Thursday, July 31, 2008

Down With the Mouse

You know, the dreaded mouse. The big one that sings and dances and serves pizza and lures your children in with the promise of fun games! and little tickets! and prizes! I never have minded going there. It can get crazy, yes, and crowded. But it has always been worth it to see the looks of pure joy on the kids faces. That is until today.

Today fell right into the category of the mouse is pure evil and I think we might not go back for a very, very long time.

There were at least 5 groups there: daycares, camps, random kids off the street. It was complete mayhem. We ordered the food & got the tokens and let the kids free with 5 tokens each. I only give 5 at a time so they have to come back every few minutes because I have a hard time having them not in my line of vision. So, things were going pretty well. The food got there, which was eaten by some and not by others and then off they went. I tried to eat but even then kept noticing the horrible behavior by these other children. First of all we were approached by at least 5 other children asking us for tokens. I told them they needed to find their mommy. To which they responded by looking at me like I had 5 heads and saying "We're on a fieldtrip." I guess that should have caused me to say "Oh in THAT case HERE, have our tokens." I didn't and they stomped off. Then Eric ran over to me in tears because some little boy knocked him into a game. I'd like to give the benefit of the doubt that it was an accident, but really, watching these kids, I don't even know.


At one point Zack was hiding under the table. I'm not sure why, but I think maybe it was a bit overwhelming for him. In the end, my friend and I walked around the place with all the kids instead of just the smaller ones because it was scary, and easier to maneuver with a mom around.

There were adults with these kids, but you really couldn't tell because they were never around for the bullying, begging, and various other bad behavior.

I could go on, but I won't because, honestly I don't want to relive it. It was bad. I was shaking by the time we left and I think it was just the stress. And in case you think I am just overreacting, there were plenty of other mom's complaining. I even overheard a worker in the prize section say "I'm afraid for my life."

I will say that if any of my children were ever to behave that way in public I would fall over dead right then and there. Really.


Suffice it to say it could be a really, really long time before we return. And at the very least I will be phoning ahead to see if there are any groups of mass proportions there.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Not Another Alligator



But still pretty cool. . .

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sports 101

Kevin and I aren't really all that sporty. I've recently discovered my more active side, but I'm pretty sure I would still suck at anything having to do with athletics. I enjoyed going to football games back in the highschool days (was in marching band, so I did go to lots of football games) and if my husband was interested in watching sports I would watch with him. Since he's not, and I'm don't really care enough to pursue watching them on my own. All that to say, now my non athletic self is the mother to 4 boys (yea, yea, you know that!) Four boys who probably don't know enough about sports. Oops. I keep meaning to sign them up for things and by the time I get around to looking it up the deadlines have passed. Because I'm on top of things like that. Anyway, I did manage to sign them up for a summer bowling league. I thought it was a good summer activity what with the million degree temperatures and 1000% humidity. I saw a sign for a soccer league for fall and assuming I haven't missed it, I'll get Eric and Mark in on that.

The thing that got me writing this post, though, was this. I got Zack a Little Tykes basketball goal for his birthday. The boys LOVE that thing. Even Ben likes it when Mark lifts him up to the goal so he can put the ball in the net. And Zack. Well, Zack will make a basket and say "MOMMY I GOT A STRIKE!!" And "HOME RUN!!!" And once he told me "Keep your eye on the ball Mommy!" So, you see, I think we have some work to do here. I told him several times to say he got a goal, or a basket (is that even right?) but still, he persisted in saying he got a STRIKE.

There's some serious sport confusion going on around here. Is there some sort of remedial sports education class for NON sporty moms out there?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Ben Loved the Cake Too

Ben's birthday cake was a bit of a fiasco. And not in the cute one year old dive into the cake with gusto sort of way. I had put these sprinkles on the cake. Cute little star sprinkles. He even had his own small cake to destroy and make a huge mess with. I have no doubt that he would have loved it. Except, those star sprinkles... he choked a little on one and wanted nothing to do with the cake after that. In fact he just cried. So we were done with the cake festivities. He made up for it with Zack's cake.

Yum!


Mom, this is SO good!


And then when his was all gone, he went to check out the brother's leftovers.


Everyone else enjoyed the cake too, but no one was as enthusiastic (or messy) as Ben.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

A Cake Story

Once upon a time there was a boy with a birthday. When asked what he wanted for his birthday dinner he said "uhhhhh, a CAKE!" When asked what type of cake he wanted he said, "uhhhhhh, a CAKE!" And, when asked what he wanted for birthday presents he looked at his mother with a cute little smile and said (can you guess?) "A CAKE!" At one point, when further questioned about cake flavors he said "A Target Cake" which should tell you something about the kind of cakes his momma makes.



Um, can I eat the cake already?



Not yet? Come on what are we waiting for?



Finally! Blowing out the candle.

Studying. Looks good.

