Monday, November 14, 2016

Family Conversations

Heres the truth: I write blog posts in my brain all the time. I am nearly always writing them out, thinking of funny things I want to tell you or remember.
But then I don't have any time.
Or I remember that the last time that I wrote on my blog was in May and if I'm reopening the blog- shouldn't it be for something important?
Then I think that I should finish updating you about our trip to Australia, or show you pictures from the Fourth of July, Halloween, and - by the way, I'm eight months pregnant.

So I don't end up writing anything, I just give my Instagram pictures extra long captions and pretend that counts as documenting my family's life.

But the file on my phone of funny things the boys have said is just getting TOO LONG!
I have quotes and conversations on my phone from March and April that I have never been shared! The last time I shared funny things my kids have said, my kids were still four.
Now they're kindergarteners who can read and count to 100, like tiny grown-ups.

So here you go. Family Conversations and a picture to boot:

Grey loves his toy owl, and she goes everywhere with him. Her name is Katie (and Grey also named his chicken Aunt Katie!)When his uncle Jack asked why nothing was named after him, Grey said "But Jack- I LOVE Aunt Katie so much, more than anyone!"
He was recently giving Micah instructions for babysitting Katie and said, "She's so easy to take care of, because she isn't messy. She doesn't even poop!" Then he carefully covered her "ears" and whispered, "She isn't really alive, but don't tell HER that!"
Another time he was swinging Katie in the hammock and announced, "Katie carries no weight at all, she's just stuffed with fluff!"

Grey: Where's Katie?
Micah: What Katie?
Grey: AUNT Katie.
Micah: Which Aunt Katie? Aunt Katie the human or Aunt Katie the chicken? There are starting to be too many Katies! Katie your owl, Katie the mom, Aunt Katie the chicken, Aunt Katie the aunt, and YOU! When you pretend to be Katie!
Grey: I am pretending to be Katie now!

Grey drank a large cup of milk in one draught, slammed his cup on to the table, leaned back and sighed "Ah! Alcohol!"
"Hey," I said, "What did you just say?"
He immediately looked really embarrassed. "Nothing. I said 'alcohol,' but THIS isn't alcohol. I wasn't pretending to drink alcohol, I was just thinking about people who drink alcohol."

Micah: His name is Skipper, he's a Fire Dog! That means, if you try to pet him- he gets so angry HE TURNS INTO FIRE. That's what 'Fire Dog' means.

Grey: Mom, I'm snuggling you SO HARD RIGHT NOW.

Grey: I see a face in the moon, I think it's the Moon Man!
Me: Does it help you sleep well, knowing he's watching over you?
Grey: It would, except how could he watch over me ALL night? Doesn't he ever sleep?
Me: He sleeps during the day, of course.
Grey: Oh, of course! Then yes!

Grey: Someday I'm going to be a dad.
Me: I know, and you're going to be amazing.
Grey: I really am going to be a good dad.
Me: What will you do to be a good dad?
Grey: Well, when my kids want to watch a movie, we'll watch a movie together. And when they want to play video games, we will play video games. And if they want to watch a show, we'll watch a show.
Me: Oh, so a good dad watches a lot of shows!
Grey: When his kids want to.
Me: What if your kids like to swim in a deep ocean?
Grey: Then a good dad would take them swimming, so I will! And sometimes Dads need breaks for sleeping and eating.
Me: True. What sort of things do good dads teach their kids?
Grey: Important things! Like listening to Heavenly Father, mostly. And nothing else.

Micah: I saw an American Indian by our house today.
Me: He's our neighbor, he's very nice. I bet he likes a lot of the same things as you. You can go meet him.
Travis: His name is Peyton.
Grey: SATAN?!

Grey: For the record, people should try NOT to drown.

Grey: When I'm done with breakfast, may I have a smidgen of snack cereal?
Me: No, you may not. But you did use the word smidgen correctly, so good job.
Grey: Great! Thanks!
(He was more excited about the compliment than the cereal.) 

Micah: Mom! I saw a gnome in your garden!
Me: A gnome! What did he look like?
Micah: A king!
Me: Was it a big king or a little king?
Micah: He was a Mouse King!

Grey (singing): I wish I had a body like Jesus and Heavenly Father! And I could wear the same clothes as they wear! I wiiiish I could be as BRIIIIGHT as them- it would be pretty good I think!
Micah: They're as bright as the sun!
Grey: They are!

Micah: Mom, do you know what's another word for my penis?
Me: No, what?
Micah: I'm not telling, I'm asking!

Micah: The only way I can go to sleep is to take sleep medicine. Then my eyes feel heavy until they drip closed.

Micah: Hello, what do you need my help with sister?
Me: Well, I brought down the dirty clothes, so I need you to start a load of laundry. And I'd like it if you could clean up the living room.
Micah: Okay, female.

