Thursday, March 28, 2013

I Suppose This Means It's Time For Me to Start Freaking Out About Rabbits Again

Today was warm.  Beautifully warm.  Stay outside all day warm.

It was in the 50's.

What has happened to me?  Since when do I think 50 degrees is warm and start shedding layers?

I suppose since I moved to Iowa.

Anyway.  The boys and I spent most of the morning outside in the somehow-feels-warm 40-degree air.  Post naptime and picking Adelaide up, we spent most of the afternoon in the definitely-warm-at-50-degrees outdoors.

I got maybe 30% of my flower beds cleared and spruced up (somehow I always forget just how many flower beds we have; I'm currently feeling a little daunted.  I also need someone to slap me the next time I start to talk about adding more flower beds), where I found seven golf balls that missed the fall clean-up and one Easter egg from last year that contained a mostly-rotted yogurt-covered raisin.

More than half of our beds are still covered in snow, and as I discovered today, our compost pile is pretty much frozen solid.

But guess what else I found?

See this?

It's kind of a weird spot in our backyard; a little strip of earth between one part of the deck and a bit of boardwalk that parallels the back of our house.  It's mostly a gathering place for leaves and debris, and not much grows there.  

Until today.

Well, it's probably more like, "Until a couple weeks ago, or possibly months, depending on how you measure bulb growth."  But that doesn't sound nearly as dramatic.  

It turns out I planted some tulip bulbs along this strip last fall.  I had completely forgotten until this morning, when I was walking past, noticed a tiny piece of red poking out of the dirt, fell to my hands and knees, and hovered over the ground, gasping in delight.

Sometimes I'm kind of weird about flowers.  You should get used to it.  

Look.  Look.  Somehow, every spring, I continue to be amazed by tulips.  Yes, it was fun to see the lilies and asters and live-forevers bravely poking their way out of the ground today, but there's just something about tulips.  The best part about these (and my terrible memory) is that they were a complete surprise.  I counted ten little shoots today, then immediately thought that I should have planted a lot more there last fall.  I remember now why I didn't, however; that spot is so sheltered, it only sees a couple hours of midday sun, and I wasn't sure what I could get to grow there.

Now I just have to wait to see what color I planted.  I kind of think they were Pink Impressions... but maybe they were those new Orange Impressions.  I honestly have no idea. 

In other warm weather news, Atticus (and every single other child I saw today) was so invigorated by the sunlight and absence of two million necessary layers of clothing that he insisted on running everywhere, including to and from the bus stop to fetch Adelaide.  

This is what it got him:

A wicked case of road rash.

This is him sneering and telling me, "It doesn't hurt that bad."  Which is a very different story from the one he was originally selling when he fell face-first into the sidewalk.  It didn't help when he finally looked up and Adelaide caught a glimpse of the blood running down nose and mouth and gasped, "Atticus, your face!"

And tomorrow it's supposed to be close to 60!  Who knows what we'll find/maim tomorrow?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Pope, Easter, and Star Wars

It's Tuesday.  I made a list for you.  You're welcome.

  • I've decided to either convert to Catholicism or adopt the new Pope as another grandfather.  Because seriously?  Pope Francis is... he's just... he's amazing.  He's been doing stuff like eschewing all the pomp and dress codes and window dressing that surround the papacy and is instead doing things like embracing simplicity and, well, loving people instead.  Now don't get me wrong.  I'm a Missouri Synod Lutheran.  I love tradition, religious rituals, liturgy, you name it.  I tend to prefer hymns to modern praise music, and one of my very favorites was written in the 10th century and resembles Gregorian chant more than anything else.  So I'm okay with pomp and dress codes and window dressing.  But Pope Francis is washing the feet of imprisoned juvenile delinquents and refusing to throw away his wrong-colored shoes because they're still new.  He's being more like Jesus and less like me, and trust me when I say that this is a very good thing.  (I love this blog if you want to read more about my newest grandpa.)

  • I was saying something the other day about being "knocked over" when Atticus exclaimed, "Hey!  That's the month my birthday's in!"  I then realized that he genuinely believes that he was born in the month of "Knocked Over," and have since been having trouble convincing him that he was, in fact, born in the month of October.  Then today, Caedmon told me, "My birthday's in Knocked Over, too!"  Cade was born in September, so he has no excuse for this mispronunciation.  Well, other than being two years old.

  • Apparently this Sunday is Easter Sunday.  I haven't bought any candy or egg dye.  I haven't done any Jesus-y lessons with the kids.  I haven't bought Adelaide a new Easter dress.  I am okay with all this.  (Except for the Jesus stuff.  I had planned on doing this elaborate crafty lesson thingy with the kids in the two weeks leading up to Easter, but I forgot about it 'til today.  Story of my life.)

