Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Of Photobombing toddlers and the Joys of Calvin and Hobbes

So this post I wrote up a month ago, and it sat on my computer and didn't get posted till now. It's a little outdated as a certain someone showed up 2 weeks and one day early, and now is making her mark on the world. 

God has been so incredibly kind to us.

Daddy's been reading Calvin and Hobbes comics to the kids. They enjoy it so much, I figure its worth the frequency increase of such linguistic terms as "nincompoop" and "booger brain" in our house.

Also, my life's ambitions are complete now, as I have got the sought-after in-habitat pictures of Josh smiling. The shutter moves fast enough that the wave-function doesn't collapse by being observed and Josh doesn't morph into his long-suffering picture face.

I think Isaiah really empathizes with a little blonde boy with a huge imagination. He tries re-enacting the stories in them, alas, as he burst into our room in the wee hours of the morning.
I grumpily ushered him back to his bed, as he enthusiastically instructed me "Mom, say, 'you have two seconds to improve my mood!". It was then I realized even my grumpy protestations about him getting back in bed were playing the role he wanted. I had dark thoughts about this whole re-enacting stories thing. But then he burst in at 7:30, and climbed onto my bed, beaming, with a basket of sandwiches (which I think Daddy had helped him make before leaving for work) saying, "I  made these for you, Frog, so that you will be happy. We have no iced tea" (from Frog and Toad)

I wanted to get a shot of the kids all in their Sunday finery...

Mariam had been reading her Baby Animals book, and was not happy at being conscripted for a photoshoot.

Kuzzles valiantly did her part to keep Mariam in the picture...

Daddy was recruited to make sure Mariam did not die of asphyxiation...

Mariam was released from her picture taking duty. She got back the Baby Animal book and was pleased.

Daddy tried to help the other 3 kids look in the right direction by asking them how many fingers he was holding up behind Mommy's head. The all spontaneously started pointing and shouting their answers.

They've been doing School with Aunt Cathy. Jenny especially loves filling out worksheets.

Even Mariam got to color like a big kid, now that she is no longer obsessed with eating wax.

These were the kind of pictures I was able to get of Josh and the kids in the evenings with my old camera. You get the idea, it captures the essence of our storytimes, but not the expressions.

With the new fancy camera, I can actually capture the expressions.

Alas, I didn't realize just how much time the kids spent picking their noses. I guess there are drawbacks to crystal clear shots....

Jenny keeps making up stories about “Duh magic pwincess who never dies”, esp when Isaiah is trying to role play some game with her and she has to pretend to be a dying soldier or the “poor man” getting beaten on the way to Jericho “NO NO, I AM DUH MAGIC PWINCESS WHO NEVER DIES”
Evidently the magic princess can do magic things like pull her head in like a turtle, save everybody, and know everything. The magic pwincess is also very POWERFUL, in case you were wondering. I kind of gently tried to dissuade her from the magic princess's magical powers
 "Jenny, magic isn't always a good thing. We're not really supposed to do magic”
“Um, Mom, dis is pwetend

Also, when Jenny said “Duh magic pwincess knows evewything.”
Me: “Only God knows everything”
Jenny: “Duh magic pwincess is wike God”
Me: “Um....”
Jenny: “Dis is pwetend

Keziah, on seeing the moon, “Mommy! Duh moon is fowwowing us!” Later, when it was hidden behind some buildings “I can't find my moon”, later, when they found it again, she informed me with great joy, “We found duh moon!”

She was being "QUEEN Pwincess Leia"

I've noticed the kids have really started to "gel" now. They hang out as a group, initiate stories and games together, and really interact like a little gang, the way I remember from my childhood. I don't know if it was hitting the 4 kid mark, or the oldest turning 5 yrs old, or our new Draconian screentime policy, or Calvin and Hobbes. Whatever it is, I am grateful, as it warms my heart to hear their shrieks and laughter as they pretend to be Calvin, Susie, and the "Leaf Pile" from Calvin and Hobbes. Even if it means they are running through the apartment throwing comforters at each other....