Grey: I can share my handkerchief if I see someone crying, but not a stranger- just with pieces of our family.

Grey: I see a brown man, Micah!
Me: You know, it's not really important what color skin he has, honey.
Grey: Oh, I know. He belongs here too.

Grey: Your belly is getting fatter and fatter, Mom. I hope it's because you're growing a baby.

Travis was flying a toy airplane over to August, "Here comes your airplane!"
"Hey!" yelled Micah, "That's not his airplane! It's MY airplane!"
"Yeah," said Grey. "it's his gum holder!"
Travis flipped the plane over and discovered chewed gum stuck to the bottom.
Later he clarified, "This is where I stick my gum at night, so I can chew it in the morning."

Grey: This is my work-handkerchief. I use it when I'm working so hard that I need to wipe sweat off my face. Or if I need to wipe tears off my face because I'm sad that you're forcing me to work.

Grey: Look! We are both wearing gray pants!
Me: We must be twins!
Grey: We are not. Micah is my twin, and my brother. You are my mom, and we are just wearing matching pants.

Flight attendant: All boys?!
Grey: AND A MOM!

Micah: Grandpa Chris will take me fishing!
Grey: Who is Grandpa Chris?
Micah: You remember. He's married to Grandma Polly. He's the Grandpa like a bear!
Grey: He's not a bear. He just has a beardy face, but the body of a human.

Me: Micah, please leave August alone.
Micah: I don't know why he's crying! He usually likes to play with my tongue, but right now he doesn't want to.

Micah: Know what I see with my good eyesight? SO MANY CARS!
Travis: How many? Count them!
Micah: I think sixty.
Grey: Maybe forty.
Micah: No. Definitely sixty.

Micah: Want to know a secret? If you say "concrete," babies cannot talk. Grandpa Chris told me that.
Grey: He was trying to trick you. He's a trickster I think.

Me: What do you think of the name Moses?
Grey: Well, there's already a movie named Moses, so that could be confusing. People would say "Is that the baby Moses or the movie?"
Me: What about Kurt?
Grey: Again, that's a mans name already, so it would be confusing.
Me: What about Elias?
Grey: That sounds like a girls' name.
Me: What about Elliot?
Grey: Yeah! Elliot! That's a good one for a boy that no one has!

Grey: We could name the baby Streetwalker!
(Like "Skywalker," I think- but for Earthlings.) 

Grey: We are beach people now, right?
Me: Sure!
Grey: Dad's a Beach Loser, but we are Beach Winners!

Micah: Australia is very nice.
Me: It is nice, isn't it?
Micah: But you guys ARE NOT NICE.
Me: Oh, thanks.
Micah: No, I said not nice, Mom! I didn't say you were nice!

Me: Will you make us milkshakes?
Travis: I'm SO tired!
Grey: Daddy, Mom does everything. She just made us dinner.
Micah: You didn't even help her. You didn't do anything.

Micah: Grey is being a bully to me. And he said my heart is filled with anger, but right now it's filled with sadness!

Micah: Be careful in the ocean! I cannot live without my darling precious mother!

Micah: I'm drawing a picture of my dear. Not a deer, like an animal with antlers that lives in the woods- but a dear like "I love you, my dear."

Grey: We have to learn to skateboard so that we can skateboard on a skateboard!

Grey: Did you know that I have puppies named Grey and Micah, Micah?
Micah: Micah-Micah?
Grey: What? No. Micah, Micah. Just Micah.
Micah: Grey and Micah?
Grey: Exactly.

(Grey finished eating and was playing on the couch, while Micah and August finished dinner.) 
Micah: Am I doing a fine job of eating?
Me: Not really.
Micah: I'm just too instructed! August is so cute, he's the cutest boy in the world. I can't stop looking at him, I'm so instructed.
Me: Distracted.
Micah: Yes. And I really miss Grey. I miss him when he's gone.
Grey: I'm right here.
Micah: But you're not at the table with me, so I cannot eat.

Micah: This dinner is actually quite delicious!
Grey: Yes, it's SCRUMPTIOUS! Wait. What does scrumptious mean?
Me: Delicious to the taste.
Grey: It is scrumptious then, I was right.

Me: See how nice and clean your room is?
Micah: Hmm, it IS clean. But I like it better messy.
Me: I like it better clean! Then you can find all your toys and you have lots of room to spread out and play!
Micah: But when it's messy, and your toys are lost, you get to DIG for them!

Me: Tomorrow is Sunday.
Micah: I think I'm going to be sick then.

Grey: I'm writing in my book of remembrance, so I can never forget the things we say in Australia.

Micah: If this baby is a boy, let's name him Bravery. Bravery Pitcher. Bravery DeCon Pitcher. That sounds pretty good and pretty brave!

