If you are like us this time of year we are generally busy. However, for those of us who have extra holidays smashed into the holiday season all I can say is may you have better luck than I in trying to not be busier than possible. We not only have the holidays starting in October with Halloween (something that didn't happen until recently), but we have two birthdays--one in December and one in January--and an anniversary thrown into the mix. Whoo Hoo! Bring on the Mayham! We certainly have some going on here. We have been running like crazy people since Halloween. I guess I wouldn't have it any other way, but man sometimes a girl just needs a breath of fresh air before barreling onto a new something. Well, I have finally figured out my camera and how to get them onto the computer so just for the heck of it, enjoy some pictures of the cutest children on the planet.
The three "big kids"
At the apple orchard earlier in the year. Finally all four in one place!
Who would have thought that when I went to bed and woke up one morning it would be NOVEMBER. So begins the endurance race of the holiday season. So far I have already had crankiness creeping over the ranks and snow is predicted for tonight. Oh the joys!
Now, I know it is a little late to tell all of you, but the first of November came and the children were treated with a lecture <that's right, part of being a mother from my family I guess>.
Halloween is now over. You may continue to gorge yourselves
on the candy you worked so hard collecting, but today starts a
new month. November is here and with it comes Thanksgiving.
What does that word mean? Thanks---giving. That's right kids; we
give thanks this month. If you aren't being thankful for something, then
you don't need to say it. Just so all of you know, Mom and Dad are
done shopping for your Christmas. If you find something you want on
your lists, I will be happy to write it down and send it to your grandmas.
We want to hear: "I am thankful for my food, clothes, school friends,
family." We don't want to hear: "I want, I need, Can I please have..."
So far, we have only had one problem with the greedy gimmies and that was this morning. One whole week and a half of peace! I am putting that in with the wins.
Now I try not to be one of the moms that says one thing and does another, so I am thankful. I am thankful for my family and all four of my spunky children, and yes all the noise they make as well. I am thankful for my mother who taught me how to love and my dad who taught me what a man is. My heart pours over with gratitude for my husband for loving me and teaching me just how deep that love is. Here's to the great month of Thanksgiving!
I am lucky enough to have four fantastic eaters. My Italian friend told me that in her country we would be welcome at any table because my kids eat and enjoy whatever is put in front of them with obvious relish. So when they haven't eaten regularly for a week, I know something is up. If you have been keeping up on the blog, you know that we are fighting (and kind of loosing the battle) with various illnesses. At first I didn't think anything of it; no one likes to eat when they are sick. However, when they eat three chocolate chip cookies and then tell me they cannot eat any dinner because they don't feel good I raise my eyebrows. That was last night.....
Today at lunch I gave them exactly what they asked for last night for dinner. Toast. I made our boy (the only one who ate the BBQ chicken pizza without complaint) whatever he wanted--macaroni and cheese. Needless to say fits started all over the dining room. Fists were thrown in the air and slammed down on legs in "can you see I am mad at you?" style. Finally, when their toast was eaten and they asked for the macaroni and cheese, they got a "Are you really sure you want that? I don't want you to feel sick." After protests of innocence each girl fessed up. Both were just fine last night and just didn't want dinner and promised to eat whatever was set before them for dinner tonight in exchange for the cherished macaroni and cheese. They were each given macaroni and cheese--and a cookie. We shall see if they hold up to their claims of health come dinner time.
I don't know about you, but when I have to get up at 5 AM every morning (that's right, my kids are early risers) I need to go to bed by 10 PM. No late news for me, and we tivo Craig Ferguson. So imagine my surprise being woken up at 11:30 PM by my bed shaking like a San Fransico earthquake. My husband's coughs have no break, poor man, until 1 AM. At 2 AM my six-year-old comes down stairs, "Mom, my stomach hurts." So we go upstairs to take a look. The whole upstairs is lit up like a Christmas tree because my four-year-old has thrown up in bed. Send the six-year-old to bed, clean up the four-year-old and run to the store for emergency gatorade. Set the four-year-old up and six-year-old comes out with two-year-old in hand. He is coughing so hard his "tummy hurts." Send six-year-old back to bed; rock two-year-old and put him back to bed. Tell six-year-old to eat a couple of crackers because goodness knows that I am too hungry to sleep and tell her to go back to sleep. Check on the four-year-old, she is sleeping--it is 3:15 AM. Lay down and hear ten-month-old coughing in her sleep. Sigh and close my eyes. 3:45 AM six-year-old, "Mom, I threw up." Clean bathroom, change pajamas, and wait for it to come again. Start reading (by the way, I have a cold and have lost my voice) a chapter out of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle <amazing book for kids about first-fourth grade>. Set up a bed on the floor for six-year-old and put her to bed; it is 4:30 AM. Lay down, close my eyes, alarm goes off at 5 AM. Get up, take shower, check on everyone....... Ask Husband to Stay Home and I Take a Nap.
