Thursday, March 31, 2011

Life is Good

 ::When you are eating a bagel bigger than your face ::

::When you have good times to look forward to ::

::When the spring flowers start popping::

::When you have so much that you can give lots away and still have enough::

::When closets are cleaned, drawers are organized, and laundry is done::

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Creative Juices

 I leave the crayons, markers, and paper out all the time. They mosey to the table to make pictures, write letters, or create signs. Sometimes it is coloring books, other times just plain paper. Although there are no formal invitations, it usually becomes a group endeavor, especially as I prepare dinner.
 About twice a week we really go at it. Our creative juices are squeezed out with more in depth projects  - and of course, the messier the better. For each half hour of my preparation the projects will last about 10 minutes...par for the course at this age and I don't let it bother me. The 45 minutes of cleanup, however, is a little frustrating. I know I have hit the jackpot of crafts when they are still at the table after an hour and asking for more.
 I would like to maintain the twice a week, and do my best to up it to 3. Even after they start school full time. On the off days I would love to put down whatever Im doing and join in on the coloring, or the building, or the creating. It is awesome to see their little minds work. And I feel like I get to know them a bit better when we create together.

And that pride?! Oh, I love it.

Some of our favorite websites for inspiration:
Made by Joel - a stay at home artist dad to TWINS!
Frugal Family Fun - easy, cheap ideas
Preschool Blog - this one isn't a how-to blog, but she has awesome ideas!
Crafty Crow - my go-to spot for seasonal crafts

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


 I took this picture recently and when I looked at the camera to see how it turned out, I was shocked. 


See, I was expecting to see this face: 
When did my little baby grow into a big boy? 

So cliche, I know. But so true. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Patient

He takes a breath every second, when most of take a breathe every 2. 
His face is dripping from his eyes, nose and mouth. 
He coughs and sneezes so often it blends into the background music. 

But, he smiles. 

He smiles at the doctor as she listens to his chest and checks his ears. 
He smiles at the pharmacist as she hands over a shopping bag full of medicines. 
He smiles as he wears his little mask and dances in the kitchen with mom. 

He is the best and I just want him better. 

Friday, March 25, 2011

This Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
Great Idea from SouleMama

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Outward Bound

With the big kids starting Kindergarten in the Fall, I feel like my time left with them is limited - and once school starts I only get a few hours a day with my munchkins. Im determined to make the most of our time.

There has been some buzz about kids spending time outside - that they don't have enough unstructured time with Nature. Sad that people need to be reminded to spend time outdoors. And we all know that kids time has been more and more structured over the years - free, unstructured time - is it safe?!
There have been articles about outdoor preschools and Kindergartens in Maine and Oregon (sorry, can't find the link) where the children are outside all day regardless of the weather.  That is a little extreme for my taste...but being outdoors, I get it.

 This is our backyard. On a good day. Sure, there are a few strands of grass here and there, but black mud or in the summer, black dust, prevails. 5 minutes in the backyard requires clothes to be stripped upon entering the house and an immediate shower. On all sides of our square of black are fences bordering our neighbors' yards. I know, I paint a dismal picture. Let's just say it isn't what I pictured for my kids.  It makes it tough to just throw open the slider and send them out.
Lucky for us even the most Urban environments have acres and acres of protected land. Thanks Audobon! I have a list that keeps growing of Nature Centers, hiking trails and little patches of woods. I pack them up, strap the baby onto my chest and off we go. I point out a few notable things - moss, nests, roots - but generally I let them explore on their own.

We love it. I want to do it more often, especially after school in the Fall. Obviously as the weather gets warmer it will be easier. And the house in my dreams includes at least a little patch of woods...hopefully we get there before the kids go to college!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Baby Steps

By 8 AM, I had said NO to the 3rd glass of juice, pushing, picking up Colby and throwing Leggos in the house. I felt like a failure.

And for some asinine reason I then took my kids shopping. Not the best choice on the day I wasn't supposed to say NO. Setting myself up for failure and my kids for miserableness.

But, then I rallied. We went to a park that borders a lake, drained for the winter. They rolled in sand, made sand angels, and threw sand. They took their shoes off. It was 47 degrees. I watched and laughed and oohed and ahhed at all the right moments. I was freezing, but I was positive and I let them be.

I'll have to work on bedtime though, because saying YES to 10 drinks of water, and just one more story 6 times is a little much.

