Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Making more work for myself

It seems like when things get a little out of sorts around here I lose my mind a little. I was settled into the structure of getting up, getting out the door to get everyone to school & picked up and getting things done in between. With everyone home I struggle to focus on much of anything, and tend to do things that make even more work for myself.


For EXAMPLE: In my quest to be an awesome mom and keep everyone entertained -- also we had books & a movie due -- we went to the library yesterday. I had gathered all of my stuff, including a movie that needed to be returned to the Blockbuster Express Kiosk at the grocery store. Do you see where this is going?

Somehow, the non library movie got in the library bag and I totally turned it in.

Thankfully, I realized my mistake. Unfortunately, not until AFTER stopping by Publix to turn in the movie, that I couldn't find. See, having all the kids home makes me do crazy things.

So, today, I got to drag all the kids back to the library just to retrieve said movie and then drag all the kids into Publix to return the movie.

When's school start again?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Kids are Out of School

Yesterday was kind of a rough one as far as first day of school breaks go. I forgot an important lesson I've learned which is PLAN PLAN PLAN. Get together with friends, go out to lunch, go to a playground. Do SOMETHING, anything to keep them busy, active and not fighting. Pretty simple. Only, I forgot that and instead planned to clean in the morning and then take them outside to play in the afternoon.

It didn't take long for me to realize the cleaning in the morning thing to happen. Shortly after I woke up I got this weird vision thing that happens sometimes. I've heard it called a "silent migraine" where you get the aura that sometimes comes with a migraine, but not the headache. I did have a headache to be honest, but not that kind of headache.

Anyway, I tried to take it easy but with four kids running crazy that is an impossibility.

Like the first day of break last year, we had an injury. Fortunately, no ER visit or stitches were necessary this time. Just some neosporin and a giant bandage. I'm all for tradition, but we can put this one to a stop right now!

Like the summer time, Ben didn't nap because there was too much going on and he didn't want to miss it.

Once I felt a little better I did manage to get some cleaning done, and even remembered to lighten up a little and let the boys have some fun.

Overall, not a horrible day once I convinced them to be NICE to one another. Santa is coming after all, you guys!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I'll Be Back Soon

It's just right now I seem to be swamped with holiday stuff. I got most of my Christmas cards out on time. (I'm sorry if yours arrives late.) I've baked goodies for neighbors and teachers. I have still not wrapped a single solitary present.

Today at Deep South Moms I'm talking about a few things that are aggravating around the holidays. (But I still can't wait until Christmas morning!)

Hopefully the New Year will bring with it more time for me to blog here... Or maybe that's just wishful thinking.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Misc.

I didn't give up on keeping a joyful spirit through the daily trials that I encounter in life. I might have had a small backslide this weekend, but I am happy to say it didn't last long.

However, I am kind of thinking it is redundant to post about it every day. The objective was accomplished. My attitude is turned around.

So, for today there are a few unrelated things I'd like to share.

1. Zack is learning so much. He went into preK knowing his colors and shapes and that was about it. He was the kid who any time I tried to teach him anything would purposely tell me the wrong answer. Not sure why, I think he thought it was funny. NOW he's the kid who bounds into the classroom bouncing up and down with excitement to see what the NEW letter is this week!! Last week it was Z and that created enthusiasm on a whole new level because, as he told me "Z starts with MY name Mommy!!" He is obsessed with letters and asking me to spell words and he'll quiz me. "What letter says 'Wuh' Mom." "W says wuh Zack." He smiles and nods his head at my wisdom. Then adds "What other letter says wuh." "Only W buddy." "No Mom, L says Wuh too. Wuh wook, wadder.

So, yeah, he has a wittle more to wearn. ;)

2. I met a mom today that is pregnant with her fourth child. She has 3 girls ages 4, 3, and 15 months and is due in March. I did some major reminiscing as I remembered being pregnant with Ben and having kids those same ages. She asked me "So I can do this?" I told her yes! I did add that it isn't always pretty, but definitely possible!

3. Ben's new phrase when he's angry are "I'm not DOING this any.more!" Which I suspect I might have said a time or two. I guess that's better than the shrieking tantrum. Also, it is just funny hearing it come out of his little mouth so I can just laugh and say "Yes, Ben, you are going to be sitting in your carseat."

4. I have a new post up at Deep South Moms about one of the ways I contradict myself in the way I parent.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Day 5 & 6

Yesterday got away from me! Joy (which I've realized looking on the bright side of things drastically improves my outlook) was brought through...

1. Christmas shopping in an outdoor mall wearing capris, short sleeves and flip flops.
2. Getting tasks accomplished that I had been procrastinating.
3. 4 cute little boys.
4. My husband coming home from work early.
5. Actually feeling the desire to exercise, not just because I *should.*


Some days are a little harder to find the joy. Waking up to a feverish, headachey, very sad little boy would once have been a road block. Today I have felt happiness and joy because of...

1. Good (well ok) behavior from the kids at the doctor's office.
2. That Eric didn't get mad at me for being late to school (due to above dr. visit.)
3. That Mark doesn't have the flu, but simply strep.
4. For a doctor that paid attention to more than the obvious.
5. For a phlebotomist that drew the blood on the first try even though the patient was screaming bloody murder and had tears flying out of his eyes.

Feeling peace on days like today is pretty awesome.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Joy Day 4

What has brought me joy today?

1. An actual author posting a comment on my blog! (Thank you Silicon Valley Moms Blog book club!)
2. Extra time with my biggest boy!
3. Getting through most of the day with no feeling the need to pull my hair out!
4. Smooth Sailing at bedtime!
5. Taking a nap!

Today was a good day! For that I am thankful. Whether it is the fact that I am making a conscious effort to focus on the positive and have an attitude of joy, or just a total coincidence doesn't really matter. I'll never know. I just know that a day absent of frustration, anxiety and anger feels amazing!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

A Tribute toTeachers

I never knew until my kids went to school what amazing people elementary school teachers are. The really great ones understand kids, they love them, and while elementary school students can drive the most patient person to pull their hair out at times (or is it just mine?) they keep on teaching.

Last school year, my two big boys, then in first grade and kindergarten had the best teachers ever. I knew there was no topping them this year, and I had a great deal of nervousness regarding whether or not this year's teachers would measure up. So much so, that I let it all out in a post on Deep South Moms. So far, the teachers this year haven't disappointed me. I imagine at the end of the year, I will be sad to see the boys move on and worried that the next batch of teachers won't be as wonderful.

It's not a job just anyone can do. I'm sure, as much as I love my own kids I could not manage 20 or so at a time with differing personalities, abilities, and behavioral quirks. A love of kids is necessary, but it takes more than that.

Phillip Done (rhymes with phone - as he tells his third grade classes) writes of his experiences as an elementary school teacher in "Close Encounters of the Third-Grade Kind." He is the kind of teacher you hope your child will get in school. The one who really understands. As I read, I couldn't help but laugh and see my own boys in the kids he described.

Mr. Done's book served as a reminder to me to thank those who are with my children for 6 hours a day. Those who serve them by teaching them reading and math. I am thankful that there are teachers who go the extra mile, as the author did when one of his students was going to test to see if the tooth fairy was real by not mentioning that he had lost a tooth and putting it under his pillow. Mr. Done called the mom of that boy to make sure the Tooth Fairy would show up that night. I will thank them for letting teaching not be just a job, but something they love.


*Disclosure: I recieved the book "Close Encounters of the Third Grade Kind" for free from the publisher, in exchange for participating in the Silicon Valley Moms Group book club.

Joy Day 3





A picture speaks a thousand words.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Joy part 2

Growing up I was taught that joy is not the same as circumstantial happiness, that it was something deeper. Something that allows us to feel peace in times of turmoil. Happy regardless of circumstances. Because no matter how frustrated we feel, how many things there are to do, or what is going wrong, there are amazing things in our lives that if we choose to concentrate on instead of all the other things,we can have joy.

I woke up in a great mood this morning. It didn't take long for me to get grumpy with a lot of high maintenance, crabby kids swarming around me. As I fried bacon I had requests to spell words, burned a panful of pancakes, two kids had a skirmish and I felt that familiar anxiety boiling up, trying to pull me down.

On my new mission to stop being grumpy I repeated to myself my new mantra of sorts (mantra sounds better than I am resorting to talking to myself to stay sane) of Breathe... Relax... Look for the good.

So today, the things that bring me joy are...