Lately my son has been crazy over superheros in all their characters. We see Spiderman on backpacks while dropping off the first grader. We tie on the Superman cape as he goes zooming through the house rescuing the damsels (all three sisters) in distress. And I have been his favorite "bad guy" to karate chop.
Last night my knight in shinning armor (that's right Daddy made him an oak sword out of scraps from the workshop), came down in his big sister's pink tutu. "Look Daddy. Skirt," and laughed his head off. My husband kept a straight face and asked him what color it is, "Piiiink."
"Do boys or girls wear pink?"
"Go take it off and put it away please, son."
And as bright as can be, "OK."
I couldn't hold back the giggles as my super-manly, pink-skirted boy toddled back upstairs to play tools with his reluctant sisters.
There isn't much to do on a lazy fall afternoon. I should be doing my laundry (my kids think the laundry fairy does it, but it is her day off today), but I decided to enjoy the warm sunshine while it lasts. Yesterday, we went to the zoo with about a million other families to celebrate Columbus Day. We watched my two-year-old son watch the tiger pace his rocks waiting for his dinner. We listened to my four-year-old daughter squeal with delight when the giraffe spread his legs so wide to nibble on the grass instead of eating the leaves. Our ten-month-old was delighted she could stand toe to glass with sting rays as they glided by her. The queen six-year-old has been searching all season for a peacock (they roam freely) and FINALLY found two females this trip (thank goodness). Monkeys and bears, zebras and snakes. PHEW! I am bushed thinking all about it again.
Yesterday I should've had an old Batman/Robin soundtrack playing in the background. My knee went "Bam!" and "Pop!" So naturally I needed ice later in the day. Who would have thought a frozen bag of corn would be my ten-month-old's favorite toy for the day? She went "Wack" and "Ding" for about half an hour while I waited for the homemade pizza to finish baking. I wonder if she is teething becasue her favorite thing was to "GRRRR" while biting it to bits.
I live in the great, corrupted state of Illinois. There is no money, there is no standard of excellence, and there is no code of conduct that someone hasn't walked all over. I know that the state is broke (even though our taxes are high and our unemployment higher), and there are many who are without work. When there is no work, there is no money. No money means no food for a lot of people across the country. I am not trying to say that there aren't good things in the world and this state; however, I think I have come up with a solution to at least one problem.
Our food banks need food. I propose we take a small portion of all government lawns (i.e. libraries, schools, city halls, post offices, etc) and make them into a veggie/fruit garden. THINK OF IT! That lawn has to be maintained anyway, right? Union workers or city gardeners have to have their people working on them whether they are grass or veggies, so let's make them veggies and give them to the food banks. School kids can learn all about the science of growing food and the satisfaction of being able to serve someone in the community! (Wouldn't it be awesome if they could eat some of it for their school lunches?) Food banks get the food needed (maybe the city building workers who need a little extra could work out time in garden for food from garden if need be), the tax payer isn't wasting money on maintaining ALL that grass (just some of it), and the students learn about vital parts of life they can take home and teach their parents.
Understandably I haven't done the budgets, maybe this would cost more, but I really don't see how it could (especially if we don't use pesticides). There would be a million hoops to jump through and a ton of people complaining about the beautiful grass being taken away.
BUT, if I ran the world, this is the thing I would start right away. What about you? What would you start if you ran the world?
Today I am asking, "What would you do?" What would you do if you were the first person in line to get some work done at a hospital lab, and you ended up being the last one seen even though you have three kids waiting with you? I usually allow my children to play within the bounds of civility. In this circumstance there was an open area where they were running around chasing each other. While I had just asked them to keep their voices down a bit, a man came up to them and told them to "stop running or you will hurt yourself." I was standing within a few feet of them when he said it. When my two-year-old son didn't immediately stop running he told him again to stop and this time put a little of the authoritative voice in the mix. Now, I ask: "Should he have told my children what to do when I was standing immediately there watching them run around?" "How would you have handled the situation after an hour of waiting for a ten minute blood draw?"
