Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Babies Versus . . .

Sweet Pea versus her Banana Spinach Smoothie

Pumpkin and skateboard versus the sidewalk.  This is what happens when a two year old rides a skateboard on her tummy, hits a bump on the sidewalk, the skateboard stops but her little body kept going.  Ouchie!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Just An Update

So here are the latest happenings in our  household.

Sweet Potato:  He is passionately following the NCAA Basketball Tournament.  Everyday is another opportunity for him to study stats, fill out brackets and watch re-runs of games.  My sister-in-law asked me if I am as passionate about anything.  I really don't think I am.

Yesterday after school, I let the kids play at the playground for almost an hour.  Once we were all back in the van, a water-bottle was getting passed around to quench the thirst of my very parched youngsters.  When Sweet Potato took a drink, his gum became stuck and strung-out between his mouth and the rim of the bottle.  There was practically a revolt that took place next.  He was booed and hissed at by his siblings.  Cucumber shouted, "You are so gross!"  Poor Sweet Potato.  He truly means well, but it doesn't always translate in his actions.

Honey Bunches:  He is reading the series, "The Magic Tree House".  He reads them as fast as I can check them out from the library.  He reads before and after school in the van.  He reads before bed.  He reads when there are only a few minutes left before anything (supper, bedtime, going to church).  His reading has become infectious, as Gummi now wants to read the series as well.  He was overheard a few days ago telling his siblings, "That's old school."  Not sure what he was referring to, but he seemed to know what he was talking about.

Gummi Bear:  She is a piano practicing fiend.  Her next recital pieces are "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" and "Over the Rainbow".  She loves playing these songs.  She also has a classmate who she likes to talk with on the phone.  Isn't this starting a little too young?  She asks permission to call her friend after school and they talk about 20 minutes.  As you can guess, when I ask her what they talked about, she replies, "nothing."  Oh boy!

Cucumber:  Cucumber probably should have been in school 3 years ago.  She starts Kindergarten in the fall, but she would gladly go today if I could send her.  Everyday she dances to whatever is on the radio and she works in her workbook.  She has become a bit bossy with her younger sisters, which has gotten her into some trouble.  It has gotten to the point where all I have to do is look at her and she knows she's being sent to her room.

Sweet Pea:  She cries.  Everyday she cries about something or someone, or some situation.  She does have fun, but it usually ends up in a tearful resolve.  Maybe it's because she's 3.  Maybe it's because she is the middle child of the younger 3.  Maybe it's because she is the smallest (in size) of all the children.  Whatever it is, I'm hoping this phase passes quickly.  She is such a sweetie and this dramatic expression can be trying at times.  She does cause me to smile, as she does this "new" thing.  She shuffles her feet - really fast- and then swings her arms like she is falling and then shouts, "whoa." 

Pumpkin Pie:  Pumpkin is loving this warmer weather.  She runs outside with boots on.  She runs outside with shoes on.  She runs outside when she claims she can't find anything to place on her feet.  She rides her tricycle, she draws with sidewalk chalk, she swings, she runs, she digs in the dirt.  The only time she wants to come into the house is when she is thirsty or terribly cold.  Last weekend at church, while we were sitting quietly before Mass began, I was thinking to myself how well behaved by kids were at this point.  Shortly after that thought, Pumpkin started singing, "Forget you and forget her too."  It's a Cee Lo Green song that she's picked up from Just Dance 3.  There must be some sanctifying grace in this!

Grandma:  She is busy planning a Seder meal for church during Holy Week.  She has been working hard on this project for a couple months.  There is a nice group of people coming and it should be a lovely evening.

As for Monkey, his busy travel season has begun.  For the time being, I'm a single parent just trying to hold down the home-front.  When I feel overwhelmed, I remember how grateful I am that he has a job and that it is one he actually likes.  He is a loving husband and father and he works really hard to support us spiritually and financially.  I am blessed.

So that's our family wrap-up.  Nothing too exciting to report, but that's just fine by me.  We are looking forward to Holy Week and the Easter Season.  The kids will have a few days off from school and we'll be getting together with family.  Again I say, we are blessed.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Forgotten Child

I pretty much was determined not to share the following story, but due to a situation today, I had a change of heart.

