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Quick story about the Pete-meister.

I should first share that Peter has a rule about Christmas trees. Each tree must have a star or angel on top or it’s not a Christmas tree, it’s just a tree with decorations. He’s hard and fast with this rule. No exceptions.

Anyway…

This weekend we were driving to the dike for a family sled-a-thon. (Note: the dike is pretty much the tallest hill in Fargo so it’s a popular spot for sledding.)

As we drove, we checked out the neighborhood’s Christmas light displays.

One of the houses had a star on it. 

Here’s what we heard from the backseat:

Dad and Mom. Look at that house. It thinks it’s a Christmas tree! Let’s all laugh at it.

And then he proceeded with the most fake, deep chuckle we’d ever heard for the next three blocks.

He stopped laughing for a little bit and then started  up again. Casey asked him what was so funny and Peter replied:

I am still laughing at that house because it is still funny!

I’m not sure where he comes up with this stuff but I’m glad he does because it sure does make our lives fun.

This post could alternately be titled as “Bad Things Happen When Children Are Too Quiet”

What do you get when you combine puffy paint and small children?

A mess.

Last Saturday Casey, the kids and I went to my youngest sister’s basketball game.

(Side note: Sydney is in 7th grade and is playing on the junior varsity AND varsity teams! How exciting is that? She even scored a three pointer during the varsity game! Back to the story at hand.)

Our kidlets sat for a while (like 6 minutes) and then Casey and I alternated in taking them to the concession stand, restroom, hallway, etc. Basically anywhere that was unlocked and not off-limits within the school.

Their favorite spot was the lobby, where the students’ lockers are housed. They ran around and around the first set, chasing each other and laughing. Casey and I stood together and watched them, having one of those moments where you’re just totally in love with your kids and their utter adorableness.

We stood there visiting as the kids continued their laps, extending themselves from the first to the second locker banks and finally on to the third. It was pretty much a date, right there in the school lobby. Take them when you can get them, I guess.

The date came to an end when Peter came up to us and said he got dirty. Dirty? How would he get dirty in here?

That’s when I noticed that Charlotte’s boot had something blue on it.

Blue? There is nothing blue in this area. What is that?

Casey and I got closer to the kids to respectively examine their blue dirt.

Oh crap.

Paint.

Where did they find paint?

I walked behind the third bank of lockers and stopped short.

Puffy painted shirts were drying on the floor. Cheerleaders’ puffy painted shirts. Cheerleaders’ puffy painted shirts with little footprints on them. And carpet. Carpet with red and blue paint.

Oh. My. Goodness.

The kids had run around the corner, coming from opposite directions, and ran right into the shirts. Definitely an accident on their part, but why do accidents never involve buckets of soapy water?

Casey took the kids to the bathroom to start cleaning up their shoes while I paced and tried to figure out what to do to clean up the mess. 

I found a random roll of paper towels and headed to the bathroom to get some water so I could start cleaning up the carpet.

I poked my head into the men’s room to see how the cleaning was progressing. The shoes were coming clean, but Peter had another accident…this time in his pants.

Excellent.

We decided that Casey would take Peter home to change his pants, and would bring back carpet cleaner and a scrub brush.

In the meantime I took Charlotte back into the gym to sit with my parents and siblings while I started cleaning the carpet. They asked what was going on and I told them the story. They thought it was funny.

Yep. Funny. That’s exactly what I was thinking as I worried about getting beat up by high school cheerleaders.

After scrubbing out what I could, I joined my family in the gym and wrote notes to the three cheerleaders who had been impacted by the incident.

The apologies...

I wrote out three $10 checks (accidents are also rarely inexpensive – bummer) and stuck them in the envelopes, then waited for Casey to return with the supplies.

He soon arrived and I got to work. I was glad to have done the “pre-treating” because the paint came out really well with the Resolve cleaner and a bit of scrubbing.

I placed each card by an affected shirt and headed back into the gym for the rest of the game.

Evidence A Exhibit B Exhibit C

After the game, we hung out for a few minutes congratulating our basketball star and letting the kids run in the gym.

As we left the building my phone rang. I didn’t know the number and my heart dropped into my stomach as I thought again about angry cheerleaders.

I answered hesitantly.

It was one of the cheerleaders.

She said she got my note.

She said she and the two other girls tore up the checks.

She said that was way too much money and it was an accident and I didn’t have to worry about it.

I almost started to cry.

Cheerleaders at private Christian schools are awesome!

I told her she was a sweetie and apologized again.

My heart returned to its normal position and we headed off for our next adventure.

Even though we’d already had enough adventure for a few days.

