This was the first time we have ever tent camped with the girls. While it had it's challenges, it was also extremely fun. On the last day we caught two toads which lead to the seven kids that were being completely entertained while we packed up boats and camp sites. We ended up having 18 people, 3 boats, 3 dogs and 7 tents...it was amazing. Like a little homestead of canvas.
Here's our tent site when the first 8 got there. Aren't the big cottonwood trees just awesome.
And here's Little Goose and I floating along on the tube behind Grandma and Papa's boat.
I am taking a small break from frantically cleaning and cooking to sit down and take a deep breath. Whew! We are going camping this weekend, back up to Glendo Wyoming. The word "camping" used to mean roughing it when my friends and cooking over fire. Well with two kids and a boat in tow, camping has taken on a whole new light. I have been cooking since I got up this morning to make three home cooked meals a day for my family for three days while taking into account that we will either be on the water or on dirt. The prep work has been enormous. Here's the GIANT tent (it's 10'x16') Joe picked up for us, since we have to fit us and the girls and Ty in there to sleep.
I did take one additional break today to take the girls to swimming lessons. Tyler behaved exactly as you would expect a two year old on her very first ever swimming lesson with just the teacher and not me in there. Shy at first and then when she figured out that it was just a game, she was fine. Although she always has that DiFabio "I am smiling" look on her face when in a challenging situation. And then there's Austin...sigh...I am not sure if I screwed up or if Joe did (I vote Joe because I am bias) but while we at the lake a few weekends ago I took Austin in the lake with me and was trying to show her that her life vest would hold her up and not to be scared so we could work on treading water. So I held her at arms length by her life vest and was telling her to run in place (which in my defense she had just worked on THE DAY BEFORE in swimming class). Well Austin panicked and lost her cotton picking mind, screaming and hyperventilating and what not. I was trying to get her to calm down and see that I still was holding on to her and there was nothing to be scared of and Joe reached over the boat and drug her back in. Now I am not sure if I scared her into therapy or if Joe gave her an easy way to quit, but guess who now acts like that at swimming lessons too. It is completely humiliating to see a kid that everyone there knows who used to be able to swim from the teacher to the wall now stomp up and down and throw things at her Mom...all the while I try not to actually eat her face off. Currently my jaw is actually sore from gritting my teeth today. After the last failures I decided today that I would be the "nice Mom" and comfort her, but no she threw a fit until the teacher allowed her to just hang out in a floaty ring and watch her sister with the teacher. Sigh Sometime I wish that it wasn't a big deal to me that she learned how to swim because after today's behavior she doesn't deserve to go back, but I can't just yank her out and say well then fine. Did I mention that swimming lessons are over a dollar a minute, so it cost me $70 for both of them today only to now have a headache. :-(
Here's the only super cute picture today from lessons, especially since Tyler has her "DiFabio Smile" on.
Yes Joe had the girls by himself Saturday night and Sunday morning which was an absolute first. I think before this I haven't left for longer than groceries without them. Joe decided it would be nice to make it exciting for them by taking them to their first 3-D movie where they watched "Planes" and then out to Freddy's for dinner. I guess they only had minor meltdowns without me but from the sounds of it, they definitely tried to push the envelop in doing things that they just wouldn't have if I were at home.
Here's Daddy's little girls before the start of the movie!
I spent my first night away from the girls this weekend. One of my friends had their Bachelorette party up in Denver and we all stayed at a hotel up there. It was super fun to have 14 girls all running around downtown Denver, of course we're getting old so about 3 hours into the night the complaining about hurt feet in high heels took over the shrills of excitement. And it has been a long time since I ate breakfast at 3AM at a dinner, made me feel pretty old. ;-)
Here are Kelley, Carri and I are at dinner before our feet really starting hurting.
Yesterday while Joe was sitting in the first IRS meeting for our audit and I was feeling completely helpless at home, I decided that I would help our karma bank in honor of him. So the girls and I dropped off 9 cases of water and a box of Jimmy John's sandwiches to the relief workers in Manitou who are helping dig out the city from the recent floods. Unfortunately after major fires like we have had any rain can cause flash floods and it's wreaking havoc on poor Manitou.
This is what a portion of their streets look like.
Most of the businesses and homes have basements, all of which look like this. Muddy volunteers helping to haul it out of there.
I walk around the house laughing, repeating the quote from Big Daddy - "It smells like urine in this joint. Good job!". Between Tyler learning how to use the little potty and Austin learning how to not wear a pull up to bed, the place definitely smells like the men's room at Wrigley field. Of course in every effort to combat that smell, I mop at least once a day and days like yesterday even take to wiping the walls down with bleach...anything that can possibly help. I always like to share my points of perspective just in case someone else needs some also. Our household is buzzing with rushed nervousness about the upcoming Monday audit and getting all of our ducks in a row to fight a fight we can't possibly win. So I think both Joe and I were starting to become self absorbed with our current situation when I got an update on Facebook that one of my friends from high school had just had their little baby girl. What fantastic news. First couple of pictures look completely normal, a little bitty smash face and everyone either crying or smiling at the arrival. Then the next picture showed her with the velcro on her temples (like both of my daughters had to have for their Baby Ray-Bans so they could be under the UV lights). Then the next days pictures show her with oxygen on...again not that surprising, we live at nearly 7,000 feet in altitude so a lot of babies get oxygen. Then a plea from my friend for prayers. I knew at that moment something had turned. Well it turns out she was showing all types of symptoms of just not being well so they started running tests. She has Hirschsprung's disease and went in for surgery yesterday to have 20% of her intestines removed. Apparently the blow to the heart to have a 3 day old operated on wasn't severe enough so they were also told that she has Down's Syndrome Now keep in mind my friend's wife is in her 20's, this is her first child and all of that would have been difficult enough...I know because I have been there, a new baby is hard, labor is hard, healing and mending is hard, but doing all of it while struggling with the emotions that must come when you hear that news must be even harder. Her little 6 pound frame made it through the 4 hour surgery yesterday and has started the long road to recovery. I cried for a while yesterday, not just because I know my friends have shed enough tears and it was my turn but also for believing that the IRS was a big deal. In the scheme of things, the IRS doesn't even get to be a deal much less a big deal. I kissed my kiddos and continued scanning receipts with a new found ease.
