Friday, December 31, 2010

2010

Whew! This has been a long, cold December with no internet. But, thanks to my handy dandy husband, who got this baby up and running, I am back just in time to recap 2010.

Winter: Julia turned 3. After a busy Christmas trip to NC, we kept her celebration low key and went to the 99 for dinner followed by a pink doughnut cake and presents. She got a keyboard that she used all year to keep us entertained with her sweet musical stylings. Ace turned 5 and had a spaceman party. We visited the Boston Children's Museum over Winter break, tried out ice skating, enjoyed a few too many doughnuts and anxiously awaited Spring.

Spring: Hayley turned 8 and had a spa party. Family friends came up from New Jersey for a visit and Hayley reconnected with one of her first friends from back in Texas. Ace started his second year of Tball and Hayley started soccer. We went to the Franklin Park Zoo. Julia made her television appearance on Sprout's Barnyard Boogie which she watched daily for at least 2 months.

Summer: Ace and Hayley took swimming lessons twice a week at the beach while the little girls enjoyed a lot of mornings with Grandma. We took a lot of beach trips, afternoon naps and picnics. My sister and niece came to visit for the Fourth and we were in the parade, had a barbecue with my family and watched fireworks from the beach. My cousin and her family came for another fun week. We ate a lot (which leads to my one and only NY resolution to lose some weight before our move this summer). Hayley starred in her fourth community musical theater production. Andy took Ace and Hayley to a monster truck rally. Hayley got stung by a jellyfish and I sprained my ankle falling in a hole on the beach.  At the end of the summer, after months of refusing to get  more than her feet wet in the ocean, Lucy finally decided to go for a swim with Grandma. She discovered she loved it, just in time for summer to end.

Fall: Ace started Kindergarten, Julia started her second year of preschool, Hayley started 3rd grade. Lucy turned 2 and we celebrated with a picnic on the beach and a party at Grandma and Grandpa's house. Andy started a new work schedule which (thankfully) means he is home more often. We went apple picking for the first time. We had a fun weekend with my aunt and uncle visiting from NY. All the kids went trick or treating together. We celebrated Thanksgiving at Grandma and Grandpa's house. Julia asked me a bazillion times when the snow was coming.

Winter 2010: Hayley started basketball and Ace started skating lessons. The first big snowfall came just a few days before Christmas and just in time for my sister and niece's visit. The girls dressed up as Sugarplum fairies for a Christmas Eve party at Grandma and Grandpa's house and we loved having my niece with us for Christmas morning. I made black eyed peas for dinner on New Year's Eve and we played board games and twister and now the kids are watching a movie and trying thier best to stay awake until midnight. We talked about our favorite moments of 2010 and what we wanted to happen in 2011. Ace wants to go down a waterslide, Julia wants to have Emily over to her house. I'm just looking forward to seeing what the New Year holds in store for us. Praying for health, for more time with family and friends, for more fun and more laughter. And I'm wishing you all the same.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Still here.. just not here, here.

Our computer must have heard all the smack I was talking about it's broken keyboard because now it has completely shut down on me. It won't even turn on, no matter how much sweet talk (and a few threats of throwing it out the window thrown in) I try.
There are certainly frustrations to not having high speed internet access. Like yesterday when I was watching Celebrity Rehab and I was racking my brain trying to remember if Jeremy or Jason London had starred in Party of Five and I had no way of accessing that crucial information (it was Jeremy, by the way). But, I'm finding plenty of benefits as well. We take more excursions to our wonderful library, I read more books, I go to bed earlier. I do miss blogging though, and reading blogs rather than skimming them.
So that explains my long absence. As soon as we get the computer to forgive me, I'll be back with an update and some pictures.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Rainy days

The rest of our week has been rainy and gloomy, and non-productive. This weather has not been helping me with my plan to be less snippy. In fact, I think the weather is mocking my ambition to be cheerful. So I'm mocking it right back by trying to cozy up the indoors and ignore the fact that my lovely, crisp Fall is turning dreary and cold and the yellow and red leaves that made me feel so very happy just a few weeks ago are now almost all on my lawn, which is not nearly as lovely.
Ace has been to school only 3 days this week, and two of those days he was late. He woke up every day not wanting to go to school and his morning he hid my keys in an attempt to delay us as long as possible. I had already sent Hayley off with our neighbor so I wasn't in a big rush. I did tell him it is not okay to hid the keys and I told him that if it was too late the school may decide to open up a weekend school just for him to make up for the time he missed so he shook a tailfeather and went and got my keys from his pillowcase. Then I fixed him a second bowl of cereal and we sat at the table for a few more minutes. He said that last night he dreamed of flurries and transformers. He learned the word flurries from the news and now thinks that they must be the most exciting weather ever. He may be disappointed when he sees them. I was tempted to keep him home all day and stay at the kitchen table hearing more about his happy dreams. But we were late and Julia was eager to get to school so off we went.
Lucy and I went grocery shopping and then cuddled on the couch to watch Curious George. We picked Julia up from school. Julia wanted to swing and was upset the swings were wet. I told her I understood, this weather was just no fun. About an hour later Julia told me she likes the rain, because when her pants get wet she could go home and put on her ballerina suit.
I should take a tip from Julia and look on the bright side.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What a Week

Halloween and the preceding celebrations were fantastic. The kids wore their costumes pretty much the entire weekend, starting with Friday's school dance. Saturday we spent the day with friends, crossing some of our Halloween-ish activities off of our list (including "scary" movies like Ghostbusters, which meant we ended up with 3 kids in bed with us at midnight because of nightmares).  Sunday we carved our pumpkin, suited up, and Andy took all the kids to Grandma and Grandpa's neighborhood for Trick or treating. Lucy came home and announced, in the cutest toddler squeak ever: "Guess what een here? Ess Can-day!"
I went to bed thinking what a perfect holiday it had been and just as I closed my eyes, Ace started coughing. An hour later we were bundling him in blankets and Andy was zooming off to the ER. He is FINE, thank God, just a bad case of croup but no one got any sleep that night. Ace got a shot in the batooney and came home talking about his pretty nurse and how cool it was to watch Transformers on Andy's phone. The shot must have done the trick because he didn't cough anymore that night. He was fine Monday but since croup often recurs during the night, I kept him home from school for two days until I was sure he was all better. As boring as it was, he loved being at home. He cuddled with me on the couch and watched cooking shows, we read books, and he announced he was hungry every 5 minutes (I think one of the things he dislikes about kindergarten is the limited access to snacks).
We were so lazy the past few days, it was hard to get back into routine today. I tried hard to shake my crabby attitude from too little sleep and no schedule but I'm still feeling out of sorts. Lucy must be feeling it too because she told me today for no apparent reason that Hayley and Ace are "so mean" and she threw her toothbrush in the toilet on purpose when I tried to help her brush her teeth. The only thing that cheered her up was the candy bucket. She loves to reach in a grab something and then look completely shocked that "Ess can-day!"
Lucy also now climbs in and out of her crib with no problem. We were watching tv one night about 30 minutes after bedtime and she just came strolling out of her room like it was no big whoop. The next night I went to put her in her bed and as I was turning on her noise machine she plopped right into her bed and pulled up her covers. So, time for a big girl bed. That is on the to do list for the weekend.
Also on the to do list, get a good night of sleep and stop being such a snippy mommy. And hope that no one else has to get a shot in the batooney.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

On a soapbox

I don't know why this article:

 http://www.marieclaire.com/sex-love/dating-blog/overweight-couples-on-television

upset me so much but it hit a nerve. For one thing, I really like the show she is ridiculing. Besides the fact that I think the show itself relies too much on the character's obesity for laughs, I think it is a sweet, romatic comedy and I think Melissa McCarthy is beautiful and so funny.
It also made me think of my girls, and the messages they are going to be getting from everywhere once they are at an age where they are influenced more by magazines and television and the internet. The messages that being overweight makes you less of a person, that it is okay to ridicule or be disgusted by someone because of the way they look.
And I also thought of myself.  How I sometimes think I'm not as attractive or valuable because I weigh more than I did 5 years ago. I try not to pass that along to my children, I am learning to say "Thank You" when they tell my I'm pretty instead of laughing and rolling my eyes as if to say "Oh, I wish!"  But then I read an article like this and think, do people really look at me and think that?  Do they see me kiss Andy, (who still fits into his high school jeans, by the way) and wonder what he is doing with me? It plunges me back into the insecurity that I am working so hard to fight. That is why I took the time to leave this comment. I don't know if it will ever be read and I toned it down a little from my original comment. Then I reconsidered printing it because it seemed a little of an overreaction. But I left it up because I believe what I wrote, no one should be made to feel less than because of the way they look.
Oh, and I won't be buying Marie Claire again (not that that makes a big statement since I can't remember ever buying it before).
Here's my comment:
"I am the mother of 3 young girls. As hard as I work to teach them to respect others, it makes me sad that they can pick up a magazine and learn it is okay to tell people they are disgusting because of the way the look. That they can tell people they shouldn't be seen kissing because it is offensive to others. It's all free speech, right? We have the right to bully people in print because it is our opinion and we should use our right to free speech to tell people how disgusted we are when we have to watch them cross a room. Should we be applauding Maura Kelly for her honesty? Does it really take courage to be honest about how much we hate an entire group of people just because they don't look the way we think they should?
No, I don't think I'll applaud that. I think I will continue to teach my girls compassion, kindness, acceptance, and courage. It is courageous to hold your head up high no matter how you look. If you waddle a little because you are overweight, if you aren't as thin or as rich as the other people in the room, if you walk with canes because you were born different. Everyone has the right to walk through a room without being ridiculed or humiliated and to kiss the people they love without fear and shame. And if someone looks at them and feels disgust and then chooses to write an article to shame and bully that person, SHE is the one who lacks courage. Hate is easy, feeling superior to others is easy, writing some lame apology when you don't get the reaction you expected doesn't take courage, and it certainly doesn't deserve any applause."

