Liner Notes 2/27

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After last week's confession, I made it my mission not only to get Archer to school on time but to get him to school EARLY. So. Wednesday morning, I got out of bed earlier, poised to leave the house fifteen minutes earlier than the day before. And we did it! 7:50am, we were bags packed, Gaga blasting, on our way. I was so proud! High five, everyone, this was happening! For the first time all year Archer wouldn't have to run to class.

"WE ARE GENIUSES OF PROMPTNESS!"

Except. Five minutes into our drive, I realized that the car was out of gas. Of course it was. OF COURSE IT WAS! Here we were, early for once in our effing h-ing lives and my car was OUT of gas. And not "almost, you have a few miles so no worries" but actually and absolutely OUT out. As in zero miles to go on ye emptiest of tanks.

Zero.

And to make matter worse, this wasn't even the first time this had happened. Oy, right? Last month I ALSO ran out of gas on the way to school. (ED: My Passat wagon may have been falling apart toward the end of her life but at least she warned me profusely when my gas tank was running low. That Passat honked and beeped and basically pulled its ass over to the nearest gas station the moment its tank went below twenty-five miles. My Odyssey? SAYS NOTHING. DOES NOTHING. Not even a beep! Not even a buzz!)

So. After seven years of driving a car with flashing lights and beeping warning signals, I'm not used to, you know, paying attention... apparently.

I know, okay? I know! You do not have to tell me! Hal's eyes might as well have rolled right out of his head for the amount of times he's yelled at me for NEVER getting gas. Meanwhile, dude fills up every other day, which I think is weird and annoying so we're totally even.

Anyway. None of this changes the fact that for the SECOND TIME in one month I was out of gas on the way to school.

The first time, I didn't take any chances. I pulled over immediately and Archer ended up fifteen minutes late, which is thirteen minutes later than usual and it was terrible because I had to walk him into class and get a tardy slip and oh, man. BAD.

That was not going to happen this time. Oh, hell no. We were GOING to be early to school. If I had to push my van up the hill to the stop and drop? SO. BE. IT.

BRING IT ON, UNIVERSE!

"But Mom. It says zero. Again."

"Just a little fiction. Nothing to worry about..."

And thankfully, it was.

I drove about three miles on "zero" before dropping Archer successfully at school... two minutes before the first bell rang.

He ran anyway.

Moments later, Fable and I landed safely at the nearest gas station. Gas 'o meter still on "zero".
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P.S., Now that I'm revealing the intimate details of my dashboard, I would like to point out to those who argue that "four children is environmentally irresponsible" that I have put less than 2k miles on my car in six months.

...Because nothing makes you want to walk, like packing four kids in and out of a minivan.
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***
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"Five friends" by: Fable

The other day, while Fable was in the kitchen drawing pictures, Archer ran to come get me.

"I have to show you something."

When I came into the room, Fable was beaming, holding up her picture.

"I drew a picture of you, Mommy!"

"Fable drew a picture of you dancing in Grand Central Station."
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"... With seven legs!" Fable added. "And hair like Rapunzel."

I totally understand why my dad STILL has pictures I drew of him as a child in his office. I get it times a billion. Where else would I ever get to dance in Grand Central station with seven legs and hair like Rapunzel?

Girls who want to grow up to princesses? Here's your short cut:
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Bo continues to maintain her A+ in intensity and Reverie continues to pursue a PHD in sun beams. Not that Bo isn't also a light Her giggle fits are unmatched by anyone in the history of life and when she's happy she's THRILLED, but her lows are loooow and when she's mad she's PISSED. Perhaps it's seeing them side by side that further exacerbates their differences. Maybe Archer and Fable were the same kind of opposites, like complementary colors, her sand to his sea. But they weren't babies at the same time so the contrast wasn't as so.
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Reverie started grabbing at everything and everyone in the last few days which means I am pretty much going to be living in top buns and ponytails for the next year of my life AND the time has come to bust out the highchairs for some solid food feeding action which sounds like a real party, no? Food fights, here we come.
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Last week Archer wrote a story about a child who is born on the moon and comes to earth to become a wizard.

At first I was like, "Oh, this is an autobiography. He's writing about himself! A wizard from the moon! My moonchild wizard wonderboy from space..."
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And then.

