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Happy New Year

On New Years Eve I got to thinking.  At first I started to get depressed and angry.  And then I started broadening my thinking.  Instead of focusing on the one main event, I remembered all of the little things.  The things that made the year good, not bad.  What made me happy.  All of the billion of little things that I don’t want to forget.

Like our move to Fort Leavenworth.  I’m not going to think about the complete shitshow that move was, but focus instead on the end result.  Not only was a move exactly what the doctor ordered after everything, I absolutely adore this house.  Hands down my favorite house out of the last 10 years.  High ceilings, a one story floorpan, hardwood floors, big open rooms; it’s to die for.

Huh. There was a time when we had a clean, organized house. Who would’ve thunk it?

Even a ghost to add a little bit of character!  Not to mention the community our building has established.  13 kids, ranging in age from 2-9 crammed into our postage stamp backyard; it’s perfection.  And the icing on the cake?  Not only do I get along with all of the adults, but none of the kids are annoying!

Or that there was a huge VW scandal and now I get to sell my car back for a profit after driving it for 2 and a half years!  I thought I was going to be saddled with the worst car on the face of the earth until Jordan turned 16 and got to destroy it the rest of the way (by doing things like accidentally putting gas in it, like her mother), but instead we’re saying goodbye and good riddance and replacing it with a Wrangler.  Now that’s happiness.

Actually my annual Florida trip with my best girls and without kids–now that’s happiness.  It never ceases to amaze me how it doesn’t matter how much time has passed since we’ve last seen one another–it never feels like more than a week.Our annual beach trip with my favorite non-blood-related family, which was made all the better this year by my brother’s sober appearance.  The kids got to spend some quality time with their uncle and fell in love with him.  It’s been six months and yet C still runs around the house randomly yelling “Uncle Buuuuuuuccck!!!!”There are all kinds of good memories with Jeff, but since he refuses to be photographed, they’re a lot more difficult to remember.  Seriously, it’s like pulling teeth to get him to take 3 family shots during the kids’ annual school photo shoot.  This is his “I’m going to f*cking kill you Amanda if you make me take one more picture” face.And yet, he still manages to have brilliant ideas.  Like asking our photographer to impose a butterfly in our family photos to represent Zoe.  It’s on Carter’s back in the top picture.

Then there’s Jordan.  First her second half of Kindergarten (at the end of which she received the “Rule Follower Queen” award from her teacher) and now 1st grade.  FIRST GRADE!!!!  She is a girlie girl through and through.  Princesses, dressing up, absolutely no sports, wants to get married but not have kids or work, loves anything sparkly, hasn’t put on a pair of jeans or sweatpants in over 2 years.  And she definitely has the crafty gene.  That kid adores making stuff.  Sometimes the ideas she comes up with blow me away. She’s my little clone (“Whatever floats your boat chick pea!”)–minus the girlie girl stuff.  I have no idea where she got that from.

Jordan can be accurately summed up with this exchange:

“So tomorrow you have to pull out all the stuff we don’t want the packers to take. You can pick 3 dress up dresses, 5 Barbies and a few other toys. Then you need to pick 10 dresses, 10 pjs, 10 pairs of underwear.”
“Okay!”
“Oh and 3 pairs of shoes.”
“What?!?! NO NOT THREE!!!! I need TEN–one pair for each outfit!!”

Sometimes I catch a glimpse of her and see how old she is.  And then she opens her mouth and not just an attitude, but an ATT-I-TUDE, comes flying out.  Along with a perfect replica of my death stare.  Then I flash forward 10 years down the road when the two of us are going to be at each other like cats and dogs and try to treasure the fact that she actually likes me now.

Only Jordan dresses like this to go fishing.  Or, just yesterday when we pulled out the science experiment kit she got for Christmas she asked me, “I want to dress up like a scientist while we do it…wait, what do they wear?”  She put on her tan spring jacket, made herself a pair of glasses out of pipe cleaners and was ready to go.She’s showing random glimpses of unselfishness this year, thankfully.  Every time we passed an Angel Tree in December she insisted on picking an angel and buying a present for a little girl (always a girl, never a boy) in need.  She’s made countless cards, pictures and treats for our neighbors.  No worries though, she’s still herself.  Like when she bought “me” a witch for my birthday. She lost her first tooth this year, a day before her 6th birthday.We visited her best friends and my Irish twin in Californiaand followed it up with a fantastic day at Disneyland,during which time Jordan became obsessed with the Les Miserables soundtrack.

