Monday, August 30, 2010


Well after my healthy food blog the other night, I feel compelled to admit that I also can be swayed somewhat easily in just the right moment, to be quite unhealthconcious. Today on the way home from school, my kids, who know how much I love donuts, started to ask very sweetly if they could in fact have a donut for their after school snack. "no, no, no we don't need that sugar." "But mom, just one, just this one time, just today. You know you love donuuuuuuuuuuuts...." And so within about 5 minutes we were driving through the Dunkin Donuts, which I have avoided all summer long, all spring long. I have acted as if it was not even there. Even with its rich smelling coffee and bakery fresh scent wafting from its windows. But today, just something about those darn donuts and those smiling kids who knew they were going to win, what with their knowledge of my love of donuts. It had to be done. And I say, "YUM."

Does any of this make any sense at all?

Conversation 1: Ben: "Hey mom, can I have chocolate milk?" Mom: (as I am cleaning up the hugest gatorade spill ever) "Just a second hon, look, there is gatorade everywhere." Ben: "Ok, I'll have Gatorade." Conversation 2: Ben: *BURP!* "oops, scuse me." Mom: "Ben, please don't do that out loud, that is not polite at all." Ben: "Mom, I can't do that, then I would burp inside my mouth!" Mom: "Yup, that's the point dear." Conversation 3: Mom: "Do you think you will learn anything at school next week?" Ben: "Ya, actually no." Mom: "Why not." Ben: "I think I will." Mom: "Like what?" Ben: "I don't actually know...I haven't actually been there yet." Conversation 4: Charlie: (brings me a little tiny red stuffed puppy) Mom: "Awe, it looks like Clifford when he was a tiny puppy. It is Clifford from 'Clifford's Puppy Days.'" Charlie: "No, it a BIG dog!" Mom: "But is looks like Clifford when he was just a tiny puppy, right?" Charlie: "No, this big Cifford." And my husband wonders why I want to talk to him so much when he gets home from work. He will walk in the door and I just start telling him stuff and asking questions and expecting answers that make sense! I think maybe after a day of the conversations like the ones above...I just need to make sure I talk to a person that makes SOME sense at least.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Do you have a picture of your kids?

Went away for the night. Left kids with a wonderful sitter overnight. Well worth it. I will be energized for my kids when I get back, they won't know what hit them! We went to a wedding and kept showing off pics of the kids. Love when people ask to see pics of my kids. (So I try to ask other people to see pics of theirs). I mean, its like, "let me see what you have done with your life for the last 12 years." "Ok, here is a picture of 5 children that I have grown inside of my body, fed from my body, and then proceeded to keep going until now." And if I can pull out a photo where they all look somewhat decent and happy, I feel I have succeeded. But after a few glasses of wine, the truth comes out as we moms all chat about our struggles and our challenges with our kiddos. The great thing about this is the fact that almost every mom you chat with has these. And if they don't, well they are lying. So, I get this great session where I get to both brag on say, Jack's musical gifts and drama talent, and simultaneously get ideas on how to curb his attitude and defiance. I get to brag on my daughter's happy disposition and silky hair, and simultaneously learn hints on how to get the kids ready faster in the mornings before school. Moms should all have other moms to talk to about this stuff. I'm going to make a point of reaching out to other moms this week. We all have our struggles, and sometimes just hearing about someone else's struggles, helps us get through our own.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Hiding the nutrition

A list of the healthy foods I have recently tricked my kids into eating: Many of them are on the list of Superfoods; blueberries, avocados, olive oil, spinach, broccoli, dark chocolate, kiwi, apples, beans, oats, oranges, salmon, tomatoes, yogurt, turkey, eggs. Organic Yogurt and fruit: Ice cream cone filled with organic fruit yogurt, topped with frozen blueberries and a frozen strawberry. Put into freezer until yogurt is frozen. The perfect after school snack - they think it tastes like fruit ice cream. The cone (0 fat, 0 sugar and 15 cal) adds almost nothing to the snack but "fun." Bananas, Almond butter, raisins: Sliced bananas long ways, spread with almond butter, add raisins - Ants on a log. Blueberries, Dark chocolate, bran, oats, flax: Bran muffins with added frozen blueberries and dark chocolate chips. Sometimes I also add a mashed banana. (Scotty is the only one who does not like these). Carrot Juice, Organic Greek yogurt, blueberries: Smoothie. V8 splash as the base plus the added fruit and yogurt and some ice, blended in the blender. Instead of regular peanut butter and jelly: Nutrigrain waffle, natural peanut butter, topped with sliced grapes and drizzled with honey. Instead of regular spaghetti and meatballs: Wholegrain spaghetti noodles, Ragu traditional (has no high fructose corn syrup), turkey meatballs. When I feel they are in need of some diet balancing: We have buffet night. I put out a buffet of leftovers, crackers, cheese, yogurt, fruit, vegies, meatballs, lunch meat, peanut butter bagels, etc. They have sectioned plates, and have to put a different food group in each section. Must finish all sections before having any seconds of anything. They love this. Somehow they are tricked into always being excited about buffet night. Quick eggs: I keep hard boiled eggs in the fridge a lot, however the kids don't really like to eat a cold hard boiled egg all that much, especially the yolk, and I don't always have time to scramble or fry eggs. But, if I dice a hard boiled egg and put it in a little cup with a tiny bit of shredded cheese on it and micro it for like 15 seconds, they will gobble it up. Olive oil: I've been using it instead of any other oil for cooking and baking lately and no one has cared a bit. Olive oil is a quite healthy oil. Beans: I've been sneaking in some refried bean on their quesadillas, but only some of the kids go for it. Broccoli: top it with cheese of course. I'm on a mission to sneak in some avocados and spinach.