Getting ready for the deliciousness.
It's good!!!
Who needs a fork?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Three



Three years ago today I woke up at 4 am and told Kevin... "Hey, I think my water broke." Which was strange because that never happened with my other two. Well, it happened, just not first. So, since my labors are super speedy, I called my doc and headed to the hospital, dropping Eric and Mark at a friend's house along the way. And how nice were they to take my 3 year old and 2 year old when they had 3 month old twins at home. I'll always appreciate that! So anyway, on the way to the hospital I kept trying to decide if I was even having contractions and was I even IN labor. Since my water had broken I knew they wouldn't send me home.

I got there and even without contractions was dilated to a 5. We decided to wait awhile and see what happened. I walked and walked and walked the halls to try to get things going to no avail. My doctor went back to her office to see a few patients and when at close to 1 PM there was still NO sign of labor they started pitocin. Oh how I didn't want to do that! But I am also impatient and Zachary seemed to be just happy as can be in there, and he had to come out so we started a pit drip at 1.


This is about the time the nurse started really annoying me. Something was up with the contraction monitor and I started having these ginormous contractions and it was a blip on the machine. I didn't have any pain meds so I knew they were ginormous. At 2 PM I asked her to check me because it was really intense and was starting to feel the urge to push and she said "Oh, no because you just started having good contractions, let's give it all time to work." Well despite being able to endure natural childbirth, I am a complete wimp about arguing with people so even though I knew I was right I didn't insist she check me. So, she walked out and I had the mother of all contractions at which point I completely panicked and started crying and tried with all I had not to lose control. I was about to tell Kevin to push the call button to get the nurse back in there when my doctor walked in. Kevin asked her to check me and guess what! The woman who had done this twice before actually knew what she was talking about. 10. They rushed to get everything together and my little Zack was born at 2:22.

The first thing I heard about my baby was "Ohhh he has dimples" from the newborn nurse.
He is my funny little man. He's always been silly and joking from the time he could talk. He loves to run in circles and jump just do anything active. He looks up to his big brothers, especially Mark. He loves to snuggle too.

For some time he's been asserting to me that he's not my baby anymore. I'd say "Come here baby boy." And he'd say "My NOT a baby Momma, my a BIG boy." And I have to admit, he is getting pretty big!

Happy Third Birthday Zack-a-roo. Mommy loves you!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Backsplash Update

We decided to just do it ourselves. And despite saying we were going to finish the area by the fridge before doing more demolition Kevin has taken more tile down. The other wall is at least sheetrocked and ready for tile as soon as I go buy it (probably on Saturday.)

Anyhow, here is a before picture (see nothing really wrong with it, besides just being plain.

And the demolition. Are we crazy?

Keeping Me on My Toes

Ben has an unhealthy obsession with the garage right now. Actually he has quite a few dangerous interests these days. As mentioned in previous posts, the toilet. Of course, he can't just splash in it, he wants to be in it. He puts things in it too. All the other boys have been told to make sure the bathroom door is closed, but oh yeah, wait, Ben can open doors.

Next major annoyance thing is he has this need to be on top of things. The table, the stepstool (if it gets left out), the couch, living room end tables, just whatever his little legs can climb him to the top of. Which is a lot of things really. Yesterday I caught him sitting on the back of the couch. My first thought was "WHO put him up there?" And then I got him down and watched for a minute and realized, he got up there himself. And was really quite happy about it. It was really cute all except for the possibility of his head cracking against the tile down there. So, I spent the rest of the afternoon pulling him off.


Alternating, of course, with getting him out of the garage. I think I need more of these little things.

I confess that in spite of the fear all of these adventures cause me, I love it (all except the toilet stuff... that is just gross). I don't "allow" it in the interest of keeping him safe. It is cute and terrifying all at once.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I Can't Sleep

Not sure what's up with that but I can't. So I read a blog that I have to share with you. I talk about Shanna on here all the time and she amazes me. She's got 3 kids. Abigail is 4 and the twins are 3, so she is one of the people in the world that I feel like get what I'm going through. Not that others don't. Not that it's so bad really, but it is hard. And she knows that. And frankly, I say it's even harder for her because of the whole twin aspect. Anyway... in reading her blog tonight I was really just sitting there saying yes! I get it! And I had no answers for her questions, only I'm right there too. And that feeling of companionship; that someone else is there too... I hate to say it, but it feels good. Not that someone else is struggling but that I'm not alone in this.

Anyway, here is her post that spoke to me so well! And if you have the answer for her (and me) feel free to share!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

We Are SO Grounded From Watching HGTV

This kind of falls under the category of "what in the world were we thinking?" When we came home from vacation we walked in the door and I though "Holy cow our house is plain." At that exact moment Kevin said words to a similar effect. So, clearly we need to decorate. This weekend we bought some stuff for our bathroom.







We also got a big picture for the living room, but it's not on the wall yet. And then, pleased with having a few items to make our house not so boring, we sat down with the boys and turned on HGTV. A side note, Eric and Mark were GLUED to HGTV. Probably because in this particular show they completely tore out a kitchen. (Boys like destruction. It's a fact.) Then they rebuilt it and made it so pretty. Somewhere along the way Kevin said, "you know, we could redo our backsplash and it wouldn't be that hard." And I got all giddy because I really am not in love with our plain white tile boring blah backsplash. Granted I was prepared to live with it for a good while, but when he said this it got my attention. So we went to Lowes and Home Depot and found some tile I though might work. Then, since we give everything big like tearing tile off the wall such great forethought, he started ripping it off.



