Tuesday, February 28, 2012

An overdue announcement...

My posts in here have been infrequent lately. It isn't because there is nothing to write about. On the contrary, we have had countless ridiculous situations and terrible messes, and crazy little boy stunts to deal with. We have also had many bouts of illness and endless medical appointments. I suppose I should have said something a long time ago, but for my own reasons I didn't want to. However, perhaps it's time I share our news in this blog. I am pregnant. That's right, we will be having our fourth baby at the end of July, though knowing me it will more likely be in August. I am 19 weeks along, but if you had no idea and you know me personally, don't worry. We didn't share this news with our families until just over two weeks ago, so you are no more out of the loop than anyone else. We are very excited about our new addition, though we are now faced with the dilemma of trying to come up with another boy name, seeing we figure it will be another boy! We are not good at thinking of boy names, so it should be interesting to see what we come up with. Anyway, it seemed silly to leave this information out of my blog any longer, so there it is.

 This morning I have the Dynamic Duo, as Cody has school. It is good to be facing a quieter day. Hopefully they won't get into too much trouble today though that is always a possibility. I don't have much more to report specifically for now. Just wanted to clear the air.

It's another beautifully sunny day and my house feels cheery once again. Feels like it should be a good day. Hope you all have good days too.

Friday, February 17, 2012

A turn for the worse...

Last night I settled the boys into bed at 7 p.m. They all fell asleep quickly, and I must say, the evening felt very quiet and calm, in my very clean house, with no little voices and no demands. It was relaxing and nice. Unfortunately, just after midnight things went downhill. I was sleeping, of course. (I had retired to my room before 9 p.m., opting out of any TV for the evening and choosing to read and write instead.) Jamie came into my room bawling, again. I figured he had another bad dream. I asked him if that was the case. He said no, that he had barfed on his bed. Instant panic set in. Then he started coughing, so I told him to run to the bathroom. He said no, that he didn't need to puke again. Then he convulsed and I ran him to the bathroom just in time. Gross. He puked in the toilet for a while. When he was done, I cleaned him and the toilet up and told him to stay put while I checked his bed. I expected a small amount of barf. What I saw shocked me and freaked me right out. Nearly a third of his bed was covered in vomit, and there was some on the floor. The smell permeated the whole room. It was horrible. I set to work getting his bedding and pillowcase off and to the washer. Then I discovered his pyjamas were also covered, so I had him strip and I put those in the laundry too. It took a good half hour before the floor was cleaned up and the bed was ready for him, and I had to do all that by the hall light, as Cody was sleeping in the same room, of course.

I was very upset by the whole thing and started to feel panicky, as I tend to do whenever anyone throws up. First, I am alone. Mike is not here to help me out. Second, I didn't know whether he was allergic to his medicine, or what was going on. Was this a stomach bug on top of strep throat? I was awake for almost two hours with a pounding heart and stressful thoughts, followed by a sleep filled with stressful dreams. Thankfully, he did not get up again in the night, despite reporting that his tummy hurt when I put him back to bed. (With a pail.)

Today he has been fine, so far, but I had to take him to the doctor again. I hoped they would switch his medicine, but he told me it was just the strep doing it, and if he "only" threw up once it was "no big deal". Cody had one small barf with his strep throat. So did Jamie last time. Those were no big deal. What I cleaned up last night was a big deal.

Anyway, I am home again with all the boys and Jamie is still on his medicine, despite my apprehension about it. Mike will be home some time tonight, so at least if it happens again I will have help. But I don't want him throwing up again. I have a hard time when Jamie gets sick, because of what happened in June of 2010, when he got so sick and it got scary. Even now, he just told me he has a tummy ache. He is laying in my bed. As selfish as this is, I now worry that he will puke on my bed too. Again, I just want him well. I want all of my kids to be healthy, and so far we have not had that for even a single week this year.

