Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Post Holiday Weight Loss Plan

1. Get sick after several days of caring for sick children.

2. Become so stuffed up that you can't smell or taste food. (Last night I was making dinner & chopping cilantro, and I couldn't smell it at all, so I tasted a piece.  It tasted like nothing.  So, I checked the label and it WAS cilantro, but I made Kevin taste it because it had no flavor whatsoever. Or, rather I couldn't taste it at all.  So, really?  Why bother?)

3. Become so stuffed up that eating creates an inability to breathe.

4. Cough so hard that your entire stomach is sore! Who needs to do crunches?  Cough your way to flat abs!
See, isn't that easy?  Not eating really takes off those holiday pounds!  Even though I had gained a few in November/ December I'm right back where I was pre-Holiday eat fest. Which is nice since I haven't been able to exercise since my kayak incident.  My foot was feeling better from that, and then as I was getting the Christmas ham out of the freezer, the Publix bag it was in broke and it fell on the same foot. Really, I think this stuff only happens to me.  So, as soon as I thought maybe I might be ready to run again, I came down with this raging (according to the doctor, I'm not just being a total baby here) sinus infection.  Also, there is fluid in my ears!  Fun, right?  But, antibiotics are a wonderful thing!  And, of course, we have to look on the bright side.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Over My Shoulder

Something I have to watch out for now is boys reading over my shoulder.  I keep the blog family friendly, but often I don't necessarily want them to read what I write about them.  Because sometimes I feel overwhelmed and spill that here, but they don't need to know that necessarily.  Anyway... they've developed a habit of reading over my shoulder.

Most recently, Eric commented on the fact that I don't indent my paragraphs. It's been  a long time since I've taken a course in grammar but I'm pretty sure a blank line is sufficient to denote a new paragraph.  Also, my smart oldest commented on my propensity to begin sentences with "and."  I do that...  I have no excuses.  It's my blog and I'll abuse grammar rules if I want to. :) Stop reading over my shoulder!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Pneumonia with a side of croup (make that two!)

Eric's been struggling with the asthma lately, and we've been keeping his wheezing and coughing mostly at bay with the nebulizer, but Monday night things got worse and I realized he'd probably not make it to school the next day.  I hoped, mostly for his sake, that he wouldn't get sick. It was a fun week at school, and he does NOT like missing things like candy cane walks and such.  Yet, when Monday morning came it was clear he should stay home. I was on the fence whether this was something that we should go to the doctor for, or if we should just treat him at home so I decided to wait it out a day.  He didn't have a fever, and this seemed like it could be an asthma flare up.  By 4 PM I was cursing that decision, as he spiked at fever, and was breathing rather rapidly.  I'll admit, I fleetingly thought of pneumonia, but thought it was just me being my paranoid self.  We went on in to urgent care, just to be safe, and after a long wait, found out he did in fact have pneumonia (plus a double ear infection! Bonus!) and left with antibiotic scripts in hand.  At least this was plenty of time to be better by Christmas, I thought.

This morning, Zack woke up with a croupy cough, and before the doctor's office opened Ben started with it too.  No fevers, but we made an appointment with our pediatrician (who, incidentally, I adore!) We experienced a bit of a Christmas miracle as she was right on time, and we were in and out in less than an hour, with plenty of face time with the doctor.  And we left with scripts for all three boys that were with me. Including the one she wasn't seeing, since she thought Eric would need steroids as well after listening to his lungs (even though he didn't have an appointment.) Woooohoooo! A round of steroids for everyone!  I'm particularly looking forward to that side effect that makes them very.very.cranky.  But they'll be breathing, so life is good!

As for me, I definitely am NOT feeling a tickle in my throat.  And my chest isn't feeling a bit heavy. My ears aren't aching either.

*I'm editing here to add a link to a really great post my friend Shanna wrote about taking control of your healthcare (and your children's) and how to follow your instincts and get a second opinion if what the doctor says doesn't jive with what your Mommy Instinct says.  There is seriously a ton of good info in here! 

Monday, December 20, 2010

The 5K that never was

...so I was all set to run the 5K. I was soooo ready for it. I was even envisioning blogging after the fact how exhilirating it was. How, I blew my last time out of the water!  How I hit the mark in 33 minutes!  I was there, I did it twice in the week leading up to it.

Only, I didn't run it. I wanted to. I woke up at 4 AM the day of the race wondering if my foot could handle it.  I obsessed and tossed and turned and decided I would try.  Then I would change my mind and decide I didn't want to risk further injury.  I went through that process approximately 72 times before I finally realized that I was being ridiculous and there was no freaking way I was running that day.

Because, the day before, I was helping Kevin get his kayak down so he and Eric could go fishing, and I dropped my side on my foot.  60 ish pounds, straight down, from over my head, and it hurt pretty badly.  

The part that really surprised me is how unhappy I was to miss the race.  I haven't run since, but I plan to start back up tomorrow.  There are plenty more races where that one came from. 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Running

I never thought I'd say this, but I love to run.  Okay, so sometimes it's hard to make myself get started. Also, sometimes during my run, it is hard and I wonder why I am doing it.  But the feeling after... that runner's high they tell you about, it is amazing and it keeps me going back for more.  Awhile back I ran a little 5 k. It wasn't officially timed or anything, but my time was 39 minutes. It was cold  out and I struggled with my breathing, leading to me having to walk parts of it. 

Recently, I struggled with shin splints (ouch) and decided I needed new shoes. I went to the nice new store up the road, and got a lovely pair.  Can you love running shoes? I did, with a great big except. That exception was my toes fell asleep. So, I went back, and they kindly exchanged them for a new pair. The new pair is great, too...  and my toes don't tingle a mile in.  This is a good thing. 

Tomorrow, I will send off my entry for my first real 5k.  A local race called the Flapjack 5k.  There used to be a whole flapjack festival apparently, but now just the race.  Complete with a pancake breakfast at the end.  I'm nervous, but it will be a goal accomplished and that makes me feel good. And I hope to beat my last time.  (Incidentally, I ran the distance in 35 minutes tonight.)

There is a part of me that is waiting for the other shoe (haha) to drop and have my body refuse to cooperate, or my knees to start acting up, or my feet to hurt too much. The other part of me, wants to run further, and faster and be an actual runner. 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful for my boys even if they are gross

You all know how thankful I am for my little family.  Every day it hits me how big they are getting and how someday things are going to be... not easier.. but different. Less physical work, more letting go and keeping them out of trouble. I kind of break into hives thinking about it (the letting go part.)  Nonetheless, I am so fortunate to have four good kids, who love me and I adore even when they drive me crazy. Even when, halfway through Thanksgiving Dinner, one of them announces that Ear Wax is Gross.  When questioned how he knows this, he says, "Well, I tasted it one time. Because I put my finger in my ear, and then I picked my nose. Then I put my finger..."

I interrupted it with a resounding "NOT AT THE DINNER TABLE!!" even though I couldn't help letting a small giggle escape. 

He finished by saying "it tasted really bad, Mom." Then continued to eat his turkey, pleased that I was sufficiently grossed out.

Boys!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mornings!

Mornings are crazy around here. Some moreso than others.

This morning I was getting the boys glasses ready for school and I couldn't fine Mark's. We were running late and I told him I'd bring them if I found them. A little while after I quit looking, I spotted the case. I opened it to check if they were there. And they were, only it was Zachary's glasses in the case. Which meant... that I had put Mark's glasses onto Zack's face. Go ahead, roll your eyes at me.

Their prescriptions aren't very big, but Mark is near sighted and Zack is far sighted. So I was on my way to school to sort it all out, when I called my friend that drove the boys today, and she told me they realized it in the car and gave them to Mark. Thankfully, I made that call because the only thing more embarrassing than going to the school to deliver one pair of glasses and swap them out for the right ones, would be to explain the whole scenario and find that I had been incorrect. Sign me up for the crazy mommy club.

After all of that I decided Zack could make it through the day without his glasses. Are we sure it isn't Monday?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Silencing the Control Freak

There's this girl who lives inside me. I try to deny her existence and hold her back. She wants to do it all. She jumps in too quickly to help her kids. She doesn't like messes. She is kind of a control freak. So I repress her as much as humanly possible.

That girl is right now screaming to come out. Tonight, Mark wanted to make brownies and that girl tried to say no, but daddy jumped in and said he could do it IF he could do it on his own and IF he cleaned up his mess. Which should be fine. He's pretty good about following the directions and stuff. But it is so hard to just.let.him.do.it. It's messy, he had trouble finding stuff and for goodness sake it's been an hour and I just want to jump in and finish it for him.

So I'm quieting inner control freak girl by taking my laptop into the front of the house and ignoring the nagging feeling that I should be taking over helping him. Deep breath in/deep breath out. Let him succeed.

Oh! They just went in the oven...

*Ok, this sounds slightly multiple personality-ish. There's only one of me, and I don't hear voices... please don't be concerned.

Some things I should have mentioned and didn't


Life is so crazy busy and sadly, the blog has taken a back burner. Or maybe that's how it should be. I don't know. The importance of all this silly blathering I do boils down to I'll forget this stuff. I know I will. I've already forgotten a lot of it, and occasionally I'll click a random post and think "Wow! That's really funny. I'd totally forgotten about that. Since I'm not really a scrapbooker, I do this. Although not so well lately.




