Staple in the head

Sweet Z-Bird, that poor child had to get a small staple in his head on Tuesday. Not to worry too much … it’s the kind of staple that is used to bind a laceration, used in place of a stitch or medical glue, and Zeke’s cranium should be completely healed by next week.

It all started when we were getting ready to head to NSC for an omnisphere redo with Miss Christie and her brood. We had attempted to see a movie in the high-resolution domed-projection theater the week before, but it had sold out due to field trips en masse.

(Despite our missing the show, we did, of course, manage to have tons of fun with Asher, Jackson and Piper that day — especially outside in the sunshine with all the cool critters.)

So, Miss Christie and I decided to give the omnisphere another shot, but this time with Miss Jessie in tow. Lunches were packed, bags were stuffed with necessities, and we were ready to roll into town a couple hours pre-showtime as to ensure our ticket purchase.

Why we went to Texas: to see our pal, Ryan, tie the knot with his sweetheart, Amanda.

Miss Jessie was grabbing a few things and I was about to lock up the house when we heard Zeke screeching. By the time we made it out to the driveway, we saw that the back of Zeke’s was bleeding. It wasn’t gushing out, but anytime you see blood coming from your kid’s head or face, it definitely strikes the fear of God in you.

Turns out that Houston had pushed Zeke down and he hit his head on a some gravel. Zeke says “Houston was being mean” and did it on purpose, while Houston maintains his innocence, insisting that “I was helping you and Miss Jessie.” See, the best-behaved boy was going to ride with Jessie, so I’m guessing there was a mad dash for her car that resulted in some overzealous policing on Houston’s part.

I was able to stop the bleeding quickly, which lessened my worries. We sadly headed back inside, I canceled our outing, and Jessie and I proceeded to tend to Zeke’s wound. I used my trimmers to remove hair from around the gash, making it easier to apply medicine and enabling us to get a better look at the short, but deep cut.

I got Zeke in to see Dr. Gay, and she decided a staple would work best. Unfortunately, it took two tries to get one in flush with his head, but Zeke handled the trauma extremely well, as he always does with medical-related stuff. And as of today, our boy with the bald spot is doing just fine, thank the Lord!

The Pasadena boys reunite in Dripping Springs for Ryan’s wedding.

I’m still working on getting my health in working order, most notably healing my crunched-up core and its adverse affects on my left hip most specifically. In fact, I had my first orthopedic appointment last Friday with the physical therapist who gave me that free screening at the Y back in February.

The appointment entailed electro massage (painful), firm hand massage (a little less painful), and a forceful bend/snap of my quadratus lumborum muscle back into place (surprisingly not painful). The orthopedist gave me a regimen of home stretches to do, and then I’ll be going back to see him in a few weeks.

After a two-week hiatus, potty training resumed on 4/18. We are using pull-ups this time around, which has decreased some of the stress and mess. We are also pitting the twins against each other in the hopes that competition will motivate at least one of them to master the life skill. So far, there have been no huge breakthroughs, but things are indeed moving along, albeit very slowly.

There have been other (more enjoyable) things going on, besides medical visits and dealing with pee and poop … like another “date” Stephen and I had a few weeks back. We kicked off the romance with a trip to Costco, while Jessie watched the kids. Yep, lame, I know, but a necessary to-do that we both find more enjoyable when done with the other.

Check out this old married couple! (Click to see part 1 pics from our Texas trip.)

Luckily, the fun didn’t stop there. After unloading the perishables at home, we headed back out to a nearby sports bar for cheap eats, drinks and some adult conversation. It was a nice evening of both business and pleasure.

Similarly, Stephen and I took the kids with us downtown for early voting in the NC primary on 4/20. Once we were done with the errand, we treated our well-behaved “guacamole heads” to Mexican for lunch at an authentic joint they had not been to before.

That night, the kids had soccer practice, which was their first in a while because of time off for Easter and spring break. The next morning, it was team picture day and a game. The twins held their own, and Houston scored the only goal for the Marvels. The 3 Amigos were thrilled that both Mommy and Daddy were there to cheer them on, as well as Miss Jessie and Kaylee.

A couple weeks ago, I stumbled upon my old copy of Charlotte’s Web. (Thanks, Lisa, for passing down these treasures to me and my kids.) On the inside cover, you see my name scribbled in elementary penmanship, along with the name of my first-grade teacher.

