Today I turned on the song "Home" (by Philip Philips) in the car.  Jo said, "Mommy! That's how Daddy loves me."  I asked and she again said, "That's how Daddy LOVES me."  I called Luke to ask about it.  They listen to that song every day in the car together and Luke had told Jo it made him love her.  Obviously that resonated with her.  So sweet.

"Hold on, to me as we go
As we roll down this unfamiliar road
And although this wave is stringing us along
Just know you’re not alone
Cause I’m going to make this place your home"


Great Expectations

About a month ago I joined OMSI. My break even point is 4 visits (we have one more to go). Then I can rest a little and not feel like I have to go to OMSI daily until I get my money's worth. Well, I could have rested except for that last week I got suckered into joining the Zoo again. By "suckered in" I mean that I of my own volition walked over to the membership window and inquired about purchasing a membership. After all, an Oregon Zoo membership is tax deductible. And non-members have to pay $4 for parking! Break even for the zoo is 3 visits...so we've got 2 more visits to go before we are in the clear. On the way to the zoo I asked Jo which animals she wanted to see. She said, "A puma, a dinosaur, and a dragon." We were 0 for 3, but I think they have dino's at OMSI...so all may not be lost.

Here's Jo loving on her daddy on the waterfront a few weeks ago.
As you can see, she REALLY loves this guy.

99 bottles of bbq sauce on the wall, 99 bottles of...

I used to coupon shop a LOT. Now I don't have the time or energy. But I do have ex-couponer's guilt syndrome. That is an affliction caused by coupon burn out where you feel guilty for paying full price for anything and still stack coupon inserts that you know you won't use. But I have redeemed myself. I have purchased 120 bottles of bbq sauce for $.75 each instead of $3.99.
This is only HALF of the bbq sauce.

Here's some of it in my house, the rest is in our storage shed.

And here's one of my receipts (this was only for 50 bottles):

Now. Before you get all judgey/eye rolly on me (you know who you are), I should explain that while it would take an average household about 25 years to go through all this bbq sauce, it will only take us 1-2 years.  My husband is a bbq sauce eating maniac.  I can marinate/season/cook something to perfection using carefully blended spices, and he will douse it in bbq sauce without so much as a nod to my subtle flavorings.  I bet (and I am being entirely serious here) we go through 1 bottle of bbq sauce per week, sometimes more. 

I did this in two different shopping trips and I was moderately mortified each time.  You should have seen the looks I got. Tonight a lady said, "that's a lot of bbq sauce!" and I said, "Yep, I know it looks crazy but it was on sale and it is the only kind of bbq sauce my husband will eat."  She replied, "Oh! You mean it isn't for like a wedding or something?"  Ouch. Nope, this is for private domestic consumption. 


Jammy Jogging

When we go on walks, Jo likes to wear her running shoes and run for a bit here and there.  She's really progressed in her technique.  At first she ran tilted forward (like she was running down hill) with her hands behind her back, frequently looking back at us while continuing to run full speed ahead.  It just made you cringe to watch.  After some intense training, she now runs with her hands at her sides and only looks back at us if she has something really pressing to say (come CATCH me DAD!)  She has developed some other bad habits though- she now likes to run carrying sticks and intermittently hops mid-run.  Her pace is suffering for all the hopping and I fear she may lose an eye.  Still, we press on.

Last Sunday, I (who rarely pays to run) signed up for a 3 mile run benefiting the Wilsonville school district. The entire reason I did this was so that Jo could "run in a race."  We lined up a cheering squad (Poppa, Grammy, and Dad), we picked out a running outfit, we talked about running through the finish line and the after party.  She was SO excited. 

Unfortunately, race day was a bust.  Jo was feeling under the weather and not only did she not feel like running, she didn't even feel like stroller-ing.  She perked up when she saw Poppa and Grammy, and when she spied a big stick that I let her carry in the stroller.  Otherwise she was not a happy camper.  Maybe we'll try it again sometime.

