Eloi, eloi, lama sabachthani

1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? 2 O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent. (Psalm 22:1 – 2, NIV)

A few months ago, the 2 year old little buddy whose cancer struggle I’ve been following (he’s the son of a friend) went home from the hospital with his family in a great pink fire truck - a triumphant celebration of his successful bone marrow transplant and remission.  It was a happy day for about a million people who have been praying for him, all through the upstate of South Carolina, and it lifted a small but persistent burden that I have carried on my heart since he was diagnosed.

Alas, he was not out of the hospital long before relapse hit – the greedy, gobbling, vicious disease came roaring back.  Although his donor was willing to donate again, poor wee Lachlan had not been well enough for long enough to go through the chemo regimen that donation entails.  They were scheduled for transplant #2 later this month.  That transplant has now been canceled.

They are bringing sweet Lachlan home again today.  There is no remission this time.  There is no fire truck.  There is no further treatment option.  There is just, as his mother says, the family’s goal to breathe him in, as much as possible, for as much additional time as they are blessed with.  He and his identical twin brother are two years old – their little baby brother is not quite a year.  His parents are forty, and what I think now is “If they live another forty years, that will be forty more years without him.”  How they can stand it, how anyone can, is the ghoulish niggling terror that keeps all parents up in the wee hours so many nights.

Eloi, eloi, lama sabachthani – my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?  This is what Jesus cries, after his ninth hour on the cross.  I had to read these words in church this past Palm Sunday, which is two days after I learned of Lachlan’s relapse via his mother’s CaringBridge journal.  I could not get it out, I tell you – I could not say it without my voice breaking.  Shattered.  Weeping, before a congregation who probably thought I was moved by the crucifixion story alone.  Before he is crucified, Jesus weeps alone in the garden of Gethsemane and asks God – his father, mind you – “please don’t make me do this.  I don’t think I have the strength to do this.”  I paraphrase, of course, but essentially that is the story.  And then God makes him do it, and he hangs there leaking blood from a million cuts, knowing he will be dead soon but forced to slowly suffocate in intense pain without hope of help, and after nine hours of this literal torture he screams WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME, and he is not taken down from that living hell until he’s dead.

That line keeps ringing in my head – My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?  On the facebook and CaringBridge comment sections, many religious people are leaving messages, offering what pathetic crumbs of comfort they can, and more often than I like they say that this is all part of God’s plan, God wants another angel, and what-have-you.  I do not attack their well-meaning comments, it’s not my place and it doesn’t help.  But I don’t think God planned to make this baby lay with enlarged and painful internal organs, with skin peeling off in painful sheets due to GVHD, as part of some master plan.  I think, right now, that entire family is tortured on the cross, his mother is weeping in the Garden, begging “please don’t make me do this,” they have been forsaken by God, and there is no higher reason for this.  It’s just torture, it’s Nature’s cruel and impersonal, undiscriminating hand, it is a genetic mutation triggered in one twin but (thankfully, mysteriously, and we hope enduringly) not in his genetic copy, whose perfect blond hair and pale skin and healthy limbs show, by contrast, just what a hateful and destructive disease cancer has been to his broken and gray and bald and suffering brother.  Lachlan is two, and he almost certainly will not see three, and there is no specific plan that a loving and beneficent God could have designed that would require the torture he has suffered, that would force his twin Calhoun to live the remainder of his life without his brother.

Where I find comfort in this mess of a story is simply the camaraderie of a religious figure who has also suffered, and a God-parent and human mother who were forced, for whatever religious reason you care to believe, to watch Jesus-the-child endure bodily torture and pain.  The mother Mary, the father-God, the son-Jesus – they walked this terrible road before Lachlan and his family, they suffered the unspeakable, and for the already-religious, they can perhaps be a sort of support group, a spiritual AA meeting, if you will.  There is something that, I think, would make me feel less alone bearing my child’s illness, if I know that for thousands of years other parents have suffered and yet endured.

