Category Archives: Around the house

Everyday moments (alternate title: the aftermath of imagination)

There’s a bazaar in my living room…

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S’ signs read “3 DOLRS FOR SAPLS” (3 dollars for samples); E’s reads “One doler to buy a toy or a gift”… They were a bit ambitious in their pricing (motivated by a $6 lego set they are saving for!), but did earn lots of pennies, nickles and dimes as we enjoyed our day at the “market”

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For an extra penny, T would spin your playdo pizza in the salad spinner, which “mysteriously” stopped working the next day. Our apologies to Grammy who gave it to us. It was much loved and died in a very happy place, Grammy!

There’s a rocket on my front porch…

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The captain of this particular ship

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Painting it pink!

We call it “the aftermath of imagination”.

(You should see the playroom!)

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More “staycation” photos

Still catching up on the last few months!

We stayed home over spring break this year and simply enjoyed a week without a schedule.  I can’t tell you how much we appreciated just being in our hometown, taking advantage of some down time in the house with one another, enjoying some local outings with friends, and visiting a few nearby attractions that we had never made time to see.  My husband even took two days off work to make it a true “staycation” and a family affair.

The only time I felt a slight twinge about our lack of solid plans was when E was assigned to write about what she was looking forward to over spring break.  After hearing what her classmates planned to write, she came home and said “I think we are the only ones not going somewhere”.  However, my perspective was set right again when S responded, “Didn’t you hear?!  We’re going to my friend’s house…they’re petsitting chickens and we get to visit and touch them!”  Well, by golly, the kids were bouncing off the walls with excitement about that!   (Thank you, friends, for letting us visit, and for serving as the entire topic of E’s spring break essay!)

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E holding the chicken in our friend’s living room : )

In addition to that highlight, we spent the rest of break doing (to quote an elderly gentleman I met once) “a little bit of everything and a whole lot of nothing”.

We…

(1) played the first ever family game of T-ball in the back yard (called on account of hail after 4 innings, if you can believe that)…backyard T-ball has now become a favorite family activity, by the way.  One of my favorite moments was when – in our game of kids vs. grown ups – all three older kids were on base, leaving six month old H as the only available kid, which meant he had to bat.  We helped him earn his first RBI  (reported here mainly because I know you would be proud, uncle B!)

(2) traveled to the local transportation museum

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A real train shed, with a real turntable! The kids got to sit on the turntable while it moved and also got to see a milk truck (a concept we had to explain : )  We really made this trip for T and he loved it.  However, as a note to anyone who might find themselves at a train museum with a youngster, if I could do one thing differently, I would bring his toy train shed and turntable with us, so he could see that this was the same thing, only bigger.  The scale almost made some of the things we love seem unfamiliar.  It also makes my family seem tiny in this photo.  Can you even see us?!

The transportation museum was 5 miles from a park that had a kiddie-train and a carousel and the loudest donkey on earth (seriously, the thing “Hee-Hawed” so loudly and unexpectedly that we all jumped and H started to cry).  Of course, that will be the part of the day all the kids remember! : )

(3) hit our favorite local frozen yogurt shop

(4) concluded our Lenten project (I’ll update this later) and celebrated a wonderful Easter with some wonderful friends

(5) hunted some Easter eggs at home and at our church egg hunt

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If you can see past those faces that I love so much, I would like to point out the orange Christmas ornament on the table behind them. Did I mention that we’re a little behind on the housework around here?

The Easter bunny scaled back on the candy this year and brought each of the kids a small surprise.  The girls each found a small lego set in their basket, T discovered a new addition to his train set (Butch, the Sodor tow truck), and H is enjoying a new sleep wrap since the velcro on his old one, well…let me see if I have a photo…

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H stands for Houdini

(6) The big finale to the “staycation” was a pony ride.  We went to a local farm that, as it turned out, had “lost” our reservation.  It actually turned out to be lucky that we caught them at a time they could do it, and even luckier that the lack of preparedness in the stable meant we were able to help get the ponies ready.  The kids helped brush the animals and saw them being saddled and bridled.  Then each girl got her own turn while T watched and learned.  After he was ready, they doubled up while he got his own ride.

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And here’s T feeding the ponies afterwards…

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It was disconcerting that the petite carrots we fed them were exactly the size and shape of T’s fingers. Fortunately, the ponies have discerning palates.

