Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Beautiful

Wow. Just wow. There is a topic on the message board I am a part of entitled "Do You Think You Are Beautiful?" I expected a mix of yeses and nos but never did I dream some of the explanations would just make me want to cry. Some answered "yes" and I smiled at the stories of their moms and dads and husbands who told them how beautiful they were and built the self image that was accurate and deserved. We discussed the meaning of the word "beautiful" and recognized we weren't talking supermodel, but we were talking about physical beauty. It was acknowledged that beauty is more than skin deep and it takes the whole package to make one truly beautiful, but this discussion was pertaining to body image more than inner beauty. It may sound shallow, but it really wasn't. I avoided the topic altogether for awhile, because I just didn't know how to answer. Yes seemed extreme, I think I look fine. I'd like to lose some more weight, but I think my self image is pretty good. But beautiful? Maybe a little extreme. I didn't want to answer no though and there were no choices in the middle. I had to get involved in the discussion when several of the ladies were answering no and remembering people who "teased" them about their looks and told them mean spirited things that I won't repeat here because I just don't feel comfortable telling "their" stories even if no one would ever know who they are. People who are supposed to love them and whose job it is/was to build them up and not tear them down. Who has the right to tell somebody they are not beautiful? How does one get to the place at which they feel it is their place to tell somebody they care about things that only serve a purpose of destruction? I have been one of the fortunate ones. My parents told me I was beautiful and they meant it. My husband tells me that too, on a regular basis. I haven't always believed them, especially not after gaining some weight over the years. I am proud to say that I am gaining some confidence back in this area. I just feel so sad for the mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters who have had this confidence stripped away from them by the words of others. How dare they?

I don't have any daughters, so I have to think about what I can do to help the problem of what women see when they look in the mirror. The only thing I can think of is to teach my sons to use words to help and not harm. Not just in this case, but always. I was made painfully aware during this discussion that words do major damage and it is long lasting, still hurting years after they were said.

I feel the need to say one more time that I know that physical beauty is not the most important thing. I know that inner beauty is much more enduring and it's what matters. But I also believe that there is beauty in everyone, and I do mean physical beauty. No, we aren't all Cindy Crawford. But I want every woman in the world to be able to look in the mirror and smile at what she sees, to feel comfortable in her own skin, and to have that taken away is just tragic. I am sad for these girls and angry for them at the people who made them feel this way. For what it's worth, I think they are beautiful, and I wish they could see that in themselves.

The State of the Family

1 tired Daddy at work
1 mommy with a sore throat typing a silly blog post
1 6 year old who coughed all night laying on the couch watching cartoons
1 almost 5 year old at preschool
1 2 year old bringing mommy balloons to blow up
1 goopy eyed 14 month old napping

Not such a bad day. Just kind of a lazy one. I need to get up off of the computer to do some chores but I'm just so not motivated today.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Oh My... Part 2

So, where was I? Oh yes, McDonald's to reward terrible behavior. Brilliant parenting, no? Ok, the real reason was that there was NO way I was going home and cooking after that experience. So Happy Meals all around. If only it had made them happy. No luck there. I even let them eat outside on the play fort but somehow even that was not enough to alter the ever increasing crabbiness of my kids. Kevin walked in to Zachary screaming because I wouldn't make his Happy Meal toy sing for him, never mind the fact I had already showed him 1,067 times how to do it. Ben was crying, having finished his dinner. I put him to bed and Kevin dealt with the big boys by sending them to the tub, and tried to help Zack with the whole screaming thing. It didn't work out so well so Zack got sent to bed too. This was all at 6:15. Normal bedtime is at 7. Things seemed to be going fairly well so I headed out to get Ben's other prescription and dinner for Kevin and I. BLISS. Then I got home and Ben and Zack were both screaming their fool heads off and Kevin was trying to help them. The next half hour or so consisted of one or both of us running back upstairs to put somebody back in bed. Eric and Mark were in on the ridiculousness by going into one anothers rooms despite being told A LOT to go.to.bed. Then I did something I've never done (I'm so bad.) I told Kevin if he needed to leave he could. He had, after all, been dealing with this alone for quite some time while I was gone. And I was feeling strangely detached calm considering the screamfest happening upstairs. So, hubby went for a bike ride (I did this last night, 6 ish miles and felt really good after!) and I put Zack back to bed a hundred thousand times and blogged a little ignoring the zillion other things I should be doing.

Now they are asleep and life is good. The end. Until tomorrow which neeeeeds to be better. Please?

Oh My...

I don't know what else to say. Today sucked... Yesterday pretty much did too. After a minor victory of the Pilgrim Costume variety this morning, things pretty much fell apart. Ok, I did go to the gym. Beyond that I did nothing productive. Why? I had a 1 year old clinging to me for dear life who would scream like he was dying every time I thought about putting him down. I had a two year old screaming for various reasons, which more often than not I could not decipher. Day 2 of such behavior, previously explained away as "terrible twos" but now I'm not so sure. And that was all before Mark and Eric got home from school. Mark was immediately upset because 1. Apparently I am M E A N and I don't even have to look at him to provoke his wrath, and 2. I said we couldn't go to the pool today... because we had Eric's 6 year check up and also because I'm not so sure I can handle four kids at the pool by myself. Then we got Eric and they were fighting about everything under the sun in .03 seconds. What on earth could even go wrong in that amount of time? So we got home and waited for time to go to the doctor and I realized that suddenly Ben's eyes were oozing and the bottom lid was red. Can you say Pink Eye? Good grief, what have I really done to deserve this? So I called really quick and begged the pedi to see Ben too which they (blessedly) did without blinking (well, it was over the phone, I don't really know if they blinked but without hesitation and I didn't even have to plead.) Have I mentioned how much I love my pedi's office? No idiot doctors there! So, to be honest, my kids are generally very well behaved in public. Not so much today. In fact, I was mortified. Zack, at one point ran around chasing Mark trying.to.bite.him. Since when does he bite? Several times during the visit I said "YOU, sit here, and you sit here. Don't get up again!!" Trying to keep my cool and be the firm but calm mom that I'd really like to be but so often fall short. Oh yeah, and then there was the holding the six year old who is freakishly strong down while he got his varicella vaccine. We all survived, and I left with drops (samples, thank you very much wonderful doctor who I LOVE!) and hit the McD's drive thru on the way home. You know, to reward the excellent behavior (insert eye roll here.)

To be continued later as the 2 year old is still not staying in his bed.

The Colonial Tea

Doesn't that sound fancy? I thought so. About three weeks ago we got a note home from school "inviting" the students to a colonial tea at the school. Also, it said they should dress up like an early colonist, and there were pictures of colonists in the north and the south. Being the total procrastinator that I am, I put the paper aside, saying "I'll look more at that later." So yesterday I saw the paper sitting there and said "Oh no, what day is it? Did I miss it?" To which Kevin, who apparently still can't read my mind, said "Huh?" I caught him up with the thoughts leading up to my outburst at which time I realized that I had not missed the day, but rather waited til the last minute and now must scrounge up some kind of costume. Have I mentioned I'm not all that crafty? The paper said the costumes could be "simple, made out of paper, or clothing that you have at your house." Super! So, I had already planned to roll up his pants legs, have him wear a white shirt and long socks. Now, I just needed a hat and a belt to make him look all pilgrim-y. Then I went for a bike ride, watched House and completely forgot about Colonial Teas. Luckily (depending on how you look at it) my children insist upon getting up before the sun, so we had plenty of time to craft a hat and a belt. So I was feeling pretty great about it and even remembered to take a picture. Then we headed off to school and saw two kids (same family) decked out in costumes that looked like royalty more than my vision of a colonist. I mean, weren't things pretty tough in the early days. The kids did look awesome and suddenly my pride in my construction paper crafted hat shrunk into, oh my goodness is he going to look silly compared to these real costumes. My panic was short lived as I saw some kids with no costume, lots with just the pants rolled up, and a few with just a pilgrim hat on (where would one find that? I could have sprung for a hat. The fact is, I'm sure that my boy will have fun at his tea just like he is. He was super excited about his costume, and that made my morning!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Running Out of Steam

Ok, so I really didn't get nearly half of what I wanted to done, but I will keep on trucking. I did pretty well considering the 3 PM meltdown of 3 kids at once, none of whom knew exactly what was wrong. So, I'm moderately pleased that I got some stuff done and will continue on with my list later tonight, and tomorrow. Right now I have to make dinner, and start winding down the little boys' day. I am surely ready for their bedtime! It feels good to at least get some of the things done, and as long as I keep at it I'll catch up. Won't I?

