all images © Meghan Boyer Photography

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Blinking is Hazardous to my Health

I'm trying to find a way to bypass blinking.  Because honestly, I'm scared of what the kids do while my eyes are closed.   Plus, there's a good chance my eyes will remain shut and I'll pass out while standing up.  After school, the kids play outside with their friends.  If I get caught up talking to another mom, sometimes I forget I have children.  I'll 'come to' and look around and think, oh my, I lost one, maybe two.  Other times, I'm more cognisant of my motherly obligations.  When someone starts a conversation I can turn my ear towards them but keep my eyes on the triple threat.  I'm pretty sure it's a scary sight. I bet my eyes go in three directions at once.  That's probably why they run away from me.  And then, just when that mom is about to tell me her super secret for raising subdued, well behaved children that go to bed at 7pm , I have to bolt away, preventing Dempsey from disconnecting the heating and air conditioning unit. 

What's really unfair is a child's ability to get one over on me, but I really can't get anything past them.  I'm working on this skill.  Grady is in bed the other night, it's 10:30pm and he's still not asleep.  BUT he was in the bed,  win for me.  His ears are on high alert, always making sure I'm not having too much fun without him.  I crack open one of those incredibly incredible and unnecessarily loud Guinness cans with the nitrogen cartridge.  Come on Guinness...what were you thinking?  Moms heart Guinness.  We drink the beer and then suck on the cartridge.  Please fix your product.  Grady calls to me from the bunks " drinkin' beer?  You like beer?  Where'd you get that beer?  The beer store?"  Grady...why do you ask me questions you already know the answer to?  I'm drinking chocolate milk... love it actually...and I bought it from the chocolate milk store. 

All the kids love the beer store, we often call it the pretzel store, because they always get one while we're there (a pretzel...not a beer).  Last summer we walked to the playground by the pretzel store.  Ingenious idea, right?  After one hour, four minutes and thirty three seconds of pure pleasure, I need to escape (the playground...not the beer store).   To convince the kids to leave,  I shout a promise to take them to the pretzel store.  A dad walks over to me, looking very excited.  He says he has lived in the area for years and doesn't know of any pretzel store.  And all along I thought those daddies weren't paying attention!  I hate to disappoint him.  But isn't a beer store better than a pretzel store anyway?  Be thankful for what you have sir....a beer store that gives away free pretzels!  I think about this for a moment...I suppose a pretzel store that gives aways free beer would be a more awesomer place to visit.  Will talk to beer store manager with inventive idea.  Maybe I will win free beer and free pretzels.  Fun for the whole family.

Then today it happens again...I blink.  There's a water fight in the downstairs bathroom.  I go to take a swig of water before joining in.  There is a toothbrush and a rubber lizard staring back at me from my glass.  And that lizard's not blinking.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Love You More Than All the Tea in China

I'm thinking about my mom tonight.  And how much I love her.  I think about her every night.  And talk to her almost as much.  My mom is my world.  She gave birth to me, she fed me and she clothed me. I never purchased a single pair of underwear until I was married...true story...not making this one up....really who would make that up?  She still gives me her coupon for a free pair of Victoria's Secret that is love only a mother can give. She taught me right from wrong, she showed me unconditional love and she believed in me.  She punished me and then hugged me when she knew I learned my lesson. She never let me forget my middle name.  She reminded me to say 'please' and 'thank you' and to always send a thank you note.  She guided me to pray and believe in God, however I saw fit.  She came to my plays, band concerts, and sporting events.  She was at my basketball game, when I scored my first two points...on her birthday.  She talked to my friends.  And invited them over. She called their parents.  She told me when something was inappropriate to do, or say, or wear.  She showed me the happy side of life and encouraged me to always be thankful for what I had.   She said I should always treat others the way I wanted to be treated.  When she tucked me into bed she would say, I love you more than all the tea in China...every night.  If she wasn't there, she said I could look up at the stars, and always know we were both looking at the same sky.  She loves me.