So, worth mentioning... (or picturing as it were)... Halloween was awesome. The kids had a blast. And it goes without saying they were adorable.





















Also, last Saturday I ran my first 5K. It wasn't an official race where you get a bib and a number and an official time... but my friend used to work for the company that was hosting it and got me in. I did it in 39 minutes which was way slower than I wanted to run it, but it still feels good that I met that goal. A few years after I set it, but it's checked off the list. And... I want to do another one, and finish in less time.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Other Side of It

Yesterday, I forgot the part of 3 and 3/4 that I love.

The part that climbs into bed with me in the middle of the night, and wraps his little hands around my neck and says, "I love you, Mommy. You the best Mommy in the whole world," and goes back to sleep.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Three and three quarters

I'm d-o-n-e with not listening, tantrums and out and out defiance. Ben is a doll, be sure of that, but he is also full of energy of the manic sort. Into everything, completely knowing he shouldn't be.

Of all of my kids, he is the most trying at this phase... unless somehow I've blocked it out.

He climbs to higher heights (and jumps from them.) He runs from me and when I say "STOP" he laughs and keeps running. He listens when I say no, and then does it anyway.

As I typed this, he and Zack snuck into the garage, he climbed up onto my van and I raced when I heard the screams. No one was hurt (thankfully) but he was stuck up there on top of the van, and got scared. So, basically I can never relax or take my eyes off of him.

Which may explain why my blog is kind of sparse on posts these days.

I should be an old pro at this age and stage by now, yet I feel somehow like my mothering ability must be getting worse, because I have no idea how to settle this one down.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Still Juggling

I think all the balls are still in the air... although I loved Shanna's comment that she likes to choose which balls fall... I'm pondering that one. Because does it really matter if one wears a hat on hat day? As a third grade friend of ours pointed out "not EVERYONE has to wear a hat!! DUH!" (LOVE that duh is still around. It's adorable... right up until one of my kids says it to me... then beware the wrath of a Mommy scorned.)

Anyway... I ramble... but I've held it together alright this week. We've worn red, we've worn hats, we've sent treats, and chocolate, and movie themed items. We've hosted playgroup, and tomorrow we are set to do a brunch (although minimal effort was set forth apart from getting the house company worthy.) Bottom line is I'm almost through the busy part and can now gear up to enjoy the fun.

I can't wait for the character parade on Friday. The idea is to dress up the kids as a book character and bring the book along. I (as well as many other parents) send the kids in their Halloween Costume and find a book to go along with it. Do you know that there are kids books about almost everything. Eric's a ninja (Magic Tree House Night of the Ninjas), Mark is a Taco - and this one is a stretch because in the book we are sending the taco isn't a character, per se, but it does talk about making tacos... so I'm going with it. Zack's a Ghost and we have a book with a ghost. Done. (And we have multiple other book/costume options should anyone have qualms about it at the last minute. It could happen!)

So, anyway, I'm clearly (still) rambling at this point, and don't really have a point or a neat little ending for this post other than bring on the fun!!! The work is nearly done!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Juggling

This is one of those weeks where I am sure I'm going to drop the ball somewhere. Halloween is coming up, I'm hosting a Moms Club Brunch at my house, and oh yes, it's my turn to host playgroup. Not to mention the donations to send to the school for the Fall Festival, and Halloween Parties. Plus, there are field trip forms and permission slips (and $$**) to turn in, and we are attending the Fall Festival at school, a Halloween Party Saturday Night (which I need to take a dish to, and I'd like it to be yummy.) Let's not forget Trick or Treat Sunday Night. Oh, and it's red ribbon week, meaning there is a special thing to wear/do each day for that. Whew!

I've made a list of all the stuff I need to send off to the school, and the permission slips for field trips are in their backpacks today, so that's one thing off of the list. I just feel like life is one big deadline this week. Even with my to do list (and it's massive) I fear something is going slip through the cracks.

** Does anyone else feel bled dry by the school. Money money money. Not just fundraisers either. There are tshirts and field trips and this and that. It's all very small amounts, and it's not realllly breaking the bank, but it feels like I'm always writing checks to the school.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Oh it's just funny!

It's really good that I can laugh at myself because, frankly, I've been laughing a lot lately. And if I weren't laughing I might be crying...

This week was deemed Doctor Appointment Week for everyone except for Ben. I called in late August for well visits (horribly late for all three boys) and they couldn't get me in until now. So, typical of myself, I wrote the appointment down, threw out the paper on which it was written, and vaguely remembered the dates and relied upon the reminder call for the exact details.

I would SWEAR the call said 10:30, so I showed up with 3 boys (2 with appointments, one along for the ride) and waited. And waited, and waited, and... well you get the idea. So, we waited. Waiting with Mark is not much fun as he gets bored. When he's bored he gets surly and mouthy and, alternately wild.

So, I got rather annoyed at all the waiting, but was patient because my pediatrician is fantastic and worth the wait. It's worth the wait. Plus, things happen and everyone has a bad day.

I'm so glad I didn't complain. You don't even know! Because when the doctor walked in she said, "Did you know your appointment was at 11?" I just laughed so hard because how on earth did I do it. She was right too, because as soon as she said that the information all came rushing back to me, that one day was 11, and the other was 10. I really have no clue where I got 10:30.

Forward to day 2 and Zachary's well visit. I arrived on time with 2 children, and was fairly promplty seen. Zack was asked to provide a urine sample and he did. And this falls under the category of only ME, but while I was waiting for the doctor to come back in, Ben poured Zack's pee down the sink.

Also, both Zack and Mark failed their eye check, so we get to go to the optometrist next. It seems I've passed on my bad eyes to (potentially) three of my children already.

So, I laugh, because what on earth else do I do?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Cheesemaking

A while back we were watching this tv show. On said tv show they were making homemade Mozzarella. Kevin's eyes lit up and we decided we should totally make homemade mozzarella. So, we tracked down the ingredients (they make kits for these things) and made a not so successful attempt at Mozzarella. It was like a really smooth, creamy ricotta. So we tried again. And again... and so forth. There is some problem with some milks in regards to cheese making. Many of the brands "ultra" pasteurize the milk, getting it really, really hot, and thus killing off the goodness of the milk that let's us create cheese. Also, even more irritating, that most of the time they don't label the milk as ultra...it just says pasteurized. So we tried brand after brand of milk.

TG Lee, Publix, Sweetbay, Target, 365, Golden Fleece (local to FL and specifically says on the label it is processed at a low temperature.)

We did get something resembling cheese from the Golden Fleece milk. However, it should have worked perfectly, since it was LOCAL (which everything we've read recommends) and not heated to a zillion degrees, killing all that is healthy and cheese producing.

After much thought and discussion, we decided it might be the rennet, acquired new rennet, and tried again last night. With dismal results. I'm left to the option of finding a dairy and buying some farm fresh (maybe raw) milk and trying that. Or I could just go buy some fresh mozz from Publix, put it on some tomatos and top it with some basil. I'm about 50/50 on which to do, but I seem to have this compulsion now to make this work. So I'll probably keep flogging away at it until I have the most expensive lump of mozzarella on the planet. Hopefully it will taste good.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

My Baby Boy

I don't favor Ben, I promise! Although, if you look at my Facebook pictures lately, it might look that way. Because most of my pictures lately are of him. Because, he's the one who is with me all day. He does maddening things like shave his own head, and cute things like fall asleep on the couch in his undies with his hands folded ever so sweetly. I've never had the experience of having one toddler at home at a time, so it is kind of a novelty. And I take pictures when he's obnoxious, and more pictures when he's sweet, and I post them on Facebook.

At least he won't grow up and say I never took pictures of him.

Friday, October 8, 2010

In Which I Ask for Help With Kindergarten Homework

I ran into a problem with Zack's homework. Yes, I know, he's in kindergarten. But I had a question about the instructions that made it impossible for me to help him complete the last page of his homework. It was okay, though, because they turn in homework on Monday, so I caught it in time. Normally, I would write his teacher a note in his planner. Since it was a math thing, I wrote a note, put it in an envelope, and sent it with him to school. No.big.deal. Except for the part that it's kindergarten homework and I felt a little silly having to ask for clarification. Whatever, I can accept that.

The kids went to school, and Ben and I talked to a neighbor, cleaned his perpetually dirty face, and went off to my Moms Club Board Meeting. At some point during that meeting we started talking about our kids, and school, and math (I think, or something that reminded me of math.) Suddenly, I remembered my note, and for some reason it occurred to me that I spelled the math teacher's name wrong. Without saying the exact name, it has both a Z and a B and I transposed them.

So, basically, in one fell swoop, I confessed to not understanding Kindergarten math AND spelled the teacher's name wrong. To think, I used to fancy myself intelligent.

This Mommy gig is humbling, if nothing else.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Tidbits

Responsibility - Eric made himself a to do list last night. It included: Get ready for school, straighten bedroom, play until Mommy wakes up. When I woke up I was impressed to see that he was dressed and his room was picked up. I'm super impressed and made sure he knew about that!

