The Life and Times of Monkey, Buster, and Yessa

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An Inkling of Who They’ll Be… January 8, 2010

Filed under: Buster,Lucia,Monkey,Yessa — mommie2zs @ 3:07 pm

As much as I consider our children complete, wonderful, worthy-of-respect human beings right now, I love to consider who they’ll be as they age.  One of the joys of blogging for me, much like my “making memories” approach to photography, is writing down the little thoughts and happenings of our lives, so in 10, 15, 20 years, we can all look back and have memory jogs.  When I write about the Buster’s habits now, we’ll be able to laugh about how those are still exactly who he is as an adult.  Or, we’ll laugh at how certain habits were just phases and disappeared.  (I trust that eventually Monkey won’t want to chew on her dress sleeves, and that Yessa won’t always want to have her potty seat sitting in the dining room.)

Interesting events lately that have made me think about the future children are:

1)  We’ve been experimenting with Family Clean Up Time.  Before anyone goes to bed each night, we pick up the house.  Everyone helps, even if you weren’t actively involved in making a specific mess.  It doesn’t take much time, and it makes me feel so much better about our lives.  I think it feels better for the children, too.  It feels so much less cluttered and out of control to come downstairs to a house that is free of debris.

The children have been wonderful about it.  Very little complaining, and willing to let it be fun.  Buster and Yessa have been turning themselves into “Speed Cleaning Zachary” and “‘Peed Cweening Noa.”  This involves lots of spinning, zooming around, then settling into the task at hand.  I am trying to not resort to threats and bribery to get a lagging child to comply.  Recent example of a failure, “Zachary, if you don’t get up and help, you can go upstairs to bed all by yourself right now.”  The child hasn’t gone to bed all by himself in the nearly 6 years of his life, so that’s a pretty ugly stance to take just to get him to pick up legos.  It worked, but not a good return on the investment in our relationship.

Anyway, I digress.  Today, Lucia was over for a wonderful afternoon of play.  At one point, she and the Buster were watching videos, and Yessa and Monkey decided to turn the downstairs bathroom into a campout.  They made many trips up and down the stairs, carrying clothes, pillows, pillowcases filled with pretend and real food, all the pictures off Monkey’s walls that I put up in the last two days…you get the idea.  A huge volume of stuff!  In addition, they took all the clean towels:  those hanging on the towel racks, and those under the sink, and used them to make beds in the shower, and on the floor.  If you know me, you know that this nearly sent me into orbit.  I have an irrational dislike of the kids pulling the pillowcases off the pillows and using them as hobo sacks.  I don’t understand this need to haul huge volumes of stuff all over the house, far away from the room where the items live.  But, one of my resolutions is to be more generous with kindness and loving spirit.  (Thanks, Friend Mia, for this generosity idea.)  Hence, I said nothing to Monkey other than being impressed at the sheer amount of stuff they had managed to stuff into the small space.

At clean up time, I asked her to work on the bathoom.  I expected very little.  It was a really big task, and she had helped clean up other areas of the house all ready.  I really didn’t expect her to clean the whole room on her own.  She asked me to fold up the towels for her, and I said I would, but when I entered the room, I felt so pissy about all the crap laying all over the floor–truly it made me so angry–that I beat a hasty retreat and asked Buds to go down and help her.  He was having his dinner, and then he and I put the little ones to bed, so he didn’t get down there for probably 30 minutes.  He came up the stairs to the bedroom with a surprised look on his face.

“How much did you help her?” he asked me.  I hadn’t helped her at all, unless you count not being negative and angry as “helping.”

She cleaned the whole room.  Truly, truly cleaned it.  She washed the mirror.  (With handsoap and the handtowel, but still…)

As Buds points out right now, she enjoyed doing the whole thing.  She didn’t feel put upon or pressured into doing it, or I guarantee she wouldn’t have done it.  (She is my daughter after all.)

It really was wonderful for all of us.  She was so pleased and proud of herself.  She wanted to tell us all about the whole process.  She wanted us to come down and look at it all together.  It really was wonderful.

2)  The Buster has loved legos for several years now.  And in a huge boon for him, Cousin O has fallen in love with them, too.  Buster spent several hours over there this morning, just playing, mostly legos.  They make up stories, engage in huge battles, just have a great time.

I noticed, truly notice something about the Buster’s lego play today.  I’ve seen him do it before, but I hadn’t really paid attention to the pattern until today.

And these pictures don’t show the habit as well as I’d like, so let me ‘splain.  When the Buster is focused on making a lego creation, or creating a lego game, in Legoville, which is what we all call the area of the dining room that has been given over to legos, the takes out the bins and sets them up in a row.  Then, depending on what he is creating, he makes a series of creatures for use in the game or plan.  He will sometimes set up a lego store, which involves making rows and rows of legos on the table, with like pieces together, sorted by style or color.  He can being very methodical and organized in this process of his.  The tough part is that we just don’t have the space to leave these amazing displays sitting out for very long.  I wish we could have a lego room where he had tables and shelves and could leave the design process in the middle and have it to come back to hours or days later.

The other fascinating thing for me is learning how he thinks about legos.  If he is creating a character, he boils it down to the essence of what he wants the character to be.  So, if he is making a lego Mario, for example, it might be a tower of 4-2×2 lego squares, with the second lego from the top being yellow, to represent Mario’s hat.

