Friday, December 31, 2010

Intuitive Ben

I am beginning to think that my5 yr old is quite intuitive. Yesterday at the movie theater he came over to me crying during the movie saying that the movie was scary. The weird thing was, the scary part was coming up, but had not happened yet. The same thing happened at another movie when he was about 2 or 3. He seems to sense the impending danger before they even elude to it. If a 5 yr old can be this intuitive about a movie he has never seen, imagine how on top of it he is when it comes to reading his parents moods and worries. He knows when we are frustrated and have worries and more. So, this makes me worry about stressing out my little boy. But I have decided it isn't all about never letting him notice me being frustrated or whatever, but rather when I do have a worry that he see me deal with it in a good way. So, I pray for patience, and restraint, when I don't show patience.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I failed!

Well, I think it is safe to say that there is no catching up from this blogging Holiday Hiatus. I wanted so badly to do 365 consecutive days of blogging, but then Christmas week came along and just threw me for a loop! There is no catching up now, but there is continuing on, and so that is the plan. I am back with plenty of stories to share and funny things said by the kids and general chaos that is our loving home to relay to you : ) So, a quick Christmas recap of the fun, the craziness, the chaos, and the joy of the past few days: It was our turn to host the family Christmas Eve Brunch. 40 of my favorite people all good enough sports to squeeze into my living and dining rooms to sing my Christmas Carols, eat my food and play my silly games for my silly prizes! In the days leading up to this party I worry that my kids will associate Christmas with cleaning. Just cleaning. But it is not only when it is my turn to host the party that the cleaning bug gets me at the holidays. Right or not, my kids get quite a lot for Christmas. I am ok with it, I have rationalized it this way: We don't buy them toys throughout the year, so at their birthdays and Christmas we may go a little crazy but the toys have to last them all year. So, as Christmas approaches I begin to notice all the other stuff we have already. I see something lying on the floor and I begin to say things like, "If I were Santa, I wouldn't be bringing any toys to this house where I see the kids have so much that they have it all over their floors." And I begin going a little nuts cleaning out stuff. But it is really quite great, because we give away bags of stuff that the kids are "done" with (aka "won't miss") and make room for the new stuff to keep them entertained for the new year. But as I was saying, I worry the kids will associate cleaning with Christmas, which is not all that festive. So, I try to squeeze in fun moments here and there, but sometimes I am just not very attentive to that. I think God knew we needed a "fun Christmas moment" one night when, much against my plan of cleaning - as it was the 22nd, and my party was to be on the 24th, and I needed the 23rd to cook - the doorbell rang and there stood my wonderful cleaning lady, her daughter and her 2 grandchildren. They had a gift in hand, which was so thoughtful, as I know they have little to nothing above what they need in their home. The daughter had written and framed a lovely poem "inspired by God" for our home. As I began to gather my kids to the front door to meet our visitors, and upon seeing the kids introduce themselves, I asked them to stay for pizza. With much persuading by me, my kids, and my cleaning lady's grandchildren, they all stayed. What a wonderful evening! Instead of scrubbing floors, I was forced to sit on the sofa in front of the fire with Christmas music in the background and chat with two amazing women, while our kids ran off and played, giggled and just plain got along beautifully. Their family being from Kenya, I learned about how differently they celebrate Christmas. But after this lovely surprise that kept us having a great Christmas season amidst the party preparations, I hope that they decide to add a pizza party at our house to their new Christmas traditions, because it was a welcome surprise and a very welcome blessing. And with all those people in my house on Christmas Eve, I doubt anyone noticed the dust that I didn't have time to take care of. And one last note about that evening - As the kids were leaving that night, Jack