Tuesday, January 18, 2022

We Finally Painted...15 Years Later

The basement wall colors were the first thing I noticed in the pictures of our house when I looked at them online for the first time.  "Who would do that?!?" I wondered.  Mustard yellow on top, ketchup red on bottom.  I almost didn't come see the house because of those colors.  Upon buying the house, painting the basement was going to be a first step.  Then we got busy doing other things - dealing with kids, mostly - and we kept putting it off.  Then we started telling ourselves it was perfect for a kid's play area anyway, and we abandoned the plan of painting it for a long, long time.  Finally Peter came along and the need for another bedroom became our first priority.  Kelly did a wonderful job putting in another room and of course, we couldn't paint that new room ketchup and mustard color, so it got nice new colors.  That made our basement look even worse by comparison, so finally, we painted the whole thing!  Yay!  So happy.  Well, Kelly painted it.  I did some sanding and miniscule prepping so I would feel helpful. :)  The final step will be getting new carpet, but that will likely take a while as well.  It's our way, I guess.  

I wish I were the type who takes before pictures, pictures all during the project, and then a beautifully staged after photo, but I'm not.  So here's a couple before photos I found from waaaay before.

Here's a couple I just took now, complete with toy mess and tv reinstallation debris.  You get the idea.

A couple funny things about Peter to end:

He loves his toy phones and his remote controls which he uses like phones.  He sees all of us with our phones so he wants to have one too, obviously.  The other day we were driving home after dark and he was "looking at his phone."  "I looking at pictures" he told me.  Only, it was dark in the car, so he asked me to "turn on light please."  I tried to explain that a phone has a lit screen so you don't need light from outside to see it.  He insisted the light needed to come on.  "So, you need real light to see imaginary pictures on a fake phone?" I asked.  "Yes. Turn light on please!" he responded emphatically.  Needless to say, we rode home with the dome light on.

Kelly did all the painting downstairs and during the project, he needed to remove the tv wall mount to paint there.  He left a sharp tool laying out and walked away.  Not a great idea with a toddler in the house.  Peter found it and thought it looked just right for banging on the wall.  When Kelly returned, he found he wasn't as far along with his painting as he thought!  Many more holes now needed patching and sanding and painting.  He was his usual calm Kelly self, but he pulled Peter over and held up the tool.

Kelly: Did you play with this?

Peter: I don't know.

Kelly: Did you bang this on the wall here? (indicating the myriad holes in the wall)

Peter: I don't know.

Kelly: When you bang on the wall like that, it makes lots of holes and then Daddy has lots more work to do which means I don't have time to read books or play, so we don't want to bang on the wall and make holes.

Peter: (staring at the ceiling) I not listening. I not hear you.

He's been watching our teenagers far too closely, I fear.

Monday, January 10, 2022

Round 2

This morning I heard "Mommy!  Come get me!" over the baby monitor, just like I do so many mornings.  However, as I entered the room this morning, I was greeted by a very unpleasant smell.  It was still pitch black in the room so I wasn't sure at first what it was.  A moment's reflection, though, helped me to grasp what I was smelling - dried vomit.  I flipped on the light and was stunned to see my little boy, covered head to toe in dried, crusty vomit.  It was all over his clothes, face, mattress, and hair.  His hair stood up in spiky tuffts full of mushed food particles.  He seemed completely oblivious and unperturbed.  He reached out to me and I picked him up carefully.  He couldn't tell me what happened.  He had no memory of vomiting during the night.

When I said he'll need to take a bath, then he got upset.  He hates taking baths!  He screamed non-stop through the whole thing.  Imagine bathing a feral cat and you'll have a good idea of what baths are like with Peter.  Plus it took much longer than the usual shampoo to clean everything out of his hair.  It was a long time before he stopped smelling like vomit.  However, he was happy, energetic, and had plenty of appetite all day, so whatever it was that bothered him during the night seems to have disappeared. What a mess.  When will this vomiting cease??  I didn't take a picture of his condition this morning, so you can be spared that sight.  However, this afternoon he kept asking me to take his picture while he "make funny face" and so I'll share that with you instead. Oh, and don't worry - the stuff on his chin is cream of wheat, not vomit.  

Sunday, January 09, 2022

Who's Next?

 Peter's stomach bug found its next victim - Christian.  He was at his first indoor soccer practice of the season and suddenly he tells his coach, "I feel like I'm going to puke."  He ran off the field but didn't throw up.  He came back, kept playing, and then the feeling returned so suddenly, he didn't even have time to explain.  He just ran to the bathroom and luckily made it just in time.  Poor kid.  He had to miss the game today because he still felt sick, but by the afternoon he was already doing better.  He seems to have fought it off faster than Peter did.  What a mess.  May it please end with them.

