Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Ice Cream Social

In stark difference to last year, the Mendon Ice Cream Social turned out to be a nice little Saturday.  Instead of heading up late the Friday night before, we all packed up in the morning, ate a hearty breakfast at McDonald's and drove the 2+ hours through Missouri farmland, full and ready for day of outdoor fun.  Instead of the wicked 90+ degree weather with an obnoxiously high heat index that is expected for the weekend before August, it was somewhere in the low 80's and felt that way.  Instead of making the trip alone, with a 3.5 year old, an 19 month old and a 5 month old, I had a husband with me and an added year to each of those ages (so that's like 3 years more mature!)

We spent the entire day outside.  It's a little (and big and adult and elderly) boy's heaven.  Acres and acres of open space.  A limitless selection of ponds.  ATV's, tractors, trucks, bikes, and any other device with an engine you can imagine.  Fishing poles.  Yard games.  Shotguns, handguns, rifles, dynamite, firecrackers.  Cold beer.  Or cold Sprite, whichever your preference.  Brock loved riding the 4-wheeler, but not too fast.  They all loved "Redneck Golf".  They found the pump fascinating.  George was extremely disturbed by his father in a helmet.  Curtis was in shock after his first ATV ride.  The ALL loved watching the boys shoot.  George laughing with every round.  Brock put on a helmet to watch them light the half stick (the only boy down there with any sense.)

After the pyrotechnics, we finally trekked on over to St. Joseph's Catholic church.  This church beautifully displays the stained-glass artwork of my late Uncle Gary.  It has been home to the ice cream social for as long as I can remember (besides a few rain out years when it got moved to the high school).  In the 30 years I have been attending, NOTHING has changed.  A few familiar faces have passed on, and few new faces have arrived, but the food, games and company remain the same.  This little town, with a population of 169, has preserved everything you can imagine about country living.  You will never eat a better bite of pie, nor a better scoop of ice cream.  The bingo game is a lot older than I am, and still functioning great.  I think it's still even the same microphone, speaker, and announcer from my childhood days.  The turtle races never cease to be entertaining.  And we still go home with a few unnecessary pieced of glassware from the nickel toss, and a couple 2-liters of soda from the ring toss.  (George may, or may not, have been cheating...but gosh darnit, he wanted that Cream Soda!)

We appreciated the scene.  We enjoyed our food.  And we packed up to drive home by 8pm.  We had 3 boys conked out in the back seat.  I fidgeted the whole way with ridiculously restless legs.  And we arrived safely home, to our air-conditioned abode for a solid nights sleep.  We had three exhausted boys for the rest of the day Sunday, and they all fell asleep before 8pm.  Perhaps, one of these years, we will make a full three day, two night stay at the ol' Smith Family farm.  But for now, I am content with our day.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

One fourth left for the Fourth.

It seems as though we have made it so far, so fast.  Three fourths of the way through my FOURTH pregnancy. Yet, I know the longest, perhaps, hardest stretch is yet to come.  If weeks 6 through 16 were to battle 30-40, I have no idea who would win.  All I know, is that 6-16 are a distant memory, and I am staring down the throat of 30-40.  So, for me, at least for right now, the latter seems to have the edge.  I feel absolutely no different at this point in my pregnancy, than I did at this time during the 3 prior.  At least it's nice to know what to expect.  I will say that it seems like my uterus is much more "irritable" this go round.  I am constantly having braxton hicks, especially in the evening.  This old, nearly 31 year old body, doesn't seem to be handling the 10-14 hour work days quite as well as in the past.  Or it could be that I then come home to three wild and crazy boys.

Currently, our biggest hurdle is a name.  Girl? No problem. We have an untouched list.  Boy?  Ain't that a doozy.  We like our names to be "real names" as in, not made up.  We like them to be well known, to have existed for a long time, and to be somewhere in the 175-300 range on the Social Security Names website.  I would kind of like an Irish name, as it seems as thought that would be appropriate for our last name, and we have yet to go with one...but I just don't know that I like any Irish names enough.  Seamus?  Darby?  Rory? Conan? or Neils?  Maybe.  We like them to be unique enough that they will likely be the only one in their grade school, perhaps even high school class (sorry, George!)  But not sooo unique that no one has heard of it.  I prefer the name to be easily spelled (which might be why a lot of Irish names are out) and I want to like every nickname.  I like names that are obviously masculine or feminine.  Not that the sex of my children is all that ambiguous, but in the right light, Brock does look awfully "pretty", so had he been named Kelly, there might be some confusion.

