Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A little zippy

WARNING:  This post is not for motherly audiences.  Apparent Tales is not responsible for loss of breath, heart palpitations or any emotional damage experienced as a result of viewing the contents of this post.  At least one mother was found shaking, sweating and clinging to her smaller children not far from the location where these dangerous adventures took place.  This may happen to you if you try this at home. 

Our sister and brother in-laws' house just outside of Portland, Oregon is becoming quite the anticipated gathering spot by everyone in the family.  It's on a few acres that back up to the forest and they have tons and I mean tons of really fun stuff to do for outdoorsmen big and small.  I had been pumping up the kids for weeks about their huge chicken coop, Aunt Danielle's garden the size of grocery stores and thick forest we could go exploring in.  Did you notice I never once included their homemade 50 ft long and 30 ft high zip line?  
Unfortunately, the more adventurous member of this marriage who thought that allowing our 5 year old daughter to go on this aforementioned scary, dangerous and manmade zip line certainly had. 
!   !   !   !   !  

Did you just pee a little watching this video?  
It's ok, happens to even the best of the kegelers 'round here.  

Don't worry.  I did not go down on this one without a fight.  I was mad.  I huffed.  I puffed.  I begged, pleaded and cried a little not to let her go until she was at least 18.  
But I rarely get my way when it comes to outdoor adventures. Plus, I'm a notorious wimp and am so terrified of heights that my leg starts the standing shake when I even watch someone climb up high heights (like a 3 food ladder, I'm not joking.)   Daddy is the bravest of the brave, the adventurousist of the adventurers and also the wisest of the wise.  He knows that Uncle Greg has lots of engineer friends and that this zip line wasn't your average home job.  Plus, Daddy has had all sorts of survival, rock climbing, belaying, outdoor adventuring certifications, so he does know these things. 
He and every one else I previously considered reasonable and sane assured me that it was completely 100% safe.  
So I held on tight to the boys (who were DEFINITELY not going), did a few ring around the rosaries for dear life and watched our beloved Enna do her first "Zippy."

Except we didn't just watch.  We watched with wide, excited eyes and then some of us begged to go next. 

Before I could convince him that he might die or grow extra limbs out of his forehead or even turn into a bunny rabbit if he dared to go, Daddy had him suited up and dangling by his side. 

Now poor Jonah takes after his mother on this one...
And in this case, I couldn't be prouder watching him bear hug Daddy for dear life!  Atta boy!!  Safety first, fun second!   
The way things were going I quickly grabbed Bash and bribed him with unpicked blackberry bushes as far away from the zip line as our wobbly legs would take us....

Thank God Daddy didn't hear him whispering "Bash do thippy?  Bashy's turn do thippy?"

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

I don't need an alarm for Sienna's first day of kindergarten

If you have ever run a marathon or maybe at least a dreaded timed-mile for middle school PE, you know what can happen when you don't pace yourself.

Which is why I can recognized with confidence that in the last week I didn't pace myself.

I bolted out of the end of summer gates at a rookie pace that I could not maintain on Jonah's first day of school last week.  Mom's with one or two kids would be considered sprinters in this game (no less challenging, but different muscle building required).  When training for this event I had not taken into account that although I only have 2 children starting school this month, the other children at home are still... at home...  equally sleep deprived from going to bed at the later summer time and waking up at the early school time and still at home...  all cranky day long.   As a result, my category was better qualified as long distance.  A very long distance of adjustment and re-sleep training that I tried to run like it was a 100m dash.  The first day of school was only the warm up lap.  

This is particularly ironic, because in the end my first day of school enthusiasm rating paired directly opposite each poor little dear's personalities.  When I was overly excited, Jonah was ready to punch me in the face.  When I was too tired even fake mild excitement, Sienna was looking for a half time show rally.

Which brings us to Sienna's very first day of kindergarten... 

My eager, responsible and brave Sienna must have slept with one eye open and one toe in her uniform. When the dawn of her first day of kindergarten broke she was awake, fully dressed and breathing a minty fragrant "good morning" into my should-still-be-dreaming face at 5:40 am.