Grey: This is the scrumptiousest dinner I've ever eaten.

Micah: Ugh, Grey. Look! Yuck! Did you know that the longer you look at poop- the ickier and ickier it gets. I'm learning that right now.

Micah: Who wants to be a sugar burger girl?
Me: I don't know what that means.
Micah: It means you're a Sugar Queen in Witch Land and you love to eat sugar hamburgers!

James: What's your favorite dinosaur?
Grey: I don't like dinosaurs.
James: Your favorite dinosaur is the eucephalus.
Grey: Okay.
James: What are you drawing?
Grey: A treasure chest. And if you can guess what's inside, you'll get a prize!
James: There's a quetzacoatlus inside!
Grey: Um, yes. You win!
James: Hurray! Your favorite dinosaur must be a quetzacoatlus!

Me: Grey, be careful!
Grey: You don't have to worry about me. I can do my own safetys.

James: What dinosaur do you like most?
Micah: I don't like any. I like little, gentle animals. Like kittens and small chickens.

Micah: Do you know what James told me?! The long necked dinosaur likes to eat plants and not people!

Micah: Mom, do you know what Dudley from Harry Potter knows?
Me: No.
Micah: He knows that if he pretends to cry his mother will give him anything.
Me: That's true. Do I give you what you want when you cry?
Me: No!
Travis: That's because we don't want you to grow up and be like Dudley.
Micah: No way! He beats people with his smelting stick!

Me: Alright, Mr. Sassy Pants.
Micah: I'm not Mr. Sassy Pants! You're Sister Breast-Pants!

Grey: Do you know why I'm helping you so much?
Me: Why?
Grey: Because I hope it's a girl baby.
Me: Oh, will you help me less if we find out it's a boy?
Grey: Maybe, Mom. Maybe.... Maybe.... Yeah, I think if it's a boy, I'll help you just a little less.

Grey: August is poopy.
Me: Tell Daddy, he's outside with him.
Grey: I think he must already know. It's a very powerful poopy smell.

Grey: I can't find my California Brothers hat.
Me: Minnesota Twins?
Grey: Ah yes, that.

Grey: Brr! Roll up the windows, I'm freezing!
Me: No way! The fresh mountain air makes you stronger!
Grey: I think there's enough air in here, that if we shut the windows the air would be trapped and we could keep getting stronger.

Me: How's it going out there?
Grey: We are having awfully, milliony fun.

Grey: Ugh! There are bugs on me. I think they are females and they're trying to lay eggs on me!

Grey: I would like forty billion, million-hundreds of cherries.

Micah: How many Harry Potter books are there?
Me: Seven.
Micah: Does Harry kill Voldemort in number seven?
Me: Yes.
Micah: And then they have a party!

Me: Your room is so messy!
Micah: No, just a wee bit messy, I think.

Micah: Elanor, you're so beautiful. I think you're even beautiful when you wear very dirty clothes, or even if you had no clothes! You'd still be beautiful naked.

Grey: Elanor, when we are married, would you like to go fishing together?

Me: How was camping?
Micah: Good! It was as fun as being with Jesus!

Grey: Leaving Max's house is as sad as not going rock climbing for two years!

Micah: Get this harness off my temple!
Me: What?
Micah: My body is a temple.

Me: We are going to a park.
Grey: Have we been here before?
Me: Yes, but not since you were three, so you won't remember it.
Micah: I remember it!
Grey: I remember everything!
Micah: I remember those balloons!
Grey: I remember everything!
Micah: I remember that gray house!
Grey: I remember everything!
Micah: Why do you keep saying 'I remember everything?'
Grey: Because I remember everything!
Me: Okay! Here we are!
Grey: Huh. I don't remember THIS park.

Me: Micah, were you throwing mud at Milo?
Micah: Um. He didn't tell me, "I don't WANT to be muddy."

Grey: I wish I was a grown up so I could stay up as late as I want.
Travis: I wish I was a kid so I could eat candy and have nothing to worry about it.
Grey: Kids have lots of things to worry about.
Travis: What are you worried about?
Grey: Boy-eating foxes.

Micah: Do you know what a person-bomb is?
Me: No. What's a person-bomb?
Micah: When you love someone so much that you explode.

Travis: Do you have a crush on her?
Micah: No, I just like her accent. I'm not CRUSHED on her. But if I see her, I might even marry her.
Me: Do you know what it means to have a crush on someone?
Micah: No.
Me: It just means you like them, and think they're pretty and want to spend time with them.
Micah: Oh, that's all? Yeah- I do have a little crush on that Australian girl, then.

Micah: What are you thinking about, Mom? Harry Potter or how handsome Dad is? Which one?

Me: Do you know what the difference is between boys and girls?
Micah: Girls have the power to grow babies and boys have the priesthood power. And everyone has scripture power!
Micah: No. That's true. You only have scripture power if you read your scriptures. Also- girls have vaginas and boys have penises.
Me: Nailed it.

