Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Today was the first day of real school for the kids...as in the kind you have to dress them and drive them to, vs the kind that happens every morning when I chase them around the house waving math worksheets at them (while Robbie chews on that brand new Pinterest project I was so sure would be the key to mastering skip counting). 

The morning got off to a slightly rocky start with the usual missing shoes and last minute discovery Robbie had gotten into Charlie's leftover cheerios.   It was only slightly more stressful thanks to Jim telling me our car's catalytic converter could be sucked through the engine at any moment and that the struts he replaced last night meant that I may have to drive down the freeway sideways in order to go straight.   I wasn't sure what that meant....should I take surface streets, or drive with my hazard lights on?  Not drive over 60mph...30mph...10mph?   Which is reaaallly hard to do when you're running late.    I ended up driving down the freeway fast, then slow, then fast, then slow as my foot and brain caught up and played tag team with each other.  "We're late!"  "Slow down"  "We're late!" "No, slow down." "We're late!".   I'm not sure what the other cars on the road thought of the gray Altima going 70mph then 50mph....then 70mph...then 50mph. 

While I was belting out songs about Charlemagne, and praying my car wouldn't spontaneously start break dancing down the freeway, I heard a rip in the back seat from the direction of Robbie's carseat.    Another plus for cloth diapers is that those wonderful snaps are harder for mischievous toddlers to get undone than the paper velcro on disposables, because yeah...Robbie undid his diaper and then proceeded to unload.    Jamie and Charlie were like horrified sports commentators as I started the slow process of getting my poor car off the freeway and into the parking lot.   "Robbie is rubbing his feet in the poop!"  "He is now dipping his pacifier in it."  "He's painting the back seat with POOP MOM!"  


Amazingly, after all that CC went great.  I love my class.  I'd happily tutor every day if it meant being in an air conditioned building...but of course I do it for the children.  *cough* *cough*

I also managed to turn post CC into a giant fustercluck as I went racing to the mechanic after school.  But somehow we got everything done and everyone home in one piece.    I hope the rest of the school year goes more smoothly, although honestly I secretly don't mind even the traumatizing poop drama.  At least I'm not packing anymore, and my children are great little distractions.  They keep you putting one foot in front of the other.   I don't have enough time to stress out too much about everything.   

Week 1 done.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Part II of Life

Ten years ago today I did stop and think about what ten years in the future would hold.  I was a dramatic enough teenager that I wasn't under any rosy impressions it would be perfect, but I knew it would be perfect for me.  I knew I wanted to go down that road, and although I didn't picture three blond haired little boys, or a crazy motorcycle driving husband.  I knew that whatever it was...I desperately wanted it as long as it was with Jim. 

And so at the tender age of 19, I got married.

And honestly it's been the best ten years of my life.   Granted, I pictured us spending our tenth anniversary on a cruise, or in Europe or something.  Instead I'm sitting here with a box of kleenex in my bare living piled high with boxes.   Moving unexpectedly with nowhere to go.   But I know God will provide somehow, someway.    If I'm being contemplative and retrospective, I wouldn't say the last ten years have been easy.  They included life and death, a baby in the NICU, heart breaking family problems...  But it has been worth it, and it will continue to be worth it.

And so maybe we'll actually get a real honeymoon on our 25th anniversary, or maybe our 50th, but really I feel just so sheepishly privileged to have Jim and still so stinkin happy, it doesn't seem fair. 

To all marriages including mine.  May they continue to last a lifetime.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The lobster turns one!

A year ago today, Robbie was chillin in his own private jacuzzi of amniotic fluid, happily chowing down on...blood? via his umbilical chord. 

A year ago today, he took his first breath, and used his vocal chords for the first time. 

Today he stole potato chips from his brother.   Took off his shoes.  Giggled, spat, laughed, got angry.  Crawled, climbed, stood, kissed, waved.   He has two giant front teeth that make him like a cartoon character, and blue eyes that I'm still expecting to turn brown.  

I'm bummed his first year has gone by so quickly.  That said, it was a rough, awful year but he was the sunshine that kept us all happy. 

Happy Birthday Robbie. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Officially lots of things

It's official.  Robbie's first word is "more".   I've been telling Jim it's a coincidence for weeks now, but it's hard to miss the meaning when he points to my boob and says "mah" every single time he wants to eat.  He used to just sign it.  Now he signs it and says it, as if that will be more convincing. 

School is out for the Summer, and Robbie turns one tomorrow.    Last year I was really grateful for a June due date, because it meant I could have my baby in the peace and quiet of early Summer and not in the middle of a crazy school year.  That was last year.    I don't know what delusional part of my brain thought early June was ever going to be peaceful again.   It's clearly going to be a whirlwind of graduations, end-of-year programs and recitals from here on out.  Poor child may never get a birthday party. 

I killed a rattlesnake barbarian style with a big rock.  Actually, I was standing on the picnic table chucking stones at it and feeling very sorry for it.  It was very cute and sad looking, but I'm really not ok with them hanging out on my back porch.   It's not a rattlesnake's fault it's deadly.  I wonder if it even knows how feared it is.  We have a type of garter snake here that looks kind of like a rattlesnake and will even thwap its tail in a pile of leaves to fake a rattle, so clearly everyone else in the animal kingdom is aware that rattlesnakes are badass, but whenever I come across one, it always seems like it's saying "Woah, why the hate? It's not my fault I don't look like a puppy or koala bear." 

