Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Why I Don't Have 3 Kids

Last Friday, I single-handedly took care of Ana (4), Maggie (2.5), and Kate (6 months) while everyone else went to the new house to paint. It was like a hurricane hit our apartment - several times! I picked up toys and picked up toys and picked up toys, and yet they still seemed to be oozing out of the woodwork and spreading themselves in a thick layer over the furniture and floors. At one point the girls had every toy in the house in the living room, and when I stopped them in the hallway on their way towards their pile, arms heavily laden with dolls and blocks, they informed me that they needed all this stuff for their "club." OK, fine, whatever. As long as you're not building a Scientology center, I don't care. But really, they had a riot of fun and they were totally hilarious and adorable. But I'm still glad I gave away all my maternity clothes to Goodwill already.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Weekend Update

This weekend was grueling, but we're past it now, so let's breathe a sigh of relief. Before the bitching and moaning commence, I want to first extend a thousand thanks to Mike's brother Jeff and his wife Jeannette for flying up from Maryland to help us paint the whole house in one weekend and to Mike's parents for also helping to paint (Dale) and for helping take care of the girls (Jane). We're so grateful!

And now, on with the pain and suffering... Painting (almost) a whole house in one weekend is no easy feat people. Early mornings and late nights, red raw hands, fume inhalation, Polar Bear white paint blindness, four trips to Home Depot. It wasn't pretty - but I must say that the house already looks a million times better. The fireplace in the living room looks even better than it did against the fresh, white walls. The paneling actually doesn't look half bad painted. The mint green on the stairs is gone daddy gone. Unfortunately, all of this makes the kitchen look awful! We must remember to pace ourselves. Rome wasn't built in a day, as they say.

And in additional house news, the new locks are in and keeping the bad guys out very effectively. Also, the brand new washer and dryer are in place and ready to launder. Mike will probably wash things that aren't even dirty just to have more opportunity to enjoy his new babies. I know, crazy. The water heater/boiler is NOT broken, don't worry. The emergency switch had just accidentally been turned off, but on the bright side, we lucked into finding a heating oil and maintenance company who will call you back quickly on a Sunday when they don't even know you, so they'll be getting our business this winter. Oh, and we found out that we inherited half a tank of heating oil at a value of more than $700, so that's like Christmas in June. Or maybe it's Festivus for the Rest of Us. I do have more grievances to air...

Sick, sick, sick, sick. We're all sick. The poor little girls are coughing their heads off and snotting all over everything and feeling so puny. I didn't even paint a lick over the weekend because I was taking care of sick girls and hacking up a lung myself. I didn't even see the house until late Sunday night, in fact. The lure of having Ana as a playmate encouraged Maggie to push on through the weekend, and I think she did have a blast, but in Jane's photos she looks a little red eyed and bleary. She was pretty spent when she got home Sunday afternoon. I took Kate to the doctor on Saturday, and after waiting for an hour and a half (Kate was wonderfully behaved, very laid back and subdued rather than exactly sick-acting, quite a difference from Maggie's baby days), the verdict is that we all have the same virus and there's not much to do about it. Antibiotics don't help a virus, and the girls and I (because they're too young and I'm still nursing) can't really have any medication besides Tylenol and Motrin anyway. Cough drops are now my fifth food group. I'm very hopeful though that as of today, we seem to be headed towards recovery. Everyone is sleeping and eating better with perhaps a fraction less snot and hacking.

We're packing up and cleaning out the fridge. Mike's got some more finishing up to do on the paint and is trying to mow if the rain will let him. I'll try to get some photos up of the path of destruction that resulted from my having all three girls here at the apartment by myself last Friday. Good times.

Yes, that's right. Sometimes you have to stop and tell yourself: These are good times.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Money Pit

...starring Mike as Walter Fielding and Amanda as Anna Fielding.

So it's begun, our inevitable slide into fixer-upper hell. The night before last, Mike was at the house working on the taping and prep for the painting this weekend. As he was leaving, he locked the side door and then pulled on the handle to check to see if it was really locked.

...Let me just pause a moment to say that Mike is a little OCD about checking the locks and he gets a little more violent than I would consider absolutely necessary, but I doubt that he could pull a door clean off its hinges with his bare hands (sorry, hun, but you aren't the Hulk)...

