all images © Meghan Boyer Photography

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Shotglass and an Outhouse

Yesterday was our first pool day of the season.  And the first year Lil is allowed to go to the ladies bathroom by herself.  She went 5 times in three hours.   She told me it must be all the water.  Um, you're not supposed to be drinking it.  She just shrugged her shoulders.  So I did too.  Whatever.

I knew our pool experience would be crazy this year.  Last year, Lil was content to swim in the little pool and Dempsey wasn't running yet.  On my super lucky days, I managed to get both boys to fall asleep in the stroller.  Giving Lil and I a chance to hit the big pool, where no swim diapers are allowed.  Yesterday, I was the star of the pinball game...the ball.  Pinging from one kid to the other. Keeping an eye on Lil, playing with her friends, in the 2 foot portion of the big pool.  Chasing after balls for Dempsey and climbing under water spouts with Grady, in the little pool.  Doling out peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, juice boxes, water bottles, pretzels, chips, and sunscreen.  Placing the boys in the stroller and bribing them with Starburst and Ring Pops so I could take Lil swimming in the deep end.  When it was time to leave, Lillian wanted to go into the bathroom...again.  Grady convinced me to let him walk to the van.  "Hold your hand."  He sang sweetly.  All well plotted on his part.  He bolted full speed into the little pool.  With shoes, dry shorts and dry diaper.  Then ran laps around the pool.  It's his victory dance.  What to do...what to do.  Do I chase, threaten, or bribe?  It's sort of like rock, paper, scissors.  I decided to chase, catch, and buckle.  Into the stroller.  He is mad.  I am glad.  It is nap time.

This is the best I could do

The triple threat practiced their swimming skills at camp too.  In the creek.  Finn joined in.  Swimming in circles, biting the water and barking at minnows.   Grady kept throwing large rocks, watching them crash down into the water.  I told him to stop throwing rocks.  He heaved one up and over his head, throwing it into the water.  All while yelling, "I'!"  Well what do you call that then mister?  "I'm not throwing rocks mom....I'm just tossing them."  Whatever.  I'm going to the ladies room outhouse.  And I'm going all by myself.  My mom said I'm allowed.

See...the rocks were huge.  I told him not to throw those rocks.

.  Sniffing blankies.

Dempsey learned it from watching Grady.
No plates at camp.  Must eat candy off ground.
Passed out. 
Keeping the bears away. 
Yes, I bite water and bark at minnows.
Drinking from his shot glass.

Friday, May 25, 2012

A Girlfriend...and a Wife

I need them.  The troops that is.  To help me pack.  Three days, three children, a dog, and a husband.  The Barnum's are going camping.  Our annual Memorial Day weekend tradition. This morning, Lillian graduated from preschool.  Then we pumped gas, bought Dempsey new shoes (he's been going hippie style for about a week now), shopped at Sam's Club, went to Safeway, and to the liquor store.  I was so frazzled by our last stop, I wanted to lick the liquor at the liquor store. Taste before buying.

 I have packed 16 t-shirts, 7 pairs of pants, 6 long sleeved shirts, 4 sweat shirts,  7 swim suits, 14 pairs of shorts, 5 sets of pajamas, 8 pairs of underwear, 3 pairs of boots, 4 pairs of socks, a pair of running shoes, running clothes, 3 sleeping bags, a set of sheets, a quilt, a pillow, two pillow pets, a pack and play, a pack and play sheet, 3 bath towels, 2 beach towels, 2 lanterns, 3 flashlights, a potty seat, four hockey sticks, balls, trucks, bug houses, diapers, wipes, glow sticks, sand toys, 16 tiny boxes of cereal,  20 juice boxes, 8 milk boxes, 72 eggs, a pound of cheese, 40 tortillas, salsa, 5 pounds of sausage, 2 portable DVD players, 8 DVD's, an Innotab, 2 Leapsters, an iPad, paper, crayons, a hiking back pack, an Ergo Carrier, dog food, marshmallows, plates, trash bags, forks, knives, spoons, chips, fruit, vegetables, almonds, AND....wait for it...wait for Maker's Mark.

