Field Trip

By | Posted October 9, 2012

Posted in Baby Hulk, Happiness, parenting | 2 Comments »

Today was Baby Hulk’s first field trip of the school year.

And he stayed home with me.


Yes, it makes me happier than anyone can probably realize that he wanted to be with us rather than go on a field trip.

After lunch today, I caught him looking at  me through the rear view mirror.  “I love you, mom.”  Then “thanks for letting me stay home with you today.”  And that sweet, sweet face of his with such a serious look.

Heart melt…Another “if I cried moment”.  (This is why I blog, to record that I have actual feelings about things.)

I’ll be fair: he seems happy most of the time at school.  And I’m glad.

I am.

I don’t want a miserable child.  That said, the fact that he wanted to spend a free day with me made me so happy.

He planned the day: we went to the Audubon and had a unit on Owls.  He charmed the docents while there and told them he’d try and return, but that he was in school now.  He requested Double Dave’s pizza buffet with my parents.  They must miss him too because there wasn’t a complaint about how far they’d have to drive for a pretty quick lunch.  He came home and we read, played and made a journal entry about our time at the sanctuary.  All too soon it was time to pick up Goose and Squirt which meant our day was coming to an end.

And end it did.  His lunch is packed with a sweet note for him to read tomorrow.  He’s sleeping after having several stories and ending our night with a poem about owls.  I cherish this time.  How I wish I could hold that sweet look in my heart forever, remember the trust and innocence on his face.

I had a couple of parents let me know they didn’t agree with my decision to keep Baby Hulk home from school today.  I will never force my kids to attend a freaking field trip.  I’m fine with my decision to let him stay home today.  In fact, it was an easy decision to spend a day with my son.  We both learned more today than had he been at school.

So today, I’m thankful for a chance to have a field trip with my son.

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Day Job

By | Posted October 7, 2012

Posted in Family Life, Happiness | 10 Comments »

Outside of raising my kids and running this home, there are few jobs I could actually see myself doing.

My life goal, the job I am positive I would be amazing at is private detective.  I’m too nosy for my own good, see through lies easily and love figuring out a puzzle.  I used to tease Lance that I would take Goose on outings with my camera.

Over the last few years when I heard people complain about their homes being disorganized, I figured I could be a professional organizer.  Go through closets and toss out junk.

But now, I realize there is one other job I might have been made for…children’s librarian.

I love children’s books, a side effect of having a troupe of children.  I still recall the first time I realized that Squirt could read, really read…we were driving down 59 and he read a bill board.  I remember discovering Jack and Annie with him.  Going through the Percy Jackson series, him giving me the first three books because he wanted me to read them.  He still reads, though not as much as I want!

Goose has had a love of books since the day he came home from the hospital.  We’re six weeks into school, and the note already came that he isn’t paying complete attention in class because he is reading.  He sneaks a flashlight into bed at night so he can keep reading.  It can be any book, a picture book, Magic Tree House or his favorite, Goosebumps.  Honestly, he should be reading more difficult books, but what’s the rush?  The more intense the books become, the more things I have to explain, the more he learns about that I might not want him to know about just quite yet.  So while I want him to have a bit more meat in his reading, I’m okay with him taking it slower than his actual abilities.

Baby Hulk didn’t start out quite like Goose, which kind of worried me.  I expected the exact same love of books.  Once it hit, though it hasn’t stopped.  He gets mad when we don’t read at night, has a huge stack of books from the library and has certain books that are most definitely him.  (If that makes sense.)  He also complains daily that he isn’t reading in school.

Even my rough and tumble kid Snax has finally found his groove with books.  Finally. I thought it would never come.  Each day after lunch we read a huge stack of picture books.  He has his favorites and is showing small signs that reading on his own is on the horizon.

And the girl…she trails me around the house with a book in her hands, shouting, “read, read”.  I LOVE IT!  It makes me so happy that she loves hearing stories as much as the rest of the family.  She has her personal favorites already…Prayer for a Child, Angels, Angels Everywhere, a Saints Board book and Horn to Toes.  The fact that one of her favorite books is a Tomie DePaola book thrills the boys since he is our favorite author.


The kids have enjoyed comparing Caldecott winners and figuring out why certain books won and others didn’t.  They don’t understand why some books have never won awards.  I like that they are paying attention, checking out the details.

I guess in a way, I’m a librarian to my own little class at home.  I truly enjoy finding new books for them and seeing what makes them smile.  We have a wonderful collection of Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter and Saint books.  We’re slowly collecting books on seasons, BH’s love, and nature books.  It’s hard to stop buying books, yet, we have to make sure not to buy too many, there is always the library right down the street.

I plan to start volunteering at the school library once we’re settled into a routine.  That way kids don’t go home with books that are most definitely out of season, a huge pet peeve of mine!