I can’t think of much else right now.  Every time a pregnant friend nears a due date, a small part of my consciousness is tied up in the waiting, is a tiny bird perched on her distant shoulder watching expectantly for the end of pregnancy to come and the beautiful new life to start.  This is the cruel, torturous negative to that experience – part of my consciousness, the primal bit of me that is Mother, has been conscripted to sit vigil with Lachlan’s family, and I find myself staring out the window more than a dozen times a day, biting my lips and restraining tears.  He is not my child and this is not my pain, except that he is Everychild and I am Everymother.  If prayers and hope and love and faith could heal, he would be well now through mine alone.  They do not.  They comfort, is all, and palliative care of both the spiritual and medicinal variety is all that the world can offer Lachlan and his sweet family today.

If you are the praying type, please send up prayers for sweet Lachlan and his family, prayers that they have time to create a few more happy memories together, prayers that they have the will to continue this road, and the strength to carry this unfathomably heavy cross towards its unbearable finish.  If the word “prayer” makes you squicky, then please beam a positive and loving and secular thought towards tiny Seneca South Carolina.  All of it helps – our tiny, futile gestures of love and faith in the face of true human misery and the cruel and grinding determination of a disease that will not be denied.  It buoys the family to know that thousands across the South, and the world, are holding them in their thoughts, regardless of denomination (or lack thereof).

Open my arms, open my arms – your work is done.

Fight like a tiger, Lachlan.  Love and hope.

Posted in Categorizing Things is Overrated | 3 Comments

Two Vignettes for Baby

Like an ape, leading with his belly, shoulders thrust back and arms trailing behind him, he strides around the house free range, a tiny man in charge of his own destiny.   From my work in the kitchen or laundry room or office, I keep an ear out.  All goes well until I hear the inevitable “slap slap slap” sound of little hands climbing up the stairs, I go and pull him down, redirect.  He loves being chased up the stairs.  He has a soft cloud of light brown hair with a faint reddish tint, and I tousle it and smooth it and run my fingers through it, baby fine and fluffy, growing thicker now.   I remember what a shock it was to me when I opened my eyes one day and Jack had “little boy hair,” with all the downy soft new-baby fuzz already gone while I wasn’t paying attention.

With this one, I pay attention.

I don’t get up with him in the wee hours these days – he’s a good sleeper, for the most part, so long as we keep up his familiar routine.  Last night he woke at midnight for no apparent reason – just fussy, perhaps woken by a singing glow-worm doll that he sleeps with now.  I heard his cries and rolled reluctantly out of my own bed downstairs, then fumbled with making a bottle in the dim glow of the fridge light.  I trudged up the stairs, lifted him out of the crib, carried him into the guest bed to cuddle and drink it down.  He nestled in close, immediately mostly asleep.  As he half-heartedly drank down the bottle, he reached around awkwardly to press his palm against my cheek, and we sat there together, my forehead on his chin, my body curled around his.  After this one is grown, never again will one of my own babies press a tiny palm against my cheek.  I breathed him in, deep.  We settled into each other, and lay like that for a while.

*************************************************

The Professor collects the leash and calls the dog to the front door, and we hear squeals of delight, and the thunder of tiny feet in giant shoes stomping down the hall.  Craig appears, running in his awkward, ape-like way, and reaches up to grab the leash just above the dog’s ears.  We are ready to go on the walk now.

Eject Craig from the daily dog-walking at your peril.  He will weep, heartbroken, staring out the front door window, the picture of pathos.  On the other hand, if you let him go along, he will march right out there with you, happily singing little baby nonsense.  He will hold the leash importantly, occasionally letting it go and stomping off to explore something in the neighbor’s grass, perhaps a tiny roly poly bug, or a flower.  I let him explore, though I draw the line at letting him eat the bugs and sticks he finds.  If I let him have his way, he’d walk a mile, chattering to himself all the way, abruptly falling over and then painstakingly working to get himself back upright, in that particular way that toddlers have of learning to move in the world.  I kind of hated the dog walking chore, before I gained my little helper.  He is my fresh pair of eyes.  He is delight at the smooth whorl of a tiny snail’s shell, consternation at the feel of wet grass on bare feet, surprise at the roughness of the asphalt.  A wide open face turned up toward the sky, just to see what’s up there.