Today

Please bear with me because this post is solely for my benefit (I mean, feel free to read it but it's not going to be all that interesting.) I am going to work really hard today and try to clean the whole house. It's been too long since I've really buckled down and cleaned really good in certain places (read playroom and bedrooms.) And true to form, we trashed the place this weekend. So, in my attempt to be more organized and a better housekeeper in general today is the day to get down to business and get.it.done. Can I clean the entire house in one day amid school drop offs, pick ups, and crazy little boy demands? Not to mention the distraction of the computer? It remains to be seen. I've done it before. So, I'm going to post my to do list here and then later cross off what I've done. I'm putting it out there for the whole internet (ok, only those who actually read my blog) in the hopes that it will properly motivate me to just do it. So the list.

Gather Laundry, sort it and keep doing it until it's done.
Dining room - wipe down table, china cabinet, vacuum
Wipe down the front door (finger prints)
Formal LR - vacuum & dust
Kitchen - dishes, countertops, sweep & mop
Family room - pick up toys and various other junk & vacuum, wipe down tables
Master bedroom - pick up and vacuum
Master bath
Hall bath
Playroom
vacuum stairs
strip all beds & launder bedding
Clean Eric's room
Mark's room
Zack's room
Upstairs bathrooms
Spot clean upstairs carpets
Remake beds
Resort & put away clothes the boys dumped out of our winter clothes bins last week

So, that's my list today :) I really don't expect to get it all done, but maybe... and I'll try to come back and update the list a few times today in case you are waiting with baited breath to see how I'm doing. (ha!) So, I'm off to send the bigs off to school so I can get started!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

I Shouldn't Even Say It

But I will. Because, I guess I simply do not learn. Everyone is healthy!! We had such a great day yesterday! Kevin was super tired and slept in, so I got everyone in the car and we went to the gym. It wasn't the usual girls in the Kidz Club, so I got the requisite "OH 4 boys" and "Ohhhh are they all yours?" When will I get used to this stuff? I forgive them though because they took great care of my kiddies while I got on the treadmill. Ahhh the treadmill. Lately I want to run. Because, I don't know, I'm crazy I guess. I never dreamed I'd want to. Probably because as a kid/teenager running brought on asthma attacks so I just didn't. Then when asthma was no longer an issue it would kill my knees. So, now that I'm in a little better shape I thought I'd try it. I've heard and read that it is best to start slow and build up, so I did a 5 minute warmup, 5 minutes of fast walking and then I ran for 5 minutes. Then I finished out my workout with 15 more minutes of moderately quick walking. We'll see how the running goes on my days I don't have a class to go to. Then we went home and hung out for a while and then I took Eric and Mark swimming. They wore their little arm floaties and I was surprised (pleasantly) that they could paddle around the pool with great confidence. It was fun. I played with them in the pool for a little while and then lounged in a chair (while watching them like a hawk of course) while they splashed and giggled and had a blast. It was dreamy. Of course, I managed to get a sunburn because I'm stupid. I was complaining to Kevin, "I put sunblock on, why am I burnt?" and then he asked if I put the sunblock on before or after I put on my little coverup dress. Of course, after... So my shoulders and back were unprotected and after an hour got slightly scorched. This morning, it feels much better though, but I hope not to make that mistake again. Kevin made some nice homemade pizza for dinner and it was awesome!

So we had a fabulous day! I loved playing with my big boys, and we'll definitely all go back to the pool soon. Maybe today! I am so happy everyone is happy and healthy. Now I just hope that the
jinx doesn't come after me...

Saturday, April 26, 2008

A Mark Funny

I was talking to my friend Carol and she said I must blog this Mark funny. A little background. Mark has issues with clothes. He used to strip down naked frequently. Fortunately, he doesn't do that often but he does very often wear his clothes backwards (I usually let him, and I usually get told by a teacher that his pants are backwards.) Another issue, underwear. I catch him very frequently not wearing it. I'm not really sure why. The other day we were getting ready for school and he very seriously tells me "Momma, it's my secret no undies day." So, I guess the boy doesn't understand the meaning of secret. I laughed and sent him to get undies. I do have some standards!

Trouble

I have a new name for Ben. I pick him up from whatever he is doing that is dangerous or aggravating and sing, "My name is trouble, yes my name is Trouble. T-R-O-U-B-L-E." He giggles. But seriously, he is into everything. Case in point:

I Signed up for PPP!

I went into this blogging thing thinking it would just be a fun way to keep in touch with friends and family, and it has definitely been just that! Then I realized there are ways to make a little money at this blogging thing and I'm always game to try to make a little extra fun money. After a little researching online (of course) I found the Pay Per Post website and thought it looked interesting. So, I signed up for it. I have been looking around over there and this is my first opportunity to get paid for a blog post, and let everyone know what I’m up to. I will still be writing about, and sharing pictures of my awesome little buds, but I will also occasionally take an opportunity from Pay Per Post. I really liked this article about blog ethics. I appreciate what it says about not taking opportunities that don't interest me or that I don't know about. I certainly wouldn't want to advertise something I don't really like or know enough about to know if it is a good product or not. I definitely won't be getting rich off of this, but it will be fun to make a little just to help pay for some "extras" like eating out when we should cook, or cool activities for the boys. It sounds kind of fun to me, so I am trying it! If you think it might be interesting check it out!

Friday, April 25, 2008

In Case You Wondered

Mark does not corner the market on making me crazy. I know I gripe about him all the time, and the others less, but I think that is because I really worry about him getting into trouble if we don't quell the major attitude pronto. Of course, he is an angel at school and with every other adult on the planet. He saves his naughtiness for me (and to a lesser extent, his daddy.) Not that I'm complaining about that mind you. I'd much rather he be good at school and bad at home. But, you know if I realllllly had my way, he'd just lose the 'tude and be good all the time.

ANYWAY, that is not the purpose of the post. The point I want to make is they can all be a bit ornery in their own little ways. Let's start at the top. Eric, my sweet first born can be maddeningly "pokey slow." He is so distracted that simple tasks like getting dressed can take forever which is just beyond aggravating when trying to get ready to go somewhere. Getting dressed is a pretty important part of going to school you know. He is pretty inflexible too. That can drive a momma loony as well. Then there's Zack. He's pretty sweet. But he's 2. And he seems to be hitting those "terrible" twos kind of late. Today at preschool he threw a fit when it was time to leave. "NO momma, I stay. I play toys!" And then "LET GO OF ME," When I led him by the hand out the door. He runs away from me too, in places like the street. He's pretty crazy, actually. Ben, what can I say about Ben other than he is exhausting. Busy little bee, that one! Into EVERYTHING and quite vocal about not getting his way. At Story Time today we were doing craft time outside and he kept running for the parking lot. Then later he crawled into the bushes. I had to go in after him. Oh, and he knocked the water cups for rinsing paint brushes over TWICE.

Yes, they all drive me nuts, and yet I type this I can't help but smile. Because they are my boys. I love them so much and I'm so thankful for each one of their quirks and faults. So I can't just stop this post with what drives momma crazy. I need to say what their good traits are too.

Eric is so sweet and compassionate. He really wants to please. He is an awesome reader! And I can reason with him. That is amazing in and of itself! He is shy by nature, but he has overcome that so much this year and has friends at school.