Me: I'm so proud of myself!
Micah: That means you're stiffnecked!

Grey: Can you even the heck see me?

Micah: Wow, August! You look like you come from a land of cool magicians, where it's so bright- that you need to wear sunglasses in the fields. By the way, fields are very bright because there are not trees to make shade.

Micah: We got to see real human blood today, but we didn't get to feel it.

Grey: Do you wish you had a nice, fat husband?
Me: Not really, I want your daddy as my husband- and he's not fat. So I want a skinny husband.
Grey: Yeah, but don't you wish he was a little more... snuggly?

Micah: Look, Mom! These two spiders are mating. And when they're done- the female will EAT the male! Awesome!

Grey: Our room is swollen with toys!

I tucked the boys into bed. Then less than a minute later, I went back into their room to grab something and Grey sighed "I'm just dropping off to sleep."

Grey was so cute apple picking. He kept saying "These apples will keep all winter! How lucky for us to gather apples that can last us through the year!"

The boys did my makeup and told me that I looked as beautiful as "a girl missionary" and the "painting artist Frida," and I looked like "a handsome baby."

The boys just did Rock Paper Scissors like this:
Micah: Think of one.
Grey: Okay. I have mine.
Micah: Mine was scissors. So I guess I win! Scissors cuts paper.
•long pause• 
Grey: I chose... rock.
Micah: What?
Grey: Rock smashes scissors, so I guess I win.
Micah: But... scissors cut paper.
Grey: I didn't choose paper.
Micah: You didn't choose paper?
Grey: Rock wins. I win.
Micah: Huh... I guess so.

Grey: I think we should have two more babies after this, so we have six kids.
Me: Maybe, but maybe just five.
Travis: I'm going with four.
Grey: Why don't you want more babies, Dad?
Travis: Well, it's a lot of work and money to have so many kids.
Micah: But babies make you happy, Dad. Don't you want our family to be more happy?

Me: I'm sorry! Did I bump you with my big fat belly?
Micah: You're not fat! Don't say that! You just have a growing baby inside of you and it makes your body huger. Hopefully the baby is fat for real, but you're not!
Me: Haha, thanks Micah. I hope our baby is fat too.
Micah: It would be so cute, if she's so fat with fat little cheeks and legs. But then, when she gets bigger- she'll probably be skinny like us.

Dave: Thanks for cleaning that game up, Micah!
Micah: When you are in the service of your fellow being, you're only in the service of your God.
Dave: Wow, that's right! That scripture is from the Book of Mormon.
Micah: Mosiah 2:17.

Grey: Wow! Look at all the spots and lines on your stomach from stretching to grow your babies. Your body is so amazing. I wish I could grow babies, too.

Grey: I want to open these tomatoes.
Me: Let's wait, we are almost home.
Grey: UGH! I just love tomatoes too much.
Micah: He can't even help it! He needs to open those tomatoes!

Micah: Well, I only felt the spirit ONCE at church today. So that was disappointing.

Micah: Mom! Aurora doesn't like ONIONS.
Me: What!? Only crazy people don't like onions!
Micah: Well, I'm crazy and I DO like onions!

Noelle: Well, I'm headed to the temple.
Micah: To look for a husband?
Noelle: No, but maybe I should, huh?
Micah: (Sigh). Husbands are hard to find. There aren't many husbands around here, they don't like it because it gets too cold in the winter. You should go somewhere warmer, like Australia.

Grey: When I'm a grown up, I think I will name my first son "August," after my cutest brother August. Then we'll have two Baby Augusts!
Me: That is very nice, but when you're a grown up, August will be a grown up, too. So you will have a Baby August and an Uncle August.
Grey: Oh yeah! I didn't even realize that. That's even better, because then we won't get confused!

Grey: I went and spoke very kindly to a brown man. I said, "Hello, what are you doing?" He said, "We are fixing rain gutters." And I was like, "I don't even know what rain gutters are!" That's my story, Mom.

Me: What are you thinking about?
August: Huh? Mountains, tunnels, and milk.  Mountains and Milk. Milk Mountains! 

Neighbor: How old are you?
August: Um... August. 
Neighbor: Your name is August?
August: Name is August. 
Neighbor: But how old are you? Two?
August: Two, three, four- August.  Yes. 


Friday, May 27, 2016

Australia 7 - To Perth!

I am proud to say that we made it to Perth! Travis had a really full day on day that we left, so I was left alone to finish packing, load up our things and children, drive the more-than-an-hour to the airport (through a foreign country I'm fairly unfamiliar with, remember!) return the rental car, take the shuttle to the airport (with three kids and 6 bags!) navigate the airport, get on to our flight, and survive the six hour late-night flight with a baby who wouldn't sleep.
Aaaaand, I'm 12 weeks pregnant! So I want everyone to be very impressed with me.

