Always Be Prepared

Today Ava had a clinic appointment.  I’ve managed to get these down to every three months, but I still don’t like going to them.  I enjoy the staff immensely, but I still hate going.  I hate talking about blood work and glucose numbers and hemoglobin.  Mostly I hate being reminded that our lives seem to dangle in a constant delicate balance that could at any moment collapse.  My kids however, LOVE the clinic.  Love.It.  It’s because of the iPad.  They love the iPad in the waiting area and if Sarah, the child life specialist, is around, they like it even better because she has one too and then they both can play with one.  And when it’s time to leave, I have to pry them away from it.   There is usually some form of kicking and screaming.  Another reason to really not like going to the clinic.

So today was clinic day and I’m always on edge after clinic days.  On the way home Ava was a constant fountain of questions.  “Can we have a picnic at the park today?  Can we use our lunch boxes?  Can we Mom?  Can we go to the park?  Can we have a picnic??  Can we PLEASE use our lunch boxes????  MOM!  CAN WE GO TO THE PARK???”

AAAUUUGHHH!!!!  I can only take so many questions at a time.  And worse, I’ll answer a question and 2 minutes later, get the same question.  Over and over and over.  STOP!

So we go to the park for lunch.  With lunch boxes.  Mama is still on edge though.  I’m kind of like a snapping turtle at this point.

IMAG0083(Here is Oakley enjoying lunch… why are these pics so tiny??  Click on it, he’s cute!)

It’s a lovely park we go to.  Chester Park is close to our house and has a babbling stream running through it, a beautiful hiking trail in the woods and, most important to the littles, playground equipment.  It does NOT, however, have bathrooms.  It maybe has bathrooms, but not close… so in reality, we call that no bathrooms.

After eating our lunch by the nice babbling stream, Ava suddenly announces “I have to go potty!”  And because Ava has to go, Oakley then decides he has to go too.

“Ava, I told you to go before we left home.  Didn’t you go before we left??”  Snapping turtle coming out here.

“Yes, but Mama… I have to go POOP.”

Oh great.

“Can’t I just go in the grass?”

Ummm, No.

I have the fleeting thought of telling her to just hold it, but we all know how that would end.  I also know that there is a potty chair in the van.  Potty chairs… NEVER leave home without one.  And I don’t.  However, it’s one thing to have some tinkle left in the bowl to empty later… it’s a whole other ball game when it comes to #2.  The van would literally smell like a sewage dump… for sure.

Oh geez.  Do I really have a choice?  No.  No I don’t.

So up to the van we go.  Oakley sits first.  Nothing.  Well, you know, the power of suggestion is a powerful thing.  Ava’s turn next.  While she does her business, I’m trying to figure out what to do with the product.  Doggy bags!  Do they have those doggy do-do bags around??  No.  Drat.  That would have been PERFECT.

And then I spot in the seat pocket a very neatly folded Walmart bag.  I fold up my Walmart bags neatly, but my sister has this down to an art.  She can fold a plastic bag like a PRO.  And because we recently drove all the way across  South Dakota, and because she is always prepared, there waiting for me, neatly folded into a tiny square, was the answer to my prayers.  Thankfully, I also had a wet wipe.  One wet wipe.

Mental note, GET YOURSELF SOME MORE WET WIPES FOR THE VAN.  And neatly folded Walmart bags.  Definitely need more of those.

I’m feeling pretty proud of myself at this point.  The van won’t smell like a sewage dump.  Ava will have clean pants.  I’m practically super mom here.

We can now proceed to the playground.  After 40 minutes or so, it starts to rain ever so lightly.  And it’s close to nap time.  “Ok kids!  Time to go home!”

Five minutes later, sitting in our drive way, it’s pouring.

Drat.  If only I had an umbrella in the car…. which I don’t.  Why don’t I ever think of these things???  That’s what Jeff’s for.  He always thinks of these things.

How do you get two kids and a baby in a car seat into the house without getting soaked?  Answer:  well, you can’t.  We sat there for a few minutes waiting for the rain to lighten up, but it just seemed to rain heavier.  Finally I decide I’ll just have to run for it and dash to the house myself and get an umbrella.  So I do.  And we still all get wet anyway.  And then, five minutes later, the sun is shining and it’s not raining anymore.  Patience really is a virtue.  Wish I had some.

And so, the moral of what I learned today:  Walmart bags… keep em handy and stashed in the van.  You just never know.  And, always be prepared.



Orange Peels

This afternoon, after playing with the sprinkler in the front yard, Ava and Oakley needed a snack before rest time.  They each picked out a little orange from the refrigerator.  “Mom, can you peel this for me?”  “I can’t peel mine!”  “I CAN’T DO IT!”  This statement was repeated in about 8 different ways in 60 seconds.  I’m trying hard here to raise self sufficient, independent and productive little people.  So my standard response is usually “You have to TRY first.”  I know they can peel oranges because they both have done it before.

A minute later, lo and behold, I hear from Oakley “I do it!”  Good job buddy.

We eat our oranges outside.  Ava wants another, and because they were extra sweet today (the oranges), I say yes and to bring me and Oakley another one too.  Ava comes back with three oranges and she again starts with the “Can you peel my orange?” bit.  No Baby.

“Oakley, will you peel my orange for me?”  Ava really doesn’t want to peel her own orange.  I think she doesn’t like her fingers getting orangy from the peel.

“O-tay”  Oakley, who seems to have more compassion for Ava’s plight, sets down his own half eaten orange, takes Ava’s and and starts peeling away.