I am deep in planning mode for the next school year.   Choosing curriculum is a beastly task.  I'm like a little kid who gets lured deeper and deeper into the woods.  I keep thinking every curriculum I look at is amazing and will help with Jamie's rainbows, and then I see another one that will help with Jamie's rainbows AND unicorns. ...then I see another one that will help him with his rainbows AND unicorns AND have a pot of gold.   Part of me loves it, and part of me wishes someone would just decide for me.   Charlie is starting Kindergarten in the Fall too, and that's not helping matters.  Do I start him with SingSpellRead&Write like Jamie?  Or do I go ahead and start him with a more strict Orton Gillingham type method so that he's got a good base for Spelling and grammar later on?   In other words, is it more important that he learn to read?  Or more important that he learn why everything he's reading is written the way it is?    I feel like I've come a long ways since using the horrible "Teach Your Child To Read In 100 Easy Lessons".  Which is apparently only true if your child likes staring one black and white picture per day. 

Jim and I swapped houses with Jeff and Gabrielle this weekend.  It was wonderful to be able to carry on a conversation for more than two minutes without being interrupted.   I felt like I was missing an arm or something though.  It's a vaguely unsettling feeling to have your kids absent.   When I saw them, I wanted to smoosh them, and eat them all up.   They were only mildly interested.  They had too much fun climbing on roofs and driving a real car to miss us much.   Uncle Jeffy is a celebrity who has no equal.  I have a feeling I know a few little boys who are going to have their nose a bit pinched when their baby cousin shows up.  :-P  Speaking of baby cousins.  I keep opening up random cupboards and pantries to find my nine month pregnant SIL has cleaned and organized them for me!  Why can't I be like that when pregnant?

Friday, May 17, 2013


Well, I finally got that stomach flu.  Whoosh.  My first and last (feeble) claim to supermom status is throwing up, while breastfeeding, with Jamie and Charlie climbing on my back.    I know it's been said many times before, but it really does suck to be a mom and sick.  Everyone else gets taken care of when they're sick.  But mom's have to be sick and still take care of everyone else.   Jamie was a big help.  He did laundry and made meals...granted  I think he used an entire bottle of laundry detergent for a few loads, and an entire jar of jam for pb&j, but oh well.... I certainly wasn't in any position to complain. 

Here's hoping today is better. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Going To The Chapel, And...

It is hot.   I do love hot weather, but after months of trying to stay warm, the first 103 degree day always comes as a shocker.   The boys, in an effort to stay cool today, got in a water fight...in the garage...with the hose.   Needless to say, my day turned from "omg it's too hot to even fold laundry" to "ooh yay, I get to empty the garage out onto the driveway!".    We don't run our air conditioner, and I have to remind myself that human kind has existed for millenniums without a/c (except for those fancy ancient palaces that had brilliant pre-electric engineering).  

I haven't gotten the stomach flu yet...making me wonder how long I have to wait in fearful trepidation before I'm past the point of getting it.   Every night I go to bed utterly convinced I have it.  My stomach hurts, I feel queasy...and then I wake up in the morning.  Hypochondriac much? 

We got the dread virus from the New Mexico Felix's, but that's ok, because it was totally awesome to see them again.  I don't know what we'll do when the last Felix boy is married and there isn't a reason to gather for the monster celebrations.   This time, it was Christopher's turn.  Chris and Rachel's wedding was gorgeous, and I love all the weddings I do, but it's always particularly special when it's family or close friends.   

Wedding's aren't like baseball games that can be postponed or canceled due to weather, so I gave a literal, actual happy dance when I realized how perfect the lighting was for their wedding day.   Sometimes I look at wedding blogs and magazines and wonder if I'm the only photographer who has to shoot weddings in the middle of a bright sunny day... or hailing like the last one. 

I tried to make myself useful for more than just the photography, so the rehearsal dinner found me trying to set up a punch fountain, slice bread and generally appear helpful.   Charlie kept getting underfoot, asking me to go out and jump on the trampoline with him.  I kept telling him "go!... go jump on the trampoline."  But of course there were giant spiders, or zombies, or dinosaurs on the trampoline preventing him from jumping without mommy.  MmmHmmm.  Finally I'd had enough, so I opened the door and tried to deposit him outside to shoo him on to play by himself.   "I caaaaan't" he wailed "There's a rattlesnake."  Yeah, honey.  I'm sure. Maybe you can tell the snake to go play with those dinosaurs.    I tried to shake him off my leg where he'd wrapped himself around me like a koala bear.  He tried to levitate around the back of me, "Stop mommy, you're pushing me into a rattlesnake."  I looked down, and sure enough, there was a baby rattlesnake coiled up not six inches from the back door I was standing in.  Lovely.    Some parents give their kids tough love by taking off their training wheels.  Me? I try to push my child into the jaws of poisonous snakes.   I didn't even see it, it was just so little.  But it was a perfect, shiny new rattlesnake with its cute little diamond pattern, and a few little rattles on its tail.

 I should learn to trust Charlie explicitly when it comes to these things.  The kid is really good at noticing creatures.  He may think he's the Incredible Hulk, but I think his real talent lies in saying things like "No Jamie, that little black spider didn't bite you...that little brown striped one did." 

I try not to think about all the snakes and spiders where I live...I try to think about pretty wedding pictures instead .  :-P

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Sick Cycle Carousel

We were racing down the 15 at 2:30am this morning, Charlie was trying to sleep walk out of his carseat, Robbie was wailing the exhausted wail of an infant who refuses to stop protesting his hatred of cars, and Jamie was throwing up for the fifth time into a handy ziploc I stole from my Grandma's kitchen.  Jim told me, "Happy Mother's Day babe" and we laughed.  Because really, the weekend had reached such epic levels of slapstick that there was nothing left to do but be numb to it. 

It started out with the rubics cube style planning that accompanies violin/work/baseball/Grandma's 80th birthday/college graduation/graduation party in one weekend.  Plan A was scrapped, Plan B was briefly enacted before being tossed, Plan C seemed to be a winner until it got majorly fusterclucked, and we moved on to Plan D which while not perfect, was certainly doable.   Then the stomach flu showed up and ruined everything. 

