Wednesday, December 31, 2008


There's lots of excitement in the house right now. First of all, it's New Years Eve and we are having friends over. Ever ready for a party, my kids have given this thing a life of it's own. Where I was planning dinner, conversation and sending the kids upstairs to play while the grownups played cards (or something), they are sure we need balloons!! and streamers!! and party favors!

I am trying to clean the house amid being asked "Is it time to blow up the balloons yet? Are you making the cookies now? How many people are we inviting!" It's cute as can be and at the same time kind of making me feel like my head is going to explode!

I love the enthusiasm, but dudes, I'm only one Momma!

The other excitement is centered around our upcoming vacation. Granted, I'm really anxious to go too. Against my true procrastinating nature I have already started packing. The kids want to help though, which would be fine if they would do what I asked them to. "Put these things in the orange suitcase." However, they have their own ideas, mostly revolving around taking things OUT of the luggage and moving it around. OR packing stuff that I might not necessarily want to bring on a 7 day cruise (piles of toys, anyone?)

ANYWAY, lots of fun around here. I just have to keep up with the requests and billions of things to do. Mario Kart is to the rescue for now, so I'm off to scrub the kitchen floor. Such a glamorous life! And I love it!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Almost Two

As I'm sure I've mentioned on this blog a time or twenty, Benjamin, my baby is almost two years old. He's smart and happy and cute. He's mischievous and gets into trouble. Right now he has a bruise on his cheek, another on his forehead, and yet another on his chin. The cheek and forehead came when he tried to ride his Choo Choo ride on toy down.the.stairs. (I've tried the baby gate approach, but he climbs over it.) The chin was last night when he was climbing out of his brother's bed and bumped it on the way down.

Ben climbs onto the bathroom sink and turns on the water. When I rush to go get him down he looks at me like "what???" and says "teeeeeeth" and shows me his toothbrush.

Ben is in a toddler bed far before Mommy was ready (last kid should stay in the crib til their 3 at least I figured) because he wouldn't stay in the bed anyway, so we thought at least in a big boy bed he wouldn't harm himself. Although he never got hurt climbing out of the crib, but I knew the day would come.

Ben has been escaping into the garage for quite some time now. He's been able to open doors since we moved into this house. We tried door handle locks, but he just broke through them, so we started locking the door leading to the garage. Today, he unlocked that door. This is terrifying to me.

Ben has decided it is time to go pee pee in the potty. He's not potty trained by any stretch, but at every diaper change, and other random times, he'll announce "PEE PEE" and run to the little potty chair. He actually does pee, which is pretty amazing in my book.

I know I am still that mom that gushes over every little thing her baby does. It's probably annoying. You'd think after 3 other kids going through the same stages that I would be less amazed by every little thing. Somehow, it's every bit as incredible the fourth time around.

Ben in Washington DC in May (I think) of 2007, only a few months old.

Ben on Thanksgiving entertaining everyone.

Last night "reading" when he should have been sleeping.

Monday, December 29, 2008

After the Big Day

Many years, after the opening of gifts and general chaos that Christmas morning brings, I am sometimes let down because the kids don't always get excited about the stuff Santa brought and you know, Santa works hard to get Christmas just right. This year I think we, I mean he did very well! This is one of the games the boys got, and we had quite a fun time playing yesterday. Please excuse the piles of laundry that haven't been put away, as well as any other clutter. And my hair, please excuse my hair.

Part of what I love about this game is almost everyone can play. The easy level (colors only) is perfect for Zack, while the harder levels are a bit more fun for the boys... Even though Zack was playing on his own team every time his turn was over he'd run away crying and say "I NEBAH get a turn!!!!" He's a funny guy!

Poor Mark got stuck on my team. Kevin & Eric won almost every round. We did manage one victory towards the end. Before that he was pretty sure the ONLY way he'd EVER win would be to ditch Momma and get on Daddy's team. Whatever little dude!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Day was really great. Hectic, but great. Slightly stressful because Ben was on a "Mine" rampage declaring everything he saw his. It was quite ridiculous and irritating. Once he took a nap life was better! Who took my baaaaaaaaaaby and gave me this almost 2 year old? I'm just kidding of course, I love this age! Although I could live without the tantrums and the screaming.

