Monday, May 31, 2010

Kids say the darndest things

Jack while hugging Ben: "Mom, I really love this brother." Then Charlie crawls up on his lap too. "And this brother. And I really love Scotty and you too, Elaina. I love you, Mom, and Dad and I just feel this way about every one in our family. And there is one person who I also feel this way about who is not in our family." Mom: "Sophia?" (His friend/girlfriend since he was 1 yr old) Jack: (just grins and nods) Jack walking in the door holding a bird's nest: "Can I keep it?!" Ben: "Mom, what are we doing that is fun tomorrow?" Mom: "Your cousins are coming over and we are going to the nature museum in the morning." Ben grinning ear to ear: "And that isn't even a long time away, we just go to bed and wake up and it is here!" Mom: "Elaina, want to run to the grocery store with me, we need a few things?" Elaina: "Yea! yes, and can we get my toenails done?!" Mom: "Ben, eat your food please." Ben: "Mom, I don't really want dessert tonight anyway." Mom: "We aren't even having dessert tonight, I just want you to eat your food." Ben: "You know, actually I am pretty tired." Mom: "Ok, go on up to bed." Ben: "Well, you know I am scared up there without Jack, so I am just going to watch him eat and wait." (and the next thing you know he is nibbling his sandwich) Scotty: "I love pepsi!!!! I am all hyped up on Pepsi!" Mom: "This is not making your case for ever having another one." Jack: "Mom, are we going on a trip where we stay overnight somewhere this summer, what is going on this summer?" Mom: "Well, we are going up to the lake in WI and staying at a lake house on the beach for about a week." Jack: "Ya, I mean besides that." Mom: "Well, we just got back from a 10 day trip to Disney, and we went to TX over spring break. I think that is enough vacationing." Jack: "Ya, well I just really wanted to go to Mexico." Mom: "Maybe some other summer. You get to go spend almost a week with Grandma and grandpa and do a camp." Jack with wide eyes: "That's what I meant, something fun like that!" also I don't want to forget: -We went swimming at sis and bro's house tonight. Very fun with all the kiddos. Ben (4) conquered step one related to his fear of "the big pool" by finally, after many minutes/hours of persuasion from me and my husband and my mom, floating around in a little floaty thingy. -played a fun game with adults and kids together tonight - spoons - Scott and Jack loved it and we all had a lot of fun. Must remember to play more games like that with them.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

2 and counting

I put him in a romper. Charlie had his 2nd birthday party today and I am squeezing out these last few romper moments. I have been known to say that fancy boy rompers are only ok up to 2 years old. How is it possible that my baby is growing past the romper age??? It sure doesn't seem like it was a whole 2 years ago that I was holding a huge newborn and saying, "I think this could be our last little one." It doesn't seem like 2 years ago that I was waking every 2 hours to feed a crying newborn. The older we get the faster time flies by, and the more we want it to slow down. I recall being a kid waiting for Christmas. It seemed sooooooo far away, no matter what time of year it was. Now, I swear as soon as summer hits, that I feel like Christmas is just around the corner. I recall as a child feeling like summer was a super long time. I would forget teachers' names over a summer, forget some math concepts, forget that feeling of having something on my shoulders all the time. Today as soon as the kids' summer begins, I know it will go quickly, barely allowing us to fit in all the fun activities in our heads. Taking time to stop and think about each day; what we did, what we said, and what we were blessed with, will help me to remember, recall, and rejoice in the moment. So, today I want to remember: -how my 2 yr old looked in his romper - precious, angelic, and also he had a huge marker mark on his thigh which was sort of funny sticking out from under the fancy romper. -how my 2 yr old looked when he changed into a swim diaper to play in the water. Like a little hoosier. -Charlie received a super cape from us for his birthday. He immediately began acting like a super hero, arms up, jumping etc. I believe I will put it on him every day from now on. -I found Charlie at the kitchen table, no one around, using a large cake knife and going at the Elmo cake. -Charlie blew out all his own candles and his cousin's too. -Ben and Charlie have become buddies. They hold hands when we go places, play together, and laugh together a lot. When Charlie walks into a room, or wakes in the morning, or first arrives home, one of his first questions is, "Where's Ben?" While typing this, the song Let Them Be Little, just came on my itunes. The refrain, "Let them Cry, Let them Giggle, Let them Sleep in the Middle, Oh, Let them be Little" is going to be in my head for a while...maybe this is a sign telling me I can let Charlie be little a bit longer...maybe wear a romper for a while longer... Well, romper or not, he's my baby, and I'm going to make sure I spend the summer forgetting how quickly his 3rd birthday will be here, and remembering every little detail of Charlie's toddlerhood.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Family dynamics

Took the kids out to lunch yesterday for the last day of school. We ordered 3 appetizers, and 6 meals, 2 root bear floats, a bunch of sodas, and had very little leftovers. $90 later, I am staring at the empty plates and trying to figure out how our neighboring table managed to purchase a $10 pizza for the whole table of 8 people and a few sodas. Oh, I see, there is not one BOY at their entire table. I have one girl and 4 boys, and someday I will have 4 teenage boys, and we will have to take out another mortgage on our home in order to feed them. Also, I have found, that boys are destroyers. They make messes and break things just for the sake of watching it all happen. Daily, charlie has been breaking through the child locks and dumping the flour and sugar all over the floor. Scotty and Jack used to clear bookshelves just to see the books fall. Jack (9) still hits things with sticks and bats just to hear the sound it makes, and to "see what happens." Ben (4) writes all over stuff. Elaina (6) does none of this stuff. This is not to say she isn't messy. She is, but it is more with a purpose. Her room becomes a disaster because tries on all of her clothes. The toy room will be a mess because she was feeding and changing and tending to all of the "animals at my vet clinic." Also, Elaina is less confrontational. The boys will be going at it fighting or whatever and she is standing back watching. A brother who was not even originally involved in the fight will jump in just because he is compelled to, but not Elaina. She stands back, watches, maybe tells me about it. I used to think I needed the same family dynamic in my household now that I grew up with. I grew up with a bunch of sisters. My brothers also had each other. I worried that Elaina wouldn't "have what I had." Well, that's right, she won't. But she may have some new things of her own. Hopefully she will have a really neat friendship with her mother. She often calls me her sister. She will have 4 brothers to look after her and look out for her and protect her. I bet that she develops some really close friendships with girls in her life. She may grow up very tough, and tolerant and nurturing. And I hope some day she marries someone as caring as her brothers are, someone as protective as her brothers are, someone as fun as her brothers are, and someone who eats the way her brothers do, because she actually LOVES food too! also I don't want to forget: -Tonight when we arrived to pick up the kids from our short weekend away we were greeted with hugs and kisses from every kid, even the older boys. Each of them was a little huggier tonight and cuddlier. I'm glad to know they like us : ) -Elaina started squealing with excitement as Grandma was opening her birthday gift tonight. I love how excited she gets about stuff like that. She makes me laugh. -Charlie was all over helping grandma blow out her candles on her ice cream cake. Too cute. Tomorrow he gets to blow out his own!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Don't Embarrass me!