We talk about who will be camping with us.  I mention Uncle Chris.  "You mean hilarious, silly Uncle Chris?"  Lil asks.  "He's so funny, I call him hilarious. Hilarious means even funnier than funny."  She says.  I tell her his girlfriend Christel will be there too.  "Well if Christel is his girlfriend, then who is his wife?" Lillian wanted to know.  What?  You didn't learn about that in preschool?  You did graduate this morning right?  You may just have to give that diploma back.  You are obviously not ready for the world.  As they promised when they cashed that check every month.  Or maybe you are more ready than we thought.  Depending upon how you look at it.  However, just so you know,  it's sort of frowned upon to have both.  Let's talk about the smores.  In Lillian's final evaluation for the year, her teacher commented "She makes me laugh and enjoys playing jokes in the class."  In other words, she's hilarious.  Even funnier than funny.

Last night, Sean and I worked on our preschool graduation gift.  A fabulous idea from a friend.  A Dum Dum flower pot.  It required a Styrofoam ball.  No time to go to Michael's, Seany grabbed some foam from a 20 year old dead plant at work.   We painted a flower pot, stuck the pops in, and were very impressed with ourselves. Maybe it was the beer.  The kids didn't even know what it was.  Lil pulled it out of the bag and they all just screamed POPS!

Lil makes me laugh too, and I do appreciate her jokes.  But somehow, I think the jokes on us.

Happy Memorial Day to my heros... Sean, Butch, Chris B., Chris C., Pop-Pop Jim, Pop-Pop Rudy, Uncle Jimmy, Andy, Jeff and Pat.  You guys rock.  Enjoy your day.
I made her act like she knew what it was.
Taped the 20 year old foam together
We should have just wrapped up the beer.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Shut Up...and Other Things That Grandparents Think

In case it wasn't clear up until now, Lillian is a princess.  She is currently in the Princess Protection Program.  Or so she says.  I've not quite figured out if her brothers are the protection or the ones to be protected from.  Most people assume the latter.  To the untrained eye, Lillian appears to be incapable of finding trouble.  Needing protection from her ornery brothers.  She's the oldest.  The over achiever.  Sensitive.  Determined. A leader.  She can pee standing up. Well behaved.  Mommy's helper.  A good listener.  The rule follower.  A fabulous friend to run errands with.   She's also the instigator, antagonizing the boys.  Convincing them to do things they would never have thought up on their own.  Like getting naked and  pooping in the secret hideout at the dog park.   Or flooding the bathroom for swim practice.   Sometimes I think the Princess Protection Program should be about protecting everyone else from the princess.  Today she invited me to sit downstairs with her while I worked on the computer.  When I got downstairs she informed me that my screen was in the way of her cartoon viewing.  "And actually, when I asked you to come down, I wanted you to sit over there." She told me as she points to a chair on the other side of the room.  Thanks for the invite sweet cheeks.

I'm pretty sure this is the one where Princess is convincing Grady to jump over the ledge.  At this point he's chewing on his fingernails and thinking, I probably shouldn't listen to Princess.

The princess also never shuts up  enjoys communicating through the spoken word.  Barely coming up for air.  Lillian can talk the ear off a grandparent.  How many grandparents do you know that have to hang up on their grandchild because they just can't take it any more?  I know four sets.  And they all belong to us. They've tried to commit themselves to an assisted living facility just so they can blame the staff for taking away phone privileges.  There is one set of lucky grandparents who still have children living in the home.  They get to pass the phone off to some other sucker.   Just because you passed, doesn't mean your turn is over though.  Lillian will just ask to speak to you again, once the sucker she is currently speaking to tries to get rid of her.  You must hang up.  Or feign bad reception or have a heart attack.  Something, anything.  To get off the damn phone with Suzy Says It All.  And then Suzy says some more.

One day we stopped by a friend's house.  She was babysitting a neighbor's two year old.  Lillian asked me why the child was so quiet.  I explained to her that in most families there are children who are normal quiet.  Really.  It's true.  "I'm not."  She told me.  Like I never would have known.

When we're in the van, Grady pretends he's sleeping when he's had enough.  But Lil persists.  Grade, Grady, Grade, blah, blah, blah, blah.  Grady, Grade, blah, blah?  Blah, blah. BLAH.  GRADY.  GRADE.  BLAH, BLAH.  BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH.  I look in my rear view mirror.  Grady's eyes are starting to roll back into his head.  His tongue is hanging out the side of his mouth.  Drool is dribbling.  She moves on to Dempsey.  He's still too dumb to know any better.  He blubbers back incoherent responses.  Then he's had enough too.  And just starts screeching.  It's at this point that I drive straight to the assisted living facility.  And drop off the kids.  Nice try Grandma.