  • I just realized I could call the Pope "el Papa," as this is an accepted term for "Grandfather" and means "Pope" in Spanish!  I just can't call him "la Papa."  Because then I'd be calling him a potato.  

  • Here are a few more photos of our trip.

The kiddos and Derek's mom on the back of an old train we had a ball exploring.

The force is strong with this one.  But not the one in the back.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Winter is the Worst

Hey guys.

I was gone for a week, and it took me awhile to emotionally recover from hurricane Jiffy, so I haven't been posting.  Obviously.

So what did we do over Spring Break?

Well, Derek worked.  And worked and worked and worked.  And because it's Holy Week and our church has a big Good Friday service and a big Easter Sunday drama, he's going to be working and working and working at church this week.

I think about Derek and all that work and I feel a little sorry for him.  Then I think of last week's Jiffy disaster and the vinegar disaster the week before that (pretty sure I forgot to tell y'all about that one) and I feel little sorry for me.  So I guess it all evens out.

The kids and I traveled south to enjoy some 80-degree weather down in Kansas.  We jumped on the trampoline, I got a little jealous over all their daffodils and hyacinths and tulip shoots, dyed Easter eggs, and jumped on the trampoline some more.

Wanna see some pictures?  Of course you do!

My mom, my sisters and their babies, Megan, the kiddos, and I spent a morning at Botanica, Wichita's beautiful botanical center.  Somehow I've never been there.  At first Charlotte was a little confused as to just why we wanted to spend so much time outside on a 30-degree morning.

When we first got there, I spied a gardener digging around in a bed of tulips, refrained from tearing the gloves off her and shoving her out of my way (DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW LONG IT'S BEEN SINCE I GOT TO SPEND TIME AMONG MY FLOWERS?), and struck up a conversation instead.

"You have so many tulips shoots here!  What colors will these be right here?"  See how nice I can be, even when consumed with jealousy?

*baffled laugh* "Oh my goodness, I have no idea."  She was really nice, too.  

"I guess fall was a long time ago.  I'm having trouble remembering exactly where I planted all the bulbs in my own yard!"  This was me giving her a pass.  

"No, it's not that.  It's just that we planted 53,000 tulips bulbs, and I really have no idea which colors are where!  You should come back in three weeks, it's going to be spectacular!"

Um, 53,000 tulips bulbs?  Holy mackerel.  If you live in the Wichita area, you have got to get to Botanica in April.  I hear it's going to be spectacular.  

Here's all five grandkids:

It's so weird to see my kiddos as the big kids in a photo.  Nice, but weird.  

Here's the base of the giant tree house that was eating our kids in the children's area.  Mom had said Atticus was afraid of it last summer when they visited.  I didn't understand until I saw it in person.  

They had all kinds of chime-noise making-thingies, too, which Atticus in particular seemed to enjoy.

Normal Atticus.

Crazy Atticus.  

Actually, "crazy" is more the norm for our older boy, so let's all just mentally switch those two labels around.

We also encountered what are apparently the two most fascinating metal lady bugs on earth.

I personally didn't really get it, but man, did the girls love them.

We also found some dress-up clothes hiding in the Very Hungry Caterpillar.  Guess who just couldn't wait to try them on?

That's right:  the 26 and 21 year olds.

And Atticus.

I thought they were the nicest... let's see, Captain America, SWAT team member, and... female Thor? that I've ever seen.  

I also saw several Lenten Rose plants, which I've seen in many catalogs over the past few years, but Botanica's beautiful varieties finally made me decide that our shade beds need some.  They NEED them.  I'll probably try to put them in this spring.  You know, if this snow ever melts and spring ever arrives.  Which I'm half-convinced it won't.  

Anyone else have a fun Spring Break?  Anyone else sick to death of winter?  Anyone else know anything in particular about Lenten Roses, or have anything other suggestions for my numerous shaded flower beds?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

At Least It Wasn't Asbestos

Yesterday morning, as the boys and I were gathering books and preparing for a trip to the library, I decided to run upstairs and fold a load of laundry real quick.  While folding, I began to feel a tad unwell.

No big deal.  I can sit down and fold.

The next thing I know, I'm waking up on the floor of my bedroom in a makeshift bed of clean clothes.

I panic.  How much time has passed?  Do you have any idea what a two-year-old and four-year-old boy can do with anything more than 20 minutes of unsupervised time?

I check the clock:  Thank you, Jesus.  It's only been 15 minutes, and I can hear our boys' normal chatter coming from downstairs.

I put the clothes away, congratulate myself on not randomly falling asleep again, and head downstairs.

My first thought was flour.  The consistency was a little off, though, and I didn't think flour would make Caedmon compulsively lick his hands, even while trying to look guilty.  