Mark is intuitive. He can sense when you are sad or mad and he tries to help you feel better. He loves to help cook. He loves to fold towels and has even asked me to let him mop. (Which I totally let him!) He doesn't give up once he sets his mind to something.

Zack is a lover. He loves to hug and kiss and cuddle me. He tells me he "wuvs" me. When we pick Mark up from school he runs to Mark to hug him, and sometimes hugs some of the other kids too. He says bye to the teachers helping with drop off at Mark's school. That makes them smile.

Ben is so cute and I haven't quite pinned down all of his personality yet, but he is a happy go lucky kind of guy. When I pick them up after working out at the gym he runs to me with his arms up. He loves to explore and play and climb (which is fun even if it is exhausting.) He sleeps through the night!!!

Yes, they are some amazing kids. I am a lucky mom!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I Think I Got His Number

I may finally have figured out a way to curb Mark's tantrums and fits. I've been thinking at great lengths about what to do for his birthday. I don't really want to invite his whole class because, frankly it didn't work out so well with Eric's party. Then I didn't want E to be sad if Mark had a party and he didn't. But Mark would be devastated if he got no party. So, I was thinking we'd invite his one really good friend that we do stuff with and have him spend the night. I kind of mentioned it to his mom and she said it sounded fun.

So, on to today. Mark has been a true trial the last few days. Really, the last few weeks have been rough. We've been butting heads in a big way all over one basic question. Who's the boss? I'm pretty clear it's me, and he's certain it is him. The only problem here is that my dear, sweet child is wrong. I am the one in charge and I will assert my authority, only lately I feel that my authority is challenged on every.single.issue. He's FOUR! Fine, five in 11 days, but I was not prepared for this kind of attitude problems until the teen years. And I've said it before, he's smart. He's quite good at making me feel inadequate but I'll be damned if I'll let him see that. ANYWAY, so I've struggled at what tactic to use to get him under control.

Just today, I've been told I'm a mean momma, he called me NASTY momma (what? where'd you get that one dude?), I was screamed at to share my pen (um, yea, whatever). He threw a fit about this that and the other thing until I was seriously ready to scream. I might have screamed a few times. And then after being sent to his room one more time I sat him down. I told him my plans for his birthday. He jumped up and down with great enthusiasm! But then I told him to wait and listen to what I had to say next. I explained that boys who throw fits, and call their mommy mean names don't get to have sleepovers. I am fully willing to take this party off the table if need be. I think he knows that. I hate holding this over his head but time out doesn't work, taking away tv, etc doesn't work. Okay, it works until the next time I don't bend to his will. I fear this solution may not always work but tonight was nice. Do you know I didn't have to remind him one time to act nice? Not once did he get mad when he didn't get the exact thing he wanted at the exact moment he wanted. Not.even.once. did he aggravate his brothers. I got his number... for now. Until the sleepover is over. I am afraid in a week and a few days when the fun is all done we may revisit this. Maybe sooner, but I have hope that a quick reminder will spring him back to his wonderful self. He really is a good boy when he's not determined to be miserable. I hope I can keep this up when I don't have a sleepover to hold over his head. I hope.


So Sad

I am really off kilter and sad today. I don't really feel at liberty to share because it's not my story. Sketchy details, a friend in CA is in the hospital due to complications after the birth of her itty bitty baby. Today, she is having blood transfusions, and now surgery. I feel this could have been minimized if her doctors hadn't repeatedly told her her symptoms were normal. I guess not. I hope I haven't said too much.

Another friend suggested we consider giving blood. I've never been a regular blood donor but, you know what, I need to be. I am healthy and there is no reason I shouldn't. It can't help my friend, but it can help someone else in need. If you pray, please do pray for my friend. And if you don't give blood, please consider it.

The Desk: After


Now to keep it this way.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Time to Get Organized Lady!

Ok, so it's clear to anyone who has read this blog that I am a bit of an organizational disaster. My mom knows this and my dad, my poor husband who is organization personified. Somehow, they all manage to love me anyway. I.am.a.mess. It becomes clear to me over and over and again. Just today I wasted so much time looking.for.stamps. Did I find them? No. Oh, and I was just at the store and realized I forgot an ingredient vital for dinner. Wasted time, my friends. So, I know that overnight I'm not going to be Little Miss Orderly, but I am going to work at it. I really have no idea how, but I'm thinking I'll do a Flylady-esque approach so I don't overwhelm my little self. I'm starting with my desk because, um, it's ridiculous.I'm taking a picture to compare right now, no pre-straightening. Don't hate me because I'm messy. I'll post the after picture later. Tips welcome and appreciated.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

You've Got to be Kidding Me

About 4 Zack started acting funny. About 4:10 he started acting insane. Screaming, clinging, totally irrational. Ok, maybe not that unusual for a two year old, but my mommy radar said something was off. After about 20 minutes of maniacal screaming, during which I tried with all my might to figure out what was wrong, he threw up. After having been fine since 10 PM on Friday. What's that about. Unfortunately, he did not stop screaming and suddenly started screaming about having to poop. And since he's had issues on that end, but not more throwing up.

I'm becoming a germophobe. This is ridiculous. We live in FL (I say this as if germs don't live here, ha!), it's SPRING for goodness sake? Why? Woe is me... really, really woe is me. So, yeah, I've pulled out the Purell (which was safely locked away lest anyone try to drink it) and making the kids use it often. And I'm using it after every icky diaper change, which has been quite often. I'm contemplating quitting the gym and pulling the kids out of school to avoid germs altogether. Okay, that last part isn't true but seriously... I'm DONE.


On the plus side... wait, I better not say it... no, I definitely won't say it!

So, I Was a Little Behind on the Laundry



And by a little, I mean a lot. And by a lot I mean, come on people do we actually own this many clothes? Between me being sick, the kids being sick and various other things beyond my control I was very much beyond behind. We managed to get all the extra laundry done that occurs when a stomach bug hits a family of 6 and Kevin did some other laundry to help me out but none of it

got folded. To add to the utterly ridiculous amount of clothes to wash, dry and fold, I brilliantly went through every item of clothing in the house to get out summer stuff and put away too small stuff for the littles. Even though I'm sure I washed these items before putting them back I decided to wash them again anyway *just in case*. So, with no further ado... The mountain of laundry I've folded last night and today. Sitting there innocently waiting to be put away. Or shoved on the floor by some child, whichever comes first.
Oh and isn't Eric cute?

Queen of Random

So, since I'm not really sure what to write about today I'll share with you some random interesting things I've run across today. Kevin says I'm the Queen of Random so it's pretty appropriate for me to be random here (really I do sometimes say things that are out of nowhere. Do I get a crown? I think I need one.)

So, in my email this morning was
this article about what to eat before working out. It was very appropriate as I have struggled a little since changing some eating habits with getting very shaky during my weight training class. I've learned that if I eat a piece of toast with a little peanut butter (protein) I no longer get that shaky, weak feeling.

On a message board I spend way to much time on enjoy, there was a post about a great freebie deal from Pentel. If you have a need for a free Pentel Oil Pastel kit go
here. Can't beat free! Oh, you have to enter promo code SA2008 to get the deal.

And my final, random thought came from a story I heard on the radio on the way home from the gym. Apparently an alligator wandered into someone's house. EEK.. Here's the story. Someone actually got that close to Mr. Gator to take that picture. Um, I'm just going to say I'm happy this didn't happen nearby and I haven't seen "our" alligator since that first time, so maybe he's staying on the other side of the pond these days. I'm telling you if an alligator wandered into my HOUSE, I'm not waiting around for animal control, I'm getting the heck O-U-T. That's just me though.

So, those are my random thoughts for today. Have a great day!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Shoes

Since Ben is walking now I figured he should have some real shoes. He's been wearing the little soft ones for quite a while. So I went through the stash of shoes the other boys have worn that weren't torn to shreds or otherwise unpassdownable.