Sienna:  "Hi Mommy, Can you please do my hair?  I have been thinking half pony tail with the uniform bow. That's cute right?"  
Me:  "zzzzzzz"
Jonah:  "It's time to be awake Mommy!  We're going to make breakfast!"

Am I dreaming?  Someone is making me breakfast.  Oh that sounds wonderful.  Ask if we can get a late check out time? 

Sienna:  "Mom, your phone alarm really didn't work. It's time to get up."
Me:  Ok, not dreaming. "Jonah, you're hurting Mommy's shin.  Please step off my leg, so I can see if we're late!"        

5:37 am

And looks like we'll never know if I figured out how to make my phone alarm work, because we beat it to the 6:00 am punch!

If this were actually a race this would be called a false start and the young opponents would be disqualified....

But since it's motherhood and there's no way to disqualify your kids from being kids,  I just get penalties by way of disaster clean ups caused by kids roaming my house without direct supervision for 2 seconds.

So off we were into the soft yellow, orange, and pink yonder sunrise to greet the first day of kindergarten ahead.   Jonah made good on his promise to get us breakfast. Yogurt, fruit and hot dogs.  No one ate the hot dogs, but I commend him for his unique spin on breakfast.  Sienna said she wanted just a banana and plain toast so she didn't get any food on her uniform, which she explained as I stared into the beige smear of food on her brand school blouse.  The kids could eat a piece of plain, raw celery and stain themselves with it.

After breakfast Sienna reviewed the contents of her backpack for the millionth time, which included 68 various forms of writing utensils (pencils, crayons, markers etc), each of which she had individually marked with her initials just in case they got mixed up with someone else's.  This was actually her teacher's request, but I would've never imagined that a 5 year old would eagerly spend so much time doing this herself.  Writing that tiny on a rounded surface is difficult for adult, but for someone with budding fine motor skills... wow.... let's just say she's a permanent member in my type A club for that one!

As she performed her last inspection, I did my usual first day interviewing...

Me:  "So what are you most excited about for school this year?'
Sienna:   "Going to mass every day!!"
Me:  "Really!  That's great! Why are you so excited to go to mass with your class?"
Sienna:  "Maaaa-ooom, because we get to see Jesus at our school every day."

This is the moment I knew I had to record this day in a safe place juuuuust in case we ever need reminding of why we go to mass in say 10 years??

And all that brought us to about 6:45 am

Which was exactly our problem.  We were dressed, fed and ready to go 30 minutes early.  

We were going to be late.  

As predicted, the entire 1st day of school, on-time parent population watched us as we schlepped up to her classroom door with not 10 seconds to spare.  I'd like to pause for a moment of thanks to the nearby domestic disturbances and coffee stops that kept law enforcement off our speeded path.  Before this day I never knew the mommy missle had so much pick up.

Poor thing feels exactly the same way I do about being late.  

The hair tucking.  No, please not the hair tucking.  I'm so sorry!  I tried so hard to get us in the car on time.   It was mostly your brothers' faults for pooping, spitting up and hiding shoes in the 11th hour that we have to blame.  

Like me, she would rather NOT go somewhere at all than show up late to it.  

Her excitement melted away to unease and nervousness as all eyes watched us find her seat.

Right smack dab in the middle!

(Watch out for the fake cheetah petting photo bomb by Jonah)

 And in between two of her friends from preschool.  

The perfect seat! 

Before I could click and another picture, she ran over to squeeze me so tight and said "Ok Mom, you can go now!  I love you more than anyone in the whole world."

With that we left, came back home for Jonah to take his bus to school and were suddenly left all alone.  Mommy with the little big brother and the baby brother. 

There were 4 in the bed and the Big One said "Roll over" so we all rolled over and one flew off
There were 3 in the bed and the Wild One said "Roll over" so we all rolled over and one drove off

There were 2 in the bed and the big little one said "when are they coming home?" 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Behind the scenes of the 1st day

After all the darling back to school pictures flooding my addictions social media new feeds I got to thinking...  Forgive my bias here, but I think I had quite the adorable back to school picture for social media my adult show and tell expo.  But what I didn't show or tell is the not-cute-in-any-way story leading up to the 3 minutes surrounding my picture perfect pictures.