yells from the other room, "This was the best night of my life!!! We have to have them come back!" Thank you Jack - you rock. So, the party was fun, and then came the fun evening at my inlaws where the kids have become accustomed to the tradition of me letting them just eat bread and jello and soda for dinner. Not that there aren't other foods, but I don;t fight it on Christmas Eve. Then we get the kids to bed, do our thing, and wake 4 hours later to 5 hyper children ready to see if Santa came. We say our usual, "I doubt he came, you guys haven't really been that good." and then we all race downstairs to find that in fact Santa must have seen some good in them because he really overdid it AGAIN. After 20 minutes of ripping paper, squeals, and battery search and rescue, the kids are busy playing with their new stuff. My hubby and I never get the chance to exchange gifts, because it takes us so long to help them open all the stuff they got that are basically padlocked into the boxes like Fort knox. But we don't care because Charlie gives us the best gift of all - HE SLEEPS THROUGH THE WHOLE CHRISTMAS MASS! Bingo - Merry Christmas to me and my husband. We have a lovely Christmas mass experience and get to grin back and forth at each other over our kids' heads and really "mean it." Then it is off to my parents for party #3! At one point there were 18 children sitting on Nana's floor waiting for Papa to call their name. I think it was a success because no one was trampled, and I recall no crying! I do however recall my crazy boy, Charlie, sitting perfectly angelically waiting with sweet little hands raised for his gifts. Turns out he had strep throat - no wonder he was so docile. I should have been tipped off when he fell asleep at church. All in all though - a beautiful Christmas Holiday with Family. Also: Charlie and I were sharing a pretzel today at my son, Jack's, basketball game and Charlie said this to me, "You're taking all the cheese in your mouth! You're taking too much!" I can not help but laugh at him when he says these sorts of things. He is so explicit, so thorough in his attempts to relay messages to us. I think it surprises us because he is our first child to speak so clearly and so completely at such a young age. While our other children at 2 and a half years old would say, "Uppy, Uppy!" When they wanted us to hold them, Charlie says, "I want you to hold me up and walk around. I want you to pick me up high and walk around!" At bedtime instead of just crying and fussing in his bedroom, he says, "Jack, I want to lay in your bed with you! Please Jacky, Please Scotty! Let me lay in your bed with you!" None of us can handle it - he ends up getting what he wants because we are so enthralled, moved, or just plain amazed at his ability to tell us exactly what he wants. (Plus he has these huge brown eyes that he bats at us.) Next: Tonight we went to Our Lady of the Snows Shrine to take a carriage ride through the lights, ride and feed the animals, see the puppet show etc and have dinner. We had such a great time. But the best was watching Charlie and Ben. They were absolutely amazed with everything, As we were going through the lights, Ben kept sort of leaping up off the seat and exclaiming, "Look mom! Look at that!" and it would be about something that seemed quite simple to me, but to a five-yr-old who may just barely remember doing this last year, it was all new and wonderful. The puppets in the hilariously awful puppet show that we HAVE to see every year (it just wouldn't be the same if we missed it) really got Charlie excited. First he was afraid of the idea of them, then when they came out, he wanted to go behind the curtain and get them, then he decided to leave the puppet show. But all the while he was laughing, smiling, chatting with the folks behind us, just having a really great time. The best part about all the fun stuff Charlie does these days is that the big kids love it just as much as me and their dad do. They laugh at him, they are amazed by him and they are delighted by him constantly. They are almost always on his side. They are all constantly showing me something Charlie did or telling me something Charlie said. But right now Charlie is losing it in his bedroom because he does not want to go to bed. I, my husband, and each of my big boys have tried to woo him to bed by lying with him, reading to him, playing with him and more, and none of it is working. I think he knows. He knows he can work us and he is working it hard tonight....

