Monday, October 17, 2016

Kermit Understands

I hope this has been you lately.  I really do.

I hope you haven't been kept up at night, literally losing sleep for the first time over a presidential election, and wondering (in a disbelieving, appalled sort of way) more specifically how, how people you love could support a candidate with whom you'd feel actual fear if you were trapped in an elevator with them?
*elevator doors close, begins mentally reviewing self-defense moves*

Because social media has lately left me feeling like either the gif immediately above or the one immiately below,

where I say to myself, "Look!  A post by Loved One!  I shall view this post, which I'm sure will exude the love and light that I know is in line with our shared beliefs!"  But then, alas...

So I have been limiting my time in those online spaces, because I want to continue to love my loved ones after November, right?  

Instead I've been planting bulbs and running with friends and watching the newest season of Midsomer Murders with Derek and reading terrific books with the kids and preparing for a visit from my mom and Mark, all which transform me from that background cat into foreground Kermit.

I hope you've been doing the same, or whatever it is that brings you a measure of peace.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

After School

Half the days I've worked at the orchard lately, I've checked out, run home to get the kids off the bus, saying to myself, "I am in no way, shape, or form ready to go right back there.  I will only take the kids if they specifically ask to go.  Surely they're too tired from a long, strenuous day of book-learnin', though."

Then Atticus disembarks from the giant metal twinkie, marches up to me, and sweetly asks, "Can we go to the orchard?"


But I am a big girl with big girl panties of my very own, so I figuratively change into those and literally change out of my orchard shirt so I am not accosted within moments of re-entering.  Besides, I tell myself, I do so enjoy mentally adding up the "saved" cost of all these complementary visits we make, kind of like all the money you "save" at Kohl's.  (Side note:  Does anyone else want to demand "Exactly how stupid do I look to you?" when the Kohl's cashier tells you "You saved X dollars today!"  Not to worry, I do not, as despite what I may lead you to believe on this blog I do have some interpersonal skills, not to mention a healthy respect for all the garbage our friends in retail have to stomach on a daily basis.)

So we jump backwards into the corn pool.

We swoon over our son's profile.  (Maybe just me doing that.)

We hold baby goats, despite the fact that they won't stop trying to eat our clothing and hair.

We go down the combine slide.

And we do our homework in the van on the way there and back- one my stipulations for being allowed to go immediately after school.

I promise, we do still have a third child, and he is allowed to come to the orchard with us; he does not have a cupboard under the stairs.  Here is a photo of him and Derek reading on a tiny red couch at the library, instead.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Adventures in Mothering

Adelaide has been begging to dye her hair for months now.  She has beautiful, golden, almost honey-colored hair (when it's brushed, anyway),

but she wanted to dye it.  And the color she wanted her hair to be was blue.

Have you seen this hair craze?  It would be hard to miss it, at least around here, as you can hardly walk into a store without seeing at least one person with pink or purple or, yes, blue streaks or layers in their hair.  Our daughter's one true heart's desire was to have completely blue hair, though; fortunately for her, Derek and I recognize that one of our primary roles as parents is to thwart her every desire and goal in life (actual words that came out of her actual mouth once, although I'm pretty sure it was in reference to my telling her she could not buy an entire family-sized package of oreos to consume alone, even if it was with her own money- I'm proud to say the dramatic, exaggerative gene runs strong through our family lines).

Daughter is learning patience, however, so she would bring up the subject of blue hair every so often, ask to wander down the Grande Aisle of Hair Dyes anytime we were at Wal-Mart together, but never got upset when we said, "Not right now," or "We need to discuss this further."

And so, last Sunday, we caved.  Adelaide bought a box of blue dye with her own funds (supplied by Grandma Lorri, so in a circuitous way this is all on you, Mom), she and I set up our temporary salon in the kitchen, and I waited for her to stop wriggling like a happy puppy so I could begin coloring her hair.

We initially agreed upon blue streaks, but the first step for this particular kit was to bleach- yes, bleach- the desired portion of hair, as this apparently makes it so that the final color is more vivid.  I didn't want to have bleach anywhere near her scalp, and I wanted to have the option to chop off any damaged portions of hair at some point in the future, so in the end we agreed to color the bottom third or so of her hair, which she was more than fine with, as it meant more blue hair overall.
When I imagine past me, the mother of one-year-old Adelaide, somehow reaching into the future and seeing this picture, she is screaming.  