Our family had a great Halloween night, with lots of trick or treating which resulted in LOADS of candy! I’m doing my part to whittle it down so that the kids don’t get too sick. I’m such a good Mommy.

Here’s my little dragon, Peter (I made his costume this year – bought the fabric weeks ago but, for some reason, waited until literally the last hours before he needed it for school to sew it. Some day I’ll learn.)

Peter

And my little lady bug, Charlotte (costume courtesy of Carter’s)

Charlotte carrying her own loot

Casey and I took the kids and my sister Sydney out for three blocks worth of trick or treating (our longest Halloween trek yet!)

smiling for the camera

The kids had a great time ringing the doorbell and waiting for homeowners to come with their treasures. Peter complimented almost all of the homeowners on their nice decorations or cool candy bowls. What a sweetie.

at the alley neighbor's house

waiting

and seeing a HUGE pumpkin was a family favorite!

neighbor's huge pumpkin!

When we returned home, Peter ditched his costume and spread out all of his candy

Peter and his stash

Charlotte preferred to sit on her loot. I think it was more functional than protective.

sitting on her pumpkin

I think the highlight of the night, though, was watching my two little kidlets playing together.

playing together with Peter's candy

What a great night…makes me want to stop time.

This week my favorite thing came from Peter.

Casey was reading to him last night when Peter asked, “Dad. Why did Jesus die for us?”

Casey gave him an answer that’s somewhat consumable for a four year old.

Then Peter said, “So Jesus is waiting for us in heaven?”

“Yes,” said Casey.

“Well when I get there I’m going to give him a big high five.”

Does it get any better than that?

A couple weeks ago we went to a baseball game with some teachers and other families from Peter’s school. The tickets were a pretty good price, we all love hot dogs, and we hadn’t been to a game in a long time.

Peter and Casey stayed in their seats for approximately 26 minutes and then headed for the playground. Charlotte and I lasted a little bit longer and then were off to catch up with the boys (and the mascot).

Charlotte and Hawkeye  walking

Peter's kicks  waiting 

sliding with Matthew

We lasted until the 7th inning and then our munchins told us they were ready to go home.*

I think it’s safe to say we’ll just be going to our playground for future entertainment…unless the tickets are free.

 

*Telling us they were ready to go home may or may not have consisted of a minor meltdown.

This little boy of mine cracks me up.

shade boy

He likes to sing while he goes to the bathroom, but doesn’t want you to acknowledge that you can hear him.

—————

Our conversation last night as I put him to bed.

Mommy, will you lay with me?
Sure!

This doesn’t happen very often, so I was going to take advantage of Casey being sick and me getting to be the cuddler.

I crawled into his lower bunk and put my arm around him.

Mommy, please don’t put your arm around me.

I pulled my arm off.

Mommy, please move over a little bit more.

To the wall I retreated.

Okay Mommy, you can leave now.

Brief, but sweet…I guess.

—————

He loves his toys and wants every day to be share day at school. He acts out this wish by bringing a toy downstairs almost every day and then throwing a mild tantrum when I tell him it’s not share day.

—————

When he finishes a stunt (which varies from hopping on one leg to sticking his legs out while riding his bike) he says:

Have you ever seen that trick before?

—————

His best friend is his Dad, but I can be a good friend.

—————

Overheard this morning as he said goodbye to Casey, who is home sick from work today.

Daddy, sometimes I’m mad and sometimes I’m happy. Today I’m happy! That’s just how it goes.

—————

He loves his sister, but sometimes he just has to wail on her. I think it’s a boy thing.

—————

He likes to wear my sunglasses and make funny faces.

goofball

Oh how I wish I could stop time…

Last week Peter’s school had a trike-a-thon. As I brought his Spiderman Hot Wheels bike into the playroom I noticed that most of the other bikes were uprights with training wheels.

Surely those had to be for the 7 year olds.

Nope – Peter was pretty much the only 4 year old riding a Hot Wheels bike.

Oops.

I told Casey about what I saw and we headed over to Island Park Cycles to remedy the bike situation. (I’d prefer to call it “moving him up” rather than “keeping up with the Joneses” or “caving to Mom pressure”.)

riding to Island Park Cycles

It was closed for the night. Tears ensued. We promised to go tomorrow after work.

The next day I met the boys at the shop. After talking Peter out of a green bike that was sized for a 2 year old (really? Kids that young ride upright bikes? Maybe Peter’s just way too tall for his age.), we found the coolest blue bike ever.

Peter's getting a big boy bike!

(That’s bike shop Jen getting the new roadster all checked out.)