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Date with Jack

I got to enjoy a nice evening prayer service and choir concert that my son Jack performed in. He and about 9 other kids singing beautiful Advent carols. It was absolutely lovely. After that there was reconciliation service, which my 9 year old's eagerness to participate in inspired me to partake also, which I had not done in a while. This was all very nice and made for a good evening, but the best part came after. Jack and I headed out for tacos. The conversation went like this: Jack: Mom, which animal would you rather be stuck in the middle of the ocean with? A Great White shark or the hugest eel ever? Me: Ooooo, I think the eel. Jack: Mom, seriously that is not smart. You could hide under a shark's body, his eyes couldn't see you because of where they are on his head. But an eel? An eel could wrap around your body and then eat your face off. Mom: I think a shark could smell you though. Jack: So could an eel and plus they are so ugly and you hate eels. Mom: True. I really hate eels. I don't know. Jack: how about this, would you rather have a snake for a pet or an eel? Mom: Eel. Because it couldn't escape and kill me. Jack: what if it was not a poisonous snake? And the conversation went on like this for seriously like an hour or so! Really fun to get to just shoot the shi# with Jack. He's a fun guy.

The Duct tape wallet

Scotty is hilarious. He gets so excited about things. My husband would say that he gets that from me, and I actually quite agree that if it is genetic, it comes from me, not his dad. I mean I get pretty giddy about stuff, and I'm always wondering why my husband isn't hopping up and down too, or screeching a bit. Anyway, I digress. Scotty gets excited about things. And the last couple days the excitement has stemmed from the idea of... a duct tape wallet! He decided that he wanted to make a duct tape wallet for his brother Jack for Christmas. Then I found out the library was having a duct tape craft afternoon that included making a wallet, so of course I signed him up. When I told him this you would think I just told him that we were going to Disney World. He said I was the greatest mom ever, and he was gasping for breath because of his excitement. Such a funny guy. So he comes home with a wallet made of duct tape that is quite cool, a bracelet for his sister and a pen with a rose on the end for me. And he was VERY proud. He even put 5 bucks in the wallet for Jack! What a nice little guy.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Why am I so stuck on finding my kids the perfect Christmas pajamas? I get them pajamas every year to wear to bed on Christmas Eve. I have this vision; Elaina in a white nightgown and the boys in red men's button down pjs. I have Elaina's covered, but the red pjs are illuding me. I know the boys could likely care less what color their pjs are, but since in my perfect Norman Rockwell vision they are wearing red, I really want to find them. I think this desire for the perfect pjs stems from a need to feel in control of something at this time of year. All the Christmas fun and shopping and hustle and bustle makes everything feel like it is going so quickly and so out of control. All the colors, all the craziness, while fun, can be a little...well, crazy. If I can get my kids to all match perfectly and look like a little picturesque Christmas vision on Christmas Eve, then for some reason maybe it will help my own mind settle and sit back and relax and enjoy the vision and the day. I will be tricked into thinking I have some control over my household. Because I am sure everything else about that day is going to be pretty crazy : )

What I say

I say some weird things throughout the day. Today: -No, no you may not put a leash on your brother. No, you may not. -Nope. You cannot set anything on fire. No, put the lighter away, and do NOT light anything on fire. -No, the dog does not want to be on a leash in the house. No, do not put that leash on him in the house. -Get your tongue off of the floor. Quit licking the floor. -Get your body out of the refridgerator. I'm surprised you fit in there. Get out of there. and the classic... -Get your hands out of your pants.

Monday, December 13, 2010


He is listening to headphones while doing his homework. What might you expect an 11 yr old boy to be listening to? Some hard rock? Some rap? Not my 11 yr old. He is listening to the They Might Be Giants Science CD. And he keeps singing out loud, and saying things like, "I wish you could hear this song, mom." and "Did you know the sun is not a gas, liquid or solid?" and "Isn't it funny that when I was little I thought that lava was not liquid?" And at the same time he is working on his science vocabulary note cards. He keeps drumming the air and raising the roof...he cracks me up.


Why am I such a psycho about my kids' hair? I love hair. I love long hair, short hair, full hair, silky hair, curly hair and straight hair. But what I HATE is a bad haircut. Seems like a trivial thing to worry about in such a crazy world, but when you count on a cute looking kid to keep you from grounding them for life or worse, you have to keep them - and their hair - looking cute. For instance - when Charlie came to me this morning with hair fiber (a very sticky, putty-like hair gel substance) all over him and then showed me how he put fiber all over the back of the toilet, the counter, the floor, etc, his cute little face and big eyes, and yes, adorable hair framing his little quivering lip, kept me from going a little crazy. However when he then showed me the toothpaste mess in the upstairs bathroom, complete with toothpaste all over himself, the counters, cabinets, rug etc, I was not quite as calm. This was before the cute haircut....after the haircut, who knows??? Also, my 11 yr old counts on his haircut to compliment his physique. My 9 yr old counts on his haircut to help him portray his rockstar attitude. My 7 yr old sees the whole haircutting experience as just that - a whole experience. She treats it like going to the spa, or getting a pedicure. She requests her hair to be washed, not just sprayed down. She wants it styled. And she uses all these little words and intonations when talking to the hairstylist just as I would when I am talking to my stylist. She loves the whole experience, and if I can make her happy with a simple haircut, then why not? Never mind the fact that she has medium long straight hair that I could trim myself for free. So, 5 kids haircuts at Fantastic Sams today - $85 5 kids who no longer look like ragamuffins - Priceless.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Date with Charlie

