Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Operation Kids Sleep In

So, it's no secret my boys are early risers. Usually if they sleep until 6:30 I am in heaven, but it's generally more like 5:30 to six. We are trying with all our might to push this back a little for several reasons. Among them. It's SUMMER people and there's no reason whatsoever to be up before the sun. Also, next year we are a late starting school & the kids won't have to be there until 9:40. AND in a few short days we'll be vacationing in the Central Time Zone and I'd really rather not have them waking up in the middle of the night.

In an act of desperation we've pushed bedtime back. We've done this before but it's never stuck. Mostly because it.doesn't.work. They still get up early, just with less sleep and more fussiness. I'm trying really hard to keep this 8:30 bedtime though because eventually they have to start sleeping later. Right? It's been a week and boy have we been cranky around here. Yesterday afternoon 3 of them fell asleep and snoozed for 2 hours. I knew it was a mistake to allow that but I seriously needed the peace, and it allowed me to get some stuff done.

I figured with a long afternoon nap that bedtime would be a nightmare. Eric went right to sleep (because he is like his momma and values his sleep.) Zack and Ben kept getting up and Mark was up there playing parent trying to chase them back into the appropriate beds. We let it go on for quite a while and finally, at ten got everyone to sleep. Except for Zack, who finally dozed off at 11:30. I may have made a snarky comment about we used to have kids that woke up early, but they at least went to sleep at night. Now they didn't go to bed AND woke up too early. Anyone care to venture a guess who woke up first? Yep, Zack. It's going to be a long day.

The upside of all of this is that while Zack was up early for his late bedtime, it was the acceptable hour of 6:30, and everyone else rolled out of bed around 7:00. So I guess we're making progress. Now my goal for today is to keep them AWAKE through the afternoon so that maybe they'll go to sleep tonight.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Favorite Part of Today

Often when I'm putting the kids to bed I ask them what their favorite part of the day has been. Answers vary, and are often surprising. A lot of times I get "nothing," especially from one kid in particular. The other day we went to the pool and played tennis after dinner and I kind of thought one of those would make the favorite of the day but both of my bigger boys said "eating your famous homemade pizza." Which was kind, but I promise it wasn't famous. It was, in fact, homemade. Good, but hardly worthy of such high praise. (But I was thrilled they liked it.)

So, my point to all that is that I'd like to share my favorite moment of today. We were in the car driving to pick up a ladder since we reconfigured the beds into bunk beds. Which may or may not require the explanation that we are switching kids' rooms around again because Ben has been crying... more throwing a complete tantrum ... to sleep with Mark at night. "Seep Mark's woom. Momma. In DERE!!!" So, being clearly obvious that the littlest boy is the boss around here, we decided to do the switcheroo. (Let me just say that we were thinking of this switch anyway to hopefully ease some other sleeping issues and wake up times. Trying to put the earliest risers in the same room in the hopes that they won't wake up the ones that actually sleep. I'm pretty sure it will backfire somehow.) So, upon figuring out how to fit 2 twin beds in Eric's room instead of one twin and one toddler, we realized that the two twins won't fit in there if we want any actual space in there. Soooo, I thought we could just bunk them as the beds are designed to do that. Only we needed a ladder. And I might need some Valium since last time we had bunk beds was when Zack busted his head open.

Anyway. We were driving to get a ladder from the furniture store we bought the beds from a few years ago. We had to drive a ways to the warehouse to pick it up and Eric was reading on the way. Kevin and I were talking and suddenly Eric says "YES!!" I turned back to see what was so exciting and he was intently reading the Magic Treehouse and not even realizing I was peeking he whispered "that's what I wanted to happen."

It made my day.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Not to Sound Like an Advertisement

Okay, I don't want to sound like an advertisement for Sams, but I learned something recently that is making summer time grocery shopping much less horrible.

I always saw the signs for the "click and pull" service and just assumed it was for business members only but Kevin realized not too long ago that it was for us too.

Here's how it works. Go online and place your order. Easy. If you order by 5 PM it will be ready the following day at 10 am. They'll send an email when it's all ready and then you go get the cart with your name on it & take it through any register. After you pay, they go get any perishable items from their cooler and you are set.