You want to make me really angry really fast? Wake up a 2 yr old, or really ANY child, during a nap. I recall my mother saying in a very scary voice, and with a very creepy look on her face, "NEVER wake a sleeping baby!" She didn't yell it. She more like hissed it. At the time, I recall thinking she may have been going a little crazy. I mean, for goodness sakes, I would think, what is the huge deal? They are sleeping, not solving world hunger. Stopping them would not be the end of the world. I get it. I REALLY get it. There is a fine tuning and skillful craft of getting two 2yr olds to sleep at the same time. And today, I DID IT. First I noticed Evie (my friend's daughter whom I am babysitting today) rubbing her eyes.....wait, no, back a step. First I wore she and my son, Charlie out by playing outside, riding bikes, scooters, sidewalk chalking, building with blocks, doing puzzles, sandbox playing. Then I gave them a good hearty lunch of Chicken, Mac n cheese, and grapes to fill their little bellies. THEN I noticed Evie rubbing her eyes. So I say, "Evie, want to go upstairs to read some books?" She nods. So I sneak her up there and we read very slowly, in my best voices, Horton Hears a Who (which incidentally I have decided should be read to young children, or anyone really during respect life week at school), and Evie falls asleep before it is over. So, I sneak back downstairs and pose the same question to my Charlie who is playing with legos alone in the art room, "Charlie, want to go upstairs and read some books?" Charlie is onto me and says "No!" and tries to wriggle away, but I am a pretty savvy mom by now, so I already have him in my arms and am cooing about what a cool lego guy he has and asking him which lego guy he would like to lie down with. The distraction works, and soon we are up in the same room as sleeping Evie and quietly reading the same book again. I have to shush him a couple times, "because Evie is sleeping shhhhh." I have to run downstairs at one point and lock the dog outside because of his barking at a person walking by. I have to shush Jack and Ben from the top of the stairs at another time. But soon he is snoozing away, once again before the book is even finished. And that is when I hear the word NO being screamed over and over, getting louder and louder. Charlie is out. But Evie's eyes dart open. I quickly and quietly stand and say, "Evie, its ok, I will be right back." And then I proceed to storm toward my 2 culprits with the creepy look my mother used to use, and with the evil hiss my mother used to use, I say, "NEVER...WAKE...A...SLEEPING... BABY! What is wrong with you 2??? Jack, up to your room, and don't come down. Ben, on the sofa, no tv!" ARGH! My experience has taught me not to return to the napping room right away. I believe Evie has fallen back asleep, and Charlie has stayed asleep. And I also believe, my children may have learned NEVER to mess with me at NAPTIME.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


(Firstly, I am blogging instead of making dinner for my family, so I am definitely a procrastinator. And also a bit selfish I guess since the family dinner is taking back seat to my enjoyment. But, that aside I just wanted to mention that I was walking across the front of my home coming back from dropping my daughter at a friend's home, when I noticed through a front window that we have a sippy cup sitting on the inside windowsill. That probably looks slightly redneck, right? But maybe worse, is that I did not go get it right is still there, and I am blogging about it.) Ok, the more pressing issue on my mind is YELLING. I do not enjoy yelling, and I have curbed it hugely since my first few years of parenting. However...........there is a time...............and there is a place......... that seems to require yelling now and then. Today it was when after patiently helping my 9 year old work on his math homework (all review, nothing new) and after patiently helping him with the same thing a second time when he carelessly made numerous mistakes, he reluctantly brought me his homework again before our family bike ride, and I realized he had not corrected any of it. So, I patiently-ish said that he and I would be staying home so he could redo his math. He flipped out! Wow, he has some passion! This amazing child fell to the floor in hysterics. This funny and passionate child wept openly and loudly and with such vigor that as tears streamed down his face, and coughs were choked from his throat, you could hear the raspy words, "!......I' will die if I don't get to go!...." And for a while I sat patiently, waiting, waiting, waiting for him to stop. But it kept up for so long, and he was soooooo loud that he couldn't hear me saying things like, "Jack, this is what happens when we don't do our homework. This is the way things go when we are very careless in fourth grade..." So, as he was screaming out in psychotic blurts of anger and threats of his own death from being treated so unfairly, I could not take it any longer. "STOP IT NOW!!!!!! YOU HAVE ABOUT 2 SECONDS TO STOP THIS OR YOU CAN SPEND THE REST OF YOUR NIGHT DOING THIS UPSTAIRS AND I WILL NOT BE NEXT TO YOU. I WILL BE DOING SOMETHING I ENJOY MUCH MORE THAN THIS!!!!!!" I do not like to yell. But you know how in movies sometimes a woman is going crazy freaking out and someone slaps her face and she settles down. The yell that comes from my mouth with the "mean face" is like a slap in the face to my son and he finally just stops. I have found nothing else that causes the "stop." I've taken classes to try to stop the need for this yell. I have tried many things, but to no avail. So, he has now finished his math homework. He is joyfully making some muffins for me that I didn't have time to make myself. He is in a perfectly good mood. He is making chit-chat with me. B....I......Z......A.....R......R.......E. You know, I am recalling that every now and then in the bible Jesus yelled. He yelled when those people were selling stuff outside the temple. He sort of yelled at his disciples for falling asleep....I don't know, maybe sometimes it just needs to happen to wake somebody up. But really, I would rather not. So, alas, I am still looking for another way to snap my son out of his seemingly psychotic rage from time to time. Also I don't want to forget: -Charlie has gotten the hiccups twice today and he thinks it is hilarious. -Jack just hugged me and told me that making muffins is way better than going on a bike ride anyway......UHG! I am not a very good punisher! -Charlie keeps running up to me and saying "I luz you mom!" and so he is going to be able to do no wrong for quite a while. -Tonight I was asked by one of my kids why girls don't have penises too. I said something about God making us all different. Then he went on to tell me this,"Did you know there is a bug that is a girl that has a penis and she pees on her bug she is dating and then he licks it off?" I did not know that. -Tonight Elaina looked at her pinkiy nail and was aghast! She says very urgently, "MOM, Where did that white spot come from???!!!!!" It was just a little bruise on her nail. -Tonight Elaina made me say all her prayers through the nutcracker girl on her shelf. She insisted that I make the girl's mouth move the whole time. Also I had to make it kiss her goodnight.