Another time, I found Jenny and Isaiah dancing about,
 “CREAK” says Jenny.
Isaiah burst out with “Mom, help help my bike is trying to kill me!” 
Then he helpfully instructed me to say “Its not trying to kill you sweetheart, it was just a dream”, when I comply, they then laugh uproariously. For some reason when Jenny's the homicidal bicycle she has to wear a pink dress up skirt on her head. 
They did this 20x, while laughing maniacally till Daddy came home.

Where is Mariam, you may ask? She alone could not be bribed into this photoshoot with the promise of a skittle. She eschews photoshoots, and alters her usually cuddly in-the-thick-of things personality to be aloof when mom gets the camera out. 

Jenny has been asking lots of questions lately

“Why is there not a Jennysday?”
“A what?”
“Like Wednesday, or Tuesday. Why is there not a Jennysday?”
“I think it was because people did not know I would come”

She is also asking lots of questions about her body and how things work. I was trying to explain viruses to her (she wanted to know why she and I had thrown up last week) and probably doing a terrible job. “Its....like bad computer code uploaded into your body”
“What's computer code?”
I backtracked.
“There are instructions in your body how to make blood, how to make bile, how to make lots of things. Viruses are like germs that have bad instructions, they trick your body into following their instructions, that hurt you, and make you throw up. Then your body figures it out and fights back”
“But why? Why does your body obey?”
“Bodies get tricked. They aren't always tricked. Keziah and Isaiah didn't throw up. Just you and Mommy's did”
“But why, why was my body twicked!??” she was upset. I think she felt it was a failing, that Isaiah and Keziah passed some test that she failed. Jenny is competitive about everything. Even her immune system's susceptibility to viruses....

Once, before bed, I had curled up with Jenny and decided to tell her a little about what I know about how your circulatory system takes oxygen to all the cells in your body. She was fascinated. For the last week, its been a ritual, in the gap between storytime and prayertime, she wants me to curl up with her and says “Mommy, tell me about blood!”
So we've exhausted all my knowledge on hematology, the white blood cells, blood typing, blood transfusions, hemoglobin, heart rate, and blood clotting. There really isn't anything more I know about blood, so I'm going to have to read up on this now, especially as Kuzzles followed suit, and now wants to curl up with me and says “Mommy, teww me about bwood!”

Isaiah has his saintly moments. We were getting out of the car, and he had unbuckled himself and gotten out, running to the door while I was still wrestling with the girl's restraint systems. I yelled to him to stay in my line of sight or suffer punishment, and so he plopped down on the grass, still in my line of sight, looking up into the sky. When I got to him (with 3 kids in tow, from the car) he looked up at me, peacefully beaming. “Mommy, I was talking to God. I asked Him 'who are you?'” he said smiling up at me. I melted. Just when I couldn't look any more angelic, he gently kissed Mariam.

Isaiah goes into the hall closet which is stuffed to the gills with my things. “MOM! SHUT DOWN ALL THE GARBAGE MASHERS ON THE DETENTION LEVEL!!” he hollered. Now every time I look into the closet, I think of the garbage masher in Star Wars....

addendum of happenings a couple weeks later, because it took me so long to publish this post....

When Jenny requested her nightly “tell me more about blood”, I (exhausted all that I know) turned to Josh “Josh, do you know anything more about blood”
“Mommy and Dadd have told you everything they know about blood, Jenny.”
“Mommy and Daddy didn't do biology in college, we did physics---”
“You should have done biowogy!”
“Mommy learned about stars and cool---”
“You should not have done phydix!! I want to know about blood! Why did you do phydix? You should have done biowogy!”
Josh gently explained to her that when Mommy did physics was before she knew she would have a little girl who wanted to learn about blood, and then he immediately segued us into prayertime so Jenny had to drop it.
After all the songs and prayer, I thought Jenny had forgotten it, till a mournful little voice piped up, breaking the silence before bedtime kisses. “Mommy, why didn't you do bof phydix and biowogy? You could have done bof. You should have done bof.”
“Maybe you can do both in college, Jenny”
“No, I wanted you to do it. I want to know about blood”
(The human anatomy book is now on its way via the US Postal Service.)

Mariam will sing (her version of) the backup vocals for Bad Lip-Reading's strange Yoda song (Seagulls Stop it Now). Josh showed it to them, and they were enthralled. At first I was less than enthusiastic, but now, even when Mariam is cranky and crying, and I start to hum the Yoda song, and she reluctantly began singing the backup vocals.

