I won't mince words, this has been a difficult summer. I feel like Napoleon at Waterloo. If school starting is exile to Saint Helena, well, I'll take it, please. I hope three kids gets easier. I feel like I'm barely scraping by at mothering. By that, I mean, I'm not the mother that I want to be this summer. The first two months with Trixie were especially hard; colic? food sensitivities? general adjustment issues? Who knows!
What I can tell you, having had two babies with very fussy behavior and one without, is that having a baby WITHOUT it is a hell of a lot easier on everyone. Nonfussy babies are empowering! They are a gift to their mothers' self esteems! (And thus it is that my non fussy baby is firmly embedded in my mind as my Wonderful, Magical, Easy Child even when current events suggest otherwise.)
Another observation: fussy baby + older kids is worse than fussy baby alone.
However, things are looking up. Trixie is getting over her Whatevers. Noah and Mattias are about to have a more regularly scheduled life. So enough about defeat, let's talk about some stuff that actually got done around here this summer.
We put a playhouse in the backyard. I'm ashamed to say, after all my pining over some sort of cool stilt house, what seemed the best solution (money, effort, and TIME) was something from Costco. Oma gave it to the kids as a gift; Fritz and my father assembled it on a visit when Trixie was about 1 week old; and the boys have been playing in it almost everyday since. I really resisted this type of semi-permanant prefabricated playhouse. Who wants to think about getting rid of this type of thing when you decide that you want your garden space back? Ugh. But then along came Trixie with an age span of 6 years from Noah. And it just seemed like we needed more gross motor activity in the yard to keep the older ones busy. Plus: we figure it will now have at least six more years of use.
As it is with almost every project, this one managed to be more involved than just assembling the house. My dad and Fritz also built a deck platform for the house. Fritz mulched the surrounding area. I whined a little bit about all the brown, brown, brown in our yard. So then Fritz also started grapevines for me behind the playhouse. Fritz keeps referring to them as wine vine (or did he mean whine vine?), so you know where this might be going... That pretty much makes up for the garden spot I lost, right?
Noah and Mattias worked on some pretty amazing paper projects with Oma during her visit in June. Below is a papier-mâché crocodile in progress. They also made their own paper and painted canvases. Very cool.
We decided to plunge into home improvements and put some tile on the backsplash. Once again, my father was invaluable in guiding us through on his "vacation" to Colorado. Oh boy. I think this topic could have a post all its own. So here's just a little peak: the kids and my parents posing in front of the finished tile:
We also got some help from my parents repainting the walls. The builder called the paint color Swiss Latte. But it was more like Finger Print Magnet. We have repainted the lower half of our walls in the main living area in Swiss Latte every six months since we moved in. My neighbors suggested that I use something other than the builder's paint. So we got Ultra Pure White from Behr in eggshell. Then we realized the ceiling was ALSO painted in Swiss Latte. As soon as the walls were Ultra Pure White, the ceiling looked more like Nicotin White, so then we painted the ceilings, too. It was a lot of work.
Maybe it would have made sense to just paint the walls a color, instead of white. Then Swiss-Latte-Nicotin-White ceiling would have looked like regular white. At some phases in my life, I've been very much into color on the walls. But right now I feel like daily living with kids is just so active and chaotic and messy, that I need a lot of something very quiet and peaceful and clean to balance out the chaos. Hopefully, now that the walls are an eggshell finish instead of a flat finish, I can scrub them clean. We shall see.