"Boys are found everywhere—on top of, underneath, inside of, climbing on, swinging from, running around or jumping to. Mothers love them, little girls hate them, older sisters and brothers tolerate them, adults ignore them and Heaven protects them. A boy is Truth with dirt on its face, Beauty with a cut on its finger, Wisdom with bubble gum in its hair
and the Hope of the future with a frog in its pocket."
Author: Alan Beck

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Life with 3.

Last week, we traveled over 2700 miles (by car) to Wisconsin for a family vacation in Minocqua.  Our stay at the lake was every boy's dream come true.  Fishing, boating, bug-hunting, swimming, and wandering through the woods completed their agenda each and every day. Their cousins came too, which brought the numbers to 7 boys, ages 2 - 9.  Together, they created memories that will last a lifetime.

I could sit here and write forever about everything we did (including hiding in the basement of a gas station as a tornado passed through town), but I'm going to refrain.  Although I could think of worse things, reading about my vacation may bore you, and that's the last thing I'd want to do.  If you'd like all the gory details, please, feel free to call.

A gas station with a basement.  Who knew?

While we were gone, the boys missed the entire first week of school.  I had nightmares about the adjusting they'd be forced to do once we got back.  Surprisingly, they did amazingly well.  I, on the other hand, am doing my best to get organized.  I now have two children who spend the whole day at school.  Two lunches to pack, two backpacks to stock, two piles of homework to check, etc., etc. 

Mornings have been a bit rough.

The mid-section of the day, however, has become a different story.  With only three at home with me, I am more productive than ever....and I hope it lasts.  No more begging my husband and my mom to run my errands.  Doing so with 3 kids is more than doable.  In fact, it's enjoyable.

This morning we went to the pack-n-ship store to mail our 'Wii' console back to Nintendo for repair.  (One of the boys stuffed it full of miscellaneous keys.  I can't tell you who did it, because I am not the type of mom who rats on her kids.  But, I'll give you a hint : he has dimples.) I approached the counter and handed the nice lady at the UPS store my package.  "I'm sorry, this is a Fed Ex label.  You'll have to go to a Fed Ex store to mail it."  A few weeks ago, hearing something like this would have brought me to tears.  A few weeks ago, I would have had 4 boys with me.  Anyone with boys knows that taking 4 into public never turns out well.  Today was a different story.  "No problem!" I beamed.  That's right, I beamed.  I was now given the opportunity to go somewhere else with only three kids.  I grabbed my package and my three boys and together, we headed to the Fed Ex store.  As I stood in line with three kids in tow, a woman who was in front of us stepped to the side and offered to let us go next.  "Look at you! Taking three boys on your errands! You go ahead of me, who knows how long they'll behave!" 

"Trust me."  I said.  "They'll behave."  Everybody knows that I was lying through my teeth when I said that.  Truth is, I don't know if my kids will behave.  What I do know is that they key to every successful outing is to show confidence.  Stand tall, shoulders back, and walk briskly.  Exude a sense of purpose and walk fast enough that your kids have to run in order to keep up.  This gives them no time to stop and beg for all the crap that is displayed on the end caps.  Just like wild animals, kids can smell fear.  Don't ever let them smell yours.  Once they smell fear, you're toast.

Aside from errand running, the homeboys (the 3 at home during the day) and I have been busy baking.  Baking with three is also easier.  No matter what we're cooking, the recipe always seems to call for three eggs.  This means everyone gets to crack one.  Oh, happy day!

Call me a dork, or any other name you wish, but have you ever tried baking/cooking with an apron on?  I have, and it's my latest addiction.  Everything turns out better when you don an apron.  Not just any apron, though.  It has to be cute, and should involve vintage fabric and ribbon.  My sister in-law, Lorie, made mine, and it's my favorite thing in my kitchen.  I'm hoping to get another for Christmas this year.  Hint, hint. 

Another reason why aprons make everything better?  It's kind of a 'vacuuming in pearls' sort of gig.  Have you ever been slaving away at dinner with several children crying at your feet and felt like you were about to lose your mind when your husband walks through the door?  Did you get much empathy, sympathy, encouragement, or support?  No?

Next time, wear an apron.