Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Is This For Real?

Well, we are all moved in and only had three boxes left to unpack so we did what everyone does with the last three miscellaneous boxes and put them in the attic to one day be discovered, maybe right before a garage sale and as is typical we will say "apparently we never really needed this so and so..."
Actually, I just went through those last few boxes and can officially say that as of this very moment we are 100% moved in.
The move back to the natural state was the very end of May ... so ... about four months to get every last box unpacked? Not too shabby. Of course, all of that was made possible from the help of friends and family which in turn was at the top of the list of reasons to return to the land of opportunity.
In the meantime, Eric and my parents have been digging in the yard and it is starting to really shape up. The place was very overgrown and had not seen any yardwork-love in more than 5 years.Sometimes it seems endless, but when I look back at before photos the transformation has been amazing.
Household improvements include replacing all of the bedroom/closet doors from 1970s-apartment-dark-wood-brass-lever-handled to fresh-white-brushed aluminum handled, painting over the bright pink stripes in Eli's room, trellising in under the deck to create an outdoor storage area and lovely place for gardenias, ivy, etc., installing an outdoor ceiling fan to better enjoy the deck, adding a screen door to said deck to better enclose small children, adding a dimmer to the dining room, installing pops of fresh green curtains in the kitchen and of course yard-work.
We are settling in for fall and are turning our focus to Jackson's homework (what is this first-grade common core madness!?), his twice-a-week soccer games and his hip-hop dance class (that's a whole other post!). This year, Jackson's soccer team is the Limes and Eric stepped up to be the coach. Both are learning a lot, doing a great job and enjoying it very much.
We are enjoying Eli's non-stop adorable chatter and how he loves to count: one, two three, seven, eight! Not an evening goes by that Eli doesn't request I read him a book. Not one. It is his second most favorite thing to do; going "outside to play" ranks No. 1.
But the best parts about these days is that when I look around at soccer, hip-hop, dinner - the faces I see are just too good to be true.
Can it really be that I am just casually grocery shopping with my mom? Peaches? Check. Milk? Check. My Mom? What!
Are my kids really walking the dog with my dad after dinner? Pop the baby in the stroller and let's walk over to ... meet up with my dad?!?!
Is this all really happening? Are we all just going to act like this is normal?
Is my best friend just swinging by for a quick, work-week lunch like it's just a plain, old Monday? I still have a hard time not rushing and trying to talk about everything under the sun because I am so used to only seeing these people every few months, at best.
Is this really just an ordinary Tuesday where PawPaw, Mam and Granddad are here to see Jackson play his first soccer game?
Did Pop and Dearie just drop off a tiller for Eric to prep the yard? Also, how sad is it that we are excited to have a tiller? 
Seriously. Is this our "every day"? No way! For real?
Our friends and family always made a big effort to travel to see everyone as much as possible. It's not like we were all countries away from each other, but even a five-hour drive makes a big difference in your day to day. Now that we are all so close, it is hard to believe this is our new normal.
This must be how those other people lived. Those people I would see at school festivals, Christmas shopping, soccer games, doctor appointments who had miscellaneous family members sharing meals, cheering on, helping out - doing that whole "takes a village" thing. We'd always see those people who had most of their family close and feel a twinge - missing our extendeds.
So, this is what it's like.
Well, let me tell you, it is the best.
The. Best.
So much to enjoy, so many to enjoy it with.
So glad to be in the wonder state.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Roll Call

Eli is right in the middle of the roll-call phase. 
Every activity – working, laundry, sleeping, eating, walking – are regularly assigned to the people around him and even those who live elsewhere.
The roll-call game is one of my favorite because he drags it out and sing-song-says it like a little grown-up. As if his list is almost as exhausting as the actual activity he is checking off.
Here’s how it works.
Eric will be working on a project in the garage:
Mama? Daddy workin.’
Silence while contemplating this information and then a sing-songy unleashing…
Daaaaddy workin.’ Eeeeli workin.’ Jaaaaackson workin.’ Granddaaaad workin.’ Eeeelvis workin.’ Izzyyyy workin.’

Apparently, there is a lot of working going on around here.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

There I Was

Whether we are doing the telling or the listening, our family loves a good story. 
We want to know every detail. 
Start from when the door bell rang, the phone was ring-ringing, you walked in the room, the first glance – ok-go!
Give us the details.
My heart soared when the firstborn walked in sweaty from his latest adventure, set his kitchen chair in the middle of the kitchen floor, plopped down, turned his blue eyes up to mine and said:
"OK mama, let me take it from the top…"

Monday, September 16, 2013

What Song?

Theatrics – we’ve got some.
Who doesn’t love a good show? A silly dance? A whirlwind of living-room gymnastics? A costume-filled talent show?
The boys – they do it all. Non-stop entertainment.
But Eli has discovered he has a real knack for DJ-ing.
Last Saturday morning, it was 8 a.m. and we were doing the classic parent-weekend-sleep-in-dance, where Eric and I try to hang on to a few more precious, teeny-tiny moments of fake-almost-sleep while Eli dances in our hair. 
Sometimes you can catch 20 or so more seconds by just letting Eli ramble and sing and chat away during a good snuggle. 
During this particular morning, Eli started singing a little Happy Birthday. When he was finished, he popped his tiny face into mine and asked:
What song? What song, mama?
Slightly taken aback, I struggled to think of a song that Eli would know the words.
Ring-around-the rosie?
He responded by launching into the tune. After about two and ½ lines in, he once again popped over and asked: What song?
After three-lines of the stellar tune…
What song?
Row-row-row your boat?
Two lines in and I’m asked again. Only now he has caught on to his personal adorableness and when he pops into view he asks super fast – like: Whasong?
Itsy-bitsy spider?
His repertoire is generally coupled with hand movements and at times he even provides his own applause. We'll start booking weddings by the end of the month.
Send all information to Whasong, Inc.

Speak Up

Every night I try to stick to a bedtime routine. 
It really helps Eli, who has always had a few sleep issues, prepare himself for bed. After bath, we do the last diaper change, get him his drink, pick a lovey and then walk down the hall to say all of our good nights to all the various people and dogs along the way. 
Once in his room he asks to turn off the ceiling fan, watches me turn off his blue elephant lamp and while I close his blinds he softly says “Good night guys. Good night day. See you tomorrow.” Then while we rock and cuddle I try to softly whisper to him so to create a calming environment. 
I whisper the basics, “I love you…sweet boy…ready for night-night…etc.” But the other night all of our evening procedures came to halt when I started whispering and Eli finally grabs my face, looks into my mouth and repeats in the classic shout-whisper: “WHAT? WHAAAT? WHAAAAAT?”

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Tea Time

Every child always brings with it a few words or phrases that end up becoming a permanent part of our day to day verbiage. Even now, after six years, we still use Jackson’s ‘nack for snack and staw-bappys for strawberries.
Eli has not only provided the adorable  terr-stee for thirsty and  tookie for cookie but there is also one of my faves:  teek-a-boo.  Beyond his baby phrasing is that sometimes he uses a British accent. We aren’t sure where this popped up but it is heart-melting. He will pronounce his “no” with such a pronounced N and extreme pursed lip that it has a few added syllables and is all UK. When he couples that with “I don’t!” I start to put the kettle on for some afternoon tea.