I took the few days after Christmas to relax. I've partially reclaimed the house, but I still have work to do. Christmas is messy! Once I get that done it's time to start packing. And packing. And packing. Generally, my going on vacation philosophy is to pack minimally. Granted, travelling with four kids even minimal packing produces a.lot.of.crap. My theory is, there's a Target or a Walmart everywhere. There are washing machines at people's houses if I need them and if we're in a hotel there are laundromats. For this trip my typicala packing methods won't suffice. I have to remember everything. I have to have enough clothes for 6 people for 7 days (not forgetting extras for messes). Enough diapers for Ben for 7 days. Enough STUFF to get us through. There won't be a Target, and although I'm sure the cruise ship will have a place to buy forgotten items, I likely won't be up for paying the price. So, I must remember everything. One week from today we are setting sail! I'm soooo excited! Seven days of no cooking, cleaning or other household work. I just can't wait!!!

Contest Winner

The winner of the "How many ornaments will be broken before Christmas" contest is Fazzey! She guessed that 7 ornaments would be broken and that was the magic number. I have to confess I thought it would be more like 17, but everyone was right and the kids (ahem Ben) finally got over the obsession with the tree. Next year will be even better!

Fazzey, :) email me your address baileylifewithboys @ and I will send you your prize!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

We Wish You A...

From my family to yours! Have a great one!

**Card designed by Tiffany

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Before I Forget It

Delivering goodies to the neighbors.

Children run exuberantly to the house!! "Hello," says the neighbor!

Eric: Merry Christmas!
Mark: Yeah! Merry Christmas! We made these treats!!!
Zack: (running in circles) Happy Holidays tooooooooo! (he's the MOST excited.)
Ben: (lifting up his foot) Shooooooeeeee!

So, Ben doesn't quite get what all the fuss is about, but he does want to add to the conversation. And he really, really loves shoes.

School Vacation DayTwo... Much Less Eventful

Yesterday was mostly one of those boring days that I crave. We cleaned up, went to the playground, we baked some goodies and the kids played like crazy. I decided at the last minute that I did want to bake some goodies for our neighbors.

Brownies, Gingersnaps & Biscotti

I really thought the boys would want to help and I was ready to let them, but instead they played, and fought, but mostly just played. It was just too easy.

I still have to wrap every single present. Kevin still has to put together the kitchen we Santa got the kids. I never got the capes for my kids made, although I may still do that today. Either that or I'll finish them in the next little bit and just give them to them.

Busy as it will be I am excited. It's a good kind of busy.

Happy Christmas Eve!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

School Vacation Day One: The Pickle Jar

Yesterday was going pretty well. We got up and did our usual morning routine at a slightly slower pace, and then went to the gym. Things were going great! Not much fighting, I was feeling pretty calm about the things that weren't going well (and this is really the key, I've learned) and I started to think about lunch. Mark wanted pb & j, Eric a cheese sandwich. They have to want opposite things every single choice, but I was okay with it. Grilled cheese and pb & j it is! Everyone is happy. Then they started talking sides and they wanted pickles. We had just bought a huge, ginormous jar of pickles at Sams so I got it out and put it on the counter. I opened the fridge and got some leftovers out for me, and cheese for the grilled cheese. I turned around and before I could put the stuff down...

CRASH!! Glass breaking, Zack crying. Zack was bleeding so I went into crisis mode. I cleaned him up and upon seeing his finger thought he'd need stitches. I also thought I'm no doctor and maybe I'm wrong. I hoped for the latter, but started gearing up for a long afternoon in the ER.

Thank goodness for friends! I called my friend to see if she could come sit with the boys. To be honest I was first going to ask her if she could come tell me if I was overreacting or not, but then the amount of blood coming from his finger told me I needed medical help.Thank goodness for Mark, who when I shouted "Someone bring me the first aid kit!" ran and got it right away. Thank goodness for my neighbor who came over until my friend could get here. Which was seriously 5 minutes, but I couldn't think about anything except getting out that door and to a place that could help my buddy.