A few months ago, Monkey Toes was running late in returning home from work, so it was just me and the kids.  It was a chaotic night, for some reason I can't specifically recall why, but none the less, I had my hands full.  I welcomed the 8:00 hour as the kids raced around the house, getting ready for bed.  We said our prayers, gave hugs and kisses to each other, and I sent them off to bed.  I sat down in my chair, poured myself a glass of wine, grabbed a book, and just basked in the silence.  Shortly before 9 PM, Monkey walked in the door and asked, "What are you still doing up?"  I replied, "It's only 9:00.  Why would I not be up?"  He then came into the living room and said, "I'm not talking to you, I'm talking to Sweet Pea."  Here, the child had gathered some toys and found a place in the kitchen to play  - extremely quietly if I may add.  Somehow, I missed putting her to bed, which still boggles my mind as I normally tuck her and Pumpkin into bed (they share a room).  For whatever reason, I had forgotten my poor little Sweat Pea.

Since Grandma has moved in, I have become quite spoiled in the morning routine.  I no longer have to rouse all of my troops in the morning, in order to drive the kids to school.  Grandma stays behind with the little ones.  It is a huge time saver for me.  Well this morning, Grandma wanted to go to Mass, so I knew I had to get everyone ready to go along for the morning school drive.  We started out strong - everyone was up in a timely fashion, the shower was running, the toaster was working over-time, and the stress level was kept to a minimum.  And then, it was realized that not all the school-aged kids had their things together.  So it became a rat-race through the house, trying to locate lost items.  St. Anthony was called upon (patron of lost things).  I kept my eye on the clock, knowing that our departure time was drawing close, all the while my anxiety was building to get the kids to school in a timely manner.  Finally I called out, "Let's load up!"  The shuffle of feet and the slamming of doors signaled to me that they were out of the house.  I grabbed my purse and my coffee and followed out to the van.  Once everyone was buckled in I put the van in gear and turned my head to back out of the driveway when I noticed an empty seat.  Sweet Pea was missing.  I slammed the van into park and ran back into the house.  I called out, "Sweet Pea?  Where are you?  WE HAVE TO LEAVE NOW!"  I was met with silence.  So I raced around, continuing to call her name.  I discovered her in Gummi and Cucumber's room, playing the Leapster.  I looked at her and very sternly asked, "What are you doing?  Everyone is in the van, ready to go."  She just sat there and very confidently replied, "I'm not going."

Me:  Yes.  You are going.
Sweet Pea:  I don't want to go.
Me:  You don't have a choice.
Sweet Pea:  I'm not going to school.
Me:  Get in the van NOW!
Sweet Pea:  No.

Exasperated, I picked her up and carried her out to the van, all the while she kicked and screamed and cried.  I buckled her in and off we went.  About two miles into the trip she declared, "I love you mommy.  You're the best mommy in the world." 

Thank goodness for short memories, well at least until Honey Bunches commented, "I can't believe you almost left Sweet Pea at home."  Thank you son for reminding me.  I certainly wish you would have shared your insight with me a bit earlier!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Gummi, Cucumber and Sweet Pea spent the weekend with their Grandpa at his home/cabin.  It has been a long time coming that they had the opportunity to go, as normally Grandpa takes the boys along.  I can't express enough how excited the girls were - much to the boys dismay!  Spending time at the cabin has sort of been a Rite of Passage for each of the kids.  It is a trip they are told they get to take "when you get a little older."  The rule is they have to be potty trained (in order to go without mom & dad).  For a couple of them, the cabin trip has been their first night away from home without me & Monkey Toes.  It is something that all the kids look forward to doing and normally their anticipation begins to build days before they go.

Sweet Pea waiting by the door, long before it was time to leave

According to Grandpa, the girls did great.  I knew the two older ones would do well, but I was concerned about Sweet Pea.  She loved the cabin and loved her "weekend independence."  Meanwhile at home. . .