It's seriously my favorite thing right now.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

What Was to Be a Random Post on Many Topics Turns Into a MAJOR Rant

Let me just start off by saying that it's funny how soon I forget. For example, shortly after writing how awesome my kids were being and how summer was surprisingly not impossibly hard, I remembered something. Could be that Sue's comment on my previous post triggered the memory. In any case, a mere 3 days (I think - they are all jumbling together lately) before my smug "Yay isn't summer fun" post Mark had a complete collapse on the floor meltdown over ice cream. Rather, over not wanting ice cream for a treat for doing well at swimming lessons. Nope, he wanted twizzlers. I reminded him repeatedly that if he chose twizzlers he could not then have ice cream in any form. He agreed, only to flip out when after eating 16 (okay, maybe I'm exaggerating a smidge) twizzlers. Then. His mouth was SPICY and he NEEDED something COLD to cool it off. I clenched my fists and buckled down and stay calm outwardly. Inwardly I was all eye rolls and wondering why my 6 year old was having a fit worthy of an overtired 2 yera old. Outwardly, though, I just let him throw his little bullheaded tantrum. And I never gave in. I can't quite declare victory though because it was exhausting and I feel quite the failure that he puts on these antics. What am I doing wrong? (And I know it's a personality thing that we have to go through and that he's "spirited" and "creative" and it's not really my fault but sometimes I can't help but wonder anyway.)

So, why I a few days later was all smug and confident is beyond me because it all fell apart again. I know this. I 've learned MANY times to not count my blessings outloud (even on the internet.) Because there's some little switch that tells the world that things are getting too easy over at Life With Boys and surely the heat must be turned up a little.

More of the same irrationality yesterday at the movies. I told them we could get snacks at the free movie or eat lunch at McDonalds afterward. Everyone was on board with movie snacks. Until walking out of the theater when (guess who!) asked if we could eat lunch out too. When I reminded him that they made the choice for snacks I had more of the same behavior from last week. Still, I did not relent.

Lest you think Mark is my only obnoxious child, let me assure you that Ben is the model of the two year old terror and I'm praying that Pre K will shape Zack's listening skills because Mommy is failing miserably in that regard. Even my oldest is kind of getting on my nerves because he keeps forgetting he is a KID and not the parent. I actually said today, "Leave the parenting to Mommy Eric. I've got it under control."

Maybe all of this is compounded by the fact that Kevin has been working from home for the last few days on conference calls that last until 8 PM and I didn't sleep well last night and we've been putting the kids to bed later yet they are still getting up earlier, and... well. Yeah.

At any rate, I'm trying to keep the summer fun and light and we are still going to the pool and the playground and this and that and the other thing and the kids are having FUN. I know all this is cyclical too, and I'm probably due a few good days soon. I hope. And I'll probably blog about them in spite of the consequences because I'm bound and determined to be grateful for the good days.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I'm scared to even say it...

I'm hesitant to write this post because I'm sure as soon as I do catastrophe will be soon after. However, I feel the need to not always point out my children's failings, potty talk, driving me crazy, when in fact these last few days have been nice. I realized this morning that I can take them places like grocery shopping, running by to drop something off at the doctors office, without losing my ever loving mind. It's fantastic! I'm not saying things have been easy exactly. There have been tears over peanut butter sandwiches, and sibling fighting, and other insanity, but overall I have to give the summer so far an A-. Pleasant surprise.

Now that I've said that I'm sure the behavior will deteriorate into sheer naughtiness and misbehavior and I'll be a trembling heap on the floor, but I had to say it. My kids have been FUN to hang out with this summer.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Potty Talk - revisited.

So, I'm experience a new version of potty talk that I didn't expect quite yet.

There are words in this house we don't allow from children and I try my darnedest not to say them too but occasionally, I'll slip. These words include: stupid, butt, hate and shutup. Oh and fart. Also gratuitous use of words like poop, underwear and body parts are discouraged. Obviously, there are times in which these latter words are acceptable (such as "I have to poop", or "where is my underwear?") The times in which I find them offensive are those in which the kids are having a grand time calling each other a POOPY head. I'm really not only interested in messing up their fun.

Often around the house I hear a child say "MOMMMMMMMMY so and so said the F WORD." And my heart sinks a little until I realize that it's not that f word, but the one referring to flatulence. SIGH.

It is quite clear that I have not succeeded in eliminating potty talk from my home. Yesterday I was trying to get Ben to take his nap. This is getting increasingly difficult despite the fact that he is NOT GOING TO SLEEP at night and waking up EXTRA early in the morning. It's like suddenly he just doesn't need to sleep. It stinks.... but I digress. I was laying in his floor, thinking if he just stayed in bed for 2 minutes he'd fall out. He said "Mommy sing fishy song." So I did and he sang along and it was just the cutest. Then at the end of verse one he added "poopy." I giggled (hey, I couldn't help it, it caught me by surprise) then asked him why he said that. He grinned and said "UnderWEAR!"

