times they are a changin – Part 1

It seems that recently, each member of the Priestman household has gone through some sort of change. Some good. Some bad. Some just… um… interesting. But enough that the changes required a posting to update y’all.

First, the breaking news: POTTY TRAINING SUCCESS! That’s right, folks, we are potty training pros around here. In no time at all, he went from diapers-’round-the-clock to big-boy-undies-and-dry-during-sleep. But I should probably give credit where credit is actually due… to the little man himself. While I did suggest on Saturday morning that he try to go potty every 45 minutes and set the timer to remind myself to make him attempt at each beeping, it was only around lunch time when he told me with irritation as the beeper went off, “I do NOT have to go again! I will TELL you when I do!” Ok, then.

About 15 minutes later, he told me he had to go. And he’s been telling me every flipping 5 minutes since. Seriously, this whole pottying business is downright EXHAUSTING. Is there something about little boys that prevents them from emptying their entire bladder in one sitting??? Because I gotta tell ya, going through the effort of taking off shoes, pants, and undies (because he won’t try if they aren’t COMPLETELY OFF but just HAS to have them on in between time), pottying, washing hands, pulling ON undies, pants, and finally shoes, isn’t really worth it when it is followed immediately by, “I gotta go again…” There is just something about it that makes you want to say, “That’s what pull-ups are for, Dude. Have at it.” I’ll admit, I said it once. But his reply made me give in with a smile, “I twied, Mom. I weally did. But I dist (just) can’t weally go in my big boy undies.”

Other Jacob news… he’s sick. Again. The poor boy has a poor immune system, which is contributed to his poor eating. I mean really, it’s a miracle he’s survived this long with as little food he eats. Nonetheless, he has stolen my heart and brings me to tears about 27 times a day because of his sheer cuteness (overheard singing earlier today in a slightly-pathetic-but-adorable voice amidst sniffles and coughs, “Wudolph da wed-nosed weindeer-weindeer, had a vewy shiny nose… It’s a  LIGHT FULL!…. …den one FWOGGY Cwistmas Eve…” Picturing him picture all those frogs jumping around on Christmas Eve does bring a smile to my face.

In addition to his cuteness, I cry an additional 63 times because of his awesomeness, his sensitiveness, and his growing-up-too-fast-ness. Yes, he’s just getting out of diapers, and yes, he hasn’t even seen enough birthdays to fill half of a hand, but just the other day I bawled like a baby thinking about the day he will graduate and eventually drive-off to college. Not enough things to cry about in the present, apparently, so I thought I’d devote some of my emotional energy to 16+ years into the future.

But really, the tears just flow because I’d like to just please FREEZE this:photo(30)Serious cuteness, people. SERIOUS  cuteness.

Which was taken just moments after this:

photo(31)Little boy, Big bed. Crawled himself right in (along with a box of tissues, his blankie, Mickey Mouse, and “Clippord”) and put himself down for a nap!

And then there’s this:

photo(35)Praying one MASSIVE prayer at lunch time. Sick boy, praying for the needs of others. UGH. MORE. TEARS. Not the same reaction from his sister, though, who looks to be feeling a little less like “he’s SO sweet” and a little more like “good GRIEF, is he EVER going to finish? I’m HUNGRY!”

And while all those are cute and awfully freezable moments, I’d even like to freeze THIS:

photo(34)“Look, Mom! Da tissue dist (just) sticks to my face all by itself! It’s because of all da slimy booger stuff comin’ out!”