Monday, October 25, 2010

My goal to update my blog at least once a week has been derailed by three factors. One, this computer stinks and I have to jiggle the power cord frequently to keep the battery charging so I cut my online time down significantly because I'm lazy. Two, the energy I had in the Summer has been replaced by my Fall mood, in which I lose steam after the sun goes down (sooner and sooner each day).  Also, I'll admit it, there is a lot of good tv on these days which fills up my evenings. In fact, I'm typing this at warp speed so I can tune into Boardwalk Empire in 6 minutes (Steve Buscemi can pull of the steamy sex scenes without totally creeping me out, who'da thunk it?)
Ace had another great week at school, I think (knock on wood) that we have turned a corner and he is adjusting really well to the long days and new rules.
Just as the dust settles from the emotional transition into Kindergarten, I am dealing with the transition from little kid to "tween" that Hayley is going through.
I refuse to accept that she is really in the tween category already but 8 is definitely a year where she is stuck in the middle.  She comes home some days exhausted and moody. Some days she comes home with an attitude I don't even recognize (like the day she got in the car and asked if we could go buy an Ipod and/or a cell phone.) I'm trying to figure out what my role in all this is. It feels as if I was just getting the hang of this parenting dance when someone came along and sped up the music.  I am constantly questioning if my expectations are too high or too low. I wonder if I am giving her enough space, if i am asking the right questions or if I am smothering her with too many questions. She comes to me and tells me about something that she needs to talk out and sometimes I don't listen well, I brush off what is important to her because I am distracted.  Sometimes I jump in and tell her what to do instead of just taking in what she wants me to hear without trying to come up with the right answer to a question she isn't really asking at all. We both get confused and easily frustrated with one another. I try not to lose my temper when she rolls her eyes at me or slams her door. I try to remind myself in those times to  take a deep breath and remember that this is all part of the the mother/daughter dance. We step forward, back, trip over our feet, and sometimes fall down in a grand fashion and have to get up and start all over.

(....still happy to be dancing with you.)


Monday, October 11, 2010

A list

Because my computer hates me and keeps freezing up on me mid-sentence, I have condensed everything I wanted to say into this quick and easy list of 6 things I don't want to forget about this particular moment in time:

1. That Julia's favorite toys and constant companions are Iggy (a stuffed lizard) and Naomi (a yarn doll that her cousin gave her). Tonight we made up a story about Iggy and Naomi moving to Paris and opening a bathing suit shop.

2. Lucy's  new bossy attitude. Two nights ago at dinner she told everyone we had to keep our hands down. It is hard to eat a meal with your hands in your lap but if we lifted them, we got a very stern look from Lucy. She would also yell at us. I don't like to admit I was intimidated by my 2 year old but, man, she is not messing around.
 
3. Ace stayed on green all week and told me every day that he "Definitely did NOT fool in the bathroom" So, for those of you who may have been concerned, it is now safe to shake Ace's hands because he knows not to touch the urinal cakes.

4. Ace announcing on the way back from the grocery store that he "Definitely needs to buy a car" so he can go to cooler places than the grocery store. He enjoys throwing around the word definitely lately.

5. Hayley writing an acrostic poem with her name for school and misusing Edible for the E. She thought it was a synoym for Incredible.

6. Lucy announcing "I here now" loudly and enthusiactically any time she enters a room. She thinks we've just been waiting for her all our lives (she's right, we have.)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Apple picking

Friday started out on a bad note. Ace has been getting in trouble at school and I will be the first to admit,  I perhaps overreacted to the situation. I may have become a little defensive of my only son. I may have declared Kindergarten a soul-sucking institution that was stealing all the joy out of my poor, innocent child's life. I may have called my sister and neighbor and gone on and on about how Ace was doing the absolute best he could do and why, oh why was that not enough for his teacher? And then I may have found out that my poor, innocent only boy child was juggling urinal cakes and throwing soap on the walls in the bathroom at school and maybe, just maybe, his teacher was perfectly justified in reprimanding him. Lesson learned: it is not always wise to rely solely on your 5 year old's account of why his card has been frequently flipped at school, there may be more to the story than you are told. We have talked to him about it and he knows now that there will be consequences at home if he keeps messing around in the bathroom so I hope this is the last we will hear about urinal cake juggling because, eewwwww.
The rest of the weekend was a big improvement. Saturday we went apple picking at a farm about 45 minutes away. I have never been apple picking before and I loved it. The kids all had a great time too, Julia was on a mission to pick more apples than anyone else and Lucy was on a mission to eat more apples than any 2 year old has consumed in a 2 hour time period.

On the way home we stopped for pizza and I noticed that Ace was looking a little spacey. I thought maybe he was just tired from all the walking but turns out he was coming down with something. By bedtime he was running a fever and had trouble sleeping. As much as I hate to see him sick, at least he felt good enough to enjoy the apple picking and now he has a full day to do nothing but rest and get better. I'll keep him home tomorrow and hope that he feels better by Tuesday. 
Today we are home, prepping for a yard sale next weekend, catching up on laundry, and watching Football. It feels like the ideal Fall weekend. I love that it is just barely warm enough to open the windows and let the smell of wet leaves blow in the window. I love pulling extra blankets out of the closet to put on the end of everyone's bed. I love the smell of the apple muffins I baked (from scratch, go me!) The busy-ness of getting back into the school routine is settling down and I feel like there is more time to savor the change of seasons now.

**Edited to add: I went back and forth on my decision to include the bathroom story in the post. There are things about my kids that I try very hard not to share on the blog and embarrassing stories are one of the things I think are off limits after a certain age. But truly, if Ace reads this at a later date and doesn't get a laugh out of the fact that he was almost pink slipped in Kindergarten for bathroom horseplay, than I will have failed as a mother. One of the important lessons I hope to pass along to them is the importance of not taking yourself to seriously.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Lucy Claire 2 years (and 4 days)

Lucy is 2. I hope she enjoyed her birthday celebration(s) but I'm not sure she ever really got what we were celebrating. Every time we wished her a happy birthday she would wish us a happy birthday too. It didn't help clear things up that her brother and sisters were all up in her presents and cake, I'm sure she thought they were meant for all of them instead of just for her.
We had a party with Grandma and Grandpa

A birthday picnic on the beach

And a special family party afterschool on Wednesday.

So now she is 2. She wakes up every day happy. She lights up our lives with her funny snort/laugh and her bright smile. She loves birds, pictures of birds, songs about birds, books about birds. She is both terrified and fascinated by bugs. She likes Curious George and Elmo and Angelina Ballerina. If you ask her where she wants to go, she will choose Grandma's house 98 out of 100 times.  If you ask her what she wants to eat she will say Dunkin Donuts or pizza (but she doesn't really want pizza, she wants pasta but she gets the words mixed up). If you ask her what her name is she will say Emily (because that is what Julia tells her her name is), if you ask her who loves her she will say "Me!"

I love you roo, Lucy. Happy Birthday to The wonderful Wooz.