And then suddenly there was a hole in the wall and we started to freak out. After doing some reading though, I guess it's not that uncommon for the wall to come with the tile. It's just, when we planned out our new, dreamy backsplash, redoing the drywall didn't really enter into our minds. Last time we did tile was in our house in Oklahoma and we gutted the entire bathroom so we knew we would be rebuilding walls and such. That was a way huger project, but yet this had Kevin really stressed out about it becoming a much bigger job. Oh! And what if we mess up the house really bad. Granted, he's done floor tile before. Granted, he's added an entire wall before. Yet that was then and this is now. That house was built in 1955 and when we moved in had orange shag carpet (which we promptly ripped out and refinished the hardwoods underneath.) I'm rambling, but my point is I think he can do this but he is nervous because this house was not built in 1955 and is much nicer than our first one.

So, yesterday I went to the tile store and found some pretty tiles and got a rough estimate of how much it would cost if we had it installed. The answer... too much and they won't even do the demolition and wall rebuild. So, we are at a crossroads. We are pretty much committed to this project as, well let me just show you.

That's all we'll do until we have a clearer plan for how to proceed. We will call one more contractor for an estimate, and I think we should still do it ourselves. We always need stuff to do after the kids go to bed. I say we at least make an attempt on that small corner and see how it goes. I'll update to let you know what we do. And of course a before and after pic of the other wall.

Monday, July 21, 2008

A Few Pictures



Yep, in the pond... another alligator. I know it must get old hearing me go on about this but I can't get used to the fact that there are real live alligators in my backyard. It's fascinating and creepy all at once.

This is all just one alligator, he swam around and we stared at him and he stared at us for a good half hour.

A Non Post

I know there is stuff I want to write about from the weekend but the words just aren't flowing from the fingertips like they normally do. My thoughts are kind of jumbled and anything I wrote would probably make no sense anyway (so, basically same as usual, right?)

Since I am having so much trouble, rather than continue to ramble and try to fight my way through some semblance of a blog post, I will leave you with something cute that Mark said yesterday.

In the van he quietly says "Mommy, guess who I love? She has a pink shirt, and a skirt with flowers." I said "Is it me?" And he said "MOM I'm NOT finished yet." So I shut my mouth and let him continue. I had my arm up resting my hand on the back of Kevin's headrest and Mark went on "... and she has a long skinny arm and a diamond ring." Not that my arm is actually skinny, but it made my whole day.

So, next time I'm frustrated about Mark and his shenanigans, maybe it will help me to remember that he LOVES his mommy!




Sunday, July 20, 2008

Do You Ever Wonder?

Do you ever, as a parent, sit there and say what if I'm WRONG? Last night I told Eric to quit snacking as it was almost dinner time. I took away the bag of cereal he was munching on and Kevin heard him say something smart back. We asked him several times to repeat and he would not tell us. We asked still more times and he mumbled something about chicken nuggets. Which I'm pretty sure is not what he actually said. Mind you, neither of us heard the precise words that came out of his mouth, but rather the tone and attitude with which it was said. Pretty sure it was something cranky toward me. Pretty sure. Not positive. Keeping in mind this is not the child who usually lies. Also keeping in mind that this is the child that rarely gets into trouble. So he was sent to his room until he would tell us the truth. He kept making stuff up but never came out with what we think he might have said.

SO he had to go to bed. Without dinner. Which I hate as a punishment because I knew he was HUNGRY and what if he can't sleep because he's hungry and ohhhhh the angst it causes me. I will tell you that by the look on his face and his demeanor and putting two and two together that I am 95% certain that he was lying. It's that little smidge of doubt that had me so ill at ease. What IF I was wrong. Will he be scarred for life? I'm pretty sure he won't because he's his happy go-lucky self today. But maybe?

I've said it before and I know I'll say it again. This parenting gig is hard. I feel often like I'm guessing my way through and hoping against hope that my children end up being good, successful adults and that I don't somehow mess them up along the way.

So, there's my insecure I don't really have a freaking clue what I'm doing confession for the day. Sigh.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Something That Doesn't Even Mention Kids

Do you ever drive down the road and see a shoe? When you see it, lonely in the middle of the road, do you ever think "How in the world does one lose a single shoe?" I do. All the time. I (because I'm a little odd) sit and wonder were you walking across the street and one fell off and you just didn't notice? Did it fall out of an open car door as you were speeding down the road? Maybe it was on your front porch and a stray dog came and made off with it and thought the highway looked like a good new home. I just can't figure it out. I'm sure there is some perfectly logical and sensible reason for this. But even the one that makes the most sense (fell out of the car) makes me say HOW?

All this said. I've lost my shoe. My very cute and beautiful and most favorite even though it's not a sandal and generally all my favorite shoes are sandals. That one. It's gone. One. And I'm back to howintheworlddoesaperson (ahem, me) loseashoe????

