Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween at Nursery School

Another chance to wear costumes - woo hoo!!! They couldn't have been more excited. They marched into the gym, sang a few songs then we all rushed outside so they could parade past us.

There was at least one camera per adult and plenty of video cameras in the room.

Why? Because something happens to you when you become a parent. Suddenly a 3 year old dressed in a costume barely singing a lame pumpkin song is equivalent to winning a gold medal in the Olympics. My heart was exploding out of my chest, my grin stretched so tight across my face, and the overwhelming urge to scream, "do you see them?! those are my kids!!"

Because they are. I made them. Literally. And they are so awesome that they make a lackluster performance in a musty basement gym absolutely amazing.


Im preparing myself now for organized sports, high school performances and everything bigger than preschool. Im not sure I will be able to take it.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Halloween Party


We had a kickin' Halloween party here at our home this past weekend...if I do say so myself.

Pumpkin painting, leaf jumping, and spider cupcakes. Did I mention making the Daddy's into Mummies? Oh, and how about eating donuts on a string - no hands!


Eight kids under 4 having a blast while the adults chatted.

Yes, I say, a success!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Candy Man

Right up front Ill apologize for the shakiness in this little video clip. We were driving at the time and I found this too funny to pass up. This was Tyler's 5th or 6th lollipop in a row...but who's counting?! It kills me when he does that little lip smacking move...he was doing it the whole way home!

Man, this kid makes us laugh!!
video

By the way, it must have been Mike that gave him all those lollipops...and 2 at once!! Of course I am not THAT mother :)

Boo Zoo


Our second year at Boo Zoo, a trick or treating event at our local zoo. Since we are there so much, it really feels like "our zoo," so super fun to see it decorated for halloween.
I've said it before, but this is an awesome age - they were so excited about EVERYTHING!! Every few steps they would stop, look in the bucket at 2 or 3 pieces of candy and shout, "Look at all my candy!"

A lot of the candy they have never seen before. Ella's new line, as she shrugs her shoulders is, "Ok, Ill try this new candy." Brave girl, huh?!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Let the Festivities Begin!


Halloween week is upon us! And yes, when you have pre-schoolers around, Halloween becomes a week, not just a day...it actually has been creeping in all month!
First stop, pumpkin picking. We had fun, despite the cold and icky day. There was only one other family on the hay ride out to the patch and the tractor driver used that as his opportunity to drive crazy! You should have seen poor Ella bouncing on the hay bales. At one point she squeezed herself between 2 bales. The boys were holding onto me for dear life! What fun!!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Sweating


We all know the expression, made popular by a book, "Don't sweat the small stuff."

There are plenty of small stuff to sweat when you have kids. What to feed them, did you remember to pack diapers, will we be home for naps, should they nap...the list could go on and on. Really, it is all small stuff. The rows and rows of parenting books may have you believing otherwise. It is all too easy to get caught up on the organic debate, the sleeping theories, the discipline theories, early learning, etc. You are responsible for this little person and you don't want to mess it- them -up because you love them fiercely. So, you buy organic, enroll them in music classes at 6 months and suddenly your life is taken over with the small details. Which is why no one wants to get caught in a conversation with you at a cocktail party, unless they have little kids too, in which case you will compete and commiserate with each other all night.

Where was I going with this...

Ah yes, as the book says, "Don't sweat the small stuff." In which case I am left with how to make my kids turn out to be great people. Kind, compassionate, generous, happy, life loving people. To not be like the person on the phone this morning, the clerk at the store, or the grumpy mom on the hayride.

The answer is to be that person myself. Which is pretty tough when stressing and sweating over the laundry, spilled cereal, and other ridiculous details. The details that don't matter. The details that don't make us happy.

I have some tricks up my sleeve to help remind myself to stop, reflect and enjoy. Im not afraid to use ice cream in an emergency, or this blog. Im always looking for new ways to refocus, so share em if you've got em!

ps. the pic is my mom not sweating the small stuff, like a fire in her home - she is smiling because she, and the people she loves, are alive.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Into the Woods




For city kids, we are turning out to be damn good hikers. And explorers. And nature lovers. They adore worms and salamanders (seriously they are cute little guys, aren't they?!). They hold any bug they can find. For some reason they love finding and touching tree fungus...is that catchy?

But, no matter a city kid or a country kid, while hiking it is often necessary to break stride to bust a move. Great foliage just inspires Ella to dance!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Little Miss Independent



"Mom, Im going to climb up really high. You can go with Tyler, I don't need you."

Swell. Stab. Swell.

"Mom, when we go ice skating you sit on the bench with Tyler and Drew and Im going to give it a try all by myself. OK mom?"

Swell. Stab. Swell.

"Ill just go play at the register while you shop. Ill be fine, ok mom?"

Swell. Stab. Swell.

