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 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'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.

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


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...

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