I am sure we will decide on a name the week (or day) I deliver, just like we have with the past 2.  And I am sure it will be perfect for him or her.  Just like it has been for the past 3.  And I will eventually get over the fact that Prince William and Kate stole George's thunder.  I will continue to lay at night and watch my belly make alien like movements.  I will continue to try and force Matt to come feel the random body parts poking out of the center of my abdomen.  I will continue to daydream of having a little brown-haired, brown-eyed child that people don't even hesitate to question who it's mother is. I will continue to document too much about my pregnancy, and family.  I will continue to torture myself with the decision to induce a week early (to avoid a 12 pound baby) or to just let 4.O decide when to come on it's own. I have only gained 10 pounds, which means my goal of a 12 pound weight gain is probably unattainable, but perhaps 15 is doable!?  I will switch to Protonix for my indigestion, just as soon as I get a chance to get to the pharmacy.  I will continue to sleep with cold wash clothes on my feet to tame the RLS.  I will increasingly ask Matt to do the little things for me, more, and more frequently to the point that he will nearly be serving me all meals on the couch.  I will begin to wish for the delivery date to be here with every fiber of my being.  Then, before I know it, 4.O will be here!

What a wonderful day that will be.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Short Stories

I frequently make popcorn after the littles go to bed. 4.O seems to like it a lot. Tonight, after the popping is finished, as I'm seasoning it perfectly, I hear a tiny, slightly inquisitive, slightly timid, "Mom?" Coming from atop the stairs. So, I stop salting the popcorn (there was probably plenty anyway).  I say "Yes?" in a slightly annoyed, slightly threatening way as I walk to the bottom of the stairs. Where I then see Brock, who is beginning to retreat up the stairs, sensing my dissatisfaction at hearing my name, well beyond little boy bedtime hour. He begins somewhat frantically explaining himself, "Well, it smells like popcorn up here. I don't know why the popcorn smell has to come in my room. Cause, cause now I want some popcorn." Then I hear it, another, even tinier, more innocent voice from an unseen tag-along little brother, "Popcorn?" And a disheveled, eyes not adjusted to the light yet, sleepy Curtis comes around the half wall to the stair top.

I just smile. Can't argue with that logic. Invariably, if you smell popcorn, you want some. Even old moms know this. The idea of depriving him from fresh popcorn, that he can smell as he lies in bed trying to shut out the thoughts of this salty, succulent treat seemed torturous to me. So, I stop his retreat, and inform him as well as his baby bro, that they can have just one piece. Their eyes light up, Curtis takes his paci out in anticipation, and they scurry down to meet me in the kitchen. I hand them each about 4 kernels. Then a couple more. And off they go, back to bed. No thank you's necessary, as I sensed their appreciation by the immediate return to bed, and the lack of begging for more.  

Just before climbing into his bed, Brock stops, and turns to me, and says, "That was a really good nighttime snack, mom." To that, I kissed him goodnight, and left the room, thinking, "It sure was, Brock. It sure was."

Staycation Beer Thirty

Baby boy Matt turns thirty tomorrow.  He's FINALLY my age. I thought this milestone deserved a significant celebration.  I had a lot of ideas, one including a trip and overnight stay in Manhattan, KS, another involving a large barbeque with lots of family and friends at our place, another a real family vacation.  None of these came to fruition.  Not even close.  I'm doing good to plan a dinner a week, get to the grocery store, stock diapers, and entertain my 3 children on occasion.  Getting a chance to plan something AWESOME for awesome husband, just fell a little too low on the survival totem pole.

Therefore, I had to choose one thing for Matt.  I had to come up with something, that I know he wants, and loves, and desires that I could also provide for him on short-term notice.  And then it hit me.  Sleep.  So, I booked a hotel, right here in KC.  I got rid of the kids for the night.  And I organized a nice dinner at Cafe Trio, with friends, to fill his belly, before his night in a king bed, so sleep in a dark room, until he naturally woke up, on his own, not from a little, tiny voice or body.  I sent him a telegram (via email) inviting him to these events.  I did, eventually, break the news to him, that I too would be accompanying him throughout the evening.  Judging by the sigh I received after informing him of my presence, perhaps, I should have stayed home, and let him have the king to himself.  Oh well. 