Drama - This morning was cool, around 60 degrees. This is new and wonderful for us down here in FL after a long, hot summer. Mark went out to do his "Morning Exercises" on the patio and came right back in declaring "It's SO cold! It's like winter! I think it might even snow. So he busied himself finding jackets for everyone so they didn't freeze. He's so funny and so dramatic!

Smart - Zachary never stops surprising me at how well he is taking to school. He was the kid I wondered about because he doesn't like to learn from me at all. When I tried to teach him things he'd make a big joke out of it. He did great in preschool, but I still had my reservations about kindergarten. He just kind of beats to his own drummer and I wasn't certain how he'd fit with the structure of real school. Turns out, he's doing great. He's already starting to sound out words, but his real love is math. He comes home begging to do his homework,and it's always math he wants to do first.

Funny - Ben's antics entertain and frustrate me daily. The things he says just crack me up. For example, "Mommy you are the best mommy in the whole house!" Um... thanks... I'm the only Mommy in the house, but ok. Not too long after that,when I told him he couldn't have another popsicle it was slightly different. With a sour face and grumpy tone "Mommy you are the BAD mommy in the whole house." Whatever you think kiddo!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Telephone

For some reason I find myself unable to get people to call me back. These are people who I am trying to do business with, who I've left messages for, who should want my money, and yet..nothing.

Instance number one: I recieved a vague bill from our HOA for a "late charge" but it didn't say which payment was late, and I don't think I ever paid our dues or club fees late. If I did it was a matter of days, and since I'm fairly sure plenty of people don't pay them at all, I don't really want to pay this. It's only ten dollars but I want to make sure I owe it. So, I left a message last Friday,asking for more information. I haven't heard back.

Instance number two: Friday before last Kevin got sent from his regular checkup to the ER, because of a possible irregular heart rhythm. He checked out fine, but needs to see the cardiologist again for a stress test just to make sure. When they called, I passed on his cell number since his schedule is crazy lately, and I wasn't sure when a good time would be. They never called him, and they never called me back either.

Instance number three: I recently bought a Groupon for carpet cleaning and when I called to schedule it I got a voice mail. The message said they were booked out until November, which was disappointing, because I would like to get it done sooner. I left a message for them to call me to schedule. That's been 4 work days and I haven't heard anything. This is extra irritating because I've already spent the money on this. So, I need to call again and follow up.

Instance number four: Feeling overwhelmed, I decided that I would try a cleaning service that put an ad on my door. Just the one time, just to get caught up. I called yesterday afternoon, and left a message, and... you guessed it. No one called me back. So today, I cleaned my own darn house.

I'm starting to get a complex here. I know my phone is working... What's the deal?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sleep is Essential... Who Knew?

Sleep is key to the life equation.

The last several nights I haven't slept well. I seem to have developed a habit of waking up at 4 AM and worrying, and going over my to do list. And beating myself up over what I didn't do yesterday. All of that mental nonsense adds up to one more day of failure, and grumpiness, and exhaustion, and not getting those things done. In addition to that, no fewer than three of the kids woke up each night. So, between those things I have been very, very tired (and grumpy.)

Tuesday night, Kevin suggested I take one of his Ambien (I know...illicite drug sharing... shhh don't tell.) My first reaction was noooooooo. What if the kids wake up. What if I don't wake up.(I know, I'm ridiculous.) After assurance that Kevin would take care of any night time wakeups, and that I'd... you know... wake up... I took it.

I didn't fall asleep right away. I think my mind was somehow fighting the meds. Which is funny, since I'm typically a fall asleep when my head hits the pillow kind of girl. (Except the last few nights when I wake up.)

The night went like this. Almost fall asleep, pop eyes open. Repeat 3 times. Wake up the next morning when the alarm goes off. Now that's a night!

The funny thing is how good a day I had today. I was able to laugh even when Ben shaved a strip of his hair again. I was able to deal with after school stuff and even completed the "experiment" part of Mark's Science Fair project...

Sleep makes a big difference for sure!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Lunch

My lunch packing in years past has been less than successful. When Eric was in Kindergarten I packed his lunch a few times and he really wanted to buy lunch from school, so we went that route.

When Mark joined him at the elementary school the following year, I started out packing lunches, at which point they began to complain that they didn't like sandwiches everyday and they wanted to buy at school.

Last year, our school moved to a late start time (9:40) so I thought that would be the year I could successfully send their lunches to school without mass chaos. I would have pleeeentty of time in the morning to be a little more creative and please the picky things. It went well for a while, until one day I discovered Mark's lunch bag completely full at the end of the day. I asked why he didn't eat it and he said he just decided he'd rather buy that day. Highly offended, I said fine! Buy your lunch... whatever. Cause I'm mature that way. Until I found out he was getting pb&j EVERY day. So, yeah, I can make pb & j at home for way less than 2 bucks a day. So we packed, for however long and we pretty much were on again off again like that for the rest of the school year.

This year, things are in a pretty good groove. We still start late enough to where I can figure out what to feed them. We do a good blend of sandwiches and leftovers; also sandwiches are no longer just plain awful. Yet, if we have a hectic day, or they want what's on the menu at school (Pizza Friday, anyone?) they buy it.

But, what I am really laughing my hardest about is Zack in the midst of all of this. He really likes taking his lunch to school. It's just... he forgets to actually take it with him to the lunch room. So, after reminding him myself a few times in the mornings to no avail, I ended up writing his teacher a note to please help him remember (if it's not too much trouble, of course!) She did, and he has actually eaten the lunch I've sent him the last two days. YAY! Only problem, is when I opened up his lunch bag to wash the reusable sectioned container I sent his lunch in he had thrown the container away. Kept the lid, though. We still have a little work to do.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Things that have annoyed me today

Ben's inability to keep clothing on.

My boys' inability to play for 5 minutes without bickering or being grumpy.

Zachary having complete meltdowns when a simple "Oh, I don't like that" would suffice.

The fact that when I ask my children to put away the toys that they got out that they act as if I am causing them severe bodily harm. I refuse to put the stuff away though, so they will do it. (Or lose it I think)

Other random things best not to blog (nothing sinister, just involving other people's lives, so I don't want to post it.)

The lady in the car line at school.

Science fair projects that still need to be done.

Field trip paperwork needing to be filled out.

Countless chores that need to be done.

The pile of laundry that needs to be put away.

The list goes on and on.

I should add that I got very little sleep the last few nights, and I credit my general grumpy attitude and easily annoyed demeanor to that. I know a mommy that needs to go to bed early tonight!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

It's Like Watching Popsicles Melt

Actually, it is watching popsicles melt. Eric's Science Fair Project, that is. And the little kids, they just can't understand why we would waste perfectly good popsicles for the sake of determining which melts the fastest.

In fact, one of them just simply couldn't resist taking a lick of the red one, mid melting (during trial two) and knocked the top right off of it. Thus creating the need for trial two, take two.

Isn't science fun?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Truths

--No matter how much time you have to get ready for school, you will fill up the time and still be rushing to get out the door on time.

--This holds true even if you are ready, say around 8:30, somehow it is still a hassle leaving by 9:15. This makes no logical sense, however it is true.

--When your youngest says cute things like "Mommy, I'm making you precious" (while "fixing my hair" aka ripping my hair out with his hands) or "Mommy, this wooks absowutewy very yummy" when you give him cottage cheese that he requested it makes your heart swell with love and wonder how you could ever be frustrated with him.

--Probably 2 minutes after he says these things he will do something to frustrate you.

--Sometimes you wonder if you would be a better mom if you didn't have FOUR kids.

--Sometimes you think your life would never be complete without every last one of those boys and so you feel insanely guilty for even thinking the previous thing.

--It breaks your heart when you kid lies to you. Even when you know all kids do it. People say that you get tougher and won't take it so personally some day. You totally don't believe them.

--You never knew how much you would appreciate silence.

--Boys are loud.

The end.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Glasses

A few weeks ago Eric got glasses. It pains me that I've passed down my horrible eye sight gene to him (and who knows who else) but at least he looks totally handsome in his glasses.



Our lives are now full of the question "Eric, where are your glasses?" and chants of "On your face or in the case! On your face or in the case!" He looooves that! However, he is actually mostly pretty responsible with them, and we've only had to go back one time for an adjustment when apparently, they were on the floor at school, and a little girl sat and or stood on them. (Thus the chanting, you see.)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Obedience Training

I was talking to a friend yesterday and joked (kind of) that someone needs to make an obedience training class for three year olds. She said I should invent it and make some money off of it. I think I said "Yes, because I have so much success with my three year old." Sarcasm at its finest!

All my dreams of Ben reverting back to my sweet little bubby once school started are dashed. He's crazy as ever. From painting his toenails (I SWEAR I hide it every time and he finds it.every.time. To running out the front door, to chasing our poor bird all over the house. Thank goodness she can fly out of his reach. We can't forget the nakedness either. Go to the bathroom? Come out naked. As much as I remind him it is not necessary to remove all of his clothing to go potty. He is crazy. And driving me there quickly. Okay, so maybe I was already on my way, but my nerves are shot these days.

