Thursday, April 28, 2011

What a Gig!

Ok, truth be told here....I am having so much fun with the rock band music! Admittedly it can be a little frustrating at times during the band practice, but I have spent the majority of my morning figuring out the chords on my piano to I Fought the Law and the Law Won, and a couple other songs, and listening to music and well it is just something I enjoy messing around with. Before you know it I will be trying to get my own part in the actual band. Having kids is so cool, because if I didn't have kids, then it would have been a bit odd for me to be using time to figure out music, and it would be considered a waste of time for me to be designing on my computer (we now have a great Ghost Monkeys logo). Without children there is tons of fun stuff I would be missing out on - going down slides at the park, swinging on swings, blowing bubbles, playing with legos, and now the music fun.....all these things would be considered a waste of time, or would look pretty weird doing them without kids, but with them, I get to be considered as a great active mom - what a GIG!

Needing Mom

"Mom, I had a bad dream. I didn't have a mom. You weren't anywhere. Now I can't get it out of my head. Can I just sit  here by you?"  I remember having nightmares like this as a child. I woke up sick to my stomach. Now my own 10 yr old is coming to me with trembling lip reminding me of those days. So we talked about how blessed he is to have such a wonderful extended family to watch over him if something ever did happen to his mom, but that it was very unlikely. And we put on some jovial music to put us in a better mood. Still, throughout the morning he walked up to me for hugs, and comfort until I dropped him at school.

"Mom, I'm twying to cuggle you. I need to cuggle you." Said Charlie as he snuggled up to me on my bed last night. Cuggle is his own word he made up meaning rub his cheek against my cheek and close his eyes and be just as adorable as humanly possible. 

"Mom, are you ready to look at the 17 new Pokemon cards I made up on the computer. I need to show you them before I go to bed." Said Scotty last evening after having "worked" on his computer all evening.

Sometimes I complain about being needed so much, but a lot of times it is pretty endearing. 

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Mom, Where's Charlie? Mom, Where's Charlie? I heard this little chant numerous times throughout the birthday party that my 5 and 2.5 yr old went to together today. It was one of those fun bouncing parties, lots of blow-ups, slides and fun in a big open room. The party was for a friend of mine's son, and the child guests were all strangers to each other. (I would like to quickly note how speedily these kiddos became friends - children are amazing that way. Running around together after just a quick introduction) Still, the kids were all just parallel playing for the most part. So, in this situation who became Ben, my five yr old's go-to buddy? His brother, Charlie. It was quite a nice moment to witness. I hope all the time that I am helping foster friendships between  my children. I even stress about it a bit. But today they gave me a fabulous gift of friendship - to each other.

On our way home from the party I called my husband to tell him the nice situation between our sons that had come about between our young sons, but before I could begin my story, my husband began his. "The boys (Scotty and Jack - 12 and 10) decided they wanted to ride their bikes downtown to get lunch together, but it was raining. They went anyway. They got cheeseburgers. Jack didn't have enough money, so Scotty lent him some." Well now I was just overflowing with more joy! My big boys are friends too!

And as I type this my big boys are fighting as they are helping me make sweet potatoes for Easter. Ahhhhhh, brotherhood.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Band practice on 3 hours sleep