I kept reading.

...right up to the part where the wizard blows up every car on earth and then, blows up... earth.

"Archer. Can you tell me about this story. It's kind of... violent?"

"Don't worry, Mom. Just a little fiction."
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I spent the last few days sick in bed. Or as "sick in bed" as one can be with two babies to care for. Bo and I seem to be on the same wavelength when it comes to colds so the two of us spent the weekend coughing in harmony which was really quite the sound. The vicious cycle of cold season is arguably the most boring thing to write about and I suspect even more boring to read but part of why I started writing these posts is to celebrate the seemingly mundane, and even disgusting moments of family life because really, beyond the hacking of one's lungs into tissues with one's spawn, family colds are one of the few things that slow a family down... And sometimes after hustling all week long, it's kind of nice to spend a few days in the house, pajama-clad, vegetating guilt-free.
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(Hal's version of vegetating.)
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Over the weekend, Archer updated the family portrait that currently hangs above our bed with a "temporary" until we can buy a new canvas he can paint all over.
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From left: Hal, Reverie, Fable (saying "yay") me, Boheme and Archer ... who is wearing glasses because "in a few years I'm probably going to need them."

Kids are the best, man. They're the best!
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My four.
Every day all of this becomes easier. Every night the girls sleep a little longer and our mornings run a little smoother and at the end of each eve, I feel a little more alive. Myself. In the beginning, we were all in survival mode. But that has passed, thank god. Maybe it's because Bo is slowly able to manage without me or the girls are becoming more self sufficient, establishing a bond to each other that keeps them (Bo) from screaming to be held all the time.
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Or maybe it's just what time does to the family dynamic. Like pressure building and building until finally a hole emerges. A hole for all of the guilt and worry and breathlessness to escape. Like cracking the car window to hawk a loogie instead of, you know, swallowing it.

"Gross, Mom!"

And they're right! It's totally gross. It's disgusting and awful and gross. But sometimes there's no other way but to clear the throat and spit.
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... wiping the fog from the mirror, and everywhere else.

GGC

42 comments:

Molly | 1:20 PM

Those three pictures of all four of them are so cute I just died.

Mary Ruth Gilliam | 1:23 PM

Better to be real and gross than to have never been real at all.

Boogers and shit are the ultimate equalizer.

Dawn | 1:23 PM

Beautiful pictures, beautiful family, beautiful writing. You have such a gift with words and images.
The part about the drawings made me laugh as I look above my desk as see my walls plastered with Noelle's renderings. You can really see her progressions from lines and dots to circles and swirls to...claw monsters. I'm just gonna leave it a that.

Stephanie | 1:28 PM

We are only a new family of four.. but after our youngest reaching four months.. i feel maybe we are finding our rhythm again.. and nap times that are isync are a beautiful thing =)
Gorgeous photos!

c is for cape town | 1:28 PM

It. does. get. easier. Every mother needs to hear that, no one believes it til it happens to her?
PS how are your babies wearing Naartjie? friends in SA?

Arnebya | 1:32 PM

I don't think I could have smiled harder throughout this. Seriously. While I marvel at the twins' eyes and sisterly love, once you throw Fable and Archer in, my wonder increases at the sheer perfectness of it all.

I love my Touareg because it tells me about the gas and I know I don't need to worry until at least, say, 10 miles. Our Explorer didn't tell us and I wound up like you one day, except at the end of the day trying to make it to pickup before the dreaded $1/minute. Nice.

Zoe | 2:01 PM

I hear you on things getting easier. The first 4-6 months as a family of five was a killer, what with the school run, homework, sleep regressions etc (this was me one year ago - my youngest celebrated her first birthday the daye Bo and Revi were born). But today, things are so much better. I have reached peace with our decision to stop at 3 kids (there always has to be a last baby, no matter how many you have), and my husband and I are excited about our future as parents to walking, talking, sleeping children. The future is bright my friend, and your kids are gorgeous.

ps While Archer's story had a gory, violent ending, I am pleased to see that he is on the same wavelength as my son who can become obsessed with blowing things up. Boys!!