The worst is I've been through this phase 3 times and none of my tricks work with this one. He's his own person for sure! I need a new bag of magic I guess. For right now, though, I think I better go keep both eyes on the boy. And, get him dressed again, of course.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Right Now

This conversation is going on...

Zack: Mommy I like babies. They are cute and sweet and precious.
Me: I like babies too. They ARE precious.
Mark: Mom,if you like babies you could have another baby.
Zack: Yes, Mommy, I WISH you would have another baby.
Me: Mommy is all done having babies, guys. I love our family just like it is. Plus, babies are a lot of work, and I already have a lot of kids to take care of.
Mark: Well, MOM, you remember what a good helper I was with Ben.
Me: Yes, you were a good helper.
Mark: I know! You could wait until we are teenagers and then we'd be even more help. WE could take care of the baby.
Me: (Trying really hard not to laugh) OR you could wait until you are a grown up and get married and have your own babies.
Mark: Ok,fine!

Let's just be clear... no.more.babies.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

How to Eat A Hamburger

Or, rather, a turkey burger....

by Eric - devour the entire thing, with cheese, and ketchup, of course. Pickles are preferable, but mommy didn't bother to have them today. Ask for seconds and eat half of that too. Plus veggies, of course.

by Mark - eat a bite... talk a lot... when reminded there is no dessert without first eating dinner, take another bite, tell another story. Rinse, repeat... multiple times until Mommy reinforces the fact that if the burger is not eaten there will be no dessert. Ask if the whole thing must be eaten, at which point a deal is made and the allotted portion is eaten. Cauliflower, which apparently is far superior to broccoli, is eaten as well.

by Zachary - remove top bread from burger. Eat most of top bread. Scrape cheese off of meat with a fork, and eat. Declare self finished eating. Upon Mommy reminding you that brownies will not be had unless dinner is suffiently eaten, request mayo. Dip remainder of top bread in mayo. Ask for more bread for mayo dipping. When this request is declined, and the uneaten portion of Mark's turkey burger (in aforementioned dealing) is presented as necessary to be consumed if brownies are to be made, resort to eating this portion as is. (Including veggies!)

by Ben - Eat bites around the perimeter of the burger. Remove top bread. Dip top bread in cranberry juice. When told not to dip food in juice, reply "I'm just makin' it yummy!" To which Mom and Dad have no real argument. Ask for mayo. Spread mayo all around the burger. For some reason, no mention of brownies was made. Maybe Mommy was just tired. Or maybe the baby just actually gets away with more. In any case, the cauliflower was eaten.

by Mom -I guess I have to go make brownies. At least they ate their veggies!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

On School

It is amazing and wonderful, but my children slept until 6:30 this morning. Should that be exciting? Well, 10 years ago I would have told you waking up at 6:30 when one didn't need to leave the house until 9:15 was ridiculous, but it is certainly better than the 5:45 they've been pulling. So maybe, school will get them so worn out, they will have no choice but to sleep until actual morning.



I still have mixed feelings about the late school start we have. It's great on one hand. I mean, we have so much time to do our morning stuff. I can let them finish homework if need be. We've switched baths from evening to morning (which is awesome if someone crashes on the couch, or melts down and gets sent to bed. Not that that's happening daily or anything.) On the other hand, we have so much time in the morning. Perfect to fill with arguing, and craziness, and basic grumpiness.



It seems that everyone in the whole world is picking their kids up from school this year. I'm getting there roughly the same time as last year, and yet I'm all the way around the pick up line, out of the parking lot, and in the street. Pretty crazy. I either need to get used to it or start getting there earlier. But the prospect of spending an hour waiting for the kids to get out of school pains me. If I could read, it might be lovely, but I have my little budding conversationalist in the back who needs to "tell me" questions and stuff.



Last night was Open House. For Zack, it was a thrill. He showed me everything with great enthusiasm and delight. I, of course, pretended like it was the first time I'd seen it all. How could I not?

Mark's reaction was a bit different. He was grumpy. Not in a way that was noticeable to his teacher (I hope) but enough to try my patience. When they mentioned that the 2nd graders would participate in a Science Fair he grumbled "there's no way I'll win. Why should I try." I reassured him then told him we'd discuss it later. I truly believe he'll be fine in every aspect of second grade. He was just ready to move past the information and on to the ice cream.



I'll be honest I was really nervous about Eric going into third grade. Yet, he was so excited and is doing great so far. He has an I Can Do It attitude and it seems the anxieties are at bay. He's thrilled about participating in the Science Fair, and even revealed to me the other day that he finished his assignments when the other children did. His teacher let me in on a little more information. She had asked him what he did differently to finish on time, and he told her "I started when everyone else did." If only I'd known, I'd have told him that last year. I think he's starting to figure things out.



This year is going to be great. I can feel it!

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Long Awaited -- Back to School Pictures!















As usual, they were more interested in doing silly pictures than standing still. Silly pictures were a wild success! Zack was the only one who would let me take his picture in the classroom. The other ones were too big for me to follow in with my camera. When did that happen?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

New to the Blogosphere

The other day Mark had a notebook he was writing in and said he wanted to have a blog. I jumped up and said "Why don't we make you one!" He's piggybacking on my account because I don't love the idea of him having his own. This way I can easily access his stuff. AND he can't get on without my putting in my password.

So, then Eric wanted one, but has only posted the one time. Mark, however will ask me if he can blog, and I let him.

So far, the entries are short. However, they are often extremely cute and comical even.

I added both boys blogs to my blogroll ----> over there, so if you need a giggle, check them out!

Time

Time is a funny thing. I'm really good at wasting it. I thought I'd be more focussed once school started. Get the housework caught up in a few days... then on to some fun projects, some extra organizing. Etc. However, instead I've been kind of goofing off. Catching up with friends, having conversations without a zillion interruptions. That's worthwhile though, and also very much needed. However, it's time to concentrate on the house. For real!

Not before telling you this story though. Prepare to be totally grossed out!

See, the other thing is Ben is still at home and he's kind of a handful. Yesterday, I went out for coffee & doughnuts with one of my best friends. We kind of lost touch for most of the summer due to travelling, and company. When we finally did get together my kids were all vying for attention, so it was nice to just sit and chat while Ben and her little girl munched on some goodies. I put Ben in the car while it was time to go, while she and I lingered and chatted some more. Well, Ben was just kind of playing in the car, I saw him in the front seat. He buckled into the drivers seat. He was so cute and content playing, until it was time to go and I buckled him up and we left.

When we got home I suggested he go potty and he said "I don't have to Mommy. I peed in your coffee cup." Now before you totally freak out, this was an empty cup, in the car from the morning. Not one I was still drinking from. But I was confused because I didn't remember the cup having any... um... liquid in it. Huh.

Later, when I moved the cup into the house to wash it I found the liquid. UNDER the mug, in the cupholder. Ew ew ew!

My lesson, don't ever take my eyes off Ben, even for a second. And, also... the one we all learned in grade school... Boys are gross.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

So Much for Theories...

So, in my last post I mentioned my theory that after a really bad day, usually a really good day follows. Apparently I've forgotten that any time I say something out loud (or evidently, type it) the absolute opposite will happen.

Basically, my kids have been bodysnatched and replaced with ungrateful, fit throwing, demanding...I could go on, but suffice to say it hasn't been pretty.

I'm all about not creating a false impression here and glossing over the bad stuff or pretending to be a perfect mother. As much as I want to be a perfectly patient saint of a mom the reality is I struggle. Because 4 boys day in day out is just hard. I try not to moan too much about it for a multitude of reasons. Including, but not limited to the fact that if the boys ever read this blog, I don't want them to feel like all I did was gripe and complain about how haaaaard this all is.
Anyway, if I sound scattered, it's because I am. And, oh! If I endupleavingspaces outofmy text it isbecausemyspacebar was removed by mysweeeeeeeet baaaaybeee. I put it back on, but yeah...it's not working as well as it could.

Anyway... last few days. Let's sum it up shall we?

On Tuesday, I went to a meeting in which my kids were among many, and everything went well until one of mine "steamrolled" one of the smaller kids resulting in many tears of said younger kid. In his defense, steamroller is a game we play around here. Mostly with daddy in which everyone is laying down and one guy rolls over the others while singing "steamroller, steamroller, steamroller." So, my kid didn't mean to hurt the other kid, but it was still slightly frustrating. That wasn't the worst thing at the meeting either. If it had been it actually would have been easy, breezy. No big thing. The fact that it happened after one of my more humiliating mothering moments could have made it seem worse than it actually was. THAT oh so embarrassing thing was when the daughter of the mom whose home we were invading meeting in whispered in my ear "Your boy that's wearing the blue shirt isn't wearing pants or underwear." I leapt up in the midst of discussing something important. I ran to find him and his pants. I only accomplished one of those feats. Luckily, I have been keeping Ben pants and undies in the car due to him being accident prone of late. Even if that were the end of this story it would be still kind of funny. However, I never found the other pants. Then, at dinner last night, while the boys and I recounted the story to Kevin, Ben smiled and said, "I pooped in them" and laughed. How do you spell humiliated? I'm pretty sure it looks a lot like p-o-o-p-y- p-a-n-t-s.