(there are pictures meant to go with this post but my phone is being wonky and I wanted to get this up before too long, I'll try again tomorrow)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Lucy Talks

All three big kids are off to school this morning so Lucy and I have the house to ourselves. You would think it would seem quiet but Lucy is going through a major language explosion so there isn't much quiet time around here. It is amazing to watch her vocabulary grow. Ace and Julia both had speech delays and at two they were still speaking mostly in one word sentences so I had forgotten how talkative an (almost) two year old can be.
If Lucy is awake, she is talking. And, if she feels she is not getting enough of a response, she is YELLING. Yesterday she did not feel Andy was interested enough in her commentary on Ace's pet ladybug so she grabbed his face, pressed her face to his and yelled "Ladybug! Inna cup! Dee it? Dee? Dee?"
She blows me away with how smart she is and all that she has picked up on just by observing her brother and sisters. She knows the names of characters in her favorite books, she can count,  recognizes most colors, shapes, and the letter L. I love listening to her make connections all on her own.  I also love the times when she doesn't quite get it. A few minutes ago I was so impressed that she showed me a triangle block and said "Triangle". I showed her a circle block and she said "Cir-dle", what a smartie! Then I showed her a square and she said  "Buddy!" (our dogs name). Not sure what connections were firing in her mind on that one but I give her an A+ for effort.
I love hearing about what is on her mind. The other day in the car she couldn't stop talking about seeing airplanes with Daddy. We had gone to meet him for dinner at his work and we went to sit on the helicopters and airplanes. I knew she had a good time but it was so cool that she was still remebering and thinking about it the next day. When she wakes up from a nap she will tell me what she was dreaming or thinking about, it is the sweetest moment. Usually the first thing she says when I go to get her from a nap is "My guys? At school?"  ("her guys" are Hayley, Ace, and Julia and she always looks forward to picking them up after naptime).
It is hard to narrow this list down but here are some of Lucy's most frequently used words and phrases:
Grandma (used for both Grandma and GrandPa)
Coco going? (when she is looking for her favorite playmate, the dog)
Dinner ready?
I do it
You help me
I help you
Read it to me
Angelina (her favorite book)
Big huggies (this is reserved for Daddy)
I hungry
Carry me
I walk
I put my head down (one of my favorites, she says this right before she leans her head back when she is swinging or someone is hugging her. I love that she tells us beforehand what she is going to do, it makes it that much sweeter)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

The little girls and I have enjoyed the relative quiet of the house while the big kids are away at school. We keep busy so we don't miss them too much (we still do, a lot).  It is nice to go to the grocery store and not have to argue with Ace about why we can't buy every product that has a picture of Buzz or Woody on it and since it is just the three of us we can get the mini carts and Trader Joes to push around.  We usually get home with our errands around 11 so we have lunch and plenty of time for relaxing at home. Here is are some of the ways we've been keeping entertained:








Lucy entertains us with a song (obviously folding the laundry is not high on our list of things to do)









Taking an afternoon drive to explore the backyard






\
Sometimes we just lay around and watch tv







And sometimes we get our geek on and dress up in goofy glasses

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

One Last Splash

We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch - we are going back from whence we came.
-John F. Kennedy 


 

A slightly-biased theater review (and some other stuff)

This weekend we went to see Hayley perform with her musical theater workshop in a star(fish)- studded performance of "Don't be so Shellfish". My parents went to see opening night, Andy and Ace went Saturday, and Julia and I went for the finale yesterday. It got rave reviews all across the board with everyone agreeing that the stand out performer was the sailor/mermaid/starfish/eel (Hayley was all of these characters, such range!)
Lucy also had a big moment this weekend, she went swimming in the ocean with Grandma and Grandpa. After countless beach days spent playing in the sand or sitting in a bucket, she finally decides she is a waterbaby 3 days before school starts. We plan to go for one last splash tomorrow so at least I'll get to see her enjoy the water before the summer ends.
We got our school supply shopping done tonight which was only mostly successful because I left the lists at home and was going off my (bad) memory. I forgot soap, wipes, paper protectors, and I don't think I got the correct gluesticks. I wouldn't worry so much if it wasn't Kindergarten. I feel the pressure to get everything just right so I don't owe Ace any money for therapy in future years (I've heard that a lot of people have mommy issues because she didn't get them the correct school supplies for the Very First Year). He is already mad at me because he had to get size 4 pants instead of 5 (like I'm to blame for his tiny hiney). I cut off the tags when we got home so maybe he'll forget. 
We celebrated the second to last night before school starts by going to Red Robin, which even made Lucy cheer. She was so happy with us and thought we were the best family in the world but then on the car trip home we asked her to stop singing so loud and now she thinks we are lame. And she didn't stop singing, she just paused every few minutes to announce "I singing! This song! I sing it!".
I love Lucy. And Ace with his tiny hiney. And Hayley the Superstar. And Julia who didn't get much of a shout out in this post (she is still super cute).

Sunday, August 22, 2010

All about Ace

I keep starting and re-starting a post about Ace starting Kindergarten but I can't seem to find the right words. I write about being anxious (and I am) but then I worry that I am not getting across that I am also optimistic and excited about his bright new start. I am mostly (93% to be exact) excited about kindergarten. I know he is going to be a shining star, because he just IS. The other 7% of me is having trouble dealing with the fact that he is 5 years old because yesterday he was 5 days old and I don't really know what has happened and why time likes to screw with me this way. Also, I get anxious when I think about Ace dealing with the big world of School. If I could protect my children from ever having anyone be mean to them ever I would, and I don't care what anyone says about it being part of life and making them tough. (If there was an immunization from broken hearts, I would be the first in line.)
When Ace sees an opportunity to make a friend, he doesn't dip his toes in to test the water, he jumps right it. The other day at the beach, a little boy asked to use his shovel and Ace decided he had found a soulmate (he has about a dozen) and talked all the way home about his new friend and all the fun they had. I love this about Ace and in most cases, everyone else does to. But sometimes, just sometimes, he is rejected. Or worse, sometimes his "new friends" aren't nice to him. That is okay and I know it is part of being 5 (and 32). But I worry because Ace takes it so hard. If someone is not nice to him in return he assumes it's because HE just isn't cool enough and it makes him so sad. And if someone who he has befriended starts treating him unkindly, he has trouble speaking up for himself. At baseball practice once he found a "friend" who chased him around with a giant pixy stick and hit him in the head over and over. When I told this new "friend" to stop, Ace insisted he didn't mind.  I'm terrified that Ace will walk into his kindergarten class with his heart right there on his sleeve where he always wears it and have it crushed by too much rejection.
I do worry, I am anxious about sending him off to school. But when Ace started preschool I lost a lot of sleep worrying that he may be a trouble maker and he was amazing. This past year he was called the mayor of his class and his teacher raved about him every day. He always surprises me. He overcomes obstacles (real or imagined) every day. That is why, tenderhearted as he may be, I know in my heart that he is going to be nothing but a rockstar in Kindergarten.
Rock on, Ace. 
 (Ace, obviously not too concerned about Kindergarten. Julia, giving him props)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Big Girl with Big News

Julia now, at the age of 3.7 years, sleeps IN. HER. OWN. BED. Big news, no? Yes.

I am all for co-sleeping if everyone involved is actually sleeping but in our case Julia was really the only one getting any zzzz's. I was clinging to a a few inches of mattress while trying to ignore the occasional toe digging into my back or not-so-occasional 3 year old diaper butt in my face and Andy gave up altogether and would sleep most nights on the couch. Even Lucy didn't like sharing the bed with Julia the Octopus and would nurse and then decide it would just be more fun to start the day (at 3:02 am).

I feel silly for allowing this to go on so long and throwing my hands up and declaring that there was no way to get her in her own bed. Because,  as it turns out, there is a rather simple way to get her in her own bed. It's called a nightlight.

Andy asked her the other night when she would sleep in her own bed and she said. "Um, maybe when I'm four. Or five. Or eight.". So we suggested maybe she should sleep in her bed now, since school starts soon and she'll need lots of sleep to get up for school. Andy asked her why she didn't like her bed and she said it was too dark.  I have tried the nightlight approach before. In fact, there are 2 nightlights in her room. One that plugs into the wall and one that projects pictures onto the ceiling. But it turns out Julia wanted her own nightlight that she could control. Andy put a taplight on the underside of Hayley's bunk, so Julia can turn it on and off. She loves it. I love having my bed back. Andy loves not sleeping on the couch. The battery industry loves the fact that every few nights we have to change the double A's in the taplight because she leaves that sucker on ALL night long. Oh well, I'm still so proud of my Big Girl.

August

(August, 2010)

 Signs continue to pop up all over that Summer is, indeed, coming to an end. Swim lessons ended (with a carnival, fun, fun fun), letters arrived with school supply lists and teacher assignments, the air conditoner is no longer running on high day and night. In fact, today we shut it off and opened the doors, allowing cool air to come in, bringing along thoughts of Fall.  I do love Fall, but I'm not quite ready to let go of this summer just yet. I'm savoring a few more nights of listening to the kids playing long after dinnertime in the yard. I'm leaving our beach bag packed and ready hanging by the door for a few more weeks before it is pushed aside to make room for backpacks and lunchboxes. I'm leaving the mattress on the floor for the kids to collapse on for an afternoon nap. I'm not letting go, not yet.

(August, 2009)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Pictures!

