I must have thousands of pictures stored in my computers, a USB storage, and Picassa. But even though I try to record each little thing in our lives, I can't of course. Sometimes I wish I had built in cameras in my eyes; the funniest, most tender, sweetest things always catch me unprepared.
Picture #1: El Cangri, dressed with his super cute pirate T-shirt--striped ivory and burnt orange, with a skull and bones applique. I ask him, What are you doing baby?" and he answers roughly, growling, "Para mama (stop mamma)". I walk around the kitchen counter, and I realize that not only is wearing his pirate outfit, but also a knight shield and his dangerous (what was Santa thinking for heaven's sake!) wooden sword. He glares at me, all macho and menacingly walking away trying to freeze me in my place with his look, while Swan's pink plastic and feather high heels clack in his feet.
Picture #2: I go to the kids' bathroom to put away some clean diapers, and I realize someone didn't flush the toilet. I call the culprit and make her not only flush the toilet, but also scrub it with the brush and wipe it with a Clorox wipe (I know, what a mean mom! Hopefully the lesson was learned). Five minutes later my Chubbers comes dawdling down the hallway. She's barefooted, wearing a cloth diaper with no cover (she's potty learning!). Her hands, icy cold, t-shirt soaked through. She's struggling to swallow as fast as she can, so I won't make her spit the water. In her chubby hands she holds a small paper cup, one of those the kids use to rinse their mouths after they brush their teeth. The bathroom door is wide open. The floor around the toilet is slippery and wet. I make a double take at her and the cup, and run to take the cup away and wash her hands (I debate about making her rinse her mouth with mouthwash, but we only have mint flavor. Too hot for her). I lock the bathroom door, and I pray, please!!!!!!, that she only started doing that after the toilet was clean. I know it's so gross!!!!! I give her a dose of echinacea/goldenseal, and pray again. But she looks at me like I've lost my mind (and she's not too far off), and says, "Te quiero mama (I love you mamma)." I put her down, and she runs to knock on the bathroom door. She sits patiently outside, and sings "Old Macdonald."
Yes, the ticker is about to show 3 more days till Breaking Dawn comes out, and I'm so excited and anxious!!!! I've been reading Twilight these last couple of days, and now I'm in New Moon. Let's see if I can make it by Friday. I want to have all the books re-read. I think the reason I'm so excited is because after Harry Potter 7, that July 21st by 6 in the morning, I had already finished it, and I felt this emptiness in my heart. No more waiting for a HP to come out, the count downs, the release parties, the dressing up were all over. But I found this new saga, a wonderful love story, and being the romantic that I am, I fell in love with it! Notice that I said it, meaning the story, and not HIM, which could mean Edward or Jacob. I was just on the phone with Jeff, and our conversation always gravitates to what I'm reading that day. I must have been talking about Twilight forever, but just now, he realizes Edward is a vampire. "A vampire?!" He shrieked, "I thought you were terrified of vampires!" And the funny thing is, I am. When I was little I watched my share of scary shows, and I was at the same time fascinated by and terrified of vampires. I remember making sure I closed the shutters every day before it was dark outside, and sleeping with my hands over my neck (as if that would have stopped a vampire, ha!) to deter any attacks. By the time I was in my teens, I was so afraid of vampires that I couldn't even watch Buffy or Angel. But now, it's different. Edward is a good vampire, and even though in the story there are bad vampires (the regular kind, I should say), I tend to ignore them. When we were in Missouri I read "The Historian" which is another story about a bad vampire, Dracula, in fact. That one was very eerie, but in some parts (a lot actually) it was just so boring that it took all the suspense away! For now, I'm just pouring over the fan sites, getting excited with every one's obsessions. I keep wondering what Stephenie Meyer is feeling right now, what she's thinking. I'd be collapsed from the emotion. Yes, that's me, no middle ground. I'd be floored with the fear, the happiness, anxiety and relief. I'm still debating about what I'll do on Friday. I'm planning on going to the Barnes and Noble release party and taking my Swan Princess, to have a girls night out. We'll see. My Gorgeous Boy will be such a perfect Edward when he grows up. He's beautiful, sensitive, musical, and he loves to cook. I hope when it's his turn to find his "Bella" she'll be a worthy one. I know, I've been all over the place with this post, but I'm wound up, in case you haven't noticed. I just wanted to document these feelings because last year for Harry Potter I didn't. I had all this excitement, but like I said, when I finished the book so fast, I didn't have anything else to look forward to. This time it will be different. And one last thing, I won't even flip to the last page to see who's still alive. Doing that really ruined my experience with Harry, I'll never do that again.