1. Making up after an argument.
2. Seeing the tree we decorated as a family all lit up.
3. Getting woken up by a kiss on the nose from one of my favorite boys.
4. Being asked to make a chain of paper dolls, doing it, and having that make me the best and the greatest!
5. My home, my family & friends.

What brings you joy today?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Joy

Things have been a little bit crazy lately. It's the holidays and there are things to do. Lots and lots of them. Amid the extra stuff, much of which has to be done sneakily, I still have four little boys, myself, Kevin, and the house to take care of. (Kevin pretty much takes care of himself, but I wouldn't want to leave him out.)

Anyway, long story short lots to do, the house is driving me crazy (per my last two posts) and I am trying to keep my head above water.

Yet yesterday, I kept thinking this is supposed to be such a joyful season. What have I been doing? Whining. Letting little piddly crap get to me, and basically being grouchy.

So, I am trying to focus on the things that bring me joy instead. It's actually not hard to see if I look for it.

Things that come to mind.

1. When Ben sneaks a sip of my Diet Coke and says "ahhhhh, dat's good."
2. When my boys bound into the van each day telling me what a great day they had.
3. When Zack says, "It's raining mom. Is school cancelled?"
4. My many, very wonderful friends who are supportive even when I'm being whiny and annoying.
5. That Christmas is coming and all the excitement and wonder that brings to my boys. Okay, and me too.

From now until the end of the year, I am going to try to post daily on the topic of joy. I need to turn this grumpy heart of mine around.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Walls

Because I know you really want to know more about my frustration with housekeeping.

Walls are insane around here. We painted with super duper washable & strong paint shortly after moving in. And, to it's credit. It is super duper washable, scrubbable, even holds up to Magic Eraser cleaning. Alas, my children are grimy, apparently, and even when I try to keep their grubby little hands clean and repeatedly remind them to NOT.touch.the.walls.fortheloveofPete. they persist in dirtying them right up. I do wash them regularly (the walls and the kids) and yet I found them disgusting again. Oh also, besides just being dirty... some creative artist had drawn circles in random spots over the Thanksgiving Holiday. Teach me to get distracted making a delicious meal for my family! Anyway suddenly, scrubbing wasn't doing the trick, and even my bullet proof awesome paint was not looking clean after being given a good wipe down.

Enter paint. Fortunately, when we painted we had extra. Today, I did touch up painting. By touch up, I obviously mean paint the entire wall from about 3 feet high down. It is a beauty to be hold. Creamy white cleanliness! I'm not going to think about how soon they will be dirty again. I am going to give the hand washing and not touching the walls speech again and it's going to work this time. Ben's artistic phase will be limited to drawing on paper now. (What? I'm not in denial! Shhh I'm in my happy place, let me reject reality for just tonight!)

Next up in my series (oh yeah, I've got more!)of dirty house woes... my patio. I am forcing myself to DO something about these problems before I blog come here complaining about it, so at least there is that.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Carpet

I despise carpet. My dream floor is a child proof, waterproof, life proof wood floor, which I'm pretty sure does not even exist.

I am fed up with the carpet in our family room. It is disgusting. I steam clean it once a month at least. And if I tell the truth, it seems to need it within 2 weeks. The rest of the rooms fare a little better. Primarily because we spend less time in them. Or, more to the point, the boys spend less time in them.

Can I just tell you what happened to my poor, pathetic, builders grade carpet in the five days we were all six at home.

1. While I was at the store Wednesday with Eric getting a few last minute Thanksgiving dinner things, Ben got a packet of "Wemonade," which in reality was RED Kool-Aid. (Oh wait, is this de ja vu?) He spread it into a 1x2 area on the carpet right in front of my bedroom door.

And 2. Zack and Ben, whiling I was preparing Thanksgiving Dinner decided it would be fun to bring the sidewalk chalk INSIDE and color the carpet pink and green.

Now, my reasons for not dealing with these things immediately were two fold. First, the Kool Aid would not be coming out anyway, therefore we vacuumed, sprayed it with stain remover & blotted up what we could, but I had cooking to do and I could deal with that later.

Second, Sidewalk chalk comes up easily, so we vacuumed what we could & again procrastinated.

Today I shampooed the carpet. I put bleach in the water and I hoped for the best. (Pretty sure bleach is bad for carpet, and probably the cleaning machine, but this carpet is shot anyway, and I drastic times call for drastic measures.) I still have a large pink stain in front of my bedroom door. Also, the streaks of sidewalk chalk are now lighter... but not absent.

Overall it looks better than it did.

I would be in there pulling it up right now & calling the wood floor people except any money we might have to go towards something like that is already spent. On a vacation for my husband and I. Just us. Which, I think we might just need.

A Comment Issue

I had to make some changes to the way I deal with comments due to a certain comment I keep getting on one of my older post. It's in characters and not English, and when I clicked on the user name it went directly to what looks like an Asian porn site. Um... No. Not cool. So, I deleted it, and the next day it came back. Then I deleted it, and today, another one. I have changed my settings so you have to be logged in to blogger to leave a comment and hopefully that will fix it. The next step is put that annoying "type this unreadable word" back on and I know nobody wants that.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Just Us



I'm sad Kevin isn't in these pictures... but he was taking them. Next time we must set up the tripod.

Our Thanksgiving dinner was perfect. I felt so blessed to have us all sitting there. The boys used perfect manners and actually ate! In years past they pretty much just ate turkey and rolls. This year, they added cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes to the list. Kevin said to me this is how it is supposed to be. He is absolutely right.

The boys new thing is after we get a good (ish) picture of them, they want to do a silly one. So we did!

I hope everyone's Thanksgiving was as perfect as ours was.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Another Reason I'm Crazy

I'll be honest, it's been a rough day. The boys have been fussy, I've been cleaning and generally grumpy. Luckily, I pulled out of it in time to enjoy part of the day...

But here's the crazy part. We decided to just feed the kids and get takeout a little later for ourselves so they were eating and I was just kind of looking at the menu of the place we are getting food from to see what I wanted to order and I glance up, and Ben is totally naked. I shout "BEN!" and he grins and says "I nakie mommy."

And I wonder why I get crazy some days.

PS Fortunately by this time in the day I've regained my sense of humor and could laugh at this.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

In my fridge waiting to go in the oven are dressing, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole. A turkey is brining and three pies are made. I got everything ready yesterday in hopes that today would be relaxing and stress free. We'll see about that.

There is so much to be thankful for that words don't really do it justice. Family, health, love, little boys, friends and on and on.

Over at Deep South Moms, I wrote a little about my struggle with getting excited about the holiday with just our little family. Thankfully, I got over it.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Cute

Cute: Ben calling Zack "Zachary". It's just such a big long name, and Ben is such a little tiny guy.
Cuter: Ben calling Mark "Markary." Cracks.me.up.

Cute: Ben asking to go to "Pugwix" (Publix)

Cute: Ben nodding his head to answer yes. He nods with his entire body.
Less cute: Ben head butting me in the lip when doing this nod while I was carrying him.



Cute: Mark animatedly describing the live performance of "Beauty and the Beast" he saw on his class field trip.
Cuter: The fact that I had to talk him into going to school on the day of the trip. Because it was going to be too girly. I bet if I'd taken him it would have been BOW-ing.

Cute: Mark offering to bring me a book, so I could read with him until bedtime.
Cuter: The book was The Magic Treehouse # 18.

Cute: Zack at the store said "Look at that big, normous thing." (I can't remember what he was talking about.)

Cute: Zack asking me to spell every single word under the sun.
Less Cute: Zack asking me how to spell every.single.word.under.the.sun.

Cute: Zack's school pictures. How am I going to pick which ones to buy??

Cute: Eric explaining to me how to log into the "Study Island" site for his math homework. It amazes me how much he knows, and that he knew his log in info (clearly learned at school.)

Cute: That my big kids still let me hold their hands, still want to sit in my lap and cuddle. I just love it!

Monday, November 23, 2009

First Weekend Sans Little League

So, we marked the occasion of our first Saturday in months of no baseball, with an end of season pizza party! It was fun!

Then on Sunday, we had the opportunity for some of us to go to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers football game. I may have mentioned we are not huge sports fans. Anyway, Eric got four free tickets at school, and was super excited to go. So headed down to Raymond James stadium and I almost passed out when I saw that parking was $25.00. Twenty.Five.Dollars. Okay, so I admit I'm cheap, but dude. So, I drove right past that parking lot and found an off site lot for 15.00. Which is still highway robbery! But I forked over the exorbitant amount of cash and we made our way to the "Great American Teach In" tent to get our tickets.