My husband took the 4 oldest kids out for the evening. So, Charlie and I had a date night in. First, we took a bubble bath. Charlie loved this and I learned some fun things about Charlie during the bath. Charlie does not like the taste of bubbles. However Charlie will taste bubbles more than once. Charlie calls private parts "tudus." Then Charlie insisted on my giving him a foot massage. He got lotion and handed it to me and said, "Put massa." Finally I realized what he was asking for. Charlie is ticklish and loved his foot massage. Then Charlie wanted to give me a foot massage, however that pretty much entailed him slopping lotion all over me and then saying, "done." Then I talked Charlie into watching Christmas movies in my bed and having cookies. Was not a hard sell. However, I think I will be sleeping in cookie crumbs for quite a while. Small price to pay though for such a great date.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Recital

Tonight was the big piano/guitar/singing recital. I could not be prouder of my big boys! They have been working hard on their pieces and performed fabulously! What a great skill they are working on - to practice something and work toward a goal, and then to finally be able to stand in front of others and show what you have learned. I remember being in recitals as a child. I was always soooooo nervous. My hands would be freezing and sweaty at the same time. I would worry a ton about how I would do. My kids are not like this as they wait for their turn in the recital. Jack jokes around, Scotty reads a book. They just go about their business, and when it is their turn they bound up onto the stage and do their thing. Jack even sings solos and sings along with his guitar pieces. Tonight Scotty played Amazing grace, and Jack played Rockin Around the Christmas Tree on the piano, played and sang Every Rose Has Its Thorn on the guitar, and Sang a solo - Mary Did You Know as I played backup. They made me so proud. It is great to see Scotty progress, and it is really wonderful to have something to do with Jack besides fight! I hope they stick with their musical instruments. It is such a great creative outlet to know.

The Rosary

We have kids in Catholic and Public Schools. Let me tell you a wonderful thing about the Catholic school 3 of my kids are in. We met at church, the whole school and a bunch of the parents, all the teachers, and led by the principal and then the students, said the rosary for a little boy in my daughter's 1st grade class who underwent brain surgery today. The power of the kids' voices in sustained prayer together was quite moving. The Kindergarteners began to sing the Hail Mary for the last decade, and of course there was not a dry eye among the moms in the back of church. There is just something about a church full of children singing, especially in prayer, that sure seems that it should count for a lot. I saw Elaina and Jack on their way out of church, and they were delighted to see that we had been there praying with them. Last night Elaina decided she wanted to go to a second mass (she had already gone that morning) to pray for her friend. God Bless Elaina's friend, and God Bless all those praying for him.

Within an hour

Yesterday within an hour Charlie made a mess of: -milk -yogurt -water -toothpaste And I slipped in the yogurt.

Kids' massage

I hurt my back so I have to stay off of my computer as much as possible (because it kills to sit at the computer) so I have to keep this short and sweet. Yesterday when my kids knew my back was hurting Elaina says to me, "Mom, come here." And she make a shoulder rub hand motion in the air, signaling for me to sit in front of her so she can rub my shoulders. So adorable, so I sit in front of her. And she is amazingly good! While her little soft hands aren't doing any deep tissue manipulation, there is something about her massaging me that for the time that she is doing it, I feel great. At that same moment my Charlie climbs onto my lap to kiss me till I feel better. Jack walks up behind Charlie and starts massaging his back, and then Ben somehow gets into the mix and is kissing on me, massaging on me too. I had 4 kids all somehow touching me, massaging me, laughing and kissing on me at once and it was quite sweet. I did not feel overwhelmed by the commotion. Rather, I think it helped, for the time being. So, since the Chiropractor, massage therapist, orthopedist and drugs have not yet relieved my back pain, I may have to just start using "kid therapy" as often as possible. Who would have thought?

Monday, December 6, 2010


Evenings M-F This week in my family of 7: Tutoring Pampered Chef Party Swim lesson Purse Party OT Server Training Choir Practice Piano Recital Karate Basketball Practice Would love to slow this week down a bit, but then I would be yelling at the kids about watching tv and playing video games - at least these things seem more productive...? It is a fine line.

