For Today…

By | Posted September 8, 2013

Posted in Daybook, pictures | No Comments »

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Today:: September 8, 2013, Mary’s Birthday!  We’re celebrating with brownies tonight.

Outside my window:: the mosquitos are killing us.  We went for a walk and poor Sunshine is covered with bites.

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I am wearing:: a dress.  I’m still in my church clothes.

Finding a rhythm to my days:: things are definitely different for me these days.  I’ve only got one child with me.  This is our first real week to attempt a schedule of sorts.  I am in desperate need of rhythm and while our trip was amazing, it’s time to settle down.

I am desperately missing:: my three middle boys.

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And I get super annoyed:: when people say Snax is ready or he’s fine.  Just wondering, do people ever think that a kid isn’t ready or that other options are better?  Doesn’t anyone remember the kid who was miserable in school despite being socialized?  Don’t they realize that kids don’t learn at the same pace?  That an individualized education plan teaches more than a plan for the masses?  And then they wonder why kids aren’t ready for college…I get that most people don’t want to spend the majority of their time with their kids and don’t feel equipped to teach them, but giving the generic “he’ll be fine” or “that’s growing up”, doesn’t do much, except put you on my list.

I am praying:: for my boys as they start school, for me while they are at school…for the intercession of St Monica in these days!  And for my boy’s eye.

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I am working on:: a ton of posts.  Not that they are super interesting to anyone but me, but I do have lots of pictures to share.  I guess now I have the time if my pictures would load without timing out.

I am listening to:: Sunshine sing Happy Birthday to Our Lady.  I wish everyone could hear this.

Around our home:: with Squirt working during the day, it’s only Sunshine and me.  I expect my house to be spotless.  And all those projects I have put off, they start soon.  Oh and I’m on the lookout for a patio set.  I figure it should be relatively cheap right now, and I’ve been dying for one.

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To be fit and happy:: My spin teacher is leaving for two weeks.  During that time, I am buying my spin shoes so that I am ready before she comes home!  Not sure what I’m doing while she is gone, maybe boot camp a few days.

I am reading:: Game of Thrones.  And whatever else Goose is reading.  It’s hard to keep up with him.

I joined:: a book study at my church.  This is huge for me.  I am not a huge fan of meetings and stuff like that, I don’t tend to make friends in these settings, so we will see.  I have been dying to read this book though so I hope it works out.

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In the kitchen:: Grilled chicken and mashed potatoes with spinach, tortellini with vegetables, chicken parmesan and green beans, Sausage with spinach and cauliflower and steaks on Friday for me, Lance and Squirt and pizzas for the littles.  Then Saturday we’ll be eating strawberry cake.

I am creating:: lists: reading lists, check lists, christmas card lists and more.

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I am excited about:: another school holiday.  The kids are off this Friday.  Trying to find something fun to do with them.

One of my favorite things:: trips with my husband.  We are so lucky to have my parents take care of the kids, even a puking one.  And Portland.  Wow.  When can we move?  I am not kidding.  I can’t wait to return with Lance, with the kids…and I can’t wait until the Spring when Lance and I can take another solo trip.

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A few plans for the week:: tot walk with Sunshine at the Arboretum, storytime at my church, shopping for a little boy’s birthday, buying some workout clothes for myself and planning a birthday.

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Photos by LZ.  Amazing trip, and to be clear, I would move to Portland in a heartbeat.  I think I could handle the rain.

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Learning the Saints

By | Posted August 29, 2013

Posted in Baby Z, Catholic | No Comments »

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Hands down one of the best parts of being Catholic is having a communion of Saints that can pray for you.  Since they are in heaven, they are right there in the ear of Jesus interceding for us.  They’ve done their time, so to speak and they are ready and willing to be there for us.  Teaching Sunshine about the saints with these dolls is going to be awesome.  She has a favorite already: St.Anne who she calls her “Saint Annie”.  I want her to think of the saints as her best friends.  We’re off to a good start in that she loves these dolls and is very careful with them.  She is learning the names of the saints and will soon learn their stories.  Think I will have to learn to make some of my own or I will go broke buying these!

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Day 2

By | Posted August 27, 2013

Posted in school, Snax | 3 Comments »

Day 2 did not go well.

At all.