Yes please! I want to freeze especially this! Because what happens when he doesn’t want to show me his proud moments… even if it is just getting his tissue stuck to his face all by himself? Or when he’s too proud and grown up to tell me about his slimy booger stuff? What happens then??? I cannot bear the thought. More tears…

Another reason for tears: Annalise’s big change… her first loose tooth. Buckets, people. Crying buckets over this one. Because not only is it loose which makes her WAY too grown up WAY too quickly, but while it loosens very slowly, the permanent tooth is growing in behind it fast. Its quicker rate of growth means it will be mostly in place BEFORE the baby tooth is out, which means no adorable toothless girl that still has a teeny-tiny moment of “baby girlness” to her. Nope, we’re transitioning right from baby(tooth)hood to adult(tooth)hood in one instant. And this, friends, is DOWNRIGHT UNFAIR. For me, I mean. It’s hard enough on Mama to see the baby transition to big girl, but now I have to lose out on those precious days, maybe even a week or two, of squeezing out just a little more little girl. Coupled with the fact that she has grown taller at a quicker rate than most kids, talked early, and was BORN with more hair than many 2-year-olds, I’d say I’ve had a serious disadvantage in the baby-stage, and I’d like to call it what it is: LAMESAUCE. That’s right, I want a DO-OVER. NOT a do-over with Annalise, mind you, because I absolutely love her nearly every minute of every day and wouldn’t change her one iota. But I call “do-over” with babies. Maybe another go-around is in order? Yes, I’d say so. At least one.

Besides… even with her mouth wide open trying to show all of you her loose tooth and the one growing in (neither of which you can see in a pic), how gorgeous is she???

photo(32)Yep. Big Brown Eyes = Totally suckered parents. Every. Time.

Lots more Annalise-changing-(aka-growing-up)-news. But first, a side-note question. How come no one ever told me that FIVE is the beginning of the AWKWARD stage? I thought it was wayyyyy later… like 12, or maybe even 13. But I gotta say, I’ve seen some serious AWKWARD lately.  It doesn’t last all the way ’till 12, does it?? Maybe we just experienced random awkward. Maybe they’re just glimpses of future awkward and not the full-blown awkward we’re in for. But if the full-blown awkward is just lots more of the awkward we’ve seen already, Heaven help us. Because My. Oh. My. Awwwk-WARD! 

Just the same, I DO love that girl, and her spunk, and her neverendingdancingself. I did not realize it was a “thing” she had, this inability to not dance. But it is. It’s a thing. She can’t not dance when there is a beat or music of any kind…including Daddy singing, Jacob humming, or a car horn beeping. The dancing just. happens. She doesn’t even realize it, either. Yesterday, she needed to hold still for something. She wanted to hold still for it. Far off in the distance, there was a slight hum in the air. Suddenly, the girl was wiggling all over the place. “AnnaLISE! HOLD. STILL!” I hollered.

“But I ca-aaaannt!” she replied. “It MAKES me every time. I try to stop, but the music won’t let me!” I just love that dancin’ girl. It’s in her soul. And how can you argue with that?

You also can’t argue with this: after her Bible Class lesson today, she excitedly told me the story they learned about Jesus in a boat with the disciples while there was a big storm, only he was sound asleep. “Mom, then the disciples woke Jesus up because they were afraid. And know what Jesus did?  (Now raising her eyebrows and stretching her arms out as far as they could go in both directions.. then whispering…) He just told the wind and the waves to be still. And MOM, they DID! They were STILL! Know what he told them? He just said… ‘COMB.'” Arms still stretched out for added dramatic affect as she awaits my reaction.

“Comb? Really? Are you sure he didn’t say something else?”… like, say, CALM?

“NOPE! He said, (arms out and eyebrows raised again), COMB!

Hmmm. I’m still not getting it. “Why do you think he said that?”

Without hesitation, she tells me…”Because, the waves were all wild and all over the place and stuff. Just like my hair sometimes. So he said, “COMB.”

Yep, makes sense to me. And good… Not too grown up just yet.

No, not too grown up, but certainly getting older and wiser. How I love her heart. How full it makes mine. This Christmas season, she and I shared many special moments, thinking of others, praying for others, making things for others. My little girl showed me how big she really is. I am so proud of her. So blessed. And once, with her big heart and big eyes, she looked at me and said so sweetly, “Mama? If alls I got for Christmas was a big bag of rocks, know what I’d do?”