The verdict? Everyone we've come across has said they are ADORABLE and "Oh Ben's wearing SHOES." I try hard not to add the judgemental "finally" in my mind. Ben's opinion? Well within minutes of being home I took this picture... I think he loves them almost as much as his other shoes and not quite as much as his socks. They came off 3 times between taking Mark to school and getting home. My boy just likes having his feet naked. I can't really say that I blame him.


Conversation from Today

Mark: Who made this beautiful butterfly momma?
Me: Zack made it at story time Friday.
Mark: Zack, your a GENIUS! That looks great.

Following were further declarations of Zack's artistic genius, which quickly dissolved into complaints of why he couldn't go to story time with Zack. It was all I could do not to crack up. I held back though, because Mark was quite serious in his emphatic compliment. I just wish I could convey the tone of his voice in my blog because it was hilarious. Another example of why I think I should have a tape running all the time. Kids really do say some funny stuff!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Power of the Jinx... aka keep your mouth shut when things are going well.

So, when I taught my kids to share I really didn't mean to share nasty, gross, pukey viruses. Especially not with ME. I definitely should have been more clear.

Furthermore, I have fully learned my lesson on things not to say. Here's the rundown. When we are having a run of luck on healthy kids I will not say "Wow, we've been really healthy lately." Then, when they all get either a cold or an ear infection or some variety of illness I will absolutely not say "well, this is not so bad, at least there is no fever and they aren't really that sick." And when they all come down with a fever a few days apart, keeping us home for weeks at a time I definitely won't say to a friend who is going through a stomach virus with all of her six children, "Oh I feel so bad for you. We've really been so lucky with that, we haven't had pukies in about a year." And then I knocked on wood. I KNOCKED ON WOOD people, does that count for nothing? Oh yes, the hope that the pukies would stop at Zack was not enough to stop it from going through our entire family. Mark got it yesterday afternoon, and Eric, Ben and I spent the wee hours of the morning being very, very ill. Thank goodness, Kevin was spared so he could take care of the boys because I was in no condition to do so. However, he thinks it is heading his way. For the record, I blame him for Eric, Ben and me all getting it at the same time since he said earlier yesterday, "well, at least they are getting it one at a time." I bet he won't say that again. The power of the jinx is strong, but I have learned my lesson well, and I won't be saying any of these things again!

Friday, April 18, 2008

My Poor Bubby!

My little friend Zack is sick again. He can't catch a break but unfortunately, it seems he can catch plenty of nasty viruses. So after a great day of story time and playing and being just fine he got sick. We had gotten Mark and I had told them after we get Eric we could play on the playground. So then out of nowhere on the way to get Eric, in his carseat, all over himself he threw up. There was no time to turn around and change clothes. While waiting in line I did undress him and put him in the back in Eric's booster seat and heaven help me I tried to clean the carseat up a little with baby wipes. I would say I hate puke but that is stupid because I think it's a safe bet everyone hates it, but I really have a tough time cleaning up vomit. Again, pretty sure I'm not unique there. But, ewwww. I don't even like typing the word. My poor wittle bubby is now sleeping on the couch because he crashed and burned on me a little bit ago. I feel so awful for him. He's been sick 5 times in 4 hours and my momma heart is breaking.

So the carseat is all washed, and now drying out, the non puking kids are fed and it's almost bedtime. I've almost survived another day of Mommydom.

I have only 2 wishes right now. 1. This stops here and we don't pass it through the entire family, and 2. It passes quickly and this is the end of the sickness in our household for a long long time. Ok, technicallyI guess that's 3 things.

How to Teach a Child to Be Happy?

I have a kid that shall remain nameless, but if you know anything about my family you will know who I mean. Starts with an M ends with a K. Said child is on my lap so I'm mostly not using his name to prevent him from knowing I'm talking about him. Since he's learning to read now too. Yipes.

Anyway, he is smart, very very smart and precocious, and maybe a teensy tinesy bit manipulative. I try not to let this get to me and handle the manipulation (and refuse to be manipulated) but darn it sometimes he gets me. He likes to say words that are forbidden (we're talking about butt, and stupid and other relatively tame words, but the whole reason he loves them is because they are against the rules.) I try to teach him the importance of keeping things clean and he tells me he likes messes and does not like it when the house is clean. He loves being controversial and dramatic. He can throw a tantrum with the best of them. But smart, oh so smart and creative and he thinks on a level that amazes me. Okay, I'm his mother, I'm clearly biased but I do think he's brilliant. He does these "experiments" in which he'll take a cup, put water in it and then something else, for example, the stuff in the bottom of the Frosted Miniwheats cereal box. What would you call that? Shredded wheat crumbs? Anyway, then he'll put the whole mix in the freezer to "see what will happen." I love watching this thought process unfold in him and he really does bring me joy.

However there is this one thing that bothers me. He's never happy. That's not right though because he's a happy kid. What I'm trying to say, I guess, is that he's never satisfied. Ever. Take yesterday for instance, I dropped him at preschool and saw one of his best friends' moms. Spur of the moment, I invited them over after school and they accepted. YAY! I scurried around to ensure the house was clean enough for company , and went to the store to get a special treat for snack time. He was thrilled. Until this play date was over. It was time to get Eric and he didn't WANT to go get Eric, he wanted to play with his friend. We went through this whole mess of him running from me, refusing to go to the van, even going outside to get away from me and declaring with fervor that he was NOT leaving the house. All of course, while his friend's mom watched in awe at how naughty the sweet boy of mine can be. Never mind that his friend had to leave also to go get another child from a different school. Never happy. The whole way to the school he whined, he complained, it wasn't fair. I reminded him that he had a whole hour and a half to play and he had lots of fun, but fun times have to end too. More whining. It wasn't long enough. I asked him if he would like it if we just left him at school because Zack was having to much fun to go to get HIM at preschool. And he said that would be fine with him. I try asking him what he did that was fun today and help him focus on the good s pretty good but he without fail finds something to be disillusioned with.

So, I wonder, how exactly do I teach him to be satisfied with what he has without the unending desire for more? Is it a phase he will outgrow? Is it just one of his many tests to me to see exactly how far backward mommy will bend to please him before she says ENOUGH. Looking for boundaries? What is it? I've wondered and worried and fretted about this for quite some time.

Should I even try to temper it? Or is it possible that this yearning for things to be better and different could serve him well in his adulthood. I don't know. This mommy stuff is a hard business. I just know I could live with less whining and more appreciation.

What do you think?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Zack-isms

I've mentioned that 2 is a fun and frustrating age. Wonderful and terrible all at once. And of course they say some funny things. This morning Eric came into my room alllll upset that he couldn't get on the computer... at six am. Well I told him "buddy, don't wake me up about the computer game. Go back to bed, it's too early." Zack had gotten in my bed a few minutes before and when Eric came back five minutes later he said "NO you wake up my momma, EWIC" in quite a stern voice. Then he laid back down and snuggled with me. I can't laugh because he gets very offended and says "NO you waugh momma, it not hunny." Today, he didn't want to go in the gym because he wanted to stay with his big "brudders" and when I reminded him they were at school he said the meanest thing he can think of "GO WAY, momma." I'm not sure where the go away business came from, but it is what he says when he is cranky and wants to be nasty. Little does he know that it is cute and it IS funny and coming from a two (almost 3) year old not very scary or offensive. I do tell him the standard "that's not nice, use nice words Zack," but inside, I giggle. For the record he did go to the gym and had a grand old time playing in the Kidz Club. Despite saying "nevah" when I told him he was going inside. Yea, that one he got from Mark.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Rookie School Mom

So even though Eric was sick today we did homework. Kindergarten homework is really cute and fun and usually takes all of 10 minutes. This particular homework included the instructions "Make a spinner out of a pencil and a paperclip" and my rookie status was exposed. I asked Eric if he knew how to do it and he looked at me like "are you crazy? That's what you are here for." So I got a paperclip, and his pencil. I looked at it. I seriously couldn't even begin to think of how to create a functional spinner out of the two items. I blame it on the fact that this school thing is still new to me. So upon asking a group of ladies I found out (from the one of the group who happens to be a teacher) that I was supposed to put the pencil through the center of the paperclip and flick the paperclip to spin it. Heh, who knew? Well obviously she did, rookie school mom here had not an inkling. Next time I'll have it!