Pumpkin ruled the roost.  She roamed where she wanted, played how she wanted, and was very content.  She did ask a few times where her sisters were, but then she would find a new activity and all was well with the world once more.

Me, on the other hand, missed my Love Bugs quite a bit.  Whenever any of the kids leave for a few days, I tend to clean their rooms.  I find it soothes me.  So about 10 minutes after the girls left, I was in their room tidying up.  It was very quiet in our house without them and Pumpkin slept really well.  I feel as though we caught up on some much needed rest, but I was also excited to welcome them home yesterday afternoon.  As we sat down for our family prayer last night, it felt right to have all of us back together, under the same roof, a family united once again. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

March Madness

Oh yeah!  Basketball fever is in full swing in our household.  Our brackets are filled out, our computers are running (currently we don't have t.v.) and the excitement is running high.  The winning bracket receives a Blizzard of the Month from DQ.  Truly, this is one of my favorite times of the year.  I am a bit ashamed to admit it, but I experience a few characteristic changes during basketball tournaments.  Normally, I enjoy a glass of Cabernet, but during the games, I like a cold beer.  Also, my language gets a bit off-colored as I yell at the screen.  It's nothing that would make my mother blush.  I tend to use the H E Double Hockey Sticks word more often.  And then last night I did say the "F" word.  Good Heavens, not THAT "F" word, but the "F" word that rhymes with "lickin."  I know, truly these are not my brightest moments.  In my defense, the kids were in bed during these occurrences.  Monkey Toes has threatened to watch the games in a different room from me if I don't pipe down.  So I will try harder to be more restrained and more respectful.  Hmph!

2 computers and an IPhone

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Some sort of virus has taken up residence in our home.  In the past few weeks, we have had 4 pukers and one ear infection.  Then a day and a half ago, it struck both Monkey Toes and I.  To put is gently - it aint pretty.  All I can say is thank goodness we have amazing family near-by to help out.  My brother drove the kids to school yesterday morning.  My mom cared for the little ones while I slept most of the day.  Monkey's brother drove him home early from work.  Monkey was actually suppose to fly out to Charlotte for business last night, but had to cancel his trip.  My sister picked the kids up from school and brought over "nice-to-our-tummy" foods.  Although I feel much better today, I am still very tired and achy.  Hopefully by tomorrow we'll all be back to health.

When any of my girls are sick, one of the first things I do is tie back their hair.  Yesterday, Sweet Pea approached me while I was lying on the sofa with a hair binder in her hand.  She said, "I brought you this mommy.  Do you want me to tie your hair back?"  Even in sickness, my heart swelled with love.  Whenever Pumpkin saw me she stuck out her bottom lip and asked, "Mommy your sick, right?"  I would reply, "yes."  She would then moan, "Ohhh."  Cucumber made sure that I always had something to drink nearby.  My little ones were very good caretakers.

The weather has been unusually warm - 60s in March.  The little ones have been able to run off some energy outside, which is very  helpful while I'm recuperating.  It also poses a bit of a problem for the older ones, who would rather be outside than focusing on their homework.  Today was problematic, especially for Honey Bunches.  After struggling through 2 worksheets, all he had left to do was review his spelling words.  I could tell he was getting frustrated, but I told him we should "power through" and just get it all done.  As I was reading him his words I heard him mumble, "Bad A$$."  Horrified and shocked, I asked very sternly, "what did you say?"  He then turned his spelling paper around for me to see and said, "Bad Ess.  It looks more like a 5."  Apparently the virus has jeopardized my hearing as well!

Sunday, March 11, 2012


Today was Gummi Bear's second piano recital of her "career."  She played Taco Fiesta.  I have to admit that I was a bit concerned the last few days, as her heart didn't really seem into playing this piece.  However, she proved me wrong with a job well done.  I found it quite endearing that she tilted her head as she played.  When she was finished, she flashed a humble, yet very sweet smile to the audience.  I choked back tears as I watched her.  (Have you figured out that I am a crier?  It takes very little to open the flood gates!)

Afterwards we wanted to celebrate.  We headed over to a local restaurant for dessert.