Only one month left of summer vacation and I want to officially recant all my statements regarding the "summertime slump". Because overall, this summer has been so spectacular that I wish I had never complained about the moments that were spectacularly awful.
Swimming lessons are wrapping up and watching Ace do this:


brings me more joy than I can say. I spend so much time in wonder about how big he is this summer that it is refreshing to see his little body in the big, big ocean and remember that yes, he is still a little boy.

Hayley started musical theater dance workshop today. It is the summer camp best suited for my girl that turns everything into a grand performance. I think it will be a perfect wrap up for the end of summer.



I paid Julia's tuition today to guarantee her spot in the 3 day preschool program in September. She asks me at least 4 mornings a week if she is going to school so I think she is ready for a step up from the 2 day program. Plus, her BFF is in that class and she would not forgive me for separating them.  Julia's special day was Saturday and we went to see Toy Story 3. I loved that movie, I think it is the best one I have seen all summer. Then we went shopping and she picked out a new dress. It was hot pink and denim and $7.99 and I had to steal it from her while she slept to wash it. She woke me up at 6am to accuse me of taking it and demand I go get it out of the dryer.

Lucy is living up to (one of her) nicknames this week: Scrappy Lu. She is itching to pick a fight with someone so she usually aims her scrappiness at me. Too bad I've got her number and I just put her in her crib. Too too bad she has my number and she starts pretending she sees a bug. She is sincerely scared of bugs and although most of the time she is faking, I'm always scared that it is the one time she really does see a bug and I don't want her flipping out so I go check on her and she stands up says "oh, no bug" and offers me one her precious hugs. So I get her out of the crib and she goes back to being scrappy. I love, love, love Lucy, she makes me laugh so hard and so much. (ps: she tried to get scrappy with Grandma last week and she swung out to whack her in the head but she missed and fell out of her chair. Grandma felt bad for her but I thought it was hilarious-but only because she was only embarrassed, not hurt).


Friday we have company coming from New Jersey, Ace is thrilled because there are 2 boys close in age to him so he can do boy stuff (legos? burping contests?).
Oh, and YIPPEE! I got a camera. It's not super fancy so don't expect fancy photos, but at least I can prove that this spectacular summer did happen and wasn't all just a dream that I had during one of my marathon summer siestas. I got it in a hurry Saturday so Andy could document the Big's first trip to a monster truck rally, they had a blast!

Monday, July 26, 2010

As we walked onto the beach this morning I was blown away by the beauty of the day. The sun was glistening over the ocean, the water was so clear and calm. I normally like to sit on the shore for most of the lessons and the kids have to pester me to get in but this morning I was looking forward to dipping into the cold water. I wondered why there seemed to be so few people in the water on such a perfect day. Turns out, looks can be deceiving. That beautiful, clear water was teeming with jellyfish. Some were clear and harmless. Some, not so much. Hayley had the bad luck of encountering one of the not so harmless ones. She was with her class for swim lessons and I was collecting shells with Ace. I turned around and saw that her class was out of the water. I rushed back, thinking it was later than I thought and I didn't want Hayley to wonder where we were. But she was already at the bathhouse with the lifeguard, getting a baking soda and vinegar treatment for the sting. Some friend who had seen the incident said she looked fine and that it seemed to be a little sting but when I saw her my heart just sank, she was obviously in so much pain.  I took her right home and left her in Andy's capable hands while I went and got whatever treats Ace and I could find that might make her feel a little better. I got to the counter at the drugstore with pringles, ice cream, a movie, some swedish fish, and a pack of gum. I was talking to the cashier about what happened and she said "Well, this will make her feel better, it's better than medicine." That's when I remembered what I was supposed to be buying: medicine. So I had to go back for tylenol. The combination of all the treats and the tylenol did seem to ease her pain and now she is back in action and her welts have faded. Now she just has one bright red mark and a few pink marks.
Andy says he got small stings plenty of times in Florida but besides him, Hayley is the first one of us ever to encounter a jellyfish. I hope she is the last but with all the time we spend in the water, that might be wishful thinking.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

We are hitting that mid-Summertime slump.  The kids are getting tired of so much time all together.  Right this minute they are having "quiet time" downstairs. Quiet time that I can hear all the way upstairs, because Julia is yelling at Ace to "weave me Alooneee!!!" That explains why I have been hiding from the blog, I don't want to admit that things are falling apart a bit here, better to leave up our Fourth of July post, from when it was all sunshine and fireworks.
We have been saved on many days from complete craziness by our sweet neighbor, who sends her teenager daughter over to babysit and invites the kids over to play with her 8 year old. Last night Ace went completely ape-sh!t because Julia got to use a jelly jar as a milk cup and he wanted it and I sent him out to the deck to get some air. While he was out there he yelled over to our neighbor asking if Timmy (8) could come over and that saved the day. We set up the bubble machine and they played freeze tag (Timmy kept changing the rules if he seemed to be losing). I brought out a big bucket of soapy water and they washed all our backyard toys. By bedtime we were all feeling much better.
We have started our special days with each of the kids. At the beginning of the summer each of the kids started planning what they wanted to do for their day. Ace wanted to see Despicable Me so Sunday we had a great date day, just to two of us. We went to the mall first and he was so cooperative, even giving me fashion advice while I tried to find shoes to go with a new dress ("You should find some big shoes that have Ironman on them, and then get me a pair so we match!")  He held all the doors for me, even the big heavy ones in the theater. It was the first movie I've ever seen in 3D and I think I was as impressed by it as Ace.
Oh, and I had a birthday (and pictures to prove it, thanks to my mom) We went to the beach and out for pizza. I asked the kids to wear something special for my birthday. I dressed Lucy in a new jumper and she kept showing off her new "pretty". Ace dressed like a pirate. Saturday we had a party with my parents. Julia recommended strawberry cake and it was a great choice. 

I wish I had a better way to pull all this together to wind up this post but I don't. Again, I blame the Summertime Slump.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Home.

This was the first year all the kids went to see the fireworks. Hayley went once when she was younger and, if I remember correctly, we brought Baby Ace along too but he would not remember that year. The past few years we have been content to watch on the TV but this year we were just crazy enough to load up the van and take all 4 kids to the beach to watch the fireworks over the bay. I am so thankful we did!  We had cousin Naomi along too which was sweet icing on the cake. The kids ran and played (and peed) in the sand while we watched some smaller fireworks come from the boats. Just when everyone started to get a little restless and Lucy started chanting "Home? Home? Home?", the show began. Some kids might have sat in silent wonderment and watched the magic but these are my kids we are talking about. There was a running commentary through the entire show. Ace was curious about what happened to the fireworks in the sky, where they went after we saw them, what role firefighters might play in setting off fireworks. Naomi talked about, well, everything. Including how a good firefighting name for Ace would be Fred. Lucy ran from my lap, to Grandma's, to Andy's and back again, kissed me full on the lips over and over again, repeated important words from the day "Home, pocket, potty, pretties" and occasionally glanced at the fireworks. She also clapped, she was big on clapping. One of the funniest moments was when she sat on my lap and I sang along with the music "God bless America, my home sweet home" and her eyes got very wide and she started yelling "Home? Home! Home?" 
It was such a memorable night, and the perfect end to a great holiday weekend. Yesterday we marched in our town's parade. Julia was a rock star riding her bike for the first year, Ace rode his motorcycle bike, Naomi rode the scooter (but mostly walked and collected candy) and Hayley walked. We played games afterwards and then rewarded ourselves with a treat and root beer at the candy store. The day before we had a long, relaxing day at the beach and dinner at our favorite pizza place.
The weekend has been amazing but somewhat bittersweet since we will probably be moving next year around this time. That means this could be our last Fourth of July here. It breaks my heart because I love our town and this season reminds me why. I love our friends here, I love being so close to my parents for a good part of the year, I love all this town has to offer. But I know that this is what being a military family is about. We set down roots, find people and places that we love where we live and then, before we are ever ready, we have to say goodbye to them. The sweet part of that is knowing that there are new people to meet and new favorite places to discover in our new home and we can always cherish friendships and memories from our old home.  But I  understand Lucy's longing for "Home! Home! Home!", because I agree, adventures are fun but nothing beats the comfort of home.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Lucy-21 months

It seems like my 5+ year streak of nursing may be coming to a close. For the third day in a row, Lucy has not nursed at all during the day and for two days we have replaced the before bed nursing with a cup. She did wake up during the night last night and nursed back down but only for a few minutes. I think there are a lot of reasons she has lost interest. 1. I'm not offering at all and during the day if she wants to nurse I offer her a cup or snack and she'd rather have those. 2. We moved the rocking recliner to the basement to make room for a different couch. The recliner was "our chair" and every time we sat in it together she tried to nurse. Now we just cuddle on the couch. 3.We bought her 2 new cups that she loves to use and will sit with those at nighttime with some water. 4.  She is eating more and not using milk as a snack anymore, now she heads straight for the kitchen when she is hungry or thirsty.