A terrible photo, I know.  Indoor soccer is tricky to photograph.  The netting around the entire field makes good photos impossible.  Christian is the one on the farthest right.  This was just after he puked.  He was on that post-vomit high where you feel really good for a few minutes and so he went back in!  I didn't find out why he ran off the field until after the practice ended or I wouldn't have let him go back.  I just thought he had to pee!

A lego catalogue arrived in the mail randomly today.  Nothing like a 50 page color catalogue of $300 lego sets to bring the boys together.  So adorable.

Wednesday, January 05, 2022

Just When Life Was Getting Monotonous

 It's been quite a busy week.  Benjamin started driver's ed driving hours.  He's taken 24 hours of classes, but this week was his first drive.  I wanted to get a picture of him but the only available lesson time was after dark.  Plus, I try not to embarrass him too much. :)   He came home from it so happy and bubbly.  He gushed about how funny the teacher was and how much fun it is to drive and what was hard and what wasn't, etc., etc.  It was so fun to see him happy and excited about something.  It was fun to hear him talking and telling me things about his life without me having to drag it out of him!  I wish he could have a driving lesson every day.

The same day as the driving lesson, Bella got her braces.  She looks so sweet, but she's in so much pain that I had to pick her up early from school today.  Braces stink.  I remember hurting so much I thought I'd never eat again.  "What am I going to do, Mom?" she lamented to me.  "Eating is my favorite hobby and now I can't do it!!!"  She was still willing to smile for me so I could take a picture.

Aaaand...not to be outdone, also on that very same day, Peter was a whiny, clingy, lethargic mess all morning and early afternoon.  Then, I returned home from dropping Benjamin off at his lesson, to find Peter sitting alone in the kitchen with a look on his face that I recognized immediately.  I dropped my things on the floor and rushed over to him, scooped him up and got him to the sink just in time for him to vomit multiple times.  He proceeded to vomit all afternoon, evening, and during the night.  Nothing we gave him stayed down for more than a few minutes.  He was just vomiting bile after a while.  Poor, sweet thing.  He never ran a fever or had any other symptoms, though, and he woke up in the morning feeling fine, although with a major reduction in appetite, and never had another issue.  Luckily no one else seems to have been affected by the nameless illness.  Today he was himself again and happily helped me make muffins for everyone to enjoy as an after-school treat.  Except Bella, of course, who sadly had nothing but applesauce and spent the afternoon in bed trying to sleep off her teeth-induced headache.

One more thing about Peter.  I thought I'd heard all his night-time activity, but when I got him out of bed in the morning, I found more vomit on the floor that I hadn't witnessed.  When I asked him about it, he told me, "I not want wake you.  I throw up quiet."  He'd managed to get it all on the floor and none in his bed and then had gone back to sleep.  Such a sweet boy....and thank goodness we'd recently removed the carpet and installed flooring!

Monday, January 03, 2022

Quotes By Peter

I looked through my pictures to see what I could post and I realized I haven't taken a single one since Christmas.  Ooops.  Must take some pictures this week.  I guess that lost week between Christmas and New Year is real.  I have no evidence it happened.  I'll just post a couple funny Peter-isms instead. Peter's learning of the language is always fascinating to me. 

Today I realized that he's deduced that the opposite of nobody is yesbody rather than somebody.  Makes a lot of sense when you think about it.  I asked him if nobody was in the basement and he said, "Yesbody in basement."

He came to me yesterday and held up a little toy.  "I sheeshed it!" he proclaimed triumphantly.  "You what?" I asked, perplexed.  "I sheeshed it!"  "Show me," I said, trying to decode what he was saying.  He led me into the living room, threw the toy at the couch with all his might, and yelled, "Sheeeeesh! " "See, I sheeshed it!" he explained, matter-of-factly. 

Kelly noticed Peter had his headphones in his hand and that he'd ripped the rubber tip off one of the headphones.  "You ripped them all apart!" Kelly exclaimed in dismay.  "I not rip them ALL apart," he calmly explained.  "I rip ONE apart."  Yeah Dad, can't you see?  Very different.

I love that kid.