I don't have much more to say today. I am stressed and upset. I hope and pray things will improve. I hope his medicine will not make him sick, and I hope the strep will go away already. He has had it for way too long. It worries me. He is so small and vulnerable. He is always my sickest child, and it just scares me. Even though he is the middle child, I think of him as the smallest because he's just skinny and little, at least compared to my other two, who are solid and strong and much healthier seeming in general. Jamie has eczema and is much scrawnier than his brothers and he doesn't eat much...etc. I just want him well.

I'm off for now.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Day 2 of single motherhood...

The morning is nearly over, and so far, so good. The sun is shining so brightly in this house, and it is looking rather clean in here. I worked my butt off yesterday to get it clean, and though there are many things I could still do to improve it, it's looking good in here. I might get really ambitious and wash a few floors later today, but I have not decided yet. Washing the kitchen floor is such a big job, and the boys usually destroy it within hours, so it's hard to motivate myself to do it. That's not the kind of job I'm willing to do every day.

At any rate, we are surviving here. I decided to keep Cody home from school again today. I was torn, as he is feeling much better, but when I thought about putting him on the bus at 7:40 a.m. for a long day at school, I decided it would be too exhausting for him when he is still fighting this strep. His stomach is still hurting on and off too, so I just figured it would be best to keep him home one more time, and hopefully he will rest when he needs it. Right now, they are all running around like little maniacs, which is not unusual around here. I will boot them out later. It's another gorgeous day here. The snow is melting and everything, as it was yesterday too. Very strange winter weather we are having this year.

Everyone has eaten lunch now, and things are...energetic. They are loud and running, but they are happy for the moment. We had a rough patch before lunch, but here's hoping for a quiet afternoon. I might even bake. Exciting times. I suppose I don't have much more to report for now. I had a scare with Micah this morning, but I don't think I'll share it in here, lest anyone think I'm a terrible mother! Let's just say I thought he was lost, and after a good five minutes of adrenaline and terrible imaginings, I found him safe and sound...and grinning. Now I'm off to continue trying to hold this place together in the midst of so many boys.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Single Mothers

Motherhood is hard. At least, it is for me. Often I think of single mothers, who don't have a husband to relieve them for a while, even for a short while, when they get home from work. They do all the disciplining alone. They bear the sole burden when their kids are sick. They cook all the meals, do all the cleaning and do all the arranging and driving around for whatever school or activities their kids are in. On top of that, they have other jobs to pay the bills. They have to be in charge of the maintenance on their own vehicles, paying the bills on time, and if they live in a house, they are in charge of that maintenance too.  Somehow, over and above all that they have to raise their kids up right, putting their own needs second to those of their kids. That's a big load to carry.

Today, I begin the first of three days of being a single mother. It's not the same, because during that time I do not have to juggle a full time job, nor do I have to worry about vehicle or house maintenance, or even any activities, seeing Cody is not allowed to go to hockey on Friday by order of the doctor. But the rest is on me. I am already stressed out, and feeling very impatient. Micah has already spilled water all over the kitchen, and apparently he also peed his pants and did not bother to tell me. I am not sure whether that is true or not, as he got water all over himself. Either way, I am so frustrated I just put him in diapers. I can't deal with potty training today if he's just going to pee and not say anything. I was taking him to the bathroom at the regular time and his pants were totally wet. You couldn't tell by looking at them because they were fleece, otherwise I would have dealt with the issue sooner.

I did make muffins this morning, and have started a load of laundry as well as folded and put away another load, and hung my washed diapers to dry, so I suppose I have at least accomplished something today. But the truth is, my house is a disaster, and I just don't have the energy to fix it all. I fantasize about doing a massive cleaning job and getting this place spotless while Mike is gone, but it's not realistic. I have just enlisted the boys' help, as I will be vacuuming later this morning...or this afternoon, if we don't get enough cleaning done this morning.

When I walked into the kitchen this morning, there was a hockey net there. I mean a big, outdoor hockey net. Yeesh. They had gone outside and dragged it up the stairs and into the house, with the intention of setting it up in the basement. And Jamie has a really snarky attitude this week, which is unusual for him. Apparently it's a side effect of strep throat. He hates his medicine too. He calls it "spicy".