I expected to be sad when I was really done with nursing but I have to say, I'm not feeling many mixed emotions. I was very ready, starting when she was about 18 months and have been anxiously waiting for signs that she was losing interest. Now I'm relieved and enjoying finding new ways to have those moments of connection with Lucy. Tonight it was playing on the bed for almost half an hour with her pretending to tuck me in, me pretending to fall asleep and, .02 seconds later, having her wake me up by jumping on my head. Then we would giggle together and hide under the covers. Our game happened to coincide with an awful gas attack (Lucy's, not mine!) so every time she would get laughing really hard, she would let out a big toot which just made us both laugh harder. I loved those days of nursing a newborn, and infant, and then a toddler, but I have to say, laughing with my farty little lady may be even better.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Summer To Do list, continued

Hayley, Ace, and Julia have added onto our list of things that we want to do by the end of Summer (which, with yesterday being the last day of school for the Big H, has officially begun) Here are the additions:

Julia:
See a play (lots of Children's theater here so it should be easy to find a good show)

Ace:
See Toy Story 3 and Despicable Me
Swim lessons

Hayley:
Go to Sandy Neck Beach
See a movie at the drive thru theater
Have a lemonade stand with T.
Swim lessons

Today we kicked Summer off in style with a trip to the beach. My bathing suit is missing-most likely at the bottom of a massive laundry pile somewhere so I didn't swim but the kids went in with Grandma and loved it. We also went to a a magician show and watched some tv. Tomorrow we take Lucy to get her head checked out in Boston, I'm hoping that it is just a quick in and out visit and they tell us there is no need to worry about her lumpy, beautiful little head.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Today was one of those days that I hope stays firmly lodged in my children's memories. It was spent in places we love, with people we love, there was abundant laughter and sunshine and we enjoyed it all.
We slept in and then joined Ace's classmates for a party at his friends house. Julia and Lucy and I invited ourselves to stay and enjoy the celebration. The kids ran through the sprinkler, slipped and slid on the slip and slide, enjoyed a delicious spread of food, and then walked down to the beach for more fun. We came home just in time to met Hayley coming home from school and our neighbor babysat while I grocery shopped (alone!). We fixed a picnic and spent the evening on the beach where nobody fought, nobody ignored me when I told them to stay only ankle deep in the water, and nobody complained about being bored. It was near perfect. The one not perfect moment was when a seagull dive bombed down on Lucy trying to steal her cheese puff. She flipped out for a minute or two and sat on my lap. I told her just to shoo that mean old seagull away and she took it one step further. She chased him down yelling "No Duck!" and got close enough to throw a bucket at him. I'm not condoning throwing buckets at seagulls but I have to say, that stinker was asking for it. Lesson: Don't mess with The Wooz.
We came home and every scrubbed off the sand and salt and everyone was about to crash out on the couch when our neighbor stopped by to show off his fireflies. We talked for a while and the kids marveled over the fireflies and within minutes of saying goodbye, all the kids were tucked in and exhausted.
I hope they remember these days because I know that I always will.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Some more about Summer

6.5 days until summer (un)officially begins here at the R. house. That means only 6.5 days until I can return to my natural state of sleeping until 9am and staying in my pajamas until at least 10:30. This does not mean that our summer days are not busy, is just means that busy-ness in the house must not occur before 10:30. Don't ask me why, those are just The. Rules.
We will get a sweet, sweet taste of what I hope the rest of the summer holds for us tomorrow since Ace's school has Beach Day and Julia, Lucy, and I have invited ourselves along. Our picnic lunch is already packed and I spent the afternoon at the store stocking up on even more beach toys. This poses a small problem because last summer our beach toy collection outgrew my beach bag and I had to move them to a tub. The tub is already hard enough to carry onto the beach while balancing Lucy on one arm and piling the cooler, the towels, and the beach chair on top of the bigger childrens' heads to get to the sand. But now, I have more toys than will even fit in the tub. I'm not sure what to do. Logic says I could just leave some toys behind but logic does not have to listen to four children whine that they don't have their yellow sand sifter and can we drive back home and get it because the beach is 100 percent boring without it. I'll have to figure something else out.
That last sentence reminded me that Ace now likes to complain that he is 100 percent bored. Or 100 percent hungry. Or he loves the movie 100 percent. I'm not sure where he picked that up or what he thinks it means but it melts me a little every time he says it.
Another thing that melts me is the fact that in 6.5 days Hayley will be a third grader. I have memories of third grade being a strange year. I remember feeling  left behind by some of my friends that year. They talked about things that didn't makes sense to me yet, like how cute boys were and who they like- liked. I had one friend who would spend the entire recess recapping the Nightmare on Elm Street movies in gory detail for all of us who weren't allowed to watch them yet and teaching us jumprope rhymes that included the word ass. I remember half of me wanted to go back to swinging and playing foursquare and half of me wanted to be cool enough to say ass without whispering and watch R rated movies. I spent a lot of time in third grade feeling uncool and not even knowing what cool was supposed to feel like. Everybody warns you about teenage angst but that is the thing, everybody warns you. By the time I was a teenager I  pretty much  figured that everyone else was feeling just as awkward as I was. When you are 8, you don't even know it's coming. I'm not sure if I'm ready to face third grade again, this time as a parent.
But, between now and then, we have Summer. I'm definitely ready for Summer.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Andy took my van to work yesterday so we were stranded at home until late afternoon, with nothing to do. I would normally have been flipping out because the kids get bored and when they get bored, things around here quickly go haywire. But everyone was tuckered from a busy weekend so they were content with computer games, toys on the living room floor, frequent snacking, and a little too much tv. So was I.
Today we are back to normal, busy with Spirit Month for all the kids at school. Sunday night we spent a half hour locating a suitable hat for Hayley, a pirate costume for Ace, and something green that Julia would actually wear (she prefers to rotate her 3 favorite dresses for months at a time). Today I'm at a total loss because it is Whale Day at Ace's preschool and Ace does not own one single item of clothing that has a whale on it. And we have to make an emergency trip to Grandma's house so she can mend his firefighting pants in time for the field trip tomorrow. Ace wants to bring all his firefighter gear to show his fellow firefighters. Considering that  all his gear takes up 3/4ths of his closet, I told him he can only take what fits in the backpack. He is not pleased with the compromise.
My parents are here and I am loving life with two extra adults around to even up the child/adult ratio. We met them last week for dinner at Julia's favorite joint and blueberry pancakes on Friday morning.  And Sunday we had ice cream and a walk on the beach with them. Lucy has a huge crush on Grandma. A few weeks ago she started wanting to walk more rather than be carried and wouldn't tolerate excessive cuddles. That all changes when Grandma is around. At the beach I was so flattered when she came over to me and raised her hands to be carried, then I realized she was only using me to get closer to Grandma and when we got close enough to her, Lucy leaped out of my arms like a spider monkey to get into her arms.
I'm seriously wondering how all four of my children remain in the 25 percentile for weight.  In the time it has taken me to type this post, they have consumed an entire bunch of bananas, 4 packages of chocolate chip muffins, and crackers. This constitutes a typical "small snack" for them.
Sorry, but that's all I've got for today. I miss posting pictures so much but we still have not replaced our camera. It was in the budget for this month but then Andy's truck died so a new (to us) car moved from the want to the need list. The kids are way more excited about the new truck anyway but I'm going crazy missing all these photo opportunities.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Summer Resolutions

I have a habit of setting goals and making resolution that I have no intention at all of keeping. I say "I think I'll stop watching so much TV after the kids are in bed" But I love tv, and therefore, have no actual plan to stop watching it. I say I'll get up an hour earlier everyday and go for a walk. But you know what? A walk at 7am is really no different than a walk at 11:15am except for the fact that I am less likely to get lost in the cranberry bog because I am actually functioning at 11 as opposed to 7. So this summer, all my goals are things I actually want to do. I think that significantly ups my chances of fulfilling them.