I ran into a friend of mine after church this morning. She is awesome. Just for fun, as a last day of school trick on her kids she drove them to school in her robe and a towel on her head. I LOVE this. My mom used to drive us to school on Halloween and the last day of school too I think with a gorilla mask on. At that time, I was of course terribly embarrassed. But now that I am a mom, I really see the useful tool this is. There are sooo many things we have to teach our children. How to get along with others, how to share with others, how to study for a test, how to have confidence, how to laugh at themselves and so much more... We also have to teach our kids about dealing with embarrassment. Embarrassment happens. When I was in college I was walking through the computer lab when my boot buckles got hooked together and I went straight down like a tree in the forest. Terribly embarrassing. But you know, I grew up with a dad who used to wear a swim cap in the neighborhood pool and swim around yelling, "I'm Julie Certa's dad!" His sole purpose was to embarrass me. After that, my falling in the computer lab was nothing. We as parents need to be willing to embarrass ourselves to teach our children that getting embarrassed doesn't kill you. They can survive a little embarrassment, and in learning this they will become willing to try new things, and risk embarrassing situations to learn something new, or have a good time, or just let go a little of being made fun of, and be themselves. So, I tease my kids a little. I kiss and hug them in public. I wear around any art or stickers my little kids give me throughout the day, and if this embarrasses my older kids, well, good. I may just get my husband to wear a swim cap around the pool this summer...for the good of the kids ; ) also I don't want to forget: -Charlie keeps saying "knock, knock" we say "who's there" and he just stares at us smiling. Then eventually he says, "knock ,knock" again. We go on like this forever. -My husband and I are celebrating our 12th anniversary tonight with dinner and a night away in a hotel. Grandma and Grandpa have the kids. Kids are THRILLED to be going there. They love this. And I love this. Grandma and Grandpa are going to be very tired when we pick up the kids Saturday evening.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Rookie mistake. I let the little boys stay awake through nap time because they were having so much fun swimming in the little kiddie pool I put on the back porch. So, of course at 3:30pm they both fell asleep. So, now at 10:30pm the 2 yr old is awake, and I'm guessing we see a very hungry Ben around 1am. The good news? I get to go upstairs and snuggle in my bed with Charlie and watch cartoons. I secretly (well not totally secretly, since my kids know this and use it against me a lot) LOVE cartoons. Something about cartoons brings me back to great lazy Saturday mornings with my siblings lying on shag carpeting in my pjs, zoned out. When Direct tv began offering the Boomerang network, I was ecstatic! All the old cartoons are on there. So, I get to go upstairs, watch old cartoons with my kid and no one has to know that I thoroughly enjoy it. I am going to have to chill out a little on the kids this summer. I've got this idea in my head and I keep mentioning it to my older sons in particular, "Do something constructive, please!" When I was a kid some of my favorite things to do, and most memorable to me were very non-constructive: running in circles around the chair in our basement singing Sesame Street songs, watching my beloved cartoons, burying things in the backyard and digging them up, Frogger, Pacman, playing with Barbies. Really, I think we have a number of things going on in their lives that can be deemed as "constructive." From music lessons to Art lessons to sport camps this summer, I think they will gain as much knowledge and skill as needed. What may even be more needed is some down time. With tomorrow being the last day of school for the year, I am vowing to have a low-stress summer, complete with nonconstructive moments galore! From playing tag to wading in the kiddie pool. From eating Popsicles on the back porch to watching a movie in the middle of the day! For soon enough, the schedules begin again, the assignments are assigned again, and I can just hear myself starting again with, "Do something constructive, please." also I don't want to forget: -Charlie went from the kiddie pool to the sand box, then had a Popsicle and then began playing in the mud. Good times : ) -Ben said, "This is the best day of my whole life!!!!" because we were headed to toys r us to get a little plastic swimming pool.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Kindergarten Program

Today was the last real day of Kindergarten, complete with video slide show and a triad of adorable songs from the class for us parents to smile at and get teary-eyed over. All year we worry about these kids in Kindergarten. We hope they are having a good year. We hope they will like their teacher. We worry that they might be behind. We worry that they might be bored. We try to have play dates so that they have friends in their class. But when it comes down to it, as we witnessed in an adorable and very abundantly full of photos video, these kiddos are just fine. They have gotten to know each other and love each other. As a photo of each child came on the screen the class yelled in unison that child's name. As photos of their teachers came on the screen the kids all screamed their names too. And we parents sit there and grin and shrug at each other because we can't believe how quickly this year has gone by. Our little kindergartners are ready for grade school. I turned around during the video to find a couple good friends whose oldest child is in that Kindergarten class. They were openly bawling. It's touching for us moms, it's hard for us more seasoned parents too. But I think today I was slightly more composed than usual because I have been through this before. Because I know that next year these kids will do even more wonderful things that will enrapture us. Though Kindergarten is over, 1st grade will bring its own delights. And these kids will be ok. I can just barely recall my first son's Kindergarten program, but I know that crying was involved, by me, not him. That same son gave a little speech at a little Tree Keepers program just last year, and somehow it brought me to tears too. There is something about that first child. Perhaps it is just that we don't know what is to come, and so we are sad to see them move on into a place that might not be as comfortable, safe, happy, or familiar. It scares us parents to think that there is something unknown becoming a part of our child's life. But each year I learn the lesson over again. Children are amazingly resilient. Children will surprise you. Children are happy to be moving on. They will so quickly become accustomed to that 1st grade classroom, that first grade teacher, that big kid desk. Within a week of school, there will be an open house and they will be showing you around their new classroom as if they run the place, and we will wonder why we worried. also I don't want to forget: - Scotty explained to me tonight why time travel into the future is theoretically possible. I do not understand what he is talking about, but he makes it seem very believable. - Ben says, "Today is a great day! I get to go to my friend Willy's house, then I get to have breakfast with my friend, Luke, and then I get to go to my friend Sarah's house!" Later when I told him we were also going swimming at our friends' house, he was absolutely beside himself with joy. - Charlie made me chase him around the pool continually tonight. I know that he does this on purpose, knowing I have to chase him because he will drown if he falls in. He puts on this evil little grin, and just starts running from me. - Scotty (11) just came over to me, hugged me and told me goodnight. If he ever stops doing this I will die. I think this is why we cry when our first children come to the end of a phase. Please don't let this be a phase.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Cleaning out the car

While cleaning out the car today I found: 1 piece of chewed gum stuck to the dashboard 3 jackets 3 pair of socks A box of chicken strips One of a set of 3 juggle sticks 3 shrek toys A box of crayons A small jug of curdled milk (thankfully tightly closed) 1 sippy cup 1 boys leather belt 2 pairs of shoes A cereal bowl Half a Luna bar Half a peanut butter sandwich 2 hair bows An Easter hair wreath 2 year books A few other reading books My checkbook A baseball A bath towel 2 wiffel balls A string of pop beads 2 water bottles A lot of trash And my sanity. A cleaner car puts me in a decent mood : ) Someone (an adult) actually tried to sit down in my car wearing white pants once. I practically dove onto the seat sacrificing whatever the heck I was wearing to keep her from doing that. I found a towel in my car that seemed a lot cleaner than the seat and made her sit on that. I tried the "no more eating in the car" once after someone spilled an entire milk drink on the floor costing us a fortune in cleaning costs. That lasted about a day and a half. I must be realistic. We are going to eat in the car pretty darn often. For instance, this morning as we are walking out the door for school, Elaina (6) says, "I didn't have breakfast." So, she had a peanut butter sandwich in the car on the way (well, apparently HALF a peanut butter sandwich). Lightening our schedule a little would be an effective way to cut down the food and "stuff" in the car, but then again, in the grand scheme of things, the messy car has really never hurt anyone, well other than the close call with the lady with the white pants. And she really should have realized what a chance she was taking when she stepped toward the car with all the stickers stuck to the inside of the windows and gum stuck on the dashboard. Also I don't want to forget: -Kids played in sprinkler today. There is really nothing cuter. And nothing brings me back to my childhood more than watching them run through the shooting water, squealing and laughing. Good times! -While getting tired of doing things I was asking him to do, Ben says: "oooo, I'm gonna break my head off!"