Please protect us from the Princess.  Send beer ear plugs.

Protective Services

Officer 1

Officer 2

Waiting to catch the phone

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Sharks Attack Woman For French Fries

I swear I feed my children.  I do.  I really do.  And on the days I do might forget, I throw in an extra pop before bedtime.  We attended Spring Fling, a middle school carnival.  The triple threat downed two cups a piece, of cotton candy Rita's.  We also got them a basket of french fries.  FYI...before we left home they all ate organic grilled chicken atop a bed of organic baby spinach with a side of brown rice pops.  Instead of  eating the french fries, they laid the basket in the grass and then pointed and giggled at the ants crawling through the mound of ketchup.  Then they picked through the french fries and ate the ants. 

We head over to watch the melon chunkin'.  Wood machines, built by kids, catapulting huge balls of fruit.  The mom next to us is also feeding her children french fries for dinner.  Her french fries have magical powers.  Maybe they don't have ants.  The triple threat want them.  They are drooling.  They surround this woman.  Circling her like sharks.  Until she surrenders.  Her french fries.  She melts at Dempsey's pouty face and hands him one.  Then Grady grabs one and runs.  Lil casually walks by.  Dips down, snags one, and keeps moving.  All in one fluid motion.  Like maybe that mom didn't even notice.  This triple threat shark attack continues. Again. And again.  And then fifty more times after that.  The poor, starving woman just starts handing them out.  Her faint with hunger daughter brings a few more over.  Grady gets mad when there's only little french fries left.  He and Dempsey just start throwing them on the ground.  To attract ants.  So they can eat those instead.   This. Is. Embarrassing. 

We show up at Toys "R" Us.  All five of us.  To destroy stuff play.  And to return a bike.  After testing out every bike, motorized vehicle, and the patience of every person shopping at Toys "R" Us today, Sean escorts the boys out to the van.  Lil and I wait at the service desk.  Ten minutes later, receipt in one hand, Lillian in the other, I see visions of Grady flashing before my eyes.  I'm really confused.  Why aren't you in the van with dad?  Did you ever make it out to the van with daddy?  Did you come back in here by yourself?  Where is daddy?  Where is Dempsey?  Who are you?  Who am I?  What the hell is going on here?  I want my mommy! 

Grady can't talk because his mouth is full of Jolly Rancher Fruit Chew wads.  That I didn't buy for him.  Because I didn't even know he was still in the store.  He was hiding in the candy shelves.  He stole the candy.  Evidenced by the half empty box he drops on the floor when busted.  There are balled up candy wrappers everywhere.  This. Is. Embarrassing.  We had just taken him out to lunch.  To Potbelly's.  For peanut butter and jelly.  We actually fed all three of them.  I swear. 

Eating.  Told you so.

Well...he doesn't eat much.  Just candy and paci's.

Dempsey eating.
Lillian eating.

Eating AGAIN!

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I'm Not Mom Enough and Lil Sucks Too

My small, spunky, sassy, newly minted five year old is a derelict dictator.  Bossing her brothers, taking charge of her parents, and spouting off propaganda.  Lillian's pop pop taught her to say "Yankees suck, yes they do!"  I've explained to pop pop (not that he listens) and to Lillian (not that she listens), that she is not to use the word sucks in any form.  Today, when Finn tried to bolt out the front door (hey, if you lived here you'd try to escape too), Lillian said, "That sucks like a tornado."  Don't get smart with me sister.  Similies suck. 

When in doubt, shout it out.  Finn plotting her escape.

My sister Emma gave birth to her first baby on Saturday, her actual due date and the same day as Lil's Chuck E. Cheese birthday party.  That morning, Emma's water broke.  I told Lillian that Piper was coming.  She said, "Where?  To Chuck E. Cheese?"  Because honestly, where else would Piper want to be on her first day of life?  We went to see Piper last night.  Lil supervised the breastfeeding.  She instructed Emma to stick Piper back up there since she was still crying.  Because you know, Lil is the breastfeeding expert.  She sucked boob herself, her brother's are reformed suckers, and her baby dolls suck too.  She'd probably still be sucking, but you know, I'm not mom enough.  I suck.  Plus, she's nearly old enough to suck down a beer, being five and all.  Why suck warm milk?