The littlest

The littlest

Posted in Tex | 1 Comment

Spring Break, Law Firm Style

This was Jack’s spring break week.  Unfortunately, the Professor’s spring break was the week before, so he went north to visit his family for that week.  He had taken Liam with him, but still he was gone for about 2 weeks straight.  Then he returned just in time to see the friends, then left again, and had to travel this weekend, too.  Basically it’s been like a month since I’ve had a normal, quiet week with my partner/co-parent.  I love me some Gilmore Girls but the evening loneliness is getting kind of old.  He’ll be back for a day and then gone again Monday, but just a bit longer now til summer and the semester is over.

Anyway, with Jack on spring break and the Professor gone to work out of state as usual, we had some juggling to do.  We got it all arranged – the little boys would go to daycare like usual, and I would take Jack to work on Tuesday, he would go to roller skate day camp on Wednesday, I would take Thursday off to have a special day just with him, and then the Professor would drive back here, pick him up, and then head back to his job out of state to do some stuff this weekend, but with Jack in tow.   I would have loved to have taken the week, or even part of the week, off to have an actual spring break, like many of our friends did . . . alas, the billable hour precludes such niceties.  I had to do what law firm parents the world ’round do – somehow find a way to meet the needs of the kid and the job, while not going absolutely crazy with stress.

Ahhhh, the best laid plans . . . Tuesday was going well.  I had packed up some magazines, coloring stuff, snacks, and Jack’s innotab, and he was doing just great with all of it.  I was actually getting a lot done, and then at 3 I get a call – Liam is complaining of an ear ache and crying.  OF COURSE HE IS.  GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD.

Jack and I left work early (and I was in such a groove!  he was doing so well!)  We picked up Liam, who by this point was more or less screaming, sweating, and fidgeting because he was in so much pain.  He could not sit still.  It was his right ear, inside, “way down deep.”  You could hear his screams from outside the daycare – it reminded me of when he was a baby and used to get ear infections – and also, truthfully, of my own self in labor, sweating and unable to be still during the height of the painful contractions.  I ran down the hall to grab Craig, and Liam’s teacher helped me by carrying Craig out while I carried the screaming Liam out.  Jack trailed behind, trying to be helpful but really just being super annoying, bless his 6 year old head.  The four of us headed out to an urgent care which is literally 3 miles away but it took me 20 minutes to get to because the western area of our city is just absolutely THE WORST.  It would have been quicker for me to drive 15 miles to the one near our house, and I regretted my choice more or less instantly.  But this place already had Liam’s info in the computer since this is where we came when he ripped his fingernails off, so this is where I chose, in my seconds to think with a kid screaming in my ear.

When I brought him, still screaming, into the urgent care center, I could see everyone’s nerves instantly tighten up.  It was nerve-shredding, for sure.  For once, I didn’t care that my kid was making a spectacle – this was an urgent care, and he was in so much pain.  Nobody said anything, of course, how could they complain?  But also I’ll note nobody offered any kind of help, although I had a baby on one hip and a 4 year old on the other, plus a diaper bag, purse, and 6 year old in tow.  I guess they were all in their own world of pain (although I think most were there to get a drug screen for work).

So while intellectually I knew Liam was fine, there is something primal that is triggered when your child screams in pain that just cannot be turned off.  It shredded my nerves, absolutely shredded them, and I rocked and soothed him as best I could while also wrangling Craig, who was desperate to get out the front door and into the busy parking lot as quickly as possible.  Jack had a lot of orders barked at him by a mom with zero patience that day – he handled it like a champ, though of course he’d also been in my office being quiet as a mouse all day, so he was pretty wired as well.

Long story short, Liam had a bad ear infection.  It took us over an hour to get back through the purgatory of West [City] and over the bay into our town, and then I get to the pharmacy with his script for numbing drops and antibiotics, and the lady tells me it will be an hour and a half.  At the end of my rope at this point, having heard Liam scream for about 3 solid hours, I begged her “HE IS SCREAMING IN PAIN, CAN YOU PLEASE DO IT FASTER.”  She agreed to half an hour.  I drove us home, grabbed some children’s Motrin, gave it to him, then headed back to the pharmacy, and grabbed those numbing drops like they were liquid gold.  (That shizz cost us over eighty dollars, so they practically were liquid gold.)