We came home from vacation and I unpacked it all except a little pile in my bedroom that sat there until yesterday. I kept thinking that maybe my cute little shoe would be in that pile and all would be well. I was wrong. We didn't leave it anywhere either because the Baileys already sent all the junk we left and I'm pretty sure I wore them at their house.

So, anyway, this is my goodbye to my beloved shoe. It is very sad and I am hoping that although I've already cleaned out the van, that maybe it is somewhere in there under a seat or something. It is my last hope. Otherwise I will just have to grieve this loss somehow. I'll pull through. Maybe some shoe shopping therapy is in order!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Feet in the Potty and Pee... WHERE?????

Sadly, this post title is just very accurate. Pretty funny, right? I admit it definitely is funny. But right there in that moment (ok, two separate moments) it wasn't so much funny, as crazy.

Yesterday was free movie day. Thank you Regal Cinemas for giving me this opportunity to pull out my hair. As much as I love the free movie concept, it often doesn't meet my expectations. This time was remarkably sane. Ben did fine as long as I was shoving Goldfish in his mouth. But then something really horrible happened. He got full. And started tossing the snacks I had so smartly packed him into the floor. And then he started trying to climb the seat in front of us and just generally be disruptive. After a quick consult with the other adult with us, I decided to take him out of the movie and leave her with my other 3, plus her 3. Still feel like I got the better deal there. We would have all left except my lovely Eric was GLUED to the movie. The one that if I had known what it was we would have stayed home. The one that I realized too late that it was a DOCUMENTARY. There were cute, fluffy animals, but the cute fluffy animals also ATE each other. Which was shocking to me, however my kids didn't even flinch (mostly because I don't think they understood what was happening.)

Ok, so Ben and I headed to the mall playground via the restroom. We went into the family restroom and I realized pretty quickly that I had never attempted this without Ben in the stroller. Huh. So, while I went to the bathroom, I had the oh so fun task of keeping Ben from playing in the smaller, very tempting toilet. I succeeded, and thought of how to occupy him while I washed my hands and decided to turn the water in the itty bitty sink so he could "wash his hands" too. And then I turned to find him putting his foot.in.the.toilet.

*Side note* I have never seen nor heard of a child trying to actually get IN the toilet. This makes the second time he's done something like this and EW... EW EW EW...

So I removed him from the toilet and sanitized his FOOT (thank you mall for having hand sanitizer in the bathroom as mine was missing from the diaper bag) and we wandered back uneventfully to meet our friends coming out of the movie. Oh, well first we tried the playground, but he kept escaping so I just.gave.up.


This next story is unrelated except for the fact that it also involves the bathroom. Well, except it doesn't involve the bathroom, just PEE!

After the movies and lunch, we had Mark's friend over to stay for the afternoon & dinner. It was nice, everyone played great and we only had one little issue. Late in the afternoon Jack came down and said "You need to see what Mark is doing with the board." Hmmm I was pretty sure it couldn't be anything tooooo bad so I said "what board do you mean." And he said "Well, I think you just need to go look." So I did. And as I tried to walk in the door, it was slammed in my face. Telling me there was indeed, something to be seen. I opened the door but still didn't think it could be that bad. Well, it was. Even though I'm told this is pretty a pretty normal thing for a boy to do. I've been assured he's not a juvenile delinquent. The people I've told weren't even shocked at all. Although, I must tell you I was shocked to find he had peed in a wooden puzzle board. It was full to the top. I might have overreacted a little bit. I sent him to his room. For half an hour. During which time he fell asleep and would not wake up until after dinner time. Thank goodness I had a spare kid for Jack to play with.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Memory Lane

Kind of a game, tag type thing :) I found it on Melinda's blog (who is my friend Shanna's sister) and thought, hey, I don't really WANT to steam clean the kitchen floor, why not? Hey I'll do it RIGHT after I post this, k?

So here's how it works...(mostly copied & pasted to save time.)


1. As a comment on my blog, leave one memory that you and I had together. It doesn't matter if you knew me a little or a lot, anything you remember!

2. Next, re-post these instructions on your blog and see how many people leave a memory about you. If you leave a memory about me, I'll assume you're playing the game and I'll come to your blog and leave one about you. If you don't want to play on your blog, or if you don't have a blog, I'll leave my memory of you in my comments.

So there you have it! Post away!

Oh,and if you don't "know" me well enough to have a memory, feel free to use anything you've read here. A favorite post you've read, that way everyone can play!

A Funny From Last Week

I was thinking about what to write about today and can't believe I didn't already post this. I mean, slightly embarrassing story, makes me look way silly. Let's blog it! I guess other things just naturally came first.

Anyway, we're at the library. Finished getting our books and playing in the kids area. Mark has to go potty, which was great because so did I. So, we went, leaving my other kids in the waiting area with their friends & their mom.

Such a mundane story, right? Well it was, until...