He's such a BOY!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

He's Still a Super Spy

I woke up this morning and the kids were watching TV. Later, I found a lemon had been cut in half. Kevin made salsa last night, so I wondered if he had done it. Although it hadn't been squeezed, so something didn't quite add up. I asked and Mark said, "I cut it, but don't worry mom. I was safe." I started in on my "you don't use knives without a grownup" spiel. Before I could get finished he said "It's okay mom, I had an adult helping me." REALLLLY? Funny I thought Kevin and I were the only adults around here. I inquired for further explanation. "Well, see mom, I've been to French and I know this great Ice Cream Parlor, and the workers there helped me." Uh huh. Got it.

It's no wonder he's so tired all day he's travelling throughout the night. Besides "French" he's recently been to South America, and Chicago on Secret Agent business. I'm tired just thinking about it. He's trying to recruit me into this spy business. My name would be Secret Agent MOM. So far, I'm declining. I do enjoy my sleep.

What AM I going to do with that boy?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

How to Make the Kids Sleep Past 6 Am

... run them ragged. One day this week we went Father's Day shopping at the outdoor mall where it was super hot. Heat zaps their (and my) energy really well! Then we went to get the oil changed and since I knew they would be BOW-ed and still HOT from the mall, not to mention cranky that I wouldn't by them each a 10 dollar ice cream cone at the mall, we walked to the nearby grocery store for a treat. After the car was ready, we drove down the road for a kickboxing class I wanted to try. They played while I died sweated worked out. Then home to do a few chores and have some down time. Whew. Then back out the door to their Tae Kwon Do class and home for dinner and Mark wanted a bike ride. In my effort to say YES more often, we went. Everyone went to sleep easily and slept until ... wait for it... 6:30.

I'll take it.

PS Once swim lessons are over I'll be able to spread errands out through the week and not be so BUSY on one little day. Because that one sure wore me out.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Love the Weekend

For the first time in a long time I am starting Monday feeling somewhat prepared for the day ahead of me rather than exhausted and drained from the weekend. It's kind of nice. Could be because I had a mom's afternoon out on Saturday to the tune of FIVE hours at the mall in which I browsed, giggled and got to know some new friends. FIVE hours. I never spend that long away from the kids. It's been a long time anyway. It was fun and refreshing.

Sunday we decided to make jam, and while looking at jam instructions online saw recipes for pickles. We asked the boys which they'd rather make and of course Eric said pickles and Mark said jam. After flipping a coin we decided to do both. (What? The point of flipping a coin is to make an actual decision? Hmmm. I knew we missed the mark on that one.) Future posts will have more on our pickle/jam making session, but for now I will just tell you it was fun. And homemade peach jam. Oh.my.goodness is it good.

I'm off for an exciting Monday of cleaning, running errands, trying a new kickboxing class, and taking the boys to Tae Kwon Do. Oh! And somewhere I have to make curtains for the boys "fort." (Mark's idea, not mine, but we're going to give it a go.)

Friday, June 12, 2009

On Sleep

Have I mentioned my kids wake up way to stinking early? And I'm tired? And I'd really, really love it if they'd sleep past 6 just every now and then. Or every day, but I'm trying not to get greedy here.

Sleep has been on my mind a lot lately (I know. Shocking!) I wrote a little about how sleeping habits have changed over the past seven (seven? That number still shocks me) years at Deep South Moms.

Summer: Week One Complete

Where the heck has the week gone? So this is summer break. BUSY! Too busy to blog. I must remedy that.

We've been having fun. My primary objective is to make the kids so tired they fall asleep easily at bedtime. Secondary objective is to get them sleeping past 5:45. 7 or 8 would be ideal. I'd settle for 6:30.

The only problem with keeping them busy and wearing them out is that I am exhausted. More than them.

Fun though, let's focus on that. Swimming lessons have been awesome! The first lesson was a little rough for Zack, who decided he wanted his floatie and cried the first 20 minutes of the 45 minute lesson. By the end, though, he was smiling and proud of himself! I fully anticipated Ben being less than thrilled about not getting to get in the pool. He did throw one major tantrum, complete with kicking and screaming. After that he occupied himself with going in the bathroom, washing his hands and walking back outside. Again, and again, and again. OCD, or normal 2 year old obsessiveness? You tell me.

On Wednesday we threw a water balloon party in the front yard. All I heard all day long was "Can we get ready for the party? Let's fill water balloons now. What time is the party again? Mom can I help?" (followed by whining about how what I wanted them to do to help was NOT what they had in mind.

So, summary of the first week of summer. Lots of fun, lots of whining. Tired Mommy, tired kids. However, not tired enough to actually sleep until the sun comes up. One week down 10 to go (yes I counted.)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Summer Fun!