That more or less shut off the screams instantly.  Bless him, during the short drive home he fell asleep, sweat still beaded on his forehead.  He was so exhausted from the stress of that painful half-day.  We got home, and you’d better believe we ordered Domino’s for dinner – I had no energy or willpower to cook something.  I got everybody fed and to bed.  Earlier in the day I had managed, while juggling the three ring circus, to call the roller skate camp and see if Jack could drop in on Thursday instead of Wednesday.  It would be useless for me to pay the money to send him to camp Wed, and then have Liam home with me anyhow (he had to stay home one day and recover).  Bless them, bless them, bless them, they let us switch without notice or any kind of charge.  I will definitely use that place again.

So.  The week’s plans went kaput.  I had a conference call scheduled for Wed afternoon, purposefully set at that time because I was supposed to have all the little duckies in their various caregiving situations.  Instead, I had two boys at home!  Erg.  I took Craig to daycare on Wed anyway, which allowed me to get some things done.  I also spent some time with the boys – the day off was supposed to be a special day with Jack (which was supposed to be Thursday, so I’d planned meetings and due dates and such to accommodate a day off on Thursday, Ugh ugh ugh).  So I did my best to make Wednesday a special day off with the two of them instead.  I only billed about 4 hours that day, and in the extra time, I managed to do approximately eleventy-billion crafts with them, take them on a nice long walk and then let  them swim in the little blow-up pool in our backyard, which they loved.  Jack even told me that it was the best day of his life!  We had pink lemonade and pretzels on the back porch, and then the little girls who were visiting next door came over and swam while I took my conference call inside the house and watched them through the window.  I picked up Craigsy right on time, then we all came home and had dinner of leftover Easter feast.  I got them to bed and then crashed myself.

Swimmin'

Swimmin’

Boys in the pool

Boys in the pool

Craftin' like a boss

Craftin’ like a boss

Thursday, Jack went to skate camp, everybody else went to daycare as normal, and the Professor came home to pick everybody up and do a mountain of dishes.  He left again the next day, taking Jack with him for special father-son time in the state where he works.  Jack’s been dying to see where daddy works, to see daddy’s office, to meet daddy’s students – this was his chance!  I myself had normal work days Thursday and Friday, and here we are on Saturday – having done our week’s grocery shopping by 8 am, and starting the other chores.  Craigsy is sleeping, and I parked Liam in front of tv so I could binge-blog – as you’ll note, I did three posts today.  Thus having indulged in my one little hobby, I’m back into the fray to keep up with the dishes, laundry, and pre-cooking for the week.  Next week I travel to Birmingham for work, and my parents are coming to keep the kids for us.  It’s a chaotic life over here, but I’m keeping my head above water.  Just a few more weeks til summer, baseball games and swimming pools and more relaxed morning routines.  I can make it!

Posted in Domestic Bliss | Leave a comment

Easter Continued

Sunday morning came early, as a bunch of little children were eager to see what the bunny had brought, and to find the dyed eggs he had hidden.  The Easter bunny was still asleep when she heard them tromp down the stairs, and she had to come up with something clever to stop them in their tracks and send them back upstairs while she quickly hid the refrigerated eggs.

“The Easter bunny does not bring treats to children with stinky breath.  Go brush your teeth!!”  They totally bought this line, and dutifully turned tail and ran upstairs to brush their teeth, while I hurled already mostly-broken eggs into various spots around the kitchen and living room in the quickest Easter egg hiding in history.  The other adults were slowly entering the room, blinking away the sleep in their eyes, while the kids thundered back down stairs for the second time and went and found the dyed eggs.  Phew!  Also, it’s a good thing I’m a light sleeper!  After finding the eggs, the kids collected their Easter baskets and shoved their faces full of chocolate and jelly beans, while the adults recovered with bloody  Marys and coffee.  We had pancakes and bacon again, and then settled into a nice relaxing morning.  (We decided to skip Easter church – I went to Maundy Thursday service, and besides it’s so crowded on Easter Sunday.)

