calls from the couch

I’m pretty sure I just heard Obed fall out of bed.

And I’m pretty sure it would take blood curtling screams for me to go check it out.

Today has been one of those days, (which honestly feels like… a  lot of days… many days… most days) when I’m on my last thread of patience.  And at multiple points during the day, that last thread meets its end and I am left with no patience.  I’m mainly surviving, not thriving, and trying semi successfully to stay above water.

That was today.  And other days this week.

I don’t have a story to tell tonight.  No funny antidote that made the day salvageable that I can tell about.  I just have me, sitting on the couch, end of day, no energy.  I have no ambition to pick up toys.  There’s a napkin on the floor by the dining room table that I’m pretty darn sure will still be there in the morning.  Obed’s chair is filled with left over pancakes that was supper tonight.  That will still be there tomorrow too.  Dang, we need a dog.

Jeff is gone again tonight.  My least favorite nights.  I got four kids in pajamas.  Technically, two kids in pajamas.  One kid I had to coach, one kid just did it on their own.  Made them pick up all the books strewn across the bedroom floor which were making it impossible to walk.  “MAMA WHY DO YOU MAKE US ALWAYS PICK EVERYTHING UP??”  Because I’m the meanest of mothers.  Made every single one brush their teeth amidst howls of protest and “WHY DO WE HAVE TO BRUSH OUR TEETH EVERY NIGHT??”  Oh the horror.  I did manage one story, because today is Good Friday and you kind of have to read the story.  Shortest prayer ever.  Every one gets a kiss.

Questions start.  “When will Daddy be home?  Will he snuggle us when he gets home?  Can I call Daddy?”

“Ok only one more question.”

I don’t even remember the question.  It was probably about Daddy.

“OK that was the last question.  No more questions.”

My parting words… “Obed, DO NOT get out of bed.”

Light off.  Door shut.  Downstairs, fall on the couch.

That’s it.

This is just me venting.  It really serves no purpose and I probably sound like I’m whining, which I am.  I’m worn out and tired.  I’m not even going to post this on Facebook.  If you’re reading this, it’s because you must truly find my blog interesting and have checked to see if I’ve posted anything.  Bless you, my One Faithful Reader, bless you.

Good night.

And All the Angels Sang

Tonight my heart sang like I’m pretty sure angels in heaven sing their praises.

Today Ava asked me if she could get baptized.  (this in itself was not what made my heart sing, as good of a thing that is…)  This question by Ava was a little surprising since a few months ago Ava had said she didn’t ever want to get baptized because it seemed scary and she didn’t want to get wet.  So when she brought it up this afternoon, I wondered what had changed.  She then asked what happens when you get baptized and could we watch a video of someone getting baptized?  So we looked up a YouTube video.  You never know what will come up when you search YouTube, but I clicked on a safe looking video.  We watched a few minutes and that was it.

Tonight at dinner she brought up getting baptized again.  We talked about it some more.

“Ava, you get baptized after you’ve asked Jesus into your heart and to forgive your sins.  Have you done that?”

“Yes!”

“When did you ask Him into your heart?”

She thought really hard for a minute and you could tell she was having a hard time.  I started to wonder if she had actually made this step on her own or if it was just something that she’s heard over and over.

“Weeellll, I can’t remember the exact day, but one day while I was still six, I was standing by the window and I just prayed!  I asked Jesus to come into my heart and he forgave my sin.  I was six and a half, like I am now.  I was standing by this window right here just looking outside and I prayed.”

And then I knew that she really had.  Because I don’t remember the exact day either, but I remember my five year old self and I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing and what I prayed.  Thirty two years later, I still remember all of that.  And if she could tell me where she was and what she was doing, then it wasn’t just an idea that she’s heard over and over.  She’s really asked Jesus into her heart for herself.

And the truth is, over the past while, I’ve seen a change in Ava.  While she’s far from perfect, she’s changed in a way that I honestly just the other day wondered about.  At the time I thought maybe she’s just growing up, maybe all my prayers for a better attitude have finally been answered!  Because her attitude has changed…. thank you Jesus!