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

A Covid Christmas

 It's been longer than usual since my last post.  Covid hit here and everything was a little different than expected.  Kelly brought the omicron variant home from a business trip to Miami the week prior to Christmas.  He started to feel sick the very next day and started to quarantine, but it was too late for me.  I tested positive a few days later.  The kids never tested positive, but every one other than Benjamin (I assume because he self isolates in his room so much) got sick.  I had sore throat, congestion, and chest tightness for days and hoped that would be all, but one morning I woke up with a headache so severe I couldn't focus my vision.  That led to nausea and vomiting and pretty soon I was in bed, unable to function.  I spent 24 hours in bed vomiting and sleeping and then woke up the next day feeling remarkably better. Kelly and I still haven't really been able to get over the congestion - cough, stuffy head, mild sore throat, but otherwise we're good and the kids have all recovered except Peter who continues to cough.  I guess although the vaccine didn't protect us entirely, it helped us recover quickly.

Had the sickness been the only issue, though, it would have been fine.  The bigger issue was the timing.  We had three dinner parties planned plus guests for Christmas and multiple play dates for the kids.  Everything had to be canceled.  It was so incredibly sad.  Luckily my mom chose to risk it and still come, but we sure missed getting together with everyone else.

Leading up to Christmas and before covid we continued to do various fun little things.

I got the older three kids tickets to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra for their annual Christmas concert.  Benjamin refused to come last minute so it was one wasted ticket, but the rest of us loved it.  So wonderful - Nutcracker, Handel's Messiah, and tons of common Christmas songs all together.  So well done!  

Then Kelly tested positive, so we canceled all other plans and tried to make the best at home.

Fun little shenanigans - toilet paper stacks with karate kicks, colored water and paper towels, sliding on frozen trampolines, etc. The trampoline was hilarious.  Ice caked on the bottom of our shoes and standing up was literally impossible.  We were slipping and sliding so much we couldn't make it to the exit.  It was a riot!  

Then we decorated gingerbread houses.  We'd planned to have friends over to join us but Kelly had already tested positive by this point so we couldn't.  We had way too many supplies, but otherwise we had a good time.

Christmas Eve looked different this year.  We had our quarantine table for me and Peter and our "healthy" table for everyone else.  Several at the healthy table weren't all that healthy either but at least they hadn't just spent the day prior vomiting everything they ate.

We all tried to wear masks as much as possible to protect my mom and those who hadn't tested positive yet.  That was so hard.  I hate masks!  Peter was willing to wear one for about 10 minutes one time and otherwise refused.  He learned how to cover his mouth pretty well when he coughed, though.

Doing the nativity play with cranky Benjamin who refused to participate properly and misspoke all his parts on purpose,  not enough guests to fill the roles,  Peter who refused to play the baby Jesus but couldn't really properly do anything else, and me in a mask kind of made the whole thing a bust.  We've had some really fun nativity plays over the years, but this wasn't one of them.  We made it through for the sake of tradition, though and tried to make the best of it.

Luckily by Christmas morning, most of us felt better. Before we opened gifts:

I didn't get any more pictures after that. I love watching my kids open their presents.  Peter was the best this year - every present was old toys from the attic, but he loved them.  It was so fun to see him get so excited about opening the gifts.  The single most popular thing was hoodies.  Between the kids, I gave 9 hoodies.  They were thrilled and have worn them all in rotation ever since.

Since Christmas, we've tried to keep from going crazy  Benjamin is taking driver's ed and takes his test on Friday.  

It snowed, so we've been playing in the little bit that fell.  Otherwise, this is just that lost week where it's so hard to be motivated, especially when you're still getting over an illness.  We'll see what the rest of it brings.  Looking forward to 2022!

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Christmas Delights

Before the concerts which I wrote about yesterday, Bella had a smaller audience at church.  The young women of the ward invited all the older single ladies to join them for an evening of music, art, and poetry.  Bella played piano (both solo and duet) and said she really enjoyed the evening talking to the women and performing for them.  Several of them told me later how much they enjoyed her playing.  We have so many talented young women in our ward.  It's so fun to have such a great group of friends for Bella.

I have loved seeing Peter's delight at our Christmas tree and outdoor lights.  I will regularly find him like this:

So far only one ornament has been broken.  What a vast difference from Benjamin and Bella and their average of 1 per day.  When he goes outside after dark, he'll look at the lights and exclaim, 'Oh look!  How pretty!"  So adorable.

While grocery shopping I saw a bag of unshelled nuts and decided to let Peter have some fun with our nutcracker.  He'd seen it come out with the Christmas decorations, but all we had in the house were shelled nuts.  He excitedly popped nuts into its mouth and crushed them to bits for over 30 minutes and asked to do it again the next day.  It was the perfect activity to keep him happy while I cooked dinner.