On the way in, the boys walked excitedly toward the stadium asking me several times if I was sure we were going the right way, worrying if we would make it on time, and otherwise fretting that somehow I was going to mess this up. I was memorizing every detail that I could about the lot I parked in, the streets where it was located, and which side of the stadium we were walking into. Because while I was rather confident in my ability to find the rather large football field (if nothing else I simply needed to follow the masses of people headed the same to the same destination) I was less sure of my ability to make it back to our car several hours later. Just based on experience, of course.

On our way up to our seats, Mark kept saying he hoped we got to sit way up high. I told him I was pretty sure we would, given that our tickets were free. He sure did get his wish. We were the third row from the very tip top. The boys were overjoyed! We got some pizza and some drinks and waited for kickoff.

Somewhere between kickoff and the first touchdown Mark started complaining that he was bored. He enjoyed the tackling, but something wasn't quite right. I think it coincided with him being finished with his pizza. Because, you see, he had seen COTTON CANDY as we came in and he neeeeeeded some. He was still hungry. Nothing was going to be right in the world unless he had cotton candy.

I told him we should wait until half time. Because he could have one more thing and that was it. I explained how much time was left in the quarter, and that then there would be another 15 minute quarter, and then halftime. Shortly after this conversation, my son observed that the football clock moves much, much slower than actual time. "Why isn't the clock mooooving? I really need cotton candy." "You can have some later, please stop whining or we will leave." I don't actually recall if he stopped complaining or if I just started ignoring him, but I seem to remember some peace for a minute. Then, right as the first quarter was winding down, Eric whispered that he had to go to the bathroom.

So we did. Which was very lucky for Mark because I opted to get the cotton candy while we were up to keep from having to go back down, and then up the stairs into the nosebleed section one more time. Eric, of course, didn't want cotton candy, but instead a footlong corndog. So that's what we got.

I actually got to watch some of the second quarter, while Mark devoured his cotton candy. Then, when it was gone, so was his interest in the game. He began to complain again, and wanted to leave. I wasn't sure how Eric would feel about this, so I asked him and he said it was fine if we went home because he was feeling funny (not sure if this was due to the wind making him cough or the pizza & corndog but he was fine later.) Then I noticed the USF Marching band making their way toward the field.

I told the boys we could leave right then OR watch the marching band at half time. They made me proud and wanted to stay and watch.

USF played Bon Jovi and the boys were enthralled.

And then we left.

If you are interested in the actual game I don't have many details. The Bucs started off pretty well, and scored early. I think in the second quarter is when it all went awry with a tying touchdown for the Saints and then a field goal later. Then another touchdown brought the score to 17-7. We left before the 3rd period began, but when we got to the car (at which time Mark told me he wanted to go back to the game... um NO!) I turned on the radio to check the score and it was 31-7. By the time I got home it was the final score of 38-7. Um OUCH!

So, the takeaway from all of this. Mark: Sporting Events are alllll about the food. Eric: (in his own words) "Mom, I don't think I'll ever play football. It's a little bit too rough." (Good boy!!) Me: If you take your children to a professional football game & spend a small fortune on parking & snacks their favorite part will be the marching band. They are your kids after all. Also, marching bands should not play Bon Jovi... just saying.

(Yes both of them said their favorite part was the band.)

And here is a link to our picture...

Friday, November 20, 2009

Nature or Nurture

We all know the whole debate. Are kids the way they are because of dna, or the way they were raised.

Yet another example.

I am somewhat obsessive about being on time. I try not to show it to the kids, but I plan and work hard to leave in enough time to be on time even in the worst circumstances. When I was young, I made sure to be early to everything. As I've aged, and had a bunch of kids, I've mellowed out enough to the point that on time is acceptable. On the rare occasions that I am running late I experience turmoil. My stomach does flip flops, my heart rate elevates, I get all the classic anxiety symptoms. I'm working on it. I've given my permission to myself to be late to things like playgroups. Things where when I am on time, I'm the only one there.

Today, Eric had to be at school an hour early. It wasn't a big deal, considering my kids are up by 6 most days. We had 2 full hours before we had to leave to get there. School is 3 minutes away. It was not a thing. I had time to get all the kids ready, and even whip up a little pilgrim hat out of foam for Mark for his Colonial Tea. Yet every five minutes my oldest son was saying "Mom, are we going to be late?" "Mom, when do we have to leave?" "Mom I'm going to be LATE."

And I wonder, does he see my anxiety about being late? I do try to stress timeliness and let them know exactly how long they have to get ready in the mornings. Hardly ever do I utter the phrase "hurry up or we are going to be late!" I keep my slightly insane anxiety about being tardy to myself.

So, is this just something he inherited from me? Or am I less adept at hiding this part of myself than I thought?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Writers Block

I am working on a post for Deep South Moms. I keep running into a problem, one that I run into here. While I am busy working on other things, thoughts swirl around in my head. I come up with ideas of things to write about, get it organized, sometimes a whole post will be up there just waiting to pour onto the computer screen. Yet, when I get time to sit down nothing flows. No words fly out onto the keyboard because I just can't access the part of my brain where the ideas are stored.

Yesterday, I scrapped the idea I had been working on. It was a great idea, but I never could get it flowing. Something else came to me so I pursued it. I wanted to strike while the iron was hot & attempted to do some writing while the kids were around.

What a mistake! Even though they had been really good all afternoon the proceeded to turn into screaming, running, jumping, loud, chaotic creatures. Otherwise known as... boys!

So, today my mission is to finish the Deep South Moms post. It won't be the best in the world, but it will be something. I need to figure a way out of my writing rut. I feel like I'm almost there.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

My Latest Project...



First of all, let me say I plan to start posting regularly again. I have been in a little of a time crunch lately. More to do than hours in the day, and I just can't get it together in time to write. Baseball is almost over, and I do believe I'll have all kinds of extra time on my hands. Until I fill it with something else.

I'm slowly trying to decorate my house as inexpensively as possible, of course. So, I painted my bedroom.




Then I decided to paint the light furniture a dark grey because I no longer love the light maple-ish color that it is now. So far I've done a book shelf. It should have been such an easy project but I tried to be LAZY and used spray on primer and the first problem was one can was not nearly enough, and the second problem was it was all bubbly, bumpy and gross. So the bookshelf sat in the garage for a few weeks while I mustered up the desire to deal with it.

Do you want to know what finally prompted me to deal with it? Well, I'll tell you. And this has absolutely nothing to do that the books that belong in said bookshelf were in a pile in my bedroom floor. Or that Benjamin loved nothing better than to go in there and scatter them around all over creation. Nope, not that. It was the door bell that rang at 4:30 one morning when one of the kids had turned a light on in the van & I forgot to turn it off. Evidentally, I had left my door unlocked too, and a nice officer gave me a little lecture about that and that the light being on was a tell tale sign of burglarly and we've been having problems with that and such. Which, obviously I know all too well. Anyway, I was happy the officer was doing his job, and watching out for us. But clearly the bookshelf had to get out of the garage so I could park in there again. I sanded the bumps down, used regular primer & then painted the darn thing. I think it turned out pretty.




Next I painted the Living Room and the Dining Room (which still had the lovely builder white on it... I've mentioned that I hate builder paint right?) There's not much to tell but I LOVE the color.


Finally, my latest project was to attempt to make something similar to this. (Scroll down to see her finished project.) A friend had mentioned making this and I decided to give it a try. I wanted it to be in greys/maybe blues/maybe black instead of the browns pictured though. So, I had Kevin cut the squares and I painted the edges

If you notice some of the squares have crayon on them. I wasn't exactly prompt in my completing the project after the squares were cut. Zack liked to use them to color on. It's kind of fun to think about his little pictures underneath my completed project. Then I gathered my paper and my Mod Podge.
.

I was pretty nervous attempting this, so when I got started and it was working, not to mention easy, I was thrilled!

I decided to paint a grey square on the wall to kind of frame in the piece, and I think I will go get some moulding to frame the whole thing in. Which will require help from Kevin because really, power tools and I don't get along well. I'll use them, but they scare me. While drilling the hanging hardware (I'm sure there's a name for it, I can't remember) to the wall I slipped and nicked my finger. Hanging it was really the hardest part.