I guess you can tell now, that since in Missouri I didn't have much to do I could post almost everyday, but now that we're back home, I find that it's very hard to have a few minutes to post what we've been up to. My problem is that by the time I sit down (usually at night), all I want to do is read a book (I'm currently reading 4 at the same time), and watch a few things on TV, and go to bed at a reasonable time. Well, yesterday was a crazy day because El Cangri had a fever (Chubbers had it a day before, so I was praying it was the same 24 hour thing), and Gorgeous had a birthday party. Swan was going to the pool with our neighbors, so I took the little ones to the party too. We were all invited. But it was 100 ° outside, and my baby boy was boiling with fever. I was torn; on the hand hand I didn't want to leave Gorgeous because I didn't know the family and there were a lot of people at the party, and on the other, I couldn't stay out with El Cangri like that. After a thousand recommendations, and maybe, turning him suspicious of his own shadow, I agreed to leave my son at the party. How hard it is to be worried about your child and at the same time not want to offend other people! I went home, but I was counting the minutes to go back for Gorgeous. At least, El Cangri took a nice nap. Chubbers wouldn't budge. But she fell asleep on the car and didn't even wake up when I got her out of the car seat and put her in the stroller and took her to the party where 20 kids got the pinata and then chased each other full of sugar and sunshine! That night though, my little Chubbers couldn't go to sleep. I tried everything; I even dug out of a closet one of those Fisher Price musical things to attach to the crib. We have a lovely one of little birds, with music and light (but the thing takes 4 D batteries which last only 1 night it seems). Actually, she kind of liked it at first, but I don't know what freaked her out. The light? The music? The reflection on the ceiling? The fact is, she was terrified of it, and shrieked for me to come rescue her. She nursed and nursed until I felt she was sucking the life out of me. I wanted to watch a movie!!!!!!! (The TV hadn't been turned on at all since we came back). Finally, my baby, who never took neither bottle nor pacifier, fell asleep sucking on a baby bottle top, without the bottle, mind you, just the breast resembling part. Now it was time for El Cangri to wake up all feverish and chatty. When I was tiptoeing to the TV room, with him in my arms, I heard a "Thud!" Swan Princess had fallen off the bed. I tried to be very sympathetic and understanding, like one of the books I'm reading encourages me to be, but at the same time I wanted to her cry quietly so Chubbers wouldn't wake up. All this with the dogs barking at the top of their lungs in the garage. They wanted to come in to go to sleep too. All this to say, I want to write, I even think and look at things thinking how I'll write about them, but the day is not long enough. Neither is the night for that matter. In spite of the craziness, I'm so happy to be home, and go to Pioneer Day activities with our Church Ward, and see the kids playing with their friends, and hide with them in the playhouse on the play set because it's raining and we're not ready to go inside for the night. I love not having to get up at 7 to be able to go to the Farmer's Market. Ours is open all day. I love our DVR, having all my books at hand, sleeping in my own bed, knowing the dogs are alive and well, working in the yard, cleaning the house, picking up the toys, hanging diapers on the line. I love this home and the people who are our neighbors and friends. September can't come soon enough to bring me back my Jeff. I love all I've mentioned and more, we're just missing him.
