Sweet sounds of Motherhood

I've heard that sometimes people who lose a limb have phantom pains in said limb. So it is with my children being gone. They have taken a week off of Camp Mama (a term I have stolen from the lovely Gretchen at Second Blooming), and gone to Camp Grandma for the week. And yet, this morning as I slept in, I woke up to the sounds of my girls. Could have sworn I heard them. Nope.

Sometimes they prepare me for their absence by being rotten and cranky. This time they were all sweetness. "I'm really going to miss you, Mama!" Plus hugs. So many hugs. A hug for me, a hug for the baby. Three times each. *sniff*

No doubt they are very busy this week, playing in the hose and eating pancakes with whipped cream and sprinkles for every meal, and getting conned by Grandma into some sort of actual hairstyle.

Yesterday the silence was a little unnerving for me. So. Very. Quiet. Today I'm getting more acclimated. Enjoying listening to some music while working, since I don't have to listen for fighting downstairs in the playroom. Not watching the clock. If I am hungry, I eat. There is no one to pick up anywhere. I got out of bed when I felt good and ready. I've done some laundry, but it's not accumulating like usual. Same with the dishwasher.

It's a lovely break for all of us. But come Friday, I'll be itching to see them. And I'm sure I will get to hear "NO FAIR" in the first 20 minutes. The sweet sounds of motherhood...


Non-milestone milestones

Everyone gets excited about the first words and first steps. First day of school. Those are exciting things. But there's all kinds of non-milestone milestones along the way too. Things you maybe wouldn't write home about, but it's exciting to you.

I remember when Ella could finally hold her own bottle. I mean, the pure joy I felt was amazing. An accomplishment for her, a little freedom for me. Technically I'm sure I was supposed to feel sad and still want to hold her 24/7. Instead I thought, "WHEE!! I can go to the bathroom again!"

And those little non-milestone milestones just keep coming. Like when Ella was able to figure out how to get to pbskids.org by herself. Or getting her own snack. And Natalie's never far behind her at this point.

And now I will admit the two non-milestone milestones that have thrilled my soul lately:

1. Ella can run the DVR. Just enough to play shows we've recorded. Translation: Saturday mornings we get to stay in bed, because Ella just puts on iCarly and they grab some cereal. Hooray! I'm sure I should not be so excited that my children watch enough TV to know how to run the DVR. But I don't care.

2. They're learning new songs. Our church kids did a musical for Mother's Day and it was precious and wonderful. They learned songs that have stuck in their hearts. Yesterday I heard Natalie singing one of them in the shower. Couldn't be cuter. I also felt a strange sense of pride when I first heard my girls singing a Dave Matthews Band song. I'm not sure why. But whenever it's on, they get so excited and ask to turn it up. Not that I blame them, click here. It makes me want to pack us up for some kind of road trip and roll down the windows so we can all sing it together at the top of our lungs.

It's the little things, isn't it?


Would you look at that?

It's summer. Huh. The children don't go to school anymore. Months ago I looked at the zillions of programs available and thought I'd book them solid for the summer. Then I realized I'd have to drive them to all those places and pick them up. Nevermind. Besides, I'd kind of like to hang out with them a little before it's not just us anymore. I know I'll realize the folly of that line of thinking in a few weeks, when I make my paper chain countdown to September 1.

The nice part about having two girls so close together is the built-in friend. They play together all the time. And like any two friends who play together all the time, a few times in a day they want to kill each other. Or just get the other one in trouble. Or never speak to the other one again.

Meanwhile, I am taking full advantage of our lazy summer schedule. Captain America leaves the house around 7 am. While the rest of us sleep. Then I lay in bed til my bladder can't possibly stand it another second. Because the moment I get up, that baby's moving. If I get up for any reason and try to go back to bed, I am assured at least 30 minutes of gymnastic activity. Who am I kidding? I still go back to bed just to lay there. After a while the girls crawl in with me. Usually just one. Whoever asks to play computer first runs off to do that, and the other one will start to whine "IT'S NOT FAIR" so I'll let her play games on my ipod in bed with me.

Honestly, I don't know what that baby is doing in there. Neither of the other two moved like this. It's constant. And often so powerful it makes me a little nauseous. I can already see my stomach move.

Ahhh...the blissful sounds of play have been interrupted by crying, with a side of "SORRY! SORRY! SORRY!" I wonder if I should look into that...


Lessons from baseball

Ok, this is going to seem odd coming from me. Just stick with me, here. Did you see the Detroit pitcher who pitched a perfect game, only not really? I try not to watch sports much, but with Captain America around it's often on. The other night I had to stop watching Parenthood on the DVR so we could watch Detroit Tigers' pitcher Armando Galaragga who was almost at a perfect game.

