Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Fall

We found the best ever pumpkin farm this year.  Seriously, it had everything.
Plus several trains--one to ride on and a model one to watch.  I think it's our new favorite place.
Children of the corn.
Eager trick-or-treaters.  Although we didn't actually go trick-or-treating.  Not in our neighborhood, anyway.  By the time the 31st rolled around, the kids had already been to two different parties and had plenty of candy.  So we stayed in and watched a movie.  I loved it.  It was sooo nice not to have to rush through dinner and get all dressed up yet again.  
My little monkey.  After coming up with 4 other homemade costumes, the thought of making something for B was just too much.  Hooray for Amazon Mom and their free prime shipping.
Fly, birdie fly!  So relieved that this costume was done way back in August.
Robot.  This costume was a doozy.  Probably the best one we've ever made.  But I am not eager to repeat the process.  I wanted to just paint the box.  Shaggy decided to buy poster board, instead, which added about a week's worth of work to the costume.  Sure it turned out WAY better this way, but still, lots and lots of gluing and waiting, and waiting and gluing.  I am GLAD it's done.  And since I'm considering going totally public with my blog, I will probably put up a separate post about it as a tutorial.  The humor is all in the details.
This girl has considered being a gypsy for many years.  Apparently, this was finally the year.  Most of the stuff we already had on hand.  But I did have an interesting experience trying to buy bangles in a little Indian boutique near my house.  I kept trying to pick out the ones I wanted, and the little lady in the store kept putting some of them back when I would hand them to her so I could buy them.  After a while, I got the hint that I would not be able to buy what I wanted so I just bought the selection she picked out for me.  But I did get an awesome price, and the jingly waist sash to boot.  Maybe she thought I was a good haggler.
K had a very hard time deciding what she wanted to be this year.  I think she sort of didn't want to dress up at all, but our rule has always been that if you don't dress up, you don't go to the parties and collect all the candy.  She is definitely not too old for candy.  I voted that she be a bag of jelly beans.  She vetoed that idea.  Finally, I talked her into being a mime.  She wasn't too sure of it at first, but ended up really liking it.  And for future reference, Walmart's face paint worked tons better than the stuff we bought elsewhere.  Though she really needs to work on her facial expressions before she goes live with her mime act.
I'll have to play with this photo a little more, because somehow, somewhere, at some point in the future, we will be living in a different house where I will find some wall space for a seasonal picture display.  And this will be in it.  It just screams Halloween.



Juggernaut: 1) a massive inexorable force, campaign, movement, or object that crushes whatever is in its path.  2) anything requiring blind devotion or cruel sacrifice.

That sums up a large part of B's personality.  Lucky for us.  J once asked me, "Why does B never run out of madness?"  Good question.
She acts like a spitfire, she yells like a banshee, she turns our world upside down on a regular basis. And yet, somehow, our family just wouldn't be complete without her.
She makes us whole.

We probably won't sell her, after all.
Because she is a beautiful little soul.  And as much as she drives us all crazy at times, we fully realize just how blessed we are to have her in our lives. 

She brings so much joy and laughter into our home. She makes us see things from her point of view. She makes the world a new and exciting place all over again. Sometimes this excitement brings squeals and laughter, sometimes it brings tears. But it is all exciting, nonetheless.

Who knew that helping with laundry could be quite so much fun?  I've had lots of little helpers over the years.  None of them have taken their service quite so seriously as to venture INTO the dryer.  Until now, of course.
And really, why is it so important to take our clothes off before getting in the bath?  It just adds an agonizing extra few minutes of wait time before the splashing can begin.  Aren't the clothes in need of cleaning, too?

I would argue here, that the shoes really didn't need to get dunked.  But B disagreed.  And since she was two steps ahead of me as we walked into the bathroom, she won that debate.  She was able to take them with her as she dove head first into the water.
And speaking of bath time. It makes her morph into an octopus. I swear she sprouts extra limbs just so she can grab more things, more quickly. And so she can slosh more water onto the floor. Sometimes when her bath time ends, there is actually more water out of the tub than is left in the tub.

B also happens to be quite the book aficionado.  She loves books with such fervor that we will likely have none left when she is done with them.  She loves to lick them, carry them, look at them right side up or upside down, climb on them, throw them, play with them, and sleep with them.  But best of all, she likes to climb on someone's lap (this would be anyone who sits still long enough) and have them show her the amazing, beautiful, colorful world that books contain.
But she is far from passive in her selection of books. Any old book simply will NOT do. She definitely has her favorites. Which change from day to day. If I happen to try to read a book that has been removed from her current favorites list, she is quick to let me know by hitting, tossing, and/or slamming the book closed. Some days before naps, we have to go through this careful book selection process a number of times before I finally manage to select one that is approved. Then she will settle in, leaning her sweet little head against me and eagerly help me point to all the fascinating things. She is also vigilant about making sure I keep up the proper timing. Some pages merit a leisurely perusal of all the page contains, whereas others only get a cursory glance before she forcefully turns the page.