Here they are, my Summer 2010 Resolutions:

1. Travel, but not too far. Visit Boston, Nantucket, and take at least one camping trip before the summer is over.
2. Keep in touch with Julia, Hayley, and Ace's classmates and try to meet up with them for a playdate or a trip to the park or beach at least once a week.
3. Teach the kids the joys of sleeping late and eating breakfast at 10am, in our pajamas.
4. Keep the tv off during the day but don't be an stickler about it. If the kids want a movie day with blankets on the floor and popcorn, I'm all in.
5. Use rainy days wisely to get the house clean and organized, use sunny days wisely to get outside and enjoy the beach.
6. Take a walk alone at least three times a week. Try to run for at least a few minutes of it.
7. Take a lot of pictures.
8. Eat as many meals as possible outdoors (bonus: cleaner kitchen floor)

I'm sure I'll add to the list as the summer gets closer, any suggestions are welcome!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Busy

I knew this weekend was off to a good start when I realized at 8:20pm on Friday night that Friday Night Lights was on (and recording). For those who do not possess my skills at the fine art of the DVR, 20 minutes after a show begins is the perfect time to start watching if you can't wait a second longer to see a show but don't want to have to sit through 18 minutes of commercials. And just as my beloved FNL did not disappoint, neither did the rest of the weekend.
Saturday was T-ball (Ace "nailed it"-according to Ace) and soccer (the game was a tie which is the best possible outcome for Hayley because she doesn't like anyone to be disappointed). Then we went to McDonalds.  Since we moved here we have been really good at avoiding fast food but our fridge had no lunch food to offer except one slice of bread and a lot of string cheese so I caved and went through the drive thru. Ace proclaimed it the Best Lunch Ever because we got a collectible Shrek glass AND the happy meals were in boxes, not lame-o bags. When Andy got home from bike riding we went to run a few errands and ran into one of Julia's teachers at the Home Depot. The rest of the time in the store Julia was peering down every aisle searching for her other teacher because she thinks they do everything together. She was disappointed not to find her and had trouble understanding that her teachers had lives that did not involve each other and the school.  When we got home Andy watched a movie with the kids and started dinner so I could take a long walk alone. It felt great and wore me out. The kids were wiped out too so that made sleeping in on Sunday even sweeter.
This morning (and I use that word loosely since it was close to noon before we did anything today) we had pumpkin pancakes and bacon, cleaned up the house, and went to the park. Lucy took our breath away with her bravery on the big slides. We cooked out tonight and watched Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs before putting the kids down for an early bedtime.
It was such a great weekend, I hate to see it end. Andy works a 7 day work week this week to get in some flight time so it will be a while before we have this kind of family time again.
I asked all the kids before bed if they had a fun weekend and they all said yes. Except Julia. She said she did not have any fun. I asked why not and she said, "Because, I wanted to go to dunkin donuts and I don't know how to drive there."  Just goes to show you, you can't please everyone.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Brother and Sisters

The sun is back, it is our first week without story hour on Thursdays so we have a free morning and I'm using it to catch up on facebook and blogs and enjoy the breeze coming from my open windows. Lucy is feeding me her yogurt pretzels and Ace is in his firestation practicing manuvers (although to the unknowing observer it may look like he is in his bedroom dancing with a foam battle axe).
Lucy has slept the past two nights from 12-7 (she goes to bed at 8 but gets up around 11:30 to nurse). It may be a fluke but boy, does it feel great to get 7 hours of sleep. She also doesn't ask to nurse much at all during the day. After 5 years without a break, I am ready to stop nursing but my heart does hurt a little thinking that this is really it, my babies are all kids now. You know what is great, though? Watching them be kids together.  I love to walk into a room and see them all doing something together, hiding out in the rocket tent, reading books together, running in the yard playing sardines (although Lucy always gives away their location by yelling at whoever is supposed to be finding them, she is worried that they are the one that is lost). When Lucy wakes up in the morning, it is usually Julia that gets to be the first to say good morning. Sometimes I don't understand what she is trying to tell me and Hayley knows right away. The other day I made Lucy mad by wiping yogurt off her face and she ran to Ace for a hug. Maybe sometimes I wish I was her only Most Important Person but seeing her get closer to her brother and sisters everyday melts my heart. My childhood revolved around my sisters. My mom and dad were there of course, someone had to provide the popsicles. But when I think about who was there when I was happiest, it is my sister's faces that come to mind first. They invented personalities for my dolls, they helped me reenact our favorite episodes of The Brady Bunch, they played with babydolls when it wasn't cool anymore so we could be "grown ups" together. I know how lucky I am to have them so I know how lucky my children are to have each other.
(Ace taking Lucy for her first walk, July 2009)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I was up late last night and up early this morning. When Julia came home from school, she wanted to rest so we could go to the playground after we picked up Ace and Hayley. I had a long list of things that needed to be done around the house and I wasted a lot of time trying to find a pogo ball on Amazon so I didn't get it done in time. But I told Julia we could go to the playground anyway. When I picked up Ace he started fighting with Hayley and I got annoyed quickly. I told them if they could not stop fighting we would not to the playground (I secretly hoped they would fight just one more time so I would have a good excuse not to go to the park) and they kept fighting, and we didn't go to the park. It was a sunny day and we missed it because I was too tired. 

Ace wanted to sing all his songs for us tonight but he kept stopping and starting and shushing everyone. I got irritated and told him he had 10 seconds to sing us his songs or we were going to just go to bed. He kept shushing and stopping and starting the same song and we ended up going right to bed. 

I never did get my long list of housework done either. It wasn't a great day, and tomorrow it is supposed to rain. I think I''ve learned my lesson, when God gives you a day of sunshine and a chance to listen to your child sing, just shut up, soak up the sunshine, and listen to the music.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Mother's Day Tea

Today was the Mother's Day Tea at Julia and Ace's preschool. As well as being a day to celebrate how incredibly lucky I am to be their mom,  it was also study in how different two siblings can be.
Julia is in the morning preschool. She has been so excited about the performance they were going to do, she has been counting down how many "sweeps" are left until the Mother's Day tea and this morning she was up bright and early dressed in the ladybug dress my mom made, her sparkliest shoes, and her Birthday Girl crown. I laughed (on the inside) at how funny it is that the girl who wants the least attention loves the most attention-grabbing clothes. All the way to school she talked about the songs they would sing and the dancing they would do. She kissed me goodbye in the classroom and suggested I go home and shower and get into some prettier clothes.
When the kids came walking out, Julia was all smiles. Then, she realized how many people were there. The smile faded and her eyes got wider and wider. She danced about half the time, the other half she stood with her hands in her pockets and unintentionally flashed the audience by pulling her dress up over her head.  In other words, she was Julia, and perfect. I loved every minute of her performance and was so proud of her. After the 10 minute show was over, she was so exhausted. She is an introvert by nature, these situations where she is expected to be extroverted (which may or may not be a word) just suck the energy right out of her. We shared a cookie and some lemonade and I told her I was so proud of her. I asked if she had fun singing and dancing and she said "No." and ate another cookie.  We went home and she just wanted to lay down and watch her shows. It had been a very long morning for her.
At 2pm I went to see Ace, who is in the afternoon program. He had also been talking about nothing but Mother's Day Tea for days. When he walked out with his class, he waved to everyone, blew me a kiss, and skipped up to the front of the room. When it was his turn to read from the dinosaur book, he read his rehearsed line and then continued on with two or three extra facts. When they sang, he sang loud. When the danced, he danced with enthusiasm. After his 20 minute show, he was totally energized. He wanted to recap the entire performance, talk about our favorite parts, show off his dance moves some more. He was still bouncing around talking about the day at 6pm. He was Ace, and he was perfect.
They are so very different, and I am so very lucky.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Zoo pictures

I am going to keep my words in this post to a minimum after reading what I wrote last week, especially this quote:
"Sometimes it takes us 2 hours just to pick up a bag of birdseed or a birthday present for a friend, but we get out of the house and spend time together and the rest of the day I feel a sense of accomplishment."Could that sound any less impressive? If I had to fill out a resume today I doubt any potential employer would be blown away if I listed my recent accomplishments as: "Managed a trip to the Stop and Shop with 4 children without laying down mid-aisle in surrender"

So, here are the promised pictures from the zoo, including the ones Ace took before figuring out that the camera was backwards (you can click on them to enlarge)


Monday, April 26, 2010

Spring Break Part II

Some days just the thought of taking all 4 kids to the grocery store exhausts me and if I do attempt to run errands with all of them in tow, it easily unravels and ends in tears and humiliation (both mine). Other days, when the sun is shining and we are all full of happy energy, I love driving around town listening to Ace sing along to the radio and Lucy yelling at large trucks (she doesn't like them, I have no idea why). We don't get too much accomplished and I usually forget some essential items at the store. Sometimes it takes us 2 hours just to pick up a bag of birdseed or a birthday present for a friend, but we get out of the house and spend time together and the rest of the day I feel a sense of accomplishment. Last week I was lucky enough to have a lot of those days. We went to the park a few times, we went to the bookstore, the grocery store, soccer practice, the pet store. It was a great week. Friday Andy had the day off which was the best news because even though the week had been fun, by Friday I was exhausted and out of ideas for entertainment. We drove to Boston to go to the Zoo. It was small enough that we could see all the exhibits in just a few hours. After the zoo we went to Red Robin and watched Lucy tear her food into small pieces and then try and sneak them onto everyone else's plates. We even made it to Walmart where we got some things we really needed, like crates to put away the Christmas decorations that have been on the table in the basement for months. The kids all got to pick out one thing, 5 dollars or less as long as they could think of two reasons they needed it. Ace got a headlight because 1. All firefighters need them and 2. It would help him if he wanted to go in a tunnel. Julia and Hayley got watches  because 1. Hayley could tell us what time it is if we are outside with no clocks and 2. Julia found one that had Belle on it and wanted to wear it every day. Lucy got a baby doll because 1. Maamaa! Babbbeee! 2. Babbbeeee!!
Saturday after sports I declared that the rest of Spring Break must be dedicated to resting up for the return to school and the kids mostly cooperated with my declaration, the rest of the weekend was pretty uneventful.
I bought a disposable camera for the zoo and let Ace, Julia and Hayley take all the pictures, I'll get them developed and try to post them tomorrow. Ace took at least 5 pictures with the camera backwards so I'm especially looking forward to those close ups of his face.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Big Doings

