Thursday, September 30, 2010

Rolling her eyes

So, apparently Elaina has been rolling her eyes at her teachers! They really love her, so they are not upset by this, other than for the fact that when one of the fun-loving teachers told her that her eyes may get stuck that way, Elaina seemed to begin to worry. She takes everything VERY literally. You could say to her, "Did you get that beautiful hair from your mommy?" and she would give you a weird look and say "no, it grows out of my head." Just an example. But she really is quite literal. A funny, funny girl. And she can be so serious. But besides her serious side and her apparently new eye rolling issue, what I most love about Elaina is her happiness. Small things bring her joy, and getting her in a good mood is easy. Just the mention of her swim lesson last night got her all excited and squealing. My "Ballet" response to her question of what she was doing after school today brought her much joy, and pizza for dinner practically threw her over the edge. I am almost afraid to surprise her in 2 weeks for her birthday trip to Chicago with her cousin and a new special doll with the same name as her! She will be beside herself. As will I, because as I have discovered while having a daughter, her joy is my joy, her sorrow is my sorrow and her excitement has even become mine as I anticipate getting to surprise and excite her. I am going to have to handpick her husband one day, because how could anyone be good enough for my serious, joyful, happy, beautiful, eye-rolling Elaina.

A Day Behind

I'm a day behind on blogging, so I have to double blog tonight, a day behind on laundry so I have to do an abundance of laundry tonight, a day behind on my plan of organization of the basement, so I have to stay up working on that tonight. But, I am pretty sure it is all worth it, because of what I got to do today with my little boys. We had worked so hard on the house getting it all cleaned up this morning, that we just had to get out and enjoy the weather a little bit as our reward. So, off to the Farmer's Market for a stroll and some lunch (since I am also at LEAST a day behind on getting groceries, and we had no food to eat.) Weather could not have been better and Ben (4 almost 5) could not have been in better form as he deftly raced his scooter down the sidewalk, falling just once. To which he scampered quickly up saying "I'm fine, I'm ok, I'm ok" and then kept going as if nothing had happened. At one point he decided that he needed to ride right next to my stroller with Charlie in it because he thought it would be safer, but I squelched that quickly as we kept falling off of the sidewalk. He hilariously insisted on stopping a good 20 yards from the top of a small decline to keep himself from rolling into the cross-street. He is not my daredevil. When we reached the market we enjoyed some lunch and then headed to the park, where Ben wore his new mummy gloves that we purchased for his Halloween costume. He loves these gloves. He thinks they make him run faster, climb higher, and most importantly, look really cool. After some kids left the park, Ben comes up to me,"I can't believe no one loves my gloves." I say, "Did they say they didn't like them?" Ben says, "no, they didn't say ANYTHING." You see, my kids comment on EVERYTHING. So I think they figure others would also comment on everything, so if they did not comment on it, they must HATE it. My kids' tendency to comment on EVERYTHING is a whole other blog, which I am sure I will be addressing soon. Anyway, Ben ends up saying he is bored, so he and I play freeze tag, which is tricky since there are only 2 of us. He is a good sport and unfreezes me after he tags me. And I run backwards to make it fair. Sadly, freeze tag wore me out within like 3 minutes, so we head to a park bench where I lie back and look up into the trees and the sun is shining through them really cool. So I tell Ben to do the same, and he does, and he tells me that the tree that I called a very tall tree "isn't really all that tall." and we just hang until I have to get up and stop Charlie from swimming in the fountain. Good times. So, this brings me to the moment I am in now, where I am using my babysitter to supposedly keep me from being a day behind, but instead I am blogging so I don't forget the stuff that I did that got me behind in the first place. A vicious circle, but worth it. : )

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Before 9am

Before 9am this morning: Charlie escaped through the gate at his bedroom door at 4:30am, came into my room and scaled my bed and snuggled in with daddy until 7am. Charlie dumped the Tupperware drawer. Charlie ate yogurt out of the big container with a big spoon. Charlie got his own crackers from the counter for the rest of his breakfast. Charlie changed his mind 12 times about whether or not he wanted a tomato. Charlie whispered "p...r...o...u..t...s" when I asked him if he knew where he was going today. Charlie changed his mind 7 times about whether or not he might try to poo on the toilet. Charlie said, "I handsome!" after I dressed him for his Little Sprouts outing. Charlie stood on a step stool watching out the window for grandma and yelled "they here!" every time a car went by. Charlie took food out of the dog dish and kept trying to feed the dog by hand. Charlie crawled up on my lap while I was on the phone and looking at my calendar which was also on my lap and said, "I love you book." Charlie rode down the stairs on my back squeezing my neck and laughing hysterically when I made a choking noise. Charlie blew his own nose on a huge handful of wet wipes. Charlie picked out a striped shirt and yelled, "swipes!" Charlie waved vigorously and said, "bye mommy!" And that's a morning with Charlie (2).