See...she's sort of spooky here, very dictator like. Suck Piper, suck.

I load both boys into the van this morning, Lil is supposed to be getting herself buckled, and I am in the house looking for my mind clothes.  I walk out the front door, fully clothed, and see Grady running through the cul-de-sac with a plastic produce bag suctioned over his head.  Lillian is doing sprints with my book bag conjuring up more similies using the word suck.   I reprimand the dictator for setting her brother loose from his carseat.  She says she is a big jerk for not listening.  Nah, not a big jerk.  You just suck.

Hello. We are the Barnum family and we suck.

If you say we suck again, you'll be sucking down some Sriracha!

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Day She Was Born

At 37 weeks pregnant,  I'm finishing up the final coat of paint on BB's room.   BB...for Baby Barnum, our nickname for the first member of the triple threat.  And don't worry.  I know what you're thinking.  I took the necessary precautions with the painting.  Closing all windows and doors in the room, before I even picked up a brush.  To prevent a tumble onto the lawn or down the stairs.  The furniture is huddled into the middle of the room.  I am covered in paint, in desperate need of a shower, and haven't eaten all day, except for the paint chips. There are no bags packed, no car seat installed, and baby daddy is at the bar.  Watching hockey.

Sean is sluggin' beers stuck on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.  We live on the western shore. A fifteen minute ride across the bridge.   Without the bridge, a three hour journey, up and around the Chesapeake Bay.  There is a tragic accident, the entire bridge  shut down.  We have just gotten off the phone, he is spending the night at the bar waiting for the bridge to reopen.  I sit down at the computer.  And feel something shoot across my lower back.  It feels weird.  Then it comes.  The gush.  Of water.  All over the computer chair.  And the floor.  Then on all three levels of the house as I wander from the basement to the top floor.  No real destination in mind.  Finn trailing me all the way.  Don't bark about me never refilling your water dish.

I call the bar and call the doctor.  Sean starts searching for the bar.  I tell the doctor I will wait for Sean to get home.  He doesn't like the boat theory.  I get in the shower.  There's a knock at the door.  It's an ambulance.  The whole boat thing must have fallen through.  Sean has called for backup.  I welcome in the paramedics wearing an ill fitting bathrobe with a towel on my head.  Can I get you something?  A baby perhaps?  I tell them I won't be needing their services this evening.  I am just fine.  Just showering actually.  Don't mind that puddle lake.  Aren't you all supposed to come prepared?  Where are your galoshes?  Can you take a look at my smoke detectors while you're here?  And do you know how to correctly install one of those damn car seats?  They walk out the door.  Then knock again.  I have to sign a paper.  Acknowledging that I am crazy refusing services. 

I decide I should pack a bag.  My mother in law calls.  Then my mom calls, twice.  Sean calls, four times.  The neighbors begin banging on the door.  Then the doctor calls, I have 30 minutes to waddle my ass in there.  It's a circus.  An early warning sign.  Of the circus that is yet to come.   I continue to shove full sized bath towels down my pants.  I grab my keys.  My mother in law calls again.  Threatening bodily harm if I drive myself to the hospital.  She's pretty scary.  I pick up my pillow, packed bag, what's left of our towels, and knock on the door of the only neighbor that hasn't yet come knocking on mine.  The nurse.  Everyone should have one of those neighbor's.  It was a prerequisite before we bought our current home.  Nurse neighbor is out at dinner, will be home any minute, the babysitter tells me.  I have a seat in her kitchen and decide to wait.  Sorry about the mess.  You should definitely be paid time and a half.

We all make it to the hospital.  No boats involved.  BB eventually arrives.  And it's not by boat.

Happy birth day. Lillian Marie Barnum, 7.1 pounds, 18 inches.  Small, spunky, sassy, and ours.  Forever.

We survived.  Three under five, and still alive.  The adventure continues.

And I just couldn't resist, who could?  Some Bee Gees to set the mood, Stayin' Alive.

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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Dempsey Ate 'Em

We have sprickets.  Spider crickets.  We find them in the basement.  This morning Lil was all decked out in her princess get up when she spotted one.  On her chair.  "BOO!"  She yells at it.  Spricket bounds away.  "He must have ears," she tells me.