I realized that the door was stuck locked. And I kept turning the handle thinking at some point it would unlock. Then I realized that it was not only not unlocking, but also was unscrewing. I stopped mere seconds before it was in my hand I think. Thinking back, maybe I should have let it. It may have prevented what came next. But, in the interest of not defacing public property, I fiddled with it for another minute. And told Mark to go tell Maureen I was locked in the bathroom. Because, I don't know, I guess I needed moral support for what I was about to do.

Because, it was pretty clear by that point that I was going to have to crawl UNDER the door. Which is pretty stinking gross if you ask me. Now, I'm not a germophobe exactly. Just something about public restrooms is really and truly wrong. Granted the library bathroom was clean (thank GOODNESS) but still. Thinking about how many people must have walked with dirty shoes on that very floor gave me the creeps in a big way. Thinking about scooting across it on my belly was almost too much. Since I wasn't sure what else I could do short of sit in the bathroom while someone went and got an employee to rescue me I took a deep breath and crawled.under.the.bathroom.door. And then laughed like crazy at such a ridiculous situation!


In retrospect, I'm thinking if I had went ahead and unscrewed the locking mechanism I could have then unlocked the door. I could be wrong. In any case, I survived. And now you can laugh at me about it!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Just One More

Before I go off to tackle my Monday chores I want to post a few pictures.


First the haircut. And since in my endeavors to find a style I liked I found NO pictures of the back of haircuts, here is the back of mine. I am very happy to report that I styled it myself at the gym and not only was it easy and ended up looking like I wanted it to, it only took 5 minutes. Which is pretty much all I ask in a haircut these days.


Muffin tin lunch. Totally stole this from Shanna. This is why I love blogs. They make me laugh, and cry, remind me I'm not alone in this raising kids stuff, and give me fabulous ideas of things to do! Anyway, we had friends over for lunch and we did peas, corn, pasta, sauce, ham & cheese in muffin tins. The kids loved it.


Zachary with masking tape STUCK in his hair. And I do mean stuck. I was going to cut it out as he needs a haircut anyway, but I decided to just pull it out. There were lots of tears! His hair totally ripped out with the tape. Poor boy!

And just because I think he is SO flipping cute in this last picture.

I think I might have been experiencing blog withdrawal over the weekend. I'm all better now! Have a great day!

I Thought I Might Die

Also know as Spinning.

As I walked into the gym last Monday, the instructor of my Total Toning (or whatever they call it) class roped me into suggested I try out her Spinning Class. I've been thinking about it for awhile anyway but I just wasn't sure. Because I've heard it's tough. I've seen people do it and it looks scary hard. Anyway, long story short, I did it. And I didn't die so I tried it again this week.

I was winded before the warmup was over. Since I'm so very smart (ahem, not!) I forgot my water. Never again will I make that mistake. Never. I kept pedaling and halfway through the first set of "hills" I pretty much almost quit. My heart was pounding, I was gasping for air. I did not quit, but I did crank down the resistance a bit. I also snuck out in the hall for just a minute to suck down some liquid out of the water fountain. But I got back on the bike. Kept pedaling. Last week I would have told you I have never sweat so much in my life, but this week topped even that. Every single hair on my head was soaked. After that first bit of feeling like I was going to collapse right off of the bike and die right then and there it got better. It wasn't easy, but it was possible to keep going. Then I felt like I was in some kind of groove and I made it through the rest of the class. Sweaty, and thirsty, and exhausted. But feeling a sense of accomplishment because I did it. It was hard and I pushed through it.


Don't be too proud of me. I mean, I sat a little when everyone else was standing, I didn't crank up the gear every time she said to. I think a few times I might have put the resistance down before it was time, but my feet kept moving. It feels good.

I didn't die. I think I'll go back too.

Bowling, Haircuts and Sewing

*Warning, NONE of this is connected. Just random bits of life.*

Saturday was bowling day. I'm not sure if I've made it really clear but we've had a few problems with Mark lately. Namely really bad attitude and lying. Saturday morning was no exception and at breakfast he lied to me about something. An obvious lie and about something that he wouldn't have been in trouble for. I called him on it and told him if he didn't stop this he was going to be in really big trouble. So not long after, I caught him telling me another lie. Another one that if he'd have told the truth I would have said, "Ok, but let's please not do that anymore." Not worth the lie. I'm pretty sure he gets it now. He got sent to his room and Kevin and I discussed the fate of his morning bowling outing. (Bowling is at 9:30, so these two whoppers were told early.) We decided he needed a bigger punishment than getting sent to his room since it didn't seem to be getting through to him. Mark had to stay home from bowling. I almost cried. It was incredibly hard on ME to follow through with this punishment. But good grief what a transformation! No more lies, no more attitude. Just a sweet, loving five year old. I mean, I don't expect it to last forever (honestly I don't expect it to last until Tuesday, we'll see) but it sure was a nicer weekend after that missed outing.

I got my hair cut off on Saturday. I mean, shorter than the last time I cut it all off. I'll take a picture and post it after I actually fix it. The experience was amazing. I went here and it was so very relaxing. First was a scalp, neck and shoulder massage and they used this pepperminty smelling oil that just about made me melt right there in the chair. The actual haircut was uneventful, which is probably a good thing and I think I like the end result. It's a teeny bit shorter than I really wanted, but I figure that just gives me a little more time before I need the next haircut.