Amazingly, he also helped me clean up the mess.  He's been quite good about cleaning up his messes.  Tonight I called him up for dinner and he told me, "Ok, I be right there. Have clean up first!" then he put his toys in the box before coming up.  WHAT?!  He's the only kid I've got who's ever done that.  Love it!  Although, one funny story.  The other day, the mess of cars was extreme and I asked him to help me clean them all up.  He took one look at the pile and said, "Bye Felicia" and dashed off.  What an effect having teenage siblings can have!


Monday, December 13, 2021

Holiday Concerts

 December is always the month of school band concerts and so we got to attend Benjamin's and Bella's this week.  Benjamin didn't even tell us that he would be performing in small percussion ensembles during the concert, so it was a pleasant surprise to hear songs we had no idea he would play.  He did a wonderful job.

Bella was asked to do a piano solo again during her concert and also a saxophone duet.  She played the piano piece while the band was still back stage getting ready so she was without friends or band leader on the stage and as she went to place her music on the piano, she discovered it had no stand portion, thus no place to put her music.  She walked off the stage to find someone who knew what could be done but no one was willing to help and so she came back on, laid her music flat on top of the piano and proceeded to play.  She appeared completely calm and collected, but later she admitted to being so upset.  Her playing still sounded pretty good.  Only I could tell she could do so much better because I'd heard it at home.  I was proud of how well she handled herself in a stressful situation. It was clearly hard to see the music and I felt so bad for her through the whole song.  My mama heart was pounding thinking of how hard this must be for her in front of this large audience.  She complained bitterly about it on the way home but she got over it after a while.

Holiday Fun Continues

 This weekend we decorated Christmas cookies again.  Every year I learn a lot about how to make the perfect icing consistency (filler vs outline consistency) and how many batches to make and which colors work best, etc.  Then I forget it all by the time the following year rolls around and I start from scratch.  So frustrating.  Thus, things got off to a bit of a shaky start and we made WAY too much icing, but once we got into the swing of things, it was a lot of fun. We even gave Peter some dough and let him make and decorate some cookies.  At first he was pretty upset that he couldn't just eat the dough.  The whole process seemed far too time-consuming to him.  However, we got him a fish shaped cookie cutter and he seemed to think that was pretty fun and he was finally willing to go along with it. In the end, he managed to swipe a little frosting off some decorated cookies and had a few bites of fish cookie when it was all done.  He declared it, "So yummy!"

A sample of the cookies we made.

Peter's fish is the little pink one.

After the decorating, it was matching Christmas outfit time.  Bella and Christian had a blast putting together matching outfits in Blues Brothers style.

Monday, December 06, 2021


Peter has a hard time saying words the start with St or Sn or Sp.  Most often he'll leave the s sound off and just say the rest of the word, such as stick becomes tick and stand becomes tand.  He was playing with a toy snake the other day and this was the conversation he had with and Kelly.

Kelly: That's a snake.  Can you say snake?

Peter: nake

Kelly: No Snake. SSSSnake

Peter: nake

Me: He has a hard time putting s sounds on the beginning of words.

Kelly:  He does?  Peter, if you can't say snake, what will you say when you see a snake?!



Christmas Festivities Begin

 As fall drew to a close, I let the boys do the annual pumpkin smash up.  They had a blast taking all my decoration pumpkins and busting them up.

Then we put them in the compost and we're ready for Christmas! This weekend we started to really get into the Christmas spirit.  We attended the annual Livonia Christmas Parade to watch Benjamin perform with the marching band.  The idea was to watch from the end of the parade route where the mayor turns on all the Christmas lights around city hall and the police station, etc.  However, the weather was so terrible - rain, hail, wind - that we sat at the beginning of the route so we'd get done faster!  It was a fun parade despite the weather.  Lots of fun and silliness, such as the ghost busters and Santa on the firetruck. Benjamin said he was miserable and cold, but the band sounded great.

Bella came to the store with me and bought matching pajamas for herself and Peter that were adorable and we also put up all our own decorations.  Earliest we've ever done it.  Benjamin didn't join in the work, but he was a good sport and willing to join in on the picture.  We'll see how long the ornaments last with a two year old in the house.  

Bella and Christian also had friends over all weekend.  It was so fun to see them happy and engaged with friends and off the screens nearly all day. Bella's friend Emma is Peter's favorite and he couldn't get enough of her.  He kept talking to her and smiling at her. I even found him sitting on her lap as they all played in Benjamin's room for a little while.  I wish I could have gotten a better picture, but I would have interrupted the game! :)