I was glad Adelaide had gotten all that patience-practice, as she certainly had to exercise it while waiting thirty minutes for the bleach (bleach!) to set in, then washing it out, then waiting another hour for the blue dye to set after application, and finally rinsing it out, which took a while in and of itself; I think we both began to believe the water was never going to run clear.

In the end, though, she's thrilled with the final product.
The color is not as uneven as this photo would have you believe.  I'm not a big hair person, but I don't suck that much.

I'm not sure how I managed to get two pictures where her hair color matches the cloth underneath it; I suppose it was inevitable as her favorite color is, shockingly, blue, and she swaths herself in the color whenever possible.

And that is how we ended up with a ten-year-old daughter with blue hair.  By doing it ourselves.  I'm pretty sure this makes us the ultimate DIYers.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Four Things

  • This week Facebook reminded me how much I love- and have always loved- to torture our children.

Four years ago I took that picture of almost-two-year-old Caedmon, despite the fact that he was getting annoyed with the camera in my hands.  These days, if they do not want me to snap a photo, I desist and find more creative ways to irritate them.  I don't know why I so delight in these kids of ours' angry faces, but man, do I.  Look at his little face!  He's always been something of an intense creature, which probably helps explain my frequent urge to lighten the mood.  If anything, our children should leave this nest someday knowing not to take themselves too seriously.  I have no regrets.  (So far.)

  • My pumpkins are finally ripening!
I was so excited by the Long Island Cheese heirloom pumpkins that Adelaide felt the need to make fun of my gourd-inspired jubilation, as seen in the above photo.  I was tempted to respond to her mockery by saying things like, "Nobody appreciates my pumpkin-growing prowess!" or maybe "You're grounded!" but given my previously mentioned delight in poking fun at our children, I really felt like I had no place in disciplining our children for behavior they may or may not have learned from a certain Gourd Growing Queen (long may she reign).  (I am also obviously more than capable of encouraging myself in my gardening pursuits, and can withstand all manner of taunts from certain snarky daughters.)
Hello, beautiful pumpkin plant curlicue-thing!

  • My trail half marathon is three weeks from today.  This means that this morning was one of my last long runs of the year, which makes me holler "HAL-LE-LU-JAH" because, as seen in this rare early morning picture of me... 
... I'm not much of a morning person.  

But then I get out the door, and, well, I'm actually still really cranky for the first couple miles.  Things always tend to get a little brighter once the sun comes up, though. (That one's for you, punny friends.)
I know this photo isn't nearly as pleasant for all the farmers who've experienced a delayed harvest this year due to an incredibly rainy September, so- sorry, farmers.  I love your work!  I also love sun over corn stalks, especially since I know that once that corn is gone, winter is not far away.  

  • And now, because I always feel vaguely guilty when I have two of our children in one post but leave the third one out, here is a picture of Atticus reading in the van.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Birthday Boy

Last week, Caedmon turned six.

Other things happened too, of course, but the big event was the celebration of six years of life for the youngest Crisler.
When he wasn't pretending to be a ninja (don't tell him I used the words "pretending" and "ninja" in the same sentence, he'll be deeply offended; in Caedmon's mind, when he dons this birthday suit- I mean birthday ninja suit, not, you know, the other kind- he becomes a ninja, he is a ninja, never mind the fact that he's neither Japanese nor an adult nor a resident of the 15th century.), anyway, when he wasn't doing that, he was asking to go to a certain ice cream-serving restaurant for his birthday.
This is the same restaurant we went to for Adelaide's fifth birthday, where a much younger Caedmon went from "friends" to "it's complicated" with a waitress there.  Thankfully he no longer does such things, or he wouldn't have had a very happy birthday at all.

Six doesn't seem that much older than five to me, possibly because our Caedmon still seems to believe "superhero" is a viable occupation for his future adult self, and has been a sweet curmudgeon for years, anyway.
Trying and failing to scowl.  That goes for both of us.

For now, he's content to create chalk renderings of his beloved heroes on the sidewalk.  Please note that our six year old now has more artistic ability than I do.

Happy, Happy Birthday, Caedmon!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Apples and Jumping and Jumping and Apples

The seasonal work I've recently undertaken is that of school tour guide at our local apple orchard/pumpkin patch/place you go to wear your kids out.  This is fairly ideal as they took my "I can only work two days a week for these very limited hours" availability and basically said, "Okey dokey."  So now I'm talking to kids about apples and pollination and pheromone traps and accepting that they really just want me to hurry up and stop talking so they can go jump in the corn pool.