Monday, May 24, 2010

Japanese Erasers

Wow. Learned something important today. My 5th kid is 2 and I witnessed a vivid example of a strategy I will be using for the rest of my life with my kids. So, my kids all have these Japanese erasers that they have been half-heartily collecting. I think they are adorable little collectors items and also since they cost very little I like to use them as little rewards etc. So, a while back I got each of the kids a collectors' translucent compartmentalized box to keep them in. Still, the kids would randomly lose the erasers and I would find pieces of them here and there. I was sort of bummed that they hadn't caught on and really gotten into the collecting and trading idea of the erasers. Why did I care? Not totally sure, could have something to do with the fact that I love toys, and have always liked the idea of collecting anything little like that. As a child I collected those crazy-haired troll dolls. I recently gave away the whole collection to charity. My older sister collected thimbles and kept them in a great shelf in our room, and I would spend a lot of time staring at them. So, I guess I secretly wanted my own collection of Japanese erasers. They make everything! from food items to sport equipment themed ones. Animals, toys, toiletries. I just love them. When I saw the donut eraser that was it. I began my own collection. (Donuts are my favorite food). Suddenly, my children are totally into their collections. They love to trade me, and show me how cool their collections are. They take their collections along with them to grandma's house. They are taking them for show n tell, bragging about how many they have, and they aren't losing them anymore. And it is so fun! I let them trade me any ones they want (except I won't trade my donut and they know that). I have a new connection with all 5 of my kids! We ALL have something in common, we ALL love Japanese erasers! So, here is the lesson and herein lies my plan. I want Jack to read more - I need to start reading the books I want him to read. He will be thrilled to read them too and talk to me about them. I want Elaina to practice her handwriting more. I need to begin to journal next to her. She would be thrilled to "write in our journals together!" I can hear her squealing it now. This strategy will ring true for everything. It isn't enough to "send the boys outside to shoot hoops or play catch" or even to ask them to play with me. But if they see my husband and I playing catch, I guarantee they will be out there wanting to join in. Ever since I started my softball season this year, Elaina has mentioned that she would like to play softball. Summer goal: make a list of things I want the kids to be doing. Do them myself. Make sure they see me. Wait to reap the rewarding summer of the kids engaging in activities I want them to learn to enjoy! also I don't want to forget: -Charlie and Ben (2 and 4)and I made muffins together this morning. They did almost every single part of it themselves. They cracked eggs, added ingredients and did almost all of the stirring. Muffins turned out great. And they were sooooo proud. Sometimes I forget to let them do stuff like that, because I have the older kids to do it. -Elaina pushed her baby dolls downtown in a stroller tonight for a walk to get snow cones. She kept saying, "Mom, can I be a mommy too?" I'm so glad she sees being a mommy as a good thing! Although she did say, "These 2 kids have been driving me crazy all day and keeping me up all night." I suggested the walk may put them to sleep for a while so she could get some peace and quiet. -Charlie hugs my neck so tight when I put him to bed. He won't let me go and I feel terrible finally having to say goodnight and leave him in his room. He doesn't cry or anything, I just hate stopping the sweet hugging, but I think he would do it all night if I let him. I was actually wondering tonight if he would just keep hugging me till he fell asleep. -

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Cutting nails

I love cutting the kids' nails. Tonight was nail cutting night again. Everyone scrunches onto my bed watching cartoons, waiting their turn for mom to trim their nails. It is this little excuse to let the kids stay up a little later watching tv. Its a little excuse to have a tiny bit of one on one with each kid. And I find out funny stuff. Tonight I learned number 1 that Ben loves getting his nails cut. He says, "I love getting my nails cut mom, it doesn't even hurt." I also learn that the turtle is now his new favorite animal and that he likes soft ones that he could cuddle with better than rubber ones. I also learn that he loves waffles more than pancakes and really would like the family to have a waffle iron. From Elaina I learn that she has a lot of patience and also a high tolerance for pain. She waited her turn very patiently, and barely noticed when I cut too close and made her finger bleed. From Jack I learn that number 1 he needs to wash his hair again, even though it is still wet from his shower. It smells. Does he not use shampoo??? Also from Jack I learn that he has been wondering if he looks like a girl because so many people tell him he looks like me, and I make it worse by telling him that he has the same nail beds as me. Scotty is elusive this evening and doesn't show up for the nail cutting. I'm guessing it is because he is 11 and either is cutting his own nails or realizes he should be cutting his own nails at this point. I get to say prayers with all of them at once on nail cutting nights. So, I realize this evening which ones know their prayers and which ones need a little practice. Also I love nail cutting nights because I feel like I really accomplish something! I mean, yes, their nails will grow and I will need to do it again, but for at least 2 weeks, that job is DONE. Not many other tasks in my day are like this. The laundry is a continual circle of them wearing and me washing, folding, putting away. The dishes are also a vicious circle that never ends. But the nails, while they will grow back eventually, tonight and for a few more nights, I can feel really accomplished! On a side note, I am finding it difficult to blog without dozing! I think this is a bit of a tell-tale end of school year sign. The last week of school is busy and a bit exhausting. Really looking forward to sleeping a little later and making some of those waffles with the new waffle iron I feel so compelled to go purchase now!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Fit

When you become a parent you read all these books about how to deal with stuff. You read about breastfeeding, sleeping through the night, giving allowance and getting kids to do their chores. And you read about what to do when your child goes through the terrible 2s and starts throwing fits. What you don't read about is what to do when your 9 yr old throws a fit. Unfortunately, 9 yr olds sometimes get tired too. 9 yr olds have a hard time being patient too. 9 yr olds find it difficult to share at times too. Tonight it began being about what movie we were renting and ended up being about talking back, obeying your parents and using self-control. So, Jack gets upset enough to talk back to the extent that his dad has to send him to his room. As parents we are thinking, "He will relax, take a few breaths, calm down, and then we will have a little talk with him and let him join the rest of the family." But this is not how it goes. In reality, said child begins to lose it, begins to bang things around his room, begins to yell horrible things about how he must be the "the worst kid ever!" This is when we begin to question ourselves. Did we make him feel that way? Did we tell him he isn't a good boy? Were we unfair to him? No, we said none of those things, but whatever we did, we have caused our son to lose it. So what do we do? Well, the last time this happened I called my mother and asked her if my kid would be ok freaking out in his room, or if he would hurt himself. She wisely advised me to just let him go and not to worry about him hurting himself. (Apparently she'd been through this a few times with me as a child a few years back) So, this time we wait, we let him know that if he breaks something he will pay for it, and we close his door. Within about 20 minutes we have a heartfelt apology from him. And within about 22 minutes he has become a new calm kid. WHAT THE HELL??? I will never understand the mind of a child, but if I try really hard to remember what it was like to be a kid and feel that life was unfair, I can almost grasp at least a glimpse of remembering what he at least was feeling. Everything is so important when you are a kid. Kids don't have what we would call "big things" to worry about like mortgages, schools, etc. So, what is important in their life? The day to day. Each day has its own worries and stresses. Each worry and stress doesn't go much beyond the day in which it began. So, each issue each day to them is worthy of a fit. Trying to remember my own need to have my own way as a child helps me a little in dealing with a 9 yr old fit. I know that I wanted a reaction from my mom. So, I have decided that's what my son wants. And so now, I have to decide if the right thing to do is to give a reaction or not to. Mistakenly, first we often give a reaction. We have learned through experience that this is not really the best way to deal with this, but hey, we are human too. No one likes to be yelled at. I mean it is like when your baby bites your nipple when you are nursing him and your instinct is to hit his mouth. My instinct when being yelled at, sadly is not to calmly ignore my son. No, my instinct is to yell back! So, what the books should have taught us about parenthood is this: "When your 2 yr old throws a fit, just laugh, because someday that 2 yr old will be nine and throwing a fit, and you need to save up your self control for those later moments with your kids, because they are the tricky ones."