“And Mom, I used to be afraid to get baptized, but that was before I prayed.  Now I’m still a little scared, but not that scared at all.”

This, friends, is one of the best days of my whole life.  That my kids would choose to for themselves to follow Jesus, to recognize their need for a Savior and desire eternal life, to know His voice and choose to obey it… this is truly my greatest heart desire for my kids.

And so tonight my heart (and my eyes) burst with tears of joy knowing that one has chosen Him.  And now my prayers will change for Ava that she would walk close with Jesus all the days of her life.

Amen!

I Only Wanted White Bins

Lately I’ve gotten into watching home organization and cleaning videos on YouTube.  I find them wildly inspiring, yet I remain strangely unproductive in the organizing and cleaning aspects of life.  This probably stems from the fact that I am not by nature a highly organized person.  I like tidy, I like neat, I like pretty, but I’ve come to terms people… I pretty much stink at maintaining.  I lay blame 50% on my nature, 50% on the four rugrats I have running around these days.  Anyway, I’ve heard you should never stop learning, striving, becoming… and so I continue to watch my videos in earnest.

My lady over at DoItOnADime says that the Dollar Tree is the greatest place ever to get organized.  EVER.  I believe her.  Just this morning I organized (Did you just read that… I ORGANIZED.  Jeff, that’s for you) the freezer using the two white plastic wash bins I got at a Dollar Tree a good 6 years ago.   Worked PERFECT!  Which means I’m now down two bins (I use those for soaking Obed’s endless stack of dirty shirts) and I have plans… PLANS! I tell you, for more organizing with white plastic wash bins, since I’ve had one success and all.

So after picking Ava up from school, I decided to stop at the Dollar Tree to pick up more bins.  It’s conveniently located right on the way home from her school.

You guys, I now have four kids.  FOUR KIDS!!!!  I pretty much refuse to stop anywhere these days with four kids.  But I’ve had a cold the last few days and I think my mind was feeling extra cloudy or something because I’m stopping at Dollar Tree.

We head inside.

Here is a visual.  I’m hauling a car seat on one arm.  Obed has one of those kid leash things with a monkey that’s supposed to be worn on the back, but he likes it on the front, so I’m pulling around a kid whose peering around a huge monkey strapped to his chest.  Ava and Oakley are running ahead and I’m yelling at them to wait up.  It’s like I don’t ever let them out or something.  SHEESH.

We are inside the Dollar Tree.

Right at the front of the store are the helium balloons.

Oakley: CAN WE GET A BALLOON MOM???  PPLLEEEAAASSEEEEE????? I REALLY WANT A BALLOON!

Me: Oakley, why are you talking so loud???  Use your quiet voice.  We are not getting a balloon today.

Oakley:  WHHHYYYYY??????

I’ve now deposited the car seat into a *tiny* cart.  It doesn’t really fit, mostly just precariously balances on the edges.  Lets just look for our bins.  I start down an aisle only to have Obed protest and pull the other way.

Obed:  Oooonn,  oooonnnn.  (read Balloon, Balloon)

Me: No balloon.

Obed drops like a rag onto the floor, full on wet noodle effect, monkey and all, kicking his legs once he’s down.

Obed: OOOOONNNNN!!  OOOOOONNNNNNN!

Oh good heavens.  THIS IS WHY I DON’T TAKE FOUR KIDS INTO STORES!

Somehow I manage to get Obed upright and headed down an aisle in search of the white bins.

“MOM!  LOOK! PET STUFF! CAN WE GET A KITTEN????  WE’VE WANTED A KITTEN FOR LIKE FOREVER!”

“MOOOMMMM!  CLOTHES HANGERS!  WE NEED MORE CLOTHES HANGERS.”

“OOOO, MOM LOOK!  WE NNEEEEDDD THIS!”

“Can you guys PLEASE use your quiet voices???!”

Someone has left some sort of flat cart in the first aisle we head down.  This looks pretty much like a luggage cart, which Obed got a couple rides on while at a hotel recently.  He is now trying to climb onto the cart.

“No Obed, we aren’t playing on this.  Come on, let’s keep going.”

“WHHHAAAAAAA!!!”