I decided a while back that I needed to make slipcovers for the ugly folding chairs in my sewing room. I checked out a book from the library and bought the fabric and the first one went together pretty quickly. Only problem is I put it on the chair and it looks awful. I know it is because of the shape of the chair. I have some ideas of how to fix them to make it work... so let's see if I can salvage this project.

Friday, July 11, 2008

A New Day

It's a new day and I feel better. As always, nothing seems as traumatic after a good nights sleep. Kevin got home last night and I don't know if it was the look in my eye, or because he read that blog post, but he sent me out to get away from the kids for awhile. All I did was go get his hair gel, and some dinner for the two of us (I had made chicken nuggets for the kids) but it felt good to get out. On my way home I got a call and a friend and I are going to have a Mom's Night Out tonight. Can I just say this could NOT have come at a better time. For REAL!

It gets even better. We went to the library today with the same friends and she took my two older boys. And then the little ones fell asleep on the way home. And they even transferred from van to bed. I am in shock that everything is going so well. I hope the boys are being good over there! It's amazing how quickly things can recover. I feel like new right now!

I've been using this time alone to look for a picture to take to my haircut tomorrow. I've found a good front picture, but I can not find a picture of the back of a haircut. Even on the sites designed to pick out a haircut. So, I'll just have to describe it the best I can and hope for the best.

So, I think the sanity is back. Thank goodness!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

What's That?

What did you say? You are worried about my sanity? You think I might be slipping over the edge? Well me too. Shall I explain why? My kids have lost their ever loving minds.

Before I get into the last straw that occurred this morning, thus making me entirely irritable and thinking about doing drastic things like get.a.job just to escape the madness (yes, I do realize that would not make my life easier, I'm just saying it to make myself feel better) I will first list the OTHER reasons that I'm losing it this week (ok, probably not just this week, but let's play like this craziness is a new thing, k?)

This is probably not a complete list, just a few of the reasons I'm going insane.

Ben is into everything. He can now climb onto our kitchen chairs, then to the table. He is using the chairs to climb onto other things too, like the kitchen counters. I caught him perched on top of the counter the other day just sitting there as if he were on top of the world.

Yesterday, I moved the chairs near the couch so I could sweep and mop and then saw my baby climb onto the chair and then hoist himself onto the back of the couch and flip himself to the other side. I about had a heart attack. He just laughed.

The day before that (and this is really the kicker) I was upstairs changing sheets. And my baby. The little one. He's really such a cutie and I do love him a lot. He was standing in the... I almost can't type it... it's honestly that bad. He was standing

in

the

toilet

I'm not joking. Little cute feet in the icky nasty toilet bowl, hands happily patting the top of the tank. I died right there. Well I wanted to. Instead I hopped into action and debated if it would be wrong to clean his feet with bleach. Decided it would be (duh) and proceeded to clean him up. Then I told everybody else in the house that we MUST keep the doors to the bathrooms closed.

Did I mention that Ben can open doors now?

Yesterday all four boys spilled drinks at some point, which I try not to get upset over, except they spilled them by being utterly ridiculous. And could someone PLEASE make a leak proof sippy cup? Or tell me about one that won't leak? Please?

Zack and Ben pooped at least 5 times each. Not diarrhea, just tons and tons of poop. Why?

And the bigger ones pulled everything out of the upstairs linen closet. Twice.

There was an incident with salt, but that was my fault. Do not leave children outside unattended with a full box of salt, just in case you thought about it.

This morning I woke up to silence. At 7:05. I thought, "wow, that's odd, they are usually up by now." I wandered into the bathroom, talked to Kevin for a minute and Eric walked in. "Hey there buddy" Kevin said. And then "what's on your face?" Eric got all weird and said "I have to go wash it!" and ran off. Hmmm. Very odd. I didn't see his face, so I had no idea. Zack was in my bed and awake and I went to talk to him, and then Mark came in. He had something brown on his arm and I asked him about it. He told me he was coloring me a picture with crayons and that it rubbed off on him. I knew instantly he was lying, you know being a rocket scientist and all. I asked him again and he insisted it was crayons. I contemplated how to handle this and heard this conversation between Kevin and Eric...

Eric: But it's a secret! Mark said I can't tell you...
Daddy: You need to tell me right now because I am your daddy and Mark can't tell you to keep a secret from me.

At which point Eric spilled the beans that they had been PAINTING. So we busted out into the family room to see what the damage was. Painting is an activity that must be HIGHLY supervised around here. Highly. Of course, my beloved kitchen table had paint all over it. Dry paint. It's coming off (lucky kids). They actually put the paint away properly (sneaky kids.)

The part that kills me the most here is that they lied to me. It broke my heart and made me soooo flipping mad at the same time.

So, it's hours later and I'm over it. I am not over this part however...