We should have stayed home... but everyone had been well for over 24 hours, and so we fled to L.A. to see long lost cousins and celebrate with family.    As we were brushing our teeth and getting ready to claim some sleeping bag real estate to sleep on, I jokingly told Jim that I was so exhausted the kids would probably choose this night to keep us up.   Note to self:  Don't ever joke about things like that.  Ever.  I really should know better.   Because of course, not twenty minutes after I'd fallen into deep, restful slumber, than my nicer-than-me sister so kindly woke me up and asked me what she should do about the fact my seven year old was throwing up all over her room.   Then my other nicer-than-me sister woke up and offered to help clean it up.  Really, I don't deserve these kind of siblings.  I would have been all  *gag* *retch* *gag*  "WHAT THE--- Your KID just BARFED on my BED."  *gag* *retch* *gag*.    

But I digress.  As I rocked my puking son back and forth in the bathtub of a small house with limited bathroom space and people literally sleeping everywhere...I realized this was not a recipe for success.   Twenty people can't really share a bathroom with someone who has the stomach flu, and so we threw all our stuff in the car.  Picked up our sleeping and bewildered children and went back from whence we came.  

Now I'm just sitting here waiting for the stomach flu to hit me too.  But these munchkins are worth it.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Who is the fairest of them all

I was teaching Charlie "tall, tall-er, tall-est" today, and we were using our family as an example.  "Who's the tallest?" 


"Who's the shortest?" 


etc etc.  It backfired on me though, when we I got to "Robbie is short-er than you, and you are short-er than Jamie.   Silence.   So I repeated it.


Apparently Charlie did not know he was shorter than Jamie.  I was flabbergasted, but should have known better... after all, this is the child who thinks he literally is The Hulk.   I measured both of them and then showed Charlie the difference, but he was more stubbornly convinced he was taller,  than a 15th century sailor was of a flat earth.    Jamie reacted with a roundhouse punch that knocked Charlie flat on his back.  "Could I have done that if you were bigger than me?"  Jamie asked.   Charlie paused for a second as Jamie helped him back up, and then philosophically agreed.   I mean how could he argue with that?   Crisis averted, friendship restored (although just FYI, he's still The Incredible Hulk). 

I'm not sure I'll ever understand how boys communicate. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Re-emerging from the 1960's

Our internet has been out for over a week.  Since our cellphones don't have any service without the signal booster attached to our internet, we also haven't had 3G, 4G, bars, cell service or any of the other lovely "necessities" that come along with the 21st century.  No phone, no email, no facebook, no instagram.  Probably anyone under the age of 25, feels my pain.  Anyone in my grandparents generation (rightfully) should play me a tune on a tiny violin.   I mean, I had to actually pull Joy of Cooking off the shelves (the real, physical, cookbook) in order to make homemade sausage the other night.  The absurdity. 

This week I've hung the laundry out on the line.  Had homemade meals every night.  Spent way more time reading books to my kids (since we had no netflix).   Jim commented more than once on the cleanliness of our house.  I ironed and mended (I know, I know...).  But all good things must come to an end.  Jim found the culprit (a switch underground), and fixed the problem like hero he is.  So we are back in the 21st century, and I'm gobbling up my missed blogs, forums and news sources like a backslidden addict. 

Robbie stands now.  He's hilarious because he hates to fall, so he lowers himself to and from the standing position like he's doing workout squats.

 He's officially making the transition from babyhood to toddlerdom.  His walking skills are a few weeks behind his emotions though.  The last week he's been acting more like a kid than a baby.  This morning, he wanted the nail clippers and when I told him no, he threw himself on the floor wailing.  When he turned and saw I was talking to Charlie and not paying attention to him.  He threw his pacifier at me, waited for me to turn my head and then re-threw himself on the floor wailing.   I foresee good times ahead in the Ramsey household.   Teaching a small biped to act like a reasonable member of the human race is never boring. 

Co-sleeping is also coming to an end.  Jamie wanted nothing to do with co-sleeping.  He just wailed until we would put him in his crib, where he'd curl up with a "thank goodness these idiots finally figured out what I wanted" and then promptly go to sleep.    We co-slept with Charlie until he was 10 months.  I don't remember what prompted the move from bed to crib (although it's hopefully recorded in this blog somewhere).  It took a couple of weeks to get him used to the crib, and then he was fine.   I had no plans to move Robbie to his own crib any time soon.  Because we're so busy during the day, he gets the majority of his breastmilk during the night.  It's a win win.   But the last few nights he just won't sleep.  He plows all over the bed like a mini bulldozer.  Snorting, growling, giggling and otherwise just being obnoxious.  He's exhausted, but won't settle down.   Each night I finally give up and put him in his crib, where he repeats his oldest brother's look of, "thank goodness these idiots are finally letting me get some rest".

I'm sort of heartbroken about it.  But my cousin just had a baby last week, and my sister-in-law is about to have a baby, so I'll just have to steal their offspring for some blessedly simple newborn snuggles.   No pacifier throwing or temper tantrums.  Just tiny little scrawny legs, scrunchy little faces and that delicious newborn smell...

Yeah, I should stop, before I talk myself into wanting another one. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Random Tidbits

Robbie had a cold that gave him a major case of mom-itis.   After several nocturnal adventures of holding him upright all  night so he could breathe, he is now convinced I'm his service dog.  Except I'm more like a service gorilla, wearing him, feeding him and picking his nose for him.   He's been refusing the ministrations or soothings of anyone except me.

Just now though, I discovered the secret to getting a small break.  I picked up the bulb syringe to put it away, and Robbie (who was sobbing, hanging onto my knees, begging to be picked up) recognized it with a look of terror, and went scuttling post haste for the safety of Jamie's arms. 