She moved me from my childhood bedroom, to my dorm room, to apartments, to town homes, and to my own family's home.  She was there when I chose my dress for my First Communion, 8th grade farewell, prom, and wedding. She chose Lillian's baptism gown.  She listens to me.  Sometimes she sides with me, sometimes with Sean, and sometimes with the triple threat.  Damn kids, they're not ever supposed to be right...and neither is Sean for that matter.  She welcomes my children for sleepovers.  And spoils them rotten....lets them have pops, soda, and paci's....whenever they want.  "It's special," she tells them.  "You're at Nanny's."  What's hers is mine.  She shares whatever she has.  Even if I don't want it.  I pretend that I do.  It's the thought that counts.  Never mind that her closets and fridge are bare after I leave.  She doesn't care.  She loves me.

Whenever I face something that seems insurmountable, she gives me the strength to see beyond it. This too shall pass.  I look back and I know she's right.   She was right when I was fifteen too.  But don't tell her that.  With my mom on my side, I feel like I can conquer the world.  Or at least a day full of three under five...and a husband...and a dog.  She loves me.

My mother's love has no beginning and no end.  It's unbeatable and unspeakable.  There is nothing else like it in the world.  It consumes me.  I feel so blessed to have the mom that I do.  I love you mom.  More than all the tea in China. maybe it was 2am and we had a case of few beers.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Just Butterball It

Broken.  Grady's foot.  I really didn't think much of it.  Last night, the triple threat are playing 'pool'. According to big sister's rules, everyone must have on swimsuits, and the boys are required to go shirtless.  Regardless of the fact that it's mid February.  The blue futon pillow is tossed on the floor, aka...the pool.  Let the furniture jumping begin.  Although Dempsey can climb onto the vaulting apparatuses, he's not cannonballing it yet (or butterballing it...Lil's term...not mine).  He merely wades in the shallow end.  Grady takes a big bound, feet first, landing haphazardly.  Half in the pool and half out.  He cries, but he's over it within seconds.  Onto perfecting his butterball.  There is no swelling or bruising.  Fast forward to this morning...and Grady's penguin walk.  I make an appointment for an X-ray.  After only one stuffed pig baptism in the water fountain, and Grady slamming the big X on the X-ray machine, shutting that sucker down, we are on our way, with splint, to McDonald's.  We hit up Sam's Club, the boys take a brief nap in the car and before I can scream say HELP (Has Excessive Little People), we're in the waiting room of The Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Center.  Because, you know, raising the triple threat truly is a sport.

Now they add glitter, who wouldn't want to break a bone?

No place like a bathroom to strut your stuff

He won.  Grady did.  So far, Grady has the youngest broken bone, at two.  Dempsey still has time to claim the title.   Lil was three when she broke her hand.  I had no idea.  She never complained.  No swelling or bruising.  She was grasping her bribe pops with her toes, my only clue.  Broken.  Lillian's hand.

Big sister, so far, holds the title for youngest stitches. She wins.  Demspey still has time to claim that title.  Lil was eighteen months old when she dove off her rocking horse, slamming head first into the corner of the wall.  Maybe she should have butterballed it.

First head wound

Even hospitals use bribes

I sure hope Dempsey's not going to be our loser kid.  He hasn't won anything yet.  So many titles up for grabs and so little time.  What's up with that Demps?  You scared?  Because I am.  Don't win.  Just butterball it.

Dempsey at three months

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Be Nice to the Gookers

I always find myself telling the kids to be nice.  To me, to Sean, to each other, to animals, to friends, to themselves, to their toys.  I think I need to come up with a more descriptive word.  When I say it, I feel like it's not exactly what I mean.  Maybe kind would be a better word.  Today I needed my own reminder.

We are in church, of all places.  Mass has just begun and there is a baptism today.  The parents, their soon to be baptized infant son, and the godparents, are gathered on the alter facing the congregation.  I see the godmother and the first word that comes to mind is hooker.  I know, be nice.  I also know I shouldn't be thinking about hookers in church.  You'll be glad to know I'm alive and well and lightening didn't strike.  So the next time you're there, think away.  But really, it isn't nice to watch. And she appears young enough that a parent should have intervened.  Chomping gum, wearing clothing that may require medical intervention to remove and something on her feet that closely resembles fuzzy slippers.  Although, on my daily errand runs I have noticed that slippers are now considered socially acceptable in public.  I waste too many days contemplating that one.  Her fingernails could take an eye out and are covered in blue glitter.  I can also only assume that she lost her hair brush.  It happens to me, I really can't judge.  I think she may have even rolled her eyes.  Up towards God I'm sure.  Very ungodmotherly.  That poor, soon to be holy, kid.  At least he's a boy.  He won't be taking any fashion advice from this gooker.   I know, I know, you can't judge a book gooker by it's lack of cover.  I'm sure she'll teach him all things holy and nothing gooker like.  I need to be nicer.  But come on gooker, is this really how you want to start your reign?