B loves all things fast and spinning.  When she hears a beat, she simply must dance.  She loves to be spun and thrown and tickled and chased.  And her delightful gurgles, coos and giggles are all the payment we need for the time we spend with her.
She has even inspired a crawling race or two.  She is adored by her siblings.  They humor her, and protect her, and smother her with their smiles and affection.
She doesn't necessarily smother us with affection in return.  But she has recently learned two small things that will secure our adoration of her forever more.  First, she says uh-oh.  All the time.  Because she is always dropping, throwing or otherwise knocking something over.  I guess her octopus arms sprout when she is out of the bath, too.

But her sweet uh-ohs are the kind housed in that irresistable baby voice that makes you go all mushy and smiley, no matter how exasperating current conditions might be. 

The second thing she has learned recently, is to give hugs.  The kids actually argue over who is getting more hugs from B.  Because they are marvelous.  Simply marvelous.  Her hugs have nothing to do with her arms.  They are all about her soft, fuzzy little bald-ish head.  She just leans that sweet head into you and rests it there for a moment.  And then she's off.  They are not long, she does not linger.  Don't blink or you'll miss them.  Sometimes she misgauges her target, but that never stops her.  She just keeps leaning and keeps leaning until she eventually reaches the floor.  And she gives the floor her hug before bounding off on another adventure.

She keeps us all on our toes, because she's always on hers.  Sometimes literally. 
I've had to redo most of our childproofing, and even that doesn't always succeed in keeping her out of things.  She is determined, to say the least.

And I love every bit of her.  Maybe all the more so because of the sacrifices I have had to make in meeting her high level of neediness since she arrived 15 months ago.  We are connected, she and I, in a way that transends the frustrations of a day, or a month, or even a year.

For better or worse, she is mine.  And her quirky, stubborn, goofy, loud little self is a perfect fit in my family.
What a truly amazing, joyful thing it will be to watch her grow up.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Wake Up

There are so many posts that I want to write.  Some of them have been swirling around in my head since June.  I want so much to be able to preserve these memories and thoughts which are all too fleeting.  But with so many demands on my time, I've been having trouble squeezing in any composition time.  Which is also my downfall, in a way.  Because I don't want to post just a jumble of memories and thoughts.  I want to write something that is as much fun to read as it was for me to write.  Because I love writing.  It brings me joy.  It takes a weight of my shoulders because I don't have to try to hold it all in my head--I know it will be there in the future when I, or someone in my family wants to pull it out of the blog archives and relive it.  But trying to write like that takes time.  Time that I just don't have.

A few weeks ago, my Bishop (a leader in my church congregation) asked me to give a presentation to the youth about my missionary service.  I spent a year and a half teaching anyone who wanted to listen about the Mormon faith.  That was 15 years ago.  So I had to tear apart my garage and my bookshelves, trying to find all my old mission materials.  And as I was looking at pictures and reading my journal and letters, it felt like I was pulled back to that time in my life.  It was really amazing.  And unbelievably time consuming.  I wanted what I said to get through to the youth.  I wanted them to really understand just how much I LOVED being a missionary and what an all-around amazing experience it was. 

So I read, and planned, and scanned photos, and fretted, and prayed until I finally came up with something that seemed like it would fulfill the Bishop's request.  I gave the presentation last night.  And it was really fun.  I even made my girls stay up way too late last night because we were sitting around the table with Shaggy looking at photos and I was telling them mission stories.  In a way, it almost felt like a dream.  Like I was taking a mini vacation from my current life in order to go back and reminisce.

Unfortunately, it is now time for me to wake up.  Just in time to make some invitations for a birthday party that we are supposedly having in a couple of weeks.  After that, I  have to actually PLAN said party and design a cake.  I also have to clean up the disaster that my house has become because I was using ALL my non-child-care moments to work on my presentation.  And because I'm watching a couple of kids for a friend this afternoon.

Oh, and let's not forget that Halloween is upon us.  I have exactly 9 days to create a robot costume (candy bot to be exact), find a store that sells stage make-up to create a mime, get over to the fabric store to buy something gypsy-esque. 

And did I mention that the cupboards and fridge are bare?  My bedroom is piled half-way to the ceiling with stuff we have decided to get rid of.  So I have to prep it all to sell on ebay.  I hate ebay.  At least right now.  The fall clothes need to be stuffed into drawers and the summer ones pulled out.  And I have a list of 47 errands that need to be run.  We have to reorganize the garage to make everything fit back where it's supposed to.  And I have to get it all done within a month because we're having family come for Thanksgiving.  And we all know what comes after Thanksgiving and how much prep work it takes to keep those Christmas traditions alive and well.  Oh, and I better not forget that I am in charge of the Sunday Christmas program for my church.  You know, because I am SO musically talented.  I was supposed to have it done by September.  Only running a little behind, here.  Phew!

So while B is napping, I am, of course, not doing any of these things.  I am writing a blog post.  But really, what I REALLY want to do is flip through pictures and tell my kids stories of my life once upon a time, before they came along.  It's sooo much more fun than housework.