That's right little baby, run to the safety of your big brother.  That evil mom with the snot sucker is on the loose!  

In other news: We are done with CC for the year!

Random tidbits from the kids at breakfast.

Jamie: "Mom, does anyone live in Asia?"
Me: "um yeah, like almost everyone."
Jamie: "What am I thinking of then...you know...that snowy place where no one but scientists and penguins live"
Me: "Antarctica?"
Jamie: "Yeah, Antarctica...Asia...I get them so confused."

Me: Charlie, did you sleep good last night?
Charlie: I slept like a freaking cucumber.

Man at the drive-thru window: Would you like some sauces?
Jamie (rolls down his window in the backseat): "Um yes, I'll take some of your free wihfeh?
Man: huh?
Jamie: "The free wihfeh. Your window says it's free."

Man  and I both crane our necks to look back to see what he's talking about, and sure enough, the window says, in big bold letters, "FREE WI-FI!".

Me:  Jamie, that's talking about free wireless internet.
Jamie:  What's that?
Me: It's a computer thing.
Jamie:  Like how?
Me: It makes netflix work.  
Jamie: Ohhhhhh

Monday, March 11, 2013

Rollercoasters, weddings and comb-overs

Busy, busy week and weekend. 

I shot a wedding on Friday.  It was beautiful, even if the weather almost gave me photography whiplash.  It went from raining, to hailing, to bright sun, to raining, back to bright sun so quickly, I couldn't meter fast enough.  I would literally meter the subject, and by the time I hit the shutter button, the light had changed.   Chalk that up to new experiences this Californian has never photographed before.  I kept thinking of Pacific Northwest photographers and all their rain.   How in the world do they ever take any pictures?  There's got to be a technique I'm missing. 

There were two little girls at the wedding who kept running away every time I looked at them.  They'd sneak and follow me around, and then scatter whenever I pointed my camera towards them.  Finally, the older of the two, dragged the little one over to me and insisted I tell the littler one that she wasn't famous.   I was momentarily confused, until the younger one said "Aren't you the paparazzi?"   Ah...I nodded my head sagely, and turned to the older girl.  "Didn't you know your sister is a movie star? "  Confusion, and vigorous head shaking from the bigger girl.  Because of course wise, grownup little girls want adults to be the voice of reason and pragmatism. No fun! and No pretending!  
"Oh, but it's true." I said "I'm definitely the paparazzi, and you two better run before I catch you and take your picture."   The smile on the littler girl's face was precious as she scampered away.  Plus, I provided them hours of entertainment while I shot the reception, and randomly pointed my camera in their direction.   Win win.

Jamie had opening day and pictures for baseball on Saturday.   I could barely stand all the adorableness!   All those little boys with their grass stained pants, and baseball caps were just too cute.   I totally underestimated baseball.  I grew up in a home that was pretty anti-sports (Hi dad), and I guess some of my father's pessimism rubbed off on me, because really...what is baseball except for a bunch of people running around in pajamas, waving wooden clubs and wearing clown sized gloves?  But Jim wanted his son to play baseball like he did as a kid, so I finally got Jamie signed up (apparently about 3 years too late, but who's counting?).    I had no idea it was going to be so good...and hard!  In a world that's completely dominated by woman teachers (for us preschool, speech therapy, music lessons, CC, and gymnastics are all women instructors) it's interesting to watch the coaches and all the dads out there on the ball field guiding the boys through pushups, sit ups, how to throw a ball...play the game...etc.   Those boys work hard.  Practice is at least an hour and a half long (and often longer) and there's not any standing around.  Jamie is pooped after it's done (hard to do), and that's just the physical side.  I can't even begin to count all the positive life skills Jamie is learning in baseball.  I feel like he's matured leaps and bounds in just a few weeks.   He still marches to the beat of his own drummer, but he's got a patient coach and great teammates.

 Jamie and Charlie got epic haircuts from Uncle Jeffy.  Now Robbie looks like a middle aged man with a comb-over in comparison.  

Robbie hates adrenalin rushes.  Hates them.  So different from Charlie, who would intentionally crawl off the side of the bed over and over again, just for the fun of it.  We went to Legoland on Thursday for a fieldtrip (I swear at least part of the day was educational), and Charlie laughed that sort of maniacally gleeful laugh every time the rollercoaster would drop or spin particularly fast.   Robbie on the other hand, gets totally terrified the moment he feels the least bit unsteady, which makes this picture hilarious, because apparently there's a pretty large range of things he feels perfectly comfortable doing. 

Last night I was brushing Charlie's teeth, and he sleepily asked me "Mom, promise me you won't ever become pure evil?"    Wha...?!?  I kissed his little button nose and promised him that I have an ever loving heavenly Father who will never let me stray into pure evil territory.  But thanks for making sure son.   I'll try not to wander even into partial evilness.  Ahem.

Monday, March 4, 2013


The things Jamie can build on mine-craft are insane.   I know it's technically a computer game, but it's so educational that when I let him build stuff while listening to his suzuki violin CD, I almost almost feel like we're masquerading as geniuses around here. 

The weather forecast betrayed me this week.  I have a wedding to shoot, Legoland to fieldtrip at, and a baseball game to cheer through with my might mom lungs.   Wouldn't you know it, all three of those days it's supposed to rain!  Gah.   Hopefully it will be the infamous Southern California storms of terror...i.e random sprinkles.

