First, my funny story of the day: This afternoon I had my laptop on the glider chair in the family room. I sat down on the ottoman part of the glider to respond to an email really fast when Charlie walked up to me, swiftly lifted up the back of my shirt a little, grabbed my jeans waistband and said, "Poopy diaper!"
I could NOT stop laughing. Mainly because I do this to Charlie all the time (check his pants to see if he's poopy). I promise there was no reason for him to think I had a poopy diaper. But it made me think about the things I do with my kids and what it would be like for them to reciprocate these. Like checking for a poopy diaper. Or wiping Eli's face after he gets it messy from eating cereal every morning. Or whatever else that moms do to their poor kids :)
Charlie isn't a big talker in terms of conversation, but he loves to repeat words and can fill in the blank for most books we read together on a regular basis. It's so cute hearing him say, "It's pajama time!" when we read the book by Sandra Boynton. His favorite book is anything that has trains or construction vehicles (I need to get a video of him saying, "Excavator!" in his cute 1-year-old voice).
I squeeze my own reading in mainly while I'm drying my hair in the morning. I sit on the floor in front of the floor-length mirror on the back of my closet, prop a book open with my feet, and this means about 10 minutes of reading time, except for when Charlie plops down on my lap and blocks my view of the book. So really, it's more like 5 minutes of reading each day. It's better than nothing.
Speaking of reading, Eli found a copy of The Book of Mormon on one of our bookshelves and decided it was his. I put his name in the front and we try to read a few verses each morning during breakfast. Eli loves looking at the pictures in the front of the book and gets upset when I forget to bring it with us to church on Sunday. One of these days I'll surprise him by actually remembering...
Our lawn mower has died a slow death. I embarrassed Ben a little on Saturday when I asked our neighbor if we could borrow his so we could trim the meadow growing in our yard after weeks of neglect. Our neighbor was so nice about it and our yard looks MUCH better.
I've been working with Eli on addition/subtraction. I'm talking REALLY basic math (adding/subtracting by one or two). We stand at the chalkboard side of his easel and I'll write the math problems, then we practice tracing and writing the numbers. Sometimes we'll make up stories that use numbers in some way, then write them on the board. Eli loves when I do the little dash marks for him to trace.
At night after our regular bedtime routine all together, Ben or I will take Charlie in to his room to read a few more books and then put him to bed. The other adult will climb in bed with Eli and tell stories. Eli loves this and always wants the other parent to come in and kiss him good night at the end (totally stalling) - if it's my turn to come in at the end, he'll almost always convince me to also tell a story, even if Ben has told one or two right before that. I love curling up next to my oldest son, sharing true stories about him or making up crazy far-fetched tales that make him giggle. It makes me happy to have quality one-on-one time with Eli.
Tonight I was the one to put Charlie to bed - I totally had the hiccups, which cracked him up. Every time I hiccuped while reading stories together in the rocking chair, Charlie would giggle and giggle, then look up at my face to wait for the next hiccup. I love his giggle.
Life isn't perfect. I stay up too late almost every night and drag myself out of bed in the morning. Ben's commute is long and he hates leaving when it's dark early in the morning and coming home when it's almost dark and the kids have an hour left before going to bed. Our house is hardly ever completely clean at one time. And my kids fight and cry WAYYYYY too much during the day and that makes me a little crazy too. We have a raccoon who climbs up on the roof over the family room every night and makes a racket and is such a pest. He even carried a garden tool up to the roof, which he moves around, possibly trying to wreck the poor roof. Stupid raccoon.
But when you boil down to stuff that matters, I feel really lucky to have two sweet boys, a loving husband, a growing photography business, and great friends and family. When I drive around our area at this time of year, I'm struck by the beauty of the old, huge trees dropping pretty, colorful leaves on the old cobblestone streets. I love that we can go to the beach so often and don't mind that there is always a trail of sand near the side door where we take shoes off. I'm grateful that my DSLR is still going strong after more than 82,000 clicks AND that I'll be getting a new camera soon! I read www.nikonrumors.com often and have pre-ordered a new model being released soon. I can't wait for the ability to change settings quickly when I'm doing a shoot. My trusty D40 has served me well, but I am so excited for an upgrade!!