Of course, the best part of the week was being together, and having extra time to just let a relaxing week feed our imaginations.  For example…

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That place where we spilled the water looks like a hippo!

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I could put pennies there to make the eyes!

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Check me out; I’m riding the hippo!

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My hippo is shrinking in the sun Mom!  What the heck?!

We may have also watched a movie or two…with a horse we rediscovered in the toy bin after our  trip to the farm.  (I played with this horse when I was a little girl and have vivid memories of building a fence for her with Lincoln Logs under Nana’s ping pong table…thanks for bringing up the old toys, Nana!)

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Love the staycation idea.  Now if I could just get the kids to stay little so we could savor more of those “at-home” moments.  I know that I’ll blink and they’ll be asking me if they can go on a spring break trip with their friends.  And that will be fun too, as long as I know where they’re going, that it’s a safe environment, that chaperones are present, that they know how to make good choices, that…

Well, let’s just say again that I’m savoring these moments.  Sit there and snuggle that pony as long as you want, T.  I’m coming over to sit next to you…

More updates to come!

Quotes of the Day

I don’t even know which one of these counts as yesterday’s “quote of the day”:

Quote 1:

T, after earning the first sticker for his “patient” chart (our latest attempt at teaching our beloved 2 year old to wait without whining)

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“I got a sticker for my patient chart!  I want another one RIGHT NOW!”

Quote 2:

Overhearing S telling T,

“It just makes sense!  Girls and boys get married and they have some kids.  So if two girls got married they could have lots of kids.  And if two boys got married they would have no kids.  Because girls are the ones who have babies.”

Did I mention she is 5 years old?  And explaining things to her 2 year old brother?  Any volunteers to field the follow-up to this conversation?

Quote 3:

Me, greeting the other parents at the bus stop at 2:30pm, with my three pre-school aged children in tow:

“Can I get away with pretending that we are all in pajamas because we are ready for afternoon naps?  Or is it obvious that we just never got dressed today?”

I mean, honestly, at what hour do you decide it’s pointless to dress them?  If we haven’t gotten around to it by 3pm, then truly it’s counterproductive, right?

So which do you think is the true “quote of the day”?   I just couldn’t decide…

Everyday moments

Behind on blogging, so I’m posting a few photos to catch up.

Here’s a photo from our spring break “staycation”.

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Honestly, it is one of my favorite family photos ever because it is completely unstaged.

The backstory:  On a random Saturday afternoon over spring break, we decided it would be fun to let the kids ride their bikes and scooters over to our community courts to play basketball and tennis.  We saddled everybody up, slung the baby bjorn, tennis rackets, water bottles, and a bag full of tennis and basketballs over the stroller handles and headed out.  En route, we paused at an intersection where a friend just happened to be driving by in her car with her husband and three kids.  She leaned out the window and said, “y’all look like you’re headed out for a fun afternoon…let me take a picture of you with my cell phone so you can have a record of it!”  She snapped the photo, and viola, an everyday moment captured.

(and unlike me, the person who lets photos languish on her cellphone forever, she was amazing and e-mailed it to me the next day…I know, she is incredible!  She later told me that, as a mother, she knew exactly how much work had gone into getting everyone and all that gear organized and couldn’t resist letting me see, from a different perspective, how smiley we all were about our outing)

Don’t you just love pictures that capture those precious everyday moments?  Just a Saturday afternoon, out for some good family fun.

Pity the Fool!

There are so many things I should be posting about right now…my beloved Grandmother who just passed away, the special significance that adds to our Easter celebration, our plan for quality time as a family during a spring break “staycation”, our continued adventures in potty training…

Instead, because I know if will bring a smile to my mom’s face, I am going to post that I am managing everything, but have just encountered the one thing that is going to put me completely over the edge…

E just looked at her calendar and with delight, squealed,

“Hey!  It’s April Fools Day!  Man, am I going to have some fun with this…”

Heaven help me!

Have I mentioned recently how much I love these kids?!

March Madness (alternate title: why? how did you fill out your bracket?)

Filled out brackets to compete against the extended family in a pool of 19 entries…here’s the summary of our “bracketology” and how we’re doing as of 10:30pm on March 22, 2013…

E is currently leading the entire group despite basing her picks entirely on her preference in uniform color – specifically advancing teams in her favorite shade of blue.  This made her one of the few in the country to predict FGCU over Georgetown, by the way.