Several people on the flight, including passengers and slight attendants, came over to compliment the boys on being so well behaved and to praise me for having such quiet, sweet children. I almost started crying every time someone said this to me, after the week I've had - being told what terrible demons my kids are and how awful I am at parenting.
The big boys were so friendly and funny talking to the man they shared their row with, and he was really kind. He kept offering to help them with cutting their food, untangling headphones, etc. It was such a blessing to be next to someone like him. It made the flight so much smoother, because I really could focus on trying to take care of August.

We were so relieved and happy to see Aunt Camille at the airport terminal. Finally, we felt a little less out of place.
The boys were hyper and excited the drive back to the Spencers, and practically hysterical with joy in the morning to find cousins ready to play, book shelves filled with books, a trunk of costumes and bins of toys!
It's been hard to entertain ourselves for the last month, and I wasn't sure which they were more grateful for: toys or friends!
Camille is the midst of a dance workshop in downtown Perth- so I was actually home with the boys (including Finn all day, and James when he wasn't in school) for the first few days- and it was actually really nice. It felt like getting home from a long vacation, to be in a house full of food and with a yard and driveway to play in. We got to rest and chill for a while before we dove back into being tourists.

The boys (while crazy and wild when all together), are getting along really well, especially when James is home! He's such a peacemaker. He's so gentle and inclusive that whenever he comes home from school, everyone suddenly gets along really well again, even if they'd been fighting and crazy for the entire day. 

One of our first days in Perth, I decided to brave the park with the four boys. It was overcast and chilly, but I put everyone in sweatshirts with hoods- and figured we'd just come home if it got cold or started to rain. After a while, it started to drizzle a little- but the playground was under a canopy and everyone was still happy. The park emptied around us, and while it had been full when we got there - we were soon one of only two groups left. The sun started to shine again, and I was glad that we hadn't been fooled into going home to escape the weather.
And then- KABOOM! Suddenly, the weather completely changed and BUCKETS of rain started pouring down. The wind was so strong that it whipped the water under the canopy and soaked all of us! I started trying to gather kids- instructing them to start running towards the car, but everyone was frantic and freaked out, and worried about leaving the buckets, dump trucks, and water bottles that we had now scattered across the park.  So instead of running towards the car, they were mostly running in circles screaming! I kept trying to laugh and make jokes as I gathered them, hoping they'd see how funny and silly it was that we had to run to the car in such crazy weather- but the wind was so hard and loud, and the water was so cold that everyone was still hysterical. And my glasses were so wet that it was hard for me to even herd everyone effectively to the car.
After a good ten minutes, I finally managed to get everyone into the car (soaking wet!), and then I had to leave them and run back to the playground in the rain to gather all our toys. Of course, by the time everyone was buckled in and ready to drive home, the sun had come out and was shining again!
But then we were as wet as if we'd been wearing  our clothes in the shower, so it was time to head home.
We decided to spend much of the rest of the day making homemade muffins, snuggling, and watching some cozy movies. It's amazing how it really feels like late-autumn, early winter here while Coolum Beach was still so summery and warm.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Australia 6 - Goodbye Sunshine Coast

My favorite days (and Travis' LEAST favorite!) are the days when Joe calls in the morning and says "We don't need you until noon," and then he calls again at 11am and says "We don't need you until 4pm!"
Those are the days we get to have Travis come adventuring with us!
We are leaving Coolum tomorrow, so I was really excited to have Travis for the day on Saturday, and insisted we go back and visit Noosa Head together. (The national beach-forest that I took the boys to with such pathetic results.)

This time, we were hiking prepared. The boys had swimsuits under their shorts (they insisted on shorts) and we had lots of snacks, sunscreen, and a dad to carry sleepy babies.
We only passed about two other families with children (we hardly see any kids on Sunshine Coast!) and several people commented on how impressed they were with the boys' hiking ability. We only hiked about 4 miles total- but one man even asked, "How did these kids get up here? Did you carry them?" No!
Well... okay. August was carried a little.

The hike was so much more fun this time, and not just because there was no whining. Travis is much more adventuresome than I about leaving the path and exploring with the boys. He lead us down to a pretty little cove that was filled with fairy pools! They were tucked away, up on the rocks, but they were very deep and clear pools of water- full of tropical ocean fish, crabs, anemone and more. It was so beautiful!
Unfortunately, my camera was slung around my back as we were standing on some cliffs- looking out at the water. When a huge wave came up, I turned around quickly to shepherd children back up to safety and got hit in the back with the water! The camera won't turn on, so hopefully it isn't ruined and all our pictures aren't lost! In the mean time, we are living mostly on iPhone pictures, anyway.

