Tuesday, March 27, 2012


We had a full day today. By the time bed time rolled around no one was showing it more than Enzo.  He and I went into the bathroom at the same time.  I was going to get Moo out of the bath and he was going to brush his teeth.  "I want you to help me so I can brush them really fast," he said.  "If it's fast you want, you'll have to do it yourself, I'm busy with Moo" I told him.

I got her scrubbed, out of the tub and was combing her hair and he was still standing at the sink waiting for the help I'd told him wasn't coming.

"MOM, brush my TEETH!" he insisted.  I told him again, he'd have to brush them himself.  Then he said something like "I'm WAITING,"  I stopped mid-comb looked him in the face and  responded  "I. am not. Doing it." At which point he thrust his loaded toothbrush at me and shook it until the toothpaste flew off and landed with a "glop" on the step stool.

He was dismissed for bed immediately.

From down the hall he could be heard to howl "I'm going to get HOLES in my teeth!"  and "I'm scared of something!"

The Mr. went in, spoke a few reassuring words and said goodnight.

After a few more minutes Enz calmed down.

After a few more minutes still he came creeping out of his room and stood quietly until he had our attention.

"I'M DUNNA DIE!"  He moaned once all eyes were resting upon him.

I looked at my forlorn boy.  Trying desperately not to laugh at his dramatics.  He ran across the floor to his father and let it flow again "I'm dunna die," quieter this time.

A few more reassurances, "No son, failure to brush your teeth for one night will not result in your untimely end," and he was tucked back in where he belonged.

I hope he sleeps well.    

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Vests for boys

Enzo's choice of attire for church today reminded me of a post I never wrote. So I'm writing it now.

 I thrifted this striped sweater one Saturday in early December and promised Enzo to make it his size. The next day he had a major problem with my not letting him wear it to church as it was. After all, I bought it for him.
When the day came for me to size it down I broached the topic of sweater vests. Duke could have one to match him, I said, if we made it a vest. There wouldn't be enough material for matching boys if he wanted a full out sweater. He agreed and I made vests.

Two months later I finally remembered to take their picture. A month after that I finally remembered to post it.
I also made a pair of baby pants out of the sweater's sleeves. I love those pants. They look so cute with so many of Duke's t-shirts. Unfortunately the sleeves of a men's size small sweater aren't quite wide enough to account for the extra pouf of a cloth diaper. Sure, sure, I could add a gusset and make it work but I'd have to find a big enough sweater scrap and match stripes and I've just never gotten around to it. Plus, now it's a little late in the year for sweater pants so I guess that's that.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Solar baking fail

I've been meaning to start baking bread on a consistent basis for over a year now. As in: every time I go to the store I think "I don't need to buy bread I'm going to bake some." The thought has become so habitual in my shopping that these days as I walk past the bread isle I automatically sort through the week's commitments in search of bread baking time.

The thing is, if I'm going to bake bread consistently through the summer, the stinking Arizona summer, I'm going to need an alternative to my indoor oven. lucky for me, I have an alternative.

I'd never attempted actual loaf shaped bread in the solar oven. Unless you count banana bread. Which I don't.

 The loaves I made this time were the best looking raw loaves I've ever produced. I was so proud of their perfectly shaped tops as I tucked them into the warm plastic box in my back yard that would be their doom.

 They weren't pretty anymore when I came back.
Zizza never did see the disappointment the way I did. She was sure the hideous sunken faces of the loaves masked delicious interiors. The look she's wearing on her own face in the photos is one of anticipation. She's been the advocate of the ugly bread all along.

I cut into a loaf to see if it was complete crap in the middle and it turned out she was mostly right. There's nothing really wrong with the bread once you get past the gnarly grimace of it's ruined crust. Still, I haven't managed to eat any.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Is there anything

so sweet and sad as a sick baby?
(he is feeling better now)

At the park

It's spring break in these parts. Two school free weeks. Ten week days in which I must endeavor to keep Zizza occupied or risk the loss of my sanity. Mid-day yesterday, the first school free day, she was heard to moan "This is my spring break," in a forlorn and disbelieving voice.

We planned to go on a picnic last night but a sick baby kept us home and snuggling. Tonight without any such pooper for our party we betook ourselves to the park.

We are lucky to have a park with swings near by. When I was expecting Ziz and attempting to walk myself into labor we searched high and low before finding a park with swings. I'd heard that swinging would surely bring contractions and I was anxious to give it a try. I never imagined how difficult it would be to locate a dang swing set.

Enzo was only interested in the baby swings and couldn't seem to stop dragging his feet. He begged to be pushed higher and higher but never could maintain any speed after the first push with his toes dragging through the wood chips. (By the way I hate wood chips I think they're the lamest playground lining substance I've ever encountered) He reminded me of a frog mid-jump with his bare little, straight little legs sticking out the leg holes of the baby swing.  None of my pictures do the frog legs justice.

Somebody was still feeling a little less than himself.

While holding his cuddliness on my hip I did my best to aim my lens at his face and got a few lucky shots.