With every giant step of independence she takes my heart swells with pride. But, there is also a little stab. She doesn't need me. The little teeny tiny 4 pounder that I have fed, bathed and smothered with love for 4 years wants to go without me. It is necessary. It is natural. It is exactly what she should be doing. I am so proud and trying to ignore the little pinch to my heart.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Finding Fall


Ella, Drew and even Tyler are discovering Fall in new ways this year. I have always loved Fall, but seeing it through my children's eyes brings new excitement to the season.

There is a sensory overload every time we go outside. The colors that are cause for even the busy bodies to stop and gaze. The crunch of the leaves underfoot, so tempting to little feet back in socks and shoes after a summer of sandals. The crisp air just right for little hooded sweatshirts and cotton hats. The smell of a neighbors fireplace and a wish for our own. The taste of crunchy sweet apples handed from farmer to boy at the Farmer's Market.

Monday, October 19, 2009

S Days


S days are for wearing your pj's late into the morning.

S days are for breakfast at the diner, lunch on the go, and dinner delivered, unless Grandma is cooking.

S days are for going places that are a little farther away, or a little more complicated, or just a little more fun.

S days are what we call Saturday and Sunday.

S days are really all about Daddy being home.

S days are special.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Buddy Boy


Drew, our buddy boy, or Dew as Ella and Tyler call him. Sometimes a little reserved, sometimes a little crazy. A recent fascination with all things tiny, if left undisturbed (what? do you know who he lives with?) he could play quietly for hours. For a skinny guy, he has an enormous heart, especially loving with his brother and sister. Tyler tries his patience daily, well constantly, and Drew's tolerance is remarkable. He is the sweetest.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Tea with Barney


We took Tyler's pacifier away, did I tell you that? It was scary and painful for all of us. It seems like only yesterday when I struggled to get him to use it. But in reality there were about 12 months of quieter car rides, longer naps and happier good nights. If only his teeth agreed with the pacifier as much as we do!

So, with no more nippy or "nip-nips" as Tyler called it, we wake up earlier. Yeah. Tyler and I creep downstairs and curl up on the couch together. He watches Barney and I sip tea, smell my boys hair, and watch the light gradually fill the room.

I guess it works out for both of us.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Moments


The thing about kids is that nothing is ever the same for very long. They scream when you give them a bath? Just wait next week they will love it and not want to get out. They need to have the latest and greatest toy? Relax, soon it will be a fad of the past and you'll be off the hook. Kids acting crazy and your life a mess? Change your focus and relish the happy, quiet moments.

We were trying to be patient with the new worker at the Gap who was trying to be patient with my return from, gasp, an on-line sale. The line behind me was growing and I was trying to wrangle my kids. Wait, no I wasn't. They sat at the counter and played a game with their bouncy balls. I glanced around and noticed the approving looks instead of the sympathetic winces. My chest puffed a little with pride and I relished the moment and snapped a photo for proof!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Great Saturday


I have written of our love of the zoo before. But, I just had to document our day this past weekend. It was great. A perfect fall day, clear blue sky and just enough crispness in the air...yes, Dad, the air was spectacular!

We brought our nephew along with us. After having our other nephew for a few days, we have a taste of having a little one-on-one time. I would love to do this with all our nieces and nephews, but it is not an easy task, as there are 9 of them under 5. Im glad it worked out though, it was so fun watching the little guy running with his cousins, holding hands with his uncle, and getting to see his face light up all day. We got to know him in a whole new way. It was awesome.

My Aunt Pati and Uncle Daryl took my two brothers to Disney when they were about 4 and 2. (I know what you are thinking, but don't worry, years of therapy and an apple picking trip have lessened the blow of being left behind. That and I was only a year old and have no memories of the event.) I used to wonder why they took them. Newly married, why did they want to bring two toddlers on vacation?! But I get it now and it only adds to their awesomeness and status as the ideal aunt and uncle.

Bronx zoo is no Disney World, but I think we came pretty close on Saturday.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Tyler T.


Our little Tyler T, or as I can't help but call him, a whack-job. He is as crazy as they come. Passionate in laughter as well as anger, he keeps us on our toes. He keeps up with the big kids surprisingly well, his new trick is jumping off of everything. Quick to fall and even quicker in getting up - it seems he is made of rubber. I can't believe my little guy is almost 2!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Fall from Grace

I don't like to brag, well sometimes I do. Anyway, since Ella and Drew were born it has been common for Mike and I to hear comments like these while out and about:

"Wow! Your kids are so well behaved."

"I don't know how you do it!"

"You look so calm and together, how do you do it?!"


I don't know exactly when the change happened, but recently I notice people giving us the hairy eyeball. I imagine them saying to themselves, "that poor woman." When they do dare to comment, all I hear is this,

"Are they all yours? You have your hands full!!"