Skyping aunt Sarah for her birthday, Jenny put on 2 party hats and said she was a “Sarahsaurus” (I think her idea of a triceratops). Isaiah started excitedly telling her about the pale horse, the red horse, and the dire names of each of the riders of the apocalypse. I think its one of his favorite pages of his picture Bible, along with the 4 beasts in Daniel.... “And who did Persia eat?” etc.

Kuzzles is being potty trained, and gets to pick between various candies for using the potty. One of her favorite is the post-valentine discount little candy hearts that I picked up from dollar tree. Josh's mom calls them “conversation hearts” because of the words printed on them, and Kuzzles picked up the terminology from her. It never sounds the same twice when Kuzzles requests them, the first few times I was utterly confused. Today it was “Scogervation heawts”.

Due to Keziah's potty training, there has been more candies in the house. Isaiah stole some skittles and lied about it.
I told him he would not have candy for a long time, because of the stealing. (I was thinking 3 days). Jenny jumped in “Isaiah, you will not have candy till you're EIGHTEEN.
I told Jenny “It'll be before that.”
Jenny went up to Isaiah, “Isaiah, you can have candy when you're SIXTEEN.

The skittle episode ended rather dramatically, with me threatening to burn the skittles if there was more theft/lying for them. I explained that lying is bad for his soul. I talked about how his eternal soul was of much greater worth than skittles. And that God---who loves us---does not want him to lie, and the devil---who hates us---wants him to lie.
Isaiah wept, and I worried that I had overdone it, and wracked the poor kid with guilt.
“Why are you crying, Isaiah?”
His tearstained face looked up at me, very worried---
“The devil will not eat my skittles?”
I think I need to leave the kids theology to Josh....

Mariam loves candy with a deep and abiding passion. She'll run up “Nanndies! Nanndies!” For a while I was trying to be firm, and only give candy to the one who did the work, but Mariam can weep heartbroken tears, and also started to run up and sit on the potty chair when Puzz needed to use it.

Mariam has been talking more but Puzz still sees herself as her self-appointed interpreter. “Mariam wants milk in a bottle” over mariams wails “Bobbul! Bobbul!” while shaking the waterfilled reject angrily. (in all the hullaboo of switching Mariam to milk from a cup and only water in the bottle----we are all sleeping through the night for the first time in a month!!!)
When Puzz is getting rewarded for potty usage, Mariam often comes up doing a desperate frenzied dance as she cries out “Nandies! Nandies!” Puzz will say 'Mariam wants half [a candy]” and I will then get her half a candy. They are all happy.

Mariam has almost an uncanny ability to sense if I am eating a little bit of chocolate in the kitchen. She'll run up at the faintest crinkle of a wrapper and do an adorable little “Nanndies! Nanndies!” beneath me. Then she somehow manages to smear about 2 chocolate chip's worth of dark chocolate all over her face and hands.

She also loves to to name the various parts of your face. “Nos!” “mouf!” “EES!” while pointing. You just have to prepare yourself so she doesn't gouge your eyes out as she names “AAAYYYSSS!!!”

Both Keziah and Jenny will come up to me and kiss my belly. “I kissed duh new baby” Puzz will say, beaming up at me. Even Mariam will come now, pull up my shirt, and gently kiss my belly. Isaiah prefers to come up and say “I'm gonna pop the baby out” and proceed to try to push on my belly.

Baby Sadar #5 continues to kick and grow!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Pics from February

Sunday, January 29, 2017

New Camera, Cicada Shells, and long long car trips

 This year, for Christmas, Josh presented me with a little card, that stated it was redeemable for a really nice camera.

 I had been daydreaming about the Canon eos rebel T2i ever since my sister got one on eBay 2 years ago. It's amazing.

Josh and I have had very different philosophies when it comes to photography. Josh feels like it changes the moment by being observed, like quantum mechanics and knowing collapsing the wave function. He thinks photographing life interferes with living it. And as he points out, “if you photograph your whole life, when do you have time to look at it all?” 
I am in the opposite camp, “This 50th variation of the 6 week old grimace must be documented...”

So the camera voucher for Christmas surprised me <3

Chilling in AL....