The Witching Hour

"Mom, lookout Charlie is running with scissors!" and he came running toward me and then as he saw me see him he tossed them at me as if he knew he would be in trouble and had to let go of them before I saw what he was doing. They were rounded tip, and no one was injured, but still...wild stuff goes down around here during the witching hour. Right before this I answered the phone and realized that there was an extra little voice on the phone. I kept saying into the phone, "Is this Charlie? Charlie? Where are you?" and then I proceeded to run through the house, hearing laughter in the phone, and a tiny little voice saying, "wight here!" Finally I see him in the basement and he cracks up and begins running with the phone. Before that, I found him (2 yrs old) building with legos in the art room. Real legos, little tiny legos. He thinks he is eight yrs old. There are 3 extra kids in my house right now, and one of mine is at the neighbor's, and I have one sitting at the kitchen table insisting he cannot do his math homework without my help, even though all it is it simple addition and subtraction and he is 9 yrs old. And amid all of this, I am supposed to be making some dinner. From 3:20 until dinner, I sometimes want to just run away for a little while, let them all fend for themselves, and then come back for sitting down to dinner time. During the witching hour you can often find this household crazy loud, really messy, really hungry and often crabby. I have tried a scheduled after school plan, a relaxed, chill out plan, a leave the house plan and a leave them alone plan. But I find that it isn't my fault, it isn't the plans' fault, and it isn't even the children's fault... I truly believe it is the hour's fault. The crazy, the exhausting, the mixed up, the dreaded...witching...hour.

Monday, August 23, 2010


1st day of school for the gradeschoolers - 1st and 4th. 4th day for my 6th grader. Coffee with the moms after drop-off. Last minute (after the minute) school supply shopping. Clean out car. Pick up kids from half-day and take them out to lunch with friends. Home for an unsuccessful attempt to get Charlie down for a nap. Scotty arrives home from middle school. And this is where I need to just keep thinking "that which does not kill us makes us stronger." Not because of what I go through in my day. My day is easy. My day is just moving around, cleaning, shopping, changing diapers, trying to put kids down for naps... But my 6th grader's job? Trying to run the track at school and end before he gets locked out of the school and has to run around the school to get in, run late for class and have to wear his gym clothes to his next class. Trying to find someone to sit with at recess without getting told, "get outa' here, we don't want you to sit here." by some rude and insecure 6th grader. Trying to keep 7 classes organized. That which does not kill him makes him stronger. And here is what he says when I ask how his day was, "Good! We learned a lot of new words in German today! Did you know that a lot of German words sound really similar to our words? I like it a lot." And it is only when we get into conversations about character, and making new friends that some of the other information is discovered about his day. The amazing thing is that he is very tolerant, very smart about why kids act the way they do, and fortunately, very good at making new friends. I hope he continues to be positive and be excited about the great parts of middle school. And I'll just keep praying for the other part.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

What are we doing tomorrow?

Elaina: "What are we eating for lunch?" Mom: "Not sure." Elaina: "What are we eating for lunch tomorrow?" Mom: "Not sure." Elaina: "What are we doing after school tomorrow?" Mom: "Eating lunch." Elaina: "What are we going to do after we eat lunch tomorrow?" Mom: "Not sure." Elaina: "Can I have a playdate now?" Mom: "No, it is almost time for bed." Elaina: "Can I have a playdate tomorrow?" Mom: "No, it is the first day of school, and we need to get situated." Elaina: "Why not?" Mom: "Because, like I said, it is the very first day of school." Elaina: "What are we doing after school then?" Mom: "What did I just tell you we are going to do?" Elaina: "Eat lunch. What are we going to have for lunch tomorrow?" Mom: (in my head...usually) "AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" I suppose I need to make a chart of what we are doing and eating every second of the day to end these insane question/answer sessions. But like I said, I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT WE ARE EATING OR DOING ON A DAY TO DAY BASIS! Who plans like that? Apparently my daughter does. And so I have a plan. Tomorrow morning may go something like this: Mom: "What are you doing?" Elaina: "Lying in my bed." Mom: "What are you going to do after that." Elaina: "Get dressed." Mom: "What are you going to wear?" Elaina: "My uniform." Mom: "What are you going to wear tomorrow?" Elaina: "My uniform." Mom: "What are you going to wear the next day?" Elaina: "My uniform." Mom: "What are you going to wear the next day?" Elaina: "My uniform." Mom: "What are you going to wear the next day?" Elaina: "My uniform." Mom: "What are you going to wear the next day?" Elaina: "My uniform." Mom: "HA!" Also I don't want to forget: -At bedtime tonight while hugging my neck Charlie said, "I luz you too mom." melting.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

