Thursday, December 15, 2011

New Addiction

Holy Blog Neglect!! Somebody alert the authorities! Life has been busy and wonderful, and I thought once my semester ended I would have all of this time on my hands.  Someday I'll learn it doesn't really work that way.  Now that I've told you how busy I am, I'm going to tell you about my new favorite time waster, Pinterest. Have you seen it?  At first I didn't really get it, and it took me some time to realize how wonderful it is. A collection of people's favorite things that, for me, turns into a swirling collage of beautiful imagery. I love it a lot. You can pin your faves and sort things into categories and even follow your friends.  Purely awesome!

Ornaments on my tree - idea from Pinterest...
Dinner tonight? Recipe from Pinterest.
Christmas breakfast -- yep.

I'm pretty sure the people who love me get tired of me saying "So, I saw this idea on Pinterest." 

But, I think it's a good thing. I've been inspired to get crafty, cook more, and there's always the random pictures of cute puppies.  How can you lose?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Thanksgiving Menu

Tonight as I tucked my sweet guys in, I asked them what they wanted to make sure we had for Thanksgiving. Ben wasn't sure. I think because he wasn't sure what I was talking about. So I asked him a list of traditional Thanksgiving Menu items and he decided his must have was pumpkin pie.  Eric, immediately said he really just absolutely had to have sweet potatoes WITH marshmallows.  Zachary hesitated when I asked him. He said it was just really hard to decide. I told him he didn't have to decide right away, but could tell me later. His eyes lit up and told me what he'd really like to have is PICKLED BEETS.  Now, I'm pretty sure that isn't traditional Thanksgiving food.  Nor have I ever made it for the holiday.  However, it is on the menu.  The boy does like his beets (who IS this kid?)  Mark's must  have is cranberry sauce. The kind in the can.  Jellied please, no actual berries.  Kevin requested both the can and the kind I make. Probably because the can is better, but he wants to make me feel good about the homemade sauce I make.

You want to know what I'm thankful for?  All of those guys up there.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Let's Play a Game

The game is called "Let's see how many times I can go to the boys' school in one day."  I need to work on that title, because it's a mouthful.  This is how it goes.  It seems like I am spending a ton of time at the kids' school. Which is awesome, actually because I am so happy there! I love our school, and the boys' teachers, administration, curriculum... every single detail puts me in a happy place. Sometimes, the driving back and forth gets frustrating though. It's not even very far, I'm just spoiled.  So, this week in the running are:

Monday - Morning drop off, stayed for Character Parade.
                Went to read with Mark & Zack*, stayed to volunteer for Mark's class party.
Tuesday - Morning drop off.
                Back in the afternoon for the Make N Take activity for the Science Fair Project (thanks to the
                parents who spent hours die cutting letters to make this happen. Eric and Mark's backboards are
                looking great and it was MUCH easier than last year when we did it on our own.)
Wed.     - Drop off Eric and Mark for chorus
                Take Zachary to school at the regular time.
                Realize I totally forgot it was Mark's chorus field trip day, and he was supposed to bring a
                bagged lunch. Quickly race back to school to bring him a lunch so that he won't a. starve during
                the FL. orchestra concert and b. be fuming mad at me when he gets home. Most likely he could
                have just bought a bagged lunch from school, but I wasn't 100% sure, so I did it (btw, could I
                PLEASE get my head on straight? I feel like a lunatic lately with the forgetfulness - and I DO write
                stuff down.
                Later today, after dropping off Ben, I will go to school to eat lunch with Eric and volunteer for
                Mark's class. Probably drop by Zack's class to see if they need any help.

Now that I write it all out, it doesn't seem all that much. Monday and Tuesday were just 2 trips. Today, the extra trip was my own fault for being a basket case. AND I'm insanely fortunate that I carpool and my friend picks up in the afternoons. Shutting up now!

*lest you think poor Eric was left out, I went to read with him for literacy day as well, however he opted to watch Charlie Brown with his other classmates.  It was fine.  Really. I don't feel slighted at all (really, I think it's pretty funny and awesome that he's getting so big and independent.)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Last Week

Last week was one of those weeks where everything happened at once.  I had volunteered to chaperone Mark's field trip, and the book fair came up so I signed up for two shifts of that. Not really a big deal, even when I realized they were both in the same week. Then, I suddenly realized that I also had a test on Thursday, and a paper to finish. Whew! Oh! And when I checked my Psychology syllabus I discovered that this was one of the weeks that I had to do two chapters instead of one.

It was a more than a  little overwhelming to think of all of the things I had to do, but I did it! I passed the test (89) and even got the paper turned in on Friday night so I wouldn't have to think about it over the weekend.

I kind of had expected to fall a little behind on Psychology, but I finished that work up last night. So I feel awesome about all of that.

This week is pretty low key on the school front (both the kids and mine.) Although, I do have to figure out what in the world I'm going to dress up for for my friend's halloween party. And also, I think I just remembered it is Red Ribbon Week at the elementary school, so I need to check what that means the kids need to wear or bring today. Last week was a good lesson for me that I can accomplish what I need to if I just take it one thing/day at a time. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Observations from the 3rd Grade Field Trip

Yesterday, Mark's class went to see Jigsaw Jones at the Wesley Chapel Performing Arts Center, and I got to tag along. It was super fun!

I did come to an understanding that school buses are LOUD places.  Even well behaved children all talking at the same time can cause quite a ruckus. School bus drivers should be nominated for sainthood, because there is no way on earth I could drive under those conditions.

Teachers should also be nominated for sainthood because...well... they just should. We all know the reasons teachers are amazing, but seriously, on field trip day, it is totally amplified. All those buzzing boys and girls, excited for a break from the norm.  Managing to get there and back with the right number of kids is a feat in itself. 

