Our house is a very, very nice house: or she’s rambling again

I’m starting to like this little rental house.  Sure, it looks like every other house in the block, and sure, the association is a bunch of SS officers, but the house itself is nice.  The neighborhood is nice.  Of course, I could fit the back yard in our main room (our living room/dining room/family room), and our neighbor poked his head over the wall the other day to say hi to the boys, noticing that we haven’t weeded since we moved in, which is because the rental company told us three times they were going to send someone until finally I sprayed the weeds myself two weeks ago but by then some where as tall as Evan, which wouldn’t be natural in the desert, except the people who share our back wall over water and flood our rocky backyard Every Day.  Since those weeds our so high, the weed spray doesn’t disintegrate them but gives them a slow death to release their pollen, encouraging poor Sean’s allergies, and so when I asked my dad what to do, he handed me his hoe, and I went to work hoeing for two hours every morning with many interruptions from the boys, to come to find out I finally have allergies.  It’s to those weeds.  Awesome.  Of course, I now have a vicious sore throat, a developing blister from the hoe, sore legs and arms.

Where was I?

Oh, yeah.  I like the house.  I don’t lose the boys in it like I did the other house because this one is so small.  There is a little nook close to the TV that Sean sits in, so that I have to walk all the way into the room or I miss him.  Of course, Evan has discovered the wonderful hiding spot that is under the bed, which my dad says is a good thing to know because kids often hide during a fire.  Oh, thanks Dad, all I needed to worry about was a fire on top of all my other worries.  Much Appreciated.

I like this small house because it’s easier to clean.  I only have two small bathrooms instead of three large ones.  Evan is big enough to put away his toys, even if he tries to con me into doing it for him.  The tiny kitchen is a snap to clean, especially when it doesn’t have Mexican tile that doesn’t look clean after you scrubbed it on your hands and knees.  I’m ultra organized in the pantry because it’s half the size of my old one.

With my mom’s help, I organized all the stuff in the garage to the point I have a play area in their, since we can’t fit two cars in and get the boys out of the back. I even have a set of shelves that I can now stock up on stuff at Costco and not have to buy paper towels every other week.  (Yes, yes, I started using rags too, now that they aren’t so far away from the messes.)

That’s another thing!  Everything is so close together that there’s no reason not to put things away or put of doing something because the cleaning supplies are just a short walk away.  Of course, it did take me a week to figure out how to get my steps in.  Unfortunately I’ve had to take up my husband’s bad habit of pacing while on the phone and putting one thing away at a time.  But at least I’m getting my steps, and now all I have to do is lose weight.

So in conclusion, I like my house.  But if we got a couch instead of a love seat, then we wouldn’t have any room.  I don’t know where I’ll put the Christmas tree.  If we had another child, we would burst out at the seams.  Though the office is still crying for help. 

Note: Does any one have any idea how to wrangle a husband to help organize and clean?  Maybe even go through three boxes of school work from college?

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That Silly Tornado E: Or how to keep a child in bed

Tornado E has decided that he is ready for a later bedtime.  He has been trying to push his bedtime from 8:30 to 9:30 or later.  Yes, we tried earlier naps and shorter naps.  I sat in the hallway outside his door putting him back every time like Supernanny suggests.  During the evening, I’ve started taking him for walks and playing hide ‘n’ go seek to get him tired out.  I’ve given him the water and snacks he’s asked for, and I have ignored the requests.  My husband takes turns at times to see if he has success.  No go.  It wouldn’t worry me so much if he didn’t wake up every morning at 6.  I just don’t think he’s getting enough sleep.


I usually keep the master bedroom door closed because Tornado E will sneak in there and hide.  If he went to sleep in there, like he does sometimes at naptime, I wouldn’t mind, but I usually find him jumping on the bed.  Last night my husband decided he needed to go to bed early to get well faster.  (There’s a concept.)  While I did keep an ear out for Tornado E, I assumed if he snuck into our room he would just snuggle up with Daddy and I would transfer Tornado E when I went to bed.  Instead I heard little feet pitter into the master bedroom and patter out again.  I was naturally curious.


Upon entering Tornado E’s room, I found Tornado E laying on his pillow and the little throw pillow that he uses in our room. 


Tornado E: Look, Mommy!  I have both my pillows!


With a hush, I tucked Tornado E into his bed and kissed him goodnight.


As I finished the dishes, I heard the pitter of little feet running towards the master bedroom and the patter of little feet running away again.  I again went to check out the new development.


This time I found that Tornado E had confiscated my pillow as well and had all three pillows stacked under his head.  He, of course, was beaming from ear to ear.


Tornado E: Look, Mommy!  I have your bed in mine!  So I can sleep on it!  That silly Tornado E!


Since he had crept out of bed, I couldn’t smile, but I tucked him in again.  After I left the room, I shook my head and chuckled, hoping this would keep him in bed.  And it did.

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The Kid Room

It’s official.  We lost our family room.  It was buried under toys.  It looks a lot more like a toy room than a family room, where everyone used to enjoy something.  There was a time when our family room was multifunctional with a big fireplace and comfy couches for reading as well as a large screen TV and a couple of video consoles.  It has some beautiful photographs from an actual artist and a surround sound that makes my husband cry (with beauty when it works; childish anger when it doesn’t).  Pre-babies we even had our DVD collection in there.  But times have changed.