That's not all, though. No, there were multiple incidents of poor behavior in public places. Particularly, by children old enough to know better. There was the matter of a certain boy who has taken to yelling at me. Issues cropping up that I thought were long since dealt with. Fighting boys, rowdy boys, screaming boys. Oh.my.

And this, my friends, is why this Momma is ready for school to start. I'm hoping some one on one time will tame the wild Benjamin. I'm hoping some time apart will quell Eric and Mark's compulsion to beat on each other. Most of all, I'm hoping that me missing my kids (and I promise in spite of it all, I will miss them) will restore some sanity and calmness to my mind that is oh so needed.

Today we met the teachers. I couldn't be happier with who we got. Monday can't come fast enough. I just hope that my kids will return to the sweet, lovely boys I know they are by then.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

You Know It's A Rough Day...

You know it's a rough day...

...when you cancel your errands after the first one due to children's behavior in favor of sending them to their rooms.

...when you catch "the baby" sneaking into your bedroom with the tub of margarine. (Although, admittedly it might have been a worse day if I had not caught him.)

... when you find underwear with poop in it in the laundry hamper. (Again, could have been worse if I had run it in the washer before I found it. GAG)

... when the bird cage gets knocked over by a rogue soccer ball. (We DON'T play soccer in the house. HELLO!!! - Thankfully, the bird is fine!)

I'm a firm believer that when you have a really rotten day, usually a really good day follows. So, since we got all of that out of our system, today should be fantastic!!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

How to Give Mommy a Heart Attack

I like to think I'm calm, collected and cool in crisis situations. Often, when the kids (ahem Ben, and lesser so Zack) do silly things like climb to the top of the piano, or the pantry, or whereever I can smile and take a picture before getting them down. I am unphaseable. So I thought.

Yesterday at the playground, the Smallest Bailey Boy made me completely lose my cool. I was enjoying the park, visiting with a friend. Thinking smugly (there's the problem) about how easy the playground is now. I don't have to watch that closely anymore except to make sure I can readily spot four boys. No problem. It wasn't even that terribly hot considering it's August in Florida.

I'm sure it was the smugness that was my downfall. I didn't even say it outloud, but we all know better than to think than things are easy, don't we? I'm a slow learner I suppose.

Mark came up to me and said "Mommy, come with me. You have to see this!! No real alarm in his voice, so I figured he needed to show me something funny or silly. I asked as I followed him "Is it something important or just something you want me to see." He assured me it was indeed imortant. Yet, in no way was I prepared to see what I saw. Not sure what I expected to see, but it certainly wasn't Ben standing atop the green twisty slide, happily talking to his brother on the other side of the bars of the tip top platform. I froze. I had no idea what to do or how to get him down. My brain just stopped working. So, I called my friend over to help me. She later told me she had no idea what was going on, expecting a bad word written on the playground or something similar.

Thankfully, she thought a lot more clearly than me in the moment... I was still like, "I don't know how to get him down. I can't climb up and get him down without one of us falling. First she thought we could have him jump & we could catch him. Which probably would have worked. I only had two problems with that.

1. I had visions of him thinking that was fun and try to do it again next time for the thrill of jumping and getting caught (or else climb up and jump off with no such safety net.)

2. I had visions of us missing and him going splat and breaking bones and stuff. *Shudder*

So, long story short, we ended up having me climb up the smaller slide on the side, onto the top of that slide (like the handle where you hold on to push off and go down really fast ... I need pictures to really explain this well, but I was too busy freaking out.) I looped my hand threw the upper bars of the top platform and held on with my entire upper arm to ensure I wouldn't fall off, and had him scoot as far forward as he could. It was then that I said to my three year old "Mommy's going to hold you under your arm and you need to grab on to me as tight as you can." I took a deep breath and hoped it would work. I got him, supporting myself with one arm and holding him with the other. I slowly lowered him down to my friend. I could have never gotten down holding him, so I was glad to have a backup. It was still a little scary, because it was a great enough distance to where she couldn't get a totally good hold of him, but she grabbed his bottom and did a STELLAR job not dropping my crazy child.

This totally takes the cake for crazy things my children have done. I hope it keeps the record for.ever.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Distant Memories

It clicked with me the other day, how far we've come.

We no longer have sippy cups found days later to be cleaned of curdled milk... or let's be honest... thrown away. Gone are the days of daily diapers (but here are the days of daily accidents.) Goodbye to Cry It Out. I remember clearly struggling to get Ben to sleep. Wondering why by the fourth go round I wasn't any better at resisting the cry of my baby. Now, that is a distant memory, as no one cries at bedtime. On the contrary they mostly just stay in bed after kisses and hugs and sleep until morning - even if I may not consider it morning.

When I grow frustrated with Ben and his antics, he often charms me with a smile and a cute saying. For example, yesterday he came to me and said "Mommy! I found boy lipstick! Want some?" and he made a kissy face, all puckered up, "do this!" I did, who could resist? And he smeared some on my lips. Completing the sweetness by smacking a kiss on my lips, I wondered how I could grow so frustrated with this child. Yet, when he is in the midst of his crazy shenanigans, I wonder... where the other ones this ornery? Was I younger and more energetic? More patient? Why is all of this so hard on me this time? Granted, the boy can dish out some insanity, but really, is it any worse than the others? Maybe... I don't know.

What I do know, is just like the diapers and the sippy cups, these days will someday be a distant memory. Just like when the boys would pile up entire contents of closets in Baby Zack's (!!) crib and frustrate me like crazy... those days seem funny and easy to me. Those hard days pale in comparison to the right now.

I know *right now* it all seems very difficult. Will the future hold even harder days? Or will I be better equipped to handle it all then? It's a scary question, because if it difficulty keeps increasing I could be in really big trouble. Like loony bin trouble. And then that, too, shall pass and on to the next trial.

So, my conclusion with all of this deep thought (brought to you while folding laundry, no less) is that for now, I have to embrace it all. Peed pants, thrown fits and all, because before very long it will all be a distant memory. One I want to look back on as a mother, patient and calm through the adversity. Enjoying the fun times and taking the hard ones in stride. I have a long way to go...

In an attempt to embrace that sentiment... I give you things I enjoyed today.

1. The aforementioned "boy lipstick" incident. I love that Ben relates to me in ways that the others don't. He wants to be like me, but at the same time he is totally 100% boy.
2. The big boys created snow suits for their stuffed animals today. Out of old socks. Because clearly they might get cold in Florida, in August... when we walk outside and instantly sweat. You never know. The creativity makes me proud! Even when it confuses me.
3. Zack, after I drew a map explaining the difference between Tampa Bay, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Atlantic Ocean (upon questioning by Mark) saying "WOW Mommy, I didn't know you knew all that! You are pretty smart!" Seriously, made my day!
4. Watching them help each other.
5. Enjoying them hang out with friends while eating ice cream.
6. Eric, after being sent to his room for a melt down, telling me, "hey mom, I cleaned my room a little while I was up there."
7. When they get along and just play... it happens sometimes.
8. Eric and Mark working together to unload the dishwasher without complaining. It isn't exactly as I would do it, and they took forever, but it got done.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Beach

It occurred to me last week that summer was almost over, and we hadn't been to the beach yet. Ridiculous! It's only 30 minutes away! So, on Friday we packed up and headed out that way. After a brief lunch at the picnic area that was relocated to the van due to a bee sting and tons of mosquitos, we made our way across the causeway. I love the beach!






Monday, August 2, 2010

You May Have Noticed From the Birthday Pictures...

For the last... forever... Mark has wanted a pet. The other boys too, but for sure, Mark. You'll remember the time he earned his pet fish with good behavior (they later died, but we actually now have 3 glow fish that appear to be indestructable. No, really, Ben put a bar of Irish Spring Soap in the tank - not to be discovered until the water was green and foamy- and they survived. Fish weren't enough, though, he wanted something he could play with. I resisted.


The kids started out asking for a puppy. Now, there is the small matter of the fact that Kevin is allergic to dogs, so that was an easy no. But if not for that, I could still think of about 17,000 reasons not to add a puppy to our household. Poop, pee, and puke among them. Every time my resolve started to fade, I'd hear of a dog that had to be chased all over the neighborhood, thought of having to potty train another creature (kids are hard enough!) or just reminded myself that I would be the one taking care of the cute wittle thing. At some point, that may be okay, but for now, I resisted.
The next request was a Guinea Pig. Eric's class had one for a class pet. We considered this one. But, in the end, I couldn't get past the idea of a rodent in my house. I had hamsters when I was newly married, and they pretty much creeped me out, as much as I wanted to like them. So, I resisted.

I can't really remember what got us started on the bird topic. Yet, Mark did a lot of research... no, really, he checked out a book from the library and became our resistant bird expert. The topic would come up, and we would say maybe later, and then it would be forgotten for awhile. Never for very long, though. Kevin and I talked about it and finally decided we'd get the boy(s) a bird. We decided on a parakeet and thought we'd go on the weekend and buy it and all the gear, only one day Kevin came home from work with news that a buddy at work had a cockatiel they were looking for a home for. This bird is about 15 years old and very friendly. They were only giving her away because their dog made it impossible to get her out of her cage to interact with. (Think really cute dog, going crazy over bird and trying to eat it. EEK) Anyway, we spent some time with the bird and decided to bring her home. We think she's a girl. Apparently with birds it's hard to tell without some sort of surgery (or if they, you know, lay eggs) but I'm going with the theory that the bird is female. Makes me feel slightly less outnumbered.