I should explain that the kids were so well behaved! The day went off without a hitch, and zero issues in our class.  It just reminds me how much I love and appreciate the people who teach and care for my kiddos every day.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Flock Has Arrived

Our school is in the middle of a super fun fundraiser.  Instead of spending too much money on stuff we don't want so the school can get a dollar off of ever ten (I don't know if that is the right math, but you know how I feel about this stuff,) we are doing a Flamingo Fundraiser. It's simple. You pay ten bucks to put flamingos in your friend's yard, and if the flock shows up in your yard, you pay ten dollars to send them somewhere else. If you don't want the flamingos to return you can buy "Flamingo Insurance." It is kind of the most fun idea I've heard of in a while.  It's cute to see the flash of hot pink as we drive around the neighborhood, and the thought of various PTA members sneakily moving the birds around is hilarious to me.

Yesterday I came home from my class, and there were no flamingos, I sat down to do some homework, and when I left to gather kiddos from school, the flock had arrived to our yard. The kids were so happy to see them when they got home from school.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


I understand that kids sometimes have trouble matching.  It's no big deal. It's kind of cute when you can totally tell a little guy or gal has completely chosen their own outfit. To a large degree, if it's clean and it fits, it's all good. 

Except I have this little issue that I like to portray myself as having it all together (I don't - in fact if you are one of my friends, you probably just spit your soda all over the keyboard at the hilariousness  - sorry for that!) But anyway, to make it really easy for them, I have been folding their clothes into outfits. So grab the top two items, and put them on. Easy. Instant matching.  Except, they persist in pulling out stuff from who knows where... play clothes, the pile that isn't matched up yet, and even one from the top, and one from somewhere else in the stack. Resulting in mismatched kids: plaids and stripes, two different shades of red, and various other combinations that just don't work.

In the scheme of things, it's no big deal.  But it makes it harder for me to keep up this illusion.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

So Everyone Was Safe

I tried to play it cool. After all, I only confessed to a few close friends (and anyone who might still read this poor, neglected blog) that I was feeling more than a little anxious about Kevin's trip to North Carolina.  First things first, 5 days all on my own with the boys had me worried.  They've been a little extra crazy lately, and while I can totally handle it, it's always nice at the end of the day to have an extra set of hands - and someone to talk to. 

Anyway, Kevin and his friend Anthony headed North on Wednesday afternoon with a promise that they would be safe.  I just had that nagging feeling that probably meant nothing, but it was enough to freak me out. The closer the race got, the less freaked out I was, and more excited that they were there and getting to hang out with some cool people and have a really awesome adventure. 

I watched (via internet tracking devices) them get started and sort of obsessively followed them in between my other daily stuff on Friday. I noticed they kind of stalled out in one spot, and started to get concerned, but it was time to gather kids from school, so I headed out. Then I got the call. A bolt on the rudder had snapped in half (OMG!) and they were looking for a place to try to fix it. Random people that lived on shore let them borrow tools, but the effort was to no avail, and eventually they had to drop out of the race. 

I am so very glad that they are safe. My worry shifted to one that Kevin would be so irritated and done with the whole thing. Luckily, that didn't happen and he is still excited to get ready for the Everglades Challenge in March, 2012 (just as soon as the boat gets all fixed up.) Thankfully for me, that's far enough away that I don't have to start getting anxious about it yet.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


I'm finding myself feeling unsettled and anxious. 

Kevin leaves today for North Carolina.  He and his friend are participating in a 100 mile expedition style race on his boat. I have been supportive of this from day one. It's a great hobby, good for his stress level, and... well it's just kind of cool... but all of a sudden I am anxious that something will happen... I have been assured that nothing is going to happen. I will calm myself by saying that all of the things have already happened. They got caught in a lightning storm a month ago. The week after that, his mast broke. So, everything is in tip top shape, and ready to go. I told him he had to come home safely, and he usually does what I ask him to, so there's that :)

Totally unrelated, but lending to my overall anxiety level... I have to write an essay for my ethics class. I have plenty of time, I just haven't had to write for a grade in... a really long time.  I don't really even know how to start. I'm sure, in the end, it'll get done.  This school stuff is surely making me stretch myself. I love it, when it's not giving me panic attacks!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


I keep saying that I'll blog more.

When school is out, I'll blog more. Yet, when school was out, we went to the pool, and the beach and the library, and skating, and bowling, and vacation... and...and...and.  It was super fun and amazing and special, but I didn't blog.

When school starts, I'll blog more. Yet, when school started, I went back too. And there were lunches with friends, and homework, and quizzes, and chores, and...and...and. It is fulfilling and wonderful, and I have time all by myself for 3 hours a day to regroup. I'm getting stuff done, and improving myself, but I'm not blogging.

I do want to fit it in, and will continue to try.

For now, I will leave you with a cute Ben story.  Today, after the boys were off to school, he was playing the piano. I was cleaning a little and hearing the plink,plink, plinking.  Suddenly he ran into the kitchen and said "MOMMY!! Did you know that there is a place in the piano! And it has A GUITAR!!!"  I went with him to see, and sure enough he had opened the lid, to see the strings inside. We had a nice discussion about how the piano makes sounds. Maybe he and I should learn to play. You know, in all of our free time. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Always an Answer

I am trying to stay on my Monday routine of cleaning up the horrific messes that occur on the weekend, and the boys were being pretty crazy. They had already finished their chores (which tells me they need more chores) and it was getting louder and louder.

So we had a little meeting.

Me: You have two choices.  You can play or read quietly, and get along, or you can be my slave.
Mark: Well, I wouldn't say slave.
Me: Well, that's the choice. 
Mark: More like... assistant.
Me: Okay, that's a good choice of words. 

This boy has to have something to say about everything!  I'm always in a battle with myself over whether he's being disrespectful, or if it's just how he's wired.  Sometimes I go into lecture mode about not correcting adults, not having to comment on everything people say (sometimes with argumentative undertones.) Today I just let it go, with a reminder that things needed to stay calm around here, and if that meant they needed to help me scrub toilets and floors, then so be it.