Next up, paint that headboard. And figure out something pretty for about the couch in the Living Room.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Labels



Not too long ago we were having issues with going through every single plastic cup we owned in a day. Because every time my bigger boys wanted a sip of water they got a new cup. I was trying to teach them, and get them into the habit of reusing the same cup, so I got out our label maker & put their name on a cup. They used the cup the whole rest of the day.




A few days later I saw the label maker was out and it had their names on it, and the word bathroom after. I asked why they had done that, and they shrugged and said "I dunno." So, fast forward until bathroom cleaning day. After I scrubbed the toilet I stood up and laughed so hard when I saw this.

I'm not sure why Mark's name isn't on there. I just couldn't stop laughing. It never occurred to me they would label their bathroom.


Edited to add:

I didn't notice before, but apparently they also have labelled the towel bar "lame." I thought it was nice!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Okie Dokie Artichokie

Today we were at the store & Mark begged me to buy an artichoke for us to try. My general rule is if they ask to try a new food, especially a vegetable(!!) my answer is yes.

So we bought the artichoke, and as it rode around in my cart, Kevin asked me if I even knew how to cook an artichoke and of course I said "no." I assured him that I could find a way to prepare it on the internet. Because you can learn how to do anything online. Right?

So I came home and found many, many websites detailing how to prepare the vegetable. There were even tutorial videos detailing step by step how to do so.

I got it all ready, and then boiled it, and then to be honest I wasn't really sure how to eat the thing. So I went looking again, and found a Good Eats with Alton Brown video that showed me even more about preparing the things, and maybe even ways to make it easier next time.

And then even more videos on how to eat the things. Which honestly was a little strange. And I felt ridiculous for wondering if that little bit of yumminess in the bottom of the leaf was all there was to it. And it was. And watching people eat artichokes is kind of creepy. But it was really delicious and I will be making them again.

For the record, everyone enjoyed the new culinary experience except for... Mark. Who I couldn't get to try it at all.

Ironic.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Let's Just Stop Messing With the Clock

So, I'm pretty certain I've mentioned my strong hatred for this thing called Daylight Savings Time before. Possibly every time the clock changes, and then changes back, and back again I gripe & moan about my kids schedule's getting all messed up.

The day after Halloween it was 4:45. I grumpily sent them all back to bed. When I arose a little while later they were eating peanut butter on a spoon watching cartoons. I shewed them into the kitchen with their snack and tried to degrumpify myself before dealing with anything else for the day. It really didn't work. Because, no matter that the day before it was really 6:30, the clock said 5:30 and being up that early, for whatever reason just makes me mad. There, I said it. I am not a morning person, and no matter how I try to be, to convince myself that it's ok. If I'm up before 6:30 it takes a little while for me to be cheerful. Ok, cheerful is stretching it.

Talking to my friends, I don't know one single person (who has kids) that doesn't get their schedule completely fouled up from this little clock tweaking. Is it really that great to have the sun come up a little earlier? I can't stand how early it gets dark now. I can't keep my kids up super late to get them to sleep in, because they never sleep in. Ever. This results in a cranky mommy with four cranky kids and that's not good for any of us.

Can we start some sort of petition to stop messing around with the clocks and the lives of Mommies everywhere?

Someone, somewhere (someone with grown kids) mentioned that DST meant they got an extra hour of sleep due to the time change. I couldn't stop laughing. I guess it's all in your perspective.

Today they didn't wake up until 5:15, so it's inching back. I am not asking for much... just sleep until 6:30 kids!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Pronouns

I've written this post before. Only about Zack and his misuse of pronouns when he was right about the age Ben is now. What can I say, there's just something about the development of language and how cute it is when they say things just a little wrong that makes me smile. Maybe I should correct him (Zack is over most of his confusion, although he will still make the occasional him/her slip.)

But Ben, right now is full of little funnies and he'll I'm sure outgrow it soon enough, so I better make a record of it before I forget.

The funniest thing to me is that he pluralizes every thing.

"That's mines." (Or is he putting an apostrophe in it? Like that's mine's. It is hard to say.)

"There's ours car!" (He can actually spot our van from an amazing distance away.)

"Thems go to school?

Etc. Now that I type this he doesn't really confuse his pronouns as much as just adding that s. It's still adorable in his little 2.5 year old voice.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween


I found the choo choo costume online and knew I had to make it. It was super simple and fun! And super cute (I think.)


Originally Zack wanted to be a spider. Well, originally a pirate, then several other things, then a spider. Then, while I was looking for something other than a Power Ranger for Mark to be, we ran across this skeleton and he had to be a skeleton. So I got some plain black clothes & felt & started cutting and gluing. Easy! And he's pretty much the cutest skeleton I've ever seen. (But that has more to do with the smile underneath that mask than anything else. The mask didn't make it to any houses, but that was fine!)




You can see who won the great Power Ranger debate. I saw this at a consignment store & decided since I found the exact costume he wanted (the right color and everything) for a good price I would go for it. He was so happy it was totally worth it!




And my little (big) werewolf. He wasn't sure about the hood at first but I think it grew on him. He even perfected his howling for the big night. Thanks to my mother in law for helping me with this one. Because I was really nervous. But it all turned out!








Here they all are, ready to go collect more candy than anyone could possibly need.

We had a blast! I love Halloween!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Little League

I've had a Little League post brewing in my brain for quite a while. For various reasons it hasn't come together. Primarily because 1. all of my free time is spent at baseball games, and 2. by the time I have time to sit down and write, all of my thoughts leave me. It becomes an incoherent jumble so I don't even try.

We started way back in early September. We had one practice and then it rained for 3 weeks straight. The way the schedule was organized, all of the practices were at the beginning, followed by mostly games with minimal practices thrown in. Each team has one weekday game and one Saturday game. Most weeks this puts us at the ball field 3 nights, and at least half of Saturday is eaten up entirely by baseball.

Four year olds play tee ball. They smack the ball off the tee and run to first base. Sometimes. Other times they walk to first base. Other times they run to third base... Sometimes they just stand there and other times they run straight for the pitchers mound. In the field, four year olds stand ready for a ball to come to them. OR they stand out in the field covering their face with their gloves. They pull the rim of their hat so low over their eyes, there is no way they could possibly see whether a ball was coming towards them. In four year old baseball, in the event someone gets thrown out they still get to run the bases.

The six year olds are slightly more focused and know a little more about the game. They can run the bases properly and even know a little about fielding. They generally run the right direction, they rarely put their gloves over their faces. Which helps greatly in their ability to actually catch the ball. They are still adorable in their uniforms. Sometimes squirrelly and fidgety during the late games. The coaches pitch at their games and if they can't hit after four pitches, they bring out a tee. If they get thrown out, they have to go back to the dugout.


Seven year old baseball is a little more serious. This league is machine pitch and the kids can actually strike out. A lot of the kids can actually catch a fly ball. They can throw a ball clear across the field. You can definitely tell a difference between the kids who have played since they were four, and the ones just starting out. (Mine)... The thing that amazes me about the kids on Eric's team is that they genuinely get excited for the kids who aren't as experienced when they have a success. Yet, they don't get upset if they don't do so well. It is remarkable.

For the last 2 months we have lived, breathed and eaten baseball. It takes me back to when my little brother played. Some things never change. The lingo, the excitement, the nerves when you are hoping against hope that your little boy will hit the ball, or catch it, or just get the darn glove off his face. The snack bar food. The kids begging for the snack bar food. Cheering in the stands for the kids. The pride they feel when they do well.

I can't wait until the next three weeks passes so we can have our evenings and Saturdays back... and yet, a big giant part of me is sad to see it go.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

12 Days

That's how long it's been since I've posted. Probably not the longest gap ever, but definitely the longest in quite some time. It's been a combination of being really extremely busy, and not having a hundred things a day popping into my head to write about.

Anyway, for the past twelve days I have prepared my house for company, worked on Halloween costumes, dealt with sick kids and gotten sick myself. I'm still sick, in fact and had forgotten just how crazy things can be when Mommy is not 100%.

The house falls apart so fast.

They jump on my bed.

They empty linen closets.

They dump out dirt out of the potted plants on the patio.

They take every toy out of every bin in the toy room.

They (well one of them) decide that now is a good time to stop taking naps, and or if they (he) do take a nap, they fight bedtime until 10 PM.

I really need to get better so I can catch up around here. Then maybe life will fall back into some sort of routine and I can get back to blogging again.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Costumes

Have you gotten all ready for Halloween yet?