Today is Better

Okay, thinking back, perhaps I really didn't MEAN I wanted to fast forward through yesterday, I simply wanted to get Zack to let me put him down without screaming. I wanted the baby to take a nap and I wanted everyone else to just be happy.

Today is better . Today Ben has napped and is not fussy. Today Zack doesn't have a fever and is his happy self. Today Eric is still sick, but is so low maintenance. I keep asking if he needs anything and he says no. I ask him how he feels and he says "a little good." What a trooper. Today I mopped the kitchen floor, well part of it. Mark helped because he really really wanted to mop. It's not as if today has been perfect, but my attitude is better and that really does make all the difference.

So much of my frustration yesterday was there were x,y, and z that needed to be done and I just couldn't get to it. Those are the days that I need to let it go. I'm not a perfect housekeeper by any means (really, far from it) but things were really bothering me. It's really hard to do anything while carrying an almost 3 year old. So I fretted and stressed and just got down about it.

Mark is here on my lap whining because he wants pie. I don't really have anything to put in a pie so I told him another day. He told me the only thing that will make him happy is pie. I kind of laughed and was sternly told that it isn't funny. If only he knew how funny he is. Yesterday this would have probably frustrated me further. Why can't he just be satisfied? Must he always whine. Today I realize, he's still just a little kid, of course he's going to act like that.

So, I regret having said I wanted to fast forward to bedtime. I wish I could have lightened up and seen that even though it was hard, it was not all so bad. I wish I would have embraced the cuddle time with my busy busy boy Zack.

So, consider my attitude adjusted and my head back on straight. Enjoy the kids, teach them, love them, everything else will wait. Lesson learned.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Fast Forward?

Huh.... I just wrote a really long post about the kids being sick & fussy and some of them just fussy and me being worn out, defeated and tired (wait that's the same as worn out.) Anyway, it was a decent post (maybe a teensy bit whiny) and Zack was on my lap. That was in there too. Somehow the turkey deleted it and I started typing this only to remember that blogger autosaves entries but it was too late because it has already autosaved THIS nonsense. So basically the gist of the post was that I really want to fast forward to bedtime so I can have some shred of sanity left by the end of the day, and while I'm asking for impossible things could I please have one night with no kids in my bed (since last night I had two kids in my bed.... that was in there too.)

Hmph.

Bed Time

Every night after we bathe kids, get them in jammies, say a prayer, and give hugs and kisses, I walk the boys upstairs and tuck them in. This usually is accompanied by requests for various stuffed animals, a drink, extra hugs and kisses. Usually I tuck Zack in first and by the time I get the others adequately tucked in and kissed he is up again wanting me to tuck him in again. Last night during this ritual (which I confess I often dread) my biggest boy warmed my heart. He hasn't slept with stuffed animals in quite awhile but I noticed he had two of his old time favorites in his bed with him. I smiled thinking that it was kind of cute how he situated them on either side of himself. Then he said "Momma, make sure to tuck in Tall Duck and Zacka Smacka too." I tucked in the boy, the duck, and the elephant. Then as I kissed his cheek he said "Momma, don't forget to give them a kiss too." Yes, I felt silly kissing stuffed animals, but I did it. I love that he still loves his stuffies, and I love that he is so so sweet. It made the whole nighttime routine worth it!

It's funny watching him grow up. He's just turned six. We finally were able to get rid of the pullups at night (like magic on his sixth birthday he started staying dry at night.) He is so big and yet still just a little kid. He loves to read and do big boy things but he still enjoys cuddling with stuffed animals. I love this age.

Monday, April 14, 2008

I Won!!

I've been holding off blogging this until it was posted on http://www.mommasaid.net/ so I could link you to the story. Awhile back I saw a really cool video on one of the blogs I read and went and found the website to check it out. There was a contest and I entered. Later that night (I entered on the deadline day) I got an email saying I had won. Of course, the skeptic in me says maybe I'm the only one who entered, but that is OK! I'm excited to receive Jen Singer's book. I am sure I'll enjoy it! Anyway, go check it out and see what crazy story I won for and enter yourself for the next version of The Housewife Awards!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

That's it I'm Moving!

Ok, not really, but I was so secure in the fact that there were no alligators in our pond out back until tonight. When Kevin said, "Hey! An alligator!" We ran out and looked and took a picture and then I was thinking. Huh, an alligator. I am really not ok with it. Anyway, Kevin got a pretty good look but this is the best picture we got.



Mark asked if we should feed it and besides being a really really really bad idea it's against the law. Not that I would even want to. EEK. Supposedly they won't mess with you if you don't try to get near them and stuff but then I did a little online reading that has me ready to call the screen people tomorrow. Don't worry about me swimming in the pond though. I wouldn't do that even without the alligators.

Reasons I Hate Potty Training

Yes the time has come to potty train Zack. I think he's been ready for months awhile, but momma has NOT been ready. At all. Potty training how do I hate thee... Let me count the ways.

1. Messes on the floor.
2. Having to remember to take him to the potty.
3. Being out in public when he has to go potty.
4. Convincing him to go potty when he's saying "nonono My not WANT to!"
5. Accidents moments after sitting on the potty.
6. Watching him like a hawk for signs he needs to poop.
7. Having to have a supply of treats in the house that call my name "Rebecca, eat me, eat meeeeeee."
8. Pull ups.
9. Past experiences with potty training have been awful!
10. Messes on the floor. Yes it's repeated on purpose.

It's worth it in the end and really, he's not doing too badly. We've had a few accidents but no poop accidents (except once when we were out and in Pull ups) but I just hate potty training. However, he is almost 3 (in July) and I just know that he's ready.

I've never been really good at the sticker chart thing so we aren't doing it that way, and he's not really getting a treat every time. Mostly this is because usually he'll sit down, pee and be done. We are still having the wet undies in between, but so far I'm so laid back it's ridiculous. I've been there and done that on the stressed out version of potty training (poor Eric) and it's not the way to go! One time today he gave me a little trouble (the about My not want to followed by "no I pee in my underwear" and I said I'd give him a treat if he peed and he went RIGHT away. I complied and gave him 3 m&ms since from experience he gets mad if I try to give him only one.

So, are you wondering why I don't love Pull ups? If I so hate messes on the floor, why not use them, right? Well, the problem is I get lazy. If he's in a Pull up I am so much less likely to stalk his every movement watching for signs he needs to use the bathroom, I definitely forget to watch the clock for the time to take him. So he may as well stay in diapers forever if I try that method. Pull ups are great for when we are out and about in these early days (2 to be exact) of the process.

Zack is a trooper and doing a great job so far! I hope it continues to be easy, but am prepared for rocky roads ahead just in case. Hey, once he's trained I'll only have one in diapers! That's been awhile! And then just one more baby boy to train after him. Hmmmm what will I do then?