Notice I said “one of the few”, not “the only”.  If you are wondering who else could have possibly predicted the upset, look no further, because…

The terrific brotherly duo of T & H entered the pool together. Since their entry boasted more than one name (Mr. T & King Hut, to be specific), they selected teams with more than one word in their name to win (such as, drumroll…FGCU over Georgetown).  Their strategy currently has them tied for third in the family pool.  Ha!

To provide slightly more detail, they are tied for third with LPK, my niece who is still in utero.

To summarize, everyone else in the extended family, including myself (a former college assistant basketball coach), my brother-in-law (a former professional athlete), and lots of other folks (who actually watch games and follow players and think about their brackets) are currently losing to four young children, one of whom is making her picks from inside the womb.

And this is why we love March Madness.

(and also one of the many reasons I love my family : )

Photo captions

Some photos recently uploaded from my camera…

(1) S is constantly seeing things around the house (including in the recycling bin) and asking, “can I use this for something?”  Here’s “something” she made recently… things like this are on display all around our house.  On a related note, we go through a bottle of glue, a roll of tape and a line of staples just about every week.

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(2) This is how you make a snow princess in the south.  You make a snowman with a bucket, a soccer ball and a hat, but I forgot to take a picture of that.

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(3) E & S received a sewing machine for Christmas (thank you Nana!)  Although Santa surprised them with several projects (small squares of fun fabric to sew quilts, simple apron patterns) and I have asked them to complete several others (“decorating” H’s burp cloths with stitches), S really wanted to make a dress.  Poor thing…her mama needs a sewing lesson!  But we did the best we could (with no pattern and the little fabric we had on hand), and yes, she wears this dress out, including to preschool.  Hey, she’s thrilled with it.  With that smile, who’s going to notice the stitching?!

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Lookin’ fierce in the photo below…

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(4) Catching snowflakes in bowls (while still in PJ’s…when it snows in the south, you best get out there…if you take time to change, you may miss the only snow of the winter!)

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(5) E came downstairs with this one day.  I may have to buy a new dry erase board because I never want to erase it.  We love you too, E.  So much!

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(P.S.  It reminds me of the dry erase board Nana kept in her kitchen that had “To Do” written on it, awaiting Nana’s next “to do” list.  My sister wrote “(1) Hug A” on the list and my mom could never erase that either.  Probably all our “to do” lists should have “Hug someone” at the top, don’t you think?)

(P.P.S. My sister is expecting a baby and I wish I could rub her belly today and hug her!   Love you, A!”)

(6) E’s door.  I love this stage of childhood.  All “rainbows and fairies” just like she’s printed on her sign.  Since I can’t freeze time, I’ll take some timely photos and try to treasure these moments.

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(7) This is S’ door.  She decided she wanted to be a doctor one day and made all these signs representing the different body parts to hang on the entrance to her “office”.  Patients can point to the body part they would like her to fix.  Worth clicking on this photo to enlarge…

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The empty spot on the door is for her favorite sign, which she had posted on a different door on the day I snapped the photo (because she loves it and wants to show it around!).  That one said “but cks” (for “butt cheeks”) until I made her rephrase.  It now has a sticker over “but” and reads “vny cks” (for “fanny cheeks”).  So if you have a fanny cheek problem, the doctor is in.

(8) I’m going to make my millions by selling this photo to the makers of the “Leap Tag” system and suggesting the tag line: “It will either teach your child to read or make bedtime super easy.  Either way, it’s worth a few bucks.”

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We actually gave S this Leap Tag pen for Christmas because E (1st grade) is now required to read to us every night, and we wanted S (preschool) to have the option of reading us stories too.  However, S is great about sharing the pen with T, and since I found this one train book on sale ($4!), T reads it with his pen over and over again.  (He can actually say the words along with the pen now.)  We hear him through the monitor reading the book until he falls asleep, and have been awakened more than once in the middle of the night to the sound of his pen reading the book again.

(9) A project from the 4’s class at preschool.  This is actually a photo of E’s from long ago, but S’ brought hers home this week, telling me “you have two S’ now, mom!”  (I need to get a photo of it.)  The life size replica of the child is part of a unit on the human body.  The stomach is a bag of cheerios, the lungs are bubble wrap, the heart is a balloon, etc.