To be honest, I hadn't given it much thought until today. The boys have been telling me what they want to be and I've been telling them, "we'll think about it later. Right now I have to do x, y, or z. Today I found myself with some time to breathe, and started thinking and looking online for ideas.

At first Zack wanted to be a pirate. Score! We totally have a pirate costume. Only, now he wants to be a spider. No batman. No... a spider. I've been thinking and I *think* I can make a spider costume by dressing him all in black. His arms and legs can count as 4 legs, and I am thinking of sewing a big black circle and stuffing it. To that, I would attach 4 pairs of black tights stuffed with fiber fill. Then put it on him like a backpack. It all works in my mind, but we'll have to see how it all works out.

Eric wants to be a werewolf (which I didn't even know he knew what that WAS!) I've looked around a little online and most werewolf costumes are 1. too expensive and 2. have a big giant whole head mask which he won't be able to wear to his school character parade. I did find a really cute kiddie werewolf costume, but $30.00 is more than I want to spend.

Mark wanted to be a monster, and then a ghost (which I was already thinking of ways to spruce up the sheet over the head version), but now he wants to be a Power Ranger. *Insert eye roll here.* I will give him another day or two to see if he changes his mind. Maybe he'll agree to be Spider Man again, because his costume from last year would totally still fit.

While looking around the internet for other ideas I happened upon this adorable choochoo costume. I thought "oh how CUTE!!" and then x-ed out the page. But I couldn't stop thinking about it and I think Ben is going to be a choo choo. Okay, he definitely is since I already have all the cardboard cut out. I just lack one empty oatmeal container, and a little time painting. His will be different colors because I am using paint I already have, but I am excited to have this ready. Even though technically, I don't need a costume for Ben. I am excusing it by the fact that it is going to cost me almost no money.

How is your Halloween planning going? What are your kids going to be?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Lost in Translation

Sometimes my kids don't quite get what I'm trying to say.

For example:

Me: Hey guys, I'm going to order a pizza, let's be quiet for just a minute.
Kid translation: Hey, why don't you all be even louder and follow me from room to room as I try to escape the noise.

Me: Mommy has a lot to do. Can you all play nicely and let me work?
Kid translation: I have a lot to do today. Could you please interrupt me every 3 minutes with an urgent request for a drink, or a complete freak out over something minor. I especially like tattling and screaming at each other.

Me: Yes, you can have some computer time when I'm done writing this in my blog. Please go play.
Kid translation: Yes you can have some computer time when I'm done writing this in my blog. Sitting here reading over my shoulder is fiiiiine. Sitting beside me snapping your fingers is good too. Asking me every thirty seconds if it is your turn yet, even better.

And even though I have a few more examples of my words being lost in translation, I must get off. Because my five minutes is up.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Failure

Goal: Remain patient, no matter how flustered I feel.
Fail: Lost my temper and yelled "What do I have to do to get you guys to be nice to each other!" on the way to school.

Bonus: (do we get bonuses in failure) I'm pretty sure the new neighbor (who happens to be the Nana of my awesome across the street neighbors) heard me yell at my kids.

Goal: To send a healthy lunch to school with the boys.
Fail: They would rather eat crappy cafeteria food. They complain about what I send (even though I put MUCH effort into sending a combination of healthy & fun things.) Today, Eric asked me to send a lunch and bought a cafeteria lunch instead. 2 bucks for a pb & j and milk. Because he found out they had strawberry jelly. I tried sending pb & j and they said they didn't want sandwiches.

Goal: To keep the stuff the school sends home organized and not piled up or scattered all over the dining room table.
Fail: I have a 5 inch tall pile on the dining room table to take to the school's recycle bin (only fair, right?) and another probably equal amount of papers scattered all over the table. What the hell am I going to do when I have double this amount of paperwork. Plus... another preschool fundraiser. AND another elementary school fundraiser. Can I cry now?

Goal: Cook a healthy dinner for my family.
Fail: I thawed out chicken but didn't really feel like cooking. The boys came home and reminded me it was Papa Johns night (wait, isn't that another fundraiser?) and I talked myself into ordering pizza. Only when I called the number it went to a voicemail. And not one that said anything at all about Papa Johns. Wierd. A while later someone called me back and said that their phones were down (dude, bad timing!) and were using employee cell phones to take calls. ONLY! They don't deliver to my neighborhood. Only the next neighborhood over. We are literally just out of the delivery area even though we are one mile from the school they are hosting the fundraising night for.

I can't even order pizza right. (I couldn't go get it. Well I could have. With four boys. That would have worked.) So I fed them corn dogs. Kevin and I will eat something. Later.

So, yeah, I might be feeling a little bit overwhelmed today.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

I Totally Asked for It

You know when you say something, and it bites you? Call it karma, or whatever, but seriously, if something is working don't.talk.about.it. That's my advice to you. Ok?

The other night as I was falling asleep I made some offhand comment about how awesome it was that everyone was staying in their beds lately. How cool it was to sleep through the night. How amazing... well, you get the idea.

That very night I ended up with two kids in my bed. Two. Zack came down and was busily sticking his feet in Kevin's face, while I had Ben sitting on my head, absolutely not interested in sleeping at 3 AM. Finally, I took them both back to bed. Luckily, they stayed put, but it was enough to really mess up my lovely, newly rediscovered uninterrupted night of sleep.

The next night Zack was up 3 times in the night. Something I'm not used to anymore as my kids are all old enough to sleep through the night.

With that said, I'm going to bed. To maybe, hopefully get a full night's sleep. I'm not holding my breath.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Just Be Nice

At the beginning of this year, I accidentally left my purse in my car and left my car unlocked. Not my brightest moment. Still, I maintain that I did not deserve

to have someone in the wee hours of the morning get into the van and steal my credit cards. I felt so violated, and so angry, and then one of my readers said something that rang true. She said she was trying to be extra nice to people to combat all the negativity going on in the world. Such a contrast from my whiny "why does everyone have to be so mean?" attitude I was carrying around. I vowed then to try to do the same. To be extra nice. To smile. Somewhere, somehow, I think I went back into my day to day life and forgot. Not that I go around with a frown on my face or be unnecessarily grumpy, but I surely can't remember a time when I recently went out of my way to be extra nice to someone.

Way back when we lived in Georgia, I felt overwhelmed sometimes with the kindness of my friends. People would offer to babysit the boys when Zack was tiny, and would never let me repay the favor. I felt horribly guilty, and tried to think of ways to return their kindness, but with 3 kids, ages 3, 2, and a newborn it seemed daunting. Back then, it occurred to me that my time to help would come later. I would know it when I saw it, and I may not repay the same friends that helped me out, but I could pay it forward, so to speak.

Recently, I've felt little nudgings of things to do for people, and I'm ashamed to say I've been suppressing them. It's never been a huge thing. Maybe taking a dinner to someone whose schedule is crazed right now, or sending a small gift to a friend far away. You know what's been stopping me? Thoughts like "Well, I really don't know them that well." " What if they think it's strange?" "What if it seems to forward, or somehow offends them?"I don't think I'm copping out, but maybe (definitely) I've become a little bit too worried about self preservation and what people will think. That is pretty twisted, though, because I know that if someone showed up at my door unannounced with dinner in hand, I would totally love it. Even if I already had dinner planned, even if it wasn't my favorite food. These are the kinds of things that stop me.

When I had the opportunity to read Debbie Tinzer's book "Do One Nice Thing" for the Silicon Valley Moms Blog book club, I knew I had to participate. This was already on my mind and I wanted that extra push to do what I vowed to do 9 months ago. The book is a collection of ideas ofacts of kindness. The theory behind it is that we can't change all the problems in the world, but we can make improvements by doing one nice thing a week. The suggestions in the book range from a simple smile (anyone can share a smile!) to helping children by donating school supplies, to donating a goat (for $30) to needy families in South Africa.

The possibilities are endless. My time has come to repay some of the favors done for me in the past. With this book in mind, I will commit to doing at least one nice thing a week. It may be something as simple as making cookies for my kids, and sharing them with the neighbors, but I will also strive to get out of my comfort zone. Next time an idea pops into my head, I won't dismiss it, or talk myself out of it. If I lack ideas I know I can turn to Debbie Tinzer's book.

For more discussion of "Do One Nice Thing," check out the Silicon Valley Moms Blogs (including Deep South Moms) on Tuesday, September 29th.

Phases

"It seems Ben is out of the eating crayons phase," I thought proudly as I set him up to color at the kitchen table. "It's about time, too. I wonder if he'll still eat the tips off of markers? The boys sure would be happy if they could color with markers again."