Friday, May 21, 2010

Tell us more

Tonight I got to go out with just my oldest 3 to see a Stage production of Little Shop of Horrors. We had a ton of fun, and the production was super. However the highlight of the evening for the kids may have been some fun we had at dinner. I started using some of my conversation starters that I looked up the other night. The kids loved it and kept wanting me to ask them more questions and then began to want me to answer questions from them too. When we got to the topic of my childhood, the kids were all ears for my stories of what I remembered about Kindergarten, Preschool etc... They laughed hysterically as I told them about my 1st grade teacher who was elderly and misunderstood what we were saying all the time. They teased me about stuff I told them I did when I was their ages. When our food came, I wanted to eat and stop chatting so much and they wouldn't have it. "More stories! More memories!" I threw them a couple more bones then insisted I couldn't remember anything else. Why do they love hearing about their parents' past sooooooo much? I have a theory. I think it helps them begin to believe even a little bit that just perhaps it might be possible for their parents to maybe identify with them even a tiny amount. They like realizing that their parents are human too. That we made mistakes, got made fun of and had hard teachers along the way, and are still living and breathing to tell about it. I'm sure as they get in trouble for talking in class, (or in Jack's case, talking in a foreign accent in class), or forget their homework sheet, or are picked last for kick ball, they may be able to deal with it a little better knowing their parents (who to them are still pretty cool right now) made it through just fine. I guess while I am still a few years from being a complete embarrassment to them, I will start telling them stories about how I never drank alcohol and was completely revered for it. How I cleaned my room every day and how my peers were extremely impressed by that. How I loved to help my mom out around the house. And then perhaps they will somewhat subliminally begin taking on these characteristics themselves. Tonight I am thankful I could remember some funny stuff to relay to the kids. And I am thankful for the great time spent with the kids by me and the great time Pete and Ben and Charlie got to enjoy tonight playing at the mall. I am also thankful lightning didn't strike me dead as I relayed those little white lies in the last paragraph ; )

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Krazy Glue

Before lunch today Charlie (2) had: -Tried to pry off the electrical outlet covers in the dining room -Got Super Glue stuck to his tongue causing a call to Poison Control -Handed me my husbands shaving razor -Gotten into Elaina's jewelry box -started to unload dirty knives from the dishwasher -escaped into the rain through the dog door in the playroom And these all happened when he was within about 12 inches of me!!! He is so darn quick!!! Tonight I am thankful that Charlie made it through another day. That DFS is not after me (that I know of). And I am thankful for car seats because when you strap them in, there is little danger they can pose to themselves at least. For his 2 year birthday in a couple weeks, I'm getting him a padded room in our home. I am also thankful for the hour-plus long time just hanging in the car waiting for Elaina to have an appointment. Charlie and Ben watched a movie and goofed around and I returned emails, and just chilled out. Nice. Fyi: super glue is not as hazardous as one may think. Once it is in the mouth or touches anything moist or wet, it solidifies, therefore it is not much of a poisoning risk. It is more of a choking hazard, because if it solidifies to a tooth or the tongue and then eventually chips off, the child can choke on the glue chunk. Also, one should not try to chip it off the tooth, or tongue because it may leave sore tongue or gums. (Of course I had already frantically scraped it from his tongue before I called poison control). If you suspect your child has krazy glue stuck to a tooth or his tongue, you should feed him something buttery, a buttered piece of toast. I guess this helps the glue come unglued in their mouth. Some little incidents we've made it through: -Charlie was once stuck in a doll-sized shopping cart. -Jack's had his appendix out -Jack's had stitches/glue at least 4 times - Once I recall had something to do with jumping on a bed I think. -Scotty poked himself in the eye with a stick when he was about 7. -Scotty's had stitches and glue a couple times - can't really remember why. I glued the top of his head myself once because he really wanted to go to basketball camp and we were in a hurry. -Elaina has had glue under her eye for just tripping into a furniture corner. -Ben has had stitches for splitting his chin open running round the house and glue for closing the big Tahoe door on his head (within a month of each other) -Ben was hospitalized for pneumonia. (This one scared me). -Jack had throat surgery to have a cyst removed -Once all 3 of my kids (just had 3 at the time) had Floam stuck in their hair. -I heard yelling one day and went outside to find Ben's leg stuck up very high in our fence and he was just hanging there - he was trying to climb over. -I recall one of the kids being stuck under a sofa for a while -Jack dropped an enormous television on his foot. (His foot was actually fine!) - Elaina went head over heels down the basement stairs at about 13 months. -Charlie's recent superglue eating incident. -Ben and Elaina chowed on a whole box of tums one day (not actually all that dangerous, could cause some diarrhea.) -Jack ate a quarter at age 3. -Scotty ate a dime at age 9. -while at the doc for what I thought may be a bladder infection for Elaina, I was told to hold a cup so she could pee in it. As I was holding it there and watching for her to go, something foreign starting coming out of her bum! Looked sort of like a small green Christmas ornament. I wasn't brave enough to look further into it to discover its actually identity. We all just decided that she would "probably feel a lot better now." -On the way into Mc Donalds today Elaina got her pinky squashed BADLY in the hinge of the door. However she did not react or show me her pinky until we were up in line ready to order, and she only started crying when I asked her what happened. Her finger was NOT finger shaped! However by the time we began to eat, her finger was completely back to normal and working fine! Amazing how resilient kids are. I would've been in the ER if it had been my finger. After reading that list, I'm thinking we have some darn good guardian angels. I pray we can handle whatever befalls our family and that our family falls a lot less often! Also I don't want to forget: -Ben looked at me with tears in his eyes today while watching a movie and said, " Mom, Benji can't find his family." He is so sensitive to sad parts of kid movies and tv. He was watching a Mickey Mouse cartoon and began to bawl because Mickey made Pluto go outside in the rain. -I forgot to leave my husband the keys to the van tonight when I went for a run and so he and all the kids road their bikes about 2.5 miles round trip to get Scotty to basketball practice. I can't believe Elaina (6) made it - She is awesome! Pete pulled the other 2 little guys in the trailer. The big boys road their big bikes.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I know I have a son, Scotty...