I'm used to boys.  I know first hand how hard it is for them to sit still.  How short their attention spans are.  How loud and sound effect-y they can be.   What I had never experienced before (until now), was a few hundred little boys hopped up on Pepsi, pizza and cupcakes, crammed into a school gymnasium for two hours with nothing to do.  Holy cow.  And the smell.  whoosh.   It was supposed to be caps night for our district's Little League (a fundraiser where we bid for our uniforms), but what it ended up being was somebody yelling incomprehensibly into a microphone while tons of tiny little man children bounced around like popcorn.  Jamie was suffering from sensory overload, but Charlie was in heaven.  I lost count of how many dogpiles I pulled his sweaty, smiling little body from.  They would just charge at each other, fists swinging, arms tackling.   A couple of (vastly outnumbered) girls wandered by to try and lecture some sense into the mosh pit of hooligans, but they would have had more luck arguing with the wind.   I'm not even sure the boys heard them.  In the end however, operation "get a uniform" was successful.   We won the navy blue and white ones.   I foresee lots of bleach in my future. 

We went to the awesomest birthday on Friday.   One of Robbie's friends turned one, and had a little man party!  It was so cute.   Jim was especially impressed with the chocolate cigars.

Violin lessons are on the polar opposite end from baseball.  Where baseball practice is loud, rough and dirty.  Violin is focused, careful and calm (except for the sound of dying cows).   Poor Jamie gets whiplash going straight from violin to baseball on Friday's.  He's doing really well though.  He no longer throws the ball backwards, and he even occasionally hits stuff and throws stuff where it's supposed to go.   With violin, he'd be perfectly happy making up tons of crappy music all day, instead of actually practicing his exercises like he's supposed to.   At this rate, Robbie will be counting "one-e-and-uh" before Jamie is.

Speaking of Robbie, he finally broke in his first teeth!  He's only been teething for the last six months (if the drooling and chewing were any indication), so it was about time. 

Thursday, February 28, 2013

I will devour your soul

Robbie's doctor's appointment went well today... although working at a doctor's office and living next door to one, has forever spoiled me.   Waiting 45 min for a weight check feels like a collosal waste of time.  All in all it took us 2 hours out of our morning to find out that Robbie did indeed gain weight in the last six weeks!  Yay.

Just for kicks and giggles, I weighed Robbie before and after he ate (you know, because it's pretty boring sitting in those exam rooms waiting for the doctor.  So while Jamie was spinning around the room on the swiveling doctor chair, and Charlie was wrapping himself in tissue paper, I was playing with the baby scale.).  Robbie weighed 18lbs 4 oz before I fed him, and after ten minutes of him wiggling around...not eating well....being super distracted...and basically not interested.  I weighed him again and he weighed 18lbs 12 oz.     So for any other moms out there, who get discouraged their wiggly babies aren't getting enough breastmilk:  6-12 month old babies are eating machines.   You may think they're "weaning themselves" but really they've just mastered the art of downing 8 oz in 10 minutes.

The boys helped me clean the house today...really clean it.  Jamie scrubbed groat lines, Charlie wiped down the wood burning stove.  We didn't make it to the bedrooms, but a clean house always makes me want to take pictures.    I think (my own) messiness stresses me out so much, I can't think properly until it's at least somewhat orderly.

(Robbie 9 months) 
Jamie lost his front tooth today!  Charlie bumped it, and it was hanging by a thread.  Jim told him it would come out soon, and Jamie asked if it would fall out while he was asleep and then get stuck in his throat.   I paused a little too long, as I mulled that over.  And I had to admit, he maybe did have a point.   I forgot though, that at the point I agree with one of Jamie's concerns, Jamie kicks up the anxiety level from "mildly concerned" to "OMG  MY TOOTH IS GOING HOP OUT OF MY MOUTH AND KILL ME TONIGHT".   After all, it would be silly not to use every little thing as an excuse to go nuclear-ly freaked out.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Crocodile Soup

Robbie is staging a revolt to protest his naps.   When he cries, he looks like a cartoon character.  His mouth is so huge, you can almost see his tonsils when he throws his head back and wails.   The nap strike is my fault.  Poor kid doesn't get any naps on Tuesday because we're gone all day, so on Wednesday he glares at his crib like it's an alien from outer space.  He's in there crying right now.  I'd laugh, if he wasn't so pathetic, because every time I go in to check on him, he's standing without hanging onto anything...he's that mad.   Also, that little tinge of red in his hair must throw him full on into ginger territory, because he turns a brilliant tomato-ish shade every time he gets upset.   Hence his nickname:  Robster the Lobster.   Although he looks a little less lobster-y these days, and a little more like a vengeful nephilim with his kinda curly hair sticking straight up, and his face so red, his eyes blaze almost neon blue in comparison.  Adorably terrifying.

Jamie and Charlie are completely different.  Jamie is watching Babar on the iPad and Charlie is watching National Geographic Dinosaur shows on the apple TV.   The only common denominator is they're both using apple products to watch too much Netflix.   This will be the conundrum for my generation of parents.  How much to limit my kids electronic intake, and how much will I screw them up if I go too extreme one way or the other.  When I was a kid, my parents got rid of TV and that was that.  End of story.   So simple.   For me to do that, I would have to not only get rid of our phones, iPad, computer, laptop, but I would have to make sure they weren't around any friends who have phones, iPad's, computers, laptops or TV's.  Which would leave us with...no one.  Not that I even want to do that.  At this point, I try to make sure that netflix is just a low priority.  Something that can be done after school is over, violin has been practiced, and they've spent hours playing outside building Anasazi villages in the mud cliffs.   But even so, I feel guilty I'm ruining them for life.