True to form, I got sidetracked and didn't think more about what Ben was doing at the table with the crayons until about 5 minutes later, when the coloring was abandoned and the crayons were all over the floor.

Yep, he's still totally in the throwing things on the floor phase.

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I love 2. Yes, there's the tantrums, and the messes, and the total lack of self control. But there's a sweetness at two. A total adoration for mommy. An enthusiasm that just thrills me.

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Ben has started to show signs that he has quite the temper. Okay, fine, I've always suspected this about him, but at 2 1/2, he can exhibit quite the display. He has a fit every time he has to get in his carseat because he wants to ride in a booster seat like his brothers. Every time, I tell him he needs to ride in his safe seat, and every time you would think I was abusing him the way he freaks out when I insist we must buckle the 5 point harness.

Today we were talking; we have great conversations, Ben and I. I don't remember what I said, but he said "because I a big boy, Momma." And I said "noooo Ben you're my baby." He replied, "don't call me a baby evah evah gin. K, Mom?"
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I see evidence every single day that my baby days are slipping by. All of my kids get themselves dressed now (one with serious prodding, but he's making progress.) Ben sometimes pees in the potty. My big kids are getting to truly be big. A little independence. Opinions of there own. As happy as I am to see this, a big part of me wants to slow down time. To keep them small. And when Ben says "Want a heg (hug) Mom?" and throws his sweet arms around my neck and kisses me smack on the lips, I just want to freeze him right where he is.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fundraisers, fundraisers, fundraisers

Seriously, it's the first month of school and I'm up to my eyeballs in fundraisers.

My secret... I don't do it. I am a fundraising slacker. I hope not to sound like I don't support my kids schools, because I do. I love their school. But I can't stand the thought of asking our friends and family (repeatedly... times 3- someday 4)

I wrote a little more over at Deep South Moms about this topic. Do you agree? Am I horrible for feeling this way? I know I'm not alone in my feelings. But am I the minority or majority?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

When things aren't fair.

Yesterday Zack had a bad day.

It started with him doing the hide behind Mom's leg trick at preschool. He hasn't done that in two weeks, but the teacher & I chalked it up to being Monday and I left him. I fretted for a while once Ben and I got home, but soon went on with my day.

When I went to pick Zack up, he ran to me like always with a smile on his face. I picked him up to kiss him and he got the saddest look on his face. "I didn't get a sticker." And then the water works. I debated asking the teacher what had happened but didn't want to look like I was just worried about the lack of sticker.

I did talk to her, but just asked how he did since he'd had a hard time staying. She said he did great, but was upset about not getting a sticker, but she had only given one to one boy. Turns out she told the kids whoever could spell hat would get a sticker. They each had an opportunity, but only one child did it.

He got his stamp for being good, but no sticker.

Boy, who knew how much drama this could cause. I heard about it for hours. I just kept thinking I wish that grown up bad days amounted to not getting a sticker.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pictures

Here is my finished (kind of) bedroom. I did notice after taking these pictures that part of the wall where the bed is needs touched up, it didn't get quite even.

I would like to paint or refinish that dresser a darker color. Maybe a charcoal grey. We shall see. I also want to move the elliptical and put in a nice comfy reading chair. That may have to wait since I really don't want to spend much money on this decorating project.

And my wall art (if it doesn't suck) will hang there, over the bed. After I get the bed and end tables centered on the wall. Moving that bed by myself was not an easy accomplishment. But I did it!

I did not use the table saw because I am a chicken. I'll try not to beg Kevin to do it RIGHT when he gets home. We'll see how long I last.

Also, those end tables? I bought them a few months ago when I got those lamps. They are totally fine, but now. they.alll.wrong.for my vision of my pretty bedroom. So, do I Craigslist them & have my handy hubby build something to replace it? Or do I paint them to match the bookshelf. Also, the headboard needs to be darker now. Refinishing that sucker would be hard work, so what I'd love to is paint all the furniture in there. Really the only thing stopping me is that Kevin hates the thought of painting wood. And he built the bookshelf and headboard. So, if he doesn't want me to paint them I probably shouldn't. I'll talk to him about it right after we discuss him cutting 9 8x8 squares of MDF for me.

See what I mean about snowballing?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Pacing Myself

Home improvement projects are so fun, but the problem is, they snowball. Take for example.

I decided I wanted to make this wall hanging for my bedroom. (I will post pictures once we find out if it actually works out... suspense!) I also have a scenic lighthouse picture I got made into a poster a while back when Walgreens had a freebie deal. But before hang that picture and my possible wall hanging I wanted to paint my walls, and then paint a rectangle of a very close shade of the color to highlight the art.

Are you lost yet? Cause that almost doesn't make sense to me. I have a vision in my head but describing it is difficult. And you see, my room is all painted and pretty and I would have pictures to post right now but my camera battery is charging. My next step is to create this marvel (I hope) to hang on the wall above our bed. The problem is this requires using power tools. A table saw to be exact. Normally this would totally be a hubby job, but he's off playing working in GA this week and I want to do it now. Except the garage really needs to be cleaned too, and if I'm going to go out there and try to use a table saw I think it better be tidy. You know, in case I lose a finger and have to call 911. Wouldn't want the paramedics to see the clutter out there. (I kid, I would TOTALLY pass out if I cut myself there would be no phone calling!)

Anyway so one little task of beautifying my bedroom turns into a million different projects and I haven't even mentioned all of them, because I'm not SURE I can convince Kevin to let me paint our bookshelf and headboard, and I definitely don't want to buy new ones.

Also we need to paint the living and dining room & I want to do a darker color on our tv wall in the family room as an accent wall, and and and. And I want it all done NOW.

So, I keep telling myself to take it slow (like 3 weeks roughly to get my bedroom painted) and as long as I'm working toward getting it done, it's cool. I'm pacing myself.

Now I think I'll go tackle that garage.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Dreams

The brain is a funny thing. I haven't thought about my old job, or the people I worked with for quite some time. It's been 7 years 5 months 11 days since I was there. I've heard a few things about a few people, but besides a very few people I was close to, I really don't think about it much.

Friday night, after reflecting on September 11, after writing about it; I dreamed about my old job and all the people there. In my dream I went back to work. (Interesting, since it's 1200 miles away from where I now live. The people welcomed me back with open arms. Everyone acted as if I had never left.

The only strange thing is that the President, my boss's dad, who retired before I had Eric and left the job asked me to go on the roof and and check out the air conditioner compressor. I couldn't figure out what was wrong (because dude, I work (ed) in accounting. And he kept getting so frustrated that I wasn't doing it right and his office was too warm.

Now I'm laughing SO hard because our air conditioner upstairs is doing strange things and while technically working is having these... issues and we can't quite figure it out. I just pieced together that the air conditioner part of the dream must be related to this. Haha!

The subconcious is such an amazing, and strange thing.

Most of my dreams I feel like I need a professional analyst to pick apart for me. This one, I think I have figured out!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Remembering

If I am quite honest, I have not thought much about 9-11-01 today. I didn't forget entirely. It occurred to me at some point that today 8 years ago was a horrific day. I wondered, as I do on every anniversary if something else might happen. Something marking the anniversary of a day that changed so many lives. I felt sadness, perhaps even fear. But I put it behind me and moved along with my day, on the hunt for baseball equipment and work clothes for Kevin. Busy with school pickups and dishes and laundry and every number of mundane things. I may not of even remembered before falling asleep if not for a friend asking "where were you."

I walked into work, 2 and a half months pregnant, a little disgruntled that the receptionist was running late and I would have to answer the phones until she got there. Minutes later, a salesman ran up to the front desk & mentioned a plane flying into the World Trade Center. We believed at that time that it was an accident. A small plane, flying too low, got off course somehow. It was unbelievable, but we made sense of it all.

Until... plane two hit building two. We stood at the door of the VP of the company's desk and watched the first tower fall on tv. I was flooded with memories of the Oklahoma City Alfred P. Murrah federal building bombings. I remembered the fear I felt that day. Of the friend's who lost loved ones in that attack and I tried, unsuccessfully, as I did that other far off day, to make some sort of sense of it all. Sense of the hatred, and anger that must be present to do such a thing.