More shoe buying

5 kids means five new pairs of tennis shoes about every 9 months. It is a catch 22, because sometimes I will go with cheaper shoes, and then we just have to buy new ones sooner. And the whole tennis shoe shopping experience is not all that enjoyable with the kids anyway. There are the shoes that they want; vibrant colors, weird fasteners, and not a great fit. And then there are the shoes I want them to get; solid, dark colors, velcro for the non-ti-ers, good fit. So, in order to make their potential new shoes last longer this time, keeping me from having to shop for them sooner, I decided to go the good-shoe/even-if-more-expensive-shoe route. So, $125 dollars and one $20 dollar gift card later, we have 3 new pairs of tennis shoes. Also: -Right now Charlie and I are having a show-down. He wants to sit upon the dining table and throw his kettle corn on the floor for the dog, and I want him to get down. You see, originally, he was doing this, and I was ignoring him and acting like I didn't see it. If he knew I saw him and didn't stop him, then he would think this was allowed. But I was not ready to deal with it, so I just pretended not to see it. However, I turned around when I heard him stand up onto the table, and had to then address the situation. So, he is sitting there throwing the popcorn, and I say, "Charlie, get down off of the table." He says, "NO!" and laughs. I say, "Charlie, do you want me to be mean?" and he says, "yes." and grins so darn cute! I am way too soft. Eventually he got down on his own, and went running outside to chase Elaina and her friend. (I heard the tell-tale screeching)

The Luau

I'm pretty interested to hear how this evening goes. Jack was headed to a party down the street. He is nine. His good friend Jen is having the party. Sort of a back to school thing. Since he is just nine, I didn't even consider that this was a "boy-girl" party. He is a young child. It doesn't matter yet. Right? Well, Jack noticed, Jack considered, Jack was excited. I heard him saying things like, "This is my first party where there will be more than one girl there." Then he proceeded to gel his hair, dress the very cool Hawaiian part, and listen to Elvis music to prepare for the evening. The party is to entail a scavenger hunt, other games and food. Very 9-yr-old. And when I walked him down the street to the party, he was perfectly shy and embarrassed to be there. But just his whole attitude while getting ready is really scaring me for what is to come in the future. He is a savvy little guy, and i am not ready for his shenanigans to come!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Public Restrooms

I am not a Germ-o-phobe. I let my kids play in dirt, go shoeless, share drinks a lot etc. We believe in the 5 second rule...or ten second. And I have seen my daughter kiss the dog on the mouth several times and have never thrown up upon watching this. I don't carry hand sanitizer as most mothers do...I try, but I always lose it. I make them wash their hands before they eat if it is at all possible, but I don't always go help them. Macaroni Grill tries to dress it up by teaching you Italian as you pee, Nordstrom puts a sofa loveseat combo in theirs, Westfield malls have children's movies and tiny little toilets for kids. But however you dress it up...It is still a PUBLIC RESTROOM. And here is the alternative: a friend of mine keeps a port-a-potty in her car. She is a very clean person and a germ-a-phobe, so her port-a-potty is likely quite clean. Mine would not be. So, it is public restrooms for us. But for goodness sakes, must we use them at every given chance!? I think my children just love public restrooms. Every time we begin to eat our meal in a restaurant, one of the children under 7 must use the potty. "MOM, I have to go poopers!" Sometimes this is whispered urgently, often it is screamed across the table. I can not ignore it. I have to respond. So, I take said child into the germ-infested, sticky-floored, pee-on-the-seats, water-on-the-counter restroom, and I begin wishing my child were still in diapers. "Don't...touch...ANYTHING." First words out of my mouth, and I swear my children cannot hear them, or they think the word "ANYTHING" does not pertain to the toilet seat, the bathroom wall, the tampon trash can, the floor, the flusher. All of it. Every surface must be examined by their little groping hands. Then I start to lose it yelling, "OH, NO NO NO NO NO!" as they pull down their pants and slide that germ barrier that I have forged with toilet paper on the seat right off of the seat into the toilet and then proceed to smash their underwear that is around their ankles, right up against the toilet bowl! Once, I saw that underwear sliding back and forth on that toilet bowl and I just took it off of my daughter or son, whomever it was, and I made them go commando. Just could NOT put that underwear back on their body. And apparently it is not just MY children. Yesterday, my sis in law had to call for reinforcements into the public restroom when 4 children from the table followed her in there as she began to take her son. And 3 of them all had to poop! What is it!? Are there laxatives in the childrens' meals? I think my parents were better about making us use the bathroom before we left the house for anywhere. I must implement this more. However, I know it wouldn't matter. They just like those darn public restrooms. And so now I have found a new spot for prayer. The public restroom - "Please God, don't let my child get some horrible disease from touching every surface in here. Please make them STOP TOUCHING STUFF! Please help me think of a dinner tonight to fix that will boost their immunities to the diseases of the public! Amen."