Why didn't I?  This blog is to document my apparent tales through raises this busy family.  If all I share is the good stuff then I might as well call it Ideal Tales.  Or something not punny.  And that wouldn't be me.

So let me share what our first day back to school morning went like in it's entirety.... buckle up, folks.

3:15am-  When I laid my head down for the 3rd time since "going to bed" for what I hoped to be my longest stretch of sleep before waking up.

5:45am-  Not too shabby, but Dear Jonah, perhaps you'd like to spend some time with your favorite monthly subscribed streaming babysitter until Mommy's eyes stop twitching?

7:00am- Now that we've wasted our screen time quota for the day and I haven't even made breakfast yet... I better stop lying around starring at this adorably squishy baby in my arms.  I half-stumbled down the stairs with a forced smile on my face and a freshly nursed Sam drooling down my arms.  Today is a special day for Jonah.  Be happy.  Be playful.  Be loving.  Be P-A-T-I-E-N-T.

7:15am-  Feeling awake!   The smiling got the best of me.  It's gonna be a fun day!  Jonah will be at school for a few hours.  Just one toddler boy to manage.  Maybe I'll even run errands with the lighter crew?  Possibilities are endless!

7:30am-  Home cooked breakfast.  Starting off the school year right!   Is anyone watching?  I'm so rocking this!

7:45 am- Jonah woofed down his boobery pancakes before I could make a spectacle of myself again with all my first day of school cheerleading and what not.   Before I could ask if he wanted more he was off to intensely play with his legos far away from his overly enthusiastic mother.  I wonder if he wakes up so early on purpose to get the groggy, less excited version of me?

Meanwhile, around 8ish let's say, Bash woke up screaming and flying with fever.   Since he wanted nothing but "Up" all morning, I spent the rest of Jonah's time home carrying around at least one, but usually two small children.

2 seconds away from a nervous break down am-  Which also occurred around 8:45, I decided that listening to the synchronized crying was less stressful than wearing one baby in a carrier while also holding a drippy, snotty, whining, feverish 2 year old on my hip.

As I put everyone who was now making my morning sweaty and miserable down on my bed I caught a glance at the clock just in time to realize Jonah needed to be dressed and waiting for the bus in 13 minutes.   That's totally enough time to get myself dressed, brush 96 teeth, get everyone else including Jonah (who never wants to do anything when I'm in a hurry) dressed and rotate the laundry right?    

Possibly with normal human beings.   But definitely not with strong willed, defiant toddlers.   I'll skip the gory details of flailing legs, ear piercing screams, chases around the house and cut straight to a gentle prayer I offered to our Lord to put us back on track...  

Deep breath.

The crying is only in my imagination.

The house is a disaster, but nothing is permanently broken yet.


One more deep breath.  

"Dear Lord, I need you.  I am a little- JONAH!  I SAID COME HERE!  overwhelmed and I really need this to all go smoo- I SAID COME NOW! TAKE YOUR PJS OFF! go smoothly.  Please, help the kids jus- THAT'S IT!  You're going to miss the bus!  I asked you to take off your pjs and now I am going to do it for you!  Dang it!  I mean, that wasn't for you, God.  Just please help the kids stop fighting with each other just get dressed quickly for me. I really need to take some pictures of Jonah before he leaves for his first day of school ever, if it's Your will and all, and I don't want to say goodbye to Jonah so angry. I'm asking for the graces to-  I DON'T CARE IF YOU DON'T LIKE THESE SHOES!  YOU ARE WEARING THESE SHOES!  Ugh, Amen!"   

Yep.  You are welcome to pray with me any time.  I'm also available for motivational speaking. 

Fortunately, God likes to help me out even if I can't manage to ask very nicely and everyone was dressed on time, except me.  But at least I am still nursing 'round the clock and was wearing a bra from the night before, which came in handy as I ran after the school bus in my pajamas, unbrushed bed head, cereal flavored morning breath and bare feet.  