I actually can’t think of one room now that doesn’t have a toy in it.  The living room has the rocking horse and the tunnels, although the tunnels are folded up for the moment.  With finger paint pictures hanging from the walls, the dining room is now where we do art.  (Well, we don’t have a real dining table.)  The kitchen has a play kitchen and a child’s set of table and chairs.  The bathrooms and office have various toys and books.  The garage has a small fleet of bikes and cars, three tricycles and two cars to be exact.  Even our bedroom hasn’t escaped the twin tornadoes, I have a basket where I throw all the toys they leave in our room.


But the family room took the biggest hit because that was where I wanted the bulk of toys to be.  I figured if I had to give up one room it might as well be the family room, where I can keep an eye on them when I’m cooking or trying to watch The Daily Show.  My boys are young, so I can’t trust them to play in their rooms up the stairs without my supervision, so I just made an area for the toys.  Actually my mom made an area because I was content to give them a wall.  She actually angled the love seat so the boys would have a corner to keep their toys.  The amazing thing (ok, not so amazing because she’s an experienced mom) was they kept most of the toys back there, preferred to play back there.  It was perfect.


Then Sean and the coffee table fought, and the coffee table won.  We rethought our options.  Because we had a beautiful train table given to us by our favorite neighbors, I figured it was cheaper to use that than by a comfy ottoman.  So I cleaned up the table, from sitting in our garage for a year, and added a river and a road to the surface, covering it with layers of schlock.  I placed it where the coffee table used to be, and the boys were drawn to it like the table was really a toy.  Just look at how high you can build a tower of blocks on an even, hard, flat service.  Look at how well the cars move, and look at the Lego land you can build.


As I surveyed the room, I realized it was the toy room.  I could move the horse back, but the boys would probably fall and crack their heads on the brick hearth.  I wouldn’t want to clean that up.  Since the hearth stretches across the whole wall at seating level (yes, it looks pretty stupid and ugly), I can’t even move the kitchen into the family room.  I could almost believe my husband when he says the boys have too many toys.  But I snap to my senses and divide the toys by two and shrug.


Well, they’ll be old enough one day to have this all in their rooms, and I won’t have to have every toy in sight.  I guess I’ll go back to daydreaming about the grown-up living room that I promised my husband we could get.  A nice coach, recliners, and an ottoman for just in case.  I’ll let him put the plasma he wants in there, but I won’t budge on the video consoles.  One toy room is plenty.

When my parents leave

Yesterday was hard on my boys.  The day my parents leave my home is always a tough day.  Usually they leave on Mondays, and my best friend comes over to help the . . . well, I guess. . . grieving process.  They are experiencing a loss no matter if they’ll see their grandparents in three weeks or two months.   My parents just fill the house when they are here.


My husband and I live eight hours from our families.  Eight hours in different directions.  Since we live in Southern California, all our friends are scattered throughout three counties.  The nearest friend we have lives fifteen minutes away.  (Imagine that comforting thought when I went into labor with Sean.)  I have not yet managed to make a friend with kids around my kids ages, so it does get a little lonely here.  I’m actually starting to worry about Evan’s social interaction.


My husband didn’t grow up with extended family, but I did.  I went to my grandparents’ house every weekend.  I saw most of my cousins at least once a month or so.  I felt surrounded by family, and when we visit, my boys are surrounded by family.  My brother and girlfriend come over to my parents’ house; while, my other brother lives there and is tortuously awoken by Evan pounding on his door at 7am.  It’s actually pretty funny. 


When we visit them or better yet, when they visit my house, my parents spend most of their time playing with my boys.  My dad wrestling, sword fighting, tickling, hiding, seeking, and fixing toys, as my mom does the same stuff only she also reads stories and tries to teach Evan to write.  When my parents are at my house, the mornings are spent doing something, even if it is running errands, which I think my dad prefers as he races around stores with the boys in the shopping cart.  Then as if the entertaining of the boys isn’t enough, they help pitch in with my chores, insisting on helping me clean.  Sometimes it gets a little embarrassing with all their help.


Yesterday my parents took care of the sheets, the garbage, and the dishwasher before they left.  They played with the boys.  My parents took the last pictures of the boys.  And my mom hugged me tight, whispering to come home soon.  So as they pulled away in their car, my boys and I waved and shouted good bye, turning to find the house quieter and emptier then before.


If you had asked me in college if I would go back to Arizona, I would just shrug and said probably not.  But now that I have children I feel pulled towards the desert.  Like the song “Sail Away to America,” something calls me back.  I appreciate the browns and stark greens of the desert because it’s honest, unlike the false green covering the desert that is Southern California.  I miss the heat and the seasons, pre-summer, summer, post-summer, and winter.  Here it seems always the same.  I miss my family, a support that has to be there for me because I’m blood and because they love me and want to help me and my family.  I want to be somewhere where my home isn’t empty when people leave, but just full waiting for more.