My plan was to drop off the children and hit mass, then core, then cardio and back to school for lunch.

What happened was I sent Goose and Baby Hulk to class and Snax held me hostage for an hour and a half.

Yes, an hour and a half.

He cried.  He wailed. He yelled.  He grabbed my legs.

He would not go to school.  Kept saying he didn’t want to go.  He refused no matter what anybody said to him.

The counselor and vice-principal wanted me to leave him screaming.  Sorry, I’m not that mom.  The VP was the most unhelpful person I have ever encountered and literally wanted me to leave him at his worst point.  Wasn’t happening.  I can pretty much say that all the online rumors about her are accurate.  Let’s just hope the stuff about schools declining under her guidance don’t follow.

Finally, Snax made the mistake of saying he didn’t want to do work.  That doesn’t fly with me.  I reminded him that while we have a lot of fun learning in our home, we still did a lot of work most days.  I explained that would continue but without juice boxes and other school treats.

After that he decided he could go to class.  When I returned for lunch, he told me school wasn’t too bad.  And he actually skipped when he went back to his classroom from lunch.

We talked about things this evening, and I think he’ll be okay.  He seems a bit confused about the morning routine at school.  The kids are supposed to wait in the cafeteria until the bell rings and then a monitor takes the K kids to class.  Snax also used to wait with me last year with BH in the mornings.  I think he assumed I would be waiting with him this year.  This year they won’t let us go into the school in the mornings.

Lots of people don’t have a problem just dropping their kids off for school.  I kind of like being with them in the mornings.  Not sure how this will play out.  There is a small group of moms who walk their kids inside in the mornings.  We’re all kind of upset.  Regardless, I’m hoping things are better tomorrow.  I can’t bear to see my little boy crying.

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And We’re Off

By | Posted August 27, 2013

Posted in school | No Comments »

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Kicking and screaming, I took the kids to school this morning.  On time.  After repeated requests to this stupid school over the past four years, they finally allowed parents to walk their kids to their kindergarten class on the first day of school.

It’s the small victories that make me feel like I can do anything.

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There were smiles from the first and fourth graders who were happy to see school friends.  It was really sweet seeing Goose with two of his best buddies before school actually started.  Last year, Baby Hulk wanted me to sit with him each morning before school began.  Today he was just a bit older, allowing me time with his younger brother.

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And Snax…he knows his way around this school.  He’s been whatever about starting school only caring about recess.  Today, he was slightly shy, but not too worried.  He was happy when I returned for lunch and told me he isn’t sure he really wants to go back to school.

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As for me, I took Squirt and Sunshine to the gym and worked out like a demon in an effort to take my mind off of things.  I haven’t had just one child home during the day since Goose and I used to drop off Squirt at school.  It seems weird.

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For whatever reason, Snax’s name was spelled wrong on everything.  We noticed on Friday and told the teacher.  She only changed his name tag on his desk.  In the time I was at school, he told her four different times she needed to fix his name.  Good luck with this kid!

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I’m off to complete paperwork for each child.  Why in 2013 are we still filling out the same paperwork by hand????  They can’t save this information in their system?  Maybe I’ll start working on that so that by the time Sunshine goes to school, I can just enter information via my computer.

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Summer’s End

By | Posted August 26, 2013

Posted in Summer | 2 Comments »

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Someone told me I had been a lazy blogger this summer.  It’s true.  I can’t even manage to post pictures on a regular basis.  I’ve been in a funk not feeling like it was a real summer, upset because we didn’t take a vacation with the kids and now the inevitable…school.  And I feel like I can’t complain because Lance has his new show and well, that takes priority over the same old complaints about school and how much I hate it.

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Summer is indeed coming to a close, and despite lacking that “it was a great summer” feeling, I can say I had a great time with the kids.  I love spending time with them.  Sure, there are days where my patience is pushed to the limit, where I wonder if the kids will ever get manners, but overall time spent with my kids can’t be replaced.  And reality has set in, time passes too quickly.  In the blink of an eye, the kids have grown more, had another birthday, are doing more things…I know this and because of this, I literally feel a loss as each day goes by.  (Clearly, I need to work on that and just appreciate each day, rather than mourn its loss.)