A few minutes later, our big boy was riding off into the sunset.

riding off into the sunset

After some “push back to brake” lessons, a run in with a fence, and more “push back to brake” lessons, Peter and Casey were ready to ride the 5 blocks to our house.

first ride home

I drove alongside them in the car, stopping every now and then to offer encouragement and take pictures.

That lasted for about 2 blocks though, as their speed rivaled that of an Amish caravan and I’m just not the most patient person in the world. Especially with cars starting to line up behind me.

I waited with, camera-ready, for them to arrive.

Peter rounded the corner to the garage and crashed into the Impala.

I didn’t get a picture.

When he was done crying, he walked his bike around the yard and tried again to triumphantly enter the garage.

coming down the sidewalk

He also posed for a quick shot…

stopping for a picture

before heading into the garage…

Riding into the garage

where he crashed again.

What an adventure!

(Fast forward – he’s on day four of having his new bike…no more crashes to report!)

When I was growing up, I loved crayons.

There was nothing more wonderful than getting a brand new box of Crayola crayons at the beginning of the school year. I would take great care in pushing in the preforated yellow box, making sure that I didn’t rip the front or sides to spare myself the indignity of having a ruined box for the rest of the year.

Once the golden box was open, I would look at the neat rows of crayons. There they were: periwinkle, sea green, violet red, and the siennas – raw and burnt.

I took great care to make sure I returned them to their proper locations after use and tried not to push too hard – except, of course, when I was adding contrast by shading one side of the image – to keep the tip properly beveled.

When my son turned two I was so excited to get him his first box of crayons. I thought of my own fond memories as I handed him a box of crayons specially designed for the dexterity of a toddler.

Peter took the crayon in his hand.

And then the little monster bit the tip off.  

I tried larger (yet) crayons. The mutilation continued. I tried…RoseArt (blech). No luck.

I soon resigned myself that my son and his appetite for wax couldn’t be quenched.

When our darling baby girl came along my hopes for a crayon nurturing offspring were rekindled. She’s a sweet girl, has angelic blonde curls, and her middle name is Rose. She’d surely treat the crayons the way they deserve, right?

Wrong.

IMG_2952

Another crayon killer, under my own roof.

The horror.

Peter and I were enroute to his school this past May.

I love this time with him as we get to talk and be silly as we careen the Fargo hills (ie: underpasses).

“Mommy, I want to be in the running show with you and Daddy next time,” said my dear one.

Running show. Running show? I had no idea what he was talking about.

“What running show, honey?”

“You know, the one where you and Daddy came into the room and you were on the big screen. I want to be on that.”

Ah – he was talking about the marathon! The end of the Fargo Marathon results with racers triumphantly running into the arena of the Fargodome, and is broadcast on their four jumbo-trons.

“Okay, you can do that with us. And then you can get a medal like Daddy and I did.”

“Oh no, I don’t need a medal, Mommy.”

Then pointing to his chest, scrolling his finger across and down, he said…

“I’ll just wear a t-shirt that says ‘I don’t need a medal, because I win every time’.”

I totally lost it and called Casey to tell him about our son, the winner.

It just hit me again as I laid Charlotte down to sleep in our bed. This is all going to pass by so quickly.

I first felt it when Peter was just a few weeks old.

Casey and I were at the dinner table, Peter at our feet in the crib from Uncle Andrew. I looked down at my sweet baby and started to cry. Casey asked me what was wrong.

“I don’t want him to grow up,” came out as a sob.

“Honey, we do want him to grow up,” reassured my sweet and so practical husband.

“No. I. Don’t.” I sobbed back.

I really didn’t. I wanted that little baby to stay in that crib for all eternity. That sweet baby will turn four in July.

And now my new baby is leaving her babyhood. Her arms and legs are starting to stretch out. Her blonde hair is getting longer and thicker every day. Her legs are holding her steady as she bobs up and down and ventures forward a few steps without the aid of a couch/parent/table/stationary object. Her mouth has four little teeth. Her vocabulary consists of “ma-ma”, “da-da”, and “go”. Her brother is her hero and the way she looks at him makes me break out into a grin instantly. Her first birthday is coming up in just over a month. Unbelievable.

So tonight as I laid Charlotte down to sleep in our bed, I softly muttered, “This is going by so fast. They’re going to be gone in the blink of an eye.”

I started to get teary and waited for Casey to say something profoundly reassuring…and kept waiting.

“Are you asleep?” (The world’s best question from a wife to her husband when he’s clearly sleeping.)

He roused long enough for me to repeat my sentence. His answer wasn’t reassuring. It was practical. “Yes.”

And so I’ll continue to stare at my babies as they sleep, willing them to stop growing but recording each moment of their lives in my mind.