I don’t recall that we really did anything at all on Easter except eat and chat.  The kids played out back for a while with their bubbles, and we all sat on the back porch and drank ice water and ate a cheese ball and some hummus (hope we don’t die of listeria!), then everyone went down for naps again.  While everyone (including adults) napped, I organized our Easter meal.  I’ve decided lately that it’s best, for a celebratory feast, to have a couple of fancy things, a couple of easy things, and a couple of out-sourced things.  This lets the cook show off some of her skillz while also not killing herself and ruining the holiday with over-work.  So, here was my Easter feast, which I just loved and I think the rest of the folks did too:

  • SOMEWHAT FANCY THING: Pork Loin with apples and onions.  I did not make the gravy in this recipe – we had mushroom gravy already with the grits.  It was quite tasty pork, though, cooked to perfection! *so, I’d planned to make a rosemary pork tenderloin.  I picked up a “tender pork loin” and thought I had it set.  Well, turns out, tender pork loin and pork tenderloin are two entirely different things.  I did not realize this.  Even now, if you google “pork loin recipes”, you get a bunch of pork tenderloin recipes.  Even the internet doesn’t know they are two different things.  Thank heavens I figured it out, because pork loin takes about 2 hours longer to cook than pork tenderloin.  We would’ve had some lonely little sides, sitting on the table waiting for their main meal, if I hadn’t twigged something was up.
  • EASY THING: Roast asparagus.  Chop the tough ends of the asparagus, put on a tray, drizzle liberally in olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, and then roast in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes.
  • OUT-SOURCED THING: Brown ‘n serve rolls.
  • EASY THING: berry fruit salad.  Literally just wash some berries – raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and cut up strawberries – and put them in a bowl.  Savannah picked all the raspberries out, Craig picked all the blueberries out, the big boys ate all the strawberries, and we adults split the blackberries.  It was a win win, though I kind of think I should have just skipped the “making a fruit salad” part and just parceled out the preferred berry to each person.
  • FANCY THING: Grits souffle with mushroom gravy.  OK ya’ll, I saw this in Southern Living and was all over it.  I have never made a souffle – I hear so many horror stories of them collapsing that I never wanted to try it.  Well, I will definitely  make this again – it was easier than I thought it would be, and whipping egg whites into a froth and then folding them into the grits made me feel sorta fancy.  Next time I will probably add hot sauce to the grits, and use a different cheese (Vern recommended sharp cheddar, and I am inclined to do half cheddar and half Gouda, plus sprinkle a bit of Parmesan).  You must make the gravy – the grits alone don’t have a lot of depth, but with this sherry-gravy on top, OMG!  Plus the gravy worked well with the pork, too.
  • OUT-SOURCED THING: For dessert we had a chocolate doberge cake (pronounced dough-bah-dj).  I did not make it, I bought it.  Memories of my strawberry mousse cake disaster from Easter past (same guests! different year!) made me re-think my dessert making skills.  No regrets – this doberge cake, which I picked up in the bakery section of our locally-owned grocery store, was perfect.

We ate dinner, then took the children to a nearby park for them to run off some steam.  Then we came home and had doberge cake, and then it was time to put the kids to bed one last time.  I feel asleep more or less instantly on the couch – I hated it, but it had been a long weekend and I had an 8am conference call on Monday morning with a pretty important client, so I needed to be well rested and not hungover.  The Professor stayed up a bit later and chatted with the guests while I went up and crashed out.  Monday morning we all got up fairly early, and I talked with the friends a few more minutes before hopping on my call at home in our home office.  (That way I didn’t have to get out of the house by 7am to get to work in time to take it.)  Our dear friends started on their epic journey back north, and I started on another week.

It was such a great visit!  The only thing that would have been better is if I hadn’t had that 8 am conference call first thing monday morning . . . but what are you gonna do??  All in all, it was a relaxing and fun weekend, we probably ate too much and definitely drank too much, but got lots of time to chat and catch up and enjoy.  And the kids enjoyed one another, too, which I very much loved.  Great times.