Dollar Tree is small, so you wouldn’t think it would take much time to find the bins but after several trips up and down the aisles and several, and I mean several, minutes… still no bins.  I ask the ladies at the front.

“Oh I’m sorry, we’re all out of those bins.  They should be back in stock next week.”

Awesome.

Now, you’d think that we’d just leave but I had, for some reason, told the kids they could pick out a treat.  So to the toy aisle we head.

Oakley: MOM, CAN I GET THESE AIRPLANES?  I LOVE AIRPLANES.

“Oakley, you do not need to talk so loud.  Quiet voice!”

15 minutes later, we are still in the toy aisle.  Who knew there were so many “great” finds at Dollar Tree, it’s so hard to pick just one!  I feel like the cartoons where the character is hitting their head continually on a wall.

“Okay, one more minute to pick something and then it’s time to go.”

Everyone finds the perfect item, we make it to the front, and after some scuffling about how I’m not paying for every. single. item. individually, we finally leave the store.

41 minutes people.  I was in Dollar Tree for 41 minutes.  FOUR KIDS.

Epilogue:

I was finishing up this blog, typing away in the office only to hear rustling in the refrigerator.  I had earlier locked Obed out of the office because he kept messing with the keyboard and mouse while I was typing and that was DRIVING ME NUTS.  Now I could only assume he was helping himself to something in the fridge.

This is what I find after coming out of the office:

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Here’s what you’re looking at.  Obed had decided to take everything off of the bottom two shelves.  He was currently in the process of moving everything from the door onto the now empty lower shelves of the fridge.

Organizing.

I cannot make this stuff up people.

 

 

Escaping to Cupcakes

Today was one of those days that every “well seasoned” parent tells you that you’ll look back on and miss… laugh at… have fond memories of.  Maybe.  The fact that I’m going to write about it probably proves that I see the humor, but you guys… today was… A DAY.

Morning:

I like to read the news in the morning.  When I was a kid, it was the newspaper.  Since we don’t get a newspaper now, I like to read internet news sites.  Not the questionable ones, real news, so I know what’s going on in the world.  It’s just what I like to do.  So after dropping Ava off at school, I came home and settled in the office to read the news and watch some news clips.   Several minutes later, Obed comes into the office and I hear him crunching on something.  I look over at him and realize he is EATING EGG SHELLS.  He has more broken shells in both hands.  WHAT??!!

I jump up, scoop him up, take away the shells and try to fish out what’s left in his mouth.  Gross kid.  We rush into the kitchen.  There I see the egg carton open on the counter, and eggs smashed on the floor.  Awesome.  From what I can tell, there are seems to be three eggs smashed on the floor and two remaining in the carton.  If memory serves me right (and lets be honest, these days… it pretty much doesn’t) there were six eggs left after breakfast this morning.  I have yet to find the missing egg.  Also, I’m really hoping Obed doesn’t get salmonella or E Coli or whatever comes from eating raw eggs.

Afternoon:

After picking Ava up from school, we come home for lunch.  Stepping into the house, I hear that super annoying chirping that tells you you have a smoke detector running out of battery.  It sounds like it’s coming from the kitchen, and I’m all too happy to take the battery out of that thing.  That smoke detector is the bane of my existence.  It’s the most sensitive fire alarm EVER.  I swear, at least 4 or 5 nights a week, that thing goes off while I’m cooking dinner.  AND IT’S NOT BECAUSE I’M BURNING DINNER.  But it sure makes me feel like a lousy cook every time I open the oven door and then all the sudden the smoke alarm is going off.  Sheesh.  Talk about a confidence killer.  So I pretty much have a love/hate relationship with the smoke detector… love that it will surely tell us when there is even a hint of fire danger, hate that it’s like a running commentary on my cooking EVERY FREAKING NIGHT.

I take the battery out and then Oakley starts in with the questions:

What’s that?  Why are you doing that?  What’s a battery?  Why won’t it work without the battery?  Why was that beeping?  Why did you take it down?  Why won’t it work???  Why was it beeping???

AUGGGHHHH!  “Baby, no more questions.”