My thoughts don't get any nicer.  With at least forty-five minutes left to go in Mass,  I'm in the bathroom with Grady. A grandmother walks in with her granddaughter.  They happen to be sitting right next to us in our pew.  This child cannot be older than three.  The kid has to go to the bathroom.  The grandmother mentions there are no toilet seat covers and can she just wait until they get home to go to the bathroom?  I want to bop this woman on the head.  Gooker.  Be nice Lisa. 

Grady is being very nice.  All he screams talks about is running up onto the alter to 'tiss' (kiss) Father Jeff.  I try to shoosh him.  Tissing priests in the Catholic church is apparently frowned upon these days.  He finishes his pop and chucks the slimy stick over his shoulder.  To share a lick with the very nice people sitting in the pew behind us.  Maybe they think he's a gooker.  Not nice to think, dear people kneeling behind us.

So glad my name starts with an L.  So when people think of calling me a hooker in the very nicest way possible...which wouldn't be a very nice thing to do...I would just be a looker.

Monday, February 13, 2012


We are leaving the doctor's office today when Lil meets a new friend by the fish tank.  I am putting on Dempsey's coat and Grady goes over to introduce himself.  "I'M GRADY!" He growls and screams at the same time.  Yes, it's growl and scream at the same time.  Lil's new friend looks over at her and asks, "Did he just say he's crazy?"

I thought I was the bombdiggity when I scheduled appointments for both boys at the same time.  I called in December to make Dempsey's twelve month check up and Grady's two year old lead screening.  I mean really, he JUST turned two in June, so I'm only what, eight months late?  Okay, not good.  The last time I thought that, Dempsey was born. 

Our pediatrician's main office now has a phlebotomist and it's really not that much farther of a drive then our regular haunt.  No more field trips to Quest lab with three tykes in tow, canoodling with Annapolis's finest, slinking in for drug urinalysis.  I scheduled Demps for 3:00 and asked that Grady's blood draw be at the same time.  Nice receptionist told me it should be fine but the lab schedule for the new year wasn't available yet so I should call back.   I dutifully call back only to find out the phlebotomist's last appointment for the day is at 2:30.   I take it.

My former childless self would be half an hour early to appointments.  I've learned to never arrive anywhere early with children.  We get there right at 2:30.  I check in and surprised lady asks if I have anyone to help me?  What are you suggesting woman?  What kind of help do you think I need?  I look to my left and look to my right.  I even look behind me.  Nope...don't see anyone with their hand in the air.  Well, my daughter is four, she's a big help!  Oh, and I have a stroller to strap one into.  Without too much destruction left in our wake and only a small argument over who will race the stroller back to the lab, we are called for our first appointment.  It goes smashingly well, Grady is a superstar.  With a glow in the dark bandage, we are sent back to mix with the normal folk.

I barely have time to unbuckle the Dempster before we are headed back to an exam room.   Grady sticks his finger in an outlet and grabs a few things from the trash can, Lillian vaults on and off the exam table, and Dempsey gets weighed.  Our pediatrician opens the door and Grady escapes.  Not so fast doctor starts do a couple of nurses (who are also not so fast)..."Catch him!" They call.  Lillian runs after all of them.  I hide in the room with Dempsey.  I try to lock the door... to no avail.  Stupid doctor's office.  Grady zigzags through two hallways, a train of people sprinting after him, and back out into the waiting room before they corner him at the fish tank.  They drag his scrawny butt back to the dreaded room.  Our pediatrician is not amused.   Dempsey has no idea what is going on, he looks up at the tiger on the wall and growls.

Dr. Does-not-think-my-family-is-as-entertaining-as-I-do,  asks if Dempsey climbs up the stairs yet?  Yes.  And do we have gates so he doesn't fall back down?  Well, duh, he can climb back down them too. All of my children are pretty physical you know.  Yes, she can see that, she tells me.  The visit is coming to an abrupt end.  Good luck, she says.  Did she just say I'm crazy?  She hands me a lab slip.  A lead test for Dempsey.

A much more subdued 'I'm Grady.'  I just had to hear it for myself.  It really does sound like 'I'm crazy.'