Well, the brains are packing peanuts on the back of the head and when we were unloading S’ one of the peanuts fell off.  S picked it up and said to me, “here you go, Dad”.  I said, “I’m not Dad!” and she responded, “I called you dad because I’m going to make mistakes, since part of my brain just fell out...”

Pretty sharp, that one.  Is it a problem that my children are outpacing me when they’re still in preschool?

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We made the mistake of storing this inside E’s closet once and forgetting to warn a guest who stayed in her room that it was in there.  It’ll scare you to death in dim light, I tell you…

(10)  E is learning subtraction and her homework assignment was to do unit 7, section 1 in her math workbook.  Check out the upper right corner for some classic E perfectionism.  Practice Unit 7-1 has become Practice 7-1=6.  Well done, E.  :  )

(and what are the chances that the sample problem would be 7-1 also?  Go figure…)

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Anyway, more random photos later.  Just a few snapshots of life around here : )

my day…on the half hour

I don’t have the energy to comment on my day, so I’ll just give you the “on the half hour” recap and let you interpret for yourself.  Here it goes…

12:30am…I’ve slept two hours straight…could be a good night…

1:30am…uh oh…awake, achy, sore & feeling fluish…I know this drill…Mastitis

2:30am…still awake, still feeling icky & now feeding a hungry H

3:30am…too uncomfortable to sleep… decide if I’m up, I should be productive so I start doing the dinner dishes  I had abandoned on the kitchen counter

4:30am…a break from dishes to change T’s diaper after a middle of the night poop and a half hour to get him back to sleep

5:30am…I fall asleep

6:30am…husband , H and I all awakened by E coming into the room; time to get the day started; hey, at least the kitchen is clean

7:30am…E is dressed, fed, her lunch has been packed, her coat and backpack are ready and she is headed out the door with dad who will drop her at school; I need to get the rest of the kids and myself ready because we leave in 20 minutes for my 8am dentist appt.

8:30am…I am at the dentist office, midway through my appointment.  Our babysitter is in the next room/lobby with three of the kids since that was the only way our timing/sitter logistics could work out today.  I am concerned she may begin screening my calls, since I can hear H screaming while she tries to help T change pants (because, of course, this was the day he wanted to wear big boy underpants for the first time ever…grand scheme-this is a good thing – HOORAY, T!!! – but my poor saint-of-a-sitter…I lugged a portable potty around all day, by the way…), while S is announcing over the din that the water won’t stop coming out of the water cooler and is that why T filled 4 cups of water without drinking any??? because she didn’t think we were allowed to do that…  I eventually left the chair and went to the lobby to help.  Dental bibs make pretty good nursing wraps, by the way…

9:30am…ignoring my cell phone ring as I drop S off to preschool half-an-hour late, then checking this voicemail in the parking lot, “Mrs. S?  This is X from the dentist office.  I believe you might have left a small toilet in our lobby.  Would you mind coming back to pick that up?  I’m so sorry we didn’t notice it before you pulled out of the parking lot.”

I’ll bet.

10:30am…at our weekly Wednesday playgroup,with our potty in tow.  T is ecstatic because playgroup is at the library’s storytime session, the book theme for the day is “dinosaurs” and – coincidentally – he has a dinosaur on his shirt.  (He did have dinosaurs on his pants too, but we left that pair at the dentist office)

11:30am…at the doctors, where I am officially diagnosed with Mastitis

(by the way, has anyone reading this post noticed that it’s only 11:30am at this point?!?!  I just had to highlight that for a second…I’ll get back on track now…)

12:30pm…at the pharmacy, picking up meds, which I realize I can’t take yet because I just had lunch they must be taken 2-3 hours after eating.  whoops.

1:30pm…arriving home after picking up S from preschool and realizing that I haven’t changed H’s diaper since we left the house at 7:45am this morning.  As luck would have it, I was unable to locate any diapers this morning other than T’s, so 4 month old H was wearing a diaper designed for a 2 year old.  Worked like a charm (though after almost 6 hours, I’m not sure which weighed more, H or the diaper he was wearing…)

2:30pm…helping everyone into coats in preparation for walking out to pick up E from the bus stop and finally getting to take my first dose of medicine, which will hopefully cure the Mastitis and all the flulike symptoms it has bestowed on me today…chills, aches, fatigue, the works!