So far, they are playing quite nicely.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

They know each other well!

A funny thing just happened.

The boys were playing hide and seek, and not fighting, which is a miracle, but not the funny thing...

Kevin helped Ben find a really great hiding place, and the boys had a super hard time finding him. So they stopped looking for Ben, and started looking for a musical birthday card Kevin got yesterday. It took us a minute to piece together why they switched gears suddenly. We heard bits of conversation regarding how Ben LOVED the card and he would go to it. At first, we thought, they were going to look for him near the card. As it turns out, they used it to lure Ben out of his hiding place. And it totally worked!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Life With BIG Boys

On the topic of my kids are entirely too big:

Today, Eric and Mark made a "pile of stupid creatures" that they deemed ridiculous for us to still own and told me they needed to be sent to charity.  Ben then proceeded to vehemently disagree with this decree, by removing all of the stuffed animals from the bags in which they were enclosed.  So much for purging. I have to admit the thought of less stuff upstairs was appealing for a small moment.

Used to, we'd assign Eric and Mark the task of unloading the dishwasher.  Now when I tell the two of them to do this job, Eric says "I got it Mom. I don't need help."  They really are good helpers now when they want to be.  I just have to find the right motivation. 

Even the small ones are showing signs of growing up. Zack  has lost two teeth, and Ben is really excited about starting Pre K in two weeks. (Oh, I'm ready.. but I'm still not sure how that happened!)

Life with big boys is interesting! It's challenging in all new ways.  Easier in some, harder in others.

Some days, my biggest challenge is just to let go that little bit.  I am fiercely protective, and  yet, I sense that at 8 and 9, Eric and Mark are kind of ready to do things like play out front without me (gulp.)  Obviously, there are parameters.  They know not to leave the cul de sac (thank GOODNESS for the cul de sac!!)  Now the trick is explaining to Zack and Ben why they are stuck with Mom, or on the patio to play. 

We will get down the whole big kid routine, I am certain. Then things will change again, and we will adjust again.   For now, I'm thoroughly enjoying watching them grow.  Let's just not talk about Eric starting 4th grade in a few weeks. 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Here and Now

Realizing, that I never posted about the second half of our vacation... the part where we went to Oklahoma and visited the fam... I have to move on.  Even though there is so much else I've meant to sit down and write about, the current situation dictates I bypass it all and tell you what is happening right this very moment. With a well meaning, but probably not very likely promise I'll get to all that other stuff added in.

Right now, Kevin is at a second sleep study to see if a CPAP machine will help his sleep issues, and hopefully, maybe end the scary nighttime episodes where he bolts upright, gasping for air, leaving me to wonder if I need to call 9-1-1.  It doesn't happen often, but often enough to where he finally went to the doctor about it.  After years of gentle suggestion by yours truly... but I digress.

Tonight... my children, who go to bed relatively easily on most nights (probably because our summertime schedule is exhausting) had issues.  Tonight, Mark wondered if he could stay up and keep me company. The answer is, "No, Mommy is very tired and wants to relax and be alone." Translated into "No, Mommy is very tired and wants to watch The Real Housewives of New Jersey that she has recorded since Daddy is way above such trivial nonsensical television viewing."    Zachary's comforter was in Mark's room downstairs, so I tried to pull off a switch-a-roo and put a crocheted blanket his Auntie Sarah had given him when he was born to cover him.  He was NOT amused and cried "But, Mommy, it has holes in it!"  So I threw a sheet on him and said I'd bring up his comforter.  Ben, he sobbed, because "I want a sheet that isn't cut!!"  Do you want to venture a guess into why his sheet might be cut?  Because he cut it with scissors. And yet, it warranted huge tears and breathless sobbing.  Make a note, that Eric had no issues, other than requesting an extra hug. He's so, so big and wonderful!

I have to make it very clear that none of this would have been an issue had Kevin been home.  Even though I always tuck them in, and it isn't like he is mean... so I just don't get it.

While I've been typing this, things have settled down, thankfully. I just hope I don't have any squirmy little visitors in my bed tonight to kick me in the ribs.  For now, though, I have a date with bad tv.

Monday, July 11, 2011


This year our vacation was extra special because for the first time Kevin's brother and family came out to see us the week before and we did all sorts of amazing things and then went on to Oklahoma together. As always, there is way to much to tell in one blog post, however I shall try in a very abbreviated manner to accomplish exactly that. 

Day One:  Brian, Sarah, Alex, Sydney, and Lauren arrive. We celebrate a belated birthday (Uncle Brian) and relax.
Day Two: We travel south to outrun the rain and go to Stump Pass Beach.

Day Three: We were having another really rainy day, so we headed over to Kennedy Space Center, where we had all sorts of fun looking at rockets.  Right up my boys' alley!

Day Four:  Mid morning we headed for the sponge docks, in Tarpon Springs.  This is one of my favorite things to do. We wandered around, shopped, and had some great Greek food for lunch. 

*This is the last of the pictures I have uploaded for the moment. More to come later.

Day Five:  Everyone was ready for another beach day, so we headed to Honeymoon Island.  Kevin and Brian went out on the boat with Alex and Eric while the rest of us played in the water and the sand.  I don't care how long I live here, I can not get tired of the beach.  It's just a perfect way to relax and have fun.

Day Six:  Both vans (theirs and ours) needed an oil change, so Sarah and I went to take care of that.  It was supposed to be a few hours and ended up being four, so we hung out at home while we waited, and went to see Cars 2 after we (finally) got them back. 

Day Seven:  We took a picnic to Phillipe Park  and the kids played until we decided to come home and let them go to the pool.  Also, we had to pack to head to Oklahoma to continue our fun there.  The pool was short lived, as a rain storm moved through about 10 minutes after we got there.
I realize that this post is getting long.  So, despite my intent to wrap it all up in one post, I will continue this tomorrow. 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Let's Take a Stroll

I just read a few of my earlier blog posts... going years back some of them and it seems high time for a stroll down memory lane. 