So I read this post on Facebook and couldn't help but laugh out loud. #9 really got me even though I have girls and not boys I can't seem to keep my house from smelling like pee at one point or another. Too cute not to share.
Here is a list of tips that will save your sanity!!! New moms moms to be take notes!!! ~Melissa~
1. Lower your standards for cleanliness and order. 2. Did that? Lower them even more. 3. Your house will never look like a magazine spread, period. Embrace that. 4. No matter how many baskets you buy to contain toys, they will always be visible. Embrace the Toys ‘R Us/ frat house-chic decor. 5. You can never have too many popsicles in the freezer. How many bad moods have been fixed by a simple popsicle? 6. If you can’t change them, change your perspective. For example I read recently– probably on Satan’s website Pinterest– that toothpaste is great for cleaning things like faucets. So now when I go into the bathroom every day and see toothpaste splatter all over the bathroom faucet I think about how my children have done half the chore of cleaning for me. How considerate of them! Then I wipe it off while cursing. 7. Those chores that no one ever wants to do. Decide if you would rather do it yourself, badger your child to it, or let it go. If you are confused about what to do, see Number 1 on this list. 8. No one cares what is stuffed under your child’s bed, why should you. Unless it is old food. In that case, you should get a dog. 9. If you have boys, your bathroom will always faintly stink like pee. Invest in some Febreeze and count down the days until they move out and you can go visit them and pee on their bathroom floor. 10. Don’t buy white furniture. Unless you enjoy screaming at your children every time they go near it. 11. However bad a situation might seem, one day it will be funny. I have a few for which I am eagerly awaiting for the funny to kick in. Any time now…. 12. When your child is a young teen there will be nothing more embarrassing than your very existence. Use this to your advantage. Start planning early. 13. Do not paint any walls in your house with flat paint. 14. Be okay with letting your kids stumble sometimes. Whether that is turning in an assignment late because they didn’t do it or wearing an outfit so hideous you have trouble looking at them without laughing. 15. Noise cancelling headphones are great for blocking out whining, bickering and the endless episodes of Sponge Bob. 16. Socks do not have to match. Every day is Crazy Sock Day at my house, which is infinitely better than Crazy Mom Day. 17. The crayons will break and it is okay to throw them away rather then save them to make some sort of craft that involves the hair dryer. In fact, I give you permission to not feel guilty about all the crafts you know you will never do. 18. Your children will not die from eating the occasional hot dog or frozen pizza. And by occasional I mean more than you are really willing to admit. 19. If your children are driving you crazy arguing with each other, start an argument with them. Then your children will bond over their mutual hatred of you and be quiet. 20. Children do not appreciate top sheets or high thread counts. Buy neither. 21. Homework time is the worst time of the day. Help your kids and yourself by having a designated time and a quiet place to do homework. Preferably in a neighbor’s home. 22. Just say No to ironing. 23. Last, but not least, a glass of wine and some really bad TV makes everything seem a little better.
Little Miss Tyler Mae is in the process of potty training, and while I am super proud of her it has lead to even more laundry and scrubbing of bathrooms both of which I truly thought I did enough of already. Austin is super cute though and goes with her all the time and sits next to her, it's nice being the big sister.
So let's talk about this list.
I have noticed a new trend in teenagers recently, one that I am hoping to not go along with when our girls are that age. Here's a little back story.
We were down at the lake on Friday last week and while Adam and Joe were buttoning up the canvas on the boat and I was wiping down the outside I looked up as another boat pulled up into the boat prep lane. It was a very nice boat, well into the six figure mark and included all of the fun stuff that a great boat like that should...wake boards, surf boards, tubes. I looked at it smiled at the owner (a middle aged man) and Joe commented nice boat. Here's where I have the issue. It was quite obvious from the looks of it that the man we were speaking to was the owner of the boat, so it was shocking when I walked past it to throw away our garbage to notice that he was letting the air out of the tubes and working on cleaning the boat meanwhile there were THREE count them THREE teenagers in the car texting away on their phones. And actually looking quite annoyed at the time it was taking for this man to get everything taken care of. I just about stopped and asked if perhaps they had bought the fuel that day, or brought the sandwiches, maybe they were all disabled - blind or otherwise? Because what would possibly be right and just in the world if you had fun all day on an AMAZING boat and didn't help with the prep. Obviously there must have been something wrong with them, or the man lost a bet. I managed to control myself and not turn into the crazy lady in the boat prep lane that day but since it happened now five days ago and I can't stop thinking about it, I decided there has to be an answer. When I vented to Joe in the car someone mentioned well perhaps the man would rather do it himself so as to ensure that it is done properly rather than having the "kids" (these were every bit of 17 year olds) do it wrong. Well that just spun me up even worse. Which led me to "The List". I am drafting a list of things that I would like the girls to learn before they become adults. Things like driving a stick, riding a motorcycle, backing up a trailer, writing a resume. What ever happened to teach them to fish and you no longer have to catch their dinner, now we can't even teach teenagers to deflate an inner-tube? Maybe I am all wrong and maybe there is a whole other story that I completely missed from that boat full of people, but it lit a fire in me to make sure that I teach the girls what I can and the value of doing something correctly.