This one night was an oasis in the madness that is our lives right now.  We had a 2 hour, unrushed, excellent dinner.  We sat on a rooftop by the Nelson, in the cool, perfect evening, enjoying company, and beverages (well, not me, obviously.)  We woke up sometime after 9am, we had brunch, and we strolled home.  I feel somewhat recharged.  Like a normal person.  With a happy husband.  And I gladly went home to embrace my sweet baby boys. 

I hope Matt enjoyed his night.  I hope he felt appreciated.  Special.  Loved.  I hope he knows that I think he deserves a night like this every week, if it were possible.  I hope he looks forward to his 30th year of life, with the arrival of his 4th child, a job he enjoys, a humble home, and more people who love him than he could ever need. I gave him the most precious commodity we have right now.  Time. 

Happy 30th!!!!!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

RIP Cornucopia: May 16, 2007 - July 1st, 2013.

Google Reader ruined my life.  And ruined my blog's life.  And everyone else with a blog that I enjoyed.  It will never be the same.

 Now what am I supposed to do!?

Friday, July 5, 2013

If you're going to go, go all out.

I want to live in the head of someone else for a day. Preferably, someone complacent , or with mild, achievable dreams. Feel what it's like to not want the world. To not desire to do everything , and do it well. To not care if I'm the best. Smartest. Most talented. The winner. To live life happy, but not so intensely. To have a mind that shuts out the obsessive, constant thoughts of self improvement, goals, my kids...  To never be jealous of those that are phenomenally talented at something, like Michael Jordan or Phelps, or Steve Jobs or Niels Bohr, or even the people I meet on a more personal level who are smart, beautiful, flawless. Honestly, even those I perceive as being on a level playing field with me, bother me.  If you are my equal, I am not superior. 

I have learned to repress a lot of these feelings. Partly for self preservation, partly to remain acceptable to my peers. I avoid a lot of games and competitions, so as to not ruin the fun for everyone else.  There is absolutely no such thing as playing a game "just for fun". It's always to win. I think I might have been the founder of the quote, "If you're going to go, go all out."  Anyone who knows me, knows that I sit out of activities for only two reasons.  Either, I know I am not particularly skilled or educated this activity.  Or, I know this is supposed to be a fun, laid back, non-competitive event.  

When I think back to my decision to begin swimming year round, it was because I narrowly missed high point at Level II's (the faster of the 2 championship Summer league swim meets) 2 years in a row.  After the second consecutive 2nd place, my mom informed me...and I still remember the moment and how she said it..."you know, the only kids that beat you are the ones that swim year round."  Done.  She didn't have to say one word more.  So as an 11 year old, I began my quest to conquer.  When I arrived at my first Winter meet, it was a totally different ball game.  I was in one of the first {aka, slowest} heats!  I was one of 50+ kids competing and ranked somewhere in the 40's.  Inconceivable.  I still remember panicking as I read the heat sheets.  I remember crying on the blocks of my first race.  My goggles filling with tears.  Probably my first true anxiety attack.  I remember diving off the block last, and just barreling through that race like never before...dropping somewhere in the vicinity of 5 seconds in a 50, winning my heat, and moving up more than 20 places.  It was fun.  It was a rush.  And I knew, someday soon, kids would point to my name and say, "She's the one to beat".

Secretly, in my head, I play this game everyday.  If I am hosting a party, it has to be flawless.  If I am decorating a portion of my house.  Shopping or dressing my children.  Writing.  Talking.  Card games.  Bunko.  Board games.  Bowling.  Treating a patient.  Preparing food.  All of it.  All of it is to be done so that I can look back and say, "Ya, I did my best, and it's pretty damn amazing." 

This mind set is exhausting.  It's exhausting to me, but moreover, to my family.  I am sure they would love a less intense version of Erin at times.  I just wonder what it would be like to be ok with 50%?  Seems nice, doesn't it?