It's school vacation week and so far, Mother Nature has cooperated and given us 2 beautiful sunny days to enjoy. Unfortunately, I still have no camera to capture these days. That might not be the worst thing. I've had fun playing with the kids and following them around the park without rushing to get my camera or catch the perfect shot.
My parents were in town this weekend and we had a great dinner with them on Friday at the 99. Lucy is out of the phase now where she is constantly trying to escape the highchair and we don't have to bring her own food with us which makes eating out a fun outing rather than a chore again. It was sad to see Grandma and Grandpa go home on Monday so to cheer everyone up we went to our favorite store to create our own Spring Break Survival Kit. One of the items we got was a huge roll of paper so the kids could color. Usually a roll that big lasts us a few weeks but yesterday the kids decided to spend the afternoon drawing a zoo and used up the entire roll on animals that they taped along the wall of the playroom. I am not one to discourage their creative endeavors (and I got to watch last weeks DVRed episode of Glee) so I don't mind, we'll just go back for more paper tomorrow.
Today our only errand was to buy a bag of birdseed but on the way we decided to go to the big park and then we spent a half hour or so checking out all the animals at the feed store except the lizards. I told Ace the lizards gave me the willies and he was confused and asked the clerk why they named the lizard Willy. Then the clerk was equally confused and I didn't want to hurt her feelings by explaining that I found her lizard creepy so I asked what the cat's name was to change the subject. The cat's name was Misty. Ace kept calling her Willy. He was obviously more confused than I realized.
Julia was on tv this morning. She did the Barnyard Boogie with Danisha on the Sunny Side Up Show. If you have a child that likes PBS Sprout I highly recommend submitting a picture of them for the Barnyard Boogie dance. I have never seen Julia so proud, we've already watched it 3 times today.
Lucy is going through the 18 month sleep regression phase. For the past two weeks she has been screaming her head off whenever we even approach her crib at bedtime. And she still wakes up multiple times at night. Yesterday we skipped naps and she went down without much fuss at 8 and stayed in her bed until around 11. Then she woke up and I brought her to our bed where she proceeded to stretch out and take up the entire queen sized bed. After a few hours of clinging to less than a foot of space I tried (unsuccessfully) to take her back to her crib. At 2:30 Julia came to the bed too and I was considering just giving up the bed completely and sleeping on the floor. Instead,  Andy took her to sleep in the couch. We are all exhausted.
I don't really know how to wrap up this entirely too long update, so here is the picture we submitted for Julia's television debut. Seriously, if I had known she would really be on tv, I would have spent a lot more time choosing the photo. This just happened to be the first picture of her face that I had on the desktop. She didn't mind but Andy was confused as to why in the world I would have picked this goofy shot for her first chance at stardom.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Long days

I took the kids to the park a while ago and was busy snapping pictures when Lucy demanded that I take her down the slide. Smart cookie that I am, I stuck the camera in my back pocket and took her down the slide. The camera objected to being pressed between my butt and the slide and has not worked at all since. I'm bummed because it was 2 days before Easter so I had to take our Easter pictures on Andy's crappy camera phone and now I'm missing all the great photo opportunities that Spring brings.
So what does this mean to you? It means that instead of cute and precious pictures of the kids, you get  my sappy ramblings about how cute and precious my kids are.
Or maybe not. I had a bad day Friday. It was rainy and we had no plans for the day (besides a mountain of laundry that I had put off for almost a week). The kids had no idea what to do with themselves. My day sounded a lot like this: "MommyI'mthirstyMommyI'mhungryMommycanwewatchamovieMommyIwantanotherpretzelMommyIthinkthatispooponthe couchMommyI'mhungryagain"
Seriously, it was nonstop. I sent the kids to bed at 7:45 and Saturday and Sunday were much better. But Friday, that was a doozy. 
That is life with 4 kids, some days just suck the energy right out of you. Even on those days, I can at least count on a few laughs out of them. Friday it was the fact that Ace was wearing underwear that were 2 sizes too big and kept losing them when the fell down into his pants. He didn't want to admit his underwear were too big so when I asked what he as doing he shouted "Give me some privacy!" while standing in the middle of the living room with his hands down his pants. And Lucy, who fought bedtime everyday last week but fell asleep on the couch and started snoring so loud I thought it was the dog.
That too is life with four kids, the laughs and joy they bring me can transcend even a mountain of laundry and 12 hours of whining preschoolers.
(I'm still dreading the next rainy day)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Take me out to the ballgame.

Now the commotion of Easter weekend with five house guests is over and Spring is kicking into high gear here in New England, we are getting ready for...da da da da... Spring Sports! No one is more excited about this than I am because, well,  no one else is excited about this. Ace was excited about T-Ball until he found out that Greyson and Jack are on the Royals and he is on the Marlins and now he asked if we could just stop talking about T-ball altogether. Hayley keeps forgetting what sport she is signed up for (soccer) and Julia is bummed that she isn't four yet because there are no sports for 3 year olds. So, Saturday is not a big day for anyone but me. I love the routine of getting up early(ish) and heading out the the ball field and I love that after the practice and game and celebratory stop at Dunkin Donuts are over the kids are so pooped out that the don't mind if we spend the rest of the Saturday watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians and laying on the couch (and by "we" I do mean "me").
I love Spring. But then again, I love almost all the seasons, especially in the early transitional days when I really appreciate the new-ness of the season.
And because the seasons change but some things never do, Ace still loves everything related to firefighting. In fact, just tonight he informed me that he does not have enough gear. When I asked what he still needed his number one request was the jaws of life.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

8

Dear Hayley,
First of all, I'm very sorry that this birthday tribute is 4 days late. Second of all, I'm sorry that it does not yet include the super awesome picture that I took of you on your birthday with you newly pierced ears. Third and finally of all, I'm just flat out sorry that your mommy is so lazy.
Anywhoos, now you are eight. Can you believe it? I sure can't.  You may not know this but your birth brought about some kind of freaky deeky time warp and now the years fly by at super speed. I can't explain it but trust me, these 8 years have gone by in a flash.
Your seventh year was a challenging for us both, there were so many big changes. Sometimes I think I pushed you too hard to be responsible and mature and I should have let you get away with more. We butted heads some but not really that much  because you are such an easy going girl, it is incredible. You allow me room to make mistakes as a mom and are so fast to forgive. You allow your brother to be pesky and still love him unconditionally. You understand that your sisters are still little and don't understand the world as well as you do and you take time to teach them and guide them. I could not be more proud of who you are right now, exactly as you are.
Your sense of humor is still one of the most beautiful things about you. You laugh and make others laugh along with you.  You are beautiful. Your smile makes a room light up, (even with your missing teeth!).
I know this year is going to be another great adventure with you leading the way. We love you so much, our little Peep.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sunny days, chasing the clouds away...