Then I had a vicious baby powder flashback.  But I have refused to stock baby powder in our house since that little incident.  Couldn't be baby powder.

Then I spied that little blue box.  Correction:  Those little blue boxes.

It was Jiffy pizza crust mix, and it was all. over. the first floor of our house.  I swear there wasn't a single room or piece of furniture that was untouched by this stuff.  (Except the tv, possibly because Derek has made it clear that the penalty for doing so is certain death; but I've made the same threat with my books, and I found the stuff in all our book cases.  I really don't feel like pondering too much about what this means.)

I made the boys pick up all the kitchen utensils and cookware and put it in a sinkful of sudsy water.  (Oh yeah, they also emptied one lower cabinet, a drawer, a package of almonds, and two large containers of sprinkles all over the kitchen floor.  And two boxes of Jiffy mix.  IN CASE YOU'D FORGOTTEN.)

Then I made them strip down to their skivvies and banished them to the laundry room while I started wiping down surfaces.  Coincidentally, did you know that when you combine water and pizza crust mix, it gets a little, shall we say... doughy?  And incredibly difficult to get out of the crevices of our table and, for some reason, the toilet?  (Really, boys?  The toilet?)

After getting all of three items washed off and free of powder, I check on the boys.  Atticus had taken one of his socks and dipped it into a bucket of water we have in the laundry room (don't ask), getting it nice and soaking wet.  He'd then rubbed the wet sock over everything within his reach, including Caedmon, the washer and dryer, the cabinets, the walls, and floor.  

I began to wonder why I hadn't become a nun.  No, I'm not Catholic, but I do know all the lyrics to How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?, and I've seen both Sister Act movies.  I'm a shoo-in.

I sent Atticus up to his room.  I ordered Cade to stay in the laundry room.  I got a depressingly small amount of cleaning done in 30 minutes, then realized I had forgotten about Caedmon.

Something you should know about our laundry room:  it's freezing.  Well, not freezing, but the atomic clock in there generally reads around 63 degrees this time of year.  When I picked Caedmon up in his diaper and one wet sock, he was cold.  I felt guilty and terrible. 

I took him upstairs, dressed him warmly, and put him to bed.  I did the same for Atticus. 

Then I went back downstairs and cleaned for another two hours.  I stopped feeling guilty.

Even now, doing things like reclining either end of the couch or wheeling the wagon of blocks around releases a little storm of Jiffy mix.  

I was going to write about this yesterday, but couldn't quite get over my mad.  Today, I'm regaining enough of my sense of humor to write about it, but not enough to call my mom and listen to her unsuccessfully muffle her snickers as she says faux-sympathetic things like, "B-bless *snort* your little heart *gasping laughter*."  

But then again, I can think of any number of incredibly frustrating, stupid kid things my sisters and I did to our poor mother.  Perhaps she's earned the right to laugh.  

Maybe someday I'll laugh about this, too.  Just not today.

Monday, March 11, 2013


Isn't it funny how five inches of snow in December causes our children to wake up and cry, "SNOW!", but five inches of snow in March provokes responses more like, "Snow.  Blargh."  Your perspective goes from "Winter wonderland, tra la la," to "Freezing cold, white homogenous wasteland, blargh."

Adelaide is currently using a magic eraser to clean off the front of the fridge, because she's having her umpteenth snow day of the school year and wouldn't stop talking to me.  (WHAT?  I talked to her all morning, okay?  This is naptime, the most glorious time of day, where I don't have to talk to anybody if I don't want to.  And I usually don't want to.)

The good news is: despite all this snow, it is March, which means that spring is supposedly on the way (I'm skeptical), and the kiddos and I are heading south this coming weekend to spend spring break with family.

-Attention, internet creepers:  the previous paragraph is not an invitation to come try and break into our home whilst we are away; notice that I said 'the kiddos and I,' which means you'll still have to face 6 feet 5 inches of corn-fed Iowa beef that answers to the name Derek.  Trust me when I say you don't want to go there.-

I was daydreaming with our children this morning about all the things we're going to do while we're there, listing things like play outside, color with chalk, play outside, jump on the trampoline, and play outside.  Adelaide glumly informed me that we're not going to be able to do any of those fun grandma's house things because of all the snow and cold, when I reminded her that we were going to a magical land called southern Kansas where the forecasted highs while we're there are in the 70's.  THE 70'S.  Adelaide and Atticus jumped around in glee, and Cade ran circles around them, excited because they were excited.

Until then, we just have to get through the rest of this snow day (Adelaide is now cleaning the front of the dishwasher, humming a merry tune because she thinks she's almost done- little does she know how filthy I just noticed the oven door and stove top are!  *Cue evil cackling*), a dance clinic and performance that have been squished into one day due to the snow, parent teacher conferences, and a million other little things.