The magic brush.  That discovery just might be my favorite part of 2016. 

And then there’s Carter.  He is every bit of a boy’s boy as Jordan is a girlie girl.  Like when he was in the bathtub at the hotel last week and wanted me to help him “put this cup on my penis.  No, I want this cup on my penis.  Help me put this cup on my penis!!!!!!That kid is obsessed with trucks and trains.  Like a serious obsession.  He will sit down and play with trucks all by himself for hours.  Literally hours.  One of my favorite memories was right around his second birthday when we went to Barnes and Noble just so he could play with their train set.  After 45 minutes, and not a single sound out of him, I told him it was time to go.  This was his reaction.  As obsessed as he is though, he hates it when they’re on.  We took him to Touch a Truck for his second birthday.  He was in absolute heaven for the first ten minutes…until “horn friendly” hour started.  Then he wanted out of there and now.And as much as Jordan is my little clone, Carter is Jordan’s.   He copies everything she does, from repeating everything she says, inflections and all, to wanting to skip the same songs she does, to putting on makeup.Except he’s a giant shithead to boot.  Like when we’re all playing in the backyard and he gets bored.  He steps onto the road and just waits.  He waits and waits and waits, until we make eye contact, waits until I open up my mouth to yell at him, and then he makes a run for it, his little legs taking him as fast as they can go down the street.  When he gets into those moods there is absolutely no way to get the kid to listen to you.  Like when he rides the vacuum,  and eats sandor shaving cream.The more you tell that kid to stop, the more he does it.  I honestly don’t know which one of the two are going to give me more hell when they’re teenagers.

He’s also a bottomless pit.  This kid eats as much as Jordan and I combined.  And it always tastes better when it comes off of someone else’s plate.  Like when he threw a fit the other morning because Jeff only gave him one bite of his breakfast sandwich.  “I wanted three bites!  I wanted THREEEEEEEE BITEEEESSSSSS!!!”  Or the time when he refused to eat the chicken I cooked for dinner, instead climbing down off of his chair and running away.  When he came back 5 minutes later he had an entire mouthful of dog food.

Regardless what he’s eating (and nine times out of ten it’s not something that’s made for human consumption), he makes a mess out of it every time.

Then there’s how Carter used to squint at me whenever I said, “Look at me!” “Look at me!”. And called Jeff “Deedee”, blocks “dada”, tires “babas”, balloons “beebees” and sewer lids “blllbbllll”.

Then there was the time he burnt his arm on a lightbulb in a chicken coop.  Still has the scar to prove it! Or how C just didn’t “get” trick-or-treating.  Thankfully we hit the safe trick or treating event downtown the day before Halloween, where we quickly discovered that C wanted his candy and he wanted it NOW.  10 businesses (and 10 temper tantrums later) we were done.  Needless to say, C did not go trick or treating Halloween night.That Jordan and Carter have learned how to play with each other over the last year.  Don’t get me wrong, there are A LOT of fights, but in the last month or two they’ve really discovered how much fun they can have together.  Not only am I able to actually get stuff done now, but things like this happen. And, of course, he’s thankful for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

And then there’s this guy.  Who does nothing but this all day every day.  And whom Jordan still hates.

This moment right here.  This was the morning after we came back from the hospital and we were all together again.  Not complete, not right, but it still felt good. So I can’t say that I’m glad 2016 is over.  The kids are growing up so fast.  I look at Carter and remember how much fun Jordan was at that age and think that it won’t be too much longer until he’s running around, 6 years old.  And by that point I’ll want to murder Jordan even more than I do now.  I know that 2017 will bring tons of memories, all just as good (if not better) than these ones, but I’m not in any rush for the days to go by.  I’m treasuring each moment that passes.  Well, as much as I can with a 6 year old filled with attitude and a 2 year old shithead.  Never a dull moment, that’s for sure…

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