Last night as I lay in bed, I reflected on my progress. I certainly said NO plenty of times, but I was aware which Im hoping is the first step. I also offered more opportunities for them to solve their own problems, to make their own decisions, and to take the lead. 

Progress, one little baby step at a time. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


 If we saw them everyday or even once a week, we could pace ourselves. 
 We could satisfy our hearts by little hugs and kisses, games, and outings, all the while demonstrating a bit of restraint. 
 But as it is, a visit every month or so leaves us no choice. 
We are forced to gorge ourselves as if at an all you can eat buffet. Attaching ourselves to a part of their bodies for the duration of their visit. Demanding attention. 
Filling ourselves up to the tippity top, hoping that if we make the most of this visit IT will last another month until we see them again. 

It never does.

Monday, March 21, 2011

No Way, Jose

I remember learning in a child development class that toddlers hear the word "no" hundreds of times a day. How sad. How true. 

With 4 kids, I say "no" a lot. Too much. No to juice, No to fighting, No to another tv show, No to a goes on and on all day long. 

If Im sick of saying it, imagine how they feel hearing it. 

So tomorrow Ill try a little experiment. Im going to try avoid saying No. And not only will I try to stop saying the little word, but Ill also attempt to create a more accepting and relaxed house. One where sometimes the kids lead. Where chores are set aside because someone asked for a story or a game. Where we all brainstorm together, instead of me dictating the choices. 

Im anticipating only good things...we'll see. 

Friday, March 18, 2011

This Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
Great Idea from SouleMama

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Look Left E

Ella and the Meerkat both spot something over to the left. 

I hope it isn't a tiger. 

Nonnie is here and we have most of the day to do whatever we please. Extra bonus:: gorgeous WARM weather. I never thought Id say it, but Im just a little zoo'ed out from our recent adventures. Too bad because they are perfect for spending the day outdoors when parks and hiking trails are full of mud.

Maybe a botanical garden? Im tempted to go to the beach, but even I have to admit it is too early. 
Regardless, Ill tote my camera and fill you in tomorrow. 

Oh, and my Irish (sort of) children, wish you a Happy St. Patrick's Day!! 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Stop the presses.

Hold the phone.

Nonnie is arriving today.

Cue ear to ear smiles, giggles, and bliss that enters our home with her arrival.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Beginning of the End

I realized that in 6 short months they will start school. Our town only offers full day Kindergarten - they will spend the majority of their days and the bulk of their weeks with someone we don't know and who we don't choose. It is a tough pill to swallow and Mike and I are already a little sick over it.

But Im determined to be positive. And we have 6 months left of total togetherness. And the best 6 months of the year - Spring & Summer.

I have been thinking quite a bit about how I can be better. How I can optimize our days and ensure that all my kids have the experiences that kids should have. Things like outdoor time everyday, crafts, and adventure days. I have a few ideas Ill share this week.

In the meantime, any ideas for me?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Sunny Patch

Like a cat, he finds the sunny patches. 
To rest, play or hide from big brothers when he steals his toys.
Tyler gets a bad rap sometimes. He can throw a good tantrum and he frustrates us all, 
but...he just as easily makes us all laugh. 
And he gives the best hugs.
And his smile is just as bright as a sunny patch on a Winter's day.

Friday, March 11, 2011

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
Great Idea from SouleMama

Thursday, March 10, 2011

7 Months

Colby G is 7 months old today. 
 I can hardly believe it. And I can hardly stand this new trick of sucking his lower lip in, it gets me every time. I am forced to smile, giggle, and then smother him in kisses. Makes my day, all day. 

He is still up every 3 hours at night. Loves eating anything I give him:: avacado, mango, blueberries, cereal, yogurt, squash...are just a few of his favorites. 

He sits up no problem now and delights in being in the middle of all the fun. That is if Tyler stops hugging him for 30 seconds. 

7 months of making us the happiest family ever. 
We love you Colby G!! 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


We have officially decided to move to the country and start an Alpaca farm. 
We fell in love with this guy, and I do believe he was quite smitten with us...and our crackers. 
As we daydreamed about this plan on the way home, Ella added to the farm:: donkeys, cows, ponies, dogs, ducks. and goats. 
Tyler piped up, "we are going to need a map to find all those animals!!' 

Sometimes it is fun to pretend....

Monday, March 7, 2011

My Buddy

This is Drew and his first little friend. Of course his twin will always be his first friend and he still loves her like no other...

But Matthew is the first friend that Drew picked, one that he isn't related to. They met at school last year and have become a little inseparable this year. They make pictures for each other, ask for playdates, and so many stories start with, "Matthew likes..."