Now I am helping Cody to write his Valentines out so he can give them away at school tomorrow. He was too sick to do it yesterday. Today he seems mostly normal. His rash has improved a lot, and his glands are not as huge. His throat is also way better. Yay for antibiotics. I have to run so I can help him finish these valentines. Hopefully I won't have any overly "exciting" updates in the next three days.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Scarlet Fever for Valentine's Day?

I know you're supposed to be all about red or pink for Valentine's day, but this is ridiculous. Cody seems to have scarlet fever. He was positive for strep yesterday, but now he has a rash all over his body. I looked it up, and he has every single symptom of scarlet fever, including being positive for Strep A. Yeesh. So we may have to go back to the doctor today. I'm not sure. I don't really know what this means. Will he need more treatment? Or is it the same as for Strep throat? I don't know. All I know is that scarlet fever has some serious complications and can be very scary. Cody threw up this morning and then panicked. I guess that's a symptom too. The barfing, not the panicking. I have booked an appointment for him and for Jamie for this afternoon, and they are going to call me if the doctor doesn't think he needs to see Cody again. Jamie's throat is red and his glands feel swollen to me (not that I'm a doctor or anything, but I compared him to Micah, who has no symptoms at all), so I will have him checked if we are going anyway. The last thing I want to do is go to the doctor again with all three boys. Yesterday was embarrassing and frustrating, but if Jamie needs antibiotic too I need to find out right away. Plus I need to know whether Cody is in danger, with it being more serious than just strep throat.

He is missing his Valentine's party today, but he skyped his class and had a little chat with them this morning, so that was nice. I don't think he'll be partaking in my cookies today, though. His stomach hurts quite badly, on and off, (another symptom of scarlet fever) and he doesn't want to eat. I kind of pressured him to eat a bowl of cheerios this morning and he threw up right afterwards.

So it's kind of a depressing Valentine's Day around here. Mike and I plan to have kind of a fake date later, when the boys are in bed. We have a meal planned that will be similar to restaurant food, and I guess we'll probably just hang out or watch a movie. Then, for the rest of the week, I will be a single mom, as he has a conference for work that he will be attending. He will be leaving after work on Wednesday and not returning until Friday night some time. I'm not looking forward to running the sick house without help, but that is how it will go for now. Ironically, by the weekend I'm going to crave a weekend away even more badly than I did before.

On the upside, the weather is beautiful once again, though the sun has disappeared behind some clouds for now. Our very mild winter weather is continuing and I am thankful. The highways have been very clear, which has been so nice for traveling. I will likely be out on them later today to get the boys in to the doctor, which is a good 20 minute drive from here.

For now, I'm trying to get my house whipped back into shape. It got very, very out of order when the dishwasher broke just before we went away! Yikes! It is temporarily fixed, so I can use it once again. Phew! I don't do well with hand washing. Pathetic, I know, but it just takes too long with the number of dishes we go through a day, and the boys get into so much trouble in such a short time...I just can't spend hours on the dishes. I also hate what it does to my hands, but again, maybe that's pathetic. No matter. That's how I feel about it, pathetic or not. Time to do load number two for the day! (And it's not even noon yet!) I'm off for now.

UPDATE: Back from the doctor at 6:15 p.m. Cody does not have scarlet fever, apparently, though I'm not sure I understand what the doctor said. He said the rash was part of the strep, but from what I read, once there's a rash it's scarlet fever. No matter. Cody is feeling MUCH better now. Unfortunately, Jamie has strep, and apparently his is resistant to amoxicillin as he had that just a few weeks ago and is still apparently sick. Yeesh. So two kids on ten days of antibiotics now. Joy!