“What, Baby?”

“I’d paint them all different colors and have the most beautiful rock collection.”  That’s my girl!

Because when life gives you lemons… or rocks… it’s not what you hold, but
what you do with what you hold that matters, right?

I’m learning from that girl all the time.

But back to the changes. Even Izzy is in on it. She’s currently at the vet getting a few changes of her own. We kept it a secret, because I was afraid she wouldn’t have gone if she’d known what she was headed in for. But we were not about to go through another heat cycle with that mutt. Or at least, Matt wasn’t. If you haven’t heard the story, I’ll spare you the details. Just know that no amount of money would be too much for him to spend if he could just erase the images that are now burned into his brain forever. Oh, and as a side-note, while Izzy is “under” today, they will be pulling a baby canine that never fell out when her adult canine grew in next to it. It might cause problems later, so we’re saving a potential future surgery. And I’d just like to know, what is it about the teeth growing in this family? Don’t they know there is a process to this? First – tooth comes out. Next – new tooth grows in. There is an order, people. Let’s stick to the order.

As for Matt, his changes are all about photography. Business is booming. Growing pains are good. He is handling it all well, and I am so very proud of him.

My changes are a little more… well… heart changes. Too serious for this post. Maybe later. For now, I think I shall retire the computer and go hug my little bugs before they grow up and drive off.

Catching Up

According to my calculations, today is supposed to be day 34 of my “40 days of Faith, Family, and Funnies.” I’m just a wee-bit behind. But c’mon. Did any of you think I’d actually complete 40 consecutive days of blogging? 7 days was a stretch, and frankly, it wasn’t even fun at that point. Life gets busy and time is always short. I did manage to squeeze in an 8th post about Jacob and his “boy tights,” making my goal 1/5 of a success. And I’d say 1/5 success is better than no success at all. (Like that positive spin?) I was only short a mere 32 posts, and really, now that I’m almost… well, let’s just say I’m older than 32…, 32 seems like such a small number.

But since my goal was 40, and since the reason I started this challenge in the first place was to focus on the things I am most thankful for (Faith, Family, Funnies… and Friends), I decided I’d catch up in one random blog post. So, below you’ll find a list of 32 randoms… mostly within those categories. Some other topics may have snuck their way in, too.

1.  First, a boy-tights update. For those of you that were so very concerned about my poor son and his undergarments, I saw boxes of long-johns at Costco. While I admit I quickly became that annoying shopper (according to my husband) who looks through all 6 bins (moving each one out of the way) to find the right size, I did so in a less-crowded Costco (Burlington) and without blocking the entire aisle or neighboring products. I also completed the hunt with incessant grumbling from the Husband. But here’s the deal: you don’t get to grumble about your son having to wear boy-tights and also grumble about your wife taking the time to look for long-john replacements of the correct size. It’s one or the other, Buddy.

Alas, there was not even one box left in all 6 bins that would fit, so boy-tights it is. Jacob doesn’t seem to mind. In fact, he asked to wear boy tights just the other day.

2. The kids got to spend a day Christmas-crafting with my aunt, uncle, and my cousins’ kids. They were SUPER excited about it and had a total blast. Later that night when we were back home, Annalise said to me, “I had so much fun today! I wish I could stay at Auntie Jill’s for 100 years…  I would do it, except you would be dead when I got back. So I guess I won’t.” Nice to know she loves me enough to want to see me at least once before I’m dead.

3. While having a little fun with Jacob, I may have given him the impression he has magic powers that can cause doors to open and close at his command. The van door opens with the push of a button on the key fob, so when he was frustrated at not being able to pull it open I playfully told him, “Just tell the door to open.” He did. I pushed the button. The door opened. I really didn’t intend on it going much further, except that now he enjoys telling the van door to open and close often, and it works every time. Or at least when I’m in earshot and have the fob in my hand.