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Running in Circles

By | Posted October 6, 2012

Posted in parenting | 1 Comment »

Lance and I took a trip for our anniversary, and my mom stayed with the kids.  She took them up to the YMCA to play and get a rest.  There the ladies told my mom how different I was from the other moms.  That yes, I was up there Monday through Friday, but I was present and involved and into my kids.  They could tell by how I talked about them, the things we did together and the fact that they were always with me.  They felt qualified to say that because they saw lots of moms who weren’t like that.  I admit, it made me feel great.  And I’m sure my mom must have had a sense of pride in her heart to hear something great about her adult daughter.

I wish I had some of that mom pride swelling in me.

Last night I took the boys to a party.  It was at a restaurant, and my boys certainly livened things up.  They ran, started a game of chase.  Served enormously inappropriate amounts of food and were rude when I tried to sneak some to Sunshine to make sure none was wasted.

Then one stole a cupcake from the arrangement.

We hadn’t sung Happy Birthday.  Or blown out the candles.  Generally those two go together.

Nobody else was eating cupcakes.

The hostess was gracious.  I was a bit miffed, the kid isn’t dumb, he knows how these things work.

It went downhill from there.  One had a meltdown because I took another to the bathroom, then another meltdown when I didn’t take off enough cheese from his burger.  He’s not my child with a dairy intolerance.

During all of this, Sunshine kept walking over to the food stand and stealing buns from the sliders.  Leaving a ton of sliders without tops.

While speaking with the hostess, her son ran up and was clearly upset.  Some boy was trying to steal the cupcakes.

You know that feeling when you just know it’s your kid?  I had it.  I knew it.  The cupcake thief was at it again.

Whether or not he actually took another cupcake, I can’t be sure of.  What he did was to torment the boy and another girl it turns out, and act like he was, touched several of them.

Another mom came over and pointed him out as the cuprit and didn’t hear me speak up that I would take care of it.

Becuase she was too busy calling him a “horrible kid.”

First things first.  EFF HER.

I’ll admit he acted like a shit, but her behavior of calling out a kid, my kid, was more disturbing.  She didn’t realize other people could hear her?

We see kids act like jerks all the time.  And yes, we talk about it.  But come on…as an adult, steer the kid away, tell his mom.  Then on the drive home, tell your husband about the kid.  (I myself don’t drag my husband to kid parties.  I’m cool like that.)  Don’t make a stupid comment like that in front of a parent you don’t even know.  Cause as it turned out I was parent of horrible kid.

That said, I don’t think I’ve felt more down about my children.  Ever.  It’s been a really crappy year so far.  I’ll not divulge my children’s business online, but the three in school have not started off their school year in a manner that beams pride.  When the best thing you can say is that one has straight A’s that’s not much.

I came home last night and handed them over to Lance.  It’s not something I generally do.  But I knew that if I took care of showers, I would yell at them the entire time.  I’m exhausted at kids who don’t listen at all.  I’m exhausted due to kids that are irresponsible.  And I won’t tolerate a kid who teases another child to the point that the kid has to run to his mom.  I hate bully moves of any sort.

I’m exhausted in general.  I think we’re all adjusting to Lance’s new schedule which in theory has the same hours, but gives us less time with him.  Even while I was doing everything with the boys in the afternoon, he was still here.  I could leave Sunshine napping, someone playing.  That’s not the case any longer.  Naptime isn’t happening the right way.  The transition doesn’t seem to be going well for any of us.

I’m ready for a new week.  Lance had the boys come in to apologize for their behavior and Baby Hulk came in and said, “sorrryyyyyy….I don’t know why I’m here again.”

I sent a text to my best friend and another about the incident.  Two very different people.  Both had the same response.  “Fuck Her”.  Not to be sappy, but I love my friends.

And my kids.

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On St. Francis

By | Posted October 4, 2012

Posted in pictures, saints | 3 Comments »

I may have just jinxed myself.

We blessed the dog.

Yes, the dog that runs when the gate is open, is an annoying barker, digs, and sheds…what’s beyond trifecta?

She’ll probably live until she’s 20 now.

And I will have nobody to blame except myself.  And that beloved saint, St. Francis of Assisi.

You don’t have to be Catholic to know St. Francis.  He’s the one in the brown tunic who has birds by his side and talked to wolves.  I’m not kidding, he talked to wolves and they listened.

Any Catholic child knows that St. Francis is the patron of animals, among many other things.  So today, we made beautiful pictures, had an Italian meal and blessed the dog and frogs.

Snax, Sunshine and I went to mass this morning, and the priest said that St. Francis frightened him.  My ears perked up, I mean, really?  How can this Saint of all the Saints frighten you.  It was his radical love for Christ.