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


I took Scotty and 2 friends to a Cardinal's baseball game last night (which is a whole other blog in and of itself), and therefore we returned home super late, and therefore we all overslept. So this morning: "Get up now, mom overslept!" "Everyone buys lunch today!" "Forget making the beds today!" "Have a piece of apple pie for breakfast today!" "Wear the same shorts you wore yesterday!" "Someone find Charlie's shoes!" "Elaina your shoes are in the powder room!" "Take an apple for a snack!" "Quickly go brush your teeth and meet me in the car!" "Sing this Christian Rock song for our morning prayer!" "Everyone out!" "Have a great day!" "Jack, wait for your sister!" Whew.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Being a Grown-up

I recall when I was a young kid really feeling sorry for my parents that they didn't get to dress up for Halloween and go trick or treating. I felt bad for them that Santa was only for children, and that running around at recess wasn't for them anymore. While other kids were dying to grow up, I was lamenting the day that I would no longer be the Easter Egg hunter. Perhaps this says something about my childhood. It must have been fabulous or I would not have wanted it to last. But my happy childhood is a whole other story. My point of this is that what I did not realize at these joyous childhood moments is that my parents were having an even more wonderful time watching us do all these things. If they had even half the fun I have while watching my kids go through these activities then they were not sad to be grown ups, rather they were super happy to be doing just what they were doing - watching. I realized yesterday that on Saturday when our family went apple picking, I did not pick even one apple. I took a lot of pictures of the kids picking apples. My husband and I laughed and grinned while we watched the kids jumping for apples, chasing each other around the orchard, joking around together and riding on the tractor. But we are not here to be the pickers anymore. We get to be the involved audience (sort of like in The Rocky Horror Picture Show) at a magnificent production that is more real and amazing than I remember it even being when I was a kid.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Apple picking

Entrance fee - $56 Kettle Corn - $5 Pony rides - $15 hot dogs, brats, hamburgers, drinks - $30 Apples, pumpkins, apple butter, pumpkin butter, apple cider - $100 Watching the kids cheer for pigs during pig races - PRICELESS Getting pictures of the kids laughing and joking while apple picking - PRICELESS Charlie's face while riding the "airplane ride" - PRICELESS Elaina's face while riding a pony - PRICELESS Hearing a big "THANK YOU" unprompted from the kids during the car ride home - PRICELESS! Every now and then (well pretty often really, around the Holidays especially) I get this Norman Rockwellesque picture in my head of a family outing that I want to make happen. It could be a carriage ride in the snow, a trip to an amusement park, venturing out to cut down our own Christmas tree, Singing Christmas carols door to door, or perhaps a family outing to an apple orchard. Often the trips end with my husband saying I shouldn't have such specific, high standards of how the trip should go or my husband strangling apologies or thankfulness from spoiled-sounding children. But not today! Today I had quite a gorgeous Norman Rockwell picture in my head. Today I had the best laid plans. Today I expected greatness from my children, my husband and the orchard. Today - THEY DELIVERED. Who knows, perhaps this will be the year of my whole family gathered around my dining table watching happily as I carve the perfect pumpkin. Perhaps this will be the year we hold hands around the table with the perfect turkey while we take turns thanking God on Thanksgiving. Perhaps this will be the year of trudging through the powdery snow to chop down the perfect tree. (Chevy Chase and I have a bit in common) Or....Perhaps this is the year I quit while I'm ahead. However, Norman Rockwell produced over 4,000 works of Art...I bet I can bring a few more of them to life if I really try! I will be in touch on: -Pumpkin Carving Heaven -Thanksgiving Prayer circle -Carriage Ride in the Snow -Christmas Tree Chopdown -Twas the Night Before Christmas Story Time with Dad -Santa's Village -Ice skating in the Park and -New Years Eve Delight

Friday, September 24, 2010

One point for Mom

Conversation with Jack: Jack: Mom, I am soooooo mad! Mom: Why? Jack? Jack: Well, do you know all the things the new principal is changing?! Mom: I think I know some of them. They seem like good changes. Jack: Well, I am NOT going to school the day after Halloween. We always get the day after Halloween off, and it is not fair! Mom: Well, you have to, so stop complaining about it. Jack: I am just going to eat a bunch of candy the night before and stay up late and be sick the next day because I will have a headache and throw up. Then I won't have to go to school. Mom: What other changes are bothering you? Jack: When the new principal comes outside at recess and says "St. Peter!" We have to yell, "Pray for us!" Mom: Well that sounds great! Why would you not want to pray? Praying is super, and it is a good thing that makes us all feel good. Jack: Ok, well that one isn't really bad. But he also makes the boys hold the doors for the girls and the girls get to go out to recess first! Mom: That sounds good. You have a sister. Don't you want the boys to treat her nicely? Don't you want her to learn that she should always want to be with people who are gentlemen? Jack: Well, yes, that is ok too. But I am REALLY mad about not getting the day off after Halloween. Mom: Well if you are that upset, then you should set up a meeting with your principal, and politely talk to him about it and I am sure he will explain his reasons to you, and you can tell him how you feel. Or, you can write him a very polite letter inquiring about why the change was put into place. He probably won't change it but maybe you will understand each other a little better. Jack: I'm going to do that. I am going to write him a letter. Mom: OK. But I should tell you that before I decide to talk to the principal or a teacher about something, I think about how important it is to me. I would hate for something more important to come up, and then you end up wanting to talk to the principal again, and then the principal doesn't take you seriously, because he may see you as a complainer, or "the boy who cried wolf." You want to save your arguments for something that is REALLY important to you. 5 minutes later Jack: I am not going to write that letter. I have something much more important I need to talk to him about. Mom: What is that? Jack: I want him to get us a crossing guard at Kirkwood Road so that you will let me ride my bike to school. Mom: Perfect. I think I may have just won one.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Not enough hours in the day