I keep it classy when I'm stressed.

9:21 am - Jonah was on the bus and on his way.

9:21:30 am-  Now what?

9:22 am-  We all sorta stumble back inside, sit as close as humanly possible on the couch and stare at the wall.

9:25 am-  The phone rings.  Daddy wants to know how Jonah got off to school.

And just like that every thing you just read fled from my short term memory and all I said was:

"Ohmygoodness Babe!  He was so excited!  You'll never guess what he want's to be when he grows up?!  He's the cutest thing ever!  I actually already miss him!! I wish you could've been here!"

Yup, just like that.  And that is probably why no one shares about the hours leading up to the one picture perfect moment.  We're mothers.  We forget the bad and lovingly hold onto all the good.   At the end of the day even all this is part of the good.  It's stressful.  It's chaotic.  It doesn't go as planned. But it's everything I've ever wanted.

Annnnnd,  I'm back to report that Overly Tired From School Jonah just woke up from peeing my bed.  Since this post is about being transparent and all...  

Note to self:  get Jonah to start napping on daddy's side. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

No Mom, I'll take the bus

On his very first day of preschool ever, my not-as-little-as-I-want-him-to-stay-forever Jonah chose to take that big yellow school bus all by himself  instead of riding there with me.

I'm pretty sure I stopped breathing for the entire morning.  Did you read that carefully?   My second baby just spread his stubborn, wildly passionate, yet unexpectedly sensitive and loving little wings and fled my nest to his first day of preschool?!  On the baby bus!!

Don't worry, I still don't cry in public or anything.  Although, in case anyone has hacked into our nanny cams I should disclaim that there must have been... uh... dust... or something in the air because my eyes were watering as I walked back inside.   Like I could possibly be mistaken for one of those cheesy moms who would actually ask to climb onto the bus to take one last picture of her first timer and then awkwardly wept like the tiny baby she still thinks her son is as she waved goodbye.  That wasn't me. I was just logically and non-emotionally observing his surroundings one last time before they drove off.  For safety reasons.

This little extremely big boy is so much like his daddy it's really pathetic that I still get surprised by his reactions to life.  We've been talking about his first day of school since we met his teacher last week.

Me:  "Are you excited for school tomorrow Big Jonah?"
Jonah:  "School is not tomorrow."
Me:  "What do you want to do on your first day?"
Me:  "Do you remember your teacher's name?"
Jonah:  "No. Can I go play with my toys again now?"

Then the day of arrives and I rush downstairs to pump him up!
Me:  "Happy first day of school!!  What should we wear to school?!  What special snack do you want to pack?!   Should we make special blueberry pancakes before your bus gets here?!"
Jonah:  "No."
Jonah:  "Wait, yes, I want boobery pancakes"
Me:  Goofy mommy dancing around the kitchen  "You got it!"

After typing this exchange, I realize you may side with Jonah's responses... I admit I was a little over the top.  Perhaps annoying.   However, the person in this family who most recently had a first day of preschool would have hoped and dreamed for nothing less.   I too as a wee preschooler would've gleed in delight to all of the above questions again and again and again.

Alas, Jonah comes from Daddy's tree.  Do not ask Daddy or Jonah if they are ever excited about anything.  Point taken.

But he WAS excited.   Oh was he ever!

As soon as he finished his boobery pancakes, was finally dressed and ready to go he couldn't hold in his joy a moment longer.  As soon as I said it was time to go outside and wait for the bus he was literally dancing in the driveway.

"Dance away from the street Jonah so the bus won't get you when it comes."

"I am not dancing Mom."

"I am flying."

Jonah kept "flying" around for what felt like a trip around the world...  This secretly excited almost preschooler was getting pretty heated waiting around:  

Jonah: "Are you kidding me?  Oh man.  When is HE gonna be here!" 
Me:  "He'll be here.  Maybe he's a little lost.  Can I take some more pictures while we wait?"
Jonah:  "NO.  He is not yost.  He is yate.  Take a picture of my ang-gey eyes"

Oh no he didn't just pack those angry eyes!  I decided we better go inside and grab my phone just in case they weren't coming....  Just as we walked through the door we heard one of the most glorious sounds to every 3 year old boy...