We have lunch.  Then I attempt to make some sort of order out of the chaos that is the kitchen.  This generally feels like a losing battle, but I try.  Emptying the dishwasher is the first order of business.  Putting away the silverware is my least favorite part of the dishwasher, thus it’s become a kid chore.

“Hey, Ava and Oakley… who wants a quarter for putting away the silverware?”

This is technically Ava’s chore, but she hasn’t been great on actually doing the job of silverware and I know that Oakley will jump at the chance to do Ava’s job, thus either getting it done for me, or enticing her to do it too.  Sure enough, both kids want to help put away the silverware.  Which of course causes an argument.  Three arguments actually.  Who’s going to do the job (you both will work together), who’s going to hand the silverware over and who’s going to put them away, and who gets to do the other utensils.  SHEESH.  I’m getting a headache.

I tell Oakley he gets to put way the “kid” silverware.  He apparently doesn’t think the chair Ava is standing on is good enough because before I know it, he’s trying to get the fold-up stool out from the corner behind the trash can.  Just as I’m telling him to not do that because the trash can is going to tip over… the trash can tips over.  It was full.  It was stinky.  And now it’s all over the floor.

Sigh.

All the while, Obed is standing on the open dishwasher door, also trying to “help”, which basically means taking things out of the dishwasher and throwing them on the floor.  NOT HELPING DUDE.  I have to get paper towels out from under the sink and soon Obed is pouncing on the hand broom and dust pan that’s stored under there too.  He has a thing for brooms.  Pretty soon he is helping clean up the garbage mess.  Helping.

Ava and Oakley did figure out how to work together quite nicely so that was a redeeming factor for the whole event.

BEEP……… BEEP………  What the….  Yes.  Another smoke detector is now malfunctioning.  This time upstairs where there are three smoke detectors within 2 feet of each other. (the hall and two bedrooms).  Trying to figure out which one is beeping should be easy, but let me tell you, more times than once, Jeff and I have stood up there trying to figure out which one is making noise, take out a battery, and it’s not the right one.

I don’t have any more fight left for the smoke detectors.  We live with the BEEP for the rest of the afternoon.

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one cute moment from the day

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Playing together makes many things right

 

Dinner:

Five nights a week, Jeff is not home for dinner.  Dinner has become my least favorite part of the day when Jeff isn’t going to be home and tonight he’s not home.  I become a really mean person at dinner time… probably because little kids WEAR YOU OUT.  And by dinner, I have no more patience. I just want to eat in peace but there is no peace at dinner.

Obed has a bad habit of sitting in his highchair and SCREAMING like a TORTURED MONKEY until he gets his food.  Trust me, that alone is enough to put you over the edge.  Add in two other crazies, more food ending up on the floor than should be necessary in any circumstance, and complaints about not liking what’s for supper… it’s enough to send me to the crazy farm.

Because of all this, I spent 10 minutes after dinner hiding in the basement eating a cupcake… because sometimes you just have to ESCAPE THE CHAOS.

Bedtime:

Tonight, bedtime is at 6:45… usually it’s 7:30.  But tonight, 6:45.  Yes.  All the kids had been upstairs playing while I finished the dishes in the kitchen.  When I finally make it upstairs, I’m met in the hallway with Obed holding the potty pot and Ava telling me that Obed has been playing in the toilet.  Oh good heavens… yes, he’s taken taken it upon himself to empty the potty pot into the toilet.  From what I can tell, he managed to actually get the pee into the toilet for the most part, but then decided it was a good idea to play in the water.  Or possibly the unemptied pee as well because he now smells like urine.  SO GROSS.

WHEN WILL IT END??!?!?!?!?!?

It ends at 7:10 when everyone is in bed, I have no energy for more than one Bible story and the most generic prayer I’ve possibly ever prayed in my life.

The end.

More than once today I thought “I could be sitting in an office right now.  I could be wearing nice clothes and high heels and pretty hair instead of an old fleece shirt and velor pants with ugly hair, and dealing with adults and being productive and fighting the headache of the copy machine running out of toner rather than all this baloney.”  I sure could be.  Today was really, really trying.  And I’m whining about it in this post… even though I see the humor in some of these things, I’m whining.  But deep down, I know it’s really not about me, what would be easier for me, what would be more fun for me.  Deep down, I really do believe that what I’m doing now is making a difference, and besides, it’s what I think I’m supposed to be doing, what God wants me to be doing and what is best for our family.  And Lord knows I can’t see or quantify my efforts now and most days I feel like I’m totally failing and someone else would do a better job than me teaching and loving these kiddos.  But they got me, for better or for worse.

