?
maybe next time we'll borrow Luke's helmet
We decided to pack up and leave before Ray asked to pet those dogs. Or go back in the water.  Or run after seagulls. Or look for more seashells. Or do anything that involved proximity to the pit bulls.
Let's not even dwell on Jimmy's wandering habits.

Moving on.
The night Luke came we were sitting around our play room/living room chatting.  Kevin and Luke were sitting in the play room.  I watched as Ray left Greg's lap, dragged his little chair across the room so it was now facing the rest of us, to the right of Greg's brothers. Ray tugged on Greg's hand and said, "Daddy, come sit in the rocking chair," so Greg moved to the rocking chair sitting in the play room, closer to Kevin and Luke.
"Everybody, wait!" he insisted. He then walked and sat down in his chair.
"Okay. Now everybody, start talking."
He had arranged all of us, including himself, in a semi circle. He wanted to be a part of it all.
Jimmy, uninterested, looking for Kevin who'd left for Augusta.
In confirmation of his "big kid-ness", the next morning went something like this.
Ray: "Mommy, what's wrong?"
Me: "Ugh. I can't think."
Ray: "That's okay Mommy. I'll think for you."
Me: "Wonderful.  I don't know what to make for breakfast."
Ray: "Oh I know! How about green eggs and ham?! Isn't that a  great idea, Mommy?"
Me: "Yes, but the dishes are dirty. I have nothing to cook with."
Ray: "How about I help you with those dirty dishes?!"
Me: "That would be wonderful."
And it was. We ate eggs and bacon.
Ray figured out how to use the camera on my phone.  Luke, Kevin and Jimmy.
Kevin and Luke cleaned A BUNCH... as in the week's five loads of laundry I'd hidden piled in our bedroom was magically folded in a 30 minute span. They also got my kids to eat all their breakfast (normally impossible).
Luke: "Ray, you gotta eat your eggs."
Ray: ...
Luke: "If you don't eat your eggs you'll be like Uncle Kevin. If you do eat your eggs you'll be like your Uncle Luke."
Kevin: "What? Luke, are you trying to keep him from eating his eggs?!
Luke: "You don't want to get sunburned and turn all red like Uncle Kevin, do you? Eat your eggs and you can be tan and strong and ride a motorcycle like Uncle Luke."
Whatever works, right?

Just before Luke left, he wrestled with Ray. Wrestling morphed into tickling. Tickling into torture tickling. Then I hear Luke say, "Dude, did you pee on me? Is that pee? There's a spot of pee on my shirt!"
Mess with the bull, you get the horns,  Uncle Luke.

Jimmy was asleep when Kevin left. He woke up and wandered around the house for a few days, looking for Kevin. His heart was hurting.
Jimmy looking around for Kevin. Awwww.
Thanks you guys for getting us through the last few days of Greg's rotation.  Greg was on vacation this past week and we were caught up on chores before it began, which made it very restful and peaceful.
More on our vacay later.
I hope all of you reading this have a wonderful, smile filled day, wherever you are.

EDIT: Here's a text conversation I had with my sister-in-law, Anna, about this post. 

I'll have to check it out..though I do think you are making my bros sound sweeter than they are 😉
5:23 PM
Only because I left out all the farting
5:25 PM
That's why it seemed surreal
6:06 PM

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

little voices.

Ray likes to talk. 
He gets it from Greg.
... just kidding.
My ears seem to get worn out after a while, like really fatigued muscles that just stop working on you mid workout (this is actually why I don't work out). I loose the capacity to discern between questions and comments, pointless or otherwise. My responses regress from hums, to grunts, to growls, and then finally snaps... or running away.

Recently Greg discovered a hidden gem among our apartment buildings and parking lots, the Tennis Court. It is a fenced in oasis outskirted by shady trees and paths where people walk their dogs. Whenever one goes by, the kids and I run to the fence and drool. Sometimes they even stop to let us pet them through the fence.
We visit the Tennis Court somewhere between the hums and growls.
Definitely before the snaps.
It's my run away spot. 
We've been there every day this week.
"Ray, smile!"

 "Okay, that's good."

Last week we went to a playdate at a park.  I met up with an old college friend and her two little girls.  I told Ray we were going to play with a little girl about Aunt Abigail's age and see her baby sister.We pulled up to the park as a random mom was leaving with her kids.  Ray yelled, "Look, Mommy, Look! Two little girls! I found them!!"

This park is not like our park.  This park is made for tots. We're talking slides that are only a few feet vs. stories high. It is covered in a cushion camouflaged under fake grass vs. mulch and cigarettes. If they fall, they'd bounce. It was beautiful.
toddler paradise
Ray was, eh hem, great with her oldest daughter, who's two and a half, leading her up the wrong way on slides and showing her all the dirt piles he could find. She tippy toe skipped all over the park, brown Shirly Temple curls bobbing up and down even when she wasn't galloping off somewhere... shewassostinkingadorable. We stayed about an hour though the heat was bad. Ray was still playing in the dirt and bushes when I walked her to her car. 
Ray comes running up holding something in his hand as my friend's buckling in her daughters.
"Look, Mommy!! I found a sticky fing!!" 
"Oh, a sticky berry?" I ask. 
"Yes! A sticky berry!" and he opens his hand to reveal his treasure. 
We agreed our next playdate would be at her pool. 