There have even been a few times where he’s headed out to the car first and I hear him yelling at the door to open while I’m still inside locking up. He stops yelling commands to the door, pauses, and changes his tone to his sweetest voice, “Door, could you please open for me?” I quick grab the fob and push the button. You know, just to reinforce the whole good-manners thing.

Well…. It’s all fun and games until you find yourself standing outside of Rite Aid trying to get your 2-year-old to the car, only to discover he is standing in front of the automatic doors, totally hollering at them in complete frustration to CLOSE! CLOSE, DOORS, WIGHT NOW! Only they won’t close… because, as I already said, he is standing in front of them. Ah well. At least his sister got a kick out of it. And we entertained a few customers in the process.

4. Today, Annalise spent some time being grumpy with a capital G. I had totally lost patience and was at my wits end trying to think of what to do with her besides lock her in her room forever when Jacob suddenly ran over to her, pulled at her sleeve as though he had just grabbed a loose hair off it, and ran towards the kitchen. I had no idea what he was doing until I heard the cupboard door under the sink slam shut as he hollers toward the living room, “Don’t worry, Sissy! I just took all your grumpies from you. And I FREW dem wight in da garbage! NO more grumpies!” Matt and I looked at each other in amazement and started to laugh hysterically. We had no idea where that came from. His own idea, I guess. He took those grumpies right off her sleeve and ran straight towards the garbage with ’em! I guess he’d had enough, too.

As though that wasn’t funny enough, just minutes later, Annalise (still very grumpy) was frustrated about something. Suddenly she let out a loud sigh, “UGH. Jay-cuh-ub!” (The 3-syllable Jacob always means the same thing, she is super frustrated with something he did or is doing.) “I think you actually threw away my happies! UGH.”

And there you have it, folks. The (already) grumpy girl found a way to blame her brother on her grumpies. It is his fault, of course, because he threw away the wrong thing. If you’re missing your own happies, you might want to check the garbage can.


Well, that’s it for “Catching up.” Yes, it’s only 4 stories. Did I say 32? That may have been over-estimating my time to sit and write (not to mention everyone else’s interest level.) So I think I’ll stick with four and call it good.

May you have a merry Christmas season full of kids who love you enough to want to see you (at least once), magic doors, and grumpies in the garbage.


4 of 40 – Rescued Link

Day 4 of 40 topic: Friends and Faith.

I didn’t include “friends” on my original plan for 40 days of Family, Faith, and Funnies. But I’m adding it. It’s my game, so I get to make the rules. Here is why I’m adding it… because you need to read this blog written by a friend of ours. Yes, I said need. If you are a parent, it’s a must. And if you’re not, read it anyway.

And so, that is my “blog” today. A link to his blog. Is that cheating to count that as a post for today? I say no, and like I said, it’s my game, so… 🙂 Now go ahead. Click this link and read his story: Rescued by Hope. You’ll be glad you did.

40 Days of Faith, Family, and Funnies

I sorta have a love-hate relationship with October.

Love the rain… hate the rain. Love that my girl has a birthday this month, hate that she’s growing up so quickly. Love the fall colors, hate the mud and muddy wet dog. Love feeling in the groove at school, hate feeling like conferences are too soon… how can it be time to prepare already?

And while one of the things I absolutely love about October is the fun family festivities: (going to the pumpkin patch, carving pumpkins, cozy family nights with hot cocoa, and decorating pumpkin cookies), October ends up being the month I hate the. very. most. for several reasons: the horrific TV previews, creepy disgusting evil things in stores, and political propaganda (which is generally deceitful and/or hateful) everywhere you look. From all the outcry on Facebook posts, I take it I’m not the only one who has had enough.

But ahhhh…. November. The month of thanksgiving. I’m sure thankful this peaceful, filled-with-thanks-and-joy month follows the creepy, filled-with-evil-and-hatred month. It’s certainly refreshing for the soul. And again, from all the Facebook posts of thanks, I take it I’m not the only one who finds the change much needed.