I haven't updated much because we've been out in the sunshine welcoming the first signs of Spring. I hope you are finding the sunshine wherever you are, and soaking it up.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I have to warn you ahead of time that this post is going absolutely nowhere. I have no theme whatsoever to write about and the kids have not done anything story worthy this week (except Ace got this new fighter pilot coat and he strutted around the library to show it off and double high fived everyone he saw because he felt so awesome. But that doesn't translate well in writing. Trust me, it was so adorable it made 2 people cry and only one of them was his own mother.) Where was I? Oh yes,  so I have no real focus here but I feel like writing and have 45 minutes till I have to rush to claim a prime spot in the carpool lane.
I'm so tempted to nap because I've had this awful cold for days. It started as just a little itchy throat and I thought it would pass and I'd just have the stuffy nose that the girls have had for days  but instead it transformed into this horrible body aches, sinus headache, feeling like I've been hit by a truck cold. I spent much of yesterday in bed and now I'm much better. Then, since I spent the day in bed, at night I didn't know what to do with myself and was up until well after 2am. That sucked, what else can I say.
I was listening to a morning new shows on the radio and they were interviewing Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The interviewer asked him how his faith in God has changed as he got older. The closing line to the answer was about how he used to go to God with his long "shopping list" but now has learned to block other things out and just be with God. He compared it to sitting by a fire in winter. He said you don't have to be smart, you can just sit close to the fire and it will warm you. I was so moved  by that, I've been thinking about it all day.  Faith can be such a simple thing. I tend to complicate it by trying to find answers to everything big and small or worrying over different philosophies or interpretations. It was like taking a deep breath, to accept that being close to God can be as simple as just holding still and feeling the warmth.
Lucy is up now, she took such a short nap because Andy let her fall asleep on the couch while they watched CMT cribs.  I'm always mad when he does that because she wakes up when he moves and then won't finish her nap but they look so cute cuddled up that I don't have the heart to move her.
Our DVR has ruined Julia for regular tv. She's screaming at me now to start Yo Gabba Gabba over again because she knows they are wrapping up the show and doesn't want it to end. I can't seem to explain to her that I can't just rewind it.
Well, don't say I didn't warn you, this is quite possibly my most random post to date. I will try and make it worth your while by addind a picture of Ace in his new jacket tonight.
Edited to add: In order to finish up this riveting piece of writing I got Lucy out of her crib and sat her at the table with a spoon and a little bowl of hummus. I just turned around and every inch of my girl is covered in hummus except her right hand. That is because she is using that hand to hold the spoon at a safe distance from the hummus so it too is spotless. And I just saw her stick her entire face in the bowl. Neatness and decorum matter to Lucy.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Focus

Lucy has been in the bathtub for almost 20 mintutes. She has a tiny plastic cup and a Wall-E toy and she is filling the cup and pouring the soapy water on Wall-E. I ask what she's doing and she says "Wash" and continues on. It soothes me to watch her. She has a skill I don't possess, to focus on a singular task for such a long time and block everything else out. I want to spend a few moments in her mind and I wonder if I would be surprised. Is she really thinking of nothing but Wash? Or are there dozens of other thing running through her mind? Instead I just watch and she brings me a quiet moment to start our day.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The worst of me.

I'm not much of a morning person, I  hit the snooze button over and over again in order to grab hold of those four extra minutes of sleep. That makes our morning routine rushed, to say the least. On mornings that my only duty is getting Hayley to school on time I stay in bed until the last possible moment, directing her from my half asleep state to get dressed, find her homework, find her shoes and socks. Then I roll out of bed, fix her breakfast, throw on something halfway decent and drive her to school. Not much quality time there. That process wakes me up enough that by the time I get home I have energy and motivation to get out of the house or play with the kids here. By the time the afternoon fade kicks in Ace is off to school, Lucy is down for a nap and Julia is either tired from her morning preschool or happy to watch Yo Gabba Gabba so I have some downtime. So with the little ones our days have a good rhythm and I feel like they get the best of me, we play and laugh and there is plenty of quiet time during the day to spend with each of them, cuddling and talking and being together. Then, when Hayley comes home we kick back into high gear. We have a few hours for errands, extracurriculars, dinner, homework, baths, stories, and bedtime. In between there are sibling squabbles to settle because everyone is tired and cranky and constantly hungry. Again, not quality time. It makes me feel horrible because that is what Hayley gets from me 5 days a week, rushed morning and hectic evenings. It is hard for her to get a word in edgewise to tell me about her day, much less have my ear long enough to tell me her deep feelings. I would like to keep her up later than the littles so we can talk and have "our time" but she has the longest and most exhausting day of anyone so she is always the one the most ready for bed. I feel like she gets the worst of me.  I know the day is coming at me fast that there will be even fewer opportunities to be at my best for her, she will be doing more with her peers and less with us, busier with school work, less likely to chose an afternoon with us rather than a chance to hang out with her buddies. I want to give her my all every chance I get and instead I feel like she gets the leftovers after a long day of meeting the needs of her younger siblings. But, I'm going to keep on trying, maybe tomorrow I will do a little better. 

Monday, March 1, 2010

"It's so sweet you don't even know how sweet it is"

Ace is at the kitchen table putting together his lego firetruck and Julia is watching, this is the conversation:

Julia: I like your firetruck Ace.

Ace: I know. It's awesome.

Julia: Yeah, it's awesome.

Ace: And sweet. It's so sweet you don't even know how sweet it is.

Julia: Yes I do.

Ace: No, no you don't. You don't even know.

Julia: Oh. It's awesome?

Ace: Yes. And sweet.

Julia: I know.

Ace: No you don't.
I got Hayley an alarm clock for her room so she knows when it is time to wake up. The problem was not that she would oversleep but that she tends to undersleep and wake everyone in the house up when I still have 45 minutes left of precious sleep. Ace got our old alarm clock too for the same reason and I set them up this afternoon. 5 minutes later Ace came racing into my room freaking out because his clock kept changing. I calmly explained to his that that is what clocks do, the numbers change to show the accurate time.  2 minutes later he yells "Mo-om, the numbers changed again, this clock is so broken!" After about 15 minutes and 15 freak-outs he finally calmed down and accepted that it was okay if the numbers changed every minute. Then Hayley realizes that her clock is one minute slower than Ace's and this sets off a whole new round of problems.
Who knew that a new alarm clock would cause so much commotion?

My task for this week is organizing the playroom. I've been sending the big kids down there after Hayley gets home from school so I can get things done upstairs and avoid them begging for food and television. But even though the room is overflowing with toys, they can never seem to find anything to do and they end up doing the same thing everyday. Unfortunately that is finding Ace's plastic sword and chasing each other with it. So I've got to clear out some of the clutter so they aren't so overwhelmed with choices. I'm also going to throw away all the weaponry.

I landed myself in the emergency room last week and I fully blame it on giving up caffeine. I was so tired in the shower at 8 in the morning and I went to adjust the temperature with soap all over my hand. I'm not sure why I was putting so much force into changing the temperature but when my hand slipped off the handle I went face first into our built in shelves. From the looks of it I had no doubt it was broken but it turns out it is just really badly bruised. When I was getting x-rays at the er I got my left and right side confused and was embarrassed because the tech had to help me get my chin on the correct spot for the machine. She was very nice about it and said not to worry, that happens a lot because of all the drunks that come in from barfights with broken noses. I'm not sure what she was suggesting there. Anyway, as embarrassing as my swollen nose and black eye are, at least I can claim it happened in a barfight.


(picture: Julia, a few seconds before her latest barfight)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

OLD.

Here, because it is rainy and I have some extra time to blog is a short list of why I feel extra old today.

1. I've given up caffeine. I don't drink coffee so I got all my caffeine from soda. Lately I've been smacked in the face with the truth of how much damage regular soda drinking can do to your body so I knew it was time to give it up (the daily consumption, not soda altogether, that would be crazy talk). But seriously, how is a mama supposed to make it through the day with no caffeine? I'm struggling.  Which leads me to #...

2. Lucy STILL does not sleep through the night. 17 months and counting of the same schedule she had as a newborn.

3. Whenever I was pregnant I would get the worst heartburn. Then magically, after the baby was born it would disappear and I never had any problems with it. But ever since Lucy was born, I still get it. I'm pretty sure it has something to do with getting older and the soda drinking (another reason to cut back). It isn't so much painful as it is embarrassing. I was out to dinner with Andy Saturday and just knew that my fajitas and beer were going to end badly so I went to pop a preemptive Tums. As I walked past the bar I noticed that everyone at the bar was about a decade younger than me. They were laughing, eating mountains of nachos and chugging soda and beer like it was going out of style. It was barely 7pm so I'm sure they were at their first of many stops for the night. And there I was, clutching my little roll of Tums, planning to go home after dinner, unbutton my jeans, lay down on the couch and maybe make it through the first half of a movie with Andy before falling asleep.

See? OLD.

School Vacation Week

This past Saturday we had so much fun at the Boston Children's Museum. After a  long vacation week without much to do around the house we decided we needed to end the week with some adventure.





I would have more pictures but it was nerve wracking trying to keep our eyes on all the kids at all times. The kids did a great job of sticking together and not wandering away but there was so much to see and do and so many kids around it got a little crazy. There was something fun for all of them, and by the time we left they were all totally wiped out. They slept a little in the car and we had a yummy Mexican dinner at a nearby restaurant when we got home.

Not much to report about the rest of our vacation week, I spent most of it at home trying to keep the peace. Andy took each of the kids out on their own special dates. Ace went to pick out his birthday present with Grandpa and Andy (a new bike), Hayley went ice skating and out for lunch, and Julia went out to breakfast. Lucy actually had her date with me because I wanted to shop for some new clothes so I took her to her first tumbling class and then we went to the mall.


I have to admit, dropping the kids of at their schools this week was a welcome relief for all of us!