I was tempted to name this post "The Odyssey, Part III", but "How boring!", I thought, so I choose "Back Home"--a lot more fun. I'm being sarcastic, in case you haven't noticed, but my mind is not working very well this morning, even though last night was the first time I got 8 hours of sleep, not uninterrupted because Chubbers woke up at 2:30, and I remember thinking, "And I've been just going to bed at this time every night! Crazy!" I'm a night owl, and so is Jeff. I love staying up drinking mate, and reading, and taking care of things that are better done with the kids sleeping, such as, cleaning, folding laundry, unpacking. Yes, I unpacked everything already, and it's such a relief! Please, next time you know I'm going shopping, remind me that, thanks goodness, my kids have way more clothes and toys that they can already wear or play with. Remind me of this if I'm going shopping for either clothes or toys. Books are a different story. We brought a lot with us, and I had a couple waiting for me here at home. Also, the new issue of Mothering Magazine was here, and believe it or not, I'm so immersed reading "Becoming the Parent you Want to Be", that I haven't gotten around to reading it yet. Going back to the trip, it was long (not the flight, that was only 3 long hours), especially the drive to St. Louis, considering that the car is our smaller, and we had all four kids, 4 bursting pieces of luggage, several totes that I smuggled into the car seat bags (car seats were free on that airline), and the stroller. The stroller we had to strap to the car roof. We must have not secured it well, because 2 minutes into the freeway it flapped, and we had to stop to fix it. Have you ever stopped on the freeway side (for the life of me, I can't recall how that area is called, sorry)? the trucks went so fast, whistling their thunder inches from my beloved Jeff, and I saw him ran over in my mind. I was shaking went I went back to the car. Picturing life without him made me cry. "How do i tell your mom?!" I asked him. He just said, "Let's be happy, OK?" And I tried, but I was really sad about leaving him. He got a companion ticket and went all the way up to the airplane gate with me. "How did I ever do this by myself, on my way here?" I kept thinking. The flight was OK, long in the sense that none of the kids slept, and I was so tired! My older two were sitting right in front of me, and I could hear them telling this lady who sat by them all about our lives, our trip, their dad, the dogs, the house. At the end I overheard Swan say, "How I wish you could see our yard! It's so beautiful!" Our yard is indeed beautiful. The plants are terribly overgrown, blocking our view from the front door, but there are flowers everywhere, and we have a family of hummingbirds who fly around my children while they play. The children ran all over the house, playing with their toys, laying on their beds, babying the dogs. The dogs were dirty, filthy, smelly, disgusting. Dandi even had chewing gum stuck on her coat. On Monday I called the groomer, and they had a two week waiting list, but i explained the situation, and they took them in yesterday. Now, they smell good, and are so pretty! Both of them, even Coco loco. I promised Jeff I would post pictures of the house so he can see it in full bloom, but I'll do that later today or tomorrow. For now, I'll just link this test that I saw over at Beck's website. See Jeff? You have a pretty good wife! Take the test and let me know what score you got? OK?
Forget the Quest for the Holy Grail; never mind the discovery of the Americas, of penicillin, the invention of TV, the telephone or even the Internet. What women really want is a dilemma that has pestered mankind ever since Adam did partake of the fruit and got in huge trouble--not even women (yesterday or today) know the answer. I know there's not only one correct answer to that question because the answer depends greatly on what period of history you're looking at, and most importantly, the situation of a specific individual. Say for example that you look at a 5 year-old and ask her what she wants, chances are she'll answer, "I want a puppy, or a new bike, or to be friends with so and so." Now, if you ask a teenager she'll probably say, "I wan to know who I am." And when you ask a woman in her 20's, or 30's she'll probably say, "I want to be appreciated for me and not for my body," or "I want to have a husband who'll be faithful and love me," or "I want to show the world how excellent I am at doing what I do." Others will still answer, "I want to be friends with so and so, or I want to know who I am." You see, it's not easy being a woman (nor a man, but I'll just talk about women), especially in Utah, even if you're a member of theLDS church. The thing is, we believe we can do it all, or at least we should be able to. So if my neighbor is 38, has an awesome body, is super popular, keeps a spotless home, and her children, all 6 of them, are beautiful and brilliant (I actually know several people who fit every aspect of this description), then I should be able to do what she does. If you come to my house, and it's clean, and my children are well-behaved, I can't feel totally complete because she has 6 of them. No matter what I do, I'll never measure up to that standard. Fortunately, I feel happy being who I am, and having what I have, but still, sometimes I have this little thing called guilt, whispering incessantly to my ear. Many women feel they have to compare against the perfection of what they see in their neighbourhoods and church, that they just give up trying, and deprive their families of the wife and mother they could be, by falling into depression. I always see on KSL that Utah is the state with