So, welcome to our family... Lucky...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Five

Yesterday, at the pool, Zack started swimming. This was the first year he could "touch" in the shallow end (barely) and he's been content to splash around there, or swim around in a life jacket thus far this summer. Yesterday, though... he told me he was going to swim under water to me. And much to my surprise, he did. It wasn't pretty, and I'm not confident that he's a "swimmer" yet by any stretch, but the funniest thing was when he said "Mommy, I can swim now because I'm five." As if that extra day made all the difference. Apparently, it did.





This is my non staged messy house, by the way. Normally I pick up a little more or at least make sure the angle of the photo misses the mess. This is the reality. Messed up cake, disorganized house, dead flowers on the bar and all.







.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Birthday Cake Fail

The problem with having taken the Wilton Cake Decorating class is that now I have enough knowledge to do a few things. Actually, I really felt like I had some success at making pretty cakes and didn't think it would be any big deal to whip up some dinosaur decorations for Zack's cake. I had it all planned out. It was going to be perfect. And it might have been if I'd started it on Sunday instead of Monday, and left enough time for the dinosaur piece to dry and be hard before I tried to move. Or if my other icing hadn't been the consistency of pudding and might possibly have held it's shape. So, therein lies the problem, overconfidence = total failure.
Before a messed up cake would have been no big deal... a drop in the bucket. Heck, before I'd have gotten a cake from Publix and been just fine with that. But now, oh now, I'm supposed to create a masterpiece for each and every birthday.

Alas, Kevin came home and saved the day. Drawing a rough figure of a dinosaur with a tube of gel icing I had in my cake decorating kit. The cake was lopsided, an odd shade of green, and had a very questionable looking dino on it. But it tasted great, and it had five candles on it, which pretty much made it the best cake ever in Zachary's mind.

How did he get to be so big anyway?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Random Stuff I Post on Facebook

I have to confess, I took awhile to really "get" facebook. I had my group of online friends, my blog, absolutely NO interest in MySpace, so I just wasn't sure. Plus, when I finally signed up, and tried to get into it I still didn't understand the hoopla. But, awhile later I tried again and it was magic! I think it probably coincided with several of my other friends getting into the mix and made it so much fun. So, these days while I barely have a second to breathe, much less blog I do often find myself posting silly, pointless stuff on Facebook.

So, here I will share with you my random stuff I post on facebook 10 most recent posts... Because I am avoiding chores, mostly. Starting with the most recent...

1. Making Kale Chips-- wondering if my kids will actually eat them. :) 18 minutes ago

(The verdict -- they all declared them yummy, but too spicy and ate exactly one. MY verdict. Delicious! And super easy/healthy. Yay)

2.You know you have kids when you find quarters in the refrigerator... 14 hours ago

3. I've had a hard time getting back to running after vacation. Yes, it's been three weeks since we've been back. I WILL run tomorrow. Ask me!! Tuesday at 10:08 PM

(I did! Only 2 miles but I did go)

4. Watching WipeOut with the family. It's kind of scary how much my kids love this show. Tuesday at 8:56 PM

(Although based on comments they aren't the only ones.)

5. Mmmm Guacamole salad! Awesome summer dinner. (Monday at 6:44 pm)

(This is the sort of post that I almost delete because clearly NO ONE cares about my guac & lettuce consumption... and then I get comments... because my friends love guac as much as I do.)

6. Off to the pool. Messy house will wait a few more hours I suppose. Monday at 2:34 pm

(It did... plus some :))

7. Overheard: Mark to Zack: Do you think I went to school for all these years for NOTHING. Hehe. Monday at 1:35 pm

(My cousin commented and asked if I had a notebook to record all of these funny things in. I don't... but I do have... this blog. Realizing that comment was probably the spark for this blog post.)

8. I really dislike asking for favors. July 18 at 1:43 pm.

(I really really do. But I did it and it was fine. My friends don't mind watching my kids but I sure don't like asking them to.)

9. I guess no beach today since one of my buddies has a fever. July 16 at 7:12 am

(and then another brother got it, then another. Ben escaped. Luckily it was a 24 hour type of virus. We still need to get to the beach!)

10. Calgon!!!! July 15 at 7:59 pm

(You know, I feel this way quite often at 7:59 pm... )

So, there you have it. My apologies if you are my friend on facebook and this is all repetive. Since it's absolutely riveting and all.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Summer Blogging

It seems every time I make a plan it gets derailed. I planned to keep us so busy this week that the time would fly, and boys would sleep great and Kevin would be back before I knew it. The first few days were right on track. Sunday we went on a long hike. Longer than intended actually, due to me forgetting that when boys say "noooo we aren't tired, let's keep going!" it could still be a matter of mere minutes before they are tiiiiiired, and need to be back right noooooow. They all survived though and they were calm in the evening and slept... okay. I ended up with two of them in my bed but that's not all that abnormal when Kevin is out of town. The next day I had a doctor appointment and in the afternoon we went to the pool. Some friends were with us and we had pizza delivered to the pool. It was lovely. Then I took a rest day. Because we all needed it after two very active days. On Wednesday, Zack was under the weather, so we cancelled our plans and stayed home again. Then yesterday it rained. We were all set to escape the house today & go to the beach, but today Mark has a fever. So we are home again and I'm stir crazy. I'm not good at actually staying home. Generally speaking, I need to be out of the house for at least a few hours on any given day. It doesn't have to be anything exciting, but the park, or the pool, or Target. I just need to get out. Kevin gets back this evening and I am so excited to see him!

Much like life derails my plans, my best attempts at blogging keep getting thwarted. When I heard the Silicon Valley Moms Blogs were to be no more, taking out the extra little nudge I had to write something read-worthy (at least I what I hoped to be!) every few weeks, I decided to work a little harder on this blog. I lasted about a week, posting more regularly and then I disappeared again. Granted, it's summer, my husband has been out of town since Sunday and my brain is kind of shot. Summer blogging is hard, because I try to keep the kids busy and while ideally I'd blog in great detail (with pictures) about all the fun stuff we're doing, the reality is by the time we get done with all that I am spent. Also, the chaos, while mostly fun, leaves me unable to think in complete sentences, much less compose a coherent post. That's a tall order on a good day. So instead, I'll take what I can get, quit making grand plans, and blog when I get around to it. Readability optional. When school starts I'll be a little more ambitious.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Free Slurpees at 7-11

Today is the birthday of 7-11 (huh, so that's why the name. I never knew.)

Anyway, I didn't know that until just now, nor did I know until just now that to celebrate they are giving away free 11 ounce birthday slushees. I know the boys and I will be making a stop there later in the day. Hopefully they will have some left.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Things That Happen On Vacation

There are a few things that happen every time I take a vacation that should be noted.



1. One or more (or all) of my kids get a wierd itchy rash. Okay, Ben almost always has a few itchy spot, but yes, his exzema did have a flare over the vaca. But, from the first time we traveled back to OK even way back when we lived in GA someone has gotten a rash. It's not as bad as those first few years. I don't know what causes it. Some say grass (but, we play outside and roll in the grass here too, and they don't do that), obviously they are allergic to something there. Which makes sense since I am allergic to Oklahoma as well.



2. At some point in the week or however long we are gone, I will hit the moment where I look longingly at every horizantal surface desperately wanting to just lay down and rest, but feeling totally guilty to go take a nap because I really want to visit with everyone. Sadly, even sitting down did not alway keep me up and I dozed off more times than I'd like to admit during the day.

3. Some child of mine will experience a moderate to severe regression in potty training. This year its Ben. We've gone from mostly accident free days to three or more peed pants a day. Enough to make me craaaaazy (er).

But, vacations are necessary and awesomely fun, so it's kind of worth all these things. As long as #3 resolves soon that is.

A Few Confessions

1. I still have not run since I've been home from vacation. I want to. I set the alarm, and when it goes off I just.can't.get.up. I am blaming this on being stuck on Central Time. I was sleeping til 7 central, and now getting up at 7 Eastern is HARD. To run I have to get up and out the door by 6 (ish) and it's just not happening. Next week Kevin will be far far away on business and no running will be happening then. I plan to get one good jog in this weekend, and fill in with the exercise bike next week, then back to running regularly. I did have a thought this morning that might help that was planted by the Beck Diet Solution. I reminded myself that every time I didn't get up that it would be easier to sleep in the next time. The author, Judith Beck, explains how every time you give in (either to food, or to not exercising) you are strengthening your "giving in muscle." Each time you resist that temptation you are strenghtening your "resistance muscle." Unfortunately, today I thought of it too late and couldn't go run and get home in time for Kevin to go to work. But, when he's back in town I hope this strategy will get me back on track regardless of what time zone my body thinks it's in. (PS if you feel like you need a little boost in your quest for healthy living/weight loss I completely recommend this book. I plan to reread parts of it for a refresher very soon. I bought it on Amazon and recommend it because it has really changed the way I think about food.)