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Knowing that school was starting soon, I made an effort to fill our days with fun each day over the last few weeks.  The kids have gone to the movies, swam for hours on end, jumped at Sky Zone and gone bowling.  Bowling is our new favorite activity. We’ve baked, we’ve read, we’ve played games, we’ve gone to daily mass, seen Aunt Mary and enjoyed ice cream and snoballs.  Not a bad way to spend time together.

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We were a family every second of this summer.  More often than not, it’s just me and the little kids.  And we know how to enjoy our time together.

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As a parent, my main priority is to love.  More than anything else, it’s my job to make sure my children feel loved and know how to love.  I pray I’ve done a good job with that.  We took time to be together.  I had more kids snuggling in bed with me than I ever thought I would.  And you know what?  It’s pretty damn nice.  To be the center of someone’s world is not a bad thing.

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As summer comes to a close and we start a new routine, one which hopefully doesn’t involve me raising my voice too much in the mornings, I’m grateful for each second I spent with my kids.  The reading, the late nights, the snuggles, the bowling, the pool, the diving board, buying new books, Shady Grove…it all made for time well spent

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Another Move

By | Posted August 24, 2013

Posted in Jessica | No Comments »

A week ago, I got the kids up at 6:50 so they could say good-bye to Jessica.  Our sweet girl had just packed her car.  She was on her way to College Station.

This sweet girl has been our neighbor since BH was in my belly, has watched two more babies come and been there for the last one.  She delights in cupcakes like me and loves the kids…and now, she is gone.

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Not too far away, but we don’t get to see her car just sitting in the drive way anymore.  The boys don’t get to run over and see what she’s doing.  I’ve told her I’m going to spot check and make sure her room is clean.

We sent her off in style by having our annual back to school get together.

We’ll miss seeing her sweet face daily, but wish her the best of luck on this chapter.  Study hard, keep your room clean and have a blast!  We love you!

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Moving

By | Posted August 5, 2013

Posted in Baby Hulk, friends | 3 Comments »

About four years ago a mom came up to me during Bodypump to ask if I was Mason’s mom.  Her son and my son were constantly playing together as opposed to side by side in the daycare at Trotter.  They were in the middle room back then, only 2 and forming a bond.  I hadn’t seen my other two children form a friendship that early.  But clearly that’s what it was.  And lucky me, I also found a friend.

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Walter is BH’s bestest friend.  On the first day of school last fall, he called him to talk about their days.  He called him first thing when he lost his first tooth and bright and early on W’s birthday.  He missed not seeing him during the school year, but field trips and time at the YAC helped make up for it.  Every early release day found our families together.

I assumed next year would be the same.

But they are moving tomorrow.

Today BH prayed that they would move to Austin and not like it quite so much and come back home.  I admit I feel the same way.

Not only did my son make a best buddy, but so did I.  A friend who is always positive, who is clear headed and thinks like I do about school.  When we met, her son was in preschool, but we started talking and soon he was out.  We researched homeschooling together, finding poetry, nature ideas and science themes.  We’d trade out books.  The librarian would place my holds under her name at times.  I’d have to say that two years ago with BH was so great partly because I was sharing it with someone else.

This week, she moves and is taking the plunge that we aren’t.  I’m extremely sad that this wonderful family is moving.  I’m a mixture of jealous and excited that she is going to homeschool her wonderful boys.  We’ve discussed curriculum options, and she made a big decision.  I feel like I am as anxious as her about this next step.

Besides the obvious dislike of traditional school/desire to homeschool we shared, she is also a trusted friend who listened and shared.  She encouraged me in spin despite being a front rower, always having a positive word for me.

I’m going to miss this family so much.  Sunshine loves her boys, we used to tease that Sunshine would marry W one day.  Her husband and Snax joke with each other and our 4th graders get along too.  They are only moving to Austin, but already I’m just down about it.  I won’t see her after I drop the boys off on the first day of school..what if I can’t reach her when something at school drives me crazy…who do I tell when I improve my watts in spin?!

Just a phone call and 2 1/2 hours away.

I’m excited for her family.  Sad for me and my boys.

But grateful.  Always grateful for my friend and for my son’s friend.

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Mass With Littles

By | Posted August 1, 2013

Posted in kids, parenting | 2 Comments »

I can count the times I have missed mass on both hands.

I haven’t even missed mass once a year in my lifetime.

I love mass.