**Edited to add some random pix from the season.

Weekend cooking en masse  - that tall one is the tasty pot pie we all enjoyed

Weekend cooking en masse – that tall one is the tasty pot pie we all enjoyed

The middle one has an Easter parade!

The middle one has an Easter parade!

The little one had an egg hunt

The little one had an egg hunt

There was lots of toddler thieving

There was lots of toddler thieving

Posted in Holidays and Celebrations | 1 Comment

Easter and Such

Rewinding a bit . . .

The Thursday before Good Friday, some dear friends arrived, having completed an absolutely epic car journey to get here from our old town in North Carolina.  (We really are quite far from everywhere down here.)   We greeted them with a couple of glasses of bourbon on ice.  In short order their five year old daughter was tucked into the trundle bed up in the boys’ room, and all three big kids (plus one little baby, in his own crib) were sound asleep.  The parents did some catching up and had a few glasses of wine/beer, and then we also tumbled into our own beds, ready to start a three day weekend.

I took Friday (mostly) off.  I had to stay on top of email as always, and answered a few “hot hot hot” requests, but for the most part stayed off the grid.  After letting the kids run around the house for an hour or two, we took the whole safari to the beach in our car.  The car we have was just barely big enough to carry us all, so we rode together, rubbing shoulders and with feet on top of beach gear.  It’s not too far – took us a little over an hour on that day, due to traffic – and once we arrived at 11, I was glad we had enough snacks and juice to power us through the lunch hour.  We set up an umbrella, a few towels and camp chairs, and a cooler with grapes, juice boxes, waters,and a couple of bottles for Craig.  Then the children grabbed their little boogie boards and commenced being totally thrashed by the crazy waves.  Normally the Gulf beaches are pretty tame, but on this day the waves were kind of insane, and all three kids got tumbled many times, snouts full of salt water.  Savannah, our visitor, by far the smallest in stature of the three, really taught my boys how to be unstoppable.  I’m pretty sure that if she hadn’t been there, getting rolled hard by waves and then leaping back into the surf without pause, Jack probably would have given up crying very early on.  But he observed her toughness, and it made him tougher – he occasionally would remark that he was a little scared when he was tumbled by a wave and didn’t know which way was up, but then he’d leap back in.  Liam was less into the swimming – probably already coming down with an ear infection which would hit him full force a couple of days later.  He mostly played with sand toys – which is why I always drag a whole bag full of them out there to our spot whenever we go to the beach.

Craig was an absolute dream – I parked him on a towel under the umbrella with a few toys, and he sat there playing happily without moving an inch.  I’d have forty more babies if I knew they would all be like him.  (OK that’s an obvious lie, I’m all done with the baby years, but he truly is the easiest kid.)  The adults took turns chilling on the chairs with the baby and Liam, or down at the surf monitoring the big’uns.  I kept a close eye on Liam himself, who was going back and forth between “surfing” with his little boogie board, and playing in sand – the rest of them were predictable and easy to monitor.  The swimmers were very quickly swept by the tide down the beach, and every once in a while one of us would wade in, knee deep, and roust them all out and back up near our spot.

The children predictably began to fall apart at about 2.  No lunch, no nap – it was the sweet spot of fratchiness, especially for Liam and Savannah (the five-ish year olds).  And turns out all of them had a sunburn, as did most of us – I had bought new Hawaiian tropic sunblock and had liberally applied it, reapplying on occasion, but I think it was defective.  Jack and Sav burned so bad they peeled, and I got some burn in some areas.  Liam and the baby got a different kind of sunblock – a baby skin sensitive kind – and they were totally fine.  I’m tossing that Hawaiian tropic in the trash after this trip.

We schlepped everything back into the car, rinsed the kids in the shower, repacked everything up, and then drove to a late lunch at the Crab Trap.  It’s a fun little seafood place just over the border in Florida, and it has a huge playground/sandbox that the kids can run around in while we adults enjoy our meal at picnic tables outside.  We had a few drinks and some shrimp and fish, and then once more shoveled ourselves back into the car for the long ride home.