Elaina was home from school today with strep throat. Antibiotics have begun to do work, so she is on the mend. However, since I had a whole day at home I thought I would catch up on all my laundry. I did laundry from 8:30am until 10:30pm. The whole while folding all the items, and ultimately putting it all away in the kids' drawers, which I first cleaned out. I took one hour off for a walk, park and snack with the kids. The only laundry left to do in the house is what the kids wore today. So, while I am feeling pretty accomplished, my poor children have left me feeling somewhat guilty. I was begged to do so many things today that I just could not do: Ben: "Watch this cartoon with me." Jack: "Come watch the movie in your bed with me." Charlie: "Lay down wif me!" Elaina: "Keep scratching my back." Scotty: "Stay downstairs with me." Husband: "Stay awake for me, I will be home late." I want to do all these things. I also want to have all of the laundry finished and put away. And so I heard, "I am so mad at you." "Please!" "Come on!" It is not like I was doing my nails, or watching soaps, I was cleaning and folding all of their clothing. So, while these chores HAVE to get done, I am learning that my kids' love language is NOT "acts of kindness." I learned that it IS "quality time." So, now that the laundry is all caught up - or as "caught up" as it is possible to be, tomorrow I can "lay down wif Charlie, watch a movie with Jack in my bed, and stay downstairs with Scotty" at least until they all strip off their clothes for bed and give me another 2 loads of laundry.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Cleaned out car again

Found: Banana peel 3 hats 3 single socks A swimsuit cover-up A shirt A sweater A basketball A Slinky A pair of shoes A teddy bear 2 water bottles A light bulb A sippy cup A coozie Some tuperware Some hair ribbons Rubber ball Barrel from a barrel of monkeys Some little cars Some legos A peanut. An applesauce container Some really old chicken Half of a hot dog bun A whole lot of other trash And 2 unidentifiable substances Gross. Questions i have: Who is taking off one sock in the car and wearing one back into the house? Where are their shoes, if they took off their socks? Are they going to the car without shoes on, and I am just not noticing? Isn't the purpose of a swimsuit cover-up, to COVER UP? Where are all the monkeys? What WAS that sticky, yet congealing substance I was cleaning up? What WAS that hard, yet cartilage-like brown item? It is now safe to ride in my car.

The After School Rules

Play dates are only on Fridays, days off, and half days No play dates if the house is messy No dessert unless you eat all your dinner Backpacks go in your lockers in the mudroom Lunch bags go by the sink Shoes go in your cubbies Practice your instrument Do your homework right away Shower before bed Brush teeth before bed Read before bed Sleep in your own bed on school nights, bunk up together for fun one weekend night only. Jack came out of the school on Tuesday with a Science test. It was a 94%. Forget the rules. "Yes, you can go to Jen's house. Yes, you can have caramel apples for dessert. "Yes, you can sleep in Ben's bed." Sometimes, its worth bending the rules.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I already ate it

Ben: Put some new simple towels in our powder room. Ben comes out of the bathroom from having used it and says, "Those towels are not cool in our bathroom. They are just plain white." I didn't know he cared. Elaina: I gave them their plates of food for dinner. I stuck a little celery leaf on top of their spaghetti for "fanciness." I said, "You guys may not want to eat the leaf, it is just for looks." Elaina said, "I already ate it." Of course she did. She will try everything. I love her! Ben: Leaving the park. His friend begins to cry. Ben looks at me with tears in his eyes and says, "Rafael is crying about me! He wants to play with me." So, I invited them to come play at our house for a while. He's a softy and so am I. Also I don't want to forget: -Zoo with Charlie yesterday. He spent a good 10 minutes saying, "I ride train, no I don't ride train, I ride train, no I don't ride train....." We ran out of time to ride the train. He is so funny. He was a bunch of fun leading me throughout the zoo. He followed a bird for a good 15 minutes. Stared at the gorillas for a long time, and spent equally as long watching the guy cleaning the gorillas windows. The penguins swimming and splashing us bring him to squealing laughter. He was super excited about the fake shark hanging in the entrance area. - I love when Scotty calls me to let me know he made it safely to school. When I hear his voice I just want to reach through the phone and give him a big hug. Probably lucky for him that I can't do that....

Sunday, September 19, 2010

What I can't do

This morning I poached myself a couple eggs. I wrote a letter. These are the things I can do when my boys are out of town. These are the things I can't do: -wait for them to bring me Charlie from his room in the morning -listen to them getting the little ones breakfast for me -laugh every 5 minutes -hear the piano being played -watch them dance around the kitchen to the radio while making pancakes or a "new recipe" -go watch them play sports -listen to their "stories" they are making up or acting out -watch cartoons with them -hear Charlie and Ben and Elaina laugh at them -visit their "lego museum" every 5 minutes -get a hug about every 3 0r 4 minutes I like having them around.

Also I don't want to forget: -At church tonight Charlie insisted on "peacing" every single person in the very crowded cry room. He stood there trying to get a 4 yr old to give him the sign of peace for like 5 minutes. Kid wouldn't budge. Maybe he had seen Charlie pick his nose earlier.

-We were actually not in the cry room because of any crying however. We were in the cry room because Charlie couldn't stop saying, "Benny, look at this! Benny watch this! Benny! Benny! Benny!" He doesn't quite understand *whisper* yet.

-While we were in the cry room Charlie banged the fire hydrant door open and closed continually until I stopped him, rocked the rocking chair loudly against a big metal pole until I stopped him, stole another boy's book which made the boy cry, asked the little boy "What that?" about the little boy's truck over and over and over, and kept trying to ride on my leg like a horse while yelling, "Higher! higher! higher!" -Also at church, as I carried Charlie up to Communion from having been in the cry room, he looked all around the church for his father. "Mommy, where my daddy go?" I point, and then we have Charlie waving vigorously yelling, "There my daddy! Hi daddy! Hi Daddy!" all the way up to and back from Communion.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Charlie's tutu

Charlie (2) came into the kitchen in a blue tutu (at least it was blue) and began to twirl with his sister and little girl friend. He also had on a king's crown. He looked adorable and was so carefree in his cross dressing attire! As we decided to go out for the afternoon, Charlie very sweetly said, "I wear this!" pointing to his tutu. So, I didn't have the heart to change him. He frolicked at the Kirkwood farmer's market in his tutu. He picked out a squash in his tutu. He played at the playground in his tutu. He was called a cute little girl a couple times. I corrected. No one was astounded. Mostly moms just nodded or pointed to their son's princess sunglasses. However, I rather my son to look like a boy. But I don't think I have to worry about him wearing that tutu to the park every day or anything, he kept tripping on his skirt on the way up the ladder to go down the slide. He has begun to learn young, the struggles of being a woman.