Gracious sakes, how long has it been since someone cleaned the trash can?  Maybe I do love snow days!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Apparently It Starts at the Age of Four

Later this weekend, Derek and I are going out on a date.  This is a big deal when you have small children.

Our lovely sitter is coming over to wrangle the kiddos.

Her name is Hannah.*

Our four-year-old son is utterly besotted with her.

I don't mean that the way some parents do, where they witness their child doing something slightly out of character, put the pieces together, and say something like, "I think someone has a little crush on his baby-sitter *wink, wink*," in a way that makes you feel violated just for having heard the comment and causes you to seriously contemplate dousing some Q-tips in bleach and vigorously scrubbing your ears' innards.  (Please don't talk about your small children's supposed love lives in provocative tones, Parents.  It is beyond creepy.)

You see, Atticus is as lacking in subtlety as he is a good night's sleep.  We know he loves Hannah because he says things like, "I love Hannah."

And he doesn't just make this declaration from time to time.  She's a daily topic of conversation at our house.  Well, if your conversations are all with Atticus.

When it's time to get dressed in the morning, he'll often pull out a shirt and ask, "Do you think Hannah likes this shirt, Mom?"

If we're just staying home that day, I'll say, "I have no idea, Bud."  If we're in a hurry, it's more like, "I think she ADORES that shirt, Atticus.  Now put it on."

It's a little more complicated if there's a chance he might actually get to see her that day.  Then he'll present an array of shirts and ask, "Do you think Hannah's seen this shirt before?  What about this one?"

As we go about our day, he'll often stop and ask, "What do you think Hannah's doing right now?" or "Do you think Hannah likes coloring/playing with blocks/destroying all the furniture?"

When we received her family's Christmas card in the mail, featuring a few lovely photos of their family, he stared at the pictures awhile before asking, "Can I take this upstairs to my room, Mom?"  To which my reply was, "No.  And ew."

He says he's going to marry her, and the other day came up to me and asked, "Mommy, do you know why Atticusses love Hannahs?"

"Why, Bud?"

"Because Hannahs are nice."

For as much as he talks about her, he's usually a little tongue-tied once he actually sees her.  I recently asked her if he ever actually talks to her once Derek and I leave, and she said, "Not really.  He does hug me a lot, though."

Meanwhile, I've tacked a little addendum onto my morning prayers:  "Dear God, please don't let my son be a lecher.  Dear God, please don't let my son be a lecher.  Dear God..."

*Name changed to protect the innocent.

Monday, March 4, 2013

'Crisler Creeping' Isn't Quite Right, Either

Maybe I should give all these lists I make a cutesy name, like... I don't know.  Keeping Up With The Crislers?  It has a nice alliterative ring to it, but then I feel like I should have either the K's or the C's agree, which means it would either have to be Keeping Up With the Krislers, which would be konfusing (someone please stop me), making people think maybe our last name really does begin with a K and I just made it a "C" to confuse internet creepers (there's a brilliant idea that came along two years too late), or it would have to be Ceeping Up With the Crislers, but that looks like it should be pronounced "seeping" and I don't even know what that's supposed to mean.

Plus I hate it when people change the spelling of something just to make it match or appear cute.  (Just think of all those times you've seen the word "crazy" spelled with a K on a sign or ad.)  So I don't know why I'm entertaining this train of thought in the first place.

Anyway.  A list.

  • Last week I was chatting with our delightful children's librarian when she mentioned a gas explosion she'd seen on the news, and all the people that had gotten hurt.  Instead of expressing dismay or concern, I said the the first thing that popped into my head, which was, "I always kinda wonder about gas explosions now, because in the Harry Potter books, that's the wizarding world's go-to excuse for any kind of magical wrong-doing in the muggle world.  So when you say 'There was a gas explosion,' I automatically think,  Must be wizards."  She gave kind of a baffled laugh and said, "What?"  And I said, "Sorry.  I'm becoming too comfortable around you, and that makes me say weird things."

  • We spent the weekend at Derek's grandma's 95th birthday celebration/family reunion of sorts.  Derek didn't feel well, and I had an infected eyelid- you know, the kind of thing that generally befalls you when one would like to at least appear normal in a crowd of people.  Because nothing says, "Thanks for letting me swim in your gene pool," like a red, swollen infection on your face.

  • Adelaide brought home a project from school the other day.  Around the perimeter she had written, "I love Books, Jesus, Mommy, Daddy, Atticus, Caedmon, Candy, God, Cheetahs, Animals, Colors, Sparkles, Vikings, and Cyclones."  Apparently this is what a true Derek/Kristy hybrid looks like.

Creeping With the Crislers?  The Crisler Cult? <------Now there's a blog name that could never backfire!

The Crisler Credo?

I'm no longer making any sense, am I?