Jamie is liking the violin...I think.  He definitely likes it a lot better than I do.  Irony's a bitch.  After hours and hours of listening to siblings screech away,  I swore to my mom that no child of mine would ever play the violin.  And yet here I am.  I don't even like the violin played well.  While I was listening to the Suzuki CD for the millionth time, I realized that I am probably going to be listening to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star for at least a year.  Kill me now.
I made him a foot chart, in an attempt to help him stand still.  And while it worked somewhat, he still managed to destroy the poor thing with his wiggling, and at one point, he scrunched it up between his feet and hopped away (after all, I only specifically told him not to move off it).   He loves his bow most of all, and will happily play all kinds of bow games.  His favorite is to stir up some crocodile soup which has shoulder rests, frog tears, and rainbow drops in it. 

 Jim is working from home this afternoon, and I'm not sure I like it.   Normally, his arrival home is the carrot on the end of the stick...spurring me on to clean the house, get a tasty meal on the table, and finish all my projects up.   My goal is to be the happy, smiling wife every guy wants to come home to (peacefully and sincerely happy...not manic, hysterical, fake happy).   When he's already here, the incentive is poof...gone.  I hate not having a finish line.  If I'm going to motivated to do something (i.e. clean the house before my husband gets home), there has to be a decent chance I can WIN, otherwise I won't try at all.  Stupid firstborn tendencies. 

 We went to the symphony on Friday, and accidentally didn't pay for it.  Not just me...but I didn't pay for our whole school.  And I'm the one in charge of that.  Ho hum.   I really try to be a responsible person, but I don't have a naturally structured brain, so I have to tediously build warning systems and shelves in a brain that's like wet banana peels.   Sometimes (clearly) they fail.   Today I called the symphony education director and begged for forgiveness, she was truly sweet and understanding.  For what it's worth, The San Diego Symphony is awesome.  Everyone is super friendly.  The music is amazing.  And they couldn't be more agreeable to work with (and I thought that before they were so gracious about an entire school group attending for free... ((no worries though, I am sending them a check...which crap, I still need to do today))).   Sigh.

While I'm sitting here confessing my failings, I might as well get it all off my chest.   I lost my paycheck from CC too.  Where did I lose it?  In the bank.  Yes, I tore apart my whole house and car, pestered my director while she was on vacation, generally acted like a crazy person, and the whole time my check was in the bank.  Right where I deposited it.   Also, I accidentally triple booked my Friday, thanks to my google calendar not syncing between my computer and phone.  What was I saying earlier about relying too much on electronics?  Maybe I should apply it to myself and not just my kids.

Aunt Patti got a pony named Geronimo.  Jamie is learning how to saddle him, so he can go riding more often.  Pretty much the gentlest horse ever. 

Charlie's got a fever again.

Jamie's front tooth is about to fall out...but in the meantime he looks like a hillbilly.

Robbie has a weight check and shots tomorrow.   Ugh. And double ugh.

(also, notice he's at the stage where diaper changes are like trying to wrestle an orangutan)


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Channeling Arrested Development

I am pooped.  For Classical Conversations I sometimes put on a huge rockband-esque wig, and a white lab coat.   Transforming me Clark Kent style from plain ol' Mrs. Ramsey into the incredibly crazy Professor Garfunkel.   Throw in a fake Russian accent, and some wild hand motions.... and you've got a hopefully non-boring way to learn science.  Up until today, Professor Garfunkel only made his appearance for five minutes occasionally.    But since we're gearing up for Memory Masters (where the kids try to recite ALL their lessons at one time...perfectly) I thought I'd go through and figure out they were getting stuck.  Turns out science is a weak spot in my student's recitations, so Professor Garfunkel had to make his appearance today for an extended amount of strict science instruction.  

Consequently I hopped around like an amphibian, roared like the mighty mitochondria, and threw myself against the wall every time I said "golgi bodies".  I felt like I was doing an aerobics workout, Jillian Michaels meets Albert Einstein. 

The kids have been really bad about getting in the car lately.   I tell them over and over to get in and buckle up, but they disobey.  They wander around or keep playing...each waiting for the other to obey mommy first.  It's a dangerous habit, because they have a tendency to meander in parking lots like the naive mountain boys they are.   It's hard to snatch them by the back of their t-shirt while I'm juggling a bag of potatoes, a cart, and Robbie.    So this morning I told them they had to listen and obey when I ask them to get in the car, or the next time they will find themselves without the continued nagging to get in the car, and I will just leave.    Jamie grinned, calling what he thought was my bluff, (he should know better by now).  

After CC today, they would not get in the car.  I was loaded down like a pack mule, trying to get everything off of me and into the trunk, and they were running around a tree collecting pine cones despite my frequent requests for them to get in the darn car.   The parking lot was safe and empty, so I got in the car and started off.    Pine cones went flying everywhere, as Jamie and Charlie let out unearthly caveman yells and came tearing after the car.    A mom dropped everything and came running...I'm not sure what she thought, but what she saw was a madwoman clutching the steering wheel with a gleeful grin on her face, with two little boys running behind hollering "I'm so sorry mommy, coooome baaacckk".    I stopped the car, and tried to give her an "it's all cool" hand wave.  She looked a little confused, but the boys climbed in and promised to always get in the car when I asked. 

We ran a few errands, and I must say...they learned their lesson well.   Let's hope it sticks. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Daddy's boys

I saw this idea on pinterest, and on a whim, I asked Charlie the questions.  Then of course we had to do Jamie as well, to see if/how his answers were different.    After listening to their answers, Jim and I concluded that Charlie must think Jim is a giant, and Jamie thinks he's a 2x4 or something. ;-)

Daddy from Charlie’s Eyes.
What’s Daddy’s name?   Jim
How tall is he?  Big
How much does he weigh?  285
How old is he?  I don’t know
What color is his hair?  Black
What color are his eyes? Brown.  My eyes are brown too.
What does daddy like to watch on TV? Motorcycles and Daddy movies.
Where does he like to go? Work
What’s his favorite food?  Sour Cream
What does daddy like to drink?  Orange Juice
What does he do for fun?  Work on his motorcycle
What does your daddy do with you?  He tells me jokes
What’s your favorite thing about daddy?  Sometimes he gives me candy

Daddy from Jamie’s Eyes.
What’s Daddy’s name?   Jim Ramsey the Third
How tall is he?  20 feet
How much does he weigh?  30 lbs
How old is he?  Old
What color is his hair?  Black   
What color are his eyes?   Brown
What does daddy like to watch on TV?  Lord of the Rings  
Where does he like to go? To Fred’s Burgers
What’s his favorite food?  Hamburgers
What does daddy like to drink?  Rootbeer Freeze's
What does he do for fun?  Go to guys night
What does your daddy do with you?  He plays baseball with me
What’s your favorite thing about daddy?  He’s fun!  