the highest depression rates. No wonder. I don't think the problem is being a stay-at-home mom, or a working mother, or a mother of 1, or mother of 10, or mother of none. I think we just try to prove how wonderful we are, and we fear that if we ask for help, with anything, people will think that we can't handle everything. So we try to do everything on our own, and we keep failing. We're tired, stressed, unhappy, and we take it on in the people who (in our opinion) have what we yearn for. The other day, a blogger, who's LDS kept going on and on about how much she hates Twilight. I'll try to be honest, it's not the bashing against Twilight that got to me, but when she, and others, starting on Stephenie Meyer. I mean, after all, she's a mother in her 30's whose life changed overnight! She's a celebrity! She created a phenomenon that knows not culture nor language! And all because she wrote about this clumsy, ordinary looking girl who falls in love and, most importantly, is loved by a vampire who happens to be absolutely gorgeous, and loving. I mean, who wouldn't want to be Bella, or Stephenie Meyer, or, now that we're talking about wonderful women, J.K. Rowling! Why is it that we fight so much for women's rights and all that, and we get so jealous when one of us finally makes it big! Last weekend the Miss Universe Pageant was on, and there were 80 of the most beautiful and accomplished women in the world. KSL had an article, and here's a paragraph that I thought was brilliant:
"Miss Albania was a professional basketball player. Miss Argentina says she has paranormal experiences. Miss Antigua & Barbuda is fascinated by snakes. Miss Venezuela has been kidnapped and Miss Angola was in a plane crash while trying to escape a conflict during her country's civil war."
Those few words summarize how different and similar we all are. How fascinating, how perfect in our own way. If we could just see it, we wouldn't act like we hate each other so much. But don't go to the other extreme, and think we are the greatest gift of the gods to humankind. The other day, I turned on the radio in English, and heard a really catchy sound, but when I heard the lyrics I froze, "I kissed a girl and I liked it ..." Gorgeous looked at me and asked, "Who's singing? A boy or a girl?" I lied shamelessly, but he saw right through my lies because next time the song was on, I changed the station and he said, "I know why you changed it ..." All of this to say, women, we're wonderful, and each one of us has at least a beauty that no one else has. But, men are wonderful too, don't forget that. Ah! And let's be happy about each other, and not be too harsh in judging. I think the world would be a happier, more peaceful place if we all (myself included) were a little more grateful for what we are, instead of whining for what we aren't or what we don't have. I'll end with this post that I found on Candice's blog:
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." Marianne Williamson
I made a comment last time on Gorgeous Boy's getting a haircut. Yes, last week, after getting tired of remarks about his hair, and mainly because he was always so hot, I relented and took him to get his hair cut. I took them, El Cangri too, to a place specially for kids which was nice. I won't say awesome because I had already been to a similar place (in Puerto Rico), and even though they had cool chairs (airplanes, cars, trains, fire truck), and had little screens where the kids could choose what to watch or what games to play, the staff wasn't very child friendly. Cangri's stylist was very pleasant I'll have to say, but Gorgeous' could've been tons better. He had told me he wanted a mini-fake-Mohawk, but he was so indecisive!!!! He couldn't make up his mind. I was the same though; I love his hair long so much, but at the same time he looks so grown-up and his facial features stand out so much better when his hair is short. I didn't know what to do, so at then end, I let him decide, as I should have all the time. As I was standing close to El Cangri, I could see my older son's face. He was not happy. His eyes kept darting in my direction nervously, beseechingly. The stylist was oblivious to his discomfort, and she kept on styling his hair. She was all done cutting. So finally, I made my way to my suffering child, and before I could ask what was wrong he burst into tears. "Mama I don't like it like that. Papa is not gonna like it!" And the stylist became very offended. I told her, "It's not about you. He looks very differently with his hair short, and it was a shock to see his face like that. Besides, in spite of wanting a mini-Mohawk, he's a conservative." And I grabbed a comb, and combed his hair the way he likes it, with only the front sticking up. And his face lit up and after that, he was the happiest child in the world. He kept chattering away, moving his head, relishing in feeling it so light. He kept saying while looking at his reflection on a window (we were outside by then), "I mean, look at me! I feel so light and I don't have to keep putting the hair out of my eyes. I feel so ... so ... CLEAN!!!" El Cangri kept walking like Al Capone in the streets of Chicago. He looks the same, except his bangs are shorter. People will still think he's a girl though. When I hear someone make that comment I always reply, "Thank you, I know, he's so lucky to be so beautiful and have such beautiful hair." People just look at me like I'm crazy and walk away. I've noticed that when the kids get a haircut (the dogs do this too), they act differently. They smile more, and become silly at times, and are nicer to each other. Maybe I'll delete this last part; if Jeff sees it he'll suggest I go and get a haircut (not too short mind you).