When we finally reached the top- it was too windy to take any pictures!

It was a fun, busy Saturday. On Sunday, we decided to attend the other ward at the church building. They meet at 9am and we hadn't made it there yet. Now we are so disappointed that we didn't go there every week! It was full of kids and young families. Several moms asked if we could get together- including a woman pregnant with twins! A few women were from Salt Lake, and the boys' Primary teacher was from Park City. And with an ice-cream social afterwards? Well, what's not to love?

On the way home from Noosa on Saturday, we noticed the tire on the car was flat. We filled it up, but it was flat again on Sunday morning- and again after church! I felt pretty accomplished getting everyone to church by myself, filling up tires on the way! But I felt really nervous about taking everyone to the airport in that car.

Travis took the car today (Monday) to get replaced, so we spent the day "at home" in Coolum Beach, saying goodbye to the playgrounds and beaches that we've gotten to know so well in the last three weeks. And cleaning and packing up the apartment we've been in.
It's been good to us- but we are excited for our next adventure!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Australia 5 - More Beaches, Forever!

Very little has happened this week, we've spent a lot more time building with little Lego sets, coloring, and reading together- though! It's a great change from the iPad. Travis gave me a blessing (like a prayer for someone else), and in it he talked about what a good mother I am and that both he and Heavenly Father are proud of me and love me. Since then, I seriously feel a million times better.

Travis has also been making an effort to say encouraging and grateful things to me, like "You're so amazing and capable- I'm so grateful that you're raising the boys the way you are."
It's silly that those little things make such a difference to me, but they really do!

We've been really lucky, too, because Travis doesn't have to start work most mornings until about 9:30 (Australians are... not hard workers. Which is super frustrating for Travis- but wonderful for me!)
So most mornings, Travis gets up early and goes surfing by about 6 or 7. The boys and I eat breakfast and get ready and meet him down by the water around 8 and we all spend an hour or so together at the beach before the day starts! It really helps all of us to be on to a schedule that we can depend on. Travis has been surfing with Tyler Bingham most mornings (another American that he's been working with a lot.) and the other day he took some pictures of us. It's nice to have pictures with our whole family in them!

This morning after the beach, the boys and I headed out to the Maroochy Wetlands Sanctuary. Luckily, it was all a board walk path around a swamp- because somehow we ended up there without August's shoes!
August was asleep when we pulled up, so I just put him in the stroller, and was going to push him along while we explored. However, we were only a few yards into the forest when I started getting tons of bug bites. I looked down at August and he had at least a dozen mozzies on him at once.
The big boys had run ahead, so I started shouting at them, "COME BACK! COME BACK! We need to turn around, the bugs are too bad- they'll eat us alive!" and I turned with the stroller and sprinted back to the glaring heat and sunshine of the parking lot. I planned on brushing all the mosquitos off and reevaluating our plan.
Unfortunately, my screaming and sprinting sent the boys into a panic. Micah totally collapsed and wouldn't run at all, because he was so scared- which meant that he was being attacked by bugs! Grey (crying) caught up with August and I a couple minutes after we got to the parking lot- so I left he and August together and went to rescue Micah!
(We were the only people there, the parking lot was empty, and only a few hundred yards from the entrance of the forest.)

I was all for loading back into the car and going to buy bug spray- but there was a little forest-rangers office by the parking lot. The sign on the door said "CLOSED" but the door was open and I had seen a maintence man come in and out. I stuck my head into the office, planning on asking if there was bug spray for sale here. (There were a few guide books and t-shirts displayed in the window with price tags.)
The office was completely empty of people, but there on the desk was a half-full bottle of bug spray- that I can only assume was used by the park rangers themselves. I gave the boys and I each a spritz of the repellent and we decided to tackle the forest again.

Once the mozzies weren't a problem, the forest was very fun to explore! It went in and out of very dark, cool areas with vines hanging and thick foliage and very hot, swampy areas where the plants all grew out of algae-covered, thick standing water.
At the end of the "hike" was the river, with a dock out on to the water. We even saw a few boats pull up- but I was too nervous of my brave children falling into the water, so we didn't stay there long.
Grey and Micah loved exploring in the woods and August loved chasing after them, even barefoot. I hardly got a single picture, because the boys were sprinting around so crazily- and I had to make sure no one fell in a swamp and was eating by a crocodile!