But then kept right on going.   Past our house.  Past the only preschooler in this entire neighborhood who happened to be jumping up and down on our drive way. 

So I in my pjs, with snotty Bash in my arm, 
ran after the bus frantically waving, 
like I belong on a farm.

Yes, I am aware that little diddy just made it worse.  

But we did catch him.  And it was a good thing, because he was yost, which is why he was yate.   Jonah was so excited he didn't even kiss us goodbye.  Up he climbed and off he went.  Just like a seasoned bus riding pro he's always wanted to be.   

"The bus" makes it sound worse than it really is.... but if I were to accurately describe it as a "short bus," well that too also sounds worse than it is!    It's a short  small bus specifically for preschoolers with 5 point harness seat belts and an aide that rides along to help all the little ones on and off the door to door service.  But still.  It's the bus.  

Happy first day of preschool, My Love.  

Friday, August 9, 2013

7 Quick Take Friday vol 20

I can't believe I missed hanging out with Jen last week (cyberly speaking of course), but I have a good excuse! 


We hauled  gracefully escorted our entire family to the airport with a few of the essentials to visit Oregon for a week.  

My favorite part of the journey was waiting for the many shuttles we ended up have to load and unload our light baggage onto while friendly bystanders stared, gawked and inquired if we knew we had our hands full? 


Once on the plane I couldn't help but notice one of the adults in this family was sitting with significantly more children...

If the look on my face didn't tip you off on how I was feeling about the whole set up then you must be my husband.

Excuse me for waking you, Dear.  I know you had your hands full with Lelo The Stuffed Lion, Bash and the window seat that kept him entertained until he napped the rest of the flight with you.  I was hoping you could keep one eye open to watch the majority of our children for a second while I empty my bladder so Sam can continue jumping on it the rest of the flight?

We landed!  Safe and meltdownless!  We did have to  get to load and unload all of our not so light baggage onto another shuttle to pick up our rental car.  I love all my children equally and recognize their different gifts.  Jonah has a gift for being slightly more challenging under times of high stress.  Is that a gift?  Let's call it that so I don't sound like an ungrateful mother.  Well, guess who demanded the prime lap real estate for all these shuttle rides?  

I braced for the worst.  Aimless complaining.  Stinky, sweaty Croc toes rubbing up and down my legs.  Endless chattering on my nearly fried last nerve.

And then this debbie downer ate her words!  It was fun having my little big man stuck to my lap for an extended period of time to snuggle, tickle and make silly faces with.  Sometimes his passionate furry actually makes me laugh.  He took the sour out of my grapes and I was feeling better by the time we got there.  Sorry Jonah, I should've never doubted your mood after hours of traveling.  You'll never cease to surprise me will you??


We arrived to the arms of the much more fun version of Daddy.

He has a snazzy ride-on mower that I'm pretty sure would make even yours truly excited about yard work.


Grandma and Grandpa's house is the paradise every grandparents' house ought to be in our eyes!  Beautiful wide open spaces to roam...

A delicious garden the size of a grocery store to snack off...

A grandma who rarely says no to baking her famous fresh berry pie at a moment's notice...

And little furry friends for Sienna to torture beg us to keep forever and ever...


Every time we visit there's a debate about how long to stay.  It goes something like this:

Me:  Let's stay for 2 weeks.
In Laws:  How about 5 days.
Husband: How about a weekend.
Me:  How about 10 days.
In Laws:  *quiver with fear*
Husband:  How about a long weekend.
Me:  Ok, fine, one full week final offer.
In Laws: Perfect!  That's plenty long enough for you to destroy our house, eat all our food, let your kids pick every carefully tended flower in our garden and require us to completely stop our busy schedules to sit around with you.
Husband:  Uh, oh, ok, yeah, one week.