First, for Shanna... do you remember this trip?  Our kids were so little!!  It makes me miss you guys!  (Not that I don't already miss you! Thank goodness for blogging and facebook!)

Next are a few that had me shocked... shocked I tell you... at how crazy things could get in my home. It's not always easy now, mind you, but a few years ago... it was TOUGH! 

A few things I forgot last night - We were on vacation at my mom and dad's house.  

I have to say, (and watch me jinx it right here) that this summer has been fun so far! Exhausting, but fun.  Sure, we've had our stumbles, but overall, compared to those times up there, I've got this handled!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Culinary Adventures

The other day at the library, Mark found a treasure trove of cookbooks. "How to Cook the xxx Way," he picked Russian, Italian, Spanish, Indian, Korean, Spanish, and French.  I've been in a bit of a dinner rut, so we picked a recipe we had all of the ingredients for, and ended up making Chicken Kiev, and Honey Cake out of the Russian book.

Mark chopped almonds for the honey cake (under close supervision of course,) and mixed the batter entirely by himself. He also helped me by pounding the chicken (fun!) and despite being a little skeeved by touching the raw chicken (you and me both dude!) he dipped one in the egg mixture, and then the bread crumbs. 

Because of Ben's allergies, I made another batch using brown rice crumbs and our handy dandy egg replacer.  It wasn't QUITE the same, but it definitely got eaten! Everybody loved this dish, but then again, who wouldn't love fried chicken with butter and garlic rolled inside. 

Speaking of which, I'm noticing lots of these recipes from other cultures are fried.  What's up with that? Not good for the weight loss endeavors. However, I feel like the value of the boys cooking with me, and learning about other places makes it worth it.

Next up on the agenda, is Korean food, which sounded daunting at first, but after closely inspecting the recipes I don't think it will be that difficult.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


I've noticed that certain circumstances cause me anxiety. One of these situations is when I have to drive while pulling a trailer.  I've done it exactly twice.  Once when we brought our wood flooring home to install, and then again on Monday when I had to go pick up a new mattress for Mark's room (and to double as a guest bed.)  I thought I'd be fine this second time, since I'd done it before and all worked out fine.  However, I was just as much of a wreck as before. 

I didn't really realize that my nerves were outwardly visible until I heard Mark sighing, and generally making fretting noises.  I asked him what was wrong, and the gist of it was that he was nervous about the trailer flying open.  See, not what I was worried about at all.  Detaching from the car, yes... me making a silly mistake and crashing into someone... yes.  But not that it would fly open. 

Mark and I had a good chat about letting grown ups do the worrying about grown up things, and talking about stuff with me when he feels nervous.  I'm disappointed with myself that my anxieties rubbed off on him, in this situation among others.

Saturday, June 18, 2011


We have achieved a few new milestones around here.

1. Our last little guy is out of night time pullups.  For the first time in 9 years I no longer have to buy any kind of diaper.

2.  All of my kids can swim. I still have to watch like a hawk, but it is so much more relaxing to know they all have that ability.

3.  I can actually take a shower while the kids are up without worrying that anyone will get hurt, break something, or otherwise cause major mayhem. 

It's the small things in life that make me happy!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Addendum to Yesterday's Post

I meant to mention this yesterday, but my brain is failing me regularly these days, that I have the utmost respect... even awe... for homeschooling moms.  Especially those teaching different age levels, and doing a full curriculum.

We are doing an hour a day. Thirty minutes of reading.  My three older boys can all read independently. Zack needs  help because he constantly is picking books that are on Eric and Mark's level. They also have a complete obsession with checking out 10 books on a topic and reading it.  Try as I might to get him to read an on level book, he persists he wants NON fiction because he wants to LEARN.  This cracked the librarian up, by the way, when she heard this conversation between us. I'm going the long way around to the point, but it is this... Ben can not read. I am trying to read to him. He is also picking ridiculously long books, as well as asking me questions about every three words.  Add that with Zack wanting to tell me every little detail with the book he is reading, and it all sums up to frustration.  Meanwhile Eric and Mark are happily reading in the other room. I am not really complaining because the time together is fantastic, and they really are learning.  At the beach on Wednesday, my friends and I were fantasizing about taking a mom's only trip to Europe and Zachary interjects "Yeah! Europe... it's only straight across the ocean, you know!"  It was adorable.  And he learned it from a book. 

The next thirty minutes is usually writing, but occasionally math.  We have Eric and Mark who are wanting to learn cursive, Zachary working on printing, and Ben learning to write his name.  It can get a little crazy going back and forth between them.  Math is a little easier because I have the big ones taking turns doing multiplication tables on the computer, and then Zack and I do a little.  I'm letting Ben sit out of the math for now.

The bottom line is I am not really all that great of a teacher, so I'm really, really glad that their actual education is in the hands of trained professionals.  However, the moms that can home school, and really do it the right way (and I know several who are rock stars and truly do it all) have my total adoration.  Because it's hard, even when in a limited sense.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Summer Routines

For the first time in the history of summer break, I am successfully implementing some "school time" into our day.  Also, the boys are willingly helping with housework.  Probably because I'm insisting that we work before we play.  I can't really call it a "School Day" because it's only an hour.  Thirty minutes of reading, and thirty minutes of something else.  Either writing, math, or whatever else we come up with.  It's a very, very loose schedule and sometimes, like yesterday, we skip it altogether because it's summer time and some days need to be deemed a BEACH day!

However, I feel like just that little bit of structure (the word that is SO hard for me to embrace, by the way) is making summer run so much more smoothly. Go figure.

Today, we have already done our morning chores, school time (reading for 30 minutes and handwriting practice) and now we are headed off to the free movie and whatever else the day brings us!