Gee Mom, I don't wanna go to sleep. Why is it that children have this aversion to getting the one thing that they need? I know it is hard to believe, but out of my four children, I don't have a single one that is a decent sleeper right now. Screaming and crying until their little bodies are so exhausted that they can do nothing but cry themselves to sleep. Why? Why is it so interesting to stay awake when really our bodies are yelling for us to stop. Let's just continue to be miserable instead of taking the cure?
Oddly enough, as I am writing this I see a lot of similarities in adults. Why do adults continue to do things that are bad for them? Why do WE stay up to watch the Late Late show with Craig even though it is already Tivo-ed? I am sure there is a correlation there somewhere. Maybe my children just are normal human beings--just small ones. I guess I should go try to save my seven-month-old from herself. I'll go lye her down....again.
As a stay at home mom, I am constantly being asked: "How do you do it all day long? Aren't you bored?"
And I ask you: Where can you be so much in one day? In one day I can be a nurse, meal preparer, food critic, referee, laundress, project manager, editor, teacher, bread maker, couture fashion designer, and CEO decision maker. I shop, research, and dish out kisses by the dozen. Why! this morning I was hiding from pirates, searching for lost treasure, and learning addition and subtraction. And that was just the fun stuff I did.
I bet you didn't know that as a mom you have to wear so many hats (true most of them have just been cleaned out by four-year-old hands) that your own head spins. This weekend I was a party planner, interior designer, weatherman, grounds crew, and chef.
Bored? You have GOT to be kidding me.
Who would have thought that a four-year birthday party would be so much work? If you thought that a small gathering of friends was enough, you are sorely mistaken. There are goodie bags, invites, decorations, creative moms trying to constantly one-up the other moms. Who would have thought that involving my little one on her birthday party would have been a big mistake. If I had just planned the whole thing without any "help" then I wouldn't have to try to do EVERYTHING she saw in every shop, website, or book. Wow, you live, you learn, and you plan the party without input from the soon-to-be four-year-old.
Alright, so that Golden Day I had yesterday? It came back to bite me in the butt. Didn't you know that would happen? I am a sports fanatic; I should have known just saying that I was having a Golden Day was tempting the Karma Gods just too much.
Have you ever stood in your home and wondered if the kids are programmed for surround sound? Well, if you haven't, you should come to my house today. The "big girls" (almost 4 and 6) decided their little seven-month old sister needed to be "rescued" from playing happily by herself. They picked her up and moved her to their room, where she started (in my six-year-old's words) "started screaming bloody murder." Seeing as she wasn't happy, they decided to pick her up some more.
Just as I was starting to really find out what was going on and pick up the wet-faced baby, the boy trips up the stairs and begins to wail.
The two oldest don't want to be in trouble so they start whining; the baby, although content, is still sniffling, and the boy is coming up the steps behind me crying.
Yep, surround sound. I am not quite sure why my husband thinks it is such a marvelous miracle of technology. God built it into my day without even thinking about it.
So my Daily Dose hasn't been very daily. In my defense I did say it was an experiment. This weekend was a marathon.
When my mother came back from her whirlwind trip of Paris and Rome, she was supposed to leave the next day, but her flight was canceled. Cue more spoiling time! Movie night, shopping, and a special dinner for our July birthday girl.
She left the next day, but we had a friend come into town . He read to the kids at any sign of weakness. He must have read every book in the library two or three times over. Rookie mistake--never start reading a book without setting up exactly when the reading time will be over.
The next day my husband's biological grandparents (adoption is a common word in our home, so if this seems weird to you, it is common enough here) came to spoil them some more. Gifts, dinner, late night, and yet again more movie and books. They live in New Mexico so we don't get to see them often enough for this to be obnoxious, but by now my kids have had three late nights and counting.
FOURTH OF JULY, I hope you all had a safe and happy fourth. We allowed the older three to stay up and watch the firework display for the first time this year. So today, you can imagine just how my day had the potential to be. Surprisingly enough, no such thing happened. My kids have been GOLD; they even took naps today without the usual fit fanfare. Hot Dog! My kids survived the spoiling and continue to live to tell the tales!
Grandma came back from a Make-a-Wish trip (LOVE Make-a-Wish and cannot say enough about how wonderful they are) to Europe. She went to Rome and Paris, but of course the highlight of the trip (at least for her grandkids) was EuroDisney. She brought the two oldest girls pink Mickey Mouse ears with princess tiaras on them. Our four-year-old puts it on and swings her hips, "Look, Mom. I am.. . Faaaancy Naaancy." I couldn't get over just how giggly cute she was.