Anyway, he rattles the door handle and the dead bolt falls off!! It's one of those night latch locks that's more external to the door itself than embedded in it (like this), and it had replacement screws holding it on. Those screws just surrendered helplessly under Mike's manly assault, I guess. Anyway, today, after trips to a local shop that specializes in locks and the hardware store plus one evening's failed attempt to install the new, real dead bolt himself (which I can only imagine involved a lot of colorful language), Mike screwed the door shut for now and scheduled a locksmith to come out to the house and sort it all out for us. As Kenny Rogers so wisely sang, you gotta know when to fold 'em.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009



Helping Out in the Kitchen

Jumping in the Garden

Maggie Sez... "I like sleeping in the leaves"

Picnic in the Living Room

Murphy, Your Law Sucks

The girls are sick. Did you really expect anything else? Maggie's probably been sick 3 times in her whole life, so it makes perfect sense that she'd get sick now that we have relatives coming in town to help us paint and there's tons of stuff to be packed up and cleaned.

It's really just a cold - Mike's been battling it for about a week (I just want to take this opportunity to blame this all on him!) - but they have low grade fevers and are congested with a phlegmy cough. Kate kept waking herself up all last night (not like she hasn't been a night owl for the past few weeks anyway) until she just got so tired, I think, that she would just go "ooh, ah" in her sleep after coughing. Then she unloaded her diaper all over the swing this morning. Otherwise, though, they seem to be acting pretty normal. Kate's a little cranky but Maggie's in good spirits. It's so much harder when they're limp and sluggish and seem to be suffering.

So instead of heading over to the house to jump in the garden and sleep in the leaves and finish scouring the fridge, we're hanging out on the couch, drinking juice and watching Dora. Maybe I'll get some laundry and packing done instead. That reminds me... I'd better start that load of Kate's pjs and the seat from the swing before it starts stinking up the place.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Our House in the Middle of Our Street

It's official, we're home owners! The signing went very well this morning. At the walk through, Maggie loved the back yard and said she wanted to "jump into this garden" and asked me where her shovel was so she could dig. Hopefully we'll take the girls back over this afternoon after nap time so Maggie can garden. I need to make her a sign that says Maggie's Farm! It was a little awkward because the seller and her family were still in the house carting out the last things and cleaning up. There's a bunch of trash on the curb that won't get picked up until Thursday, so I hope that really happens and we don't end up hauling it off to the dump ourselves. Maxine (the seller) was very sad about leaving the house she's lived in for 45 years. When someone asked her if it was a bitter sweet day for her, she replied, "Bitter." But she seemed to really like the girls and told us which houses had kids living in them. Sounds like there will be a few neighborhood kids around and one family just had a baby girl recently.

Then we had to go to Lexington to the lawyer's office for the actual closing. The girls where incredibly well behaved. Maggie ate her cheerios, raisins, and juice box and watched Dora on Mike's laptop. Kate slept half the time (who is this child? not the one I know - oh, wait, yeah she was up all night partying, so she was just sleeping it off in the office this morning!) and then drank a bottle and sat quietly the rest of the time! Then she napped in the car all the way home. Crazy. We gave Maggie a bowl of ice cream after lunch for being such a good girl this morning. We couldn't have asked for better. No surprises or anything troubling. We'll be taking lots of photos and putting them here and on Snapfish, so keep an eye out!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Go To Sleep

Go to sleep. Go to sleep go to sleep go to sleep. Sleep - do it. Don't make me have to dose you up with Children's Benedryl. Mommy doesn't have time for a Child Protective Services investigation right now. Stop crying and go to sleep. Stop crying! Go to sleep! Stop crying or I'll give you something to cry about. Did I just say that? Jeez. Just go to sleep. GO. TO. SLEEP. You better not wake up your sister. OK, go back to sleep because 20 minutes just doesn't cut it. Go to sleep. ARGH!! Please, please, I'm begging you. I'm willing to bargain - what do you want? Will you please go to sleep? I'll buy you a pony. You can have Dr. Pepper for breakfast. Just sleep now and we'll nail down the details tomorrow. How about you play quietly here and I'll sleep on the couch here - don't mind me if I just put this blanket over my head. For God's sake, just go to sleep!! *whimper*

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Home Stretch

2 more days left until we sign on the dotted line and become home owners! The time can not pass fast enough; we are chomping at the bit.

The appraisal is done (very interesting info, everything looked very good) so the mortgage is finally really finalized. The china is packed. The propaganda has begun to make Maggie believe that moving to a new bedroom will be more exciting than Christmas and her birthday all rolled into one - nothing to fret about, it's gonna be awesome! And Mike is downloading the software onto his laptop as I type so that Maggie can watch Max & Ruby cartoons on DVD while we go through the closing ringamarole. Kate is indifferent. The cats have gathered that something is afoot, but they're distracted by their love of cardboard boxes.