So lets hope that Obed doesn’t get salmonella poisoning from eating raw egg shells, we can figure out which smoke detector needs a battery and tomorrow, maybe, just maybe, Jeff can BE HOME FOR DINNER.

 

 

 

 

#4

Jeff and I had what you might call a tumultuous dating relationship.  Over the course of four or five months,  I think we broke up and got back together three or four times.  One of those breakups may or may not have been over whether we would have children if we got married.  Jeff was firmly in the family camp; I was, to be generous, a leery bystander.  I was 27, really loved my independence, and knew from first hand experience how much work kids were.  My youngest sister was born when I was 13.   She turned 5 the fall I left for college.  So there was no illusion on my part on how much work babies, toddlers, preschoolers are.  I also knew if I had kids, I just couldn’t see sending them off to daycare.  So I knew life as I knew it… carefree, spur-of-the-moment… one might say self centered… would be over.

After the last break up and before the final get-back-together, Jeff had a whole list of questions he asked me.  A printed list.  It was like a job interview.  Seriously.  A girlfriend job interview.  The kid question was on the list.

“Well, I’m either having no kids or I want a whole bunch… like five or something.  If you’re going to have kids, you might as well have a team of them.”

That was my answer.

I’m not sure Jeff heard the whole answer.  I think he heard… “Yes, kids.  How about two.”  Because for some reason Jeff thought we would/should only have two kids.  Probably because he thought two was enough… just like he thought I would do laundry every week… or that I would pack my suitcase earlier than two hours before departure…there may have been some plugged ears during our premarital counseling…

Anyway.

Here’s the deal.  I come from a big family.  I thought it was a normal family, but as it turns out, no… not really normal.  Both my parents come from big families.  I have a total of 13 uncles, 2 aunts, and something like 37 (first) cousins.  This is not counting my aunts’ and uncles’ spouses or my cousins’ spouses.  This is only full on blood relatives.  And it’s a blast.  I love the chaos and noise and laughter and EVERYTHING when our family gets together.  There’s kids tumbling all over, no room to sit, it’s awesome.  Two kids just didn’t seem like enough chaos to make a fun family in my opinion.

So here we are, 8 years into marriage and so far three kiddos have arrived.  Every single one of them planned and sent by the Good Lord himself.  The reality is, Jeff and I have not “planned” the arrival of any of our kids.  All three have come at what seemed like really inconvenient times, or in Oakley’s case… very delayed.  But I’ve loved the surprise of not planning any of them and the truth is, I don’t want to be in control.  I want every single blessing God wants to send me, whether that’s in the form of children, unexpected friendships, little daily surprises, I want it all.  And if I’m the one planning out life, well, I think I miss out sometimes.

Which brings me to the point of this whole post.  You can’t have a team of three, you’ve got to have at least four.  God must have really taken me seriously when I told Jeff I wanted a team because SURPRISE! our number 4 is on their way.  We’ll now be set up for badminton, doubles ping pong, maxed out all players for board games, etc.  Everyone will have a buddy.  Go big or go home, right??

Congratulations for reading this all the way to the end.  There should be a little confetti or something in celebration.

Let the wonderful chaos continue.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, Ava is praying for a sister (so she won’t have to be alone in the bath tub anymore.)  Oakley says if it’s a boy, he’s calling it Clifford.  And if it’s a girl, he’s calling her Clifford.  Ava suggested names were Elizabeth or Truman.  I don’t think any kids will be naming this baby.

PS: Babe is due to arrive late September 2015.  Prayers appreciated.  The truth is, Ava’s medical stuff has scarred me a bit and I have a lot of fear surrounding my heart concerning my children.  I don’t want to go through this whole pregnancy with fear hanging on me that something is wrong, will go wrong, could be wrong.

