It had been a roller coaster night - which is to say, normal. Because Corey is gone on a business trip and today is a day off school, I decried a Sleepover in Mom's Room last night, a treat the kids all love. When I went to bed, my floor was a mess of sleeping bags and damp heads and Legos and flashlights an blankets and Pinkalicious books and stuffed animals.
I love them so much, I thought. My heart is so full.
The view from the top of the hill is always breathtaking.
And then - the plunge. Because I was attacked by the Plague last week, I snuffled and sneezed and coughed half the night. Connor kept waking up to turn on the gas fireplace, which turned a room already heavy with the breath of four sleeping people, into a side room of Hades. At some point, Teyla woke up and crawled into bed with me. "Great, now I have to roll over and try to clear a path through the other nostril," I thought to myself. And then at 5:00 AM, Kieran woke in his room with his normal "Mama, Daddy, Mama, Daddy, Mama, Daddy!" cry. I shuffled back to bed with him, as I always do. He feel back asleep, as he always does, after fifteen minutes of restless thrashing.
He woke for good at 6:30, and I was not eager to greet the day.
Eventually, the ride started to even out. I brewed some tea, got the kids breakfast, folded some laundry. I even managed to spend a few minutes at my desk, sampling my way through my blog reader, which is something I haven't done for at least a month, maybe more.
I looked up and saw the kids playing happily together. Their sweet voices and faces warmed me and made the normal morning doldrums melt away.
I snapped a few pictures (naturally) and went back to blog reading.
Hill tops are lovely, aren't they?
"Mama! Kieran is getting in BIG TROUBLE!"
Teyla's voice was loud and insistent and very Big Sister.
"What's he doing, honey?" I called, already headed for the scene.
"He's making a BIG MESS with your SPICES!"
'Twas true. Kieran had liberally sprinkled a whole jar of Mrs. Dash around the kitchen, and he was working on the Lemon Pepper as I walked around the corner.
"Buddy! No-no!" I said, grabbing the bottles from his hand and trying, in vain, to brush spices off his chubby feet.
I washed off Kieran's feet in the sink, waved along the rest of the kids who naturally came to survey the damage. ("Whoa, Natalie, you have to come see this!" shrieked Connor.")
Nothing to see here folks, move along, move along, please.
I got the Swiffer and spent ten minutes pushing salt-free seasoning into piles. Meanwhile, I guarantee you there was nothing salt-free about the seasoning in my mind. "Oh my word, can't I even sit at my desk for a few minutes and relax? Why must he always create a mess? Why can't he just play with his freakin' toys? Why must he always explore? I am so tired of cleaning up mess after mess after mess."
My brow furrowed to yesterday, when Kieran had managed to grab the diaper changing station off a cabinet and lotion up the carpet in his room while I had the audacity to eat breakfast. And then, when I was putting on make-up, he snuck into the other bathroom - thanks to a sibling who forgot to shut the door - and squeezed half a tube of pink princess toothpaste on the wall, the door, the countertop, the cabinet pulls and - most impressively - the little potty which was stored in the linen closet.
But, by the time I finished vacuuming the spices - and let's face it, they were all probably past their prime anyway; I haven't made anything with lemon pepper since we lived in San Diego - I could hear laughter coming from the bedroom.
I found the siblings engaged in a silly game of Lego war.
And I headed back up the hill.
It's a crazy ride, isn't it? Let's go again.