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Weekend Away, With Everybody

We spent the weekend away, in a hotel, a rare treat for us. Well, a treat for the boys. We had a surprise birthday party for Mike's sister, which was held at a roller rink. I didn't even know they still had those! Jamie and Cody both went for it in their roller blades and it was a breakthrough for Jamie. He was flying around like a little pro and he was so happy. Now we want to get him on the ice so he can skate there the same way. He is more than capable, but has been a little timid about it all along.

Yesterday morning we got all three in the hotel pool, and Micah and Jamie both broke through their fears there too! Every time we have taken them into a pool they will barely even sit on the top step, and they both go into sheer panic if anyone dares carry them into the water. This time, they floated with their water wings and matching tubes around their waists, and they just swam like they owned the pool. It was Cody that required a lot of convincing to go in. I was so proud of them. They had such a blast, and it was a very special time for them.

Though our sleep was pretty disastrous, I must say the weekend was good for me too. I know I have been craving a weekend ALONE in a hotel, but it turned out that having our whole family together gave me a fresh appreciation for my boys. I was so thrilled to see them so full of joy in that pool, and there was also a giant play structure that they invaded. They got to just be free and have a blast, and as a result there were few of the clashes that we have been having on a regular basis. Instead, it was mostly just a fun, family time.

And now I'm starting this new paragraph about six hours after the last one. A lot has happened since then. On Sunday (yesterday) in the hotel Cody was feeling really yucky with a bad stomach ache and a headache. Later that night he said it hurt to swallow. I took all three boys to town today to get Cody checked by a doctor. Sure enough, he has a bad case of strep throat. Ugh. It feels like the cycle of illness is never going to end in 2012! I thought we were almost in the clear, but I guess not. Poor guy is not only in pain and has a high fever, but now he has to miss his Valentine's party at school tomorrow, plus hockey practice tonight and his hockey game on Friday evening. He doesn't know he is missing the game just yet, but he will be very upset when he finds out. It has been a long day even though we only went to one place. We were gone a long time because of a bit of a mixup at the pharmacy...etc. Now we're home and Cody has the TV on so all is quiet in the house. Hopefully things will improve soon. I'm glad I took him though. He needs these antibiotics, so I hope to see some improvement in him in the next two days. Now it looks like we will be planning our own little Valentine's party at home, so he doesn't feel as upset. I did make my cookies, so those will be coming out tomorrow! Hopefully I can think of something fun to do with them too.

Friday, February 10, 2012


Yes, thwarted. That is one of the many themes of my life, but I will tell you why it specifically applies this week. I know I have mentioned my Valentine's cookies, and how I love to make them. Wait, that is not right. I don't love making them. But I love to eat them, and so does everyone else. Making them is a long and tedious process, and requires a lot of prep and cleaning, and has taken me as long as seven hours in the past, and that didn't even include making the dough. So I don't really love the process. But this year Cody wanted to help me. Well, we're not going to be around this weekend, and Valentine's Day is on Tuesday, so given that it is a two-day process I decided I better start this week and do them before the weekend. Cody has school Monday, Wednesday, Friday this week, so I decided to make the dough on Tuesday because Cody wanted to help.

Only Cody was not in a good state on Tuesday. Things were rough, to say the least, so the cookies were put on hold. Thwarted, if you will. But not completely. I just didn't want to make them with him.

So Wednesday I decided to go ahead and make the dough, which has to sit in the fridge overnight before baking, by the way, hence the reason it is a two day process. I began by softening the margarine and started beating it in the KitchenAid, which Mike fixed last week, by the way. Next on the list? Sugar. I grabbed the canister out of the pantry, but there was barely any sugar in it. No problem. We had about a third of a 10 kilogram bag in the pantry, so I hauled that out and poured it into the canister. As I watched the sparkling white grains filling the container, I noticed a few darker crumbs pouring out. Hm. Okay, well I could just filter those out when I scooped the sugar into the measuring cup. I kept pouring. What was THAT? Something much larger than a crumb and dark in colour dropped into the bin. Oh boy. There went another one. Wait...is that cat food??? A closer inspection confirmed my fears. There was indeed cat food inside the white sugar. I can only think of a couple of things that could have been grosser than that. But cat food was gross enough. Clearly, the whole canister contained sugar that was contaminated. It was going to have to all get thrown out. That had to be at least 3 kilograms of sugar, which translates to approximately 6 1/2 pounds. That is a HUGE waste!