I don't think I talked to my son, Scotty (11) today. I'm just now realizing it. I really think the only words said between us in anything resembling a conversation were, "Dad wants you to mow the lawn." And then he said, "OK." I vaguely recall him doing a monologue on some Pokemon situation in his head or on a video game, and I recall me nodding as I did dishes, cleaned up and threw in loads of laundry. Oh, and I think I must have spoken to him as I made him change his shorts before school, but that doesn't count. So, he went to school, then we all walked to the snow cone place downtown Kirkwood. He brought a friend, so they chatted together. Then we walked home and he played with his friend. Then he grabbed a quick bite before his basketball practice and then when he returned from basketball practice I left for my own softball game. Ya, no conversation with him. I need to put a ca puts to this right now. Everyone says when they are teenagers that they NEVER talk to you. That is just 2 years away, and I can already feel the pull. I don't think it is a purposeful thing on his part - I mean the kid loves to talk, I often can't get him to stop. But, the lives get busy and they get more involved with friends and before I know it, I realize all I've said to him in the day is "Go change your shorts." I am going to make a conscious effort to talk to him about something more than his clothing or pokemon daily. List of topics: 1 Are you excited to go to a new school next year? 2 If you could trade lives with someone you know, who would it be? 3 If you knew someone stole something what would you do? 4 Do you ever have a recurring dream? What's it about? 5 What's your earliest memory as a little kid? 6 What do you think is the right age for marriage? Why? 7 What's the grossest thing you can think of? 8 Do you think honesty is always the best policy? 9 What do you think are the characteristics that make a good parent? 10 What is the nicest thing a friend has ever done for you? That should get us going. I looked these topics up. It isn't always easy to think of things to talk to your kids about that are interesting enough for both of you to keep the conversation going. So, not ashamed to admit I had some assistance from And there are 40 more questions on there, so that should get us through almost 2 months : ) Also I don't want to forget: -Charlie rocks age 2! He hugs my neck sooooo tight. He whispers sweet nothings (because he can't say ALL that much yet) in my ear. He folds his hands when we say our prayers and jabbers along with us. He loves that game where he tries to kick whoever is pushing him on the swing and we act like he has got us good. If he has any injury whatsoever, even pretend ones, he starts pointing to different areas all over his body and says, "right there," waiting for me to kiss him. When Pete or I or any of his siblings arrive home, he runs to meet us with a big hug yelling our names, or something close. -All Ben wants to eat these days is peanut butter and honey sandwiches, and grapes. Whenever I serve him something else (I let him have that once a day) he gets really angry. The other day as I was sitting down his plate in front of him, he looked at me as if I had just put cow poo in front of him and yelled, "YOGURT! YOU GAVE ME YOGURT?!! YOU KNOW I HATE YOGURT!!" I actually did NOT know he hated yogurt, since I swear he had been eating it a few days before that. Sometimes it is all I can do to keep from laughing at him because he is so intense and he looks so stricken when I try to serve him awful things like mac n cheese, grilled cheese, chicken, yogurt, all formerly enjoyable foods to him. Must be a stage. And I should try to stop laughing at him because that's not helping the situation. Oh, but he just added corn on the cob to his edibles, so I guess I should get some more. -Today on my way home from dropping Jack off late for school because I let him sleep-in having come off an illness, I was called and told to come back to school because my daughter was feeling ill. So I go up there and get her in the car and go through the drill, "here's your barf bag, let me know if you feel sick, this should only last a day just like your brothers..." and we get home and it turns out she was just constipated. At this point, however, I can't be taking her back up to school, because they likely already think I'm half a cracker off up there, what with all the forgotten lunch drop-offs, homework with apple juice spilled on it, kids in unmatching socks (I am a horrible sock folder). So, she gets the day at home. Time for summer.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Midnight adventure

Middle of the night, hear the tell-tale cough, go running through the hall, grab some sort of towel on the way, yell to husband to grab a bucket, arrive in gagging child's bedroom, shove towel under his chin in the darkness, proceed to be projectile vomited on, vomit ricochets off of the "towel" which turns out to actually be a baby bed pad (not very absorbent at all) and hit me square in both legs (I was in only a tank top) and all over the floor. About that time my groggy husband walks in with the tub. Thanks. Very helpful. Husband and I determine he should clean area and I should clean kid. After shower (the barfer (4), 3rd barfer actually, but the older 2 are on their own at this point in the game) and I proceed to my bedroom to sleep together. Husband goes in with 2 yr old who keeps coughing in a way that says, "I may barf soon too." I proceed to lie awake with ears peeled for gag noises. Topping off the grossness of my last 24 hr period was something that nearly puts me over the edge. I can take the barf clean-up. But...while cleaning up the yard this afternoon I stepped right into a large pile of dog doo. The only thing that completely saved me from a grossness breakdown was that I was wearing crocs - hoseable! Tonight, I am thankful for my impulse purchase of the crocs last month. I am thankful that this illness is not long-term, and it will all pass soon. I am thankful that I have laundry on my main floor instead of in the basement where it used to be. Oh, and I am thankful that my daughter, who has remained healthy thus far, and I had some nice time together today while all the sick boys just lied around. also I don't want to forget: -I keep having to tell my 4 yr old to take the barf bucket off his head. -I took a soccer ball out of the oven today...Fortunately before I turned it on. -Scotty (11) told me he is sad to be getting a new toothbrush because his current toothbrush has "those great tongue scrubbers on it."

Monday, May 17, 2010


Well, so much for my not allowing illness as my mom didn't. They're sick again. Poor Scotty and Jack. Scotty was sick right before his piano recital, and so he was super disappointed to have to miss it, considering he has been practicing for weeks. He began insisting that he not miss his morning plans either - to present his end of the year Reach project. Sadly I think he will be missing it. Jack decided to wait to get sick until on the drive to his recital. He made me continue on our path to the recital location and insisted on being able to make it through his guitar and singing duet with the teacher and his piano song. And he did it. He didn't get sick again until we were back home. While I am totally bummed that my kids are sick, I have decided to be thankful that they have been working toward goals that are important enough to them that they are sad to miss out on the finales. Sometimes I feel like the kids are just going through the motions and probably not getting much out of the daily routine of things such as music lessons, school projects, etc. But tonight they showed me that they really care about what they are working toward, and that makes me very excited to see what they will be able to accomplish and work toward in their future. also I don't want to forget: -Charlie has been spending a good part of every morning playing with my face. It cracks me up and I love how serious he is about it, whispering and poking his chubby little fingers in my cheeks. Perhaps he is commenting on my wrinkles, I'm not quite sure. -A friend told me how sweet Elaina is today. She loved how Elaina waived so sweetly to her at church during all school mass. She is definitely a sweetheart. -After I reprimanded Scotty for not eating healthy and exercising enough, and pegging that as his reason for being ill, he was quite hard on himself also. I felt terrible, so I had to call him and tell him I was sorry I was so rough on him. Poor kid, I'm kicking him while he is down!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Duct tape

My kids have ipod touches, Nintendo DSs, a Wii game system, a fooseball table, a ping pong table, an air hockey table, a basketball hoop, board games coming out their ears, and more. When you have 5 kids, you accumulate. Each Christmas we try to think of the new fun thing they will love! What will get the big "WOW!" ? Every year we toil over even-ing up the kids' gifts, making sure everyone will be excited and not feel slighted. However, tonight my husband and I were smacked in the face (not literally, well actually my 2 yr old takes care of that pretty often too, but that's a story for another night). We could not have felt more wasteful, and more downright silly as we did this evening when my husband began messing around with some duct tape at the request of our 4-yr-old. "Dad, will you make me a duct tape bird?" Soon, my husband, who hadn't shared this gift of duct tape art with me before tonight, had made a lovely duct tape bird. Ben was thrilled, and as it is with most things in a family of 5 kids, every other kid "HAD TO HAVE ONE TOO!" For the rest of the entire evening all five kids ran around flying their duct tape birds throughout the house. They had Lego men riding them. They tried to see how far they would fly. They fought over whose was the best. They named them. And I believe some of them are sleeping with their duct tape creations right now. Also, just to rub it in our faces, our 2-yr-old at one point grabbed a broken broom from the fireplace, stood it up on its end and began dancing circles around it. He may as well have said, "Look, Mom and Dad, you crazy people spend all your money on all those fancy toys for me and I really like this old thing here WAY better! Silly, Silly, Silly!" I'm glad they like their duct tape birds. (I think I'm throwing out the fireplace broom though, just seems dangerous and weird.) And now, when I go through all the kids' "stuff" to make a give-away pile, I think I will be able to give away more freely, after all, if they start missing something I give away, I'll just commission my husband to make it out of duct tape. also, I don't want to forget: -I did school projects with each of my oldest 3 today. We set the whole day aside to work on projects together. I originally was dreading the work, but having that one on one time with each kid was really nice. I'm not saying I didn't lose my temper occasionally - doing a book report with Jack, who seems to have short term memory issues right now, was a challenge - but even with that, I liked the feeling of completing something with them that we were both proud of them for. -We went and got snow cones at TRO MO tonight for the first time this season. We promised the kids we would go, and then it began to rain, so we piled in the car and drove down there. They were thrilled. -After the snow cones we all watched a movie and had popcorn. They all talk through the movie because they are so excited to tell us what is going to happen that is going to crack us up, however we never get to hear the funny scenes, because they are talking so much.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The job