It reminds me a great deal of my Christmas present from my nephew, Little George, when he was about 5.  I opened up the small, rectangular-shaped box.  It had two clothespins glued together, side by side, and a third clothespin glued to those two, sticking up the opposite direction.  I had no idea what it was.  No idea.  And finally, Little George came over and snuggled on my lap and asked me if I liked the reindeer he had made me.  “I had to take off the red nose to make it fit in the box.”  He decided on the essence of reindeer for him, and that’s what he gave me.  I still have that reindeer, and someday I’ll tell Little George’s soon-to-be-born child about my favorite Christmas present that his Daddy ever gave me.

So, will these vignettes about Buster and Yessa indicate later personalities or habits?  Who knows, but it’s fun to think about.  And Little George turned out to be pretty wonderful, though I think it’s a long time since he’s made a reindeer.


Yessa has a birthday! November 9, 2009

Filed under: Buster,Lucia,Monkey,Yessa — mommie2zs @ 1:59 pm

Her official birthday is November 9th, but Yessa was properly celebrated on Sunday, November 8th this year.  Though 6 of our favorite people on the planet couldn’t come due to sickness (get well soon–Lombardi crew), the rest of the beloved family and friends came out to cheer and sing for this sweet three- year old.

Buds took our three children on a ramble around the lake so that Mom and Grandma could get the house cleaned and decorated, so Yessa wasn’t quite sure she could stay awake for the cake: PICT6268

First, before we sing songs and unwrap presents, here’s how the party unfolded.

When people arrived, or in most cases, walked out their front doors, they were met by the “Slide of Death.”  Buds and Neighbor Aaron had the fantastic idea of using some cardboard boxes we freecycled to create a giant slide in front of our houses.  It was quality tested a couple weekends ago, and deemed such a huge success, it became part of the birthday extravaganza.  Here are some random shots of the kids and adults having a great time.

PICT6212 PICT6198PICT6203



After the Slide of Death exhausted everyone (especially Noa,) we headed inside for the Web of Fun.

When people walked in our front door, they were greeted by this: PICT6194


Each child had a stick with her name on it, attached to a piece of yarn.  They followed that piece of yarn, wrapping it around the stick, up, down, all around, until it finally led to their special bag at the end.  In the bag was a wooden picture frame with wooden letters to spell out that child’s name.  After finding the bags, everyone trooped out to the back deck for decorating time, which was enjoyed as much by some of the adults as the children.




It was a perfect 70 degree day, so we utilized all our spaces.  And adults might consider the leaves on the back deck a nuisance, but with wonderful open-heartedness, the children just saw another place to play. PICT6255

After the crafty urge was quenched, we moved indoors to sing to the sweet girl.  She was a little overwhelmed by everyone singing and cheering for her, but mustered her resources to blow out the candles with gusto.  PICT6272


The Dora cake was a big hit with Noa, as well as the mini-cakes Ms. Jenny made in gingerbread and pumpkin, which went well with the green cream cheese frosting.  PICT6196

Yessa is enjoying her presents, and everyone slept like logs last night.  Thanks to all for a wonderful day.  And thanks for loving our youngest.



Throwback to the 70’s November 3, 2009

Filed under: Buster,Lucia,Monkey,Yessa — mommie2zs @ 2:34 pm

Our beloved neighbors–Jenny and Lucia–invited the children for a tea party yesterday.  Lucia didn’t have school, so the kids were thrilled to have extra time together.

Before the tea party, Monkey decided that a few presents had to be readied for our hosts.  She quickly crafted a pot pad holder on her loom as a gift for Ms. Jenny, then she organized Team Small Fry out front, and I was instructed to come out and take pictures.

Each child is wearing three items of clothing crafted by a family member:  The beautiful fall sweater and strawberry hat were gifts to Yessa from Grandma Vermont.  The pink and purple scarf was knit for Monkey by Aunt Liz.

Is that a yarmulke?Notice the two dogs.IMG_0415

Lucia and Jenny were tickled with the suprises, and Yessa was thrilled to get to practice blowing out the candle for her birthday next weekend.  Jenny had a birthday plate and a candle all set for her, and we sang Happy Birthday.

Photo taken by Jenny Rulli

This lovely photograph taken by the amazing Jenny Rulli!  Thank you, sweet friend.


A good time had by all.


Let Halloween Begin! October 25, 2009

Filed under: Buster,Lucia,Monkey,Uncategorized,Yessa — mommie2zs @ 11:49 pm

We borrowed Lucia to go try out the Haunted House presented by the youth at our church.  Monkey went through 2 times, Lucia once.  Buster would have gone through but could not get Yessa to let me go, and she wanted noooo part of it, so he’ll have to go through next year.  They all had good fun trying out their costumes in preparation for the true holiday next weekend.

Despite the mixed reviews of the haunted house, they all pronounced it a good time since they had some snacks to choose from at the end, and there was plenty of time for crafty coloring and playing on the playground.

Little Lucia Red Bird

Little Lucia Red Bird

Monkey choosing a tidbit from the gut of the beast.

Monkey choosing a tidbit from the gut of the beast.

"Darth" checks things out.

"Darth" checks things out.

Yessa did not care for people in masks--at ALL!

Yessa did not care for people in masks--at ALL!