And, as much as I love the chaos, the thought of taking care of four kids is a little overwhelming.  That’s a lot of kids to wrangle and keep track of… even though I’m what you may consider a “free range parent”.  Yikes.  I’m hoping a big payoff in 20 years!

 

The Terrible Threes

The kid books all talk about the terrible twos, but everyone I’ve ever talked to knows it’s really all about the terrible threes.

I feel like we kind of missed out on this a bit with Ava; mainly because when Ava turned three, there was too much other stuff to deal with to notice adverse behavior.  Everything she was dealing with was hard, so it wasn’t a surprise when she would breakdown.

Oakley, we are discovering, has turned out to be the classic example of the terrible threes.  It seems like the day after his birthday it all started to come out.  I should have been writing these down from the beginning because it’s pretty funny.  Here are a few examples of  Oakley’s “Terrible Threes”

* At supper tonight, Oakley wanted an ice cube added to his soup to cool it down.  He then sobbed because his ice cube melted.

* Emotional breakdown because I told him he could not drink his soup from the bowl.

* Sunday walking into church, sobbing because Jeff had gone ahead and was was not walking with him.

* At breakfast, requested powdered greens in his juice.  Sobbed because I gave him powdered greens in his juice.

* At nap time, wanted to go read a book.  Sobbed because it was time to read a book.

* At lunch, requested a grilled ham and cheese sandwich.  Sobbed because I made him a grilled ham and cheese sandwich.

* Getting ready to go outside, sobbed because he wasn’t sure his Lightening McQueen hat was facing the right direction.

There have been many more happenings, but I can’t remember them all.  For sure I’ll be writing these down.

Ava’s Christmas Show

Last night was Ava’s school Christmas Concert.  This is the story of our night.

At breakfast I ask Jeff, “Hey, did you know you have a 3:30 appointment today?  Why did you schedule something for 3:30?!  We’re supposed to go out to eat before Ava’s Christmas concert.  I want to leave for the restaurant by 4:30 so we are for sure to the church by 6:15.  How is that going to work?”

Deer in the headlights.  “Ummm, I guess I forgot we had talked about that.  Well, it should be a short appointment, maybe I can just meet you at the restaurant?”  This, in my mind, is translated to “I won’t be here to help you get everyone ready and out the door… good luck.”  Awesome.

The afternoon rolls around.  Because I feel like some things should be celebrated and dressed up for, and because Ava is supposed to wear her “dressy best”, I’ve decided we are all getting spiffed up tonight.  Oakley and Obed have new matching outfits that will compliment Ava’s dress.  I’m going to actually fix my hair, Jeff is going to wear a tie.  We are going all out tonight.  However, going all out takes time!  You can’t just blow dry and roller brush your hair in 2 minutes and now I’m running slightly behind schedule.  Two little boys need their shirts buttoned, Ava needs her hair braided and straightened.  Too late for the straightener, there’s no time.  We finally run out of the house at 4:43.  At least everyone is in their dressy best and Jeff has called to say he will get us a table and put in our order.

I make it to the end of the alley, “Dang it!  I forgot the camera!”  Too late, there isn’t time to go back to get it.  I’m pretty disappointed about this as I had really wanted a picture of all the matching cuteness before it unraveled.

Two blocks down the street, “Dang it!  I forgot to turn off the straightener!”  This one requires a quick prayer that our house will still be standing when we return tonight.

We arrive at Grizzly’s downtown.  Parking is tricky downtown… there’s not much of it.  I pull into the lot next to the restaurant and am delighted to find front row parking.  As I’m hustling everyone out of the van and towards the restaurant door, I notice the huge sign “NO GRIZZLY’S PARKING.”  Dang it!  I would have risked it had there not been a parking attendant standing right there watching me.  I deposit the children inside and run back out to move the van.

Van parking is secured three blocks away.  As I’m bundling up for the walk back to the restaurant, I notice one of my gloves is missing.  Dang it!  I’m forever losing gloves!  I seriously need them attached to a string that runs through my jacket arms.  It’s ridiculous.

