Mark and I failed as parents tonight. It was bad enough that Lorelei, after dropping something, uttered the word damm*t. It was much worse when, not a second later, Gryffy blurted out the word himself, adding it to his vocabulary of five. Brilliant.
This morning the kids had Music with Mar, a fun, energetic music class together in which we sing, dance, and explore instruments. After music, Lorelei had her very first gymnastics lesson. The teacher had to corral her a bit, as she was the very youngest of the group of 3 to 5 year olds, but she loved every minute of it, especially playing with the hula hoops. This was her very first lesson without me--no more toddler time! Gryffy even got to play in the special playroom for siblings and parents, with a window to the gym. This afternoon, we're doing an art project for our new entryway. I'm having each of the kids put their hand and foot prints on paper and framing them, so that I'll always smile when I walk up and down the stairs. I also did my own artwork last night, arranging a humongous display of flowers for the new entry table. It's good to be back in our home after a week and a half of having the entry painted terra cotta orange, our hardwood floors refinished, carpet laid, and iron balustrades installed (the last project being one that Mark and I are tackling ourselves). Our home's never looked so welcoming!
Our fuzzy wuzzy glittery green egg-carton caterpillars
Lorelei thinks she's a leprechaun. Not a bad likeness.
Who's the baby?
Gryffy in his exersaucer on the deck
To ring in St. Patrick's Day, the kids and I listened to some Irish fiddle music this morning while we finished our sparkly green caterpillars over breakfast. We had to give them legs, of course, because otherwise they would have looked like snakes, and we all know that St. Patrick drove all the snakes out of Ireland!
We would have loved to have seen the famous parade through Kansas City, but found ourselves stuck at home (the new car was in the shop getting new tires). So, we made the best of it and spent some time in the backyard in the 80 degree weather.
"May luck be your friend and your troubles be strangers and few." -Irish Proverb, from Mark
Last night at dinner, my jaw dropped as Gryffindor, from his high chair, muttered "I love you" to Mark. Lorelei was dizzy with excitement, wanting her brother to "say it again--say it again!" And so he did, again and again, to all three of us. An early talker, just like his sister, and what a thing to say!
I've just put Gryffy down for his afternoon nap. I love this time of day, because both kids are great nappers and they nap at the same time, meaning I can actually sort through the house, return phone messages and emails, begin dinner, and even work in a spot of time for blogging (if all goes as planned).
Gryffy's earned two new nicknames lately that I rather fancy--Snogger and Kanoodle--because of the way he constantly gnaws on people's jaws and plants a ton of sloppy, open-mouthed cheek kisses. Now that he's nine months old, he is everywhere and into everything. The trash cans are favorites, much to my dismay. He's talking now, too. Well, okay, I should say that he has a vocabulary of about four words/phrases (mama, dada, hi, all done), but for nine months, I'd say that's pretty impressive. His "all done" is pronounced very well, and is accompanied by sign language. Must take after his smarty-pants older sister (or, as I'd like to think, his brilliant mother). Lorelei (a.k.a. Frecklerump, Prissy, and Belle-Bottoms) has almost graduated from the Parents As Teachers program, a free resource to all parents that offers home visits, playgroups, and assessments for tracking the development of infants and toddlers. She did swimmingly on her 3-year assessment, and scored in the highest developmental percentile on every category save for one, gross motor skills, where she took a modest average (again, she takes after her mother). I'm so proud of my Snogger and Frecklerump!
The time change had tricked me into an extended slumber this morning, when at the end of a happy dream (about kids' bday parties, of course--we've been to three this weekend) I heard the strange sound of a zipper: Lorelei was sitting politely on our bedroom floor, getting markers out of her coloring bag and silently coloring a picture. And I suddenly realized that I had a three year old now, and how very grown up she is, too. We celebrated Lorelei's bday party on Saturday night--a disco inferno in Grammy and BPop's basement. Twenty-three kids running wild, disco dancing, all caught up in the Saturday Night Fever. There was a strobe light, 70's music, and groovy outfits, including Daddy's funky, oversized glasses. He was a great sport. Lorelei was wired after all the cake and drinks, but a bit exhausted by the time the night was through. We wound down the evening with an interview from her birthday book (titled: Your Birthday Book: A Keepsake Journal), a new tradition we will keep with both of our kids each year.
Happy Birthday, Lorelei Belle! It was exactly three years ago today that you came into our lives, transforming our hearts, rearranging our priorities, teaching us what a gift it is to call ourselves your parents. We love you more than all the stars in the sky!
Sometimes, when life seems out of sorts, a little sorting out of things is just the thing to renew the spirit. God bless my mom, for coming over and helping clean house yesterday while my morning was consumed with phone calls to claims adjusters and the like. It seems Lorelei's got a bit of her grandma's knack for cleaning, which was in large part lost to me. My little cleaning fairy, I like to call her. Bless her.
The car's a total loss, but things are sorting out. The adjuster from American Family Insurance has been extremely helpful and has offered a more than fair settlement. CarStar Metcalf has, once again, come to my rescue and treated me like family, truly seeing to it that we were taken care of; they are tops in my book (a high honor). And though I wrestle with demons of what might have been, with flashbacks of the moment of impact that keep me tossing in the dark of night, I have a clean house, a necessity for a cluttered mind and unsettled spirit. And driving away from my trusty Mazda 5 for the very last time today, I was completely consumed with gratitude. Thank you, God, that we are okay. I probably said it a hundred times driving home. Thank you, God, for my children. For my husband. For this life. I love living it.
BOOM. It happened before I knew what had hit us--a truck, running a red light at 50+mph. And as the haze of the airbag swirled around me, I heard two terrified cries from the back seats. I rushed to sweep my kids into my arms, seeing that they were both okay. A kind stranger took us into his car and out of the cold. I held my kids, sobbing, so grateful that we were spared from the tangle of wreckage, kissing their heads and holding them tight. It's in moments like these that life becomes clear, that you reflect on your priorities. It's a blessing when you realize, at the end of the day, that you've had your priorities straight all along.