I sat and wondered what kind of world I was bringing my child into. My much longed for, waited for, hoped for child... what kind of life would he see. The rest of the day is a blur. I tried to focus on work things in between listening to talk radio and running to my boss' office to get updates on tv. I remember the Pentagon attack, and wondering where my Father in Law was in relation to the crash as he was on a business trip to DC that day. When I heard of flight 93 going down in Pennsylvania, I wondered to myself when this was ever going to end. If this was the beginning of an age of terrorism and violence.

More news, the company Kevin worked for at the time had their New York office in one of the WTC buildings. That was scary for awhile.

My Father in Law ended up being fine, and the people that worked for my husband's company evacuated their building, and were never in harms way, but almost 3000 people left this world that day as a result of hatred, and anger. I still ask myself why. My heart goes out to the families of the victims today, as it did that day years ago.

Even though I wasn't personally affected, my deep gratitude is given to the rescue workers, to the people who worked to clean up the site. To the people on Flight 93, for their bravery in the face of terror. For each and every hero, on that day and after I give my thanks.

In February 2008, I was in NYC and visited Ground Zero. Words can not express how it felt to see the place where the twin towers used to stand, and where it not for terrorists who destroyed it still would.

My words are inadequate to do justice to the emotion I felt on September 11, 2001. Eight years ago. Still heartbreaking, still horrific. I remember.

Thank you Sue for making me take the time to really reflect on that day.

Where were you on 9/11/01?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Long Overdue



So we are starting the third week of school and I haven't posted first day of school pictures. What's your point? I haven't posted Disney pictures either and I haven't even put the camping pictures (and there are some good ones!) on the computer yet. However, since I have a messy kitchen and a giant pile of laundry that I'm avoiding... I present to you... three week old first day of school pictures.




The instructions were simple. Stand close together, look at the camera and SMILE.




Mark stand up please, Zack look at Mommy.





Ok, that's better, but Eric put your hands down.





Yes! That's it. Looks good! Achoooooo! Click. Yep. The sneeze ruined it.





After many, many outtakes, this is the best we could do.

The individual pictures went somewhat better... with the exception that this is the closest to a smile Eric would give me. (And I completely forgot to get a picture of Zack when I took him to his school.)

At least it's better than last year when I lost my camera at the school never to see it again.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Boys

There are things about boys I will never understand. Potty humor is just one of them. I guess it's cause I'm a girl. I grew up with a brother but nothing could really prepare me for the obsession of poop, pee, penises, etc.

We recently signed up the 3 oldest guys for baseball. Little did I realize that I would be eating, sleeping, dreaming, and breathing baseball for the next few months. It seems, though, that is the case. That is neither here nor there. It is what it is. (But Saturday we have 3 practices at 3 different times. Should be interesting.)

Anyway, the point is the kids have to wear a cup to all practices and games. Picture me wandering the aisles of the sporting goods store, hoping against hope that I could just find the cups so that I didn't have to ask somebody where they were. I did, and then wondered if the sizes I got were okay, and if they really needed it at their age.

Yikes. Then came the task of explaining to my children what exactly a cup was and why they needed one.

Tonight was Eric's first practice, and beforehand I showed him how it worked and stuff.

Any guesses what the first thing that happened was.

Mark: Hey, can I punch you in the privates?
Me: Noooo let's not do that!
Eric: Okay
Me: Guys! No!
Mark: does it anyway.
Eric: (laughing hysterically) That didn't even hurt.

On our camping trip Eric got some bites in some inconvenient places. On the way to practice he says to me "hey Mom, at least I can't scratch my bites now. That's good!"

I don't even know what to say, except OY. I still have so much to learn about boys.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Something Else to Do While I Should be Packing

The boys were up at 5:12 which pretty much irritated the crap out of me. I could have been packing since then, but instead have been doing junk on facebook & trying to keep the volume in this house down to a low roar. THAT is a difficult job. I don't know what my problem is with the packing. It won't take long once I get started and I'm totally excited about this camping trip with awesome friends. BUT packing isn't nearly as fun as say, taking a picture of Ben's newest fashion statement...


Then, when he recieved attention for it in the form of me taking a picture, Mark and Zack needed in on the action.

And now that I've wasted enough time I shall go pack.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Nose in a Book

Sorry for the lack of posting in the last few days. Somehow I was under the mistaken impression that I would have more time once the kids started school, but with all the dropping off & picking up my day is chopped up into brief little sections and I've filled that time with trying to get my house in some kind of order, and also painting my bedroom. Do you know how long it takes to paint a room in hour increments? I really thought I'd be done by now, but with a few days of Ben not napping threw me a bit off schedule. Next week! This pretty much leaves evenings for my blogging time and I seem to have been lost in a book for the past few nights.

I love reading. I've recently rediscovered this love & made time to do it more. When we were in Oklahoma I picked a novel up from the table at Kevin's parents house. I read 2 pages of that book and had to put it down, and never got another chance to sit down with it again. Just after those 2 pages I knew I had to finish. I was intrigued. When we got home, I put a hold on it at the library. After picking it up, I read 100 pages of "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins that first night. I wanted to keep reading, but could barely keep my eyes open, and I knew the boys would be up early. The next day, I couldn't quit thinking about the story and picked it up to read "just one chapter." That chapter turned into two and three and four. I finally made myself do some stuff around the house and would then reward myself with one more chapter. By mid afternoon, the house was decently clean, and the book was finished. It was one of the very few times that I've been frustrated with the ending of the book, not because of how it ended but because I wanted more. I couldn't quit thinking about it. The power of the story, the characters, what could happen next kept entering my thoughts. I wished I hadn't read so intensely throughout the day so I could have it to look forward to that evening.

I found out that the sequel "Catching Fire" would be out in Sept, and the other day I happened to see it in Sams and picked it up. I paced myself this time, reading 100 pages Wednesday night. Yesterday, I didn't allow myself to pick it up until the boys were in bed because I had so much to do. Today, I was not nearly so disciplined and read the rest throughout the day.

I didn't think it was possible, but it was every bit as good as the first. Just as thrilling, intriguing, and intense. Even more than last time, I yearned for the story to go on. There is a third book in the works, but as the 2nd one just came out this week, I have a while to wait.

So, that's where all my good blogging time has been going this week. If you have a few days to get lost in a book, I highly recommend reading this series.

Now I'm going to go to sleep so I can get up early and pack to go camping. Which maybe I should have done today while I was reading.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Kid Funnies

Eric: Mom, you have such a nice singing voice.
Me: Why thanks Eric, I like your voice too.
E: (sad face) No Mom, I sound screechy and funny when I sing.
Me: Well, buddy, everyone has different talents and...
E: (interrupting and much more cheerful) YES! Like, I'm good at dancing!
Me: Yes, and see, I'm really not.

And he made sure that he told the pediatrician that he's a reallllly good dancer, and mom can't dance at all, but she's a good singer.

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Today Ben changed into jammies while he was supposed to be napping. Hey, at least his thoughts were kind of in the right direction. It was almost time to pick Zack up from school & I had decided to just take him in his jammies because I'm really tired of the 4 outfit a day routines he's gotten into. I told him "Hey, in 5 minutes we are going to get brothers." He replied. "Five minutes... OH! I need clothes!" And went and put his clothes back on. He amazes me every bit as much as he aggravates me.

There's more, but I'm tired and that's all for tonight.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Answers I Wanted to Use

On Friday, Zack's preschool sent home a "Family Survey." As I was answering the questions I couldn't possibly put down my first response. The answers I used are entirely true. However, the answers that would have been most accurate are way more entertaining, yet somehow inappropriate to actually use. So, I present you with preschool family survey. The TRUTH of the matter...

Date 8/30/09
My Child's Name ErMaBe.... Crap, which kid is this form for? Zack, yes Zachary Bailey.
Hand Dominance - Right. I mean, I'm assuming he's right handed. No evidence to the contrary.
My child enjoys playing with - anything one of his brothers is currently playing with & unwilling to give up.
My child is really interested in - potty humor, saying "stupid" and other words that upset Mommy.
My child spends quiet time doing - there are four children in the home. Quiet time doesn't exist.
My child is happiest when - getting his own way, eating ice cream, clinging to Mommy.
My child's strengths are - throwing a screaming fit to try to get what he wants, irritating his older brothers. I hope you don't expect me know his intellectual strengths yet because... hello... he's 4.
I would like my child to accomplish the following this year - Stop throwing tantrums, stop being so easily upset. Stop clinging to mommy, and maybe get dressed by himself. No I don't expect you to do all of this in school, but I'd really like those things to happen.
The following people live at our house - Mom, dad & 3 siblings. Yes 3. Yes they are all boys. Yes they are all mine.
Our family really enjoys spending time - driving each other crazy. Also, being outdoors and stuff. But the kids, their favorite past time is annoying the crap out of one another.