Even so, I decided not to do the “Thirty Days of Thanks” this year. I love reading the posts from others. I did the challenge last year, but I wasn’t good at keeping up at it, and mostly, I’m just not so good at being brief. (Matt just said, “Really? YOU? I never thought of you as someone who has a hard time being brief.” Do you hear his sarcasm even in writing??? Brat.)

But back to the thankful posts. I was inspired by them, and also by a friend who blogged a summary of her day-to-day life each day for 7 days. (She says her life is “average,” but I looked forward to her blog post each and every day.) So I decided to give myself a challenge: Instead of 30 days of Thanks, I will write (or will attempt to write) a brief post each day around the topics that I am most thankful for: Faith, Family, and Funnies (a.k.a. kid antics.) For 40 days. Or until I run out of things to say…

So why 40, you ask? Well, partly because in exactly 40 days, I will be officially on Christmas Break, so the posts will – in a sense – be a count down (or up, rather) to vacation. But honestly, it is mostly because of the alliteration. Yes, I’m that nerdy.

Well… I guess here we go.
Today’s post topic: Family. I was a little behind on my October posts, so this first one is easy.

Pumpkin Carving…

Matt ran to get pizza while the kids and I formed a plan and prepared the pumpkin carving area.

(Super excited kids = not looking at camera and blurry in pic.)

I sliced off the tops while Leesie began to scoop out the innards. She isn’t very thorough, but her hands did get inside each pumpkin (4 large, 5 small). Definitely a good effort.Jacob decided he didn’t like the looks of it and didn’t touch a single pumpkin. (Hmmm. Sounds like another male Priestman I know.) Eventually, I was facing the rest of the family fun task alone. Just me.

Just me and my Christmas music, that is.

Jacob wanted a Mickey Mouse pumpkin (fitting, since he picked out the pumpkin while at the patch with you, Auntie Jill.) The Mickey pattern seemed easy enough. It wasn’t. Or I’m not that good at it. But at least it’s recognizable.

Annalise wanted Rapunzel. A little more detail than Mickey, and the pattern was too large for the pumpkin. She got over the fact that I was cutting length off Rapunzel’s hair, which is really her only identifiable feature in a carving, and settled for the chin-length-hair-generic-princess look. Upon viewing my final product she said with surprise, “Well, it’s better than I thought at least. Thanks, Mom.” Then went back to playing in the other room. I decided against a close-up of this one.

I wasn’t sure what I wanted my pumpkin to be yet, but I had done this with the little pumpkins last year:

I wanted to do something similar this year. I carved out my letters:

By the way, that doesn’t spell HOPET. It is a cross at the end. It was suggested I add some space in between the E and the cross to make it easier to read. Noted.

Two large pumpkins left. I still wasn’t sure what to do with them. The UW logo wasn’t printing for me. The face I drew looked stupid. I decided to do a camera for Matt. The template didn’t work because it made the entire picture come out, leaving a gaping hole. (Don’t they know they have to leave parts connected to the rest of the pumpkin so a picture emerges?) So, I created a masterpiece with the chunk that fell out using my own imagination and about 50 toothpicks to piece it all together. When I was done, I called the family in to look. Matt wasn’t sure what it was. Annalise said, “It’s supposed to be a camera.” Jacob was clearly not impressed. I decided against a close-up of this one, too. And then I decided not to carve the last pumpkin.

The final product was ridiculously awesome, just as long as you squint your eyes and stand at least 20 feet away. But even this close, I think it didn’t turn out too bad, wouldn’t you say? And yes, there is a space between HOPE and the cross.


And it’s Leesie, by a nose…

After a fun-filled but very busy week, a jammed 4-year-old finger on Friday night followed by x-rays Saturday (it’s not broken, phew!), we were happy to have a low-key family day at home on Sunday. And what’s the best way to end a lovely autumn day in the middle of summer? Movie and popcorn. Can’t get much more low-key than that.

Unless of course, you have a curious 2-year old hanging around.