This was not a good idea. I had to stay up late last night - into the morning to finish working on some photos for a client. Meeting this morning was at 7:30am. Kids woke me at 6:45 anyway though.  Spent the morning (after the meeting) creating logo designs for the Ghost Monkeys. Then Took a run with Elaina as she rode her bike. It was the fastest 3 miles I know that I have ever run in my life. Chasing your daughter on her bike is great motivation to run faster! I'm never quite sure she has the wherewithal to stop in time at the intersections, or slow herself down going down the hills. So I like to stay close. Today, that meant running super fast and getting super muddy because it had rained, and if you have ever run behind a bike as it rolled right through the puddles, you can imagine what I looked like at the end of this exercise.  After the run/bike I crashed on the sofa watching 2 shows totaling 45 minutes.  Then I headed to the music store to acquire the band microphones and all that goes with microphones for a 10 yr old's band. Heads up to anyone considering this - it will not cost under $140.  But we needed microphones. So, I headed to my neighbor's with all the band equipment and began the challenge of setting it all up, connecting to all the amplifiers, tuning all the guitars. Try to imagine tuning an instrument of a child who has not practiced his guitar enough to know it is out of tune while someone is "tuning" his drums, someone else is "tuning up" on his bass, and a 3rd person is also messing around on his out of tune bass guitar. Oh, and imagine trying to keep patience while doing this after having had 3.5 hours of sleep. Ya, it wasn't happening. I threatened both of my sons during band practice today. I write this not to dwell on something negative, for as I said, I want to keep my blog while real, not whiny. But I think it should be noted that things which are important to us, cause us the most grief at times. We care about them, so we stress about them, want them to be the best they can be...and yes I am talking about the Ghost Monkeys! I think these Ghost Monkeys have potential. Potential for good music, potential for real learning, potential for real friendships, and also potential for some real fun. It is for this reason, because I care, that I get frustrated when it now and then gets a little off. And also for the reason that I had no sleep. The good news is this; all are excited about the logo and t-shirt design, and in the end the boys were playing music together, in rhythm, and pretty much in tune ; ) 

There was a study done that's findings were apparently that couples without children are "happier" than couples with children. If this study was done with the idea that to be happy means less stress, less work, less tiredness...then yup, I guess they are  happier. But if happiness means to have someone in your life so important to you that they are worth the stress, work and exhaustion, than I strongly disagree with the study. When we work for something it means so much more to us, brings us so much more happiness than when it comes easily. Yes children are work - and worth working for.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Purge

Spring Cleaning always feels good. Get rid of some stuff, gain some space, and have just a general sense of peace...for a moment at least. It has taken me almost a full week to clean out my desk area and Art room area. I don't think all people would have taken this long. I am starting to understand fully why elderly need so much help purging before they move into assisted living apartments or nursing homes. It isn't that they need so much of the physical help, as it is that they need someone to make them get rid of things, leave things behind. We can't take it all with us. Just as when I am cleaning out my desk, I can not keep every single little piece of paper my kids have drawn or scribbled on. But each scribble marks a time in space that is so precious. For instance, all of Ben's drawings of people right  now have enormous shoulders. It is absolutely adorable. Every person he draws looks like a linebacker and I love it. I can't watch the paper fall into the waste basket. Some day when I am old and I have to move, someone else will have to throw these pieces of paper away. For now though I have developed a system. The drawings, the scribbled "i luv mom" -s, the yarn with beads strung on it by 3 year old hand, it all goes into a bin, at night I empty the bin and move the precious items I cannot part with into a file, and when the file is full, the favorites go into a bin under the bed. That gives me at least 3 looks at the pieces of time before they are hidden away. My second trick is this; I take pictures of the stuff. I cannot save the igloo made of sugar cubes forever, for both space and hygiene reasons. And the poster with all the seeds stuck to it is now missing most of the seeds anyway. The student of the week posters get to hang in their rooms until they are done with them....but then I take pictures. The pictures will go into their photo albums, and poof, I have suspended time for a bit longer! So, like I said, any other person would not have taken a week to clean out my desk area and Art room; but any other person would not have spent half of that time rereading every love note, pouring over every drawing, and tearing up looking at every class picture. But that's because any other person isn't their mom.

Also I don't want to forget:
-Charlie spent the day with me yesterday as I reorganized the basement storage area and he cracked me up the whole time. He talked non-stop about how "the air goes through the pipes and blows into our house." He told me about how "the water pipes get the water from when it rains and floods and then pour water through pipes into our house and bathtub."