2. I had my first mommy meltdown of the summer. It was ridiculous, actually, because I'm really enjoying having all the kids back home, and having things almost back to normal (almost because I'm never totally sure what normal is.) Yet, despite my resolve to be patient and not let certain children behaviors get to me, I completely got mad over something little. You see, Mark has this quality in which he's never quite satisfied. Never quite has enough. Always thinking of what's next, and maybe a little bit wants to run the whole show. I do my efforts to keep him content, but I also have 5 other family members to consider, as well as time and budget constraints. The story goes, all day long he was complaining. Complained when I wouldn't let him play Wii because it was school work time. Complained when he couldn't play Wii because it was chore time. In fact, every time I made any request of him it was met with grumbling. I let it go, because he did it, and this is the new, patient, me.

So, since our morning stuff was done I decided we'd do a picnic at the park. To be even extra nice we got our food from McDonalds and arrived at the playground. Of course, no one could agree where to go so I took a vote. 3 to 1... guess who the descenting opinion was. Guess who deemed the winning playground to be BORING and a BABY playground. I ignored the complaints as I knew once we got there things would be fine. I would not be defeated by his negativity. Mark has another habit of annoying his brothers and doing little ornery things like throw the shoes they are trying to put on their feet into the back of the van. This little act, as I was getting their food gathered and out of the car made me a little berserk and I started kind of tossing the chocolate milk containers back into the van so I could go get the tossed shoes, and when I got to the last one I realized too late that it was in fact my diet coke, which the lid popped off of and emptied into my seat. Sigh. I guess I didn't yell at them, and I wasn't throwing anything hard, just more of a bouncing stuff into the seat to make a point. HOWEVER, it was immature and silly and I apologized to my kids for throwing a little bit of a tantrum. The rest of the day went on and we had fun, so I guess no one was traumatized.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Happenings

In my efforts to get my kids to stop asking if they can play Wii, or computer games, or watch TV 87,000 times a day I'm trying to keep them busy. I mentioned that I made a somewhat loose schedule to keep us on track. So far (for 2 days haha!) so good. Sure, outwardly they scoff when I make them work on writing for half an hour (the horror!) but inwardly I know they adore it (if only.) Plus, once we get down with those have tos we have a big wide afternoon full of opportunities for fun.

Tuesday we had to go to the library. I love the library! The kids can play, get stuff to bring home and all for free! Except of course, when I forget to take the books back before leaving on a 12 day vacation and come home to a 15 dollar fine. Twelve books times 5 days late times .25 a pop. Ouch.

Later that day we went to the pool and stayed for all of 30 minutes when one of our Florida rain storms popped up and we ran away from the lightning.

Yesterday I braved a Moms Club Activity with all four kids. Going out with them all is much easier this year than last. Especially when it's something completely aimed at entertaining them. Wiregrass Wednesdays was on the agenda and while I was slightly concerned it would be "Booooo-wing" for my big kids, it was all very wonderful. There was live music (even though some of it was "baby songs" according to Mark) to entertain them as we stood in line for a long time to get a balloon sculpture thing. Two swords, a dinosaur and a giant hat later (pictures to come if I can get them off of my phone) everyone was happy as clams and even happier when I let them go on the train ride.

Last night we made homemade peanut butter (to eat on homemade bread) and everyone went to bed on time for the first time since school got out.

Keeping busy is great, but I'm finding it extra difficult to get anything done. I have yet to master getting the kids in on the jobs. I'm definitely getting closer though. Yesterday, Ben was napping and I wrote down four jobs for them to do while I dug all the crap out of the van from the drive home and it actually got down.

For today, I have not much planned. Currently we are running behind on our schedule for writing/reading time so I'm off to get going on that.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Running in OK

Oh summer vacation is such a whirlwind of fun and exhaustion. Capped off by an insanely long drive that is enough to make us question our sanity (and resolve to never again do it in one stretch. We have committed to always stop at a hotel. Remind me that next year.)

While trying to think of how to capture the essense of our trip to visit family in one blog post, I realized that it is impossible. So I will tell you a story that I find both hilarious and falls into the it can only happen to me category.

I went to Oklahoma with a strong desire to keep up my running routine (I only partially did, but I ran twice while I was there.) When my brother wanted to run with me one morning I was excited to go. Unfortunately he had to go around 5 AM because he was getting his wisdom teeth out later that day. So at 5:15 we hit the trail at Mitch Park in Edmond, OK. It all started out rather nicely. I forgot my Ipod which was fine, as I had my little brother to talk to, but I wanted it to measure distance (have I mentioned my awesome pedometer that plugs into my Ipod? It's a must have if you are a runner. I love it!) but it wasn't that big of a deal. I had a few obstacles to overcome as I had been up at my parents house until almost one, my allergies went bonkers pretty much the minute I crossed the OK state line, and then the biggest obstacle of all... hills. Florida is flat, at least the part I live and run in so hills were something I was definitely not accustomed to. Once I got past the huffing puffing part, partly due to allergies and partly due to hills, but mostly due to the fact that I always start out my run and take a few minutes to get my breathing under control, things went nicely.

Then we hit THE hill. It was a killer for this flat surface running girl, and I hate to admit it but I failed. I ended up walking most of that hill. Because it was a monster.

The hills weren't the real notable part of this early morning run though. I'm not sure how we did it. It could be because we were talking,it could be from lack of sleep, but somehow we lost the trail. At some point the trail kind of went into a neighborhood, and in theory it picked back up in the neighborhood shortly after. Unfortunately, we never found the point at which it went back into the park. (I'm speaking entirely theoretically here, as I am not familiar with the trail at all, seeing as how I no longer live in the state of Oklahoma.) So we trudged through the neighborhood and found a way out of it, and if you are familiar with the area found ourselves at Coffee Creek smack between Kelly and Santa Fe. If you aren't familiar with the area, we were about a mile and a half away from the park.

All told, we estimate we ran about 3 miles, then walked that mile and a half back to the car. I only wish I had my pedometer so I could know for sure. It was an adventure and as I told my brother when he apologized for the fifth time about getting us lost, it makes for a good story to tell.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Super Skate Floor Clean Boogie

Sometimes, when you want to get the kids to do a job it helps if you can find a way to make it fun (ok now I'm singing Mary Poppins in my head.) Yesterday we needed to get some cleaning done and I was determined to get help. Because seriously, I just can't do it all myself. Primarily because if they are playing while I am cleaning it is just one big tornado of mess everywhere except where I just cleaned. Fun stuff.

Anyway, I really, really didn't want to mop. Yet, the floor was extremely dirty and my mom will be here tomorrow. Plus I haaaaate it when the floor is filthy, so I was trying to think of a way to really quickly get it clean.

So I pulled out every cleaning towel I own, dunked them in soapy water and told them to skate the floor clean. It took about 10 minutes, they had fun, I did the wood floor while they did the tile, and then we were all set to go to the pool. It also helps to come up with a completely fun (if utterly ridiculous) name for it.

While the floor may not be *as* clean as if I had properly done the job myself, it looks pretty darn good. We'll be using this technique again.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Running Update

I posted a little about running on Deep South Moms yesterday. There I told you about how sometimes I feel like my mind has to push my body through when it wants to quit, and other times my body has to keep pushing even when my brain tells it to stop.

Here I will tell you a funny story. Right after I submitted that post into queue, I went up to our community fitness center to run because it was way, way, way too hot to run outside. I get on the treadmill, and my Ipod wouldn't work. Undeterred, I did my 5 minute warmup, then started to run. Then I stopped because I felt really off balance. Plus there was no music. So, just when I start to think I've got it all figured out I realize that I'm not all that awesome. I have a very defined set of circumstances in which I can run. Outside. Early. And with music, please.

So, maybe that's more ironic than funny. Or maybe it's just me, who knows. Today I ran for 26 minutes, with music, outside. It felt great. Really.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Summer Plan

Everyone is feeling much better today, and as such my house is full of activity, and tattling, and bickering, but mostly just a lot of activity!

I love that my kids love to play. It makes me smile. But sometimes all that whirlwind of chaos gets to be quite a lot for my peace loving self to handle. So, since fevers are gone and they feel good enough to wheel each other around on their suitcases (which I stopped lest the suitcases break) around in circles all over the house, I figure they feel well enough to hit the pool this afternoon. I have some cookies in the oven to bring with us, and a few hours there should tame the wild things down!

I am a big proponent of having a plan. "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail" rings true and I've proven it time and again. But I tend to go overboard and plan too much and that just ends up being a disaster too. So, I have a loose schedule I intend to follow. Included therein is some educational time. Hopefully cleverly disguised as fun. But, for the most part our afternoons are wide open and I do indeed intend to spend many of those hours splashing around at the pool. The boys are totally onboard with that part of my agenda. Really the goal is to wear them out so they crash at bedtime and sleep til 7. Right now they are up before me, and I am still getting up at 6 to run at least 3 days a week.

I'm sure it will take some fine tuning to hit that balance between getting them tired enough to sleep in, while not getting them so tired they are merely cranky and insufferable. I'm sure we'll get there though.