My goal for this summer is to stay busy and keep everyone having fun. So far we have done this. We have spent at least an hour every day but one at the pool. On Sunday evening when we went (to kill that last hour before bedtime) my kids started laughing hyterically saying we get to go to the pool three days in a row!! It is notable that my children, who two weeks ago would throw a hissy fit if a stray drop of water touched their cheek, are now going under willingly to retrieve torpedos from the bottom of the shallow end. Today we start swimming lessons so hopefully soon they will be able to actually swim so I can breathe a little while we are there.

On Tuesday afternoons we will be going to the library for the summer reading program. I have no idea what to expect from this except for the kids to log what they read and get to attend a party at the end of summer. Wednesdays will be playgroup and I plan to take advantage of free summer movies almost every week. This gets us out of the house at least once almost every day. We'll fill in the gaps with trips to the pool and other water fun. Tomorrow we are having some friends over to play with water balloons. I might even get the sprinkler running.

I don't feel like we are over scheduled, in fact I'm pretty proud that we have a summer of fun for very little money (even the swim lessons are through the parks & recreation department for a very low cost.) I really feel like the more we can get out and about the better off we will all be.

Monday, June 8, 2009


I have been frustrated by my lack of picture taking lately. I keep ending up in cute situations with no camera, or no ability to take pictures because I have kids crawling all over me.

I wish I had a picture of the boys having a picnic the other day in our back yard. We've had some awesome pool fun I could use a picture or two of.

Fortunately, a friend took pictures at the award ceremony at the end of the school year for me (since I was wrestling toddlers at the time!). And one of Mark's classmates moms took this picture at the kindergarten poetry reading for me. I'm so thrilled I have people taking care of me since I can't seem to remember my camera lately!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Diets in Review - Healthy Summer Kids Series

Earlier this week, I linked to Diets in Review series on keeping our kids healthy this summer. Today, there is a roundup post with all of the articles in one place. There are lots of great ideas for keeping active and eating healthily this summer!

Summer Day One: The Longest Day

Maybe it just felt extra long because Mark and Zack were up at 4:30. To be honest, I didn't get up then because Ben was still asleep, but I did wake up about every 5 minutes from then until 6 to make sure nothing crazy was going down. Maybe it was because I was a tiny bit cranky. Maybe it was because Kevin left the house at 5 AM and didn't get home until 7 PM. In any case by about 10:45 I was crazy. I needed to make lunch but didn't really want to eat anything we had. I was going to mail some things but couldn't find my stamps. I knew that we'd better get out of the house and do it quickly. I had a few books waiting for me at the library, so we loaded in the car, got some fast food and went to the library. It was perfect. The little kids played with blocks and trains, the big boys picked out books and then played with blocks and trains with their little brothers. Eric and Mark are the proud owners of their very own library cards now.

The afternoon went fairly smoothly. Ben napped. Eric, Mark, and Zack painted, and then at some point Zack fell asleep in the floor in the middle of putting his clothes back on


Everyone was so tired and I was too, so they all went to bed at 6:45 without complaint and I didn't hear from them until 5:50 this morning. That's still way too early but it's a heck of a lot better than 4:30.

Today I've gotten off to a pretty slow start, but I think we'll go to the playground before it gets too hot. Getting out of the house is going to be instrumental in surviving this summer.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Running Late

I seem to be running late all the time lately. I used to be fanatical about being on time. I'd stress and end up where I was going 10 minutes early and 15 minutes before everyone else got there. I'm still fairly punctual when it matters... kids to school, things with actual start times, like sports. But I've given myself permission to be a little late to other things. Or more realistically (because punctuality just runs through my veins or something) I'm giving myself permission to relax if I'm not to the minute on time to things like playgroup.

So, that's why I keep posting a day late when I've written somewhere else. And that's okay too, right?

On Deep South Moms yesterday I wrote a post about sometimes wishing I could rewind a few seconds just to get something right. Although, I determined that it probably was for the best that I can't do that.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Healthy Summer Snacking

Yesterday, I was a guest blogger at Diets in Review with a post about healthy (and easy) snacks for kids this summer. For me, the key is it needs to be quick because my guys aren't big in the patience department. There's a whole guest blogger series over there this week about keeping kids healthy over the summer.

Looking at their site again I am reminded of a few things I need to start working on again. For today I am going to go on a bike ride with the little boys (in the trailer) and try again to start drinking 1/2 my weight in ounces of water per day. We've been doing the Southbeach Diet but starting to slip up a little bit, so I'm also planning to renew my resolve to eating healthier starting today.

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