I've also learned I roll my eyes a lot (note to self:  apologize to Adelaide for giving her so much grief about this habit, as she is apparently just mimicking her mother); I had to quash this urge when a four-year-old daintily informed me that she doesn't go to a preschool, it's a learning center (I also had to resist the desire to ask her, "You still can't read, right?  Then you're in preschool."), also when another little girl squealed and cried every time a bug flew, crawled, or otherwise invaded a ten-foot bubble around her.  Patient reminders that we are on a working farm did nothing to penetrate her haze of panic.

For every whimpering princess and unimpressed boy who declares he likes the farm game on his mom's phone better than the actual farm (making me want to weep for the youth of America), there were ten others excited to learn how to properly pick an apple, and taste the difference between tart and sour varieties, and look at deer fences.

Arguably the best part of the whole deal?  Our little family gets in free to the place.  So now I leave the orchard, pick the kids up from the bus stop, and drive back so they can play at least once a week.
Caedmon's running form is around a million times better than mine.  Face included.

Atticus did hardly any jumping in the corn; he mostly seemed to enjoy lying around watching other kids getting told off by their moms for throwing corn.

There are two jumping pillows to satisfy all your bouncing needs- a small one for our smaller people, and a big one for our bigger people.  To jump on the big one, you need to be bigger, yea high according the sign in front of the pillows.  This makes sense to mothers who like for their children to be safe while jumping.  It feels woefully unfair to five-year-old boys who are not tall enough to jump on the big pillow with their big siblings.
He did eventually get past his finely tuned sense of justice (or injustice, as the case was here in his mind) and had a ball with the smaller pillow all to himself, as seen in the first photo above.

My biggest challenge now is to not spend the entirety of my wages on apple cider doughnuts.  I get them at a discount!  And they're made with real apple cider!  And isn't it somehow a sin to not enjoy the more pleasurable parts of our existence- or... something...?

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Enjoying Ourselves Whether We Want To or Not

It's that time of year again, where we all panic about the coming cold and pressure ourselves to have as much warm weather fun as humanly possible while we still can.

This is not something we ever have to force on the boys.  They will be wild and weird anytime, especially when it's raining on them.  They were supposedly dancing, but instead arrived at whatever intersection is home to a mosh pit plus interpretative art no one understands, especially those who pretend to.
Or maybe this is a rain dance?  I really couldn't say.

Adelaide and I have engaged in somewhat more civilized behavior.  Eating ice cream being what constitutes civilized behavior in this family.

Aaaaand then she saw I was taking her picture, and was thrilled.
When she gives me this look I yell things like, "Adelaide, what are you wearing?" just to complete the paparazzo feel of the situation.

Even though there are beautiful temperatures outside right now and I feel that autumn-pressure to enjoy every last outdoor activity until it is in fact robbed of all pleasantry, I sometimes need a little rest from such breakneck fun.  Currently I'm doing this by watching Stranger Things on Netflix.
If 80's nostalgia is your thing, this show will be like crack to you.  The 1980's were my years of early childhood, so each episode basically involves constant memory whiplash, uncovering all these memories I'd previously completely forgotten, from hairstyles to telephones to the entire feel of the show.  I can only think the Duffer Brothers invented a time machine and for some bizarre reason used it to go back to the 80's and film a television show.  Even that part of the show that you usually skip over, there at the beginning where it's basically reminding you, "Hey, in case you've forgotten that decision you made 90 seconds ago, here's the name of the show you're watching," with clips of the actors laughing or glaring disapprovingly or whatever along with the title of the show [here is where Derek should swoop in and supply me with the name of whatever that thing is called, but no, he's not here and instead I've had to write all these words to explain a practice I find ridiculous anyway], well that thing that I normally find outrageously annoying- with Stranger Things?  I like theirs.  I never skip it or feel suddenly compelled to get a snack, no:  I watch it every time, start to finish.

Here's the thing, though:  I am a scaredy cat.  Seriously a-feared of everyone and everything when it comes to tv and movies (and books and, you know, life), so I can't just watch this show; it is way too scary and jumpy for the yellow likes of me.  So instead I have to multi-task, something I'm normally terrible at doing, but seriously, more than 80% of my attention focused on the television at any one time is bad news.  I have a very sensitive sympathetic nervous system, okay?

So I'm trying to blog while watching the show, which is good, because then I'm not so scared, but also not good, because go back two paragraphs, just beneath the Stranger Things photo.  What a mess.  And I would go back and try to fix it, but they're trying to make a homemade sensory deprivation chamber for Eleven and Winona Ryder seems to be returning to her former glory, so...