Friday, September 17, 2010


The boys (except for Charlie) all left this afternoon for a camping trip. The excitement was staggering. Ben packed his own bag sometime yesterday. This is what was inside of it: -5 white undershirts -3 pair of boxers -6 pair of underwear -a pair of shin guards Ben has never been camping. From the looks of his bag, I am wondering what he thinks he will be doing on the camping trip. Jack spent all afternoon looking for his pocket knife that we got him for his 9th birthday, and then promptly took away so that no one got hurt. I guess we hid it well. Scotty was downloading movies to his ipod as quickly as possible and searching the house for headphones, splitters, chargers etc... Pete spent a small fortune at Walmart so that he wouldn't have to search the house for things to pack, even though I reminded him that we have a very generous neighbor who has everything needed for camping. I am praying that they got to their site before pitch darkness, and were able to pitch their tent. Elaina and Charlie will be "camping" for a bit watching a movie in my room tonight. We also had a nice dinner together at a sushi restaurant. Elaina and Charlie both loved trying out the chopsticks, and they both discovered that they love Miso soup. Then they both were thrilled to no end to throw pennies in the fountain and sit and watch a train go by. After the train went by and we were walking to the car Charlie kept saying something that I didn't understand, finally I realized he was saying quite clearly, "THAT was AWESOME! THAT was AWESOME!" Love him. Also I don't want to forget: -today I got some new candles and lit them around the house. Jack was coming and going from the garage to his room, to the kitchen etc while getting ready for his trip.He came through the house once and said, "By the way mom, the house smells GREAT!" It just struck me funny. -Charlie just walked up to me while I was typing and started telling me a very elaborate story that involved him using different voices for the different characters including a growling ghost I think. And then he would suddenly do a surprised face and sort of jump, and then go on with the "story." He is a funny guy. Earlier this evening I got to go see and photograph my sweet new nephew Thomas! He is such an adorable baby and such a blessed little guy to have such fabulous parents and siblings. I went back to the waiting room where I had left Elaina and Charlie with Nanna. Elaina was sooooooo excited to see the pictures I had taken. She squealed with delight while looking at him, and really wanted to go up to the room to see him. I told her we would all go see him soon. But I guess I didn't realize how old she is. She is really getting to that sweet age where she really cares about others, loves babies, and appreciates what a big deal newborns are. It was really sweet, and I began to wish I had snuck her up there for a moment.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Attempt at teaching thankfulness and awareness

Tomorrow my sister will go into a hospital early in the morning. She will be tended to by many nurses and doctors. She will sleep in a sterile, comfortable, quiet environment with monitors attached to her telling everything about her and her unborn son. She will be watched closely and slowly put into labor to deliver her son into sterile gloved hands that will carry the baby to a warm bed where he will be washed clean, weighed, checked all over and eventually wrapped and handed to my sister. She and her son will be doted on for the following 48 hours. She will be brought the food and drink that are best for her body to nurish her son's body. They will have dim lights in the room for comfort and safety. She will have sits baths and showers to freshen herself and feel comfortable. Visitors will scrub before touching she or the baby. We will take photos of their first moments after the birth. When mommy and baby are ready, they will safely travel home to their comfortable, clean home. In Haiti women often give birth in their dirt floored homes where there is no running water. This afternoon my kids and I put together some birthing kits for the women giving birth in Haiti. We will deliver them to church on sunday to be added to the collection for the Haitian mothers giving birth. The kits consist of the following: -a 3 foot by 3 foot cloth for the woman to sit, lie on. -2 towels -2 wash cloths -a baby t shirt -a baby knit cap -a receiving blanket -a bar of soap -2 pieces of yarn to clamp the umbilical cord -a razor blade to cut the cord -rubber gloves As I was explaining to the kids what we were assembling, they looked so confused. They could not imagine anyone giving birth in these conditions. They have all been to the hospital to meet their younger siblings right after their births. Although they had come reluctantly into the Art room to help me, once I explained to them more about what we were doing and why, they could not begin to show any signs of reluctance. They loved helping, and hopefully became more thankful for what we have.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Prayer Circle

"Julie, I just pictured you and all your kids in a circle holding hands saying a prayer every morning before school." I am pretty sure she was kidding since I had just relayed to my mother-in-law what my morning had entailed: 1. Jack insisted on me cutting his hair. 2. Jack was full of hair, so he had to go take a shower, which took forever since he is the slowest showerer ever! 3. Jack came out of the shower with hair all over him still???? 4. Jack couldn't find any clean clothing, even though there was not a stitch of dirty clothing in the house. 5. Ben couldn't find his shoes. and never did (until I called the babysitter later in the day and got the answer "put away in his room") 6. I saw Charlie eating some cereal this morning, he even drank all the milk from the bowl....I just don't think it was HIS cereal, so someone went to school without breakfast I am pretty sure. 7. Jack left the house without his lunch, so I had to bring that up to school to him. 8. Scotty left a huge project full of tape and containers and metal at home because he wanted to ride his bike, so I had to bring that up to his school to him. So, I told my mother-in-law, "We don't do a prayer circle before school, HOWEVER, we DO listen to Christian Rock music in the car on the way to school, and we think that counts for something." Also I don't want to forget: -Little Sprouts with Charlie this morning at the Botanical Gardens was so fun! He was a funny guy, really getting into the whole thing - looking for frogs, listening to books, singing the songs! Sadly, I must have forgotten which kid I was with, because when I put his name on his craft so we could find it later, I put "BEN" on it. Fortunately, Charlie cannot read yet.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Mommy and Me Soccer