Oh my, what a job. A ton of water in our basement from the recent storms have left us with a very big job: Demolish the hearth of the basement fireplace, take down the wall paneling, look for the crack, repair the crack, extend the sump pump, repair the wall and flooring. Today was step one - Demolish. We have found something our children are very good at: We have a 2x3 inch gouge out of our wall in our family room, our new piano has a big chip out of the front of it, the bathroom paint job has been peeled right in front of the toilet, the basement railing is missing a spindle, the wooden kitchen air conditioner vent has been crushed, our wooden floors are scratched to heck, our new dining table has fork scrape marks on it, the leather sofa has scissor scrapes on it, the basement carpet has stains, the sod job in the back courtyard has been dug up to make purposeful mud puddles, most of our walls have "artwork" directly drawn or painted on them. So, we have found something our kids are good at, demolition. Therefore, when the basement fireplace and hearth needed to be demolished, my husband called in the crew - the 11, 9, 6, and 4 yr old crew. All day long the kids banged, busted, crushed, hammered and split wood, bricks and mortar. All day long they carried the remnants up and out of the house. They LOVED it. It was a job well done and I couldn't have been prouder as I watched my 9-yr-old sit and play his guitar and sing for his grandpas while wearing dirt and soot all over his singing little face. They should all sleep well tonight, and right now I'm trying to think of other exhausting jobs that they might "enjoy" completing this summer, to keep them busy while my husband and I repair the kitchen floors, fix the vent, repair the leather sofa, put in a new spindle...

Friday, May 14, 2010

Ben (4.5)

(at the Powder Valley Nature reserve) Ben: "Oh, that's a soft shell turtle. And that's a catfish." And he was right. You gotta love Zaboomafoo Ben: "Did God die?" Mom: "Remember Jesus rose up to heaven?" Ben: "Oh ya, Easta came and He wose up and now he wivs in aw hawts. How did He get so smaw to fit in dare?" Mom: "Its just a mystery isn't it?" Ben: "Maybe He makes aw hawts beep." (out of the blue today: trip to Disney was over 2 weeks ago) Ben: "I liked that pawt when we went to Disney World." Ben at 4 years old is really something else. Today we went to church, then to our neighbor's to hold their new baby chicks and get the boys' haircuts, then to Powder Valley Nature reserve, then made brownies together. Time with Ben is time well spent. He does a bit of a running commentary on what we are doing throughout the day. And all through his commentary his voice is so excited! His eyes are so wide! His crooked smile is so mischievous looking! The friends that met Ben in the cry-room at church were welcomed by Ben with open arms, literally. The baby chicks he held had his full attention and love. He proclaimed his haircut to everyone he saw the rest of the day. Each exhibit at Powder Valley was "so cool!" to Ben. When it was time to bake the brownies together, in Ben's mind baking brownies was the most important thing he would do this whole week, as he bravely cracked his own egg, stirred with a vengence and licked the spoon with utter delight. To Ben right now, "life is his oyster" and not only does he immediately open his oyster time and time again to find pearl after pearl, but the pearls never ever bore him. Each time Ben begins his day, he is anxious to see what it holds. God, make us all more like Ben. You put the pearls right in front of us, help us to see them and cherish them for what they are! Just like Ben.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Acting their age

The band concert featuring our 11-yr-old on the sax and about 100 other kids was.......ambitious. So, in celebration of a performance executed, we headed out for Mexican. Dinner with just the big boys, Scotty (11) and Jack (9), is a rare thing for my husband and I. With five kids we just don't get a lot of 2 on 2 time. We're seated outside, the wind is blowing, the kids are in a happy mood, we have chips and salsa, what more could we ask for? I suppose we could have asked for our children to act their ages! But when I really think seriously about what an 11-yr-old and a 9-yr-old are "supposed" to act like, I begin to give them a break in my head. At school all day our Jack (9) has a hard time sitting still, holding in his jokes, keeping his mind focused on classwork all day. At school Scotty (11) fends off teasing from kids and boredom from uninteresting classes. At school all day they are expected to walk in the hallways, get a drink and use the restroom at specific times, not touch a single other person, obey all of the adults, figure out how not to be the last one picked for kickball, find a place to sit in the cafeteria, try not to trip carrying their lunch tray.... At home, and within our family, I want them to be able to cut loose a little. I hear from people that see my children interact with each other at school, "Your kids are really sweet to each other, they really help each other out. I saw Jack taking Ben to the restroom with his arm around him today. I saw Elaina run up and hug Scotty on the playground." This is not at all to say that they are always perfect model siblings. Rather, I believe in their world of school, that when they see that very familiar face in the hall, or the cafeteria, or the playground, they feel a sense of "home," a place where they can be themselves, bump into each other (literally) and not get in trouble for it, smile or joke together without being reprimanded, trip and not be made fun of. And so, tonight as our boys goofed around a little together at dinner, told silly jokes, and were a bit loud, we eased back on our parental etiquette reminders. We shook our heads at each other over our boys comfort level with each other. We rolled our eyes and hid little smirks at their jests and shoulder punches and general goofiness. And silently, I thanked God for the gift of familiarity, the gift of family, a place where everyone gets to be themselves, the gift of home. also I don't want to forget: -Our new babysitter told us she has never witnessed an easier bedtime than she did tonight with my three youngest. Very proud. -Ben and Charlie have hit the age where they can have fun together on their own. They played on the swings in the backyard together for a lengthy time today, and I should have videoed it because it was adorable. -Scotty was very sound on the sax tonight. His expression during the rest of the concert could not have been more solemn. It was also like 95 degrees in there though, so perhaps he was on the verge of passing out.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Mom: "Ben, sometimes I just can't do what you want me to do, because I have 5 kids and Charlie wanted me to go outside." Ben: "Oh ya, I forgot to wait patiently." Ben: "This swing is so slow, I need a push.........Mom, that would be you." (I'm praying this child keeps his hilarious personality. It truly cracks me up daily.) (In the following conversation this child had me on his side for like the first ten minutes. He will make a great lawyer or salesman some day.) Jack: "So, I had this great idea, Mom, and I think you will like it. This time when I did my math problems and I got to a problem that I didn't know the answer to, I used a calculator. I didn't write the answer down right away, but when I came back to the problem later, I tried to see if I could remember what the calculator had said. It really helped me to learn the answers." Mom: "Jack, I'm not fooled. That is called cheating. Use your brain, not the calculator. Don't think that I don't get why you were hiding out doing your homework. Jack: : "Mom, what does it matter if I am learning? I thought you would be happy if I was learning." (I'm praying Jack will use his powers of persuasion for more good than evil.) (Sometimes they just say stuff to see what will happen. To check and see if what they learned from their friends at recess is OK to say.) Jack: "Wow, Charlie is such a crazy little wild guy, I bet he would wrestle under the covers with a woman!" Mom: "What? What does that mean?" Jack: "You know, Mom, Kissing and hugging and stuff in bed." Mom: "Did you hear that at school?" Jack: "Yes, and Mom, if I don't keep saying that phrase at school then no one will be my friend." Mom: "I seriously doubt that." Jack: "Oh yes Mom, EVERYONE says that." Mom: "Really, do your friends, Luke, Brent, Sean and Matthew...all say it?" Jack: "No, THEY don't say it." Mom: "Well, those are most of your good friends. Also you could get in trouble at school for talking that way. It doesn't sound nice." Jack: "You know mom, I think it would be best if I just never said that anymore." Mom: "Good plan." (I'm praying Jack doesn't actually know what he was "saying.") Also today, Charlie was leaning over licking rainwater out of the back of his toy ride on car. (I'm praying he doesn't get some horrible disease.) Doing a lot of praying these days. Children bring you closer to God in more ways than you expect ; )