I know what you're thinking! Another sappy, honeyed post about how wonderful and divine her kids are ... Well, I can't help it; because they are, you know. But there's a few things that my older kids have said these last few days, that I had to record them somewhere, and this blog is little by little replacing my journal, which I'll still keep to record the embarrassing things, or the angry, sad or overly sappy things you don't really want to read about. But I had to write about my Gorgeous and my Swan Princess because I feel this summer they've grown too fast, and every morning, when they wake up, they seem so alien too me, like I have to get to know them all over again. It's definitely a lot of fun to have these big kids now. They say the funniest and sweetest things, like for example: Gorgeous: "I'm so happy that I feel this happiness go from my stomach, to my toes, all the way to my throat" (softly crying at the end). This after he got a haircut ... More on that another day. Another one by him: "I miss Coco (the dog!) so much that I feel he's here with me" (crying again. We were at the mall when he said this. I don't know what triggered either the recollection or the melancholy).
Another incident that happened yesterday after the pool. In case you don't know, I have to make multiple trips up the stairs after the pool (or after we go shopping, or if I have the stroller, or ... Well, you get the idea, I hope.) One for the kids, another for the cooler, and the last for the stroller. As you can imagine, at this point I just want to collapse, and wake up to find that the kids are bathed and fed (as well as myself), the apartment is clean, and Jeff's already home. Well, none of that ever happens of course, but the other day, after the third trip up the endless stairs (oh! did I mention we're on the 3rd floor?), as I was about to collapse right then and there on the kitchen floor, I noticed that my older kids were hiding. I decided not to be so grumpy, and playfully, I called them. Boy was I glad I "chose the right" because both of them opened the tiny laundry room (closet) doors and first Swan sang a verse of a song, and then Gorgeous finished. The song included the words "you're the bestest most beautiful mama in the world", with dancing (Carlton's style) and all. After the final note, they both ran to hug me and Gorgeous said, "I made up the whole song and I taught Swan." And my Swan Princess said, "I'm going to cry!!!!!" and she held me tight; I could feel her little heart beating through her dress, touching mine, melting all the residual grumpiness away. Another by Swan after we ate lunch, "I'm so "furiosa" (furious), I'm going to explode!" Jeff and I looked at each other, eyes wide open trying to assess the situation. And she continued, obviously sensing we didn't know what she was saying, "you know, I'm full." "Ahhhhh", we both said, "You're 'satisfecha' (satisfied. We're teaching not to say "full" in Spanish. I know, it's complicated). And then she said, "yes, I'm so safistecha" (and we just let it pass) My last quote by Swan Princess, "Let's pretend, we're dolphins and we swim, and your name is 'Manure'" Me: "My name is what?" SP: "You know, 'Manure' like the dolphin we swam with in Mexico ..." Duhhhh! Me: "Ah! You mean "Renoir" (I did say it in the French pronunciation) SP: "Yes mama, that's what I said, Manure." So never a dull moment. When they're babies they're so sweet and innocent and time-consuming and charming and funny and so cute when they're sleeping. And when they grow a little they're so fun and cute and sensitive and wise and annoying to each other and protective and good companions (to each other and to me). No matter the age, my kids are full of wonders. I wonder what will happen tomorrow. Or what they'll say.
For an example of Carlton Style dancing, please watch this:
I'll start off by saying that we have never have so much fun at a vacation, I mean, after our trip to England. Nothing can top that, being in London and Edinburgh for 10 days, and visiting history every second you are there. Even if you don't leave your hotel room and just look through the window, you're seeing history. Awwww! We were there last year! How fun! But I digress; I'm supposed to talk about these three things we've done these last few days. I'll have to add pictures tomorrow though because the cable for the camera is in my room, and I don't want to go in there and risk waking up my babies.