We love reading books.  A new classic --I'm talking right up there with Goodnight Moon-- is a book called Do You Wear Diapers. Each page features a different animal and it goes something like this:
Ray has it memorized, so we've begun reading it together.
Me: "Hello, kitty. Do you wear diapers?"
Ray: "Meow. No, I don't wear diapers. I poop in the toybox."
Me: "Litterbox, Ray. Not toybox."
Ray: "Meow. I poop in the litterbox."
Yesterday was a long day.  I snapped at Ray a few times. Then I'd stop, and try to get my ears working again, and ask him to repeat what he'd said. 
I was getting in the car and realized I'd left my phone inside.
He was jabbering on and on and said, "Mommy, cover your mouth." 
I snapped at him. 
Then sighed and looked up at him, "Okay, Ray. What do you want me to do?"
"Cover your mouth with your hand like this," he waits for me to do it, "then blow a kiss like this!"
And I do it.
My grumpypants came off.

I feel tennis court playtime coming on.
This morning I was getting slammed with questions: "Mommy. is it daytime?", "Mommy, are you pouring milk?", "Mommy, is that Jimmy making a mess with his milk?" etc.
He later asked, "Mommy, can I (insert something a three year old should never be allowed to do)?"
I said, "No. But you can help me find my phone."
"Okay! I will help you find your phone! Where is it?" he asked.
"I don't know," I replied.
"But, Mommy. Where did you put your phone??"
I gave up reasoning and searching and started this post. 
It's still missing. (Update- I found it! yippee!!)
Earlier we'd eaten breakfast together. I'd finished and went to sit in my rocking chair with my hot mug of yerba mate, reminiscing over these funny little moments, this post formulating in my mind. Jimmy came over and magnetized himself to my legs and I was stuck and trying to reach to get my mug away from his grasp and he was giggling which made me laugh at my own delirium: a quiet moment with a hot beverage... BAHAHAHA
Across the room, 30 minutes into eating his egg, and 100,000 x's into being told to just finish his egg already, I hear Ray ask, "Mommy, why are you smiling?"
"I'm smiling because you guys are so funny."
Ray chirps, "I'm funny? Good."  

Monday, April 6, 2015

happy easter.

I hope your Easter Sunday was wonderful.  Of course it was. It's Easter.

We attended Easter Vigil Mass, like the optimistic idiots that we are, geared with a backpack full of glow sticks and goldfish snacks and jungle animals (toys, not the kids).  We discussed on the way, "The vigil mass is awesome: no lights, open flames, lots of singing, loads of people... the kids will love it."
our first attempts at an Easter family picture
Greg even had a gameplan, "I'm going to take the kids to the beach and to the market.  We'll come home and they'll get a bath and eat dinner.  They'll be worn out for mass." He was gone for 5 whole hours with BOTH boys.
Sidenote - During that time I cleaned the entire house and cooked dinner.  It's astonishing the amount of work you can do when you're all alone.
Jimmy fell asleep on the way in the car. Mass began at 8:30pm. We got our candles lit and marched into the dark church, along with the rest of the small number of vigil attendants... only one of whom had a child, a tiny baby.
Then they turned on the lights right after we came in. Ray got to wave a candle around hold a candle for a while since the glowsticks-as-nifty-distraction were now useless.
Then Jimmy woke up before the readings even began, just in time to see Ray with the candle, getting to blow it out, and Daddy putting it away. As we all sat down to hear the readings, Jimmy went straight for the candle and Greg took it away and Jimmy screamed... ssssscccrrrrrreeeeeeeaaaaaaammmmed.
we decided to let someone at Church take them. 
"I'm going to take them for a walk," Greg whispered.
And that was the last I heard from him for a while.
I went to make sure they were still alive somewhere between the 4th and 5th readings.
They were outside.  We traded places.
I brought the backpack and Jimmy got a hold of the glowstick pack, spilling them everywhere. Ray helped me pick them up, "Here Mommy, I'll crack them!" and then I blinked and every glowstick we owned was lit.
which never happened.
Anyway. Ray fell asleep 20 minuted before Mass ended. Jimmy decided he wanted to play quietly in the pew by himself 5 minutes before mass ended.
It was 11:30 when we pulled out of the church parking lot.

After tucking the kids in their beds, sharing an entire jar of Talenti ice cream, and eating a few Reese's eggs, we declared the night an overall success and vowed to do it again next year.
so here you go.
The next morning the Easter Bunny brought way too much sugar... Peeps and all. Ray found all the plastic candy-filled eggs hidden in the house. We trooped outside to search for our dyed eggs.  Ray found a bunch. Jimmy found one, picked it up and threw it on the sidewalk. Picked it up. Threw it. And did it again, until the blue shell was littered everywhere. Greg grabbed it before the entire egg was smeared into the concrete. Good save, Daddy.
Later Jimmy repeated his Easter egg demolition inside the house when we weren't looking. I noticed just as the egg smearing shifted from the tile floor to the wool rug.
Good save, Mommy.
We ate way too much candy. Greg made amazing sausage and gravy that helped keep the family from turning into sugar-zombies. I took a three hour nap. Greg took a power nap. We felt like crap and swore we would never ever eat any sugar ever again.
Greg took the boys outside while I cooked.
did you know there's a tennis court here? I didn't.
Easter dinner consisted of lamb, roasted garlic and onion mashed potatoes with lamb gravy, and asparagus.
Then we ate more of our Chocolate Easter bunnies.

Since beginning this post Jimmy has taught himself to remove his own diaper. So, I'm off to finish my chocolate bunny remains...

PS- I'll try to add more pics later after I get a hold of Greg's phone... try checking back tonight or tomorrow.