After I started this post it was gym time. I threw the morning chores out the window and let myself dwell in my self pity of how my children are sooooooo naughty and wondering what I am doing wrong that my babies would LIE to me not to mention do something that they KNEW was against the rules. (Not to mention get into the pantry and EAT SUGAR... oh wait, they didn't eat it, they were making "an evil brew for YOU mom." I'm not kidding, that's what they said. Nevertheless the sugar container was open and had two spoons in it and there was sugar allllll over my floor.) Anyway... I went to the gym, and felt better. Then Mark asked when he was getting his fish (not today dude) and it pretty much went downhill from there.

Mark told me in the car (unconnected with the fish conversation) "Mom, you act so dumb" which I reacted not at all too because I'm pretty sure he was looking for a reaction. Then for some reason, Zack started saying "I hate you mom" and I have NO clue where he even heard that phrase. He said it three times and I started crying. Lost my composure completely. Told him to stop and then Mark and Zack were laughing at me. LAUGHING AT ME... Then Eric started screaming for them to stop laughing at me (good at least one of them loves me) and I pulled it together and told them to BE QUIET. A lecture followed about how words can hurt (and apparently turn Mom into a weeping lunatic) and we should NEVER EVER tell anybody (ahem, especially Mommy!) we hate them. Then Mark said "Raise your hand if you are going to be good for Mommy for the rest of her LIFE" and Eric and Mark raised their hands. Mmmmkay. Things are fairly calm for now. My head is going crazy with what am I doing wrong and how am I failing them thoughts and the occasional I'm trying SO hard but nothing works so why do I try?

But I told the boys we were turning the day around so I am going to move past this. Trying not to hang on to anger and just keep trucking. Use the crazy moments to teach them what is and is not appropriate and hang on to dear life to what's left of my sanity.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

How Does This Work?

One thing that completely mystifies me about motherhood is the fact that my children can completely drive me beyond words out of my mind crazy, and mere seconds later I am filled with a deep, profound love that is also beyond words or explanation. How does that work? I can be DONE with them. Send them to bed, send them to boarding school, send them ANYWHERE but in my face, but if I do get a brief break I miss them almost immediately. It's complicated.

These past few days have been crazy. We are all in that holy crap, so this is what real life is, phase of coming home from vacation. We were gone for 2.5 weeks. There was not much resembling real life in that time. We ate out a lot, my mom cooked for us, Kevin's mom cooked for us.I managed to not be in charge of meal prep for the entire time. The kids were up late every.single.night. So to come home to reality was a SHOCK. And I think that maybe they've forgotten who is in charge around here because HOLY MOLY it's been one big whine fest around here. And one of my children (care to guess?) is being downright rude to me and telling me what he's going to do and when he's going to do it. Don't worry, it's on it's way to being under control.

Let's take lunch, for example.

Mark: I am NOT going to eat THAT, I will be eating a peanut butter sandwich.
Me: silently preparing his plate.
Mark: MOM I SAID I'm NOT going to eat that!!!
Me: Ok, then you can just have a nap instead of free time today.
Mark: No no no, I'll eat it.
Zack: (as I put the food on the table, this is said in the most whiny voice possible) I NO WANT CHICKEN ON MY CHIPS (we were having nachos)
Me: Silently give him "the look" at which point he starts eating.

It's been this scenario over and over and over again. But then after lunch as I beg the time to pass so that it can be tv time (and so I can have a minute of quiet) suddenly they who have been arguing and fighting all day long are playing nicely. I overhear this:

Eric: Let's TRANSFORM!!! I turned into SUPER Eric!!
Mark: I turned into SUPER Mark!!!
Zack: My turn into SUPER Yack!!

And all that stress and anxiety and frustration I was feeling minutes before was replaced with thoughts of, I am the luckiest mom. I really love those boys.

And by the way, Mark did eat his lunch.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Trying to Get Out from Under all the Laundry

I actually did a great job keeping up with the laundry on vacation. I guess that's the plus of staying with family and having access to washing machines and dryers. The down side of that is you have to do laundry on vacation. Somehow, though I ended up doing two loads of laundry yesterday, and one today. Part of that was car seat covers because both babies Zack and Ben both had leaky diapers on the way home. Lovely. So, three loads of laundry later and it's all done. I just have a super huge monstrous pile to put away.

My friend here in Tampa gave me the most brilliant idea ever for packing. Seriously, I would have never thought of this and it made things just easy. Before I left, she said she takes a giant Rubbermaid container and puts all the little clothes and stuff in. I stole the idea shamelessly. I was going to be in and out of 3 hotels in 3 nights and it just made sense. I layered the clothes by day and by kid and in the end had the big wheeled storage container full of clothes. I also packed a suitcase for the first night. Then each day, I just repacked the bag. One suitcase going into the hotel, versus the usual 4. Beautiful. Then, when we arrived at our destination, I heaved the giant thing inside and it was really so much easier to keep organized as I had control of the whole lot of it instead of each kid getting into their own suitcases. It also made repacking on the way home really easy. Also, I used a Ziplock big bag for dirty clothes. It was a little bigger than a garbage bag, and see through, so I didn't have to fret about it being mistaken for garbage. So, thanks Maureen for the awesome packing tip. It was great! (And I plan to call you as soon as I get unpacked!)