3:30pm…snacks and stories with the kids after school…today’s picks: Little House on the Prairie (E),  Dr. Seuss (S) and Mo Willems (T) for mom to read, and a Magic Treehouse book that E reads to us as part of her homework each day

4:30pm…laundry during the kids’ “quiet time”, because we’re on our 4th pair of big boy pants already…

5:30pm…baths for everyone, because I was too tired yesterday (and the day before)

6:30pm…made and served dinner for everyone (except me, since it’s time for more medicine, which means I can’t eat for an hour).  Did I mention that I’m supposed to take these pills 4 times a day, always on an empty stomach, while nursing a newborn?!

7:30…big kids in bed, sort of…dinner for me…

8:30…E re-emerges; T starts hollering through his monitor that he needs a tissue, and H is ready for his dinner

9:30…blog post, then bed, because tomorrow there are 2 teacher conferences, a birthday party, choir practice, E’s weekly homework completion deadline, and Science night at her school…

Maybe they have a scientific sleep-study in need of participants!

Or maybe someone wants to research the societal reaction to the random scattering of small toilets throughout the community on a given day!

Either way, I’m in.

perspective (alternate title: H is for “hold me…24 hours a day”

H likes to be held.

24 hours a day.

I like holding H.

I wish I could do it 24 hours a day.

Sometimes I need to try to put him in his swing or on his playmat for a few minutes so I can do frivolous things like laundry or dinner prep or open a childproof bottle of ibuprofin to relieve my aching back.  On occasion, I go completely nuts and try to take a shower.

He doesn’t like that.

As a result, I have learned to do things one handed.  And I shower when there is someone else available to hold him or during (precious!) naptimes.

He is not a colicky baby, because if I understand correctly (i.e. according to the go-to medical source “wikipedia”), colic is crying that occurs for no reason.

H has a reason.  It is “I am crying because no one is holding me!  I like to be held!  Even when I sleep!”

Still, even though we are not dealing with colic (thank you, God!), when I read the following quote about colic, it meant a lot to me.  It is powerful, applies to our situation (I believe), and has made me appreciate hat H lets us know that laundry, dinner and even showers can wait.  I read it a few weeks ago, and I can’t tell you how often I think about it when he starts crying because I had the nerve to put him in his bouncy chair so that I could load the dishwasher (as if I needed an excuse to avoid the dishes…let me hold that precious baby!), and when I am nursing a sore back because I have to wear him in the baby bjorn all day to get anything (anything!) done around the house.

Not a picture of H, since I'm having camera upload issues.  Instead is a picture of Nana and S during her similar "hold me!" phase.  God bless you, Nana!

Not a picture of H, since I’m having camera upload issues. Instead an archived picture of Nana & S during her similar “hold me! even as I sleep!” phase. God bless you, Nana!

I don’t know if this quote is true or not, but it offers a perspective that I need, and I’m posting it in case it helps anyone else!

From Dr. Alan Green:

“I believe that colic exists in order to change deeply ingrained relationship habits. Even after the miracle of a new birth, many parents and families would revert back to their previous schedules and activities within a few weeks – if the new baby would only remain quiet and peaceful. It would be easy to continue reading what you want to read, going where you like to go, doing what you like to do as before, if only the baby would happily comply. Instead, the baby’s exasperating fussy period forces families to leave their previous ruts and develop new dynamics which include this new individual. Colic demands attention. As parents grope for solutions to their child’s crying, they notice a new individual with new needs. They instinctively pay more attention, talk more to child, and hold the child more – all because of colic. Colic is a powerful rite of passage, a postnatal labor pain where new patterns of family life are born.”

You have our attention, H!

Our love too!

You always will.

Love,

Your mama

P.S. I do realize that in the previous blog post, H was lying contentedly on the boppy.  That was part of his disguise : )  (and we do try to catch the rare moments on film!)

“Does this mustache make me look distinguished?”

I don’t usually post full images of the kids, but since H is in disguise here…

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If you can’t see what I’m talking about, click the image to make it larger…

(I couldn’t resist!  We have to document the perils of having 2 older sisters!  : )