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In a little under two weeks, my husband comes home for 14 days of leave.
I am absolutely counting down the days and hours until he gets here ó and have already begun trying to maintain some semblance of order in the house.
I have this image in my mind of him arriving at our beautiful, immaculate house and being eagerly greeted by our perfect, angelic children showering him with kisses and adoration.
In reality, heíll be lucky if we have clean sheets on the bed and if the children have kept their clothes on.
Our 3-year-old is going through an exhibition stage right now (at least, I pray itís a stage) whereby he strips all his clothing off and runs around naked telling people heís a monster.
Apparently, monsters need to be nude.
This wouldnít be so bad except heís decided the baby is a monster too, and whenever my back is turned, he undresses her as well.
The infant, never having been a big fan of clothes to begin with, is more than willing to run around the house in her birthday suit.
And then it seems as though the house itself is conspiring against me and my desire to have it perfect for his homecoming.
Every time I have cleaned the kitchen and scrubbed the floor, I realize I will need to cook eventually and it gets dirty again.
Every time I have the playroom in perfect condition, my children insist on playing in it and messing it up again.
Every time I have cleaned the car out and piled all the toys, balls, miscellaneous socks and the occasional French fry in a sack in the garage, they seem to regenerate overnight and sneak right back into by vehicle.
On the plus side, laundry isnít really piling up, as my son and daughter arenít dirtying a lot of clothes.
Itís hard to dirty clothing when you donít wear any.
They are, however, taking many more baths than usual. Iím pretty impressed at some the places they have managed to get dirt into.
And I was able to get some work done outside one afternoon. That was the day this past week both kids took their naps at the same time. After I got over my shock and awe at this incredible and unbelievable occurrence, I mowed the lawn.
It looked beautiful.
Something tells me it wonít stay that way for the next two weeks until my husband gets home, which means my two naked monsters will have their own jungle to play in when their daddy gets here.
I know I wonít be able to mow it again before he arrives as the chance of our children taking coordinating naps again are about the same as my purchasing on eBay an almost brand new jet bought by the former governor of Alaska.
So, Iíve discovered the best way to keep the house in semi-decent condition is to just be gone most of the day.
Weíve been swimming a lot at the local pool during open swim times, and have a vast familiarity with many of the local parks.
My son refers to the three local parks we frequent as The Purple Park, The Blue One, and The One Where I Lost My Chicken Nuggets.
If anyone should find a six-pack of chicken nuggets at the Mat-Su River Park, please know we never intended to litter.
The wind was simply too much that day and it was either lose the nuggets or my daughter.
Since Iíve had her longer, I chose my daughter at the expense of my sonís lunch.
He has never forgotten it, and I still think he sometimes believes I made the wrong decision.
So, the excitement in my house keeps mounting as I attempt to clean some small section of the house each day and keep it neat in preparation for my husbandís return.
I am well aware that when he gets home, he will be oblivious to the fact that the house may not be spotless and our children may be slightly grass-stained.
He will have blinders on to everything but the fact that he is seeing his family again for the first time in almost nine months, and he will be too caught up in all the changes that have occurred to notice anything else.
His eldest, still just a young girl with scraped knees when he left, is now almost a teenager and has started wearing lip gloss and taking pains with her appearance.
His son is a whirlwind of a boy, talking a mile a minute and expecting everyone to keep up with him even while he cannot keep his clothes on.
And the baby, just a 6-month-old noisemaker when he left, now is walking and trying to talk and has formed a definite personality all her own.
All these change have occurred in the months since heís been gone, and he will need some time to take them all in.
Hopefully, he will be so busy marveling at and enjoying these changes he will be oblivious to the new scrapes and dents along the wall, the cat hair lining the top of his pillow the and that his son is probably naked and dancing to the Barney theme song in our living room.