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Ghost Monkeys

We have a name! The rock band will be called Ghost Monkeys. I like it. So, the Ghost Monkeys were raring to go tonight. LOTS of energy. They are doing great though, and have not kicked me out as their manager as of yet. It could be because they practice in my basement, but also perhaps they realize they need someone to harness their energy into some semblance of order. The Ghost Monkeys enjoy playing music together, but concentrate their focus hardest when trying to figure out how to land on their knees while still hitting the right notes at the end of the song. I mean a lot of time was put into this. They tried starting on their knees. One of them tried to begin in the lying down position and stand now and then. It was when I realized my own son was not even touching the strings of his guitar for most of the song, though that I reined them all in. I mean, if I am going to manage a band, they are going to play well.  So, the next step is to purchase some microphones and let t he wailing begin. Well, they have already begun wailing, but you just could barely hear them. Soon, the voices will filter through an amp....perhaps we need to move this band to the garage...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Drink This Cup

Elaina read at mass this morning. Just one little petition, but you would have thought from the commotion of my husband and I getting there and getting a sitter for Charlie, and making sure she looked adorable, and making sure she was ready to read the petition correctly, that she was addressing the nation. She did a wonderful job saying, "For all those who have died, let us pray to the Lord." I teared up, we silently clapped our hands and beamed over toward her as she took her seat and searched the crowd for our faces, which were found to be beaming and crying.

Because my daughter was reading today, and because that meant I made sure to have no distracting toddler with me, I was actually able to pay attention to the mass. Not only did I get to listen undistracted to the homily, but I was able to pay attention to the most important part of the mass, the Eucharist. Now, I have done mass at least once a week, usually more, for the majority of my life. So, why was it that today was the day that I heard something different. Why was it that today when the priest said, "Take this cup and drink it...." did I hear something more than I usually do? I usually hear it and think, Jesus wanted us to share in this experience with Him, bring Him into our lives, into our bodies so we can be like Him. But today I heard, "Take this cup." As in, "Share in my sacrifice." As in "Take this cup from Me and bear some of the burden." As in. "Take the cup away from someone else and drink it yourself." So, today, when I began to complain mostly internally and a little outwardly to my husband about the normal chaos of our busy lives with lots of kids and schedules and laundry and dishes etc.., I had to stop short, apologize and regroup. This is a small cup. This is nothing. This is not even a shot glass of burden. Every day we are given tiny drops of burden, droplets of tasks that we don't feel like drinking. Today I was told to drink them up. They are what makes us full. Every drop is just a part of life, a very full life worth drinking, even when it isn't the easiest. Until today I had not realized that I have barely let the cup touch my lips.

Also I don't want to forget:
-Elaina said, "Mom, you're going to have to wipe me off after I eat this. Some people in my class may be allergic to my face. (She was eating peanut butter)

-Elaina said, "Mom, are you going to park this baby in the lot and walk me across the street, or what?"
(She apparently thinks the rental car we are driving this week is quite cool)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

More Honey...

Daddy found Charlie (2.5) up on the counter drinking honey out of the bottle as if it were a baby bottle. Upon being caught, he just smiles and says, "Mmmm, this is good."

Me: Charlie, daddy told me he found you on the counter drinking honey out of the bottle.

Charlie: Well, that wasn't my fault.

Me: Well, why not?

Charlie: I was firsty!


Me: (jokingly nibbling on his shirt) "mmmm."

Charlie: Hey, stop eating my shirt!

Me: Well, I'm hungry, and it tastes pretty good.

Charlie: (licks his arm of his shirt with his tongue) No, it tastes yucky!

Me: Really, well, what should I eat?

Charlie: Lunch! Lunch is upstairs. (Its 9pm)

Me: Really, where?

Charlie: In the fridge!

Me: Well, what's in there?

Charlie: (shrugging his hands and shoulders) Um, Sgetti?

Me: What else?

Charlie: Umm.....I can't think...

Me: Can I just eat your shirt?

Charlie: No!

Me: Are you afraid of me eating it and you will be naked?

Charlie: (whips off his shirt) I'll just take it off and be like Jack.

Sometimes I just like starting weird conversations with them to see what they will say. They Never let me down : )))

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Teeball Uniform

At the end of the practice there are 15 5-yr-olds lined up at the back of an SUV waiting for the Holy Grail. Well it might as well have been. It was Teeball practice and it was time to get their uniforms. Within minutes I have an adorable 5-yr-old looking up at me with the biggest brown eyes and the biggest smile I have ever seen. Seconds later he is whipping his shirt off in the parking lot and changing into his new uniform. He puts his hat on and can't stop saying, "Isn't this cool? Look at my uniform! I got my own uniform!" I responded as excitedly as possible. I tried to echo his enthusiasm as best I could. But nothing could have beat the next 15 minutes...