So, you can see why I couldn't put my first reaction as my answers. Aren't you lucky I decided to share it with you though.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Letters to the Teachers...

Over at Deep South Moms, I wrote some letters to my kids teachers (past and present.) The teachers won't ever see them, of course, but writing them helped me work out some of the anxiety I was feeling over back to school. You can read it here.

In other back to school news... Zack did the cling to my leg thing today. It was the first time he was really reluctant to stay. His awesome, amazing, sweet teacher gave him a hug. He was still looking at me sadly, and she scooped him up and spun circles with him while Ben and I snuck away. I find it hard to reconcile this situation with the fact that he cried when I picked him up yesterday he cried. Just burst out sobbing. I *think* it was because I walked in right when he was about to get his good behavior sticker for the day. As if I wouldn't have waited for that. He settled down after he realized he was getting one. I'm not sure what to make of it other than he is an extremely emotional child.

The other boys are doing great too, and I continue to be shocked at the fact that they can in fact play nicely together. Huh. Who knew?

Ben is actually napping again! Granted he's still falling asleep in the car, but he's transferring to his bed again. Thank heavens. It's amazing what I can do with an hour to myself. Right now I am using this time to do some organizing and cleaning to catch up on the stuff I got behind on this summer, but I have visions of sewing & decorating & painting some rooms we haven't gotten to yet.

I admit it. I love school! :)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Things I Have Learned

... The Back to School Edition...

So much I have learned this week, much of which is review, much of which is common sense... still the fact remains:

  • I should not put Zack in his school clothes in the morning expecting them to stay clean until noon.
  • Eric (still) just loves school.
  • The child not being dropped off will always want to stay. The one being dropped off, sometimes wants to cling to Mommy like glue. (this hasn't actually happened yet, but it's coming. I can feel it.)
  • Nothing I do will ever be the right thing or good enough. Evidence: last year, Mark begged me to pack his lunch. I never felt like I could have my stuff together enough to do it, so they ate in the cafeteria. This year school starts an hour later, so I am packing lunch. (Plus prices went up and I feel I can send a healthier, less costly lunch without trying too awfully hard.) Today, on the way out the door we had a lovely meltdown because I *gasp* packed his lunch and he wanted a cafeteria meal. I don't even know what to make of this. He ate the lunch I packed him though.
  • My kids actually like each other when they aren't together all day.
  • I have more patience when I'm not with all of my kids all day.
  • Taking one kid to the store is SO much easier (but not easy, no definitely not.)
  • Having 3 kids in school and one taking a nap = awesome!
  • School makes kids tired. This is both good (easy bedtime!) and bad (fussy dinner time.)

So, there you have it. Things I have learned the first week of school.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Three... Two... One...

And then some! I meant to update much sooner than this, but we were too busy having fun!

So, our big surprise was a trip on Friday out to Orlando and... The Magic Kingdom. It was the kids (and Kevin's) first trip to Disney World, and my first since I was a teenager. It was incredible. Magic. I have pictures (of course) to post that will wait one more day. Miraculously (magically?) we managed to keep the surprise a secret until the last minute. When the kids figured it out their eyes got wide and Eric said "this will be a day to remember." And he was so correct.

Besides the BIG DAY we had fun with my mom going to the pool, to the beach & just hanging out.

We went out for a walk/ bike ride and Eric and Mark learned to ride without training wheels. I really thought the day would never come, but here they are. They still need some help getting started, but they are training wheel free.

The first day of school went off without a hitch and everyone came home all smiles. And no one argued or fought for the entire evening. Tonight was much the same. Tomorrow will be Ben & my first true afternoon alone and I just can't wait. I haven't had one kid at home for any period of time since Eric was 13 months old and Mark was born. That's been over 6 years. It should be interesting.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Four

Today is Granny day! The boys are excited and so am I!! Tomorrow is the day of the biggest surprise ever. The best thing is that it's still a surprise. Despite my total inability to keep a secret. I've told all my local friends, sometimes whispering right in front of the boys. I've talked to Kevin about it, making plans without mentioning the location. Sometimes *almost* spelling it and stopping myself when I remembered my big kids can spell. It's really quite amazing that they haven't picked up on what it is or that there's anything big going on except for that Granny's coming. Really, that's huge enough!!

Now I have a date with my upstairs (kids rooms & bathrooms) which has been sorely neglected lately.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Five

Today is meet the teacher day at the elementary school. I am beyond excited, but also nervous. I've been fortunate to only run across good teachers in our limited school experience, but what if this time my luck runs out. I guess it remains to be seen.

Mark is worried that school will be BORING and that he won't be able to play Wii as much. Well, I happen to think he'll thrive in school just like last year, and that second thing is a very GOOD thing.

Eric is concerned that second grade will be TOO hard. I comforted him by saying that he was SMART and he'd learn it all just fine. This is his first experience with pre- school jitters.

And we still have 5 days left to pack as much possible as fun into. And Granny comes tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Six

Things that are driving me crazy right now...

Kids throwing things on the floor when they finish with them. Examples: Crayons & markers, toys, pipe cleaners, and the worst of all dishes. Just explain to me why, once the cup is empty it needs to be thrown on the FLOOR.

Fighting.

Back talk.

Four year old refusing to dress himself despite being totally capable.

But it's not all bad. Yesterday evening I stepped outside to talk on the phone. Mark followed me out and was running through the neighbor's sprinkler on the sidewalk. So, I called all the boys out and they had so much fun playing in the water. It was fun and adorable. Soon after getting wet Ben decided he needed to take his pants and pull up off, leaving him totally naked. I spent most of the time chasing him down and putting his pants back on. It was quite the sight I'm sure.

A neighbor did drive by and rolled down her window to say "been there." So at least I'm not alone in my chasing a nakie baby down the cul de sac.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Conversations

Me: Ben you're so cute.
Ben: No Mom, I not cute.

Me: You are so smart!
Ben: No Mom, I not smart.

Me: Can I have a kiss?
Ben: No Mom, no kiss me.

I steal a kiss.
Ben:(sternly) No Mom. No kiss me again.

He is very verbal. And very contrary.

7 Days

I'm dispensing with any facade that I'm not counting the days until school starts. The days of having 3 hours with only one child at home. I've mentioned it often that it's been six years since I've had one kid at home. Coinciding exactly with when Mark was born, of course. This morning we set out to get the rest of the school supplies we need. We got most. Wal-Mart was out of notebook paper. I understand it's back to school and everyone on earth is buying notebook paper. But to be totally out. Shocking. So, I guess at some point I'll go to Target, under the assumption that they'll have some stinking paper. Probably with all four kids because Kevin is out of town some this week.

And those kids are fighting and fussy and we are experiencing a whole lotta togetherness. Togetherness is a good thing. Too much togetherness can equal insane Momma.

7 days. 7 days. 7 days. My new mantra. Until tomorrow!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Blog, What Blog?

Okay, I've neglected the blog this week and there is a good reason. Summer is winding down, which means we've been so busy it's ridiculous. Monday we cleaned house and went to Tae Kwon Do. After dinner, I took the big kids to the pool. Tuesday, I attempted to go grocery shopping which was an epic nightmare resulting in a certain kid spending 45 minutes in his room. Seriously, I didn't even get in the store. Later, after recovering from that I took them to the pool, but still had to go shopping for FOOD after dinner. It was one of those times it really couldn't wait another day. Wednesday was playgroup so we went to the playground and sweated like crazy, and later went to the pool. Thursday, we visited Brooker Creek Nature Preserve, and came home to catch up on some chores. Friday I took the kids to the mall playground and lunch at Moes. Then I came home and made a slew of key lime pies for Kevin's company picnic/party on Saturday. And that is what we did yesterday. Tons of fun, but I'm tired and most days by the time I've had time to blog my mind and body are both so tired I haven't been able to put coherent thoughts together enough to do so.

This week is the Last.Week.of Summer and we are excited to have Granny visiting us on Thursday. We have the best surprise EVER planned for the boys, and I can't wait to see their faces! But, you have to wait to find out, because as hard as it is to keep my mouth shut, I think you should be surprised too!

I'll try to get back to my every day blogging (or at least every other day... or whenever something cool happens) this week.

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