I had to call Mike immediately, as he was already at the grocery store on his way home from work. He brought me home a smaller bag of sugar, which was good, and I did make the dough. But it has sat in the fridge ever since. Yesterday Cody once again thwarted me from baking them, which is the hardest part of the process as it involves rolling the dough, cutting each cookie out and baking them. The recipe yields more than 100 cookies.

So now my KitchenAid bowl sits in my fridge, full of dough and covered in plastic wrap. On the counter, a large container full of sugar, and cat food. I just can't bring myself to toss that all in the garbage, but I don't know what else to do with it. The idea of baking cookies with that sugar and having small crumbs of cat food inside is enough to make me want to barf. I need to bake the cookies. I just don't want to. But I might get my act together this afternoon and do it.

As for my other plan for the week, the daily vacuuming is still in effect. Well, sort-of. Yesterday was a write-off day in every way, so I did not vacuum then. But the boys still cleaned their toys and I was able to vacuum everything this morning. So even though it is extremely freezing cold outside, our house looks warm and inviting, with sunshine streaming in on almost every side and carpets devoid of toys, and freshly vacuumed. Yep. It is good for my mental well-being, and I certainly need for something around here to benefit my mental health.

Now I'm off to face the music. Somehow I have to decide whether to bake these crazy cookies or not. I know I should. Ugh. Not even the thought of eating them later is doing much to inspire a baking fit. If my kitchen was clean, it would be a different story. I guess that will be my next plan then. Happy Friday, everyone.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Maintaining a clean house - Attempt #4,138.

Yesterday was a non-Kindergarten day, so I had all three boys at home. It was not a particularly good day. There were many, many battles fought, and those battles were painful and loud. And I don't even mean battles between the boys. There were some of those too, as there always are. But I'm talking about the kind I have to fight, particularly with one of my boys. More about that in another post.

The reason I mentioned battles is because cleaning is often a battle around here. It has been for some time now. Boys don't like to clean up. At least, mine don't. Cody is getting better at it. Jamie...well, no. And Micah? Micah is 2 1/2. He loves to help, so if cleaning is the effort that is underway, he will gladly pitch in. Usually. Except when he simply doesn't want to. Then he employs that magical word that two-year-olds everywhere adore. "No." Such a simple word, but with such power.

Well, this mommy gets very tired of toys all over the place. I say that out loud many times a day, every day, and I'm sure they either tune me out or do an inward eye roll. But yesterday I had had enough. I enforced a mandatory clean-up time. In truth, it wasn't that bad upstairs. Well, it was, but I have seen much worse. I knew the effort would not take me more than ten minutes, but it was the principle. Shockingly, nobody was willing to help me out. So I used the threat that puts fear into children and toys everywhere. The vacuum was coming out, and whatever was left on the floor would be shown no mercy.

It worked. For a while. But then the fear wore off. Maybe I should have chased them around with the vacuum running. I don't know. All I know is the clean-up fizzled out after only a few minutes, and next thing I knew, I was standing alone in the living room and all three boys were downstairs. Okay, I can deal with that. Time for the next threat level. I started picking up books and toys, and I loudly announced them as I did. Those were the toys (and roller skates, and hockey equipment...etc.) that they would not be getting back. Panic ensued. Cody charged up the stairs and then things got ugly. He cleaned. He cleaned in a frenzy, and left not one item on the floor in the living room or hall, and I told him his room was next. Of course, he did it in a bit of a rage, and he was mighty ticked off that he was not getting those other items back, but they are up in my closet anyway.