Mandy | 2:03 PM

I love heavy picture posts! Keep 'em coming!!
My Dad still has a painting I made him in kindergarten of the two of us that says "my daddy is my best friend". It was framed in his office for years, but now resides (still in its frame) in a closest because years of sunshine has faded the paint. Charished possessions when youre a parent, it seems :)

Heather | 2:05 PM

You aren't alone in almost running out of gas on the way to school. I've done it a few times. Totally do not get why the designer of the Odessy didn't put in a beeper to let you know when you are out of gas? Who notices the teeny tiny light that blinks on? When I do notice it I have no idea how long it has been on 5 miles? 1?

Crissy | 2:20 PM

I so enjoy your liner notes posts. There is nothing more lovely than a family in their natural state of being. My kids (and step kids) don't live full time with my husband and myself. So I indulge in your family's mundane and long for my own mundane days to roll around.

Micheline Ludwick | 2:25 PM

Oh, how I adore the twins' discovering each other! It makes my heart jump around in my throat. So beautiful.

LOVE Fable's and Archer's drawings, too. Those kids are just awesomeness personified.

Jacqueline | 2:30 PM

Three things:

I think Archer really IS some sort of child with a higher sense than the rest of us. I love his little cities, too.

Also, isn't the verb for ridding oneself of a loogie..."hock?" Maybe it's a regional thing, you hock a loogie in the midwest and you hawk a loogie on the west coast.

Whenever I'm having a bad day I can look at these pictures of your babies (mine are grown up) and feel better so no post is ever too picture heavy for me.

Abi | 2:38 PM

OMG! Stop it! Your face to face, hand holding twin pictures are making my 5.5 mo postpartum uterus want twins!

glenda | 3:09 PM

Love watching R&B together. Holding hands...the staring down... Beautiful kiddos x4

Hope you and Bo are feeling better!

Katie Lee | 3:13 PM

Thanks for posting about the mundane. The picture of the four kids together looks like the genes chart from high school science class. It looks like Bo got the recessive genes. Dominant-dominant-dominant-recessive. She is so uniquely yours. :)

Claire Gibson King | 3:45 PM

i don't really know what to say but I wish nothing but the best for your family. I love the way you write and Archer just blows me away every time you write about him. He is just the cooliest kid. EVER.

Heather | 3:50 PM

Wow. In the pictures of them together Fable and Reverie look so similar!

Emily | 5:20 PM

Not sure how the Odyssey works, but we just bought a new car and they told us when it hits empty there's still 2 gallons in the car. But maybe it's different when it actually says 0 miles. Anyway, my husband also finds it annoying that neither of our cars (a Mazda and a Subaru) don't make a noise when it hits empty.

Motherhood on the Rocks | 5:41 PM

The pictures of the little ones holding hands is so sweet. All of your children are adorable!

Jen | 6:08 PM

Awww kids. Oh, and I welcome Archer to the Spectacles Brigade. Glasses are the bees knees.

Amy J. | 6:44 PM

I didn't read your blog before...but I started once I found out you were having twins. I now think you're the bomb and LOVE your blog more than any other. You make having four kids (two at the same time) something someone would want to do! You rock and your babies are seriously THE cutest kids on the Net! Hands down.

Btw, I was late for school mom all the time. Then my kids got older and could get their breakfast on their own and get ready on their own and I got to sleep in until it was literally time to brush their hair and leave! It changed everything! Hang in there! : )

Anonymous | 6:46 PM

the picture of the babies looking at each other on their bellies is AWESOME!!!!!! i gazed at it for like 20 minutes...in a totally noncreepy way ;) marveling at them befriending each other. you're right kids are the BEST!

Cobies | 7:19 PM

So many awesome pictures in this post. Beautiful.

Anonymous | 7:41 PM

Damn woman, get your shit together.

Billie | 7:44 PM

I also had a passat wagon and then switched to the odyssey. I'm still not used to the silent empty light. Plus, it lines up perfectly with the steering wheel the way I sit so I NEVER notice it. Last week for the first time in my life, I actually ran out of gas. Completely out. Car just stopped. The girls were with me. That sucked!