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


The poor kid. I get the phone call before the first school bell has even rung. "Mom, you better come get me. I just threw up." I have somewhat inherited from my mother this, "I don't allow sickness" theory. My mom wouldn't let us stay home from school unless we were barfing on the way out the front door. I always thought this was terribly unfair, and rude. However, I now get it. I didn't get it when I had 1 kid. I didn't get it when I had 2 kids, and when I had 3 kids I was beginning to get it. But at 5 kids, I am totally on board. When Scotty was little and he was home sick from school, I would veg on the sofa with him reading him books and watching movies with him. I would make him toast and give him cool washcloths. I would use a cute little bed tray. So, this poor same kid must have been really thrown for a loop when I brought him home from school, quarantined him in his room, dashing all his hopes of crashing in front of his video games, and gave him the book Ben Hur to read. He teared up as I told him his ipod touch and DS weren't charged. Its different with 5. We can't spread the germ. We just can't spread the germ. And I don't want germy people walking around the house touching things and breathing on the healthy ones. I eventually sent him outside for some fresh air (and I needed him to watch the younger ones while I made dinner), but I wouldn't let him touch anyone. I wish I could have chilled out with him on the sofa and watched movies. I remember some of those days as the best moments. But with the rest of our lives not stopping for the illness, unfortunately, I couldn't stop either. By dinner he was eating the lasagna I had made. And one of the other kids was complaining of a belly ache, so...maybe tomorrow I will turn off the phone and the computer, and hang on the sofa with that kid, after all, it seems my quarantine idea may not have worked anyway. also I don't want to forget; -today I asked Scotty (11) if he and his friend had everything they needed on my computer to do the powerpoint presentation for school that they are working on. He answered, "more or less." He sounded so very grown up saying that. And for some reason it just struck me as a moment I didn't want to forget. -Elaina worked with some more teachers on some fine motor stuff today. When she was finished she asked to go to Mc Donalds. I said, "sure." (She had done a great job working with the teachers and I wanted to reward her.) She looked at me with a huge smile and asked, "mom, why are you taking me to Mc Donalds!?" I said because I think you deserve a treat." And she literally shrieked with joy. She has been doing that lately - asking me why I am doing things for her that she thinks are really nice. It is as if she can't believe that she is getting this awesome treat, she is just overwhelmed. Really quite cute. -After school today I asked Jack how school was. He said, "not that great since I didn't get to see Scotty at lunch and after school since he was home sick." -Charlie has begun to thank me when I do anything for him or give him anything. He says, "ashoo, mommy." And it means thank you. -Today I layered a lasagna while Ben and Charlie wrestled each other between my legs as I was standing at the kitchen counter.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Brotherly love

Today I learned an answer that has eluded me for most of motherhood. Here's how it happened: Ever since the birth of my second son, and the immediate adoration exhibited from my second son towards my first I have to admit I've been a little confused where the adoration comes from. I mean, why does the younger brother ALWAYS want the attention from the older brother? I saw it and still see it as Jack (9) antagonizes, teases, pokes, dances in front of, and begs his older brother, Scotty (11). He just wants attention and love from that older brother. Enter Elaina: A whole different breed, could actually care less for attention from her older brothers. But then enter Ben (4) 5 years behind Jack, 7 behind Scotty. Falls over himself for attention from the big brothers. Literally falls over himself onto them, jumps on them, rides on their backs, begs for their toys, asks when they will be home, wakes them in the morning. Now, the older brothers to me are noisy, use bathroom humor, and at times ignore the younger brothers. But they also do a few things that are extremely impressive to the younger brothers: 1. This morning Ben and Charlie (2) went into Jack and Scotty's bedroom where they found Jack still asleep. They proceeded to jump on his head and back yelling his name trying to wake him. You may think that Jack would wake up angry and perhaps injured and screaming. On the contrary, Jack continued to pretend to be asleep! What is more fun than that to the little brothers? They could continue to pummel their big brother with no repercussions! How fun for them and how amazing to me that Jack, at 9, could have the maturity to play with them this way, the way his dad plays with him. Of course they love their big brothers. 2. And then we have this evening. After much persuasion, I was convinced to play the Super Mario Smash Brothers Brawl video game with my older 2 sons. I have no idea how to play. They fully explained to me how to play. I still have no idea how to play. I just hit random buttons continually the entire time we were sitting there playing. It looked to me as if my two sons were doing the same thing also, just hitting random buttons. However, if this was the case, WHY DID THEY ALWAYS WIN? So, now I get why my 2 little sons will go down to the basement and just WATCH in awe as their older brothers play video games. How cool is that to a 4 yr old that their older brothers always win! So, I'm getting it. The answer to "why all the adoration?" is willingness to take a beating for the team, and some sort of videogame mastery. All I know is that it is seriously sweet how the younger ones ask where the older ones are while they are off at school. It is quite amazing how a 9 or 11 yr old can take on the "dad" roll when Dad is working late. And I am super thankful to have this dynamic in my household.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

Alarm Clock by Charlie: Crawling into bed and playing with my face Breakfast made by Scotty: french toast, fresh fruit, juice and coffee Cards made by Jack, Elaina and Ben: beautiful crayon,glitter,ribbon and heart sticker collages. 11am Chruch: Everyone was on their best behavior, which means we only caused one fellow parishioner to change her seat, had to leave with Charlie only 3 times, and I had to give the mean look just twice Trip to The Botanical Gardens: Joined by Grandma and Grandpa, lovely stroll among the beautiful plants. Just one casualty - Charlie getting pretty soaked in a fountain (not that warm today), not that he cared. Fun photographs of the kids playing, one funny one of me and the kids. Early dinner: Walked downtown for Outdoor seating at a little brewery in Kirkwood with Grandma and Grandpa. Evening fun: Planting container herb gardens with Elaina, and hanging them outside from the porch roof. Girl time: Doing Elaina's nails What a blessed mother I am to get to spend a wonderful day with all my babies and fantastic husband. Nothing felt much like a chore today - even the bathroom trips with kiddos, giving baths and such all just felt like what I was meant to do since I was in the "thankful mom" frame of mind. I should try to stay in that frame of mind always.

Saturday, May 8, 2010


Scotty (11) has always been my happy kid. Almost never crabby, almost always willing to help. So, this morning when my "mister nice guy" started having a bit of attitude with me, "why do I always have to do it? I was just going to go play, now I have to do THIS! " I asked him what the problem was. "Well, I just keep getting disappointed!!! You keep changing everything I want to do! I was going to spend the night with cousins and you changed THAT, then we were going to go to the cousins' house this morning and you changed THAT, then I was going to finally go play my video game, and you took away the controler!" I felt for him. He had held in his disappointment for a while and just couldn't any longer. So, I began to joke with him, call him "my handsome son" and hug him as he walked by me. This seemed to make his mood worse. Then I got an idea. We don't keep a lot of candy in the house, sometimes a little around the holidays, but that is about it. But a neighbor kid had sold me some candy recently, and so I had a secret stash. Kids are always begging for candy and parents are always telling them "no." So, this afternoon, as we climbed into the car, I threw a Snickers to my crabby son. His face lit up! His whole mood improved. He ate it extrememly slowly, making a huge mess of his hands and face, and I did my best to only mention that once. But my point is that, that is all it took. One candy bar. Tonight I am going to relish in this stage. This stage where it only takes a candy bar to make all right with their world again. Some day I am going to have to be much more creative to solve their problems and bad moods. But for tonight, I want to thank God for creating the cocoa bean plant, peanut plant, and whatever nuget comes from. also I don't want to forget: -Charlie (2) was dancing tonight to music on the television, and his spinning, shaking and jiving were such entertainment. -As I watched Charlie dig into each family member's popcorn bag for leftovers, I was struck for some reason by how vulnerable children are. I think seeing his excitement at finding just one kernel leftover, and his disappointment at finding nothing in a bag, reminded me of how everything affects children. They are touched and molded by every little thing that goes on in their daily lives. good and bad. I want to make the good soooooo far outweigh the bad for them. I want to be mindful of how my moods affect them. They notice everything, even something as small as a popcorn kernel.