Yes, St. Francis was pretty radical.  In a world where people only seem concerned about themselves or those they love, it’s a hard concept to accept.  St. Francis, a man from a wealthy family, loved in a way that I wished I did.  He didn’t scoff and tell  anyone to pull themselves up by their bootstraps.  He gave.  He loved.   And often he did without himself for pure love of Christ and his brothers and sisters.


It makes me sick to think how selfish I really am.  I don’t have to give away everything and become a beggar myself to show my love for Christ, my vocation in life is much different than his.  But no less important.

I’m a mom.  It’s my job to show my children that every single person counts.

It’s not my job to judge anyone by what I think they should be doing to make their life better.  It’s my job to help them in any way possible, even if it’s just saying a quick prayer and giving them the dignity of my eye contact when I see them on the corner.  That’s what a real person does instead of avoiding them.  It’s my job to help and to show my kids that there are things they can do to help others and that they should.  That the very religion into which they were baptized into demands that of them.

So for today, St. Francis, bless me, bless my family and bless those less fortunate.  Help me to discern exactly where I can help.  Help me never to be so selfish that my petty concerns over money seem serious in the grand scheme of things.  I know they aren’t.  It is my duty to give and not when it’s easy, but when it’s hard.  I fully admit my donations overall have decreased, but has all my spending?  It’s hard to face reality, but I will do it.

St. Francis of Assisi, bless my family always, and kind of bless Lola.

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My Newest Student

By | Posted October 1, 2012

Posted in homeschooling, pictures, Snax | 3 Comments »

They say every child is different.  I know this.  Down to my core, I know this.  And yet, I am still surprised at times by just how different this one is from the others.

Some days, I think he is as lazy as a teenager.

Others, I think he may be my smartest kid ever.

He definitely learns differently than the others have.  They picked up a lot on their own with my guiding them along the way.  He learns fast, but only when he wants.  Which is why he still can’t recognize numbers very well.  In all honestly, I try not to let it bother me.  What he does and doesn’t recognize isn’t a reflection of how smart he is or what I’m doing as a parent.

That said, I do wish he were a bit more cooperative.

Today I asked Snax to count to 50.  (A warm up of sorts.)  He said he only wanted to count to 1.

Yes, 1.

You have to love this kid.  He keeps me on my toes.  Everyone loves him and how could they not.

I already know how this story ends…he will learn.  And learn well.  Then someone else will get him all day long.  And that’s when I wish I hadn’t read the ending already.

And yes, there are some days when we school in PJ’s.  We’re cool like that.


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By | Posted September 30, 2012

Posted in Daybook, pictures | 2 Comments »

I’ve had this post sitting in my inbox unfinished since school started.  A great idea, Daybook in pictures…except my mood is perpetually shitty and it’s not getting any better.  Especially when my kid who can bust out a narrative has all of a sudden forgotten how to do that.    So for now, maybe pictures are a good thing as opposed to words.

I am wearing…

I am praying for…These four as they start school.  The Armstrong boys and a little boy who is starting a new routine without his brother by his side.

I am grateful for…a dear friend who understands the desire to keep her kids home.  And all the other friends who checked with me Monday to see how I handled BH going to school.  Even though they might not have the same desires, they know me, they knew just how hard Monday morning was.  And they care.

Towards a real education…going over work we did this past year.  Pretty awesome.  And enough to make me super angry at my boy being at school.  Not sad, just really effing mad.


From the kitchen…

You can’t see me…

I am reading…

The first day of school…

Left behind…

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Five For Friday~ The School Edition

By | Posted September 21, 2012

Posted in Five For Friday, teachers | 5 Comments »

You know the saying, “if you don’t have something good to say, don’t say anything at all.”  My mom taught me that phrase many years ago.  I’ve had varying degrees of success following it.

I teach my children a better version of it: is it kind? is it true?  is it necessary?  Generally, wonderful words to live by.

I’ve been silent for a while because really, I have nothing positive to share.

Silence can be golden.

Now is not a golden time for me.

Five for Friday…when your heart is breaking and you just want your kids home because you know, deep within your soul, that you are supposed to be educating your own children.  The only problem, God failed to make that clear to your spouse.

:: I will never, ever understand what the hell Baby Hulk is doing in school all day long.  Do you know most K classes are released an hour before the rest of elementary students are released?  Not at Rogers.

:: I will never, ever understand the point of homework in Kindergarten.  It is stupid, pointless.  It will do one thing: teach a child to think of learning as work.

:: I swear, and I know I heard correctly, that reading groups might not be set according to level.  If this happened, the reader could mentor the non reader.  Yes, that’s right.  Please tell me who thinks a Kindergarten child should mentor a classmate?