We stopped at a deserted playground on the way home to eat lunch- and the boys were so excited to be at a new park (they're getting sick of the Coolum Beach ones). Everyone slept on the way home, and we got back with three happy, worn out boys- ready to color together until dinner time.
Basically, a perfect day. They're finally all acting like friends again.
And birds.
They spend a lot of time "playing birds" and building nests out of every pillow in the apartment. Haha, I'll take it!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Australia 4 - Motherhood and iPads

Today was really a struggle. The last few days, the boys have been increasingly naughty.
Their inability to get their energy out (in the yard, or playing with toys, or even finding calm moments to look at books) has been killing us! Instead, we are either at the beach or hiking (or worse- in the car!) and they can play, run, and be noisy or we are in the apartment. We are usually here for about an hour in the morning, three hours in the afternoon while August naps, and then an hour before dinner until bedtime. So about six hours a day, we are in a yardless, bookless, toyless house. They can usually play and be happy for about half that time, August for less.
Which means that for three or four (and sometimes MORE) hours a day, the boys are playing on the iPad or watching a movie.
They are getting worse at listening and obeying me, they are getting quickly frustrated and angry with each other or circumstances, and they have all been screaming and throwing tantrums several times a day! I hate the lousy iPad!
It doesn't help that we received a really unkind email from the woman that we stayed with for a few days at the beginning of our trip. She wrote to us (and AirBnB) about what terrible parents we are, raising monsters for children. She said that she feels bad for our kids that they have to be raised by such awful people. She claimed that we destroyed over $3,500 worth of her property and is insisting on payment! We are currently awaiting "mediation" from AirBnB.
That email in addition to my pregnancy hormones, exhaustion from lack of sleep and jetlag, and three crazy boys bouncing off the wall is making me feel like a total failure in the mother department.

This morning, I loaded the boys up by about 8am and we went to Noosa National Park which has a really amazing coastal hike, with koala-filled rainforests on one side of the trail, and stunning ocean cliffs and steps down to beaches on the other.
Unfortunately, I packed and dressed for "a hike through a national forest." I put the boys in jeans and t-shirts, when they should have been in swimsuits and sunscreen!

Holding hands as a punishment for punching each other... 

About a half mile in, the boys were so whiny that we turned and walked back to the car. The boys changed into swimsuits in the car, I grabbed a towel and some extra supplies and we walked back to the best beach we had passed (about a half mile away). The beach was perfect and amazing! It was a sandy little cove with lots of rocks and boulders covered in snails and mollusks and filled with little pools of tadpoles. The boys has so much fun playing and exploring. Micah starting gathering large rocks and trying to build a dam, but when August wanted to participate and shifted some of the rocks Micah had placed, Micah pulled back his arm and punched August twice (EXTREMELY HARD) on the chest! He had already done the same thing earlier on the hike to Grey. We had to leave the beach immediately, because I was so angry and didn't know how else to react! August was crying the whole way back from the beach, and Micah was following a few feet behind me screaming like he was burning in a fire.
An older woman smiled at me and said, "You're a good mom to even have brought them." And I wanted to scoff.
Yeah right! A good mom doesn't have children that behave this way!

But seeing Micah react so horribly to his brothers is making me reevaluate our time here. I'm definitely cutting them off from the iPad for the rest of the day and hopefully longer. It's so difficult to cut them off from it completely here, because I know that if they have the iPad they'll all at least hold still and be quiet and stick together! They're not climbing and falling off the patio or trying to balance fragile dishes, or leaping from the kitchen table to the couch.
They're so active and noisy that sometimes I feel it's my only option- especially if I want to get something else done! They'll listen to me read (we are reading Dr. Doolittle aloud right now), but August is too little and noisy and if I'm reading, I can't also be making dinner.
So now I've forced everyone in to their beds for naps. It's noon, and luckily August fell asleep on the way home from the beach hike. Maybe we can all wake up a little kinder...


Everyone woke up fairly happy, they colored and snacked for a couple hours before they started fighting again- but I wasn't having any of it.
So we loaded up and walked to the beach. The boys claimed that they're sick of the beach and didn't need swimsuits! But we brought the sand toys and they played for a long time building, making sand-angels, and running back and forth from the shadows of the trees to the waves. The sun sets so early, that we have to start heading home by 5. And we had to run to escape all the mozzies! (Australia-speak for mosquitos).

We had corn on the cob and hamburgers for dinner, so everyone is in a really good mood. I even avoided the temptation to turn on an after-dinner movie while we wait for Travis and I made everyone color instead.
I can do it!


Australia 3 - Kangaroos and Koalas!

In the week or so since I've written, we've mostly spent our time at the beach, running around from park to park in town, or exploring Coolum Beach itself. So excuse the excess of beach pictures!

We bought Micah and Grey some goggles this week- to help them feel braver about putting their faces in the water... It hasn't really helped, but they love the goggles anyway. They keep them on SO TIGHT that they always look slightly bruised and abused after they take them off. 

The crabs here process the sand as they remove it from their holes, rolling it in little balls to remove any of the flora they can eat- then they excavate it- making the beach look like it's covered in lace!

I woke up today feeling fairly sick. My head was pounding and my throat was sore and I am still suffering from a dreadful jet lag combination of insomnia and exhaustion from pregnancy.