Yes, things (aka my kids and my life) seem to be a little out of control as of late. They run wild in stores. They yell. Tyler screams in restaurants, lays down on the floor in department stores and throws things like a major league pitcher. On good days I tell myself that we have changed for the better. That as parents we have loosened up and let the kids be kids a little more. That Ella and Drew have become more outgoing and comfortable in all types of environments, something they struggled with before. On other days I think Im lazy and all the craziness is a result of my lack of consistency.

As evidence, here is a video from last week. It is 10 PM. They are all wearing mis-matched layers that I found in the car because it was colder than I expected and I hadn't packed accordingly. Tyler is covered in chocolate cupcake and remained so until the next morning because we forgot the wipes and only had one napkin in the car. Also, he is screaming "NO!" at me, because that is his standard response to everything.
video
See, we are a mess!

Post edit - Did I mention we had a blast and laughed the whole night?! That we love to be together even in the craziness?! That I wouldn't trade them for the most well behaved kids on the planet?!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Sleep


Im not sure I have been totally rested since I became pregnant with Ella and Drew. As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I started having dreams that they were born blind. Blame the doctor for mentioning that as a risk factor of premature birth. Anyway, I would be up half the night after one of those doozies. Then as my belly grew it was just too uncomfortable to sleep. Once they were born, well forget it. I may have had a few nights of uninterrupted sleep before becoming pregnant with Tyler, but I doubt it.

So, now that they are all sleeping through the night, I should too, right? I sort of do, but not the peaceful deep sleep of my pre-parenthood days. I seem to hear every time one of them rustles, or coughs, or I may lay awake wondering if they are cold or hot, or something. I think I can get over this, though.

What I can't get past is the need to stay up late. Once they are all settled in bed, I can't bring myself to go to bed myself. I want to treasure every last minute of quiet, uninterrupted peaceful time. To read, to mess around on the computer, to watch bad reality shows. Then I end up falling asleep on the couch, waking with a crick in my neck and climbing into bed just as I catch a second wind. Laying awake for an hour, and waking in the morning exhausted. Is it possible I inherited this from my father?!

To add insult to injury the kids rub their sleeping abilities and opportunities in my face. They fight sleep like it's a trip to the dentist. Why don't they appreciate daily naps and early bed times? Perhaps teenagers are the only ones with both the love of sleep and the time to gorge themselves on late mornings and afternoon siestas.

Yes, I know the answer is to become more disciplined and go to bed earlier myself. But if a mother can't complain of a lack of sleep than what?!! Humor me...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Bells


We call her Ella Bella, or Bells, or munchkin.
What she lacks in size she makes up for in spunk. She can argue her way out of anything. Although occasionally shy, she has come leaps and bounds from where she was a year or 2 ago. She orders for herself at restaurants and tells stories to everyone. When asked if they are triplets, she responds before me, "No, we're twins and he's an extra."
She is a trip and Im so glad Im on it.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Out Takes

Sometimes, well most times, the perfect family photo eludes me. But, sometimes I love the not so perfect ones just as much!



Friday, October 2, 2009

The Adventures of Babysitting


I recently spent 72 hours on a babysitting blitz. My nephew was here for a few days and then along with my regular Thursday charge, 2 little girls joined into the rotation. At one point there were 7 kids under 4 in my home. I was sorely outnumbered, but managed to squeak by with a little bit of sanity and a minutia of energy. Surprisingly, all the children and the house remained in tact, which I deem a success!

But, it got me thinking....

I have been babysitting my whole life, it seems. My first family placed a stool outside the crib because I was too short to lay the baby on the mattress. What were they thinking?! Anyway, I sort of pride myself on my babysitting skills...not just the skills, but I was fun, awesomely fun.

Then I had kids. Guess what, having kids is not like babysitting! It is decidedly not as much fun and somehow more fun at the same time. Because they and you never go home. And kids who learn to talk never stop. And well, you don't get a little cash in your pocket at the end of the hard days. And on top of feeding, entertaining, policing, etc, the kids - you have a million other things to do- uhm, life. Of course there are more perks and you love the little buggers, but no, not the same as babysitting. Sometimes, I put everything aside and pretend Im babysitting, just so my kids will know Im fun!

So, there is babysitting and then there is parenting, and then there is babysitting as a parent. It's a whole new ball game folks. I still want to be the best babysitter around, without favoring anyone, except that sometimes I can't help but favor my kids. I want my kids to have fun when other kids join our household and that is a whole new set of pressures. Ill keep doing it though, because I like the extra dough to finance adventures and Im hoping my kids are having fun.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Wave Hill





This is the second week we have met with friends to explore a new place. The kids love it, as do I. This week was Wave Hill in the Bronx. What an amazing property, with spectacular views. The kids loved the Coy pond and hiking the little trails. Mostly they enjoyed the manicured lawns and rolling hills. Notice the sweatshirts...Fall has arrived!