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Growing up

Elaina led her little cousin around the Magic House today like a little mommy. Scotty had his first day of middle school, and came to the car after school smiling. Jack babysat his sleeping little brother while I ran an errand. Ben is having a sleep-over with his cousin and buddy. Charlie said, "not baby, I Charlie" when I was cradling him like a baby tonight. They're doing it. They're growing up. With or without my guidance it is going to happen, so I better get my influence in while I can. I can see it happening with my 11 year old. He's beginning to exert his will a little more forcefully. He is having stronger opinions that aren't always my opinions. I say I want them to "become their own person" but I can't help but want them to be people who feel and think the same way as their parents do about everything. I can't help but want to make sure they grow straight and tall with few detours along the way. And my mind works like this: I have opinions similar to my parents, but maybe not as strong on certain things. So my kids will likely have similar opinions to their dad and I but maybe not exactly the same or not as strong on certain things. And if this continues...I may end up with some grandchildren who just run WILLY NILLY! So, I think this is why parents, mine in particular, and myself pretty often with my own kids, react rather strongly and one-sided and strong-minded toward our children at times. If we assume that they are going to be shaving down the edges on our opinions and beliefs, then we need to put some very sharp ones out there for them to work on. And this is why kids say things like this to their parents, "You don't understand! You are so closed-minded!" in response to us parents making statements that don't seem very lenient. We're just trying to grow them straight and tall. Also I don't want to forget: -The look on Scotty's face on the way to the car after school today, his first day of 6th grade: he was trying not to smile hugely, but had a cute little grin, and was ready to answer, "Pretty good!" after being asked, "How was your first day?" -Jack laughing as I was reading to him tonight. He won 20 minutes of mom reading to him in a cleaning contest. So, I took over where he left off on "Tales of the Fourth Grade Nothing." I recall reading this as a child, so it is fun to read it together. -Jack's comments on how cute Charlie is: "He is the cutest baby ever. He has those cute little buck teeth. And when he smiles it is like heaven for my eyes." I never want to forget those words...I may have to paint them on a wall or something. -The excitement in Ben's voice as he went running off to find his cousin to invite him to spend the night. And then how adorably excited they both were as I blew up the air mattress for them to sleep on. I look forward to making them breakfast in the morning. -Elaina' screech of joy and jumping up and down as I told her she could stay the night at her little cousin's house. I love how excited she gets about little things still. Her big black eyes all sparkling with happiness as she bounces up and down while grinning ear to ear and staring at me. Sometimes I think she personifies "pure joy" perfectly. -I was cleaning Charlie's feet with a wet wipe today and apparently it tickled him and he just kept laughing while I wiped them. I'm thankful for his dirty little feet, because it enabled me to hear him laugh a good hearty laugh today right in the midst of hurrying to get us all ready to leave the house. -The other day Scotty won "mom makes your bed" in a cleaning contest. So he cashed it in. When I got up to his room to cash it in, his bed was not only unmade, but it was a disaster, sheets coming off, pillowcase off, covers on the floor. I said, "Sheesh! What happened to your bed, you sure make a mess when you sleep!" That is when I see the little smirk on Scotty's face. He can't control himself, can hold it in no longer, and ends up telling on himself for making it more messy right before I got up to his room to make the bed for him. Jack chimed in that taking the sheets off was his idea. I looked aghast, and so Scotty, because he is so darn sweet, says while laughing at himself, "I know, that's not fair, I'll put it back to normal." and fixes it up a little but just keeps giggling. Sometimes, those 2 crack me up.

The goings on...

While straightening up the house today I found a partially eaten plumb in the upstairs playroom. For dinner last evening I let the kids make their own dinner (pizzas from almost scratch, dough was already in the fridge). They did wonderfully. They made individual pizzas for each person in the family. Some of the pizzas had cheese stuffed crust! Some of the pizzas had chicken, some with meatballs - Delish! And I never even stepped foot into the kitchen. Then they all cleaned up their mess (to the best of their abilities). I just want to say "your welcome" right now to my 4 boys' future wives. Pete dropped off our son for his first day of middle school this morning. PETE DROPPED OFF OUR SON FOR HIS FIRST DAY OF MIDDLE SCHOOL THIS MORNING!!!! I am heading to the Magic House today with Jack, Elaina, Ben and Charlie. I pray for patience, energy, fun, and for low attendance at the Magic House today. Charlie uses any toothbrush he finds. He grabs up the first toothbrush he can reach and says "bush teeth! bush teeth!" Last night he slept with a toothbrush. He LOVES brushing his teeth. It is nice to have at least 1 child who cares about his oral hygiene. I have asked the rest of my kids 3 times to go brush their teeth this morning. Just wait till Charlie learns to FLOSS!

Monday, August 16, 2010


He fit in. He found his classes. He knew quite a few kids. He managed his combination lock on his locker well. He set up his locker. His teachers are kind. I'm going to be ok. I mean, HE'S going to be ok.

Middle school

Today is 6th grade orientation. 1. School supplies from the supply list and new school clothes have been purchased. 2.Last night we got new tennis shoes. Later last night my 6th grader wore those new tennis shoes mountain biking so they wouldn't look like new tennis shoes. 3.We bought a lunch bag. However he may buy his lunch so he can see what the other lunch bags look like that other kids bring. 4.We bought 2 locker combination locks and practiced them over and over. 5.We will see all our new friends we will be making at the new school at orientation today, but we already scheduled a swim party for tomorrow (first day is Wednesday) so we can get to know all our new friends better. 6.Exercised this morning so we look and feel our best today. (also one step closer to being able to do that push-up in gym class) Can I do more to prepare my guy? probably. Would it be overkill? probably. BUT, I can always pray for him. And no one can see me doing that and think I am a pycho mom. So, that's my plan. Also I don't want to forget: -We had so much fun with our friends that came in town to visit us this weekend. Our kids play very well together. And their mom and I play well together too. But at one point, we decided to play with the kids. We played the board game Clue with them. Quite a pheat. Later we played Uno with them. Much easier.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Laini's Heaven

Last week my friend came in town with her 13 year old daughter and Elaina shivered and screeched with excitement, "Ahhhh! I can't wait for my big sister to get here! She can sleep in my room and play with anything she wants!" And I believe the week proved to be just what she had hoped, since my friend's daughter was quite sweet with her and spent a lot of time playing what Laini wanted to play, and listening to Laini's stories etc. Mid-week my inlaws took Elaina to help pick out their new puppy from a golden doodle breeder. Since Laini is the world's most enthusiastic dog lover, this trip thrilled her to no end. She got to see many dogs, play with 2 puppies at the same time and then pick one to ride home with and keep forever at grandpa's house! (also a dream for me, since the puppy won't be living in my home). Grandpa is super excited about his new dog...we think we know where Elaina gets her dog-loving tendencies ; ) This weekend another friend of mine came in town and brought her 3 boys, but to Elaina's joy, also brought Laini a 3 yr old "little sister" for the weekend. At the moment Elaina and her "little sister" are watching a movie Elaina normally watches alone - Barbie and the 12 Dancing Princesses. We did our toenails together. And Laini has been leading her little "sis" around the house by the hand playing dolls with her, and pretend cooking with her and more. I think this last week of summer I may have made all of Elaina's dreams come true! It was heaven for her, if only for just a week.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


A fake bug in my water glass, rattlesnake eggs rattling in an envelope, fake finger in a box, cockroach on the shoulder... We sent Jack (9) to comedy camp. We knew it was a risky idea. We knew we would be hearing jokes and have tricks played on us all summer. More dangerous yet, I fear for his 4th grade teachers. So, last night, after my out of town friend and i had been tricked, duped and scared out of our pants numerous times by our 4 oldest sons, my friend and I decided to get them back. While they slept, snug in their little homemade beds on the air mattresses and sofas, we snuck up to them with black markers and drew mustaches, eyebrows and goatees on their faces! (washable markers, we ARE their mothers, after all) We have seen one of them this morning so far. Reaction "mom, did you do this?" "yes." "good one." and a high-five followed. 3 more reactions to enjoy coming soon.