I was so grateful when Travis said that he didn't have to work until noon! He came with us to the beach and surfed and played with the boys while I laid in the sunshine, and then- miraculously!- Joe called and said that their model for the day had fallen through. They were going to work on some smaller things and try to line up a new model, but didn't need Travis at all!

Since we had Travis for the whole day (and it was a Tuesday, too! I hate going to busy places on weekends!) we decided to brave the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. It's in Brisbane, almost two hours away, and I haven't felt comfortable making the long drive alone- especially not feeling well, but since this might be our only chance to go with Travis- we seized it!
The drive was really long, but thanks to the beach, the boys were already tired out and Grey and August slept almost the whole way- and so did I! Travis is the best!

I also promised the boys that at the "Koala Zoo" they could each pick one special toy to remember our trip to Australia. Grey was quick to pick a fuzzy stuffed Koala that he named Koko. Micah debated between a stuffed kookaburra and a book about Australian animals- until he saw the boomerangs! He was so excited, he kept running out of the shop to show Travis before we paid. Afterward, he told me "Link (from Zelda) uses his boomerang to kill people, but I won't kill any people with this." He's been complaining for days that he doesn't feel safe without his toy gun here and he wishes I had let him bring it, but now he says that a boomerang is even better than a gun and when we get home, we can throw all the toy guns away!

There were a lot of really amazing animals at the zoo- we met several cockatoos that said "Hello," and "Bye bye!." And many, many other interesting birds. There are wild bush turkeys EVERYWHERE here, we see several a day and August loves them. They were running wild all over the zoo, too.
The lorikeets were especially fun- although all the boys got bitten by them! (They were trying to pet them, so it's understandable!)
They're little tropical birds with bright green backs and red-orange breasts. We got to visit the lorikeet feeding, where they essentially hand out plates full of the lorikeets' food to all the people and the birds come shrieking and twittering in from all over the park to land on people and eat their dinner. It was noisy and crazy, but very cool!

We saw the platypuses, which were so lively and swam all around their tanks, wriggling their little bodies. I was very surprised at how small the were. They were much smaller than ducks, about the size of a brand new puppy!

The dingos just looked like very pretty, lion-colored dogs. I thought they seemed bored and lonely. They're really just wild dogs- but raised in captivity, they're just dogs! They looked like they wanted to be pet and played with. I know at the Australia zoo, you can take them on walks!

The koalas were smaller than I expected too. They were everywhere, and their cages were all open, so they could climb out and around if they wanted to. We were excited to take a picture with the koala, since it was advertised that if you paid for the professional photo, then you could have a few minutes to pet and cuddle and take your own pictures. But that didn't seem to apply to children. The keepers seemed panicked about the boys, so we barely got to hold it pat the koala at all! They hurried us through, and the koala peed on me! He was kind of a let-down, but the boys still liked it.

Haha, this totally looks worth $20 doesn't it?

There were also lots of lizards everywhere! Very few (except crocodile-sized ones) were in cages or tanks, most were just wandering around. We saw a few very big ones running around on the paths and laughed when other tourists saw them and SCREAMED! Haha!

The wombats were another Australian animal that were very fun to see (rather more exciting than the small, sleeping crocodiles). Before we saw them, I tried to describe them to the boys.  "Like a tiny pig-bear," I said. "Like a giant, fat bunny," said Travis. But after seeing them, I think they're more like tiny, fuzzy hippopotamuses!
They ran around on short stubby legs and dug lots of holes trying to escape their pens.

The most fun animal at the sanctuary though, was the kangaroo! The "kangaroo enclosure" was really a huge fenced field with picnic tables and everything. We were able to go inside and for a few dollars- were able to buy bags of kangaroo food (like the pellets you feed goats at a petting zoo!)
The kangaroos were friendly and small, and expected food- so they hopped right up to us! They let us pet them and hug them, they were so gentle and soft- much softer than I expected! They were like big, happy dogs- except that they didn't jump up on you. There were a few very large male kangaroos, but they weren't interested in us. They just lay stretched out sleeping in the sun.

Joe called partway through the day and asked "How are you feeling?"
"Overwhelmed," said Travis, and I laughed! Here I was, thinking that the boys were being really good and the zoo was so easy with two adults instead of doing it by myself. I'm so used to outings with the boys that I don't usually think anything of it. Keeping track of everyone and feeding everyone and bring boys to the bathroom aren't a big deal, as long as no one is exhausted to the point of murder!
But I think he was really just stressed that he should be working while we were playing. I know it was hard for him to feel the whole day was "wasted," but it was a blessing for us!
The long ride home was hard after such a long day, even with snacks- so the boys watched Little Bear on the iPhones and we got home just in time to make scrambled eggs for dinner and send everyone to bed!