Gummi with a Turtle Sundae

Sweet Potato with Chocolate Lava Cake

Honey Bunches inspecting his Chocolate Sundae

Cucumber wasting no time in enjoying her Sundae

This evening we also began a Novena to St. Joseph.  Once again, here, inspired us with a downloadable pattern for this project.  A Novena traces its origins to when Jesus ascended into Heaven.  The apostles gathered in prayer for nine days.  Then, what we call Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descended upon them.  So a Novena marks nine days of prayer.  We began the novena today so that its last day falls on the Feast of St. Joseph.

Gummi and I made the paper lilies.  Each evening as we gather for prayer, we remove one lily from the vase and lay it at the foot of St. Joseph.

In other news, Gummi has a very loose tooth.  I encouraged her to pull it out before bed, as I am fearful that she may wind up swallowing it.  Monkey Toes is certain that will not happen.  It is one of her front teeth that will be coming out.  I love a toothless grin on a child!  In all the excitement of loosing a tooth, Sweet Pea and Cucumber wanted in on the action.  They both declared tonight that they have "loosted tooths,"  and then proceeded to open their mouths as wide as they can.  It satisfied them when I looked and nodded and said, "wow, that is truly a loosted tooth!" 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Bottled-Up Days

I've commented before about days I wish I could bottle up and place on my shelf.  Today was exactly that sort of day.  Our weekend Mass schedule has changed, which has prompted us to also change our Sunday routine.  Our parish can only offer one Sunday Mass at this time and it happens to be at 8:00 AM.  We decided to test the waters this morning.  Not only were the kids all ready on time (bathed, dressed, breakfast), but they were exceptionally good during Mass.  (In the last few weeks, a couple of different people have commented on my children's behavior during Mass.  I shared these comments with my kids, reinforcing that people notice them - whether good or bad, so they should always try to be their best).  After Mass, our KCs hosted a pancake breakfast.  Lucky me - a meal out with no cooking.  Yippee!!  (Our KCs wear red polo shirts when they're sponsoring an event and all during Mass whenever Cucumber saw one of the red shirts she would whisper, "There's one of the pancake guys!")  After breakfast, Monkey took the 3 oldest to get haircuts, while the 3 little ones and I came home to play games.  We played The Lady Bug Game, Candy Land, Go Fish, and UNO.  Once we were all back home together, all the kids laid out their sleeping bags in the living room and we watched Mulan and Up, while eating an enormous batch of popcorn. Naps were not enforced, but Pumpkin walked out of the room during Up.  We later found her asleep in Cucumber's bed.  After the movies, a heated game of Monopoly was played between me, Sweet Pototo and Grandma.  Grandma showed no mercy as she was victorious in bankrupting both of us.  For supper, we took out all of the leftovers from the week and the kids devoured them.  After a rambunctious game of Monkey in the Middle, we said our prayers and the kids headed off to bed. 

Today was basically a day of fun and relaxation.  It was family centered.  It was stress-free.  It was a great day that has me wanting many more just like this one.  What inspired me today was the realization that this is what my kids desire - mine and Monkey's time and attention.  We didn't have to spend any money or make any grandiose plans.  We simply spent our day with them, enjoying each other.  Yep - I want to bottle this day up, if for no other reason than to remind me of the preciousness of time; especially time spent with family.  

Friday, March 2, 2012

Clear As A Bell

No mother of the year here today.  My kids began spring break and I had no idea that they even had a spring break this year.  They have 5 days off for Easter, so I must have reconciled somewhere in my brain that they wouldn't have any time off until then.  Luckily, this realization was made last night, so no wasted trip was made all the way to school this morning.  The little Love Bugs have today and Monday at home.  I wish I had something really fun planned for all of us.  I guess we'll just fly by the seat of our pants.

I told the kids they could watch a little T.V. this morning while I cooked them breakfast.  As the theme song from The Fresh Beat Band played, Sweet Pea sang along.  Pumpkin was very irritated by this and kept shouting at her to "STOP!"  The girl who couldn't enunciate the difference between steak and stink very clearly told her sister, "Stop annoying me!"  Looks like spring break is off to a promising start!