I would also like to take a moment to become one of those horrible, awful kind of gloaty-gloating-braggity-braggarts and crow about how the interest rates are rising as we speak but we already locked our loan about a month ago! Hurrah! That's about $250 less a month on our mortgage payment. Mike is doing his Lord of the Dance jig in the living room. It's quite a sight.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

She Still Hasn't Found What She's Looking For

What is Maggie looking for? Baldischwiler.

Today, Maggie asked to play with our flashlight, which is one of her new favorite toys. She was doing her usual routine of looking under all the furniture and shining the light in the cats' eyes when she suddenly asked me to help her look, she can't find any. Any what? Baldischwiler. Actually, she pronounces it "Bawdishweiger" but I knew what she was talking about. She looked under the sofa, no bawdishweiger there. She looked in the kitchen, no bawdishweiger. Her closet? Nope. Behind the shower curtain? Nope. On the porch? No bawdishweiger there either. I asked if I had any bawdishweiger, and she said yes. So do the cats, apparently, although I guess they won't tell her where they keep it hidden. Finally she told me she found it. "Come with me, run down the hall!" she said. She pointed the beam of the flashlight into the open dryer. "There it is!" We keep our Baldischwiler in the dryer around here. Later, we did another round of hunting with Daddy and she eventually informed us that bawdishweiger is a sticker. A sticker? She showed me a small Santa doll of hers that had a large round Dora the Explorer sticker on it. That's the bawdishweiger? Yes! Strangely enough, a few days ago she was giving each of us one of these Dora stickers to wear because, as she said, we are a family. One for Mike, one for me, one for Katie, one for Maggie, one for Earl, one for Turtle (and one for Santa I guess) because we are all in a family. Weird. When we come to Oklahoma in September, we'll be sure to bring our flashlight so that we can point out to Maggie just exactly where all our Baldischwiler has been hanging out all this time.

I swear I'm not making this stuff up! The sticker is actually a pictures of maracas from a Dora sticker book, not a picture of Dora herself.

Maggie Sez...

...Sacajawea Baldischwiler! (thanks, Auntie Amy!)

....Daddy talks and talks and talks.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Pics I Promised

Maggie & Amy

When Maggie saw Amy wearing that necklace, she said, "Niiiice bracelet!"

The Book Nook

Playing on the "Potch"

This is our solution to Kate's problem of wanting to sit up and play with Maggie and her toys but inevitably doing a face plant when she tries.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sneak Peek

Our weekend ate our brains and replaced us with sleep-walking zombies. But we had fun while it was happening!

Amy Fowler Brandt took the bus up from NYC on Friday night to hang out with her midget fan club for a few days. Maggie was a bit jittery all weekend from the joy of having Auntie Amy to play with and boss around. She even let Amy do her hair! Mike and I stayed up way past our bedtime both nights, but there's always so much to talk about.

On Saturday, Mike took Maggie and Amy over to Medfid to see the house, and lo and behold they stumbled on an estate sale there! Our house was open to the public! Amy went in and browsed around while Mike took Maggie on a tour of the neighborhood - he was a bit worried that if Maxine (the seller) was there she might recognize him and think it odd that he was snooping around. Later, Amy and I went back so I could rummage around in the house too. It was so exciting to be back in the house because I haven't seen it since the open house we went to on the first day! I missed the inspection to take care of the girls, so it's been over a month now. We went in the basement and the attic. We opened all the closet doors and inspected the bathrooms. The place looks like crap! Ha! We talked later about how, at the open house, we were totally focused on the bones of the house - the floor plan, the state of the heating and electricity and so forth, the levelness of the floors, the size of the yard. Well on Saturday, I got a chance to really LOOK at the surfaces and I gotta say...EVERYTHING MUST GO! I'm just itching and twitching with impatience to paint that sucker and scour it with bleach from top to bottom! I won't be able to fully rest until the basement carpet is out on its ear and the toilets are scrubbed to within an inch of their lives. In my mania, I may even find the superhuman strength required to scrape all the exterior paint myself. Call me neurotic.