Sunday, February 17, 2013

One Short Day

I have been so glad Robbie doesn't have any teeth yet, that I freaked out a little when I realized the little nubs on the bottom are just starting to break through.  Noooo... Out of the three of my babies, he is the biter.   Although, I wouldn't call it biting necessarily, it's more like he doesn't realize his personal feeding apparatus is attached to a human, so when he clamps down and whips his head around to see what everyone is doing....physics don't allow my 100+ lb frame to "whip" around with him.  Yowch.   I can only imagine how much worse teeth will make it.  I worry that I could actually lose a nipple this way, but I'm afraid to google it to see if it's a valid concern. 

My sister Lydia was in a production called "A Taste Of Broadway" and Robbie, Liz and I went up for it last night.   Liz had her wisdom teeth taken out the day before, so I thought she was going to be comatose.  Instead she was totally back to normal within twelve hours of having them out.  No swelling.  No pain...nothing.  When I had my wisdom teeth out, I sat in the lazy-boy for days, in my sweats, sobbing, while blood and drool dribbled down my chin.  Life is just not fair.

I assumed Robbie would sleep through the performance.  Which goes to show you how naive I can be.  The word "assume" should be stricken from a parent's vocabulary.    I wasn't sure if they would allow babies in the theater, but there wasn't really anything I could do with him, so I wore him in the ergo, popped the hood over the top and wore a big jacket to disguise the fact I was smuggling in a human.  I ended up looking like a large shapeless woman with a very wriggly belly, and occasional eyeballs that glared out from the depths of my "outfit".   I finally gave up.   He was so tired, he would fall asleep in between numbers, only to sit bolt upright and become totally mesmerized by the next song.   If points were given for fascination and enthrallment, Robbie was the biggest fan there last night.  He doesn't quite have the coordination to clap yet, but he would have given a standing ovation if he could.

Jamie started violin and baseball this week.    I thought violin was going to go over like a lead brick, with baseball being the obvious winner, but no.   He cried during baseball practice and rocked his violin lesson.  He will definitely be eligible for "Most Improved Player" at the end of baseball season.  He's so bad right now it would be amusing, if he weren't so cut up about it.  The coach says "alligator" and Jamie picks up the ball with the wrong hand.  The coach says "eagle" and Jamie turns sideways the wrong way and spreads his arms out in the wrong direction.  Then the coach says "hop hop throw" and an entire line of 7 year olds hops forwards while Jamie hops backwards.  And they practice this over and over and over again, with Jamie doing it backwards every. single. time.  I think, just maybe we need to work on listening skills and following directions.   But hopefully in the end it will be good for him.  He still wants to go back, it just isn't as easy as he thought it was going to be.

Charlie hangs out on the playground and makes unlikely friends.   A kid who was a dead ringer for Harry Potter (I kept having to stop myself from looking for a lightening bolt scar under his hair), taught Charlie how to pump on the swings.  A couple of girls talked him into doing gymnastics with them, and some older boys played chase and hide-and-seek with him for ages.  As we were walking across the field to leave, we kept hearing "bye Charlie"  "see you tomorrow Charlie".    I'm glad someone is finding Charlie's antics charming these days, because I certainly am not.   He was fooling around on the kitchen stool yesterday, fell off and yelled "MOMMMMY, why did you push me?!?!" when I was standing ten feet away peeling potatoes.   Nothing I said, convinced him I hadn't somehow magically and intentionally pushed him off the kitchen stool.  Clearly he would never do that to himself.  It had to be someone else.  He thinks pretty highly of himself these days, Friday he told me "I wish there were two of me so we could play together."

Monday, February 11, 2013

Montezuma reruns

I'm so blessed to have amazing, sweet, deep, meaningful friends. 

Today was awesome.  Sure, there were moments of un-awesomeness where I had to take a deep breath, but after seven years and three boys, I think I'm finally learning to get a clue (knock on wood).   I'm learning little things, like I no longer care about the lack of sleep, and I don't clean my house very well anymore.  And big things, like I have finally figured out that when Jamie is yelling "I HATE MATH!", Charlie is eating puzzle pieces and Robbie is spitting up like Yellowstone on a particularly volatile day... there's no need for me to freak out.  It will all pass and go back to normal in a few minutes.  It's kind of like surfing.  A wave will catch you wrong, and your board goes one way while you go the other way.  And as you're channeling your inner sock-in-the-washing-machine, you realize this is not a sustainable life cycle...but then you pop up out of the water and everything is sunshine and serenity again.    Motherhood is pretty much like that.


Our history this week is on the Aztecs and wouldn't you know, the one thing my children latched onto was the human sacrifice part.   They've been playing Hernan Cortez all day, taking turns ousting the evil Montezuma.  The Spanish weren't exactly smelling of roses during that whole section of history, but I don't seem to be having any luck convincing Jamie that Montezuma didn't deserve everything he got.   History is messy, and definitely not PG rated.  