My older kids were on my not so nice list (watch out, it's not too late to call Santa!) as I walked out the door and they were both in tears because I wouldn't let them eat the pickles that were on the floor, amidst glass and Zack's blood. I left with one behind the couch, and the other in a puddle of tears. About PICKLES!! Nevermind the fact that their brother was going to get stitches. Clearly we need to work on compassion and not being total selfish little brats. I usually don't call my kids names ESPECIALLY on the blog, but Selfish Little Brats fits nicely in this case.

Long story short (and it was a looooooong time in the ER) he now has 3 stitches in his middle finger and some dermabond on his other hand. He'll be all better soon.

So, first day of Christmas Break... survived. But not by much. We'll see what day 2 brings. Hopefully lots of quiet, peace and loving sweet children who play for hours without fighting. Hey, I can dream.

Monday, December 22, 2008


3 days til Christmas... are you ready? I can say that I totally am. Except for wrapping... and planning our Christmas day meal. But other than that READY! I'm super excited.

10 days until New Years Day! How is that even possible? A whole other year gone. It's unbelievable.

13 days until our vacation. A much needed one by everyone too. I'm not even close to ready for this, but boy I am READY. I need the downtime.

Now I'm off to try to stay sane on the first day of the kids break from school. Wish me luck!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Join Me in the Deep South

I'm at Deep South Moms today... talking about the Holiday Party.

Friday, December 19, 2008


I've been trying recently to do a little better in some homemaking areas. We recently got a wheat grinder attachment to my kitchenaid mixer, also the pasta attachment. Just because it sounds cool to make your own pasta and stuff.

My first few attempts at totally homemade were learning experiences. That's the positive spin. The reality is my first try at bread was a total flop. My first attempt making pasta, a dismal failure. So, trying not to just say forget the whole thing & give it all up, I tried making flour tortillas. Half fresh ground wheat flour, half regular flour, rolled the dough myself, and cooked them and they were edible! Whew! Excited about finally having success, I tried this recipe last night.

This is just the spaetzle after being cooked, but before adding the cheese & cooked onions. It was so good! If you want to make these I will tell you the batter started out way too thin, so I added a full cup of flour (1/2 whole wheat, 1/2 all purpose) and it worked better. The dough was still too sticky to go through the pasta extruder, but I pushed it through my potatoe ricer to make the noodles.

So, two successes, and I plan to try bread and the pasta maker again very soon....

Also, I'm working toward getting my house ORGANIZED so that cleanliness will be easier... I'll be posting more on that later I'm sure.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Life is pretty crazy this time of year even without things like hurt feet and projects that should take hours that end up taking days. I finally got the neice and nephew gifts mailed though. They aren't perfectly crafted, but I think they are cute.

Just popping on real quick while I eat lunch... pierogies...mmm... They had them at Sams. Pasta! Potatoes! Cheese! LOW FAT!! I had to laugh... Your selling me on the fact that these are low fat, but talk about carb overload. Yes, I bought them anyway and yes they are delicious (ahem, and low fat!)

Anyway, I went back to the podiatrist and he said the joint just has a little arthritis and gave me some orthotics to put in my shoes. This is sort of a nightmare given that I usually wear cute little sandal type shoes and go barefoot a lot of the time at home. Apparently no longer as my feet need the extra support. Yes, I'm rolling my eyes, but I will play along because I don't want this situation to get worse. Otherwise, my pain is almost completely gone. YAY.

There is only 1! more day of school until Christmas Winter Vacation and I am thinking of ways to stay sane. I've lacked patience lately (that's putting it mildly) and I need to obtain some somewhere. Quickly!

Anyway, writing has been somewhat difficult lately. Not sure if it's just the time crunch of the holidays, or my general funk I've been in, but I hope to be back soon posting daily and in a better mood. :)

In the meantime I have a zillion chores to do and my pierogies are eaten, so I'm off!

7 days til Christmas!!! Are you ready?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Life Without Cell Phones

A while back Kevin's cell phone mysteriously disappeared. We're thinking Ben. Anyhow, we haven't replaced it because he's probably getting one through work anyway, so we've been holding off. It hasn't been too horribly inconvenient (for me anyway!) We've managed. I know it's been annoying for him because he uses his cell for work quite frequently, both for calls and email.