As I approach the restaurant, I decide to check the parking lot for my missing glove, just in case.  Sure enough, there in my previous parking space is my now wet, muddy, and run-over glove.  I pick it up, shake it off best I can and continue inside, mostly happy to have recovered the missing mitt.

I finally make it inside to find my little family happy waiting for our food to arrive.  “Hey, where’s your tie??”  I ask Jeff.  “I forgot it in the car.  I’ll put it on before we go into the concert.”  Dinner proceeds with record speed and at 5:52 we are about ready to walk out the door.  Perfect amount of time to get Ava to the church by the required 6:15.  However, as I lift Obed out of the high chair,  I get a whiff of his diaper.  “Oh Buddy, come on now!”  After weeks of not having a poopy diaper past 2pm, today is the evening he decides to fill his pants.  Great.  Off to the bathroom we rush to change said dirty diaper.

christmas concert2

My pretty girl in her dressy best

Finally we are hustling down the street to the van.  Obed weighs about 30lbs in his car seat and it’s a bit of a work out to lug him around in that thing.  We make it to the van, everyone gets buckled in and Jeff says he’ll meet us at the church.  He’s only in a two-hour parking spot.

I pull into the church parking lot at 6:20.  It appears everyone and their Grandma has decided to be ON TIME for the elementary Christmas concert because the parking lot is a sea of parked cars.  I circle around and find ONE open spot.  It is unfortunate that I may very well be the world’s worst parker and this spot is a mite bit smaller than average.  I attempt my first pull in.  Nope.  Reverse, re approach.  Nope.  Reverse, re approach.  Nope.  Reverse, re approach.  At this point it may be worth a mention that I have absolutely no idea as to what I’m doing or how I’m going to get our huge mini van into this parking spot.  I debate attempting to turn around and find a different parking location but that would require me pulling into this parking spot.  Dang it!  GOD HELP ME!

It’s at this moment I hear a knock on the window.  I turn in shame to see just who has been watching my pathetic parking attempts.  What luck!  It’s Jeff!

“I can’t park the van!!”  I practically wail to him the obvious.

“Get out and take Ava inside.  I’ll park.”

I more than gladly surrender the parking debacle to him and the mess I’ve made of trying to get the van into this minuscule space.  Ava and I rush inside.  She’s in place before 6:30, which is the program start time, so I’m calling this mostly a success.

However, because everyone and their Grandma seems to have arrived by 5:45, I could only find seating towards the back.  This was a bummer.  What is also a bummer is everyone wanting to film every second of life on their cell phones.  At this moment I’m glad I’ve forgotten the camera.  Put the phones away people!  The true view is better.

Jeff, Oakley, and Obed finally make it inside after apparently succeeding at parking the monster van.  “Hey, you forgot to put on your tie.”  Bummer.

Kindergarten through 2nd grade perform first.  Three songs.  Everyone is so pleased.

christmas concert

Here is my ironic cell phone picture of Ava performing.

3rd through 5th grades perform next.  There is a lovely rendition of ‘Carol of the Bells’ by the 4th grade and their recorders.  Then it’s announced that 5th grade will now demonstrate their guitar skills with Jingle Bells.  As the students retrieve their guitars, there is a loud crash.  The music teacher assures that it’s fine, that happens all the time.  However, one 5th grade boy turns around with a pretty forlorn look on his face and a guitar who’s handle is now in two pieces.  The obvious question on his face is “How am I going to play this???”

Jeff and I about died laughing.  Jingle Bells commences.  I’m not sure what I was expecting… perhaps mini guitar heroes… but 5th grade guitar players pretty much just pluck out Jingle Bells.  Second time around, the audience is encouraged to sing along and Broken Guitar Boy has talked another boy into giving him his guitar.  He is now happily plucking out Jingle Bells to his heart’s content.

And then the evening came to a close.  Ava’s first Christmas Concert is in the books.

Heading to the van to drive home, I notice Jeff has some how managed to park the van by BACKING INTO the tiny parking space.  Nice and tidy and straight.  What the heck.  I hate parking.

Driving home I remember the hair straightener and I’m practically expecting sirens and fire trucks to greet us at home, but thankfully it is not so.  Our house did not burn down due to a forgotten hair straightener.  A great end the the evening.