We all tried to interest him in playing but he just couldn't muster a full smile, poor baby.

It's a sad truth that until one learns to pump, one will never get their fill of swinging. Unless they don't like swinging. In that case any swinging would be too much.  Anyway, we were all done pushing but Moo didn't want to leave the swing. There was no one waiting so I let her sit there until she got tired of it.

 It took a while.

She look sick of it in that picture wouldn't you say?  I thought so, but she lasted a good five minutes longer.

Do you have swings at your park?

Sunday, March 4, 2012


Right now the hardest part about living my religion is going to church.  

It all starts at quarter to six when my alarm goes off.  Dress myself, wake up kids, dress them, feed us all and out to door by 7:30.  Hopefully this goes down without any mishaps. Example? Last week I generously sprayed Enzo's hair with glass cleaner before combing.  The good news: it was home made glass cleaner so there weren't any ingredients in it that are unhealthy to spray on the head of a young boy. The bad news: He went to church smelling strongly of vinegar.

Once we're ensconced in our pew I have a few minutes to take centering breaths while the older three gather programs, argue about who will sit where, and demand to know when their father will come in from his early meetings and greet them before taking his seat at the front. Meanwhile, the younger one scoots around and explores the floor space between our pew and the next. Soon he'll tire of his exploration and return to my lap where he'll rest happily until the service starts.  As long as I am still and listening he will stay there, growling serenely.  If my attention turns at any time to any sibling, the peace of the baby vanishes and he begins to yell. 

Enzo has a recurring Sunday runny nose.  Every Sunday at some point he sneezes and then makes his way to stand urgently in front of me as snot yo-yos precariously from his nose.  When I reach for my purse to procure the needed tissue Duke recognizes the discrepancy in my attention and protests.  

Today, thinking ahead,  I supplied Enzo with tissue in his pockets while Duke was inspecting the bench.  I guess Enz forgot about his personal stash by the time the snot started flowing because there he was, same as ever, bending over me with his basket ball nose.  I had to retrieve the tissue from his pocket myself.  By the time he made his way to me all his attention was needed to monitor the snot situation happening on his face. 

Zizza is a story teller. I shush and shush and shush her but the stories, they just have to be told. "But I'm whispering!" she tells me at full volume.  Actually, we've talked about this and she has been saving her stories for after church.  It's tattelling she still has a problem with "Mo-om that's MY coloring book!" "I started coloring this picture and now she scribbled all over it!" 

Moo.  If we get off on the wrong foot that girl will scream without letting up for the solid hour.  We've been working at it though and she's kept her screaming to a minimum for the past few months. What happens now is she can't bear to sit in the chapel without me so when Enzo's nose starts spurting and I shift to find a tissue, and Duke comes out of his reverie gaining volume by the second until I take him out. She inevitably follows me from the chapel and spends her time in the foyer begging to go back in.  Today we had a combination of the two which was especially nice.

In the middle of that Zizza came running out to tell me that Enz had scooted down and put his feet up on the pew in front of him.  Never underestimate the commitment of a good tattle tale.  

The amazing thing is that some how, even when I spend all three hours bouncing a baby in the hallway, I still manage to feel edified when it's over.  I guess that's God's message to me.  It's how he tells me it's worth it.

Friday, March 2, 2012

5 years of Enzo

One, two, three, four and now five.

Last year I joked about his sleep looking older. This year I think it's really true. Also, in case you wondered, he doesn't smell like a baby any more. I'd been wondering to myself about that. I don't get the chance to snuggle him in his bed these days. He is the sleepyhead-est of my four so they are all up and filling my time when he eventually blinks his eyes open and wanders down to find me.

One morning (I'm not sure how I managed it) I finageled my way into his room to burrow under the covers with him just so I could check.


 That's all I smelled.


 It was a sad moment. Another difference about five? Leaving the particulars of the day up to a five year old Enzo is a lot more like filling demands and a lot less like granting wishes. In other words "not as fun."

He had fun though, and that's what counts since it was his birthday.

 His first cake request was "blue chocolate cake," I've seen cakes called "blue velvet" here and there on pinterest but I've always scorned them. The whole point of red velvet cake is that the tint of the dutch process cocoa gives the red food coloring a head start. I'm not aware of any kind of chocolate that would start things in the direction of blue. What flavor is a blue velvet cake anyway? Maybe I should seek out a recipe and find out. But that doesn't matter now because further questioning showed that what Enz meant was regular brown chocolate cake with blue icing. This is an entirely different, and more do-able story.  I was thinking of making the cake lego shaped but when I showed him the picture he caught site of a dinosaur cake and decided he wanted that. So, using the color guidelines he gave me, I made this

Then with the left over frosting in my piping bag I did this.

And later we did this.

Sadly I'd forgotten to buy birthday candles and there was only one in the house. He didn't mind. He was happy with one candle, and a dinosaur cake and his sisters and cousins (plus mama, pop, aunt, uncle and baby brother) all singing to him. Even in light of his five year old demands, he's still a sweet and tender boy.

I'm one lucky mama.