Miss Dolly Parton had a genial idea when she created Dixie Stampede. What a money maker! And what a great value! We went to the one in Branson, of course, and we got the tickets over the phone. We spent about $150.00 for the 4 tickets that included pre-show, dinner/show. For some reason, they don't let you buy online for the summer; they only had the Christmas shows available. But we got four tickets; kids under 3 don't pay if they eat from some one's plate and sit on some one's lap. If you check out the menu you'll realize why I didn't hesitate about not getting an extra ticket for El Cangri. In regards to seating, I just had two chairs together, and the three kids sat there. Chubbers was on my lap and we were all comfortable until the baby wanted to wander and started fussing. We arrived early because we still had to get our tickets from the will-call, and I didn't want to walk a long distance from the car. It was packed, so the parking lot was very crowded too. But it was great walking by the stables, on our way to the gates, and seeing the magnificent horses that are the stars of the show. There was also pre-show, and the juggler was awesome. We had a hard time finding a spot to watch him, but finally I found a little corner where we could huddle together and watch this guy balance 13 plates on little thin rods, balance a ladder on his chin, and even juggle torches. The kids were so excited!!!! And we all were getting worked out for the actual show. I didn't know what to expect, and I wasn't disappointed when we walked into an arena, with stadium like seating. There were benches, with a bar, all around the arena. We were right in the middle front, and had a great view. We were in the Yankee side, and I got the kids some blue flags they could wave when we had to cheer for the north. So, yes, it was a competition between the north and the south. There were ostrich races, pig races, chicken chase, acrobat riding, horseshoe (with toilet seats; it was hilarious), a demonstration of a pioneer dinner (with music, a real camp fire that was descended from the ceiling), white doves that knew the exact way they had to fly to; it was unbelievable. The children had a blast because the MC pulled people from the audience for a lot of the competitions. My kids kept waiting to be chosen, but even though they weren't, they had a lot of fun just cheering for our team. The horses, like I said already, were the real stars of the show. Amazingly, the place didn't smell of animals at all, and we could enjoy our abundant dinner while we were entertained. Each paying person got a whole barbecued chicken (they were small, but still ...), a baked potato, vegetable soup and roll, apple turnover, and endless Pepsi. The children had Sierra Mist. We hadn't drunk so much soda in all our lives. The kids couldn't believe they were allowed, but what the heck! We're on vacation, right. Our server was very good, and gave us extra drinks and rolls, since the smaller children were eating from their siblings' plates. Oh! Did I mention they had no utensils? We had to eat with our hands, and Swan Princess was a little put off by that. Not Gorgeous Boy; he ate the whole chicken, which was delicious. The potato wasn't that good, but the soup was. I had taken a spoon for Chubbers, and we all passed it around to eat our soup. Jeff just used his roll to spoon the soup up though. The north was winning the competition, but we don't exactly know how it happened, but he south ended with the most medals. Gorgeous Boy was a little sad about that. After that there was a message from Dolly Parton saying that even though the competition is fun, we're not divided in north and south anymore. We're one great country, with the same liberties and rights. She sang a beautiful song, and there were fireworks at the end. The children had sparkling eyes, and I, like always, got a knot in my throat. What an appropriate activity for the 4th of July weekend! We were all elated, and so full we could hardly walk. On our way to the car, we walked past the horses again. There was another show after ours, so people leaving were mixing with those coming in. We couldn't get any pictures outside, and even though they don't allow taking pictures inside, they do have a photographer that takes your picture as you go in. We got a package with a family picture. I think they did a great job, and we have a good souvenir from this outing. I heard people talk about the Christmas show that Dixie puts out for the holidays. I'd love to see it, and we'll definitely do it if we're in the area around Christmas time. Laura Ingalls Wilder Home.