Charlie had a high fever last week, which is always followed by the appearance of his evil twin.   He is testing everything at every twist and turn.  There is nothing insignificant enough that he will not wage battle with me, his dad or his brothers on.  The other night, Charlie was praying, and repeating after me "...help me learn to hold a pencil...and give me a good night sleep..."  but when I got to the part where I said "and help me to be an obedient boy."  Charlie said "and help me to be an obed---.  Wait a minute! I don't want to pray that.  I don't want to be an obedient boy."  Jim and I exchanged glances that only parents can give to each other.  The "I-cant-believe-your-child-actually-said-that" look.   So yeah, I'm not kidding when I say Charlie is determined to be bad.  He isn't all naughtiness though, there's repentance going on too.  Slowly but surely.

I forgot to nurse Robbie enough yesterday, and now I'm paying for it today with a plugged duct that is trying its best to turn into mastitis.   This is one of the downsides of demand feeding.   Since I don't watch the clock, and instead wait for hunger cues, I tend to go through a period of breastfeeding forgetfulness when they start solids.    Thankfully, Robbie is cooperatingu today with "operation nurse a lot".      I guess the rest of the Salvation Army sorting will have to wait until tomorrow morning.

No CC tomorrow.  A welcome break!   I celebrated by making a video of Latin Declensions for my students. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Water stop

I feel like this week has been a marathon... I've got lots I want to remember about this week, so this is just a preliminary reminder to my future self.

Robbie likes baths now!  He hears the water come on, and starts flapping his hands around like a gay man at a Nordstrom's sale.   So hilarious.  I'm not sure what changed.  Part of the problem (or solution...depending how you look at it) is his love of food.  He loves food so much, he normally ends up not only eating it, but wearing it as well.   Consequently, he gets bathed a lot these days.  I guess in his mind it was either give up his precious food or learn to like water. 

Jamie has been sleeping a lot better too.  He made himself a list of things he needed to sleep at night, and every night we check each thing off.  I told him it had to be a short list, which in my mind was two or three things, and in his mind was eighteen to twenty things.  We compromised with six things:

A bedtime story
The fan on
A comfy pillow
His stuffed dog

He is trying so hard to be brave.  In the wee hours this morning, Charlie got up to go potty and Jamie heard the noise and freaked.  I heard his scared, little voice come wavering down the hall, "Who's there?"

Charlie, very reassuringly, poked his head out of the bathroom and said, "My name is Charlie Ramsey and it's ok.  I'm not a bad guy." 

It's ok people.  Charlie Ramsey's in the house.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Good mor---yawn.

While I'm still thinking coherently for half a second, I have to share this recipe.  We're not dessert people, but I made this deep dark chocolate tart for our anniversary last night, and it was one of those rare treats that are naturally good for you.  In other words, this recipe was not modified to be grain free, dairy free, refined sugar free...it just is.  

 Even Jim loved it, and he's not a huge chocolate fan.

We're babysitting Liz and Curtis's puppy this weekend, and Liz assured me he would sleep through the night, and that he wouldn't keep any of us up.  She failed to ask us thoughif we were going to keep their poor dog up all night.   Barnabas is used to it.  At 2am I was stalking through the kitchen, slamming cupboards, and muttering under my breath about the injustice of the universe,  Nelson staggered sleepily to his feet and gave me those big baby eyes that said "What in the world is going on in this crazy house?  Didn't you wake me up just 30 min ago?"   Yes, Nelson, as a matter of fact I did.   Barnabas gave Nelson a patient, wise old look and explained, "Son, this family does this all the time.  You have no idea."

I don't know exactly what happened, but Jamie has gone from sleeping ok-ish, to not sleeping at all.    He's never been one for sleep.  Not in the NICU, not as an infant, not as a toddler.  We often joke that if we'd had Robbie first, we'd probably have at least six kids by now.   That's how little Jamie slept (and how normal we thought it was).    The last few nights we've been putting him to bed at eight (his usual bedtime), but he's not been going to sleep until one or two in the morning.  That's right, five to six hours of him freaking out:  There's not enough light, he's scared, where's Barnabas, where's mom and dad,  the music is too soft, can he sleep on the couch, is it morning yet, he saw a monster, he heard a noise, how many bad guys are outside his window....so.freaking.frustrating. 

It wouldn't be so bad if he slept in and compensated for his midnight ravings.  But he doesn't.  He's up and bouncing off the walls at five-thirty the next morning.   Unbelievable.  How does he do it?    The less sleep he gets, the more wired he gets and the more zombified I get.  Something has got to give.  I just finished my third night up all night, and if he doesn't sleep soon, I'm taking him to the doctor.   That's right... the evil pediatrician.  That's how desperate I am. 

Jim and I both read him the riot act at various times last night.  Jim told him sternly.  "You will NOT wake up your mother again, if you can't sleep then lay there and pray." Of course Jim went straight back to sleep, while I lay there listening to the hysterical prayers of a exhausted seven year old, wafting down the hallway.   "Dear Lord in Heaven, Please keep the werewolves away, and the coyotes, and the bad guys, and pleeeeaassse help me sleep.  Amen.  Pleease help me sleep.  Amen.  GOD!  I CAN"T SLEEP.  I CAN"T SLEEP.  Can you hear me?  I caaaaannnnn't sleeeeeeep!!!".    Then he started quoting scripture, except that he kept mixing it up with his school work, so it sounded something like "Blessed are the peacemakers...Zaire River, Zambezi River...For God so loved the world....Olmecs, Mayans and the Aztecs.

I'd like to see anyone try to sleep through that.  It was impossible for me.  And Barnabas.  And Nelson.  And Robbie.  My confused baby was up half the night too, because hey, if his older brother is up and perky...then he should be too.  Right? 

Ugh.   I'm off to get more coffee.