Yard Work, aka Keeping Ben out of the Street

Last night after dinner we decided to do some yard work. Kevin was trimming the bushes and I was pulling weeds out of the flower beds. You know, so we don't get any letters (we never did get a letter last time so perhaps I overreacted a little. Sorry HOA) Anyway, yard work. I always underestimate how helpful the big boys can be when they want to and if properly motivated. I've mentioned before that Kevin is the master of spin. I'm not kidding he can really convince a child that something they dislike is something they LOVE and make them think it's their idea. It's an art. He's also really good at inventing games that make mundane tasks that are BORING (or Bo-wing if you are Mark) fun! I guess it's the spoon full of sugar factor. An example, we were in GA last November visiting friends and that is where "calling all toys" was invented. We invaded our friends' home with our 4 boys adding to their 3 kids and were doing a quick pickup before bed and the kids were all just kind of standing there watching. So he says OK guys, "calling all toys, all toys to the toy room!" and miraculously they started picking up. So now calling all toys is our nightly drill. They love it. For the record he swears he didn't start it and credits Kydon and Shanna with dreaming it up. I 'm pretty sure it was him, though. Maybe Shanna can clear this up?

ANYWAY, yard work. He was trimming bushes and asked the boys to pick the trimmings up and carry them to the trashcan. He didn't just stop there. Let's play a game! Let's see who can get the most trimmings to the trash can. Eric became "Eric the Super Speedy" and Mark became "Mark the Strong." I don't know why I don't think of these things because it works magically. I don't know if I'm just boring and uncreative or if it's simply that I compartmentalize. Work is work, play is play. I do definitely incorporate his strategies but I just don't think of them on my own.

While the ultimate bush trimming competition was going on I was weeding the flower beds. The grass is encroaching upon the plants and I was brutally yanking it out. I would have been much more successful except my teeny tiny baby (yes I'm still in denial) has this magnetism to the road. He is fascinated and at every opportunity making a dash for it. Fortunately for me, he giggled maniacally every time he headed that direction. I'd hop up from my spot in the grass and run to catch him before he made it to the street. He ate a little dirt, sucked on a few rocks, and had a really fun time. There are still some weeds in the flower bed but my baby boy is in one piece, and that's what matters.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Oh Yea, I'm Smart

One thing about myself that I've just kind of had to come to terms with is the fact that I do things that are just ridiculously, and irritatingly stupid. OK, stupid sounds harsh. I don't consider myself stupid but sometimes I do something and roll my eyes and mutter "stupid, stupid, stupid." See this post for a great example. Then this one for the follow up. Sometimes I really think my brain just isn't firing on all it's cylinders so to speak. Some call it mommy brain and I do attribute some of it to that, but the fact is I've always been just a teeeeeeensy bit flaky when it comes to paying attention to what I'm doing.

Last night I made dinner for the boys but I was really wanting Mexican food. What I really wanted was food from
Ted's but 1200 miles is a little extreme for dinner. Thought about Chipotle but didn't even want to drive 1/2 an hour, Don Pablos sounded good but that's 20 minutes away. So we decided to try this little place down the road (total mistake should have just gone to Chipotle) and as I generally do when I'm in the car I called a friend. I haven't talked to this friend in quite awhile as she just reentered the working world as a teacher's assistant in Arkansas. We got to talking and I passed my turn so I did a uturn and kept gabbing and gabbing about the kids, her new job, her friends in Arkansas and the next thing I knew I passed the turn AGAIN and had gotten back to my neighborhood. I was trying to go to a place 2 miles away. It was OK, because it's always fun to talk to an old friend, especially this one. But come on? Twice! Twice I missed the turn that is hard to miss at a major intersection and a red light. Yea, I'm smart!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Behavior

Yesterday stunk. It was just one of those days that nothing worked, nobody was happy and everybody decided to melt down on me at the same time for no particular reason. Whew. I survived it and put them all to bed at 6:30. Yep, I'm a mean momma, but I had HAD it and it was the best thing for all of us. I'm fairly certain that the meltdowns were due to exhaustion anyway, so what else was there to do?

How can one day be so completely different from the next when things are otherwise the same? For example, Wednesday Eric and Mark were BEST friends. I let them slide down the stairs in their sleeping bags (Mark has named this activity "nap sliding"). They had fun, and everyone was happy. For the whole day they played together and just acted nice. No one was called names, no one was whining. And I felt like for once maybe I was getting this parenting thing right. Since we haven't been able to do much for Spring Break due to sick kids I was trying to let them do some things that were fun and Mark had the idea to have a sleepover in his room with Eric. I let them even though I am normally a stickler for bedtime. Refer to my first sentences to see why I am usually a stickler for bedtime. My kids just need a lot of sleep. They were out like little lights by 8:30 and yet it made for a tough day on Thursday. They were no longer best friends, in fact they didn't like each other one bit. Maybe I jinxed it by saying how nice they were the day before. Maybe they were really just tired but at 5 PM I was so close to blowing a gasket it wasn't funny. I kept doing that deep breath and count to ten thing. I was also saying "two more hours and they go to bed, two more hours, two" in my head. They had eaten because Ben was crying and crying and I had tried everything else so I got him a little food and then everyone else was suddenly starving at 4:30. Dinner was in the crockpot so I said FINE you can eat. I thought it would calm the wild beasties, but to my dismay only one of my children ate anything resembling a reasonable dinner. This is interesting since moments before they were starving. Ben finished what he was going to eat (he had avocado, cheese and some bread on his tray) and started screaming. He had only eaten his cheese so I tried to get him to have some avocado, no. Tried to get him to eat his bread, more screaming. I even tried more cheese but clearly he was DONE so I cleaned him up and got him down. Then Zack started crying about something so I tried to figure out what was wrong, making the mistake of putting Ben down who then started screaming. Mark asked for more milk and I told him only if he ate his roast beef sandwich and he responded with the fit to beat all fits. I expect tantrums from my two year old. I don't like them but it's gonna happen. For my almost five year old to literally fall down on the floor screaming about a glass of milk just doesn't work for me. Right before I pulled all my hair out, Eric started whining about something which I don't even remember the details because at the late great hour of 5 PM I yelled "GO GET YOUR PAJAMAS ON." I'm not proud to say I yelled it but it was too much right that minute. In that moment I fully intended to put them all to bed right then. After a few deep breaths, and getting the little guys into jammies I calmed down enough to realize that if I put them to bed at 5 I would very likely be seeing sweet smiling faces at 4 o'clock in the morning. Not that that is actually morning. So I turned on Noggin and told them the next time someone fought, cried or screamed they were going to bed. Everyone calmed down and I did have them go to bed early, just not SO early that it would affect today in a negative way. And it worked. They went to sleep, I calmed down, had some quiet time while Kevin worked late on a conference call and then I scrubbed the kitchen floor happy to know that it would stay clean for at least 10 hours.

So far today is better. I haven't hit that magic hour where children tend to turn into crazy, screaming maniacs, so it remains to be seen how the evening will go, but we have managed to go to Sams and all got out alive. Bribery works wonders! The kids hear the word Sams and immediately say "Can we get icees?" To which I reply "if you are nice while mommy shops we will have lunch here." Eric and Mark "Can we have Icees?" Me "If you are GOOD." So I went in with the mentality that if all I got out of the trip was milk & diapers I'd be happy. Everything else was a bonus. They were pretty much as perfect as 4 kids in Sams Club can be. It was nice and I was able to stock up on some food for the next week or so. They got their pizza and Icees and I even got a nice comment while they ate. A man walked by and said "Good job mom. I was one of four boys too." It's always nice to hear something nice about my family in place of "WOW you have your hands full." Even if I obviously do have my hands full (and I surely do!) I don't need to hear about it from strangers.

So the plan for the rest of the day is to go to the playground after Ben wakes up and that should take us right up to time to make dinner. So far so good today. Everyone is pretty happy. Mark and Eric aren't best friends, but they are much more friendly than yesterday. Zack is his happy, bumbly, fever free self, and Ben is napping so that is a plus. Tomorrow when I have an extra set of hands and eyes around (Kevin), I think we will go to the zoo or something super fun like that.