I was cleaning the kitchen while the kids watched their movie and munched away when Jacob came waddling into the kitchen, eyes watery, suddenly coughing and sneezing popcorn all over the place. I knew what he had done instantly and was actually surprised he hadn’t before. Or that I hadn’t predicted it.

“Jacob! Did you put popcorn in your nose?” He nodded, face scrunched and uncomfortable.”Is it gone? Did you get it all out?”

The watery eyes told me the answer. Something was still in there. I set him on the counter and shined a flashlight up his nose. Sure enough, I could see the kernel lodged waaaaayyy up in his nasal cavity, clearly unreachable by us.

At 9 o’clock on Sunday night, I really really didn’t want to have to head into the ER to retrieve said popcorn kernel. So I called my friend Jamie, who just happens to be a nurse for Bellingham Ear Nose and Throat. She suggested plugging one nostril and having him blow out the other side.

Problem: I’ve never actually taught Jacob to blow his nose yet. Most attempts result in him breathing heavily in rather than out, which result in further coughing and discomfort when already congested. I guess I have the same attitude towards nose-blowing as I do with potty trainingHe’ll figure it out eventually.

Except that now we needed him to blow his nose, and doing it incorrectly could result in an even greater problem. We worked on it for a bit with only a few scary deep inhales, and soon enough, he had the blowing down. But the kernel wasn’t budging.

While I was still on the phone with Jamie giving her the play-by-play and writing down the number for their office so I could reach the on-call doc, Annalise walked into the room looking a bit sheepish. Her face was red. She was awfully quiet. I knew something was up when I saw her lean against the wall and kick her foot back and forth like her knee was a hinge with a lazy porch swing below it. Nerves. That’s her sign.

Matt spoke first. “You did not. Tell me you didn’t.” She bit the corner of her lip. “Annalise, did you do it? Did you put popcorn in your nose, too?”

The look on her face was a dead giveaway. Popcorn jammed in nostril. Times two.

Let me tell you, you have not lived until you have two children in your kitchen covering one nostril and blowing with all their might to shoot popcorn kernels out the other side. Jamie assured me that while she’s had lots of kids come in with something stuck in their nose, never once did she have siblings come in at the same time.

We’re just special like that, I guess.

My mom says it must skip a generation, this genius-shoving-stuff-up-your-nose-and-getting-it-stuck thing, because my dad did it once, too. Only he was an adult. And it was a whopper. (Not the burger. The chocolate covered malt ball.) He got a little concerned (read panicky) when he could feel the chocolate melting. I think he’s learned his lesson, because I haven’t seen him shove anything in there recently.

So on our “low-key” Sunday night, we managed to avoid a trip to the ER because both kids did eventually shoot the popcorn out. Leesie’s fired out right to the floor, but Jacob made a direct hit with one snot-covered popcorn kernel onto his dad’s chest, where it stuck. It was then we realized that while he did actually shove a popcorn kernel in his nose, Annalise had shoved an actual popped corn. I guess she wanted to one-up her brother.

She does that sometimes. Like when Jacob says to me completely out of the blue and in his sweetest voice, “Mommy, you sooooo boooootiful.” And then Annalise says to me in her sweetest voice, “Mommy, you’re beautifuler than Jacob thinks.” Hmm.

And Leesie wins by a nose…

When all was said and done, I was slightly disappointed the ER visit didn’t occur, because, well, it honestly felt a bit adventuresome to go in with TWO kids needing harmless and rather humorous issues taken care of. We could have people-watched in the ER lobby into the wee hours on Sunday night as a family. And really, how fun is that with two kids under 5 that should be home in bed?

Ah well. Two kids home safe and sound, nostrils thoroughly cleaned out for deep-breathing during sleep. Crisis averted.

And then I ran across this cartoon a friend and colleague gave me about a month ago. It seemed so very fitting tonight:

From Baby Blues Cartoon by Jerry Scott and Rick Kirkman.