In the end, I had clear floors and I vacuumed happily. I was even able to do my own room, after moving a few stray items out of the way...including more of the boys' toys. Yes, they are in every room. In my success, I had a brilliant idea. Okay, so maybe it wasn't brilliant, but it has the potential to be. We have a bit of a cycle in this house. Mess and clutter builds up over the span of weeks and then mommy loses it and enforces a clean-up much like yesterday. (Sometimes this happens after only a few days.) The vacuum threat is effective every time, and when they do not comply, they lose toys. But I just want it to be clean ALL the time. I know that is not realistic with kids...especially these ones, but yesterday I decided I want my floor back. They have their toys downstairs now. They don't need them all over the place up here. So in the afternoon I told them my plan. From now on, I will be vacuuming every day. The living room, the hallway, and the bedrooms. If their stuff is on the floor, it's gone. Period. Cody, of course, immediately threw a fit. That's not fair, and so on. But I told him, it's very simple. All he has to do is keep his stuff off the floor every day! And he picked up his room in a hurry.

That is my plan. I have had many plans on how to keep this place clean, but I hope this one will somehow make it hit home. Then I can be happy having a clear floor, and maybe, just maybe, it will teach my boys to habitually keep their room clean and keep their stuff off the floor. I have not vacuumed yet today, but it's only 8:30 a.m., so I'm okay with that. I will have to post back in a week to update on how my plan is going. Who knew being a housewife was this complicated?? I'm off to clean the kitchen.

Monday, February 6, 2012

I wish I could explain, but there are no words.

Life with boys. It's hard to explain. Really, it is, and sometimes I wonder whether life with boys is a universal thing, or whether my boys are the only ones who do the things they do. I never had any brothers growing up. That's right, just two sisters. I have been a mother to boys for almost six years now, and I am learning as I go, but day after day they continue to shock me.

Maybe that's not true. Maybe I am beyond being shocked now. There is a sense of resignation that has come over me...at times even a sense of futility. Don't get me wrong. I love my boys to pieces, and they make me smile and even bring me to tears of joy on a nearly daily basis. They are delightful and sweet, and each one is special in his own ways.

But my house! Oh, my poor, poor house. Nobody told me how destructive boys are. Seriously, I thought my rabbit was bad, chewing up electrical cords, tearing up the carpet in our apartment, chewing the back of the couch...Yes. Dear Oreo was destructive. But he didn't hold a candle to a team of three little boys.

I posted on Friday about our team cleaning effort, which went very well. Over the weekend, the boys cleaned all the toys in their room so it was "clean" too. (I have to put the word clean in quotation marks because the boys' room is never clean. It can be tidy, but the walls need to be repainted, and I would say the carpet needs shampooing too.) Anyway, I thought I would take some pictures of the scene I encountered yesterday in their room, just to show you what can happen in there in the span of one day, or more accurately, one hour.

In this first picture, you see how they have taken Jamie's mattress off and made it into a "slide", a frequent occurrence in their room. It is also often used as a bridge between the two beds. What is particularly noteworthy in this picture is the gaping hole in the box spring. No, that was NOT there before. In fact, that was what stopped me in my tracks as I was walking by. Not the mess, the chaos or the fact that furniture was being disassembled in there.

Above is a closer up shot of the destruction. I don't know whether you can tell from the picture, but the hole is about two feet in diameter. I daresay even Oreo would have been hard-pressed to make such an impressive mess in that short span of time.

Finally, a shot of the whole room, just to show you how beautiful it is. Keep in mind, an hour or so prior to this it was "clean". 

As I said in my title, there are no words that can adequately describe the chaos that is a constant in this house. It is exhausting. It is discouraging. It is amazing, really. Cody is nearly six and I have still not gotten through to him about this kind of thing. However, I think that can be attributed to what I call "mob mentality" in my boys. If Cody was an only child, or if he did not share a room, I suspect he would not be doing a lot of this stuff. But he has two brothers, and he shares a room with one of them, so I don't see things changing any time soon. As far as having a clean house goes, I will continue to fight a losing battle, at least for a while now. Their room is not the only place in this house that can get destroyed in less than an hour. 