OK, so this activity was a little more for me than for the kids, but they still had a good time, I think. Laura's house, the actual place where she lived with her husband and daughter for years and years, and where she wrote the books, is in Mansfield, about an hour from Springfield, and I was not going to pass up the opportunity to go. I had to see this place. So I pleaded for the car, and I got it! And we went. The scenery is very beautiful, so green and lush and wild. I loved it! We got there without a hitch, and parked right across the street from the house. There is a very nice, shaded area with picnic tables and bathrooms, for people to eat and ... go to the bathroom, I guess, what else? They don't allow picnics in the actual property, so whatever you need to do, you better do it before crossing the street. The mosquito and stinging bugs species must be very prolific in this area because every little insect with a proboscis found my legs and left an imprint there. I'm still itching. Thanks goodness, it was me and not the kids, especially El Cangri. But, Ouch! Nevertheless, my heart was pounding with excitement as we approached the house. There was a plaque explaining the story of the place, and a bookstore on the right, and the museum and the house on the left. Admission is not very much, $4 for children under 5, and $8 for adults, so Gorgeous and I were the only ones who paid. Chubbers and El Cangri were NOT happy to be in the stroller after an hour ride in the car. And that was my mistake #1, not letting them release their energy before we started. So we paid our admission, and each one of the babies wanted a ticket to play with, and I gave it to them. Mistake #2. We went into the museum, and it was full of treasure. Handkerchiefs that Laura embroidered when she was 7, family trees, Pa's fiddle!, a letter from Carrie to Laura telling her of Mary's illness and subsequent blindness. Everything was a feast to me who grew up watching Laura. I even remember the music from the show; I watched it every single day for years. But my kids have only watched a few episodes; it's boring for them, and we started reading the books a while ago but they were still too young. A few months ago I got the entire collection, but as Gorgeous started reading the first book, The Spiderwick Chronicles movie came out, and he decided to read that series instead. So Laura, a book for girls (ha!) was left out. Like I said, I could feel Laura's touch in every single thing, but the children don't know her. They were a little bored. There was a little group of people, so we joined them for the guided tour. Mistake #3. The little old lady that did the tour... the poor thing. I thought she was going to have a heart attack. You'll see why. The house is tiny; Laura was 4' 11, and Almanzo 5' 4. He build it especially for them, of course, so the house reflects the size if its inhabitants. It's so charming! The kitchen had all the original pots and pans, china, plates, stoves, and even a fridge that Rose gave her parents. Still, he babies were not entertained. They squirmed and made noises, and to top it off, when we were looking at the tiny sitting room, which was all fenced off, El Cangri crossed the line and started jumping on a sofa that must have been 200 years old. I felt every single eye in the room dart towards me, and I wanted the earth to open right then and there and swallow me. The tour lady asked, "Can I please hold your baby so you can catch your son? (and strangle him for me please? she didn't add, but she might as well)" I know Gorgeous and Princess felt what I felt because they told me later, my proper little children, "I was so embarrassed!" So I finally left the tour while my two older babies stayed to listen to the descriptions for me, and went outside to get pictures of the two little devils that were posing as my sweet children. Check out the poses ...
After he tour, we HAD to go to the gift shop, and I got the girls little bonnets (they're the sweetest thing!), a straw hat for my Gorgeous, a pencil sharpener for El Cangri (don't ask me why), and a book, of course. The outing was exhausting, but I believe the kids liked it more than I had thought at first. The next day they were playing "Laura and Almanzo" all day, until they were tired of forgetting the "guy's" name, and they switched to "Jeff and Yamile" Laura Ingalls' style. I definitely recommend this activity. 5 STARS +
DISCOVERY CENTER: Yesterday we went to the Springfield Discovery Center. We've been to the one in Salt Lake (when it was at the old location), and the one in Charlotte, NC. The Springfield one wins hands down. The price was very reasonable (I paid $22 for all of us) and they kids got to play all afternoon:
Free play area for children under 5. A place totally enclosed where the little ones could dress up and do all kinds of experiments.
Dinosaur fossils digging
Experiments: bridge building, arched bridge building, electricity conduction (the kids LOVED! this one)
Different play areas depicting professions: a newscast room, doctor's office, theater, store, newspaper print
The kids were so happy and excited that they didn't know what to do first. I'll just let the pictures let you see how fun this activity was for them. Will we be back? As we were going back to the car, Swan asked, "Can we come back tomorrow?" I answered, "Yes". So I guess we'll go back before we return home.