Friday, August 13, 2010


Its when my kids accidentally or on purpose injure me that I lose it the most! The other night I was telling Ben something that he didn't agree with and in his refusal to do whatever it was, he purposefully jumps up under my chin and head butts me with the top of his head. OUCH! It was only then that I got really upset and stomped him up to his room. Yesterday my son, Scotty, gave me nice humongous hug. I could barely breath and I had to tell him to stop. Wearing sandals can be a dangerous situation with my 4 sons around. My feet are constantly getting stepped on. And my kids have a way of twisting on the ball of their foot while stepping on my foot. This morning my 2 yr old was "snuggling" which turned into a session where he smashed his face over and over into my face and ground his nose into mine until my eyes were watering and I was yelling, "I can't breath!" When I go to take Charlie out of the bath, he freaks out and starts kicking frantically. I usually get a swift kick in the ribs a few times during this. Parenting: A dangerous job.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Arch

For most of my motherhood so far I've been that mom that talks her kids into doing things that may scare them, but that I think they will be glad that they did. I convince them to go down water slides, I talk them into scary roller coasters, I dare them to try to flip off of the diving board. But yesterday when my 9 yr old decided it would be too scary to ride to the top of the St. Louis Arch with his brother, my friend and her children, I just said, "That's ok, you can go through the downstairs museum with me and the little kids." So, he didn't go. When they returned from the top of the Arch all excited and showing off their photos, he ended up saying, "Man, I wish I had gone up there. That looks like they had a lot of fun." So, I began reprimanding myself in my head for not talking him into going up there with them. I started thinking I really failed as a mom, not talking him into something he would have really enjoyed. And I think the reason I failed at doing my usual talking him into it, was because I, myself, wasn't so sure about going up there, so I just let him be scared and miss out on the fun. My only consolation in this is the thought that perhaps he learned a good lesson, and will be more adventurous on his own next time, and won't need his mother to talk him into something that he isn't sure about. Perhaps he will remember this day, and remember the feeling of missing out and make the brave decision on his own next time. Also I don't want to forget: -I just got home from the gym and upon seeing my blisters on my hands (from doing pull-ups and weigh lifting) Charlie (2) says, "oh, wow, Jack hurt you? Jack hit you?" I keep telling him that it wasn't Jack, but he keeps asking me if Jack did it. Then he finally switched over to asking if it was Ben who hurt me. When I explained about it being from a bar at the gym when I was doing exercises, he finally says, "ohhhhhh, a bar, Jack hit you with a bar." I swear Jack has never intentionally hurt Charlie, but I think the one injury Charlie recalls, does involve he and Jack wrestling, and so to Charlie, Jack is the culprit whenever there is an injury. Also, he wanted to kiss my boo boos. So sweet.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Ben (4.5)

He gets lost in the crowd. He isn't the one who needs attention. He isn't the one who shows off his brains. He isn't the one who has drama on his mind. He isn't the antagonist, the peacemaker, or the decision maker. He isn't the 2 yr old. He isn't the youngest, the oldest or the middle child. He isn't the little mother. He isn't the baby of the family. He isn't the fit-thrower, the show-off, or the doormat. He doesn't ask for a lot of help. He doesn't insist he always do things on his own. He's not the brave one or the coward. He is the sweetheart. He is smart, funny, quiet and loud. He says goodbye at the preschool door without dramatics, but he runs for a hug at the end of the day. He plays well alone. He plays well with buddies. He sleeps well alone, and he likes to snuggle. He goes without dessert to keep from eating vegetables. He is a hugger, a lover, a wrestler. He loves being a big brother, and he loves being a little brother. And he hates being both at times too. He likes to help his mom. He forgives. He is always forgiven. He is a pleasure.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Peacemaker

I won't say who, but, one of my kids: -Gave away 2 of his new little rubber fish toys to his little brother to keep him happy yesterday. One was because there weren't enough for each kid to get 4 creatures from the tube of sea creatures I had just purchased, so he says, "i'll just take 3." The other was because his little brother accidentally lost one down the pool drain. -Offered and came through on letting our whole group wait in the indoor area of the zoo on a 95 degree weather day, while he go across the zoo and back to get our stroller we had left on the other side of the zoo. -Traded places with his brother on the zoo train so that his brother would have a chance to be the kid in the microphone who yells, "all aboard!" -Helped make breakfast this morning for everyone. Sometimes it just seems God knows what we need and he gives it to us when we need it : )