Friday, June 10, 2011


The funniest thing that happened yesterday was when I was checking out at Publix. We had a rough-ish shopping trip.  It could have been worse, I admit, but I was frazzled.  I hate being frazzled in public places.  I prefer the facade that I have it allllllll under control.  So, as we are paying the bill, the cashier looks at me and says, "Do all five of these guys belong to you."  I said "yes, but there are only four."  She laughed and said she must have miscounted. I laughed too, and said, it's okay, right now I feel like there are at least five of them here too."

Probably you had to be there, but it lifted me from my frazzled, grumpy place for a few minutes.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Hello Summer!

Hello?  Remember me? I'm the one with all of the boys?  No?  Maybe that's because it's been awhile... one month and three days to be precise... since I've blogged.  That's a long time in blog land, and while not a first, I can't remember the last time I've been that far behind.  There is no catching up.  Because, frankly, it's all a blur.  I can catch up from the end of school until now, however, and try to be a teensy bit more consistent in writing.  That should be easy peasy with everyone home all day, every day, right? Let me live in my delusion. I'll come to soon enough. 

Come with me back to 8 days ago, on the last day of school. I had one kid home with an ear infection, and the other with asthma symptoms plus a slight fever.  Much to their utter dismay, they missed that last day of school.  Try as they might to con me all the rest of the year into staying home when they "didn't feel good," there was much sadness to miss that last day.  I can't blame them. No one wants to miss the fun stuff.  We were also disappointed to be missing a pool party later that day.  Mother Nature helped us out with that one as it rained all afternoon and evening, postponing the party to the following day. 

Everyone was well enough Thursday for the pool party and off we went.  Bring on the summer! Let the good times roll and all that fun stuff!  Until, at 2 AM Friday morning Zack began the stomach virus that proceeded to take us down, one by one, all the way until Monday.  Thankfully, that is over. The kids bounced back faster than I did... and I won't linger on that topic. 

So, Tuesday brought a renewed energy and a desire to have!fun! But first, I had different plans.  The boys were disappointed that I had planned to have them read and do chores and even write a little before our fun began.  But, we did it and stayed on schedule for that day.  Then we went to the pool! 

Wednesday, it was going to be tricky to get all of our stuff done around all of our fun. There will be days like this, and that is when I will have be a little flexible. It is summer after all, so we skipped our writing practice and just read, and then went off to playgroup, followed by lunch and swimming at the pool.  (Let me just say how well the guys sleep after an afternoon at the pool.  I still have to find the magic balance so they aren't falling asleep too soon and waking up at bedtime.)

This brings me to today.  I woke up with dark circles under my eyes, despite getting plenty of sleep.  We didn't get to our school time because I was busy trying to find cheaper car insurance (saving the rantings about how much I hate getting car insurance quotes for another day- which luckily for you means never because I'll forget!) Our big plans include staying home and resting, because everyone is getting a little crazy out of sheer exhaustion.

Our challenges of summer are as follows:

Me: Staying organized, staying focussed, and not letting the little things get to me.  I have to figure out the balance between getting things done (and making sure the boys are involved in this) and having fun.  Without completely exhausting us all.  I also had a pretty good routine going to get all of my stuff done. That is having to be completely revamped.  It is a work in progress. 

Eric: Tolerance, tolerance, tolerance.  He struggles when there is chaos.  Unfortunately, there is a LOT of chaos when everyone is home. 

Mark: Learning when to quit and not pester the crap out of his brothers.

Zachary: Oh Zachary... he has to learn to listen and OBEY (rather than ignore) and learn that the cuteness factor can only get you so far in life.  Your dimples can't save you every time little buddy!

Benjamin: The poor guy just isn't dealing very well with all of these people on his turf.  He loves having his brothers home, but there is a lot of acting out and tantrum throwing right now. He may have to start napping again if it doesn't stop soon.

So, there you have it... week one of summer is in the bag!  Only 10.5 more to go.  We'll make it!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Vanity is...

...waking up at 5 AM wide awake, thinking briefly about going on a run, and then opting not too despite being WIDE awake with no prospects of going back to sleep because you got your hair cut the previous day and knowing it would still look pretty awesome even after sleeping, not wanting to mess it up by sweating, thus having to wash and blow dry it.  Oh the horror! (And that sentence is a monstrosity all on it's own.  Excuse the massive run on sentence, please!)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A gift

For Christmas, Ben got a set of lacing beads. I was going for toys to build fine motor skills since two of my four have struggled in that area. Zack made me a necklace with them and was so proud I graciously put it in my room to collect dust accepted it. Several times I've tried to slip it into the "take upstairs and put away" pile, but each time my boy removes it and reminds me that he made it for me. Just yesterday, I tried one more time to put it away, met with the same answer. As I was straightening my room today I ran across it and thought about slpping it into Ben's room, and smiled that for five months, Zack has insisted on me keeping this gift. I'm wearing it as I type this. And the love it represents makes me the happiest mom in the world. It took long enough for it to sink in.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Home Improvement

Every now and then I just get the urge to paint something whether it really needs it or not.  This wall was really perfectly fine. 

I just decided I wanted it to be...

Friday, April 15, 2011

Perhaps too much Food Network

We watch a lot of Food Network around here.  Now there is also the Cooking Channel, and we can't forget the travesty of a food show on the Travel Network.  Kevin enjoys them, I love most of them, and the kids have really enjoyed watching "cooking shows" since they were quite small.  However, sometimes I think it might be getting a bit out of hand.

Recently at dinner, we were having hamburgers, and Eric went into this little speech, "Each layer in this burger has it's moment.  First it's the soft bread, then the ketchup, then the crunchy pickles.  Then  you get to the melty cheese, and then the meat."  OK.. he sounded like Adam Richmond on Man Vs. Food and it freaked me out a little bit.  (For the record I Obesity epidemic much?  Lets go eat 5 pounds of heart attack inducing greasy *insert random extra large food* Ok, stepping off the soapbox now.) Disturbing comparisons aside, it was adorable!