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Laughter session

A special thanks to my 9 yr old son, Jack, tonight. Somehow, he knew the right thing to do. There are times I just don't know the right thing to say, but I'm trying hard to say the right thing, and I can tell by the look on my kid's face, or the response he gives me, that I'm not hitting home. I'm not "making it all better." That was me tonight in the car as my 11 yr old described the dynamic between he and some other boys at school. As he was mentioning bullying, name-calling, getting tripped at recess etc, I was trying to think of both what the Christian response should be and also what response he was looking for from me. I found myself mentioning things from "just walk away" to "knock him flat next time." I waivered in my own head and heart about how to respond. I mentioned "self-confidence" and "your true friends," but I also threw in some "they must be jealous." I was doing all right, but not feeling I had lightened the mood in the car. And certainly wasn't sure I had come through with the Christian response. Suddenly my 9 yr old (who incidentally antagonizes, teases, and attacks his older brother on a regular basis) begins a comedic monologue on "how to get rid of a bully." He uses a foreign accent. He uses goofy language. He uses a little lightweight bathroom humor. And he scores BIG TIME. He has his older brother, formerly in a funk, laughing so hard he can't catch his breath. He has his older brother begging for more funny ideas from his younger brother, more funny monologues to make him forget his troubles. As I listen to this connection between brothers, this gift of one brother's ability to help the other through a struggle, tears roll down my face from laughter, and from thankfulness for this much needed moment that I could not conjur up, but that my 9 yr old was able to pull out of a hat. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. God gives us these specific children for a reason. He gives them eachother for a reason. We must keep them close. To us. And to eachother. also I don't want to forget: -Charlie played peak-a-boo with my aunt and uncle continually for a good 15 minutes tonight. I forgot how at 2 they never tire of it, and they are as excited the 100th time as they are at the 1st "boo!" -Scotty is nearly looking me in the eye at 11 yrs old. I need to start wearing more heals. -Ben ran around at nanna's birthday party saying, "I'm a hugger" and hugging everyone in his path! -Elaina invited all the girls in our family (aunts and babies included) to our house for a girl's night sleepover tonight. Since I can't deny my one daughter her sweet request, some time we may have to actually do this.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


"Mom, did you know I just defeated the multileveled, top rated game defense in three seperate offensive strategies?" "I don't know what you are talking about." "Well, there are many levels of the Super Smash Brothers video game defense and.................." Holy cow, my kids can say the weirdest stuff and they can talk about it non-stop, never tiring of hearing their own voices. "MOM. MOM! There is a little caterpillar, right over there by the tree!" "wow honey, that's nice." "Well, MOM! Can I take him inside, I want to take him inside, I want to take care of him, what should I feed him, what do caterpillars eat, I think it is grass, I gave him some, and he ate it....." They speak continually when we are in the car. They chat through an entire movie. Sometimes I finally stop them by saying, "honey, lets just WATCH the movie and we can talk about it all AFTER the movie." or my favorite line, "Babe, I want to listen to you, but right now I just can't seem to, so lets wait for a time when I can actually pay attention to you, k? "Ma. Ma. Ma. Ma. Ma." "oh...what dear?" "Ma. Ma. Ma. Ma. Ma. down." I think they like to hear their own voices and they hate uncomfortable silences. As we get older I think we begin to enjoy silent times. This does not mix with the child's point of view on conversation. They are fine with monologues. So, I nod my head about every 3 seconds. But lately to keep myself from shutting down the constant chatter, I have been telling myself this: "Some day they won't want to talk to me. It will be like pulling teeth to get them to tell me anything about their lives. Perhaps if I remain as "interested" as possible in their thoughts now, they will get used to telling me things. And one day I will have a teenager that will open up to his/her mom about something that will be as important to them then as the video game and caterpillar are to them now." also I don't want to forget: -Charlie has been taking off his shoes in the car ever since I got him some new velcro sneekers. I think he is doing it so that I will do the "little piggies" rhyme. He loves it. -After working with a learning consultant today for like 2.5 hours, Elaina came out to me in the waiting area and hugged me so tight, and she still has that great baby fat here and there, and so it was a very nice cheek to cheek squeeze. I'll miss it when she gets to be a bony teen. -At dinner tonight I heard Elaina whispering to daddy all the things I picked out at the store that I wanted for Mother's Day. She's Awesome.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


He was really he was more like sprinting towards the fountain. And when he (2yrs old) got there he didn't really think at all, just started climbing on it. Soaking himself head to toe. At one point he began to lean over and drink from the public, park, rock water fountain. (yuck). We were running a little late and he (4yrs) needed to decide what hotwheels cars to bring on our little walk. "I'll take this one for me because it is my favorite, and this one for Luke because he likes Spiderman, and 2 little ones for the babies." I told Elaina (6) that if she ate the extra cookie, then she would not be taking one in her lunch tomorrow. She eyed the cookie, considered, and began scarfing it down. Jack: "But mom, I really want that flamingo puppet!" Mom: "If you buy the big puppet, then you won't have any money left in your savings, and none left for charity either." Jack: "I guess I could just get the little baby puppet, then I will have some left over..." He (11 yrs) came out of school ecstatic about the Scholastic book order item: "a real webcam for only $20, that comes with editing software!" Mom: " Just think about the fact that it only costs $20. It may not be a very sturdy item." Scotty: "Well, I was just so excited, and I have a great idea of what I could do with it. I thought you would think it was a cool idea. I guess maybe it isn't." Mom: "No, no, it is a really neat idea, I just want you to think about your options of borrowing my video camera, and think about being careful with the one you purchase if you decide to do so, because it may not be all that sturdy." They are only 2, 4, 6, 9 and 11 and they make decisions all day long. (Well the 2 yr old sort of "jumped right in" no pun intended). And I wonder, when do I step in with the advice? When do I let them make their own decisions? When do I just try to steer their decision? I know that if I let them make a decision that I know will lead to some sort of failure or sadness, they could learn from it. I know this in my head. However, in my heart I just want so badly to steer them exactly down the path that will always lead to the "happy outcome," the cookie in the lunchbox, the sturdier webcam that comes from saving longer. And so sometimes I just downright fail at the "letting them make a bad decision." Kind of like when I told my daughter she wouldn't get the cookie in her lunchbox if she ate the extra one the night before...ya, I still gave her the one in her lunchbox. So, she learned NOTHING! Being a mom is hard! You just want them to have the cookie in their lunchbox. You want them to have the happy outcome no matter what, because you just love seeing your kids happy. But I know it isn't the right lesson. So, I am going to try my very hardest to let my 11 yr old get his cheap webcam, and when it breaks, I vow to not give him his money back. And I will be so sad for him. also don't want to forget: - (well actually I kind of do want to forget this one, but once again, I vowed to document the gross...) Charlie woke from his nap where he had been sleeping in only a diaper. I walk up the stairs to find him standing at the gate of his room covered in his own poo. Smiling ear to ear. - I took the kids to Taco Bell/Pizza Hut for a quick little Cinco De Mayo celebration (husband worked late), and every kid ordered PIZZA.