Our basement is full of all sorts of creatures, the triple threat being the largest three.  They were almost dethroned.    It was a Spider.   With a capital S, because it was that big.  I am in the bathroom when Grady calls for me.  He found a bug.  I don't look right away.  I glance out to see Demps running after Spider.  Trying to pick him up with his newly acquired pincher grasp.  I tackle Dempsey and throw a plastic frying pan over Spider.  I bolt to various corners of the basement trying to decide what the hell to do next.  Not really sure why I thought the bolting might help.  I'm pretty sure it's a Black Widow and we're all going to die. Maybe we should run. 

I can't squish it.  Too messy.  I slip a paper plate underneath it, switch the plastic frying pan with another plate, tape plates together, place into garbage bag, and tie up garbage bag.  When I get up the courage, I release Spider.  On the neighbors side of the lawn of course.
Our fourth child

Spider package

The triple threat love their bugs.  Somehow I got talked into providing shelter to a slug and a few caterpillars.  Lillian and Grady kept them in their room.  I made the mistake of giving them each a plastic sippy cup to house them it.  Poor Dempsey just kept trying to take a sip.  The caterpillars actually got stuck living on top of another big dead bug from a few months ago.  Dead bug got dumped into the sippy cup from the actual bug house.  Maybe to keep those caterpillars company.  Lil said they couldn't be left alone.  I got stuck babysitting and cleaning up their poop.  The morning after they moved in, Lil brought the cups down to the kitchen.  "Mom, is that poop?  Or is that his babies?"  She shoves slug in my face.  Great, we have a male slug makin' babies.  I'm the only baby maker in this house dammit!  But of course, it wasn't babies, it was poop.  Really.  Should I be surprised?  Why not?  This house is full of rampant poopers.  Why shouldn't the newest family members crap all over the place too?  That's what mom is for.  I still can't believe I did this.  But I did.  I got out a tissue.  And wiped all the slug poop from his house. 

Slug poop

Later that night, Sean and I had a very important parental discussion after the children were in bed.  We decided to release the slug and caterpillars.   Into the neighbor's yard of course.  When Lil and Grady woke up in the morning, I just told them that Dempsey ate em'.

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Friday, May 4, 2012

Maniacal Mom Steals Grog

Maniacal Mom, Lookout Lillian, Gunship Grady, and Daredevil Dempsey went on a pirate adventure aboard the Sea Gypsy. It was Lil's class field trip.   We made vests and belts last night.  Today we got mustaches and tattoos.  We swabbed the deck, discovered a treasure map, shot water cannons at Stinky Pete, found booty, and drank pirate's grog.  One surprised pirate asked how old Lookout, Gunship, and Daredevil were.  Lillian quickly responded, "We are 4, 2, and 1."  It was at this point that Maniacal Mom remembered.  And tried to walk the plank.  It only seemed appropriate.  As Rusted Root and Send Me On My Way blasted from the boat's speakers.  Preschool teacher put mom in time out.  No one wanted to be left responsible for the triple threat.  Being 4, 2, and 1.  On a boat.  I don't see what the big deal was.  They had grog.

It was Lil's second pirate adventure.  The first for Grady and Dempsey.  Those mateys were given the heave ho last year.  Maniacal Mom wasn't feeling that maniacal.  Gunship Grady was likely to be shoved dive overboard, just to avoid turning two. And Daredevil Dempsey still got his grog from Maniacal Mom's mighty boob.  Pirates do like boobs.  Just not on preschool field trips.   Maybe it was my pirate booty that inspired me this year.  Or maybe it was too much grog when I filled out the permission slip.  Whatever it was, Maniacal Mom and the triple threat ended up on a pirate boat.  Argh matey.

I'm feeling very pirate-ish as a result.  Like I could attack a ship and steal some loot.  That may result in said ship owner calling the police.  On Maniacal Mom.  The triple threat love police cars.  We have two in our neighborhood.  The last time we walked past them, Sean told the kids never to ride in one.  Dempsey chortled.

On the way to our adventure today, Lillian asked me what sorts of things police officers do to help people.  She remembered that they help you when you are lost.  And will drive you home to your house.  She told Grady that the only time they will ever ride in a police car is if they are lost.  I'm pretty sure Grady chortled.  Me?  I reached over, grabbed my 'water' bottle, and slugged some grog.  Oh yea, now I remember, that's how I made it through the pirate adventure.  Argh Matey.

Stealing grog booty

Ice cream bribe for stealing mom some grog

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