I've got it all planned out. Now I just need to plan what to do with the entire week in which my children will be in Oklahoma and it will just be me & Kevin home and a lot of that time he'll be working. Imagining this simultaneously makes me feel elated and anxious. We've gone on trips without the kids before, but I can't think of a time where I've been home with no one else for more than a few minutes. I'm quite sure I'll find lots of things to occupy my time. Then it will be time to drive to OK to meet them and relieve their Grandparents who I am all too sure will be exhausted and very happy to see us.

So that's the plan. More or less. We'll see how it all goes.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Summer!

We are happily embarking on a first day of summer vacation! Woohoo! Let's relax, and play, and enjoy it kids!

What do you mean you don't feel good? Oh wait, you do feel a little warm. Sigh.

What better way to start out summer vacation than half the kids coming down with fevers. They aren't sick sick. They feel well enough to play Wii. So there's that.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Hair Cut

We (or I should say Kevin) cuts all of the boys hair. It's pretty easy with the clippers and it seems logical and frugal and time saving.

Sometimes, the tools get left out. Last haircut the clippers were still plugged in and Ben got them and I yanked them out of his little hands before any damage was done. THIS time everything was uplugged (and still on the bathroom counter.)

The Damage:

The Fix:
The Lesson:

Always put the clippers up high, out of reach, and out of sight immediately upon finishing hair cuts.
Also, Ben is still cute even when he's bald.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

It's Almost Here

My thoughts regarding school ending/summer vacation are along these lines...

(In the mornings) Is school out yet? Why are they still getting homework? How is it that it is so hard to get out the door still? COME ON SUMMER!!!


(5 minutes after they arrive at school).... Ahhh sweet peace! I love school. Man, what am I going to do this summer?

(While trying to get from our morning errands/activities to get Zack fed and to preschool on time) Man I'm ready for summer. All this driving is for the birds! Can't wait to have some UNstructured time.

(Randomly) Summer is going to be a disaster. I must get a schedule together. We need STRUCTURE!

(At pick up time) Grumble grumble. No one else is still in school! Why do we go so late? Let's bring on the summer.


(5 minutes after they are all home) Maybe Florida will adopt year round schooling*...

It seems I change my mind on this topic about 17 times per day, or roughly once every waking hour. Consistency never really was my thing.


*kidding about that... I am totally a fan of the kids getting a break.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Notes

Sometimes in the midst of frustration, something small makes your day.

I've been struggling lately. I can't pinpoint exactly what it is. Kind of nothing, and kind of everything. Which makes no sense. Which is another thing I struggle with. If I had to try really hard to pinpoint it all I guess it would boil down to this job is hard. I can work all day and never ever get it all done. But enough with the whining...

Because, you see the reason I work so hard is those four little guys up there in that blog header. Four boys rapidly growing and changing and presenting me with new challenges. One of those little boys (Mark) made my day this morning.

I wrote a note to his brother on a post it note to remember to turn in his lunch money so he could actually eat lunch (the check has been in his folder since Friday.) The next thing I knew I was finding post its all over the house. "I love mom," "Happy Birthday Mom," and my favorite, "Go to bed on time, mom." It made my whole day and I made sure to tell him about it. I also made sure to tell him when he came home from school how I thought of him every time I saw one of the notes.

Now I need to make sure to put post it notes on my shopping list.

PS. I forgot to mention it's totally not my birthday, not even close :)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Notable (to me at least)

The last weeks of school are killing me. I am done with homework, and drop offs and pickups and more drop offs and pick ups. I long for the freedom of summer and unstructured fun. The reality of this is going to be so much more difficult than the dream, but for now... I long for summer. I know, I'm crazy!

For today I just want to note some random observations I've made of late... just some boring stuff to most... but to me it is the joy that keeps me running. Fun boy stuff!

Zack ran in from the patio yesterday and said "HEY mom!! I saw the neighbor WOMing the lawn!" Not all that notable. He transposed the M and the W from Mowing. NOTABLE that when Eric was the same age (ish) he made the same mistake. Interesting to me, that when Eric was almost 5, Zack was actually about 18 months old. No one has said that any time recently. It was a blast from the past. *Just a note, Eric also used to say WOP the floor. I wonder why.

Ben ran down the road today again. Thankfully this time he was clothed. The Schwann's guy was here and he just took off. And I chased after him barefoot. I've been running (though not fast) for exercise, but barefoot I was no match for my speedy little guy. When he does that it's a mixture of total irritation and the total hilarity of me trying to catch him with no success. Finally I managed a serious enough voice that he stopped and came to me. Thankfully!

Today I was on Facebook and clicked a link to a Glee video of the cast doing "Can't Touch This" in the library. I don't watch Glee (although it looks awesome!) but it was a funny little video. At some point Eric came up behind me and said "Mommy, that doesn't look like appropriate library behavior." It was literally all I could do not to laugh. I didn't, because clearly my boy is quite serious. I agreed with him, what else could I do?

Mark continues to challenge and amaze me. The more I do, the more he wants and is dissatisfied. But when we aren't struggling, and he isn't grumbling, he can be the sweetest most thoughtful boy of all. Such opposing actions, and I just want to tell him (and do) that I love him no matter what, he doesn't have to be "cool" for me, and that even though he's the second born he's every bit as important as his older brother. That just because he's not the baby doesn't make him any less important to me. I can tell him, I just wish I could make him KNOW that.

This post is scattered, I know. I'll blame the coming full moon. Because I've learned to blame many things on that. I never really believed in the whole full moon causing strange behavior in humans thing before. I do now though. Mostly because every time my kids behavior gets really out of whack I discover that it will soon be the Full Moon. (What are they, werewolves?) I looked, and the full moon is Thursday. So if anyone you know is acting totally crazy, that is why. You're welcome.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Books That Help Kids

I haven't talked much about it here, for various reasons, but Eric's had a pretty rough school year. All of his grades are great on the academic front, but he continues to struggle with anything related to fine motor skills and paying attention/staying on task. It is rather frustrating because he is such a smart boy (so his teacher says too, not just my bias) yet so many seemingly simple tasks are a huge effort for him.

In years past when the fine motor issues arose, and the concentration too, I was told to give him time. Sometimes kids outgrow this stuff, and he's such a good boy! And so smart! So we waited.
This year, it came to a point where I could no longer sit and wait for the miraculous point at which he overcame everything and suddenly all was easy, because suddenly I wasn't so sure that moment was going to occur without some intervention.

We went to the pediatrician for a consult for ADD and he fits the profile to the letter. We did decide not to place him on meds for now as his behavior is good and he doesn't have any problems with hyperactivity. Also, his struggles in school, while frustrating, are relatively minor and not interfering with his reading, math or science, all of which he is excelling at. We did get him on a 504 plan, which will allow him extra time on assignments, as well as a little more help and redirection in the classroom.

The next step for me, was to identify if his writing deficiencies were an actual fine motor delay or if it was tied into the ADD or a case of I don't want to-itis and got Eric evaluated with an Occupational Therapist. This uncovered low muscle tone in his upper body, as well as hand weakness and some sensory issues (although minor in that regard.) So, OT is recommended, but we are on a waiting list (which is so frustrating, but hoping to start that this summer.)

Anyway, all that to say, while Eric was fairly happy go lucky at the beginning of this year, he has been extremely frustrated of late and beginning to show signs of anxiety (which he's always been a worrier, but both I and his teacher were noticing it more) and also a problem with his temper - mostly in relation to his brothers.

I can't really stress how sad, and anxious I have been about my boy! Mad at myself for not seeking intervention sooner, and wondering what more I could have done to help. Then I decided to stop looking into the past and work on it right now. I hated the thought of him having this anxiety, but wasn't quite sure what to do about it, and I found a book that got rave reviews on Amazon called "What to Do When You Worry Too Much" by Dawn Huebner, Ph.D. I've been reading it with all of the boys and I will say, while Eric still worries more than I'd like to see, he is also more relaxed and happy *most* of the time than I've seen him in quite awhile. The biggest thing I find is I know more how to respond to him. How to minimize the anxiety without making him feel like I'm not listening or not caring. It's actually helped me with some of the other kids too. The hugest thing is that he is talking to me about stuff that before I never had any idea he even noticed or had concerns about, so I can better help him through it.

The other book is "What to Do When Your Temper Flares," by the same author. The same result. This one is a little trickier because all of my kids tend to flip out when things don't go their way, but I am noticing positive results here as well. Again, largely because I am learning the things to say, to remind them to keep their cool. How much more peaceful is it around here? Okay, honestly, there is still tons of chaos and bickering, but definitely less screaming and melting down. So, I'd say it's a win.

I just wanted to post about these books and recommend them because they have helped our family. The next one I plan to get is "What to Do When I Grumble Too Much," because boy oh boy I have some grumbly guys!

Can I just tell you a secret? They've helped me too. I found myself stressing about a situation earlier today and took a deep breath and reminded myself that I should lock the worry away, and deal with it if it came up. Which isn't exactly the language the book uses (it tells kids to lock their worries in a "Worry Box" and not think about it until "Worry Time") but it was definitely helpful.

I ordered these books from Amazon if you feel like they would help your kids. If you are a local friend, I'd be happy to loan them to you to look at to see if you think they'd help.

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