Even when I’m being told how to vote.  I don’t like that part, but thus far, I’ve yet to stay away or walk out.

Currently, I have some things that are keeping mass from being the enjoyable experience it’s always been for me.

They’re my kids.

All five of them.

How can an 18 year old bother me at mass?  Not sitting up straight, it gets on my nerves.  Trying to parent the littles, they already have two other people telling them what to do.  Not actively participating, say the damn prayers OUTLOUD.

See?  Parenting doesn’t get easiser just because they are older.

Then the 9 year?  He who pouts if he can’t sit next to me at mass.  He will literally hold up people going into the aisle because he refuses to move so he can sit with me.  He who tries to chit chat with his sister during mass.  The sweet boy who takes Jesus like it’s no big deal.

Then there is the 6 year.  The boy who says he wants to be a priest, but who also gets mad when he doesn’t get to sit next to me during mass.  The one who yawns as loud as possible and tries to sing super high and just a little bit too long so that people turn around and look at him.  On a positive note, he can also tell me what the homily is about better than some adults.

Which leads us to Snax, the one who says all we do in mass is sit.  Really?  In what Catholic Church do you just sit?  He doesn’t appear to be a fan of kneeling.  Or singing.  Or praying much.  He likes to be held during mass.  Oh and sit next to me.  And when he can’t, well, he pouts too.  Just like the others.

Which leads us to Sunshine.  She is a total mess at church.  Total freaking mess.  She takes off her shoes, has told her brother he is annoying, drops books, switches back and forth between me and Lance.  And in general, acts like a total fool.

Because of the current state of things during mass, I’m trying a new approach of not looking at them during mass.  Seriously, that’s my solution.  What else can I do?  I can’t spend the entire mass shooting dirty looks at the kids.  And sorry people who sit around me, kids make some noise.  My kids don’t make a lot of noise, but they are not robots.  I don’t want to be that parent who nitpicks every single thing they do during mass.  That only gives the kids a negative feeling about mass and puts me on edge the entire time.

Truly, I love this age with kids.  Almost everything they do makes me smile and laugh. Now if I could just get two, three of them to behave during mass, I’d be happy.

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August

By | Posted August 1, 2013

Posted in Summer | 2 Comments »

How is it already August 1st?  I’ve had a post in the draft box since school ended.  The post about the hope for an intentional summer after having made it through the marathon that May was.  The desire to soak up summer and enjoy every second of the kids.  And here we are at August 1st.  And right this second, I feel we have nothing to show for it.

It sounds a bit whiny, I know.

I was talking about this with a friend who felt the same way.  I tried to blame it on the lack of a vacation.  She said it was more than that.  I agree.  However, I have to say taking a family vacation would have made this summer better.  That’s just me.  Lance reminded me we went out of town for Spring Break this year, (pictures I’ve yet to post…), but still, I associate summer with big family trips.

So it’s not the lack of family vacation, but I can’t put my finger on it.

There’s been reading.  But the start we had in June where we read for three hours a day, two of those nestled together on the couch, gone.  These days it’s the kids rushing through books on their own.  Not waiting for me to read with them.

There have been the library trips to see different shows, but Goose is getting just a bit older and sometimes would rather go off on his own that sit with us.  Problem: I don’t let him go off on his own yet, so there’s the fuss because he has to sit with me.  The shows themselves have been okay, some better than others, but there’s been no followup like I want.  Truly, the kids are taking the summer off.

No intentional learning time with me.  And not that I want them doing math facts or stuff like that, I just thought we’d pick a topic and dive into it.

We’re not doing it.  We’re not doing anything much.  We swim, we read, we eat, we play games…and while that should be more than enough, the summer just feels empty.

Which makes me really sad because I only have three weeks and 3 days to spend with the kids before they are forced back into school and homework, something I consider to be a huge waste of time.  One of my dearest friends is taking the plunge and homeschooling.  Talk about jealousy on my part.  We keep talking about curriculum and schedules and things that she wants to make sure and teach the kids, things they weren’t getting at school, things that I also consider important.

But back to our home.  We have three weeks basically to live our intentional summer.  I’m not sure what that means for this year, I just know that I don’t want to end the summer with the feeling I have right now.  It’s not about activities or trips.  It’s about enjoying our time together before someone else has the chance to spend more time with my children than me.  I’m going to mass tomorrow, hopefully, after some prayer, I’ll find some inspiration.