The kids parked in front of a movie with a giant tray of carrots, apples, grapes, and celery, which they completely demolished and then asked for more.  We adults had some red wine and some of our own carrot sticks (everyone was feeling the need for roughage), and then eventually got all the kids showered and mostly sand-free, then tucked them all in.  We made a dinner of tortelloni and meatballs, plus a big salad, and ate our dinner and drank our red wine by candlelight.

Saturday morning saw us being spoiled with a cooked breakfast by our guest – giant fluffy pancakes and a whole package of bacon, washed down with oceans of coffee.  We had a leisurely morning of letting the kids watch cartoons and play with cardboard boxes, while the adults got over our mild hangovers from a long night of talking and wine.  Breakfast was late enough that we weren’t feeling hungry for lunch, but we headed down to a lovely nearby town for ice cream and some running around at the playground.  I love this little town – we’re often tempted to move there, but it is too far from my job and the commute would be murder.  In any case, we had ice creams on the porch, and then threw the children into a fenced in, giant, gorgeous playground area, and let them run while we took turns keeping the baby from killing himself.  There was an area with fountains that eventually, inevitably, the children made their way to.  Savannah and Jack had a ball getting their clothes soaked – Liam, the only one in jeans, quickly tired of dragging soaked denim around and came over to me whining for new clothes.  I put him in some 12-month pants of Craig’s that were in the diaper bag – that kid is so skinny, they fit like shorts!  I gave him my own undershirt, which I was wearing under a sweater, and he felt much better.  Looked ridiculous, but felt great.

Eventually, all of the children tired of the game, and we headed back to the car.  We stripped the kids of their wet clothes, Liam in his silly get-up, Savannah wore her daddy’s shirt, Jack sat in just his wet underwear on a diaper in his booster seat.  The novelty of this set-up made them all wild with glee on the way home.  There were a lot of “jokes” about butts – kissing butts, smelling butts, that sort of thing. Once we arrived at the house, we shoveled each of them into something warm and dry before forcing them to take a nap.  The Professor and I ran a quick errand during naps, and then the adults quickly scattered some filled plastic eggs around our yard for the kids to find.  It took them maybe five minutes to collect them all – even Craigsy found one or two – and then the big kids sat in the front room and counted their loot.  A few minutes later, we all sat down to a lovely chicken pot pie which I had prepared the week before and just had to heat up quickly, along with green beans and a white wine.  After our early dinner, we dyed Easter eggs.  I had only bought 18 – 6 per big kid – and the kids dyed them in about thirty seconds.  They would put the whole egg in a cup of dye, pluck it out a few seconds later, then put the next one in.  I tried to show them how to do stripes, to draw on the egg with a white crayon before dyeing – anything to stretch it out a bit.  In the end, we got some solid colored eggs, most of them broken due to fumbly handling by the children, and we called it good.

Dyeing eggs

Dyeing eggs

 

Yellow

Yellow

Teamwork

Teamwork

Hmmmm - shall I do thirty seconds in green, or thirty seconds in blue?

Hmmmm – shall I do thirty seconds in green, or thirty seconds in blue?

A clean palette

A clean palette

Dip

Dip

 

After bed time, the Easter bunny came – we stayed very tame this year, another giant tax bill once again pinches our style, so they just got a few bits of candy and a little 99 cent car apiece, and Craigsy got a book and a sippy cup since he can’t eat candy.  The Alabama Easter bunny bought Savannah an Alabama t-shirt to remember us by, and the North Carolina Easter bunny brought the boys some fake iPhones and bubbles.  The fake iPhones were a hit the rest of the trip – the kids were texting each other and calling each other and us constantly.  I’d hear “Mom, MOOOM!” and I’d say “what?” and Liam would say “No, I’m CALLING you,” and then I’d have to run and grab my real phone and hold it to my ear and have a fake conversation.  The things they chose to “text” each other and call each other about were hilarious.  Also hilarious – when Jack had to show Michelle how to close all of her apps on her actual, real iPhone.  He somehow knows how to do this, and she does not, and that made as all laugh pretty hard.

To be continued . . .

The bunny had arrived

The bunny has landed

Bird's eye view

Bird’s eye view

 

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