Miracles of miracles. The two older girls (six and almost four for you that don't know them) played non-stop today with out a (1) nap, (2) hair pulling, (3) hitting, (4) name calling, or (5) fights of any kind! I know, right! I had to write it down in the record books. It is a day to be remembered on those days that every time you turn around you are the one in the black and white stripped shirt with a whistle.
Yesterday my husband got home early, and we took the kids grocery shopping at Costco. Our Costco is about fifteen minutes away. While we were on our way home, we were trying to keep all of the munchkins awake--you know the drill, if they fall asleep in the car, good riddance to a decent bed time routine. One of their new favorite songs came on the radio (our six-year-old thought it was "The Black Eyed Peas" but it wasn't; amazing what they pick up at such an early age), and we all jammed out to it, even Dad. Not to waste a good thing, we had them dance to all of the songs the whole way home so that they would stay awake.
Today, during errands, the first song we started dancing to came on again. Our sweet daughter (almost four) says, "Mom, Dada and I danced to this song." Thank goodness for a Great Dad Moment.
Yesterday I couldn't write down all of the episodes into one blog. I needed some time to allow my mind to digest all that happened. Hopefully I will be able to give you an idea of just what happened in our home. We woke up with nightmares from my two-year-old boy. Little did he know it was just beginning. His oldest sister (six-year-old) decided that her summer break has gotten boring so from the first she harassed EVERYONE. She wanted a movie. She stepped on her brother's stomach "playing." Five minutes later, she kneed him in the stomach "wrestling." She wanted something to color. She wanted to go to the park (it was raining buckets). She didn't want to make her bed, or clean her room.
LUNCH TIME, and tag it off to the three-year-old. She didn't want to take a nap. If I made her clean then she wouldn't go to sleep. Picking up this one block was too hard. The book was too heavy. She didn't want to take turns so she whacked the boy in the head. She decided to play drums. She whacked herself in the head. The boy had a moment's peace so he thought to twrill around at the top of the stairs. You guessed it. While I was holding the six-month baby girl (who was hungry), he looses balance, falls, and hits his eye on the metal banister. Thank goodness he didn't fall down any more stairs.
ICE PACK, but it is already bruised and puffy. Feed the baby, try to calm the boy, while the two oldest act as if nothing happened. An hour later, Daddy comes home and miraculously there isn't another issue. Please explain to me how the car can make the most awful sound until the mechanic takes a look at it. I swear sometimes my husband must think my imagination runs wild.
Five in the morning on a Sunday. I bet you thought about sleeping in before you would roll out of bed, throw on your Sunday best and get to church late. You were wrong. Five am and you are up with a six month old who thought it would be fun to crawl out of her bassinet. Thank goodness you found her before she fell onto the hard floor, but of course she can't go back to sleep without being comforted--i.e. fed. So, now you are wide awake with nothing to do but walk around as silent as death himself because if any one of your family members wakes up you will be a dead duck in the water.
Even the thought of food is out of the question. They are like that old dog at your grandpa's house. He can't hear a thing--not you yelling for him to come, not a window breaking as someone sneaks in to steal the TV, not even a cat scratching at the door--but he always comes running when the food pours into his bowl. Your kids instinctively hear the crackle of cereal bags, or smell the rich bacon you are dreaming about right now. You know that the second you even think about the ham and cheese omelet or powdered french toast with strawberries and whip cream, they will wake up and come running into the kitchen to mimic the seagulls in Nemo (for those of you with too young or old enough kids, the sea gulls' only line in the movie is "Mine" repeated a hundred times) Oh it may just start out with the two year old, but within seconds all three of your older ones are up and running which in turn wakes up Dad and the dog who then wake up the baby you just so successfully put back to sleep.
So, instead you wait impatiently as the clock slowly ticks away each second. You think about all the things you could be doing instead. Of course sleep tops the list, but soon the mountain called your "To Do List" starts coming to mind. Work out, clean the tub, toilet, dishes, etc., shopping, dinner planning, call your doctor about that thing, call your sister who is probably up with your niece, call your mother just to annoy her because she is a grandmother now so she is sleeping blissfully, get caught up on the ironing, sewing, laundry. Each item your dismiss, because why would you want to make that much noise or go through that much trouble. You finally decide to surf the web. After all your typing only makes minimal sound and you won't have any breakfast smells or early morning lights to try to hide. So it is now five-thirty am, and I only have one more half hour before I can have the french toast.