I still sit here and wonder how I can do things the same every day and get completely different results. I guess kids are unpredictable and have bad days just like grownups do. Maybe at some point I'll figure out some rhyme or reason to their behavior. Maybe not.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Diet, Exercise and Trying to Shrink

I haven't posted much about my attempts to get fit and lose weight except a few random things about the gym here and there. I guess mostly the reason for this is I have tried and failed to lose weight so many times over the years. I have no excuses for this other than lack of willpower and just giving up time and time again, well and having 4 kids in 5 years. I can't blame the weight gain on the kids though, so I try not to use that last excuse. In December Kevin encouraged me to join the gym because he knew I was frustrated with my weight and my failed attempts at dieting. I was not really a fan of exercise but I also knew that it is so important to lose weight "the right way." So I did it. The gym has the added benefit of childcare so even on the days I didn't really want to go I went because I could go work out, listen to MY music and watch something that didn't involve animation on TV. Followed by a shower and the ability to do my hair and makeup without worrying that something would get broken or someone get hurt or in trouble. It was great, but I knew at some point I would have to go beyond 30 minutes on the elliptical trainer. In mid January I got the guts (yes I had to talk myself into it) to go to a fitness class. It was a toning class and I was terrified of looking like a chubby, klutzy idiot but I went. That was the best move ever. I love that class. It was scary because they were using a bar with (gulp) weights and I had never really done that before. I surprised myself that day because I did better than I thought I would. The instructor even told me I had good form! So I did that class twice a week and the other two workout days were on the elliptical. Meanwhile I still struggled with food and kept trying to eat healthily, count calories, and each time I would fail after a few days. I felt stronger, more energetic and my body was changing a little, but the scale didn't budge. I put the food issues on the back burner and decided that I could get to that later and at least I was exercising regularly for the first time ever. EVER! I realized that I enjoyed the class I took much more than the elliptical or treadmill so decided to try the step class the gym offered. I have a love/hate relationship with step. I've never been very coordinated, so choreography is a strain for me. I have to admit it was fun, and I wasn't the only one getting lost and confused. I just shoved my pride aside and decided that at some point maybe I'll get better at this, and if not at least I am MOVING my body (and still much more fun than the machines!) At some point in March I realized my pants were loose. Cool! So loose in fact that I dared to try on a smaller size when I went shopping for a few things for spring and they fit. I just about fell over. I know it's just one size, but it was one size in the right direction! Just recently I started a new tactic on the diet changes. So far so good. I'm not sure where this new clarity in regard to food came from, but I'll take it. My attitude has shifted to where I don't feel so defeated if I eat too much for one meal. Before one bad food decision could ruin a whole day of eating. Sometimes a whole week. I hope I have put that craziness behind me, but I guess that remains to be seen. I now love to exercise, so I hope the changes in regard to food can be for good as well.

So far on this journey toward changing my lifestyle I have lost 13 pounds. I have about 40 more to go. I can't declare victory yet but for the first time while "dieting" I feel in control, instead of white knuckling my way through every meal. It's a good feeling.

Even after everything I've written I hesitate to post this. What if I mess it up again, what if I gain the weight back? I won't think that way because I believe my attitude makes a huge difference in my success. I hope to be able to update soon that I've kept it up and lost more weight and at some point in the future I will be to the goal weight that I've set. It may take awhile and that is now okay with me. I hope to eat like I am forever so I have time.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Another Thing to Do on the Stairs

Ok, so it's sideways... but the funniest thing I've seen lately. Ignore my comments especially the end.


video

I mean really, how fun is that? They had a blast and in case it wasn't made clear by Mark, "the important part is NOT slipping out of the sleeping bag." Today was pretty rough for me but this really put it all in perspective. Too often I would stop this craziness for fear of broken bones, or broken walls, or maybe it's just too crazy. Today I took a deep breath and realized "lighten up momma, this is part of being a little boy."

In case you are wondering my children do wear clothes. Ben got ahold of a cup of water and got it all over his shirt and Zack insisted on putting his shorts on himself. He actually is wearing shorts, but got both legs in one hole and would.not.let.me.fix.it. I got the whiny, shrieky "noooooooooooooo" to that one. So these are my boys, shirtless baby Ben, crazy shorts on wrong Zack, and the sleeping bag sliders Eric and Mark.

To add to the sleeping bag fun, Eric and Mark are having a "sleepover" in Mark's room. I told them they could stay up late if 1. they stayed in Mark's room and 2. they didn't wake up the babies. I think they made it until about 8:30. Mark at some point got into his bed and Eric is on the floor in the sleeping bag. Sound asleep, and happy. Life is good!

Insomnia

From what I understand, quite a few people in my life suffer from insomnia several nights a week. I can't even comprehend how frustrating this must be because I am not one of those people who can't sleep. I'm pretty much an out as soon as the head hits the pillow kind of girl. I've always been able to sleep whenever and wherever. I have a handful of times found myself staring at the ceiling in the middle of the night and yes it was pretty annoying, but I can't fathom having that be 2-3 times a week. I know that my own hubby is one of those non sleeping types and he hates it. Sometimes I wake up to his tossing and turning, other times not so much. Not much of anything wakes me up unless it is a baby crying in the night. That one always gets me. So why do some people suffer insomnia and others crash the moment they close their eyes? I don't understand it. I know for Kevin, he can't turn his mind off. He has a ton of stress at work and that is the cause of his sleeplessness. But I worry about things too. Maybe not things that carry quite the burden of my husband's job, but I worry about HIM, and the kids and lots of other things that concern me. But it doesn't keep me up at night. I may lay there and worry for, oh, 3 minutes and I'm OUT. I wonder if it's partly the physical nature of my "job", but then I remember that I've been this way for my whole life. That, and plenty of the people I know that experience this inability to sleep are stay at home moms too. So it's just how I am I suppose. I often find myself falling asleep at times that is annoying for me (and Kevin.) The most common time is during a movie we rent (I just get too comfortable and crash.) I can't tell you how many movies I've started and not finished because I doze off. On long drives when I am supposed to be keeping him company and my eyes just won't stay open. It's really ridiculous. I don't wish to have insomnia, but I do wish I could stay awake when I sit down on the couch and relax just a little. I wish I could stay up occasionally with Kevin when he was having a bad night and talk with him, or at least realize he was having a rough night. I think of all I could get done if I had insomnia and maybe wish I could have it, say once a week. I know it doesn't work that way though. So, I'm sorry to all of those who do have insomnia because I know, albeit not firsthand, that is is frustrating, maddening and just plain exhausting. Wishing you all a great nights sleep (not now of course!)

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Fun With Cups


Mark did a little decorating this afternoon. I love it!!! Please excuse the pantsless boy on the left.

Since I'm talking about Mark I'll tack this onto this post. He wanted me to make him a paper airplance, and I did. He said "Mommy, this is the one two five Noggin. and he wrote that on the plane (
Noggin's channel number is 125. ) He cracks me up!

2 Year Old Fun

Even when Zack is sick and crabby and bossy he is so funny and cute. One of his things is he will NOT say how old he is. I'm pretty sure he knows he's 2 but I can't get him to tell me that. We were cuddling a few minutes ago and had the following conversation.

Me: Zack, how old are you?
Zack: My name Yack.
Me: No, how old are you?
Z: How many old is Eric?
Me: Eric is six, how old are you?
Z: My six.
Me: No you are not six. How old are you?
Silence
Me: (changing tactics) Zack, can you count to ten?
Z: One, two, thirteen...
This is unusual. Usually he says One, two, five, seven, eight, nine, ten. I didn't even know he knew 13.
Z: Momma, how old YOU?
Me: I'm 31
Z: My thirty-two. Mark is six.
Me: No, Mark is 4.
Mark: I'm almost FIVE!
Z: Momma, you thirty-eight. My one.

I gave up.

Spring Break

All the blogs I read have great fun tales of Spring Break and the things they do. Going bowling, to the zoo, moms ready to pull their hair out by the end of the week. I was ready. I was going to have so much fun with the kids. Monday Mark woke up with a fever (after coughing all Sunday night) and last night Zack woke up with a high fever and he was insane. He wouldn't lay down and instead of the lethargy I usually associate with fever, he was hyper and wanted to play. At 1 AM. I was ready to scream. So 2 out of 4 have been sick (Mark is much better today, maybe tomorrow we can have some fun as long as the other 2 stay well.) I'm sure by Friday I'll be ready to send my kids packing back to school and pulling my hair out like all the other moms I read about. I'd just like to at least have one fun day before that happens.