Finally, the end of the post. Missouri is really the "Show Me State," but I miss my beloved Utah. A few more days ... and back to reality (which is not a bad thing necessarily)
Ok, so I wrote this long rant on a glimpse to my experience as an American "by choice and conviction". The only thing is that it's long, and I didn't want to overshadow my other post with the kids' pictures. So here's a link to my rant. If you want to read it, click on the link!!!! http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dg7vsndv_1f5md45fr
The 4th of July, Halloween, and Thanksgiving are my favorite holidays. I had planned on writing an essay on what today, the 4th, means to me, being a naturalized American. I'll owe it to you for tomorrow. I just wanted to post this lovely picture slide. I think that if I ever printed every single picture I take, I would have to get a job just to pay for them. Today we were home pretty much all day, reading and watching TV. Finally, I felt so bad for my poor angels that we went to the little park. Jeff had said he'd be home early today, but like those little promises of his, I half-believed it. The children were playing, and all of a sudden we saw the car, our car, so wohoo!, he really meant to come early! We ate something from Wendy's because we were all so hungry, and there was no food in the apartment! We went to the "I love America" festival, that supposedly was one of the biggest celebrations in the country. Yes, it was packed, the concessions lines were longer than a poor man's sigh (my dad always says that) and after we had been there for a while, we realized it was a celebration organized by a church, an evangelical church. Jeff couldn't fake it anymore, so we left. I wanted to stay, mainly because we hadn't celebrated, you know what I mean. But the mosquitoes were relentless, and yes, the crowd was getting wilder. On a side note, check out the picture of the Amish-looking couple. They were not Amish, but they wore kind of the same clothes, and they were holding a giant cup of mountain dew, and hooked to the waist of her pioneer dress, the lady had a cell phone. Talk about modernization. We finally left, and got some cherry and strawberry milkshakes, and went back, but not inside the actual festival, but to a hill that overlooked the celebration. From there, we watched the fireworks. The children had been playing tag with a few other kids they had never met before, and they looked so elfish playing and running, mixing with the fireflies. Jeff caught one of the fireflies for them to see up-close, and they were so fascinated; their faces alight with wonder. The show started, and the booming of the fireworks echoed the heartbeat of my children, sitting beside me, looking at the lights in the sky resemble flowers, hearts, weeping willows, stars, Tata (Chubbers said. So she saw a middle-eastern looking grandpa up there ... ). We were elated, relaxed almost after the fireworks, and we ended the night, where else? At Wal-Mart, of course, that symbol of the American dream and American living. How appropriate, don't you think?
No, I won't start with the book, or the saga, or Edward, gorgeous Edward, I'm just thinking about this time of the day. I don't know what happens inside me when I see, or feel, the sun sinking down; the day coming to an end. It's very strange because as the sun descends in the sky, I feel my heart become heavier, for however long the earth lingers between day and night. When the stars start to twinkle, I'm surprised at how much I love the night sky, the quiet of the night, uninterrupted hours of reading. When I was little, about 5 or 6, and for many years, I was terrified of the night. Not only the dark, but nighttime. I remember my little thin sad-faced self, looking through the dining room window, which faced west, to the orange setting sun. Now that I'm not so irrationally afraid of the night anymore (please note I haven't said I'm not afraid anymore, just not irrationally so), I just get a little melancholy when the day ends. Surprisingly, I've noticed that in the winter, when it's dark at 5:00 pm in Utah, I really don't get this feeling. But in the Spring and Summer, the dread becomes unbearable. In order to fight it, I try to be doing something fun, or spiritual, or labor intensive when twilight arrives, like working in the yard, playing with my kids, having Family Home Evening. What is it? Do I get sad because another day is ending? Another day of my life? Of my kids' childhoods? Another day far from home? Another day of what? My children know me. They know my moods and my times. We try to have cheerful bedtimes and rituals, to end the day peacefully, with the angels. But today we were at the pool for 5 hours, and they're exhausted. They all fell asleep, one by one, a little bit before 7. It has to be an all-time record, and I'm all alone, with a book and my mate, gazing at the window now and then. As suddenly as it comes, the melancholy leaves. It's the night. Gorgeous Boy wakes up and says, "It's the night, wow!" I just nod in acknowledgement and look at the window. Tomorrow will be another day. I hope is as fun as the one we just had, at least.