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Revalation

I think I figured something out today about one of my kids. This revelation only came about because of having a talk with a close friend (which really is a tribute to having good friends and bouncing things off of them.) My son Jack(9) has an odd habit of causing turmoil and then being the savior to the child to whom he caused the turmoil. My question was, "why does he feel he needs to cause the problem, injure the child, antagonize the little brother, scare the younger sibling etc. in order to then be super sweet and nice to them? Why can't he just do the second part and never cause the initial problem?" Then it hits me. The times Jack's dad and I have our best heart-to-hearts with Jack are after Jack has been in trouble, or has done something really naughty. In these instances my husband and I always punish and discipline first, and later when Jack is still a mess about the situation he has gotten himself into, we have a calm talk about what happened, and assure jack that we love him etc. Jack thrives on this attention and loves this one on one time. So, of course if this is the only time he gets these talks, then he will continue this pattern. Because of this pattern of: injury then apology and sweetness, he seems to have begun to think that that is THE way to get and give affection - after some strife. The REMEDY: We have decided to stop the big heart to hearts we have after the big fights etc. And instead begin having heart-to-hearts after his good days when he isn't naughty. Perhaps this seems simple enough...but finding a day to begin with when my Jack is calm and not seeking attention, so that I can have a heart to heart about his good behavior, will be a little challenging. But I am up for it! I pray that I have the heart to stick to my plan, for the betterment of my child.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Just a couple things

Did you know that if you take your dog to the groomer with your 2 yr old in tow, your 2 yr old will think you are leaving him there forever, and freak out and throw a fit? Did you know that if your 2 yr old son finds a sucker in your purse, and you take it away, and try to distract him with a piece of saltwater taffy instead (because it is not as messy), that he will LOSE it for like an hour, and begin screaming "I WANT IT, I DON'T WANT IT, I WANT IT, I DON'T WANT IT!" over and over again? Did you know that if your 9 yr old tells your 4 yr old that he can't sleep in his bed anymore, and that they can't be best friends anymore, that the 4 yr old will go into hysterics for most of the afternoon, and you will be forced to tell your 9 yr old to stop acting evil like Satan? Did you know that 6 yr old girls can be sooooo stubborn that you will begin to elaborately stage things to seem like they are all her ideas, so as to get her to help clean, wipe her own bottom, wash her hands, eat healthy food, etc... ? Did you know any of these things before you were a parent? I didn't. See, I learn something every day from my kids.

The Big Lug

First he is apologizing for accidentally punching his little cousin in the stomach while trying to "fake-punch" him. Next he is apologizing for knocking his tiny little cousin's wind out of her as he clumsily climbed over the staircase gate and plowed into her. I swear nothing has changed ever since he was a tot and brought fear to those wearing sandals as his big clumsy feet came bounding into the room. Scotty is the biggest teddy bear of a boy. He is big and tough-looking, but talk to him for 2 minutes and you will realize that his looks are where the toughness ends. We have taught him to be tough in sports and he has learned to use his biggness for good on the basketball court, the soccer field and the lacrosse field. But if we ever make it through one birthday party without having to apologize for him injuring someone, that is where we will feel the most success. Poor Steven, Poor Gianna, we hope you are feeling better today. Perhaps Scotty has taught you something in the line of agility and speed, as I believe that the next time you see sweet cousin Scotty coming, you will likely dodge and run

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Charlie just spit on the floor

Why do 2 yr olds do the things they do? They are funny and weird little creatures. For instance, just now, my son, Charlie just leaned over and spit a glop of spit on the floor. He hadn't been eating, he hadn't gotten dirt in his mouth. He just spit to spit. He is odd. And today he was hilarious as he relayed the incident of him getting hit in the head by a swing. While rubbing his own head he says, "Ben...hurt...hit me...swing hurt me...Ben did it...hurts..." Sort of sounds like Yoda when he talks. Cracks us up. Let me mention something now that does NOT crack me up at all! I lost it today. Went bizerk yelling and freaking on my children. Apparently a person can only go so long busting their bum cleaning up after people who when you ask for some help say things like, "I'm just so tired, and I have a headache," right after they get home from playing at their friend's house all day. Apparently a person SNAPS when they have to pull a bunch of folded clothing out of the dirty laundry basket. Apparently a person goes over the edge when they walk into the newly mopped kitchen to find that someone has left sticky juice all over the entire kitchen floor. Apparently a person reaches the breaking point when after asking her children to help out by cleaning up the yard, she continually finds them in front of the television, while she has been upstairs changing 7 sets of bedsheets! finding an amazing amount of crap under her kids' beds and finding an amazing amount of expensive crap under her kid's beds. I was saying things like, "I'm going to end up in a nuthouse! You children have no respect for anything! What am I, the MAID? All phrases used by my mother numerous times, phrases I swore I never would use. I get my mother so much more now. So, when I settled down a bit, when I had everything in better order and some apologies from some kids, I also apologized to them. But my apology was for the yelling, and I made sure to tell them that it was for the yelling, but not for the being angry, because that was totally warranted considering the way they were reacting, or really NOT reacting to my requests of them. And I am sorry. I don't want to yell or be "a yeller" and I have been pretty conscious to try to remain calm in frustrating moments for the past year or so...but everyone has a limit and I guess I hit it. I pray that I can stretch the limit out a little longer each time. It would be unrealistic to pray for total calm. I'm not that naive.