He couldn't have made a better pick. And as a bonus Ella and Tyler love him too.

Friday, March 4, 2011

This Moment

...can't happen today! Apparently after 3 years of Blogging, I've used up my space for photos :( Should have the issue resolved by Monday. 

Have a great weekend! 

Problem Fixed! 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Finer Moments

Dear Receptionist Lady,
As I walked across the parking lot, I fully acknowledged the spectacle we were. A sleeping 3 yr old slung over my shoulder, a baby seat hooked on the opposite elbow, and two 5 yr olds trotting on either side.  But by the time those doors slid aside to let us in, I had already pumped myself up to feel like Super Mom. We could do this, not only that, we could do it well.

But, even the most optimistic thinking couldn't help this time. The oldest boy wouldn't stay in his appointment. The middle boy wanted to be in the appointment. The baby fussed. My fever broke sending tiny droplets of sweat down the side of my forehead which hopefully distracted you from noticing I needed a tissue. You watched as I dragged the screaming boy through the waiting area and outside. I bribed him with a lollipop and headed back in. He didn't stop. You glanced at your coworker and asked if we wanted to use the playroom. You sent more incredulous looks as 30 min later we retreated to our car, accompanied by more wales from the boy.

I sat in the driver's seat a failure. I wanted to run back in and explain and defend. We are sick! He is tired! I vowed to myself that next week we would perform better.

As I lay in bed last night, I laughed at myself. Performing for a receptionist?! I know it isn't just me. You can see it in the embarrassed looks at the grocery store check out line, the pursed lips and glaring looks at disobedient toddlers. In some ways our children are reflections of us - and we certainly don't hesitate to cash in on that idea in our proudest moments - a gleaming report from a teacher, a score on the field. But they are also children...children who have tantrums, who say rude things, or are tired, or overwhelmed, or shy or anxious. No matter how many books we read or rules we follow, they will always have those moments. And that is ok.

So, Ms. Receptionist Lady, Im not going to imagine you judging us or laughing at how I can't handle my children. Im going to imagine that you found some comfort in knowing that those moments can happen to any parent, as they will to you if they haven't already. And me, Ill hug my kids a little tighter, shrug off the not so great moments, and leave a few at Grandma's next time.

The crazy lady with too many kids

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


I heard the crib toy rattle and rolled over to see the clock...3 AM. I jumped up and headed down the hall to see what Colby was up to. I stopped outside the door and realized that he wasn't crying, just playing. I headed back to bed hopeful that he would doze off again.

As if cued by an off camera director, Colby started to cry as soon as my head hit the pillow. He stopped when I peered into the crib, although I couldn't make out his facial features I guessed he was smiling. I scooped him up and settled into the rocker.

He pushed off my chest just enough so that we were eye to eye. His dimple appeared as his cheeks made way for that gummy smile. He reached for my nose, I nudged the rocker into an easy rhythm. I smiled back. He gazed around the room interested for a moment in the lights of the clock, the silhouette of the window...but he always came back to my face. His legs curled up, his bottom resting on my forearm and I gently patted his back. Soon his head sunk into my chest, his breathing slowed, and his arms rested heavily on my shoulder. I stayed there for a moment feeling his soft tufts of hair, listening to his breathing, and feeling his size on my body. Back into his crib he sucked contentedly on his pacifier and slept.

As I pulled the covers up and nestled my body against the human heat box aka my husband, I wondered what the experts would say. I shouldn't have picked him up, I shouldn't have made eye contact, much less smiled! I should have placed him back into the crib drowsy, but awake. Im sure the professional sleep consultants would give me a dismal prognosis - he may never sleep through the night!!

But, I don't care. I've learned already that eventually they sleep. That soon they will be too big to nestle against my chest in the rocker. That they will stop gazing at my face with joy and wonder and love. That soon he will be too big to want his mommy in the night. Although I would love a good nights rest for myself, I know that it will soon come.

And then Ill wish for a night or two where in the quiet stillness of the house I can soak in every inch of my baby.

Take that Ferber.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Favorite Recipe

Step 1:: Shake the flour. Shake the flour. Shake the Flour
Step 2:: Watch Great Grandmother clean it.
Step 3:: Repeat Step 1 & 2. And then Repeat them again. And again.
Step 4:: Add a little age, lots of wisdom.
Step 5:: Mix in one part young and lots of fresh.

Soon enough you will have a few laughs and lots of love.