My biggest goal for coming home was to get me and the boys on a good schedule. Less tv time (eek), less computer time (double eek), more efficiency and quality time. I have struggled with scheduling my time as long as I can remember. From birth, I'm sure. I've always balked at the idea of a written down schedule, but the time has come. I need this. We need this. The two weeks I was home alone with the boys before vacation was a real struggle for me because it was just mass chaos. The schedule won't cure all the chaos, but it has to help some. (Right?) Anyway, here's my basic plan. It's simple. There is room for error and adjustments. I'm not going to be totally stringent every single day. However, I really intend to stick to it as much as possible (without being crazy and inflexible.)

7 get dressed
7:15 make beds
7:30 breakfast
7:45 brush teeth

That first bit is probably a little silly for most people. We do this stuff every day, but the idea is not to lounge around until almost time to go somewhere and then rush and go crazy trying to get ready to leave.

8 daily chores - more in my effort to get things done early, so I don't have to do it all in the afternoon when everyone wants me to do stuff for them right this minute.
varied time - gym, or errands, or away from home play
11:30 lunch
12:00 tv time
1:00 workbooks and reading
2:00 free time. This, ideally will be my blogging time and time for the kids to play and me to catch up on the chores I didn't do in the morning.
4:00 afternoon clean up time - Stealing this concept from my friend Shanna who does the afternoon cleanup everyday with her 3 kids. She does every room and I hope to get there someday. For now I just want all the public rooms in the house straightened at this time of day. You know, so maybe by the time Kevin gets home it *might* still be *kinda* neat. Maybe that's just a dream though.
5:30 dinner prep - this will very likely be another tv time for the boys.
7:00 baths
7:30 bedtime (flexible for the summer depending on the day and how badly I need them to go to bed.

So that's the plan. Like I said it's simple, and I hope someday not to have to dictate what I do with most of my time. Organization does not happen naturally for me, so for now this is what I will try.

In case starting a new routine wasn't enough for me to handle, I'm tackling potty training today too. I said I would after vacation, and this is after vacation. If I don't start now, then it's just never going to happen and poor Zack is ready and just waiting for me to get on the ball. So far, so messy, but he'll get there.

And here I go to fold and put away more laundry than you could possibly imagine. Well, you can probably imagine, you've all been there!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Our Vacation in Pictures

Kansas City








Road trips are SO much fun mom. No, I only wish the whole ride was like this. Overall, though they were pretty good.




Zack didn't sleep yet, but he did hide.




The super huge very fun water slide


and the super huge,very fun waterslide in action.













video






Daddy & Uncle Brian building a trebuchet. Yes, they flung things with it.








Sydney








Lauren








Cousins at the zoo. Mark, Sydney, Zack, Alex (hidden) and Eric






Ben helping around the house, or something.






Ben stacking cans from Grandma's cabinets



video


Almost all the cousins on the couch. Mark, Ben, Eric, Zack, Sydney, Lauren & Alex




And we decided this sweet teeny 6 week old shouldn't sit on the couch quite yet.



Alex playing pre fireworks



Mmmm watermelon!



For more pictures than you'd ever possibly want to see, click here. And now I will try to stop talking non stop about the trip. Unless I think of something else I want to tell you :) It's so good to be home!

One more I forgot. Guess who got his first black eye? And he gave it to himself.

We Made It!

The rest of the vacation was really great. Here's a few highlights (and a few lowlights) to summarize the rest of the trip.

Highlight: Kids playing with the cousins
Lowlight: Kids fighting with the cousins

Highlight: 50 cent movie day at the dollar theater, seeing Horton Hears a Who
Lowlight: Missing all but 5 minutes of the movie because Ben would not sit still
Highlight: Watching Ben go up the mall stairs (3) and down the stairs, then up, then down, up, down, up, down, updownupdown. It was hilarious.

Highlight: Another fun zoo trip
Lowlight: Missing the fun zoo trip because I was in bed with a stomach bug.

Highlight: No one else got the stomach bug.

Highlight: Seeing new additions to the family.
Highlight: Seeing how the other kids are getting so darn big.
Highlight: Holding baby GIRLS (and playing with a two year old girl!)
Highlight: Hearing Zack say, when seeing his newest baby cousin, "She wooks wike a pincess" There was awe in his voice, and I didn't even know he knew what a princess was.

Highlight: Fourth of July Parade and Fireworks
Lowlight: Chasing Ben all over creation during the parade and fireworks.
Highlight: Strangers smiling at Ben running all over creation during the parade and fireworks.

Lowlight: Blowout diapers in the car on the way home
Highlight: Zack pooping in the potty at the rest stop on the way home.
Highlight: No one throwing up on the ride to Florida (I was very concerned this would happen.)

I know I'm forgetting stuff, 20 hours in the car will do that to you. We decided that we should leave Friday night after the fireworks display. We drove all night while the kids slept. I should say that Kevin drove all night while the kids and I slept. I did relieve him for a few hours, but he did most of the driving. We drove it straight through and arrived home exhausted last night about 9 PM.

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