This morning was the first time I had the thought HOW ON EARTH DID PEOPLE FUNCTION WITHOUT CELL PHONES?!?!

I had just dropped the boys off at school and was walking in the door when I got a call from a number I did not recognize. It was one of the guys that works for Kevin. He said "I don't want to alarm you, but have you heard from Kevin?" I knew this must mean he wasn't yet at work. I looked at the clock. 8:42. He had left the house at 7:00. It generally takes 45 minutes to an hour to get to his office in morning traffic. I told him there might just be traffic trouble, and asked him to please call if Kevin got in.

My head spun. What could I do if something had happened. I was pretty limited in my course of action. At 8:44 I got a second phone call. After talking to Kevin's boss, who lives near us and drives the same route, they learned the traffic was in fact really horrible this morning. I was less worried, but still concerned. Traffic jams could cause horrendous accidents right? How long until I would know. At 8:46 I got a call from Kevin. He was safe and sound in his office. In his words "I'm neither dead nor in a ditch, traffic just sucked."

I can't help but think I would have been spared 4 minutes (it sure felt longer) of panic if he had just had his cell phone. How many years did that take off my life?

Monday, December 15, 2008

One of the Things I've Been Working On...

Aprons... kid size & doll size. I had a rather fun time with hot pink with green polka dots in this house where pink isn't all that common...

More projects are nearing completion (hopefully tonight) and I will post pictures when they are done!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Another Conversation...Sort of...

Me: Ben why aren't you in bed...

Ben: Hehe (crawls into my lap)

Me: (cradling him- singing) Twinkle twinkle...

Him: NO

Me: Little Star

Him: Go WAY!

Me: How I wonder what you are.

Him: No, go way!

Me: Up above the world so high.

Like a diamond in the sky.

Him: Di- ma, sky.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


Him: I tricked you mom! Because I'm sneaky.
Me: Mmmmhmmm you sure are...
Him: And smart, and clever.
Me: You sure are. And ornery...
Him: Don't forget cute.
Me: (laughing) you certainly are Mark.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Sew Busy

I've been busy lately sewing my heart out. I decided to make things for my nieces and nephew this year and it's been so fun. Unfortunately, my crafty inspiration didn't hit until December 1st. If I'd have started a month ago I'd be done. My goal is to get everything shipped by Monday. Pictures to come of all my craftiness (things haven't gone perfectly, but I think my sewing skills are improving. It's all turning out cute!) I think I'm well on my way to getting done in time... barring any mistakes or disasters. I might be finished already if not for having 2 days that I couldn't use my foot.

Other things I have to do is find a dress for Kevin's company party. I thought I had one but I tried it on again last night and I think I kind of hate it... So shopping is on the agenda sometime in the next few days. Plus I haven't even STARTED Christmas cards... And I have a Cub Scout leaders meeting thingie tonight and 10 more things I'm probably forgetting.

Tis the season, right? At least our Christmas shopping is (mostly) done.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Update on ornament contest - no ornaments were broken yesterday - I was shocked. If you haven't already entered go here to guess the total # of ornaments that will be broken by Christmas Day. Guess the closest and win a prize!
So, not to be a total whiner, but this post is whiny... Fair warning.

I went to the podiatrist yesterday for my foot. Which was feeling much better, but I decided to go in so that I could ask why I get these random injuries for no real good reason. Plus, it still hurt to walk, just not as badly as the days before.

More x-rays.

Turns out that I do not, in fact have a stress fracture. Instead, it's some joint pain thing caused by my chronic ankle twisting in my younger days. Also, he said there were some cysts on the bone which I guess is possibly a sign of arthritis (dude, that word is SCARY at 31) but he wasn't concerned about that as they were few in number & tiny.

Anyway, he recommended a cortisone shot in the joint that is hurting and mentioned that it might hurt worse for a few days and then get much better.

So, long complain-y story short, I've gone from walking with pain, to walking on crutches. I can't even drive. Can I tell you chasing after 2 toddlers on crutches is HARD? (The older guys don't require much chasing and are being awesome to help me out right now. However they are now at school so it's all me with Zack and crazy man Ben.

Some notes about walking with crutches.