Here's a cute video from a long run we did a few weeks ago.  Normally when I'm running I don't let her out at all (she's not capable of running in a straight line and I already lamented about the hopping thing)- but she was really into it.  We got lots of smiles along the waterfront as she waved at people in her footsy jams & running shoes.  She's such a hoot.


Bed Bugs

Here in the Middlebrooks' household we make our bed and then lie in it. With a three year old, a 10 month old, an australian shepherd and an orange tabby. 

This scenario is the parenting equivalent of driving without insurance or riding the MAX without paying for a ticket.  It is NOT advisable.  It seems easier in the moment, but it will come back to bite you later (presumably when you're in transit jail for illegal light rail riding). 

Good parenting suggests that people sleep better without elbows in their ears and heels in their ribs (shocking).  Good parents love their children to pieces, and know that babies sleeping in their own bed=happy, well rested kids AND parents.  I know this in my head, but I fall apart on execution.

The primary reason the kids end up in bed with us is because I'm lazy and Luke sleeps through anything.  If I have the energy, I do try & return the leeches back to their original habitat.  But the one that walks creeps back in and the one in diapers cries for his momma.   Which leads me to the secondary reason the kids end up in bed with us:

We kind of like them there.

In the last few months we've been putting Jo to bed in our room so that she doesn't wake up Baylor in their room.  This is a bit of a circus, and she has lots of interesting and imaginative things that become critically pressing after she is to be in bed.  I'm not joking when I say that a few nights ago she had to go potty 4 times, get water 3 times, needed a snack, needed to give me one more smooch, and repeatedly requested that I give her a "quick nuggle (snuggle)."  I complained about this to a fellow parent and she said, "oh my gosh! you did the thing where you just walk her back to her bed without saying anything, right?" (as in the super-nanny method).  Without hesitating I said, "Oh yeah- I did that."  I just LIED outright without even considering telling her that I assisted in all 4 potty efforts, supplied water, and even...gulp...gave her goldfish crackers when she was supposed to be asleep. 

Really- I know that is no good. We've started serious routine improvements to the bed-time routine, but I'm not going to kick her out of bed all together, and here's why:

1. There is not a single person on this planet (apologies to Luke & Brad Pitt) that I'd rather cozy up to when I crawl in to bed besides Johonna.  She melts into me, she smells good, and scientifically (or maybe spiritually) there is something that is righted in my world when she is safe and asleep in my arms. 
2. In the event that Jo is still up when I come to bed, I softly run my hand over her hair and she puts her hands on my face.  Sort of like monkeys grooming one another.  Whatever she says in this small window of time before sleep, is precious.  The other night she sang to me, "I like my mommy, I like my daddy." 
3. The other night Luke got home late from out of town.  By then both Jo & Baylor (and Rucker & Annie) were in our bed.  He cracked the door, looked in, and said what I think sums it up quite well:  "my whole tribe is here."
4. Baylor reaches for me in his sleep and quiets when he finds me.  I cannot assure him of wealth, health or happiness in this life, but I can meet this need. 
5.  When I leave in the morning I love to see Luke and Jo all snuggled up on about 35% of the bed.  Usually she has a stray arm and/or foot slung over him.  By then Baylor is back in his crib and I'm out of bed, but the haven't yet stretched out to appreciate the extra space.
6.  The bottom line is that I know these moments will not last forever. Though I cannot imagine it happening now, there will come a time when their little bodies will be more THEIRS than mine.  When they don't need me as much or want me (gulp) as much.  When they no longer appreciate a shoulder in their nose or a kneecap in their back.

So for now, they can continue to cramp our style.  I will drink more coffee in lieu of sleeping solidly. I will stretch a neck that is stiff from contortionist sleep.  I will nuggle my babies for as long as they'll let me.


Johonna, age 3

Johonna was not feeling well this morning.  After some tylenol, gatorade, and snuggle time on the couch she told me:

"I am starting to get great."

I love that, it should go on t-shirts & bumper stickers I think.  Profound words for a girl of 3 who will indeed get great.