Firstly, let me say, that I am not actually really an advocate of Mommy and Me Soccer. I mean, I can save $100 (or whatever it costs) and just kick a ball with my 2 yr old in my backyard any time I want to. However, my almost 5 yr old was signed up for a program, and rather than just watching it again this session with my 2 yr old begging to run onto the indoor field, I decided to just sign he and I up for a session at the same time as his big brother's. So, today was the first session. And let me say we had a blast. However, it really had zero to do with the poor girl running the Mommy and Me group. She had quite possibly never before ran a 2 yr old program before, actually she quite possibly had never talked to, played with, or maybe even SEEN a 2 yr old before. This very nice girl/woman (I can't estimate people's ages ever since I turned thirty, still think I'm 23, and often feel like I'm 80) began the program by asking the 2 yr olds to sit in a hoola hoop on the ground in a circle. Needless to say, most of the 2 yr olds grabbed the hoops and started putting them over their heads - of course. She began to tell them all what we were going to be learning in soccer class today in a very quiet voice. I could barely hear her, and I guarantee Charlie wasn't getting the picture, as he was at this point trying to spin his hoop around his neck, and being thrown to the ground. Eventually the moms learned that we were to try to get our 2 yr olds to kick their tiny soccer balls over to an area full of smaller 8inch diameter hoops, then get them to get their balls to stop in the hoops by stomping on top of the ball, and for some reason the 2 yr olds (some of whom can barely talk) were supposed to yell out their favorite food. Had I been a first time mom at this session I may have begun to panic, worrying that my 2 yr old was the only one who did not #1 have the agility to get their ball to stop inside of a small hoop, #2understand these directions, #3 know what the word favorite means. But, since this is #5 that I was doing the Mommy and Me Soccer with, I was a cool cucumber. "Charlie, Can you KICK the ball?!" Charlie began kicking the ball all over the area. "Charlie, can you go kick the ball in the goal?" Charlie began heading toward the goal, ball on foot, and smash, it was in! "Charlie, I'm going to get your ball!" And he began running away from me dribbling his ball. I don't think I'm being presumptuous when I say, my kid was learning more from me than from Ms.Hoola-Hoop-favorite-food-gal. And she was lovely, but when she eventually asked the kids to all play redlight/greenlight I pretty much gave up on her. I mean Charlie doesn't seem to understand that he should stop when I say, "STOP!" let alone when I say, "Red light." So, as I ran around chasing giggling Charlie on the turf, and he fell on top of his ball numerous times, laughing and trying to get away from me, and keep me from his ball, and kick his ball against the wall, I began to remember the name of this session - Mommy and Me. And I began to think, Maybe this chick is smarter about this than she let on, maybe she knows what we all need more of...... a little Mommy and Me time. And I am very thankful for it. And we can't wait to go back next week.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Bananas, Boogers and Oatmeal

While cleaning up around the house today, I was reminded that these 3 substances; bananas, boogers and oatmeal could be used to replace say, concrete, gorilla glue, or cement. What the heck!? We are talking some major scrubbing, fingernail scraping and soap to really pry each from the surfaces. Ben says, "mom, I made up a new friend today, but I can't remember his name." I love that he says, "made UP a new friend" as if he means the friend is imaginary. This is not what he means. He means to say that he "made a new friend." so cute. Ben had some zucchini bread today, apparently for the first time, because as he is eating it (and he is my very pickiest eater) he says, "Mom, it is good to try new things." As if this is something that just occurred to him as opposed to something I have been saying to him for the last year or so. At dinner: I said, "lets go around the table and say what we are thankful for." Scotty says, "I thank God for this lovely meal he has bestowed upon us." Ben says, "I thank God for such a special day." Elaina says, "I thank God for flowers and puppies." Jack says, "I thank God for cheeseburgers, a piece of pizza and mac n cheese." (which is not what we were eating). Charlie says, "Man." and the kids thought that was hilarious.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

How whole wheat is ruining my life!

This is what Scotty just said to my husband. As he is making muffins, and messed up and had to begin again, he says to his dad, "This is just another example of how whole wheat is ruining my life." True, I have been on a bit of a health kick lately. Just trying to make my family eat some healthy food once in a while, so sue me. But really you would think that I am forcing arsenic down Scotty's throat. He has been brought to tears more than once because of being told he couldn't have a soda. He has been in a crabby mood for most of a day because I said no to a 5th helping of bread. And right now, he is stomping around the kitchen as he is making his muffins for the 2nd time, because whole wheat is "ruining his life." I'm at a bit of a loss. I want to teach the kids good nutrition, but I also don't want to over exclude foods from our diet and cause them to rebel and become junkfood junkies as they get older and start making their own choices. Ugh. The balance is not easy. Tonight for dinner we are having yogurt fruit smoothies and banana bread. I would say that is a pretty delicious dinner....I should hear no complaining. but tomorrow, its broccoli! Also I don't want to forget: -Charlie is running around in a fur monkey suit costume. ADORABLE. I asked him what monkeys say and he growled at me. We will have to work on that before Halloween. However, he did just try to climb up the kitchen drawers onto the counter, so I guess he has the climbing part down. -Charlie ate 3 pieces of gum, 7 tic tacs, a bag of cookies, and all of my friend's iced tea. Bleacher season has begun. We will be on bleachers a lot again, watching volleyball, and soccer. I better restock my purse with some better options.