Christmas Lists

Charlie wants a potty chair from Santa this year. You ask him what Santa is going to bring him and he says, "A potty chair!" He made this one up all on his own. I did not instigate it at all. Scotty would like mostly video games and video game related items. Jack wants an electric guitar. And hermit crabs. And a lego set. Elaina does not mention much. Ben wants a Hex bug set. Little vibrating robot bugs that run around in a maze. And legos. When I was a child, Santa always came through. And I usually liked the stuff I didn't ask for even more than the stuff I did. Santa just has such great ideas ; )

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The 5th

"Are you content with 5?" I get this question, or a version of it, sometimes not so polite, pretty often. Content? Content? How about ecstatic? I got to have 5 children! And they are cool. I mean really cool people. My 2 year old tonight explained to me for 3 minutes and 46 seconds (I was videoing-it was dark or I would post it) about snowmen and snowballs and getting hit in the head with snowballs, and he had this terribly excited voice and face the whole time. He has seen Frosty the Snowman, the cartoon, but there is no way he actually recalls snow. He was a year and a half the last time it snowed. However, in his "snow monologue" he mentions our inflatable snowman who stands proudly on our front lawn, and I say excitedly, "Do you think that is Frosty!?" And his expression turns very serious and he looks me in the eyes and says, "No. I didn't make him." In his brain he is probably thinking, "what is wrong with my mother? She thinks that nylon guy out there is a real snowman! Crazy woman." I do really wish I knew what they were thinking. Or maybe I couldn't handle knowing actually. Tonight I tried to sing a little Christmas lullaby for Charlie before bed and he kept putting his hand over my mouth and saying "NO!" ouch. But even with him shooting down my song, I am ecstatic to have that 5th. And he calls my name as I type...its like 1am...I've learned to wait...they...usually...fall...back...asleep. As long as they aren't crying a lot. Yep. He's back out : )

Friday, December 3, 2010

I am thankful

Thankful for my naive daughter: I worked a Daisies meeting the other day and I could not be more thankful that my daughter sat at the end of the table with the innocent, naive girls as opposed to the end of the table where the girls thought that they themselves ran the show. And again in Ballet class when 2 girls began to talk about their boyfriends (they are all 6-7) and others began singing the k-i-s-s-i-n-g song in a very snotty, not cute, tone of voice at one of the other little girls, and my daughter just stared at them like they were crazy, I was thankful. When it becomes a challenge to feel thankful is when that same little girl doesn't know a good comeback herself when being teased, and I just wish that at that moment she could summon the rudeness to tell off her peers. But deep down I am still thankful that is not the case. Thankful for my courageous son: He sang a solo in front of one stranger, the choir instructor no less, with pink cheeks and ruffled hair, all alone in a quiet choir room with no accompaniment but his fumbling mother on the piano. When it is a challenge to be thankful is when I worry that he will fail and even with all his bravery, get hurt. Thankful for my patient son: Never getting angry when I put him off endlessly from doing what he would like to do - make playdough, watch Christmas movies, make a craft. And when we finally get to what he wants to do, he is happy and kind and easy. Thankful for my Easy son: Does his own homework without help and has since the first day of kindergarten. And this makes time for the kiddos that need more attention at homework time. The same son has a great sense of self confidence and can handle what his 6th grade peers throw at him with ease because he knows he is above them. Thankful for my funny son: Never a dull moment. Can't help but laugh at him when when he is trying to take off and on his own clothing and gets stuck, discovers his body parts all over again, laughs at everything, and is 100% distractable - which is a GREAT thing right now. And thankful for my husband who knows me better than I know myself. I never understood that statement until I had been married to him for oh.....10 yrs or so I'd say.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Making Playdough