1. I'm much better at it than last time I had to use them. I guess that time in the gym has made me a little stronger.

2. It really sucks when you can bear no weight on a foot and your lovely children KEEP stealing your crutches to use them as fishing poles, and or weapons. Then when you need to do something like go to the bathroom and there is no crutch to be found anywhere so you are left to hop into the other room.

3. Stairs. I haven't attempted them because I'm fairly confident I will die. However, this will make naptime somewhat of a dilemma, so I'm totally hoping to be miraculously able to walk unassisted by around 12:00 or so.

4. Mark calls crutches "crunches" which I find totally adorable.

I hear on good authority that these cortisone injections are awesome to relieve pain. They better be because so far I'm thinking they are pretty evil. Notwithstanding the pain they are causing now it hurt like crazy going in and I am thinking this better be WORTH it.

One more funny thing in all this. Mark suggested I just get a wheelchair. Made me laugh, but definitely excessive. Although I'm thinking maybe I can scoot around in this computer chair a little for those times my crutches mysteriously disappear.

The time frame for the pain is supposed to be 1 -2 days so hopefully by noonish tomorrow I'll feel lots better. I'm glad it's a short lived thing because I'm pretty sure my friends and family couldn't handle my incessant griping much longer.

Monday, December 8, 2008


I've decided to have a contest!

Here's the deal. Guess how many ornaments are going to get broken before Christmas. The lower part of the tree is not decorated, so far 3 have been shattered. I'm hoping that's all as I'm watching the kids closely so they don't mess with the tree, but I'm pretty sure that there will be more. They are quick! And by they, I mostly mean Ben. So enter your guess and if you are the closest to the actual number of total ornaments broken, you win a prize! (Prize to be determined.)

On the topic of contests... I ran across a contest today for a Leapster Didj on a blog called Smiling Mom... Go enter if you are interested!

Oh and enter my contest by leaving a comment on this post! How many ornaments will be broken? 3? 10? 17? Your guess is as good as mine.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

It's The Most Wonderful Time...

I love Christmas time. I love the hustle and bustle of the shopping (even though we just did a lot of shopping for gifts we have to ship on Amazon) and the spirit of the season, and the coolER weather (I can't stand cold, but winter in FL is just perfect!)

Yesterday we decorated our house for Christmas. It was fun and now it's a "winter wonderland" according to Mark.

Working hard.

Excuse the van in way, our garage is full of a project to be blogged about later.

Being SILLY!

This palm tree looks better in real life. I get such a kick out of decorating palm trees at Christmas!

Our inside Christmas Tree. I feel like it needs some more color, but we'll work on that. Any bets on how many ornaments will be left by the big day?

I'm keeping track of broken ornaments to the left.

Friday, December 5, 2008

When You Can't Walk, Write

Okay, I exaggerate, I can walk but it hurts. Apparently I have a stress fracture and am being sent to a podiatrist. Such fun!

It's less than 3 weeks til Christmas, I have basically not started my shopping and walking hurts. Niiiice. Anyway, don't know how I hurt my foot, but clearly it is hurt.

So today I've sat around a fair bit and wrote a bit for Deep South Moms. It's still hard to think about that day, but I have been wanting to write more about it for a while now. Go check it out!

On My Shopping List

On my shopping list for today:

Toilet seat locks - it seems Ben has discovered what the toilet is for, however still likes to paddle in it. Ew. I've had other kids that liked to play in the potty, but I could just shut the door. He opens the door, and if I put a gate up he climbs it.

Something to make it so Ben can't turn on the water faucets. He climbs on the toilet and then on the counter and turns on the water. I have nightmares of him flooding the bathroom while I sleep. I only say this because when I woke up this morning with him on the bathroom counter and the water running. Luckily I got there before any messes were made or kids drowned, but I don't think I'll always be so lucky. Anyone know if this kind of child proof device exists? They are just the regular round handles.

Looking into getting the "Mark detector" back out and re-dubbing it the "Ben detector."