Friday, February 10, 2012

Ode to Mommies

I knew everything there was to know about having children.  And then I had them.  My dear friend Erin is a mommy that I've always looked up to.  I looked up to her first as a friend, and then as a mom.  She became a mother before me.  Her oldest is fifteen months older than Lillian.  I will never forget the day her newly crawling son picked up a dog toy and put it in his mouth.  She didn't flinch.  Um, well, okay, I love you and all, but um, maybe I'll just skip that particular technique.  Then Lillian was born.  I always wanted to be a laid back mommy.  And I think, for the most part, I was.  As laid back as you can be with your first born.  I remember washing paci's when they fell on the ground, laying down a blanket for her to crawl on while in the waiting room at the doctor's office (um, yea right, that was a winning technique...good luck with that one), and dressing her in adorable, brand new, stain free clothing.  Then...she began to take a liking to raw hide, bathroom floors, and boy's clothing.  Yup, the jig was up.   Um, you have any extra dog toys your kids aren't chewing?

Erin and I have always had sleep stay over parties with our kids, trading houses.  It is a chance for us to drink and smoke  chat about the love we have for our darling children and husbands, and the kids to wreak havoc play.  We're  up to five kids put together, with one on the way (Erin...not me...thank you Jesus it's not me this time).  Erin's twin sister, Maureen, another dear friend and mommy idol, often joins us with her daughter.  I don't think Maureen was too fond of the dog toy technique.  And I'm pretty sure she's not jumping on that bandwagon.  But that's okay.  Because she's quite fond of the candy technique.  I like that one too.  I can remember giving Lillian her first piece of bribe candy.  She had a dreaded well child visit,  shots included, and I needed to find a dress for my cousin's wedding.  I gave her a Dum Dum lollipop.  I won't tell you how old she was because you'd talk about me.   But it worked.  All of my children are now lollipop addicts.  I only have myself to blame.  Me and my pop technique.  I'm known for it actually.  Can you see me puffing my chest out right now?  I'm quite proud of myself.  Kids know me.  I'm the pop lady.  They track me down.  I buy them in bulk at Sam's Club, 360 to a bag.  Yup, that's me.  I am mommy...hear me roar.

Everyone needs mommy friends.  You are all great mommies and great friends.  And this is what I've learned from you.
  1. Amanda, Always say please and thank you
  2. Melanie, Birthday parties and a playground = instant success
  3. Kristin, God always has a plan
  4. Krysta, Love our Earth...and our Christmas trees
  5. Erin, Make everyday fun and fun of everyday
  6. Maureen, Celebrate every holiday...and always have lots of candy on hand
  7. Faith, Chickens in the backyard...that just plain rocks
  8. Asheley, Moms sometimes have to be the dad too
  9. Rachel, Spoil your kid's teacher
  10. Emma, Patience
  11. Lynda, It's okay to slow it down sometimes
  12. Amy, Speak honestly with your children
  13. Katie, You want your two year old to poop on the potty...feed him blueberries
  14. Tricia, Being an aunt, makes you as dear as a mommy
  15. Maryann, Laughter works every time
  16. Moe, You can never love your daughter too much
  17. Jenny, Be true to yourself
And to all the mommies out rock.  Just because you're you.  A mom.  Puff your chest out a little bit today. You are mommy...ROAR.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

And These are the Days of our Lives...

As the World Turns, Lillian and Grady discuss marriage.  Lil asks Grady to be her husband.  He refuses (typical husband), and she wants to know why (typical wife).  We have a baby together, she tells him.  It truly is Another World, when a baby is involved.  He mumbles something unrecognizable, in true husband fashion.  Lil retorts, "Are you talkin' bout my baby, jerk?"  I hope he will not speak about All My Children that way, she thinks.