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What I Learned at 42

By | Posted July 23, 2013

Posted in Note To Self | 4 Comments »

Just a few thoughts about what I learned over the past year.

  1. Never go a year without taking a trip with Lance.  Let’s be clear, this is all on me.  I HATE flying so much that it’s starting to affect how often I go places.  It’s come to that.  I hate to admit it, but it’s true.  Before this past year, Lance and I took long weekends twice a year, usually three if you count our anniversary.  It definitely affected us.  We’re a couple, and we have a small troupe that take a lot of time.  All couples need time, and we’re taking it.  
  2. Apple cider vinegar does not solve as many problems as everyone says it does.  I’ve tried it for bloating, canker sores, acid reflux, my mom is drinking it for arthritis….thus far, I have to say it’s not helping.  It’s disgusting without benefits so why bother?
  3.  I am still the best teacher for all my kids.  Didn’t think there was a chance that homeschooling wouldn’t come up…
  4. Yelling never helps any situation.  Not something new, but something I am really working on this year.  Some days are better than others.
  5. I was eating far too much food each day.  It showed and while I haven’t really lost more than 3 pounds, I have confidence I can take better care of myself by watching what  and how much I actually eat.  Most of the time.
  6. Sometimes there are no words, just love and tears to share.  And in that moment, it’s enough.
  7. Nothing is worse than having a stomach virus unless it’s six people having a stomach virus at the same time.
  8. Oh wait…lice is worse.  Lice will change your life.  More than anything else.  Trust me on this.  Trust me.
  9. There’s something about my name: I’ve two good friends one Nikki and another Nicole.  One is my twin in all but college allegiance,  and the other is like me in many ways most especially in that she has four littles and keeps her house pretty damn clean.
  10. Staying mad at someone never helps a situation.  Stepping back from the situation is fine, and often smart.  Sometimes even taking a few days is required, except with your spouse.  Stepping back in that situation is probably a bad thing, thankfully we don’t do that.
  11. Sometimes people do nice things just because, and you accept their generosity.
  12. I completely rely on spellcheck to find my spelling mistakes, which currently sucks because spellcheck on my blog isn’t working.
  13. I am consistent in my beliefs, I like hearing what other people think, but I’m not changing my mind anytime soon.
  14. I can’t stand mess.  And I really can’t stand the saying “pardon the mess, we live here.”  I want a magnet that says, “we live here and clean up after ourselves, all the time.”  It irritates me to no end.  I’m glad I have the gift of cleaning up after myself which sounds really dumb, I know.
  15. Simplicity living is where I want to be.  It’s a slow process considering I have an addiction to children’s picture books, but we’re on our way.
  16. I have a set schedule for most days and detracting from it makes me lose balance.  I am a firm believer in predictability for kids and adults.
  17. I don’t think I could live without my family.  Not even for a minute.
  18. When your child wants to snuggle with you or sleep with you, go for it.  Everyone knows they grow so fast, and thus far, few things are as wonderful as snuggling with your baby, big or small.  It doesn’t last forever.
  19. I’m not always as organized as my OCD mind would like.  I get tired and stash gifts, then forget about them until later, or I like to file articles, just found one on immigration from five years ago stuffed inside the desk.  Clearly, I never filed that one away.  (Great speech by Mattress Mac).  This goes to the clean out every closet idea I’ve been working on all year…
  20. Never, ever, ever get a facial again.  Had one from Urban Retreat, great place.  (Although my last two massages there have sucked, but I digress…)  Have had facials previously without any problem.  This time, red, dry, swollen face and overall bad experience.  Except the wonderful lady who worked with me.  She was sweet and helpful even bringing me product to try and help out.  But still, never again.
  21. Goose is my loudest child ever.  We used to say this house didn’t get loud until Snax was born and we already three boys before that, including one ADHD child.  Then Snax arrived and it was a madhouse, in a good way.  But when it comes down to it, it’s Goose who has no clue what an inside voice is.  This clearly explains all the notes we get about him.
  22. God’s timing is always best.  I rarely understand His timing or why things happen, but in my heart I know it’s best.  It’s called Faith.  It is not always easy, but it’s there.

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