Incidentally, Cody was the one who ripped the hole in the mattress. Perhaps he was retaliating for the incident a couple of years ago when Jamie ripped Cody's fitted bed sheet in half. I'm not really sure. The explanation I got was that some kind of toy fell and they thought it was in there. Maybe they have a future in search and rescue. Either way, this incident has put a damper on my plans (our plans) to buy the boys a new bed (a bunk bed) and to get them new bedding and mattresses. Is it worth it? Hard to say. I guess we will hold off a while and see whether we feel like risking it or not. 

And now I'm off to start the second load in what is going to be a laundry marathon today. At least then I will feel like I have accomplished something. 

Friday, February 3, 2012


It's another beautiful day this morning, with mild temperatures and bright sunshine. I was hoping to do an extra thorough cleanup job in this house to surprise Mike when he gets home. Yes, I know it's pathetic that a clean house would actually surprise him, but keeping it clean in here beyond the morning is nearly impossible. So today I started with a bunch of dishes and then I gathered the boys' laundry. Here's where the teamwork comes in.

As silly as it is, there has been a sock frozen on our back deck for weeks now, and every time I open that door to put the garbage out, I see it sitting there, all pathetic and frozen. It is Jamie's of course. His socks are always scattered all over the place and when gathering laundry, it is close to impossible to find all of them. It drives me crazy, in all honesty, but I have not been able to train him out of it so far. He is only four, and just barely, so maybe there is still hope. It's hard to say.

Anyway, the surface of the deck was looking awfully frosty and being in my bare feet I decided to enlist a helper. I asked Cody to put his boots on and retrieve the sock. First he went out in his bare feet, despite my warnings that it was going to be pretty cold out there. It is mild outside for February, but it is still below zero. Cody put in a valiant effort and he was joined by Jamie who was wearing a sleeper with feet, so he fared better than poor Cody. Soon, Cody put his boots on and went back at the sock, which was apparently frozen pretty solid onto the deck. They left the door open, and Micah watched with great interest from inside the doorway. I could see all of this from the laundry room, where I was putting the clothes in the washer.

It soon became apparent that a massive effort was underway on the deck. That sock was not going anywhere. I decided to help, so I put on my shoes and joined the whole crew. (Micah was now in his boots too, outside with his brothers.) I could not budge the sock either. Wow. After a joint effort that lasted several minutes, I told them we'd wait until spring and then we'd wash the poor sock. But I changed my mind. I filled a pitcher with hot water and we went back outside. I poured and Cody and Jamie pulled on the sock. It moved, but not enough. I poured all the water on it, to soak right through, and then I finally pulled up the sock. There was a great cheer and our entertainment was complete. I put the sock in the washing machine and it was over. It was so funny to see all the boys so engaged in such a minor activity, but it amused all of us far beyond what it should have.

Since then, I suppose we have been in team mode. I was miraculously able to get them to help me clean the living room and the hall, by moving all their toys back to the basement where they are currently being stored, and I was able to vacuum. When Cody was a baby, I vacuumed three times a day. I am not exaggerating. He would crawl around on the floor and pick up every single tiny thing he could find that was not part of the carpet, and then he would eat it. So in my first-time-mommy-paranoia, I felt I needed to keep the floor devoid of even the tiniest crumb or fluff. Now, vacuuming is difficult at best, unless I am willing to be the one who picks up all the boys' things, and I don't think that's very good training for them.

All that to say, we have made progress today and it feels good! Perhaps it is naive, but I do hope when they are all older they will be better at not being tornadoes of destruction, leaving debris in their wake at every turn. Hm. Yes, I think maybe that is naive. Well, maybe at the very least we will be able to contain the mess to their own rooms instead of having it explode all over my house. Until then, we will survive the best we can in the chaos and continue in our efforts to train them to be helpers.