The cool find inspired me to read the book to the boys. And despite its lack of pictures, they absolutely love the classic and have even gotten into acting out the story — stellar dramatizations that are replete with pig oinks and squeals.

Gathering @ the Salt Lick w/ some of our favorite Lone Star friends. (Click to see our part 2 photos.)

I was notified earlier this month that Houston wasn’t picked in the lottery drawing for the one charter school in which I was interested. Hes currently 154th on the waiting list.

No worries, though, because I’m increasingly optimistic that I can pull off this homeschooling thing. The book I’m currently reading on what the author calls family schooling is helping me become more confident. Apparently, we’re already doing so much of what needs to be done. Our practice by home-preschooling has readied us for the big leap into official kindergarten instruction.

I don’t have any illusions of grandeur. I know there will be some great days, some awful days, and even days I wonder, “And why did I want to homeschool?!” But I know we can meet the challenges by learning from our mistakes, and repeating and growing upon what works for the kids as individual learners and for the family unit.

I already enjoy the flexibility of homeschooling. For example, when our St. Patrick/Ireland/Viking lesson went a little long due to other curriculum and time restraints, I told Jessie, “We shouldn’t really stress about it. After all, we are not only the teachers, but we are the school administration and the school board. We run the show!”

This Ron Paul portrait, entitled “2012,” was on display in the Austin Airport. Man, you just gotta love Texas!

Likewise, in addition to Mommy, wife, family manager/planner, nurse, housekeeper/chores supervisor, and light gardener/landscaper, I would also include curator in my resume. The boys are so overflowing with creativity and artistic expression that I am constantly changing up their beautiful displays.

Sure, my house looks like a preschool, but I guess it really is. And some of the noted lovely art as of late includes tissue-paper/clothespin butterflies, egg-carton caterpillars, cupcake-liner lillies, popcorn cherry-blossom trees, and origami dogs and foxes.

The latter was from this week’s Japan theme. The dudes like learning about different countries through presentations and activities, but I do believe their favorite part of these lessons is the food.

Just like devouring the meat pie Houston and I made during our Ireland studies, the kids’ Japan highlight was eating a homemade stir-fry and fish feast and drinking tea from saki cups. They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, well, perhaps the best way to his brain is the very same path.

Battle of Guilford Courthouse

Last month, we attended the reenactment of this historic struggle, which took place on March 15, 1781. (Click the image below to view all the photos.) The event marked the 231st anniversary of the Revolutionary War battle.

The dudes pose w/ a Revolutionary War militia man.

The largest battle of the war’s Southern Campaign was lost by the Americans, but came at a great cost for Lord Charles Cornwallis, whose British regulars and German allies suffered massive losses, totally 25% of the general’s army.

It was a high-water mark for the British military, which was driven to leave the Carolinas soon thereafter, forcing Cornwallis to place all his hopes for victory in Virginia. Seven months later, he would surrender to Gen. George Washington at Yorktown.

The American forces reload & keep fighting the surging Red Coats.

The American efforts at Guilford Courthouse were led by Maj. Gen. Nathanael Greene, who began the war as a militia private, but quickly earned a high rank and the reputation as one Washington’s most dependable officers.

“I never saw such fighting since God made me,” Cornwallis said of Greene and his Continentals at the 2 1/2-hour Battle of Guilford Courthouse. “The Americans fought like demons.”

The British take the hill, but suffer extensive losses.

Greene, who came to be known as The Fighting Quaker, summed up his motivation for combatting tyranny and promoting independence this way: “I am determined to defend my rights and maintain my freedom or sell my life in the attempt.”

Critter craze continues

Our beloved Eastern Tent Caterpillars, Friendly and Dinky, anxiously made their cocoons on 4/13. The pending in-flight creatures, scientifically known as Malacosoma Americanum, are not butterflies at all, but are instead boring brown moths.

Guess that’s an easy mistake to make as a kid, as I did during my heyday of creating “ecosystems” constructed of cylindrical Quaker Oats containers and my mom’s old pantyhose. That was the ’70s, though … now oatmeal comes in huge boxes bought at Costco, we pride ourselves on knowing exactly what kind of insect we’re dealing with (thank you, Internet), and this mom definitely don’t wear no stinkin’ pantyhose.