And then once we leave the conversation goes something like this:

In Laws:  It's so hard to say goodbye!  We can't stand you living so far away...
Husband:  We gotta find a way to spend the summer months here and the rest of the year in Arizona.
In Laws:   We would love that. 
Husband:  It feels like we just got here.    
In Laws: The trip goes by too fast.
Me:  Can I record this conversation for when we plan how long our next trip will be?  


Fortunately, one thing I don't get fought on while visiting Oregon is taking a family picture.  This is really a miracle.  I fear for my life suggesting such things anywhere else in the world.   

Thank you, Sienna, for the hideous fake smiling.  Without your disruption we might have actually had a good family picture... and that... that my friends, is never allowed in big families.

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.  

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Only for the babysitter

If you've ever had the pleasure of trying out a new babysitter you'll know it's scarier than trying on bathing suits 6 weeks after having a baby.  

You're a little unsure that the kids will feel comfortable with the new care giver.  You dread the awkward babysitter small talk that makes you realize: yes, you are old now and no, you're not as cool as you think you still are.  You might wonder if she'll be able to locate the emergency phone numbers and 5 page manual on exactly how you change your baby's diaper in the heat of the moment.  You know, the things that make you not as cool as you think you are.  

By the 4th kid we've learned not to worry about all that.  Instead we worry that if she survives she might not want to come back. 

Not because our kids are terrors or because our house is a pile of disgusting (all reasons I didn't return babysitting calls oh so few years ago).

Actually our house is fairly clean and our kids are usually pretty sweet....  it's mostly because of hearing about conversations like these that keep me holding my breath:

Jonah-  "Ms Eggan, don't you have a penis too?" 
Ms Megan- "uuuuhhh.... let's play trains." 

Sienna- "Ms Andrea, do you have a baby in your tummy too?"
Ms Andrea- "No, I just got married, maybe someday!"
Sienna- "Are you sure?  It looks like there is a little baby there." 

Jonah- "No, Mommy, Samuel has to stay with me!  I want him to stay with us and Ms Megan too?"
Me- "I'm sorry Sweetie, Ms Megan doesn't have any milk.  He has to go with Mommy until he's bigger." 
Jonah- "Ms Eggan, didn't you bring your naked under there?" 

It has also occurred to me that babysitters might not appreciate all of our new tricks:

Sitter- "Come on guys!  Let's all go outside and play!" 
Bash -  "I need Leo. Leo side. Leo side!" 
Bash runs back inside and shuts the door 
Sitter- "No Bash, we need to leave the door open."
Bash locks the door
Sitter- "Sebastian, open the door."
Sitter- "Sebastian!  Open the door please!" 
Jonah- "He yocked it."
Jonah- "Oh gate. We're stuck. Mommy is gonna be ang-gey with you!" 

Ginnes- "Are the kids supposed to go swimming after naps?"
Me- "uh, did they go swimming after naps?"
Me- "Ooook then, looks like now they are." 

While getting ready for bed Sienna tricks the sitter into thinking tells the sitter that Bash has to try going pee on the potty before we put his pajamas on too: 
Bash quickly waddles over to the potty, climbs up and screams- "I need potty! I need potty!" 
Ms Megan- "Ooook, let's see this." 
Jonah-  "He did it!!   Now Mommy says never says  we can run around in our nakeds and sing to him!" 
Ms Megan-  "Are you sure, I think he probably needs to pu-" 

The kids start race around the house singing in their nakeds 

2 second later 

Jonah- "Ew!! Ms Eggan! Bashers is putting more of his green poo poo in the carpet and all over his naked!"

Ms Megan- "Sienna, does your mommy have carpet cleaner?"
Sienna- "Yes!! I know where it is!  Isn't in her room, but you have to unlock it, because her and daddy have privates in there." 

May the sweetest, toughest and wisest sitters survive!  And even after she does, it's observations like this (the ones I hoped she'd never notice) that keep me praying she'll still come back... 

Ms Andrea- "Sienna is a close talker." 
Me- "Yeah, I know... Unfortunate, isn't it?"