This is what Grady thinks about that stinkin' baby

Lil is persistent, "Excuse me sir, would you like to be my husband?"  She looks to me and whines that she just can't find anyone to be her baby's daddy.  I commiserate.  She's right, there just aren't enough decent baby daddies to go around anymore.  The Bold and the Beautiful girl that she is, Lil tries to sweet talk him. "Honey, would you like to marry?"  Finally, with-baby-but-no-ring, Lillian takes over.  She just wacks Grady over the head with a basket and tells him they're going to the store.  He wants to bring his blankey.  She relents, as long as he leaves it in the car. What?  Are you going to want to bring your mother along some day too?  Today blanky, tomorrow mommy.  Lil rethinks her choice of baby daddy.   Grady is sort of a slacker, may-be-a-sucker husband-someday, anyway.  He has some work issues.  He needs a Guiding Light.  Why just the other day Lil asked him how work was.  And if he got fired again?  "Yup," he replied.  He could not have cared less.  When she tries to coerce him to go to work, gun-shy-not-yet husband often continues to play foosball and laugh hysterically at her.  She tattles to me. "My husband is late and won't go to work."   She points to me, "Just like your husband does.  He doesn't go to work when he's late either."  Now, for the record, Sean is never late and always goes to work.  I picked a fabulous baby daddy, with my mother's help of course.  She must be talking about my other husband.  I bet that's the one that does laundry and dishes.  I knew he was hiding around here somewhere.  Under all the toys and dirty socks.

Luke and Laura

Grady, Baby, and Lil

Grady does not want to get married 

While at the store, they discuss stopping at the bakery.  They need a cake.  The baby shower is the day after tomorrow.  "Let's go honey."  Grady tells Lil.  Lil's on top of it.  "I already got the cake.  You didn't go to get the cake so you don't know what it looks like!"  She spouts off.  What a bitch bear.   Grady jams himself behind the couch cushions.  "HELP!"  he screams.  Perhaps this entrapment is symbolical of the love harness that Lil has wrapped around his little neck.  Lil is remorseful, "Honey, what's the matter? Are you okay honey?  You're not supposed to be back there."  Grady sucks it up, "Yeah, I okay."  They almost end up at the General Hospital.

As they're on their way to the baby shower, Lil shows her stubborness.  Grady leans down to kiss her and she gives him the chest shove.  He must have left his dirty socks on the floor.  Ah, The Young and the Restless.

And there you have sands through the hourglass, so are the Days of our Lives.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Underwear, Teether. Toilet Wand, Sword.

Dempsey's molars are coming in.  Actually two have already arrived.  We produce very advanced children.  In the past, his chosen teethers were socks.  Now he's taken to Lillian's underwear.  Clean...I can deal with it.  Dirty...grossy.  Lil and Grady were in the backyard and Lil had stripped from the waist down to pee.  Yes, in the backyard.  Better than when she used to poop in the front yard.  Mirror mirror on the wall, I'm like my mother after all...I must admit I've done it myself.  Not poop...pee.  And not in the front yard...the back.  Okay, so that doesn't make it better.  What can I say?  Sometimes it's just easier.   At least I don't take it all off.  She carried her clothes back into the house to change, leaving pee soaked underwear on the floor.  Apparently the sand box was too intriguing and the pee just started flowing.  By the time we all came back in, dinner was calling and I forgot about the underwear.  Dempsey found it.  And chewed it.  Right after he pulled the toilet paper from the toilet that Lil forgot to flush.  I know, I know.  You're probably throwing up a little right now.  Okay, a lot.  But that's why this blog is called Three Under Five and Still Alive.  You thought I was referring to myself all this time?  No, I'm talking about the children. 


This looks like a good spot

Lillian has always had a bad habit of leaving her underwear everywhere.  We never potty trained with Lil.  I avoided it.  One morning, a month before she turned three, Lil woke up and decided she would go on the potty and wear underpants.  Shortly thereafter it was Easter.  We arrived at my aunt and uncle's house and the first thing she did was climb out of the van and pee right next to it.  Later that day my Uncle Jimmy found Lillian's discarded underwear on his bathroom floor.  She pooped in their backyard too.  Free fertilizer.  Happy Easter!  She changes more times a day than she can count.  And she can count to thirty.  Skipping seventeen and eighteen.  Perfect.  If only she left out thirteen through sixteen as well.  Even the underwear changes.  We find it everywhere.

Lillian perfecting her squat at almost three years old

Just hours before the underwear drop off
Everything at our house seems to have a dual purpose.  Underwear, teether.  Clorox toilet wand, sword.  Try getting jabbed at with that thing.  Couch, trampoline.  Bunkbeds, catapault.  Foosball table, stage.  Sink, swimming pool.  Toilet, carwash.  Beer, water.

As you can see, we are a very green family.  Reuse, recycle, reinvent.  Team Barnum.  You wanna join?  Drop your drawers at the front door.