Friendly and Dinky now share their shoebox-residence with a few baby caterpillars Houston and Miss Jessie found yesterday, while scouring the yard for the aforementioned tents (read: their communal webbed nests found in trees).

Gabriel proudly dons Daddy’s boots.

Besides our new moth larvae members of the family, Houston also befriended an ant yesterday, who he named is Hershey Kiss. The insect now lives in tupperware with ample holes poked on top for proper ventilation. He is currently living in plenty of Carolina red dirt, and feasting on leaves and fruit.

Non-critter nature

In late March, Houston and I finished cutting down the rusty barbed wire in our back yard — a task I began years before I had kids. But since I’m a mom, I dutifully put big bro to work as my assistant.

Houston thoroughly enjoyed handing me the various tools necessary to tackle the project (although he was insistent that a pair of pliers is indeed a wrench). The two of us worked hard clearing the old farm fencing, so we now have a spot for hanging a tire swing  another ancient to-do that will finally come to fruition this spring.

Now, if the boys and Daddy would just get me a hammock for Mother’s Day, our back yard would be pretty darn close to being a recreational/leisurely paradise (hint hint)!

Daddy & the dudes relish in brandishing their “swords” @ Mommy. (Click to see March – Part 1 photos.)

The kids will be attempting to grow one veggie each in our raised-bed garden. They helped me weed and hand-till the dirt, and then Zeke got to plant chocolate cherry tomatoes, Gabriel jalapenos, and Houston cucumbers.

Unfortunately, Houston’s cucumber has already perished. I think it was just a bad plant to begin with. So, the twins and I picked up an okra plant for big bro yesterday on the way home from MOPS. Houston planted it that afternoon, and then we spread a bucket of cow manure Mr. Milt donated to our worthy garden cause.

In addition, Houston and I planted some carrot seeds, and Gabe and Zeke helped me install two more fruit trees.  So if our varied horticulture efforts pan out, we will one day yield the aforementioned veggies, as well as cilantro, basil, strawberries, peaches, apples, nectarines and pears.

Jolly jaunts

On 4/12, the boys and I met up with Miss Christie, Asher, Jackson and Piper. We visited a nearby park on a gorgeous sunny day and the kids tackled the play equipment, battled with light sabers, and went nuts in “the giant sandbox,” which is a really volleyball court, minus the net.

The 3 Amigos are ready for their first soccer practice. (Click to view March – Part 2 pics.)

Last Saturday, Daddy and I took the 3 Amigos to the Natural Science Center for RoboFest, which featured robots, Lego building and lots of other cool engineering displays and activities. And I’m happy to report that when we visited the hall of dinosaurs, none of the dudes were scared of the replicas, as they had been previously.

Another fear conquered is that of the Fry Kids. You know, those fuzzy McDonald’s mascots from the ’80s? “They look like cotton balls with feet,” describes Houston.

Anyway, Zeke was the first to notice them hanging from the ceiling of the only local indoor Play Land — a great rainy-day resource. He became panicked, decided he hated “the ghosts,” and then dubbed the place “the scary McDonald’s.”

Zeke was so sincere in his opposition to the non-threatening fluffs that he even convinced Gabriel to recoil from them. Luckily, they’ve both gotten over the angst, and we have had a successful visit to that McDonald’s since then.

Houston manages the construction crew in the sand egg.

Edible anecdotes

A Sunday school teacher told me that, apparently, Gabriel and Zeke find it enjoyable to dip goldfish crackers in their water cups during snack time. Seems weird enough for my boys, but I asked her what the rest of the class thought about it. “Oh, all the other kids follow right along,” she said with a laugh. “They think it’s a great idea.” What trendsetters!

Thankfully, the 3 Amigos have quite adventurous palates. They’ve discovered their love of jalapeno potato chips and Vietnamese food (well, spring rolls and shrimp fried rice in a combo of soy, fish and plum sauces, but still, pretty impressive). The dudes will also try most anything, which has revealed that Houston likes sushi (well, California Rolls, but still gratifying from my perspective).

Zeke was the last to earn his “fancy dinner” on 4/12. The food wasn’t elaborate, but he was thrilled to chug milk out of a champagne flute, eat off of a glass plate and blow out the candle I had burning for mood lighting. Remember your table manners, boys!