Perhaps if you don't care for sports and you're not married to someone like Captain America, you don't know what that means. A perfect game is when one pitcher makes it through a whole game without anyone getting on base. It's apparently incredibly rare (nevermind the fact that there have been two, almost three already this year - sometimes Major League Baseball goes years without one).

Anyway. Right as we turned to the game, they were showing replays. Long story short (you're welcome), an umpire blew a call so Galarraga didn't get his perfect game. The ump made the call he thought was right, but on the replays we can see that he made a mistake. If the ump had made the right call, he would have been in the history books, because it was the last out of the game. Now this is where it gets interesting to me.

Right when it happened, what do you think Galarraga did? Do you think he stormed the umpire? Called him an idiot (we all know it'd likely be much worse than that)? Nope. He looked at the ump. He smiled. He went back to the pitcher's mound. Pitched to one more batter, and ended the game. A few Detroit players got upset at the ump after the game, but nothing really happened. Until later.

In the interviews I saw, both Galarraga and the Detroit manager basically said, "We're all human. It's part of baseball. Everyone makes mistakes." The manager went on to say what a great ump the guy is, and that he regretted letting his emotions get the better of him on the field. Talk about grace. It gets better though. The umpire, Jim Joyce, goes back to his locker room. He asks to see the replay. He heads straight for the Tigers' locker room and apologizes to Galarraga for blowing that call. HELLO? World, are you watching? America? Is this thing on? This is how pretty much everything should be done. (Donald Miller has more to say about that here.) The next day Jim Joyce was the ump for another Tigers' game, and Galarraga brought him the lineup card in an extra show of "no hard feelings." Joyce was moved to tears.

I was mentioning to Captain America how badly I felt for the guy, that he didn't get his perfect game. He brought up a good point. Perfect games are rare, yet there have already been two this season. Did I know who threw the other two? Nope. But now I knew who both Galarraga and Joyce were. And people who don't even like baseball are talking about it. More people are talking about the perfect game that isn't, than are talking about the two that are. And yeah, I'm sure it doesn't hurt Galarraga's feelings that Chevrolet gave him a Corvette.

Like I said, personally I'm not a big sports fan. But sometimes there are some amazing lessons in sports. The grace and mercy shown by Galarraga, and the honesty and responsibility shown by Joyce are things we could all work on. Imagine what the world could be like if the Church as a whole operated that way - I think everyone would get the point of Jesus pretty easily.


Pink is not my favorite color.

Ella has pink eye. I think pink eye is one of the worst things you can get as a little kid. You aren't really sick, but you're contagious. And the maintenance is so high. Drops four times a day. FOUR. Everyone, wash your hands! No one touch your eyes! She missed one of her last days of school today. Instead, she stayed home. Full of energy. BUT UNABLE TO GO ANYWHERE.

Ella's been a real trooper. No arguing over the drops. And when she realized she would miss a birthday party she just said, "Mom, can you go and take his present for me?"

Tomorrow is Natalie's last day of school. I can't really tell you how sad that makes me. It not only brings me ever closer to the "I'm bored" and "Can we go to _______" of summer, but she's loved school so much this year. Both her teacher and the classroom para have been fantastic. I didn't realize Natalie had a shell, but her teacher has sure brought her out of it! I'm afraid in my fragile hormonal state, I will sob when I drop her off at school tomorrow. I will ugly cry over how much we will miss her teachers. We couldn't have been more blessed in the teacher department this year for both girls.

Also? It means my little Natalie is going to kindergarten! What on earth? How did that happen? I'd forbid it, but I'm going to need all the time I can get in the fall to take care of a baby. So, I guess, off she goes.


Peas in a pod.

Last week I had to call the cable company to get our internet set up in a different room. I was greeted with the standard automated messages. Starting with the "For English, stay on the line. Para continuar en espanol, primero empujen numero dos" or something. High school Spanish was a long time ago. And yet, I pressed two. For some reason I thought to myself, "Numero dos? Sì." And I wasn't completely surprised when Auto Chippie continued in Spanish, but I was somehow surprised I didn't understand her anymore.

Apparently Ella and I are peas in a pod right now. I stopped in to say hi to Natalie's class one day, and walked past a lost and found near the cafeteria. At which time I spotted one of Ella's gym shoes, that I had thankfully labeled so I could be sure. So I went to drop it in her locker. Only the other one was missing, too. So I checked the lost and found for the first grade section, and there it was. How on earth did she lose both of her gym shoes, but have them end up in completely separate and far away places? "Ella, how long have your gym shoes been missing?" "I don't know." "Why didn't you tell me you couldn't find them?" "I kept forgetting."

In other news, I think the baby reads my blog. Ever since I wrote about how much I love the baby movement, this kid won't sit still. I don't remember either of the girls moving this much. She's moving when I wake up, moving most of the day, and moving when I go to bed. While I'm still enjoying it for now, I am a little concerned this does not bode well for her sleeping after she's born.