Jumping off of a frisbie

2 yr olds can find such joy in such simple things! Charlie keeps getting on top of a Frisbee that is lying on the floor, and he jumps off of it, yells "ta da!" or "Wow that a big one!" He has been doing it for like 10 minutes straight. I think he could do it all day, but I have to make him stop so I can dress him for church. Yesterday I saw Charlie picking his nose. Then I saw him eat a booger. I said, "Charlie, don't eat your boogers that's yucky." He says, "Yes eat boogers! I EAT boogers! I like boogers!" What do I do with that? I can't stop him. He is unstoppable. He also recently thought it was hilarious to poke the dog with a plastic sword, hide legos in his mouth, blow air into my mouth when I try to kiss him, play in a big puddle that he created out of fruit smoothie, "help" daddy plaster the basement walls (use your imagination), and brush his teeth with everyone's toothbrushes. 2 yr olds find the joy in the simple....let us all be more like them...(except for the eating boogers part).

Friday, September 10, 2010

Waiting turned Blessing

I had a Lowes date with my bathroom remodeler today. He said he would be around early afternoon to go pick out grout, paint etc. with me. I waited....I played puzzles with Charlie...I waited some more. No remodeler showed up. I waited....I built blocks with Ben and Charlie...I waited some more. No show. I waited...I hung in the playroom with Ben and Charlie watching them play together, build together....I waited some more. No show. I waited....I read books to the boys.....I waited some more. No show. When the remodeler finally called to say he was sorry he wasn't able to make it today, I couldn't even be upset. I had been given a day at home that I would not have had otherwise. If I had not had a reason to stay home and "wait" then I am sure I would have found some errands to do, or had planned some chores to begin. But thinking that I could be leaving at any moment, kept me just living in and enjoying those moments! with my boys! Also I don't want to forget: -While changing all of the kids' sheets this evening I found a rubber chicken under Jack's mattress. -Ben showed us his new wushu (Kung fu) moves this evening. I cannot explain how adorable it is for your son to basically take you down at age 4. -Ben's teacher says as I am picking him up today, "Ben is such a sweet little guy. And so smart." I mentioned this to Ben, and he smiles hugely, giggles and says, "I guess cause I am so good at school!"

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Thank God for Starbucks

Starbucks has been many things to many people over the years; a wake -me-up, a pick-me-up, a meet-up spot, a hook-up spot, a relaxation location, an office for "work-at-home" folks, and more. But Starbucks has become for me something I bet it has not been for anyone before. Starbucks can add "family moderator" "family saviour" "insanity suppressor" and "neutralizer" to its list of accomplishments. I will explain. I am so like my son, Jack, that it is ridiculous. I recall my homework fits from childhood. Fits where I would want to pull my hair out, fits where I would procrastinate to no end just to not have to work on my homework, or read an assigned book. My mother was amazing with me. I only now realize this. After doing homework with my son tonight I started recalling my own childhood, and so much rushed into my mind. I recall my mom really patiently helping me with my homework. My mother read almost the entirety of Ben Hur to me when I was 14 yrs old. 14! I would read a page of it, and reread the page and reread the page and just get soooooooo frustrated, frustrated to tears, because I couldn't bring myself to stay awake, or even stay focused enough on the book to read a chapter and know what I had read. My mom would sit on my bed and read it to me, and eventually would rent me the movie (which I don't actually recommend since I found out the hard way that there are a number of differences in the 2). In any case, she was really good with me. In order for me to be that good with my son (who to my defense may be a bit more difficult at homework time than even I was) I have discovered, decided, that we need to leave the house. Being in a public location keeps me from reacting to his outbursts, and keeps his outbursts much more subdued. He can't storm off, he wouldn't cry in public, and I wouldn't yell in public either. I may not have a super amount of self control, but I am smart enough to figure out a way to make this whole homework thing work for us. Get out in public. Tonight was not easy. Starbucks was waiting for us again this week (Thursday nights are our homework nights, the other 3 homework nights he spends with our 15 yr old babysitter at the library, she as homework helper and he as infatuated boy wanting to impress her with his studious knowledge - another fabulous idea I had). So, Starbucks was waiting for us with its calming aromas, its sweet muffins and warm coffee. Once settled in, there is no telling what can happen. Tonight, a math assignment and preparation for a test happened. Next week, who knows, perhaps I will be reading Ben Hur...I will try not to cry so much this time through. I thank God for the chance to have this luxurious Starbucks date. Without my babysitter at home getting little ones to bed while my husband coaches volleyball, I would not be able to leave the house. And right now, leaving is saving, supporting and enhancing my relationship with my kid. Also I don't want to forget: -Charlie has decided his favorite thing to say is "No Way!" He says it really to almost anything I or anyone says to him. Sometimes it sounds defiant, other times sarcastic, but each time it is hilarious. -When I change Charlie's diaper lately he puts his hands down by his goods and sort of protects them and looks at me out of the corner of his eye and says, "Hey, hey, hey mom. No no." Cracks me up. I try to explain that I am helping him out, but he always looks very skeptical of my motives of washing and changing his soiled pants. -I'm working out "Every Rose Has its Thorn" on the guitar for Jack and the piano for Scotty so they can play as a duo. We all 3 spent some quality time singing and playing this afternoon and evening. Very fun. Need to keep this up.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