We proceeded to Target and Home Depot the very next day to purchase our 5 gallon drum of Polar Bear white paint and a cartload of new cleaning supplies. We felt much better as soon as we had our nuclear grade weapons arsenal firmly in hand. Now all I need is one of those thingies that steams wallpaper off and about 6 pots of coffee and you won't even recognize me anymore!

It's gonna be great! It's gonna be horrible! It's gonna be great.

Anyway, later Sunday night, Mike decided to take the crib apart to move it into our room. Kate is growing out of the pack 'n play completely, but she's still not sleeping through the night often enough to move her into Maggie's room, especially now with the teething fiasco. They are both such light sleepers I only hope they will ever be able to share a room without making each other miserable. Plus Maggie hasn't responded too charitably to the idea of Kate taking naps in "her" room. So Maggie was helping Mike with the tape measure and the wrench and the bolts when it suddenly dawned on her what he was actually going to do. Then the sobbing started. She said, "What did I ever do?" and "All of my stuff is missing!" over and over while the tears rolled down. I sat and talked to her about the reasons we were moving the crib and then suggested we fix up her room all pretty. She was OK with that, so we mostly just cleaned up and moved some of the furniture around. Then we made a reading nook next to her book shelf out of her heavy winter comforter and our extra pillows. She loves it!! That turned the whole evening around, and she is in fact having her nap time/quiet time there right now. She may not actually be asleep there, but I haven't heard a peep out of her - that's better than most days. Yay for creative problem solving! Another crisis averted.

Pictures will follow, I promise.

Maggie Sez...

...I miss Gram and Grandpa and Amy, too! (after they had all just left and Mike asked if he could play with her)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Ice Ice Katie

It's fun to sing songs replacing "baby" with "Katie":
Katie, Katie, where did our love go?
Be my, be my, be my little Katie
Don't worry Katie, everything will turn out all right
Katie you can drive my car
Katie's in black and I'm feeling blue

Try it, you'll have fun, too.

PS - If you're into that whole brevity thing, you can sing Bob Dylan's "It Ain't Me Kate."

PSS - Speaking of Bobs, we in the Fowler home also enjoy a round of that Bob Marely classic, "Pajamas" right before bedtime. Pajamas/I want pajamas with you/Pajamas, pajamas/And we hope you like pajamas, too. Wotcha-wa-wa-wa


Kate's little thighs are so chubby right now that she has quadruple butt cheeks. She's so much meatier than Maggie ever was, and yet I recently found out that my friend's one month old is wearing the same size clothes as Kate! I guess that just goes to show you that everything is relative. I think it also means that I should chalk my own quadruple butt cheeks up to genetic anomaly. It obviously has nothing to do with eight boxes of Girls Scout Cookies.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Maggie Sez...

...It makes me laugh and toot! (when Mommy sings along in a funny voice with the Little Einsteins theme song)

Teething with Rage

Kate must be cutting her first tooth (or two). She's driving everyone else in the house (including the cats) out of our minds! I was up at midnight, 3am, 4, and about 4:45 to 6am last night with her. Of course, right now, she's perfectly happy and giggling away in her swing - because it's daylight and I'm sufficiently thoroughly exhausted. The bags under mommy's eyes are now too large to fit in the overhead compartment; next time I fly I will have to pay $50 each to check them.

One piece of advice I have for all the moms of small fry out there: get yourself one of those mesh feeder things ( and fill it with frozen peas (nb: Kate has already successfully eaten strained baby food peas, so we're good to go). Frozen peas work better than chew toys in my opinion. Another great teether: frozen bagel pieces - thanks, Kiki!

Regardless, teething with Maggie was hell, and it looks like Kate is going to follow suit. If someone offered me the opportunity to give birth to Kate all over again - maybe even without the epi! - in exchange for not having to deal with teething ever again, I might just take them up on it! At least it would all be over soon that way. Let's hope I'll be uploading pics of some new little teefies here very, very soon. I have all my fingers crossed!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Maggie Sez...

...No, no, no, Earl *shaking her finger* (it actually started as just the finger shaking before she could talk)

...No, no, no, Mr. Earl

recently became
...No, no, no, Mr. Daddy

and is now
...No, no, no, Mr. Katie!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Cinema Verite

Maggie Sez...

...Turtle is sitting on the newspaper! Cats can't read the newspaper! That's silly, Turtle!

...Mommy, I'm excited to watch Dora and Boots!

...Put Katie away and let's do a puzzle.

...Mommy, pick up and 'whatsa matta, whatsa matta!' (she says this now when she gets upset - her grammar noticeably falls apart when she gets upset).