May 28, 2006

And then there were eight.

(full circle much?)

At this very moment I'm sitting on the loveseat with Lilly. She's crocheting a blanket, I'm writing an entry. The couch is occupied (left to right) by Calvin, Devlin, Robert, and Michael - all of whom are watching formula racing on TV with equal amounts of fascination. Baby Roman is asleep in his swing, and Marie has yet to make an appearance downstairs.

I doubt any explanation is required as to why I haven't written AT ALL this month. Here's the long-story-short: Babies everywhere. Grocery shopping. Work, work, and more work. More grocery shopping. American Idol (YES!!! I totally called it). Gray's Anatomy season finale (I know, huh?). Babies crying, diaper changing, boons, ou-tide, "Oh, cwap." Working out. Yet more grocery shopping. Where did all the beer go? Michael's arrival. Lilly's birthday. Marie's high school graduation. Heavy conversation out on the patio. Light conversation out on the patio. Settling down to a routine. Lizard fascination. Baby hysteria. Nap obsession.

I fully understand why the required afternoon nap was instituted - it wasn't for the children, it was for the parents. As was 8:00 bedtime.

The three boys find ways to crack us up multiple times a day. Robert got in my face, pointed his finger at me with a very serious expression, and proceeded to lecture, "Guwama, ayoiyou mufungada yight? Car. Car! No, muyiyoi boomafa ayungmfoof. Gamma? Gampa. Yight!" From what I got from that, I think he said something to the effect of, "Grandma, did you turn off that light? I'm playing with my car. I can't see what I'm doing. Grandma? Tell Grandpa to turn on the darn light!"

Robert's common phrases include, "Oh, cwap," "Oh, dere it is," "No no, bubba," "What the hell," "Oh, God," "Come on, Mumma," "No, no poo-poo," "Oh, torry," "'Scuse me," "Come on, boys" (at the Suns game), and "Two, one, go!" Plus the eternal and repetitive "car", "yight", "Chee-yo" (Cheeto the beardie), "pone" (phone), "ou-tide", "kitty", "puppy", "baby", "cookie", "candy", "Lola" (Lilly's mother), "hey", "what", "wow", "tick!" (which is "sick", with accompanying hand motion), "yo-yo!" (also with accompanying hand motion), and "coo-wah!" (cool). He has his own version of the A-B-C song, which goes something like, "A, B, C, D, eee, ah, fwee! Ay, ah, yay, meh, aluhfuma fwee. Ooh, ah, eh, fwee ah wee. Lululul eh, yiye ah whee."

When Lola calls, Robert paces all over the house (just like Grandpa, Daddy, and Aunt Marie), chattering up a storm in his Chinese-Klingon hybrid language, gesturing and pointing and telling her all about his day. It's hysterical, and also astonishing to think of how much they pick up from the adults around them. Calvin has actually tried to clean up his language after he realized that Robert was mimicking him. Hysterical as it may be, hearing, "Oh, puck!" from a two year old is equally horrifying.

Devlin is a very, very, VERY emotional little boy. We call him "Emo". He cries if you just look at him - and we don't even have to make an evil face or anything. He has a shoe fetish and will walk around in ANY pair of shoes that are left lying around. Including Marie's high heels. Actually, the little dude's got pretty darn good balance. He's got a truly wicked smile that will enable him to get away with just about anything, now and in the future. He loves his baby brother, and calls him "Bah-bee!" in what seems like a French accent. He mimics everything Robert does and is gaining new words on a daily basis. He's got down light, car, boon, me, bubba, no, Mama, Da, hi, cool, baby, poopy, wow, and candy.

He's a complete snuggle bug and will sit in someone's lap for hours, just watching TV or hanging out. He'll come up to someone and hug their leg or ask to be picked up, and then muckle on like a koala bear. Calvin taught him how to smack people on the butt, but when he sees Calvin do it he'll holler, "No no!" and then gently pat the struck area while pulling a very disapproving face. Robert picked up on that one, too. Both boys will help us yell up to Marie, their name for her being "Yo-yah!" She'll come downstairs a lot faster, now. Figures. And if there is any door in the house that is open - bedroom, bathroom, closet, refrigerator - it has to be closed right. now.

Baby Roman has recently learned how to smile, and it's ridiculous what a grown person will put themselves through just to get a baby to smile. He seems to be sleeping much better, but then Lilly is now in charge of his nightly machinations, so I don't really know. He loves to be held so he can look around and watch what's going on. He's starting to coo as well, and make noises other than, "Ahh-wah! (snort) Ahh-wah! (snort) Ahh-way! (snort)." It's unreal the pitch he can reach when he's really pissed off. I swear, dogs in the neightborhood howled.

Marie is finally a high-school graduate, and is starting college in August. The ceremony was the same as any other graduation ceremony, with the prerequisite speeches about how it all "went so fast" and "I remember the first day when I couldn't find my classes" and "it all just gets harder from here" and "go forth and conquer" and "we'll still stay in touch." There were 613 graduating students (quite a difference from my 98-student graduating class), and it was shocking at all that we found anyone we knew in the crush. Marie's mother showed up (the first contact they've had since December of 2004), and Calvin's youngest sister with her two daughters and one of her sons. They (Calvin's sister and family) came over for a couple of hours after the ceremony, and it was nice to hang out and talk for a while. It's been forever since we've seen any of Calvin's family, really.

So Marie is onto her next stage in life, and to be honest we haven't seen much of her over the last week. Friends, work, a new boyfriend who has finally moved to Arizona from California, and the freedom that being a high-school graduate entails - well, it all takes a higher priority than family right now, as it does for everyone who passed through that stage in life. I'm eager to see how the next year progresses, as she takes on more adult responsibilities. I pray to God it all goes smoothly.

Michael and Lilly are here and settled and doing well. In Lilly I've continued to enjoy a wonderful friendship. We talk for hours about our childhood and hometowns and goals and experiences. We're workout buddies and are keeping each other pretty well on-track. She's crocheting us a blanket and puts my efforts to shame. Aww, I want to grow up to be just like Lilly.

Michael and Calvin are all testosteroney with one another, watching the sports and the car shows and the boxing (though Lilly and I both enjoyed watching the UFC Championships). They one-up each other on skills and successes, refute each other regarding who has more knowledge on boy-topics, and compete against one another with the bodily functions. It's like Michael never left.

So, we're eyeball deep in family, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Having been bereft of a real family atmosphere for so long, I'm really enjoying this - even the tough spots, where all the kids are crying and the adults are sniping because of the stress, the house is a mess and the phone is ringing and oh God, Calgon, take me away.

And now, some pictures.

A blurry picture of Marie, walking out onto the field to graduate.

The grad crowd.

Roman, reacting as babies do to the flash.

He doesn't look ANYTHING like Grandpa.

Nah, not at all!

Yo, what's up, my peeps?

Big Lizard, who has been named "Stavi" by Calvin, after watching "The Ringer".

Little Kid, still lacking a name. Perhaps I should have a contest.

The stuff in the tub that needed to be removed pre-bath. Let's just say that nobody over the age of 3 put that stuff in there.

That both arms over the head sleeping position is apparently hereditary. DNA is weird stuff.

More flashy goodness.

"Look! A smile! Lookit!!!"

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