I witnessed something grand from my four year old today. He and his buddy were playing at the park. They were taking turns on the monkey bars. It was not easy for them. They were sweaty, red faced, and breathing hard! Ben had made it across a couple of times and his friend was getting very close. Ben mentioned proudly a few times that he had made it ALL the way across and I was thinking, "hush or you are going to hurt your friend's feelings." Soon though, his friend began to get really close to the other side. I was thinking to myself, "Oh, I hope Ben doesn't say something rude like, " I made it across first" or something like that. I should have given my son more credit. As his friend drew nearer and nearer to the other side, I hear Ben begin to yell, "You got it LUKE! You are doing it! You can do it!!!" And as Luke reaches the other side, Ben runs around to him, wraps him in a huge hug while yelling, "YOU are the Best LUKE! You did it! You did it!" Luke grinned ear to ear. And I began to cry, since I can no longer watch any act of kindness without tearing up. Apparently motherhood removes all control from the tear ducts. A couple of days before this I was tearing up again as this same son consoled a friend in preschool. Reminding his friend that preschool is fun and "lets go play together." So, here I am so proud of this sweet boy I have raised. And I am further feeling all proud as I relay to some friends about what a great strategy I have going with my kids at home during homework time. Feeling so in control and all set. But this is when the slap to the face comes. This is when you are hit with the truth of, "You can never let up." Letting up only means you mess up. I was a bad parent this evening. I won't go into it, but suffice it to say that I am not proud of my reactions and lack of patience that I exuded during my evening parenting. So, herein lies the lesson. We teach our children to always keep trying to do better - in sports, school, music.... Never should they feel they are the best at something. As you begin to believe that, that is when someone comes along and beats you at it. I believe it is so true in all things. It is when we believe we are so close to God, being just what he wants us to be, doing just what he wants us to do, that we realize we are being quite righteous and need to work on our humility! There is always something to work toward. Parenting will last forever. So we may as well keep trying forever. Keep working at it forever. And keep crying forever. Because it is worth it.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Giving in

I go to pick up my daughter from her friend's house. They were setting up the snow cone machine when I arrived. As I tell her that I am sorry and that we really have to get home to get her homework finished before Daddy takes her out to dinner, she begins to get that lip quiver. She reluctantly thanks the hosts and sulks away to the car. When we get into the car she says, "We were having soooooo much fun, and the you just PULLED UP in your CAR!" I felt so horrible, so mean, like the cruelest mom ever. As I watched the tears go down her cheeks, and her lip turn down so sad, I hear myself saying, "How much homework do you have?" "Just ONE PIECE! Mom." I start pulling back into their driveway. Today, I just couldn't be the one who ruined her fun. I just couldn't be the one who made her miss out on a real snow cone made right there at her friend's house. I will likely pay for this the next time she wants to "stay a little longer" at her friend's house, but I will be a stronger, sterner mom on that day. Just felt like being the sweet mom today. I have the right to change my mind. I remember learning that in grade school.

Cutting Ben's hair and Playing catch

I love cutting Ben's hair. He is very quiet and thoughtful and sweet. He has long hair. I hate the way other people cut it, so I often trim him up myself. He stays so still, and he looks at me and asks, "how does it look?" and "Are you done yet?" And when I say for the zillionth time that I just have to do one more cut, he patiently lets me cut while he stays very still. And when he is facing me, he rolls his eyes up to see the hair that is still in his eyes a little bit, and he says, "I think you need to cut this piece right here, it is getting in my eye." And his little voice is just so.....little, in that moment. And he looks right at me with his big round eyes and grins so sweetly. Ahhhhhhhh. Charlie just came to me wearing a garden glove, holding a golf ball. He also brought me a garden glove and insisted that I put it on. Then he wanted to play catch that way. When I realized he thought that we were playing baseball, I became quite ashamed that this is what he was trying to do. Even though I am having book club tonight and should be cleaning my house like a maniac and making dinner....I am heading outside with actual baseball gloves and baseballs, because for GOODNESS sakes, I can't have my son thinking that "catch" is played with garden gloves and a golfball!

Monday, September 6, 2010

On our hike

When are we gonna stop? (Elaina, within the 1st 2 minutes) Its like a death trap or something. (Ben referring to a steep hill) Look at the view from here. (Jack checking out the view from atop the cliff) Dad, be careful, don't fall, don't be scared dad. (Elaina as we look over the cliff) Did I mention I'm slightly scared of heights? (Scotty) I made it! (Ben when we got to the top) I stuck! (Charlie as he was carried in a sling on Daddy's hip) I wanna find some deer. (Elaina) Be quiet you guys are scaring the deer! (Elaina) I have a rock in my shoe. (Elaina) I'm marking my trail. (Jack) Let's race! (Ben) Let's pretend were walking on crystals! (Elaina to Ben) I think I found a fossil! (Ben, about a rock) It might be a dinosaur. (Ben about a "fossil") I think its part of its stomach. (Ben about a "dinosaur fossil") I found the foot of a dinosaur! (Ben about a "fossil") I'm a wizard. (Jack? I think?) This one was a Duck bill dinosaur. (Ben about a "fossil") Its hard to take notes and hike at the same time. I think I need a little recorder to catch all this stuff....

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Coupla funny things:

Upon receiving a cute picture of my friend's 11 yr old daughter as a cheerleader via email, I showed both of my older boys, Scotty (11) and Jack (9). Scotty looks and gives a nice little grin, Jack looks and says, "Scott, you gotta love hot cheerleaders!" And Scotty started pummelling him. And so it begins.......... Mom: Jack, be careful and watch out for people while riding your scooter through this park. Jack: Oh, don't worry mom, I have the eye of a panther. Also I don't want to forget: -Charlie is in a very funny place right now, always talking to himself, playing with little characters, and keeping himself entertained. Reminding me a lot of Scotty when he was little. -Ben has also become a Scotty follower, playing video games at any given chance, "reading" books and just entertaining himself easily.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Look what I can do!