Ben brought home the playdough sack from school. That meant that it was our turn to make some playdough. Firstly, Ben is so patient. He brings the bag home on monday or maybe it was even friday, but I don't discover the bag until monday afternoon. He goes to school M-W-F. So the plan was to make the playdough together so he could take it back to school on wednesday. Well, because of his siblings' activities- Occupational Therapy, Math Tutoring, Swim lessons, and me helping his siblings with their homework, and piano recital practice, and singing recital practice, and reading practice, and myself and their dad being at meetings for all of tuesday evening - the playdough did not get made by wednesday. Patient Ben did not complain. So finally last night when everyone else was getting ready for bed, and Ben was stalling his bedtime by hanging in the kitchen with me while I worked on my computer, I think of the playdough. M: "Oh, Ben, we have to make your playdough!" B: "Oh, good, everyone else can go to bed and I will stay up and make playdough with mom." (I could see the sparkle of thrill in his eyes. So I think, I have to make this fun and good and a thrilling experience for him.) So, we begin to make the playdough on the stove with him adding the ingredients one at a time. I only had whole wheat flour, so the playdough was becoming a tan color. He begins to add food coloring to make it "red." It turns a gross shade of pinkish orange because of the whole wheat flour. Sweet Ben doesn't complain, but he decides to add some blue to make it purple. It turns a gross shade of dark grayish purple. Smart Ben decides if you can't beat them join them and wants to add green and just make it brown. It turns a disgusting shade of greenish, purplish brownish gray. He does not complain. I tell him it is the color of a dinosaur. He says, "Yes! Because dinosaurs looked like that!" And he is thrilled. Love that kid, and his great attitude. Also don't want to forget: -Last evening Ben picked up a piece of Sweet and Sour chicken without sauce - basically a chicken nugget - and said, "You know, this is actually good. It is good to try new foods."


I spent the whole day working on photobooks for my kids for Christmas. I make them for them every year. They really like them. It is nice. But I think I need to rethink my logic. Charlie spent the whole day watching cartoons so I could work on their photobooks. Admittedly, I am having bad back pain right now, so I could not have been giving him horsie back rides anyway, but some legos or SOMETHING! Sheesh. I'm going to try to find a faster way to get them made I think. And next year...well I'm thinking these may start being birthday gifts, then I only have to make them one at a time! Its genius. Also I don't want to forget: -Charlie keeps asking me to put him in the oven. Is he cold? We keep our house quite warm in the winter I believe - 73. Strange boy. -Spontaneous singing broke out at our dinner table this evening. Sometimes I put a stop to the dinner table singing, but tonight when Elaina started singing "this little light of mine" and we all just started joining in one at a time until we were a whole choir, well it was fabulous! -Ben also started just singing away a song he learned at school about Mary Jesus and Joseph. He had the cutest little grin on his face and his cheeks were flushed pink - he is less of a stage hog than jack.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Shoe

Jack comes to the car with a drawing he did in art class at school. It is a fabulous drawing of his shoe. Really well done. I'm very impressed and trying to remember if at 9 yrs old I could draw like that, and I think the answer is "no." So he tosses the 11x17 sheet of paper up in front of my face as he gets into the car and says, "I don"t think this is very good." (Begging for compliments, which is not at all necessary because like I said, it is a very well done drawing) I decide not to play into his little game though and I say, "Really, why?" He says, "Oh, I don't know, its a little dark." I say "Actually I believe it is quite a good drawing, and I know that you must also believe it is a good drawing, so why all the dramatics to beg for compliments, it isn't necessary." He gets a funny look on his face and then begins to tell me, "Well, ya, I did feel a little like Hanna Montanna with all those kids gathered around my desk while I was drawing it. They kept saying how good it was, and how they couldn't believe I could do that. And my art teacher told me it was really good too. And I told everyone that my mom teaches me art and that you EXpired me, so you better feel good about that after all I went through." Ok, what does that even mean? I mean, yes I get that he meant to say "INspired, not EXpired" and I hope he didn't tell his class that I teach him his grammar too, but why is he threatening me to feel good about his praise of me "after all I went through"....what? after all you went through having to enjoy attention and get complimented by every kid in your class, or "after all you went through" having to say out loud that it was your mom's inspiration that made you great? I have a hard time getting him sometimes. But I will say this, I'm so happy to have a little budding artist to mentor! He and I need things to connect on, and Art and Music may be those things. So, I bought these awesome frames and framed some of the kids' artwork for the basement, and when Jack came into the room and saw his framed shoe, his excitement was all over his face and lips as he started saying how cool that it was and calling his brother in to see it. Glad I could make him so happy, since right after that he wanted to kill me for making him rewrite 6 sentences for homework that were unreadable. Oh, Jack, life is a roller coaster with you, my little pal.