If you are as obsessed with photographing your kid's everyday life as I am then this camera is so worth the cost (used on ebay, still a decent chunk of money) even if it means pinching the grocery/clothes/household budget for 6 months.

{{Digression on the awesomeness of this camera: while some of the outdoor pictures in this post are with my old pocket camera, all my indoor pictures are now taken with the new camera. I can actually take photos in indoor lighting in the evening (usually when all the daddy-kid playing is happening), instead of having a blurred out humanoid shapes or shell-shocked kids after a flash. And best of all, instead of a 3 second reload times between shots (usually when my kids attention span would fade, or instead they'd sit frozen with their picture grimaces expression for 5 seconds, I can actually get a series of expressions, capturing their real everyday expressions. Now I just have to be really really careful not to break it.}}

 Because you can get little interactions like this....

She was very pleased to have the cicada shell bestowed upon her.

She gave it to Mariam, who sensed the honor of the gift....

Jenny was also thrilled to get to wear it.

Although I don't know if this series of pictures justifies my philosophy of documenting all the memories or Josh's philosophy that documenting life cuts into actually living, because I honestly didn't know Aunt Mali was passing around a cicada shell while I was taking these pictures. Only afterwards, looking through them, do I realize that's what was going on. Um....changing the subject....

Aunt Mali really got the kids excited about getting ready for bed. She turned the toothbrushing and the Pajama-garbing into royal rituals, in which they were all ceremonally knighted afterwards. Jenny and Keziah were the princesses, and Isaiah got to be a knight (he rejected the title of prince for that of a knight). Later that evening when they were skyping Josh (who had to fly back to AZ earlier due to work), they reported their recently ennobled status to him. He asked them who he was, and they answered “Duh King”, on which the King made a royal decree that all the princesses and princes had to go to bed (it was their bedtime). “But I'm a knight” Isaiah explained, Josh then decreed all the knights had to go to bed too. “But he has to guard us!!” Jenny explained.
The knights and the princesses did all eventually get to bed.

The kids would all cluster round for skyping Daddy. Mariam would hold the computer, and just repeat “Daddy! Daddy!” over and over again.

The kids had a blast, hanging out in Alabama with their Grandmommy and Grandaddy and Aunts and Uncles.

Mariam especially enjoyed hanging upside down.

They went on walks, scouted out the local parks, and were introduced to "Voltron, Legendary Defender," had their first piano lessons with Grandmommy, and even got to explore the library.

Uncle Elijah helped (meaning, did all of it) drive us back to AZ, Jenny started singing “Sweet Home Arizona” (her own variation) as we buckled into the car.
 It was quite an adventure, including almost running out of gas in middle of the night in rural Texas surrounded by red blinking windmills and a giant reassuring cross (we made it 20 miles with the empty light on, to a town of a single gas station with a few dozen houses), and a mirage cow (which Elijah saw after being awake 24 hours straight, necessitating a 1.5 minute frolic at a Chic-Fil-A playplace while Uncle Elijah napped in the car), as well as a 10 minute frolic in a snowstorm in the AZ mountains. I had been freaking out about sliding off the road, and Elijah had the idea to enjoy the snow while it was there. Little brothers give you perspective on life...

When we got home, the kids were excited to see Daddy again, and become reacquainted with all their toys. Keziah in particular has a very maternal streak for all her (and her sister's) dolls. She lines them up and tucks them into bed with the utmost care. 

Mariam started using new words, unprompted. On the road, when we got pizza, I was startled to hear a little voice in the back saying “pizza! Pizza!”, I looked back, expecting to see Keziah saying it, and it was Mariam.

Mariam also continues to enjoy slapping people in the face.
not the moment I was trying to capture....

Like everything else she does, her violent actions are accompanied by extreme cheerfulness. She might tease or hit her siblings, but always with joy and never with malice.
This one was...

She remains, in her core, a little sweetheart.

Isaiah lost his first tooth. That is, he bravely let mom pull it out because his new one had already come in behind it. Daddy took him to Walmart to get some legos as a reward afterwards, here he is building them, with an admiring audience.

I'm a bit behind on updates on all the kids, but I hope to post on that soon.
Little Sadar #5 is doing well, hanging in there and kicking, I'll be 31 weeks tomorrow. Thank you so much for all your continued prayers!