Over the next couple minutes, I watched as Oakley carefully peeled Ava’s entire orange for her.  Bit, by bit, the little peel came off and he carefully piled up her peel with his own.

“Here Ava, all done.”

“Oh thank you Oakley!  I love you.”  And they they hugged.

My heart almost burst into pieces.  Little 2 1/2 year old Oakley, who can hardly stand it when it’s Ava’s turn to sleep on the top bunk, who snatches his Matchbox cars away from Obed, just did the most selfless act of kindness I’d ever witnessed from my children.  “Oakley, that was sure kind of you.”  I said, somewhat mystified by what I had just witnessed.  “You know what?  I bet that made God’s heart really happy, you peeling Ava’s orange for her.  I bet He has a big smile on His face right now!  I can tell, because it made my heart really happy too.”

“Mine too Oaks!  I feel my heart being really happy too!”

And for a minute, we just all sat feeling really, really happy together.  For a small moment, all was right in our tiny little corner of the world.

Oh those two.  I’m writing about this right now because while my children are lovely, they aren’t normally so sweet and unselfish with each other and I had to document it for remembrance sake and future proof that they can be kind.  Just this morning I had to tell Ava several times to stop telling Oakley he can’t go to VBS.  She was doing it to be mean and make him cry.  Oakley likes to bite Ava.  We are not a well of overflowing kindness around here.

But today sure made my heart happy.

Morning Out With Mommy… Happy Birthday AVA!

For Ava’s birthday this year, our main gift to her was a morning out with Mommy.  The truth of the matter was that Jeff and I couldn’t think of a gift to get Ava this year and a morning out with me was an easy fix.  As it turned out, Ava LOVED the idea.  Her birthday was at the beginning of May and she has been asking about her Mommy date ever since.  Well, finally, the middle of July, and we are going on our morning out.

This morning Ava was so excited for our time together.  The original gift was a morning out with Mommy and Ava could choose if she wanted to go pick out a new book at the book store or a new outfit.  Lately Ava has been really into playing dress up so the present evolved to going to Savers to pick out a new dress up outfit and getting a book at Barnes and Noble.

I was actually really looking forward to helping Ava pick out some dress up clothes.  When I was little, my mom had a few old dresses from when she was in high school that my sister and I would play in.  They were long and flowy and I always felt like the most glamorous girl in the world when I put them on.  We would clomp around in high heels that were way too big, wearing dresses that were way too long, feeling like a movie star the whole time.

Ava and I arrived at Savers and started looking though the dresses.  I found a really lacy dress that I thought Ava would like.  Right off she exclaimed “Ohhhh, I LOVE it!”  Then I looked at the price.  $14.99.  WHAT?!?!  Sheesh, this is Savers!  I wasn’t expecting to pay $15.oo for a play dress.  I was thinking more along the lines of $5.  “Ummm, lets keep looking Ava, maybe we can find some cheaper ones and then you can get more than one.”  She was up for that.  We finally found several dresses that could fit the bill.  “Let’s go try them on Mom!”

In the dressing room, we put the first dress on.  “I LOVE it Mom!”  “What do you like about it Ava?”  “I like the lace and that it’s long and drags on the ground.”  I soon learned that dragging on the ground was a must.  With each dress she tried on we talked about what she liked and didn’t like.  I loved this part of our day.  It felt like shopping for a prom dress only better… because she’s five and only cares about the glories she can come up with in her imagination.  I loved seeing the look in her eyes as she looked in the mirror… I knew she felt so glamorous in these over sized, somewhat gaudy, dresses.  We found two that Ava liked and were more in the price range.  We leave happy!

Next stop, Barnes and Noble.  We go to the library all the time, but Ava has never gotten a book from the bookstore.  At first she didn’t understand the concept.  “You mean I get to keep it?”  Yes!  The one book she really wanted to find was Little Critter “Just Going to the Dentist”.  Ava has a thing for the dentist.  Why?  I don’t know.  She’s never been to the dentist (which will change soon, hopefully she likes the dentist just as much after her first visit)  She’s gotten this Little Critter book from the library before and luckily we found it at Barnes and Noble.  Now she has it for her very own.  Along with “Just Going to the Dentist” Ava chose one other book and then we sat and read for a while.

Finally it was time to go to lunch.  All morning long, Ava was asking where we were going for lunch.  “Is it McDonalds?!?  Can we go to McDonalds for lunch??”  Since I knew this was were Ava probably wanted to go, I had already planned to take her there, but hadn’t told her that so it could be a surprise.  Once in the car, I thought I’d ask her were she wanted to go.  “So Ava, were do you want to go for lunch?”  From the back seat:

“Ummm, hmmmm… let me think about it.”  And then silence.  I about died in the front seat.  She had been talking about McDonalds all morning and now she’s like, well, ummm, let me think about it.  This was hilarious.  After a minute of nothing I started to get nervous that she was going to throw out something like the Texas Roadhouse and I wasn’t really prepared to go to the Texas Roadhouse.   “Hey Mom, how about… McDonalds!”  Sounds good Ava.

Once we had our food, Ava looked at me and said “Mom, this is so great.”  What do you like most about this Ava?  “It’s just quiet and calm and peaceful.”  Yes.  Our house is rarely calm and quiet and peaceful.

What a great morning we had.  Ava felt special and I loved having such a special time with her.  After all our heart ache, these are the times that I feared I would lose and never get to have.  How thankful  I am for outings like today.