Go away germs you are messing up my plans!!


So today, instead of going to the park, to the zoo, BOWLING (which I would never tackle alone, but the kids LOVE to go), or even just to the library, the gym, or anywhere I am sitting home catering to the demands of a feverish 2 year old. Or rather, avoiding his demands and attempting to make reasonable substitions. He got out the pizza cutter and told (not asked) me to make pizza at 9:30 this morning. "Sorry buddy, do you want a snack? " "Nonononono (sob) my want to have PIZZA. Cut pizza with pizza CUTTER." So I told him we'd have pizza for lunch and let's find something else for now. "No momma. my.want.pizza.nooooooooooooooooow." Oy Finally I placated him with a flour tortilla that we cut with the pizza cutter and all was well. Until he wanted a glass of diet coke. I was a bad mommy and poured him his "own" glass filled with maybe 1/2 inch of diet coke. Shhh it's our secret.

Monday, April 7, 2008

As Close as You Can Get to Disney...

...without actually doing Disney. That's what we did yesterday. Our friends were staying at the Wilderness Lodge and we went to see them. Meaning we had to enter Disney grounds to get there. Meaning our children were utterly confused as to why we were NOT going to Disney World. Yes we've lived in FL over a year and haven't been to Disney. We've thought about it a lot but I always get scared and back out. It's not that I'm afraid of Disney World. I love all things Disney, however, I'm afraid of my children in Disney World. Will we get in and hear whining all day? Will Ben be miserable? Will I have to hear complaints of kids that are too hot, too cold, too hungry (right after a meal?) I have put off the Disney experience time and time again for fear of all of these things. Getting close to Disney made me really want to go though, so we have tentative plans to go in the fall with our friends. According to them their kids love it and they are having a great time (except that it won't stop raining. Come on FL stop pouring buckets of rain on the people trying to come to the SUN.)

We had such a great time hanging out, swimming (before it started to rain), decorating cookies and doing crafts at the lodge. We rode the monorail and a couple of boat rides. The kids had a great time and it was pretty non chaotic given that there were 7 kids ages 6 and under. Of course, it's always fun hanging out with these guys!!

As we left for the night, Mark said "Mommy, next time can we go to the REAL Disney World? I think we just might. Unless I chicken out again.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Getting Ready for School

The big boys are upstairs getting dressed. By getting dressed I mean running around acting like crazy people doing anything OTHER than get dressed. I should go up there and enforce the getting dressed thing but I just don't want to. So I'm going to sit here and write about it. I am tired of getting up and telling them 16,000 times to get dressed, eat their breakfast, and brush their teeth. Let's not even get into putting socks and shoes on, or grabbing lunches that I've made off the counter, or actually getting into the car. It's all a fight lately and I am so done fighting it. Fortunately for me it is Spring Break next week. Despite the fact that I may just go loony having them all home all week long I am anxiously awaiting a break from the getting ready for school routine. It will be nice to "lounge"a little in the mornings, not having to feel so rushed. Something tells me by the end of the week I'll be more than happy to tackle the morning madness again. As for now. It's time to eat breakfast.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Making Plans

Mark is already planning his birthday (it's only a month and 2 days away, perhaps I should start planning to avoid another birthday party disaster.) Here are some of his plans.

1. Have a VANILLA cake. (as opposed to chocolate, which Eric picked)
2. NOT share his presents. (I have a rule that all toys are general family property and will be shared. This rule stemmed from when they were babies and only 13 months apart and played with all the same things. I'm sure it will not always work, but so far we don't have a whole lot of it's MINE.. anyway, my point is on birthdays this rule doesn't exist and the birthday kid gets to play with his stuff as he wishes...although the other kids always play with whatever is left. Apparently he is asserting this exception to the rules early.)
3. Pick something Eric doesn't like for dinner. (Eric picked Mac n Cheese with Hotdogs which is his favorite meal EVER. He didn't purposely pick it because Mark doesn't like it. However, since Mark generally aims to like whatever is the polar opposite of what Eric likes, and this is Eric's all time favorite meal it is no surprise that I heard "But I don't LIKE it."

So Mark's birthday will be a bit different than Eric's. Either that, or he'll forget his irritation that his brother was born first, and just pick what he likes. When he announced that he was picking a dinner Eric didn't like on his birthday, I suggested it might be wiser to pick something that Mark liked and he did admit that was a good idea. Some days I don't know what to do with that boy!

Happy Birthday Eric

Six years ago today I became a new mommy for the very first time. I had waited quite some time for this milestone and felt so many things. Joy, excitement, and pure fear were among them. Holding my new little boy for the first time was enthralling. I didn't want to put him down. I had no idea until that moment how much love bringing a baby into the world would place in my heart. That love grows every single day.

Now that itty bitty baby boy is six. He can run, and read, and write. He can carry on a pretty grown up conversation too. He is big!! He is still my baby. Sometimes he still comes and sits in my lap and says "I love you mom." Not too long ago when Ben was up in the night I noticed Eric was sideways in bed, so I moved him and retucked him in. He snuggled in under the covers and with a sweet smile whispered, "thanks momma." He may be big, but he'll always be my little boy.


I can't believe it's been six years. It doesn't feel like much time has passed at all. I can't remember much about life without Eric without thinking really hard about it. I wouldn't trade one minute of my life now for that life.

I love you Eric, Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Mark Got Mail


My call for mail for Mark was answered by my friend Shanna. Her daughter Abigail dictated a letter and drew a picture. I keep reading the letter because it is so cute! Thanks Abigail and Shanna for making Mark's whole day and mine too!

Thanks for the stickers too! The boys loved them!

For a few days now I've thought Ben might be saying a new word. No. Yea, not the one I want him learning right this minute because I'd LOVE to banish the word from my home (even from my lips, it's used FAR too often around here) but he is soooooo cute. I can say "heeeeey Bennnnnie, watcha doin?" and he'll reply "no no no" complete with shaking head and a giggle at the end. So cute. I don't think he has a clue what it means, really. Although maybe he does. The other day he was opening a cabinet and I said "ooooh no no Ben" and closed the door. He plopped down on his butt, tucked his head and started that "I'm gonna cry" face. Followed by a little cry (the suspiciously fake sounding variety.) I thought I might be crazy about the whole "no" thing but I was at the park yesterday and a friend verified that in fact, when I asked Zack if he wanted a cookie, Benjamin very clearly said "no."

The Dream

Yesterday morning I woke from the most odd dream. I had apparently invited everyone on my street to a dinner party. No one RSVPed yet about 30 people showed up. I was not prepared because since no oneRSVP'ed I did nothing. But all of these people were at my home wondering where their dinner was. My mom happened to be there (all the way from Oklahoma and she was just hanging out for the day?) and I begged her to help me. Somehow with what I had on hand we threw together dinner for 30 people. CRAZY. Not only would I NEVER invite THAT many people to my home, I would NEVER be able to just pull off a meal spur of the moment like that. I know this dream was sparked by the thoughts in my previous post. My total worry that no one will come to Eric's party. That he will be sad. We are going to do a family celebration tomorrow on his actual birthday but he so wants his friends to be here for a party. That and if no one RSVPs that they are coming should I plan a party anyway? Or just say forget it and take him to the zoo. This was what Kevin and I though of last night that *might* ease his disappointment. What happens if someone shows up and I'm not prepared? Or not home? I NEED SOMEONE TO RSVP SO I CAN KNOW IF I'M PLANNING A PARTY OR NOT!!! Ok, I'm not going to obsess over this anymore. Well, for now anyway.

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