We've been watching Iron Chef lately too, and the same kid made a comment, "Mom, don't be offended
but your food is TOTALLY not as good as the food on this show."  Yep, have to agree. The thing is my kids probably wouldn't EAT half of that food anyway. 

Maybe it's okay. Maybe I'm just raising a little foodie in the making.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Dearest Children

When you notice your hands are dirty, please wash them.  When you go to the bathroom, wash your hands.  When you come in from playing outside wash your hands. If for any reason your mother calls out "Hey guys, everyone wash your hands!"  it is a clue that you should go wash your hands. Other times include before you eat, after you eat, and pretty much any other time you feel it necessary to wipe them on something.

When your hands are dirty do NOT touch the walls.  Do not wipe them off on your shirt.  DEFINITELY do not wipe them on your Mother's clothing.  Pretty much the only answer when your hands are dirty is addressed in the above paragraph.

There are other cleanliness and hygiene issues I would like to discuss at a later date, for now, lets practice this one.

Love, Mom

PS I washed the walls today.  Let's try to keep them clean for a few days.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Not Your Average Laundry Post

Yesterday, I got caught in one of those cycles where I click through my blog reading random posts and laughing and remembering why I waste spend time typing out mundane and everyday things.  Because my family is awesome and stuff deserves to be remembered and I have the memory of a gnat and sometimes I read these things and think "Wow! I would never have thought about that again if I hadn't written about it."  There are those posts that amaze and warm my heart.   There are also those posts about laundry.  Quite a few of them actually.  Sometimes I'm behind on laundry... sometimes I'm caught up on laundry... sometimes it's  a picture of a whole lotta laundry I've folded.

I'm not sure why I post about laundry, except that it is a huge part of being a mom, particularly a mom to four grubby boys.  However, laundry is boring.

Except, like so many other things in a house full of boys, when it is hilarious.

Today, I was catching up on some chores, and was taking a bag of trash out to the giant, green trash can in the garage.  You have to go through the laundry room to get there, and I stepped in something slimy.  "Oh.MY.Gosh" I thought.  What on earth?  Well, then I noticed the bottle of detergent laying in the floor with the lid half off.  Still gooey and slimy, but at least it was soap and not... something else disgusting.  I wondered how it got there and was running several scenarios through my mind when I noticed that the laundry basket on TOP of the dryer that had previously been full of clean, folded clothes was now... empty.  However, there was a noticeable lack of clothes strewn about the floor like I would have expected in these circumstances. 

Then I remembered earlier how Ben had run out of the bathroom naked, telling me he needed new clothes (who says girls are the only ones who change 5 times a day?) and then I remembered how much he likes to help me do the laundry.  I opened the washing machine. Bingo.. full of clean, dry clothing.

So, now the clothes are refolded, and the laundry room floor is remarkably clean. I'm still laughing!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

5K Update

Saturday was the Spring Sprint for Autism and it was held literally 1 mile from my house. It was sponsored by the kids' school along with USF and a local running store.  I was excited to go run and support the cause. 

My lack of speed remains frustrating for me, and I knew starting out that I wasn't running as quickly as I usually do (which is pretty slow to begin with.) I tried not to worry about it and decided to let it go. About 4 kilometers in I got sort of focussed on finishing strong and wanted to ramp it up a little bit. Before I got a chance to do that though, I got a little too far to the right on the road and my foot rolled down the little inch drop off that was there. I have a lovely scrape over most of my left shin.  A nice man helped me get to my feet and I decided to keep running.  I was able to finish the race, and got back in time to run the 1 mile fun run with the kids. My 5 K time was 37 minute 13 seconds. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed.  But I guess that gives me a goal to shoot for next time.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Well that was fast...

For the first time ever we have a deductible to go along with our health insurance.  There is no longer a no deductible option. Also, we get to pay a higher premium for it.  Woo hoo!  At any rate, it's a fairly low deductible and I still feel very fortunate to have health insurance and Kevin has a great job and all that, so I don't complain (much.) Anyway... the other day I was commenting how we haven't even been to the doctor yet this year!  In fact, March 2nd was the first time for Ben's four year appointment.  At that appointment we discussed getting him tested for food and environmental allergies due to his ongoing eczema.  I'm adding up dollar signs in my mind and thinking we are probably already half way to that deductible being met. Then I suspected I might have pinkeye, so I visited my doctor. (Nope, just allergies, and my sinuses are still completely inflamed... so keep using the Flonase.)  Next Zachary started showing signs of pinkeye, so I took him to Urgent Care on Sunday and he got put on eye meds and oral antibiotics. 

We won't get the bills until later, but I'm pretty sure we'll hit $750.00.  All in four little days.  That must be some sort of record!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A job well done!

Recently I was running, and I pushed a little further than usual. I run with the Nike + Ipod device that measures my distance and calories. Occasionally, when I end the work out a certain famous athlete will tell me if I hit a milestone such as a new longest distance, or fastest time.  I've heard about my success from Lance Armstrong, and other really amazing people.  It's a pretty neat feature.

Tonight, at the end of my 4 mile run Tiger Woods congratulated me on an awesome workout!  He told me I burned an amazing amount of calories. I couldn't help but laugh! 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A FL Must See

If you are ever in the Tampa area and have time for a day trip, you have to go see Stump Pass Beach. It's about two hours from our house, but with beautiful weather, and boys in need of some hiking to get their energy out, it was a lovely Saturday. 

On the way, we stopped by the TECO Manatee Viewing Area, which is another favorite spot (and about an hour from us.)  The manatees are great to see, and there are also many other creatures there. Rays, sharks, fish galore come to the warm waters in the winter time. 