One on One

I would never wake up in the morning these days, these busy days and think, "Today I am going to lie on the sofa all day with my 2 yr old. We're going to watch cartoons all day, do nothing, snuggle, nap, and waste away most of the day just hanging out right here in this spot." But, when your 2 yr old barfs in the morning, it is a free pass to do just that! So yesterday I got to do something that I rarely get to do, nap, relax and love on my 2 yr old for most of the day. I should take more time to do this when he is not sick, but the busy schedules of the other kids and the household stuff to keep up with keep this practice as a "with sick child only" event. After about 4 hours on the sofa with him, he awoke a changed little boy, full of energy and ready for food and playing. Perhaps Charlie was faking to get in a little extra time with mom - well the barf wasn't fake, so I guess not. But I wouldn't blame him if he had been faking. One on one time with the mom or dad in this household can't go on as often as it does in other households. The kids don't even expect it. It is more of a surprise event. Which is good, because 1.I wouldn't be able to handle all the begging for "alone time with mom" and 2.I think it is good for the kids to depend on each other instead of needing the attention from mom and dad all the time. When I was little there were 8 of us and one on one with the parents was few and far between. But I never felt I was missing out on something - I had my siblings to hang with. And to this day, we all are quite close. This being said: I love getting special time with each of my kids because I find out a lot about them in these moments. And this being said, I recall a birthday where my dad took me to a store, just he and I, to get me some clothing for my birthday. I think I was about 11. It is one of my fondest memories. So, whether or not the kids beg for it, if it remains a special occurrence I think they will remember it.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Jack's tutor: I think Jack forgot how to multiply large numbers over the summer. Mom: Uh oh, we better work on that. Jack: I hate math. I'm not doing it. Mom: You really need to practice, we have a packet you can work on at home. Jack: I just really hate it. I'm not going to do it. Mom: But you are quite good at math, you just forgot how to do a little bit of it and we will catch you up. Jack: But it is boring and I hate doing it. Mom: Well, you can work on a little each day until summer ends and then you will understand it and it won't seem like you had a whole bunch to do at all. Jack: I have 3 weeks? I could just do it all the night before I start school. How do I deal with this irrationality!!!!???

The first to know

I heard a story today I just have to share. A story about my own kid. I get those sometimes, stories about my own child. They crack me up. I'm talking to someone and the next thing I know they are telling me a story about my own kid. It is weird. I mean I always figure I will be the one telling the story, after all it is my kid, and I know everything about them. Well...apparently not. Here are some stories I have heard recently about my own kids. Scotty: My friend, whose daughter is my 11 yr old son's very best friend says to me that when she picked up my son, Scotty, from home to bring him to her house to swim, he was taking a long time in the house. Finally when he emerges, she asks what took so long and he tells her that he stepped in dog doo in our basement! Proceeded to try to clean it off into the toilet, and wiped the residual poo on the carpet! Keep in mind that I am hearing this story at 11:30pm, and this occurrence was in the afternoon. Scotty: Same friend was walking by her daughter's bedroom and looks in and sees my son kicked back on her daughter's bed reading the newspaper; her daughter working at the computer. We decide that at some point we will have to not let them spend time in each other's bedrooms, but it still seems pretty safe right now. Jack: Once I was told by my son Jack's principal, that my son, Jack, (9), made the principal dig into the cafeteria trash can because he swore that he dropped his ice pack in there and his mom would kill him if he didn't bring it home. This story was only topped by the fact that it was pancake and syrup day and the poor principal had kids throwing dirty trash on top of him as he was digging in the sticky trash! Jack: Carpool friend told me that Jack once said that he couldn't wait to get a cel phone so he could call all the hot chicks. Jack won't be leaving the house once he turns 16. Jack: School office personnel once told me that they were moved by my son, Jack taking his brother, Ben (4), to the bathroom at school. He has his arm around him. Jack: A Friend of mine doing playground duty told me that Jack led a large group of kids around the playground at recess singing "WHO LET THE DOGS OUT...WHO, WHO WHO WHO!" As parents we hope that we will be the first ones to find things out, and the first ones to know what our kids are up to. But here while my kids are already at a very young age I realize that I will NOT always be the first to know things about my own kids. I pray that I always have good enough friends and surround myself and my children surround themselves with such good people that it will matter to my kids what those people know about them. That way they will be responsible for their actions always.

Monday, August 2, 2010


Muny tickets - $50 Walgreens snacks - $20 Bug repellent OFF fans - $20 Snow cones - $9 Gorgeous night seeing Sound Of Music with my 3 big kids - PRICELESS! Also I don't want to forget: -last night at church we had to take Charlie out of mass because I had a necklace on that had butterflies all over it and we could NOT get him to stop saying, "Buffly! Buffly! Buffly" he does not understand the idea of whispering yet at all. (neither does my 11 yr old though, I had to shush him numerous times at the Muny.) -yesterday Scotty and Jack took Ben (4) down to the farmers market to get fruit and snow cones on their own. They pulled him in our wagon. Seriously cute.

Sunday, August 1, 2010


On a girl's night out with Elaina. Apps at a little mexican place, then off to a girlscout campfire: Elaina: "Mom, can we be friends?" (Translation: "mom, can we pretend that we are grown-up friends?") Mom; "Sure." Elaina: "I have a daughter, just one, she is 16. There isn't a dad. My husband breaked up with me. My daughter is beautiful, she has long hair, and she can drive a car now." Mom: "Why did your husband leave?" Elaina: "I don't know! He just breaked up with me." Mom: "Well, I don't know why he would leave you, you are a very nice person. My husband would never ever leave me. He loves me very much, and will stay with me forever." Elaina: "Ya. Well, isn't this food good here? I just love these appetizers." Pretty often when Elaina and I are out together, she likes to pretend that she is on her own. Trying to get through her life without a man. Later in the pretending she usually mentions falling in love with someone again, but there is always this ire of independence. I am wondering if the 4 brothers she lives with are getting to her. She may just be a girl who will enjoy NOT being around boys all the least until puberty. And I am hoping that even then she will keep some of this independence she is learning growing up in her household of boys. Also I don't want to forget: -Yesterday when reading a book with Charlie (2), I point to some coconuts in a palm tree and say, "what are those" expecting him to say, "balls" and he says, "cocnut." I was shocked. -At Elaina's girl scout campfire evening last night, I went up to Elaina to tell her it was time to leave. She had a sad look on her face. I said, "what's wrong hun?" She says, "all the girls were fighting." I had noticed some rudeness and name-calling among some of the girls. Elaina remains on the outside of that right now, which is nice. However, it does really bother her to witness it, because I really believe that she is just so excited and happy to be playing with friends, that right now, the last thing she would want to do would be to fight with them, so it confuses her that others would fight. So, I took her out for a little book store coffee and we sat and did a puzzle and read a book together. Lovely night.