Anonymous | 8:05 PM

ha! hear you on the gas thing- purchased mine post twins as well... one day I had 50 miles till empty-- drove maybe 10 (to get somewhere) - then it said "30", figure I was fine since I was 7-10 miles from home... watched it drop and drop on the highway until it reached 0... about 3 miles from the gas station- I know there's a reserve- but seriously- give us a beep- or something!! beautiful pics, btw :)

Bournemouth Attachment Parents | 2:05 AM

We ran completely out of petrol twice while I was pregnant (and had a toddler with me). Walking to the petrol station with a can was not fun. As soon as I could afford to I filled the car right to the top, and vowed that halfway was our new empty. It does seem to be working although it's hard to convince yourself of the desperation of the situation when you're late to somewhere!

M | 5:09 AM

I never get gas either. How could you possibly remember to when your children provide you with endless amounts of amazing things to think about and wonder over?
All of your children are incredible I have to say, but I identify with Archer the most. He and my older son Alex not only look similar (it's the hair that I refuse to cut short), they are similar in nature as well. Love it.

Anonymous | 5:35 AM

How difficult is it to put gas in the car? Yes, you have to style your hair and apply your makeup just so and dress in such a way as to make it abundantly clear to all the boring, on-time mommies standing around at the school door that you are too free spirited and creative to bother with mundane things like getting your children to school on time but really, ensuring that your car has adequate fuel is not rocket science.

Anonymous | 6:06 AM

Funny post, love seeing the kids growing up. Thanks for sharing. Mary

kristofer and ivy | 8:07 AM

The idea of caring for twin babies sounds like the scariest thing in the world to me. But these pictures? The babies looking into each others' eyes and interacting? Each reaching out for her sister's hands and face? Oh what a lucky mama you are!

Kailee | 10:34 AM

And then I died and melted into a pool when I saw the photo of Bo and Rev holding hands! So, so, so sweet.

I'm expecting our second in July, we'll have twins of the Irish variety, and thinking about my boys holding hands, being brothers, has made me feel not so scared about what this summer entails.

You are an inspiration. And, yes, we'll be in survival mode for a while too. But, I'm so glad to read about someone who's coming through to the other side, someone who has ACTUAL twins, plus two other children, and manages to do it with style and grace. It's all going to be great, isn't it?

Thanks, Bec.

JennyBean | 10:43 AM

I love baby toes!

Lauren Knight | 11:10 AM

This is great. I cannot get over how different Bo and Rev look from each other! It's really amazing and fantastic!

Also, Archer's story. So funny, because we have 3 boys under the age of 5 and are the most pacifist-y people you can imagine, and our boys use a toy steak (food) as a "meat gun." FYI- meat guns shoot blood.

Stacey | 3:08 PM

Both of the babies have stunning eyes.

And don't feel alone on the gas thing. I regularly push mine until I'm this close to running out, simply because I forget that cars quit working when you don't fill them up every once in a while.

maggie g. | 6:56 PM

I just wanted to say that I love your blog and I'm reading your book and you are absolutely full of awesome. Thank you for sharing yourself and your family. Your writing and your photography are so honest and so wonderful... RAVE!
maggie

Rachael Heiner | 7:52 PM

Your family is just so incredibly beautiful. Thanks for sharing them with us.

Anonymous | 9:46 PM

:p

ruby | 10:46 PM

For some reason, I just love the last picture of fable wiping down the mirror, her reflection. But what made it great was the wooden frame! I love the feel of your chaotic-twinbabies-awesome siblings home!

Lady | 2:31 PM

Alright, your kiddos are ALWAYS dressed absolutely adorably. WHERE do you shop for them?

I have an almost two-year-old daughter and a son due in one month. I NEED TO KNOW! :)

Thanks!
Warmly,
Shannon

Anonymous | 7:08 AM

Bo is a mini-Hal! And Revi looks so much like Fable! I love to read about your life. Even the loogies.

Andrea and Kara | 9:52 PM

oof you are so hard on yourself! Be kind! You have two tiny babies and two small children and a husband and a house and a job(s). . .EVERY one of us forgets things like checking the gas guage, yes, even more than once in a month. But a mom with that many balls in the air? Good heavens. I'm surprised you haven't forgotten anything more important than that--you know, like a kid at a grocery store or something. I know that watching a little one run their fastest because we're getting them to school just a leeetle late yet again is very guilt inducing. But it's just a minute or two, right? Go easy on yourself, you're doing a good job.