Ben: "Hey mom, I can do THIS now!" Me: "What, do what?" Ben: "This." Me: And I look toward the back of the car where he is very proudly demonstrating underarm farts. "Wow honey, that's lovely." Later: We are feeding ducks at a pond. This same child, Ben (4) looks over the edge and says, "I named them. That one there is Bill." I say, "Why Bill?" And he says, "Mom, it is Bill, you know because he has the biggest beak. Duck Bill." The same child doing the arm farts can also impress me with his vocabulary. So, I guess they cancel each other out. I took Ben and Charlie to Sams, Trader Joes, Omaha Steaks and also Schnucks today. Schnucks was the last stop and by the time we got there, I let them walk instead of riding in the cart. They had been really good at all the stops. I let them each get a 10 inch bouncy ball (42cents each - they are like $4 at target) and so they were bouncing them while I checked out. The gal checking me out actually said to ben, "Careful there, you might hit my ceiling.You better hang onto your ball." She was not being cute and joking with him. She seriously wanted him to stop. Have you seen the ceilings at Schnucks? They are very high???! I nearly cracked up out loud. It was pretty funny. But because she wanted him to stop, I had to make him stop. I always feel bad when I end up reprimanding my child for something they are doing that I am afraid may be upsetting someone else, when it really doesn't bother me, or seem worth reprimanding. I like to watch little boys having fun when it isn't hurting anyone. The boys had a lot of fun laughing and bonking each other in the carts today. Singing sort of loudly, goosing each other, putting all the groceries up on the counter for the checker very quickly. Maybe it bothered other grocery store patrons, but hopefully some of them were able to enjoy the kids' contagious fun-loving attitudes. I hope when I am out of the toddler stage that I show more than tolerance for toddlers, but admiration for them. They are cool.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


A homeless man just walked into the Starbucks I'm in. At least I think he is homeless. He smells bad. He has on old clothing that he is wiping down with a napkin, because he is wet from the rain. He has some sort of crocheted wrap on his leg. He has a backpack and an apple juice with him. He just went and sat outside. He is talking to someone...I think himself because I don't see anyone else. He is someone's son. Being a mom, that's the first thing that goes into my mind. I'm pretty sure before I had kids I didn't think about that so much. But now I can't get that thought out of my head. Someone about 65 years ago gave birth to him. They were probably thinking about what they would do with him. Play, teach... Or maybe they were upset and worried about their child. Maybe they gave him away to a family that could care for him. Maybe they kept him and didn't know how to care for him well. No matter what, I am sure that at one point someone thought about him. And now he is looking at me weird and kind of scaring me. But, my point... Our perspective on EVERYTHING changes as we become parents. So we get in the car and I say to my son, jack, "did you notice that man in there? I'm pretty sure he is homeless." Jack says, "How do you know?" I say, "well, that's his bike with all those bags on it." He says, "you know, if he wasn't so big and smelly and scary looking, I would just invite him right into our car." Sweet boy, but being his mother, I went into a very serious talk about how he could be a bad man, and so instead of helping him directly we could give money to charities that help people like him, St Vincent de Paul Society, shelters, food pantries, etc. I hate ruining my kids' innocence and sweet nature by teaching them a truth that really sucks. But, as I said, the perspective changes when you are a mom.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Can you babysit?

Elaina arrives at my shower curtain as I am showering. She is holding a stuffed dog: "Um, do you think you could babysit my puppy?" Me: "Sure, why don't you go put it down on my bed for a nap so I can finish showering." (May as well play along,because to her this is all VERY real.) Elaina: "Well, she really needs you to hold her and take of her. She is sick and needs medicine." Me: "Really? What is wrong with her?" Elaina: "Well, she is having a problem with going to the bathroom." Me: "Really, what is the problem." (I HAVE to know) Elaina: "Well, she can't poop." Me: "Oh, well did she eat something weird? Elaina: "Ya, grass and other stuff from outside.She needs some medicine Just keep her in her kennel, and take her outside on a leash if she needs to go out, then bring her back in." Me: "Really?" This puppy sitting is getting a little serious. This evening Elaina shushed the whole family at the dinner table, because we were going to wake her three sleeping (stuffed) puppies. I must help her get her vet degree or I will feel like such a failure! Also I don't want to forget: -Charlie and Ben are becoming such good buddies, and were so enjoyable today with me. They were angels as we had brunch with my friend at an outdoor cafe. They laughed most of the day together at the park running around and later at home wrestling eachother. It is like raising Scotty and Jack again - only this time I am a bit more laid back. This is a real perk of having a big family. You get to sort of do it twice, or maybe 3 times or more, and each time you raise a toddler, hopefully you learned something from the time you did it before. Of course there are always the little drawbacks, like Ben and Charlie not having as much reading time with mom, or learning letters early with mom, or building blocks on the floor as much with busy mom. But I'm feeling it is an even exchange ; )

Rise and Shine

Wow. On the way to school this morning I realized these things: -Jack hadn't done his hair -Or brushed his teeth -Or made his bed -Nor did he have on a belt. -Scotty had not done his hair -Nor had he made his bed -And he was wearing the same shirt he had on for school yesterday-he had slept in it. -Elaina had cream cheese all over her face -Had not brushed her teeth -And finally found her shoes as we were walking out the door. -Ben is wearing the clothing he slept in, which incidentally is also what he wore yesterday. (Fortunately he doesn't have school today) -Charlie...well he is pretty well kept actually. I guess we need to get up MUCH earlier.