The picture in my blog header is the boys at this same spot a few years ago. My how they've grown!
You almost forget you are at a power plant, except for these "cloud makers" as Ben called them.
We arrived at Stump Pass beach and started on our hike!  I can't believe our boys were big enough to make it the entire 1.3 miles and back!  We took our time and stopped along the way to play, but it was a long way for small legs. The boys spent a fair bit of time throwing shells in the water and it was reminiscent of our Georgia days when a favorite weekend activity was going on a hike and throwing rocks in the water.  Some things never change.

I love this picture!  The waves, the boys!  Just spectacular!

We had to mark the trail with sticks along the way.  Zachary was even writing "NO" in the sand at certain spots to make sure other hikers didn't go the wrong way!

We found many shells along the way, as well as sharks teeth.  All in all the day couldn't be more amazing!  A much needed day away from our norm. Thank goodness for beautiful FL weather in February!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Ben's Birthday

This is the first year Ben's been super excited about the days leading up to his birthday.  I can't believe my wee little baby is FOUR!  It was just yesterday we brought him home from the hospital after all!

look how teeny tiny his feet were!

We knew when he was born he would change our lives and complete our family, but we never knew how he would absolutely give us a run for our money every single day! Ben, you are full of energy and silliness. You climb to great heights (and jump from them!) You have made our family complete, more than just being the last in a line of amazing little boys. We just wouldn't know what to do without you! 

Glad you had a great birthday little Valentine!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Book Project

The assignments formerly known as book reports are now apparently book "projects."  What's the difference, you may ask?  I'm not sure other than my children take great delight in correcting me when I use the term book report. "It's a book project mom."  *Insert 7/8 year old eye roll.*

This particular book project was over a president (Abraham Lincoln) and was declared done. When I looked it over I noticed a certain peculiarity in the answers.

"What was the most important thing this president did for our country?"  He freed the slaves.

"If you could ask this president a question, what would it be?"  How he freed the slaves.

Then there was another question that I can't remember and he answered with something about freeing the slaves. 

When I made him erase two of the three and think of different answers for each there was much attitude.  It got done, however.. he didn't put a whole lot of detail into it, but I keep reminding myself it is 2nd grade. 

This project also required a visual aid, and where his written work lacked originality, I thought he had a great idea to make a log cabin out of lincoln logs was pretty great.  Only, we didn't have enough lincoln logs to build a great cabin, and I worried even if I acquired them the thing would fall apart on the way to school.  After a quick internet search*  I found an idea for a log cabin with frosting, pretzels and a milk carton.  Awesome!  I never managed to get a milk carton, but we made due and Mark turned out a fabulous log cabin!  I was pretty proud of him!

*How did moms DO it before the internet?  Google is my best friend!

The cabin made it to school, but they devoured it on the way home.  Apparently it was quite tasty!

Saturday, February 19, 2011


For Ben's birthday (need to post on that still!) he recieved from Granny a castle!  Daddy put it together and all week the boys have asked for a sleepover in the castle. Finally the weekend came, and they were able to sleep on the floor in the family room in (and around) the magical cardboard creation...

Friday, February 18, 2011


I always wonder when I'm supposed to have certain conversations with my boys... you know the ones.  How babies are born and such.  But I don't think they are quite ready for the talks about *that word* that starts with s and ends with ex.  Maybe I'm just naive They are too small. 

However, certain conversations tend to bring up these questions about babies being born.  Today, on the way home from school we were talking about their middle names.  Then that morphed into a discussion on last names and why we all have the same one. 

As our conversations tend to do, we bounced around a bit and talked about how babies who are adopted get to have the last names of the parents who get to take them home. We talked about our friends in Georgia who are adoptive parents.  They asked why someone might give their baby to another family to raise and I explained  how some people feel like they aren't able to give a child all they need. 

As often happens, the discussion took a surprising turn and Eric asked if you could decide NOT to have a baby or if "it just happened naturally" and I answered (with heart palpitations with fear of follow up questions) that you could decide whether or not to have a baby.  I'm all about being very, very VAGUE.  Then Mark asked "Mommy, HOW do you not have a baby." I took a deep breath and wondered how I could avoid this question or hold it off to a later date, when Eric said "WHAT Mark? Do you think Mom is a DOCTOR?" 

I still crack up at this question.  Fortunately (maybe,) no further questions were asked about babies or the prevention thereof.  Whew!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Sometimes Procrastination Works in My Favor

On Wednesday on the way out the door, I placed Zachary's glasses on his face and the lens promptly popped out.  I picked it up, and realized quickly that the screw was missing so I sent him on to school without them. He made me promise to bring them after I got them fixed, and I agreed. 

In the optometrist office, the lady told me I should bring him in after school to get them readjusted because they were pretty warped... no surprise there.  I made a mental note, and when they all got home I just decided to wait til a different day since the sun was out for the first time all week, and the kids wanted to plaaaay.

On Thursday, when Zachary came home from school, his glasses looked like they had been sat on, sat on, something... Pretty bent out of shape! I was pretty pleased I had waited a day to go in for the adjustment. 

Now, if only he hadn't misplaced them he could have worn them to school today. I have a feeling I'll find them somewhere really interesting when I clean up in a bit.

Friday, February 4, 2011

In Which I Show my Judginess

I'm pretty sure judginess isn't a word, but hey, it's Friday night, let's play fast and loose with the dictionary shall we? 

Disclaimer: I do my darndest not to judge. Truly. Because I will tell you when I do it comes back to bite me every time. EVERY time. But in this case I simply have to because I was in one of those awkward situations in which my boys where looking at me to solve a problem and I wasn't sure how to.