Flashback... Mark's always been an early riser. When he and Eric were 2 and 3 and Zack was just a wee little baby Mark used to like to play "camping." Unfortunately this entailed taking the contents of the fridge outside into their little play fort. We finally did get a lock for our sliding door that was way up high so they could not get out, but Mark found more mischief to get into. True to personality, Eric was happy to participate, but also happy to announce "It was Mark's idea." Finally, I decided the root of the problem was when he woke up he never came and got me, so I would wake up when the craziness escalated past an acceptable point. So Kevin made a little alarm for Mark's door. It went off as soon as he left his room, so I could get up and keep both eyes on the boys. I think it's time to revisit this technique.

I'm off to take boys to school and then to the doctor to find out what is wrong with my foot. I don't remember hurting it but it HURTS.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Do They Know Something I Don't??

Yesterday in the mail I got a package from Pampers. I don't use Pampers, but it caught my eye because there was a pregnant lady on the front and titles like "Hospital Checklist for Dads" and "Life Inside the Womb." And when I opened it up.... there was a teeny tiny diaper. Size Newborn. So tiny, and so cute, and I can't imagine how my four big boys ever fit in them. Yet they did.

So I sat there contemplating how my diaper days are soon to be over (well, soon in a year or so, but still...) and we are almost done with the crib, my breastfeeding days are long gone.

I'm left wondering how Pampers got me on their list to send out the newborn stuff too. They must not have gotten the memo that my baby making days are over. They thought... hey isn't it past time for her to have another one... we must have missed the announcement.

Or maybe they know something I don't.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


We played a lot of cards while my parents were in town. A LOT of cards. We stayed up too late and some things I noticed while playing are...

Everyone is happy when they are winning. Mostly we can stay friendly when we are losing. Unless we get a hand like this..

How he plays cards without sorting them I'll never know.

Then things start to get a little tense sometimes. Another thing that makes card players cranky is when a seemingly good hand goes bad... or when there just isn't one single thing you can do to pull back from behind. I said it many times through out the week, and I'll say it here. Cards can bring out the worst in people.

Another really crappy hand is above. If you've never played Spades, the idea is to bid how many "tricks" you can win by playing the highest card. If you are out of a suit, you can play a spade and that "trumps" the other cards and wins the trick. Anyway, another way to wrack up the points is to bid zero, or "nil" and get 100 points if you don't take any. That's why having a bunch of low crap and the ace of spades is pretty crappy.

And then there is this beautiful practically perfect nil hand and I didn't make it. And that made me pretty MAD. Like I said, cards bring out the worst in people. Well, at least me. I generally try to hide my competitive nature but sometimes it just shows through.

Losing 6 times in a row (over two days) is NOT fun... however a sudden death match due to a tie is quite fun. Even if you lose.

Which we did. Still, when is there ever a tie? I've been playing cards since I was 12, and I've never seen it.

We didn't lose every single game. The first night we won 3 for 3. The last night dad and I hit a winning streak and things were a little happier for me. It was those middle nights that had me being cranky and irritable.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Things They Say

My dad told Mark he could be anything he wanted when he grew up... even President. This sparked a whole lot of conversations about Vice President selection, and other important things. Apparently, when Mark is President of the United States I will be Vice President. And then he asked me "but mom, when we are president and vice president, who will watch all the kids?" Because apparently he is the only one who is going to grow up in the next 30 years.

Ben is starting to say people's names. He says Granny (Grrraaa, but I count it), Poppy, Daddy, Mommy, Mark (Mar), and when I ask him to say Ben he says "meeeee."
These are only two of the things that have made me laugh this morning.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Something to Do in FL for Free

If you are ever in the Tampa Bay area in the winter time, you should check out Tampa Electric's Manatee Viewing Center. It's free (they take donations) and pretty awesome! I wasn't sure what to expect and stayed away last year because of the whole power plant part... but they do a really good job of making you forget that is where you are. The power of nature sweeps you away. Apparently in the winter, the manatees congregate here to keep warm from the warm water discharged into the bay from the power plant. I guess it's safe for them and all that.

Aren't these the cutest little fish?

If you look closeley you can see tons of manatees right under the surface.
There were also several varieties of Rays.

Also seen but not photographed... A leaping Tarpon. It was impressive. There were also some leaping rays and a shark but that wasn't photograph-able either. Nonetheless, very very cool.
But my favorite part of the trip. Children enthralled with nature. And power. It was an awesome day.

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