We leave his practice to go pick up his oldest brother, Scotty.
Ben: (with a sly look on his face) "Scotty, notice anything different about me?!"
Scotty: (after just a beat) "Ahhhh, is THAT your new uniform for teeball?!"
Ben: "Yep! Isn't it cool!?"
Scotty: "Yes Ben! I LOVE it! It is soooo cool, you look awesome! Wow I can't wait to come see you play in it!"
Ben: "You can come to my game, mom says the whole FAMILY can come!"
Me: "um, actually, your first game is at the same time as Scotty's lacrosse."
Scotty: (absolutely serious and genuine) "Are you serious mom? Gosh darn it, I really wanted to watch his game! I am so sorry Ben, I am going to come to a bunch of other ones though."
Ben: (beaming) "Ok, thanks Scotty! I can't wait!"

Scotty might just be an actual angel. And Ben wore his new "Tigers" uniform hat to school and wore it all day.

Also I don't want to forget:
-Charlie took off his shoes in the back seat and started looking at his toes and saying, "Mommy, my toes are broken - this one, and this one...they have a crack." (as he pointed to the cracks at the knuckles of his toes).
-Charlie kept calling his Gatorade an Alligator today.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Piano Bench

The phone call went like this:

Scotty: Mom, me and Jack have a dilemma. I was trying to practice piano and Jack...

Jack: (in the background) No I didn't! I wasn't doing anything! That's not what happened....

Me: I can't understand what you're saying, can you guys figure this out on your own please?

Scotty: Yes! You did, Stop it! Get off me....

Me: click.

Scotty: (calls me back, sniffling) Mom

Scott: Mom, no, I have to tell you something....jack jumped on the bench with me, and we were sort of fighting over it..

Jack: No I didn't!!!

Scott: and the piano bench leg broke and the bench crushed and fell to the ground.

Me: silence.

Scott: mom, mom, um, mom are you there?

Me: is anyone hurt?

Scott: just the piano bench.

Me: I'll see you both when I get home.
Punishment needs to fit the crime and solve the problem so... Lucky for them, the bench is fixable. However I am making them pay to have it fixed -whether it is their dad or Mr. Fix it who ends up doing the fixing. I'm thinking 3 hours of work - $25 an hour = $75. And Scotty and Jack were saving up for some camps this they realize these punishments punish us as much or more than them???

However, I AM torn between being angry about the bench and thrilled that they were fighting over who would practice first

Friday, April 1, 2011

1st Jam Session

I would say quite a success! Without a massive amount of work, the boys were soon playing 2 short (edited) Rock songs together. We had boys wearing black "blues bros" hats, boys wearing sunglasses in the house, guitar pick necklaces. They were excited about the music, excited about naming the band - Either 'Beat Boys' or 'Not Mommas' Boys' - jury is still out. I like the latter. They were even excited about the bottled water I got just for the band. Break time included pizza while watching some excerpts of School of Rock. Then it was back to some practicing. Oh and there was also time for just some general listening to rock music from one of their cds I handed out with a playlist of easy well-known classic rock songs. They were tired by parent pick-up time, but all are excited : ) If I can figure out how to add a video on here and I can get rights from the parents to post, I may just have to share a video of this at some point. A great thing I witnessed; Jack would walk up to Scotty on the keyboard and say, "here play a G chord over and over" and then he would walk up to the drummer and say, "play this beat over and over" then he would walk up to one of the guitarists and say "you play that thing you were just playing over and over" and then he would play something along with it.....and while it wasn't perfect, it wasn't half bad! And I loved seeing him have the confidence to take charge and try things that way. It will be a little difficult for me to not take over too much and at the same time help them get a real song played each session. But so happy it went well! And I bet I get kudos for this from Jack! Win Win!