We were at the library to get a book for Mark for his book project on a President. At the library there was this totally cute little 2 (ish) year old boy. Long, blonde curly hair, dimples, lots of personality!  I kept wondering which mommy belonged to him because no one appeared to be watching (let's call him blondy.)  He came over to me and leaned in my lap and I chatted with him a bit because I am pretty good at talking to little boys. Then he walked over and ripped the toy Zachary was playing with right out of his hand.  Here's where I have trouble.  I DON'T get on to other people's kids ESPECIALLY if I don't know them well.  So I did a quick scan of the moms and still didn't see a likely candidate.  Until my eyes landed upon the one on the computer.  I quickly realized she was playing games on the library computer.  Blondy continued to rip toys out of other childrens hands and when Mark looked at me like "MOM help me here!" all I could manage to say was "Mark he's little and he's probably learning and doesn't quite understand sharing yet." In a voice loud enough for mom to hear in the event she might be listening. Sigh.

Look, I'm not a helicopter mom, and I'm all for kids working stuff out on their own when they can. I like to chat with my friends at the playground and let the kids just have fun, but how is little cute Blondy going to learn if mom isn't watching at ALL.

My more compassionate side thought maybe that was the mom's only break for the day, and her only outlet to relax. My Momma Bear was pretty irritated that she wasn't paying attention and it affected the fun my kids could have had.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Lately, I've become obsessed with making bread. One of our New Years Goals is to plan ahead better, and not rush to the store because we have forgotten something.  Mostly, this is to save money, but it helps me manage my time too, because I'm not running to the store for "a few things" almost every day. But I digress...


For a lot of years I had a major fear of yeast. Mostly because I was notorious for failure in the bread department.  I'm getting a little better through trial and error.  I even made rye bread* (and ground the rye flour ourselves even) and we had reubens on it Sunday night.  I still am really struggling with the heavier, whole grain flours, but I think I might have the white bread down.  (Thanks to a good recipe. Well, I think it's good, it hasn't baked yet, but boy oh boy, it is rising. The pizza stone is preheating and I'm looking forward to french dip subs on these rolls tonight! 

Now, I can move back on to the whole grains, because it is important to me that our breads are healthy, as well as yummy.  My actual goal through all of this is to not have to buy bread for sandwiches at the store anymore. I've made progress, but I'm definitely not there yet.

*  Incidentally, I think I might be allergic to rye.  When I ground the flour I immediately started stuffing up. Later, when I ate it my throat got itchy and I still am stuffy a few days later. I'm hoping it's a coincidence because I really like rye bread.  And we have an awful lot of it left!

Thursday, January 27, 2011


For quite some time I have been meaning to get back into the blogging stuff.  More than a random post once a week or less. Somehow, it has been difficult getting back into that groove. I don't know.  Today begins a renewed effort. We'll see how it goes.

I don't have a coherent post planned, so this will likely be some sort of mish mash stream of consciousness type of post... so it might not make sense, or have a point.


I have a question.  How often a day week do you sweep your floors?  I have to do it  Both in the kitchen and the family room.  Sometimes I feel like I should even do it twice a day (and often do if we play with moon dough, or when Ben decides to dump his plate when he's done with it.)  When I sweep, I don't mean I have a dust pan 1/4 full of dust and debris. I'm talking three to four dustpans full.  So I am left to wonder... are we just horrifically messy (and by we I  mean the boys) or do I have unrealistic expectations on how long my floor should stay clean-ish. Feel free to discuss!

Secondly, the aforementioned moon dough. I sort of despise it because it gets crumbled up and ends up all over the floor, leading to excessive sweeping.  And it gets wasted because of ending up in the floor. Because unless I have JUST swept there is dirt and junk down there.  Yet I persist to let them play with it and even find myself buying more because they love it. I don't even make sense to myself sometimes.  In my defense,  it can entertain Ben for over an hour. The others love it too... 

There were more things I wanted to write, but somehow they got lost in the shuffle of everything else going on in my head... so more later. Maybe sooner than a week away!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Be Careful What You Ask For

For a few weeks, our nightly sleep was interrupted multiple times by some kid or another wanting to get in bed with us.  I love snuggling with my kids, but when it comes down to one kid coming in, then another, then an argument over WHO can stay and who has to go back to bed, it was getting ridiculous.  I was totally exhausted and impatient... also... grumpy.  One night before bed Kevin gave the two little culprits a talking to.  "You WILL stay in your bed all night. You will NOT come down and bother Mommy.  Understood?" (In his best firm daddy voice, of course.) 

Imagine my surprise when it WORKED. For that entire night, I slept. No kicks to the ribs, no whispers in my ear, or pulling of my hair. I simply slept.  I was half amused and half irritated that it worked so well.  (Irritated because I had sweetly requested the boys stay in their own beds for several nights in a row, and Daddy asks once and like magic it works.)  So, I was interested to see how night two would go.  Again, they stayed in their beds. However.. somewhere around 2 AM we heard a blood curdling scream.  Enough to jolt both Kevin and I from our bed and send us racing up the stairs. "SOMEBODY HELP ME!!!!! I NEEEEEEEEEEEEEED HELP!!"  My heart was pounding and I was terrified about what I would find in little Ben's room. Surely he had hurt himself horrendously to be screaming so loudly.  When I ran in and found him sitting in his bed, upset, but not hurt I was so relieved.  Turns out, his eczema was bothering him and he needed some lotion to stop the itching. But, he did stay in his bed at least. I think I'd have rather have had a knock on the door than all that drama, though. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


It never fails that just as soon as I think I have it all together, I realize all the little things I'm missing.

Take yesterday morning for example...  Everyone was ready for school.  Teeth brushed - check, shoes on - check, jackets ready - check, glasses on faces - check.  Only when we were ready to walk out the door, Zack's were no longer on his face. Hmmm.  After a quick look around they were nowhere to be found, but we had to go. Three minutes ago!  So he was off to school with no glasses, and I set out to look for them which was an utter and complete failure.  I continued my hunt this morning and still can't find them. There are a finite number of places they could be and I'm pretty sure I've searched all of them. My house isn't even overly cluttered at the moment, so it is a mystery.   What in the world?  I'm sure they'll turn up in some ridiculous and hilarious place.  I just hope they'll be in one piece.

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