:: Clearly, I’ve already had a conference.  The teacher said she might not have explained it properly.  You think????  Considering the fact that another parent asked about this at open house and that is where she made her “mentor” statement, I don’t know how WE were confused.  At my conference, armed with information from my friend with a Phd in elementary math education as well as general knowledge and research that comes from assuming I was going to homeschool for the past 6 years, I was more than ready for the meeting.

:: The conference ended with her asking if I was a certified teacher to which I responded “no, a lawyer”.  And a parent that expects 9 months improvement in all areas especially reading.  I questioned her on exactly how we were going to find BH’s starting point because clearly a K test isn’t going to cut it.

It’s going to be a LONG year.  And the kicker????  I was appointed to FREAKING TEACHER APPRECIATION WEEK.


I am not kidding.  Someone really likes to kick me when I’m down, don’t they?

(And to be clear, even if I didn’t want to homeschool, I would think teacher appreciation week was stupid.  One day, fine, a week?!  It’s not happening.)

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My Baby

By | Posted September 19, 2012

Posted in Baby Z | 13 Comments »

There have been signs that Sunshine is all girl.  Small ones, though Lance would say he knew she was different from the beginning.  I beg to differ.

(She is a lot like me though.  She hates mess.  Hates it.  Which of course, I love.)

Most recently, Sunshine has shown quite a bit of interest in dolls.

A baby to be exact.

With American Girl opening in Houston, I decided this was THE WEEK!

And so, Grandpa took Sunshine shopping today.

She was in heaven.  Heaven.

She literally squealed with delight in the car while clutching her new baby.  

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On Your First Day of School

By | Posted August 27, 2012

Posted in Baby Hulk | 8 Comments »

Baby Hulk,

Last night I packed your Wookie t-shirt.  It’s too small for you.  I didn’t put it in the attic for your brother or in the donation pile.  It’s yours.  But it’s starting to look a bit too short on you.  Your dad says it’s time.

And it is.

Time to move in another direction.

It’s your first day of school.  Your first day of somebody other than me teaching you.

Academically, you’re ready.  More than ready.  (You’re welcome to any teacher you have in the next three years.)  I do have concerns, not the typical “no school will be good enough” concerns.  Concerns I won’t write here.  Concerns I take to the altar, to Mary.

I pray that your teacher appreciates the amazing, sensitive and quite honestly, brilliant boy that you are.  I hope she embraces the bit of quirkiness you have.  I pray that she has patience with you and that she keeps the fire going that I started in you.  I hope she finds ways to keep you engaged and interested.  I hope you find friends that are kind and interesting.  I hope that you flourish in school.

And every day, I will be waiting to hear all about your day.

My sweet, handsome, smart little boy, I love you so much.  I’ll miss learning with you and teaching you.  A secret, thus far, you are my best student.  I already miss your sweet little face.  I pray that God watches over you, that Mary mothers you when I’m not there and that those five little saints known as your sisters storm heaven to keep you happy and safe.  Maybe they can throw a few prayers my way too, that I stay sane while you’re gone.

Happy First Day of School, BH.

St. Gerard pray for my boy.

PS…that bitch who didn’t let me say goodbye this morning, well, she’ll pay.  I promise you that.  SHE. WILL. PAY.

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Five For Friday

By | Posted August 24, 2012

Posted in Five For Friday | 1 Comment »

Yes, a break from vacation pictures.  Am I finished posting pictures from the trip?  Not even close.

:: Football season is starting.  As is fantasy football.  Last year, Lance had his big auction during the week.  I was sick.  Puking sick.  SO what did Lance do?  Left me home with five kids.  He won the league.  It’s a decent amount of money, so I have been waiting for him to collect.  As of today, he has yet to collect his money from his win.  I assume when he goes to this year’s auction in the very near future, he’ll be collecting.  He says he ins’t sharing.  That’s fine, just expect a withdrawal from me for the amount of the league fee.  Because I am not paying for a league in which I don’t receive a benefit.

:: Baby Hulk told me today that he wanted to go to Trulucks for his back to school meal.  I love that kid.  Not enough to take him there tomorrow, but still, I love him.

:: I took the boys to mass at St. Michael’s today at noon.  Although we attend another church on Sundays and Holy Days, our closest parish is St. Michael’s so that’s where we go for daily mass.  The boys love Monsignor and have seen him quite a bit over the years.  I thought they deserved a blessing from him today before starting school, especially BH.  So what did they do?  Got into a fight while at church.  In front of the priest.

:: I had one thing to buy BH today at Old Navy.  I heard a lady talk about how it was going to be long sleeved weather soon.  WTH?  I know she can’t possibly live here.

:: I am still dreaming about last night’s amazing show.  Brings a smile to my face.

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