Tuesday, December 9, 2008
For some reason, my best friend Serena and I decided that a picture of ourselves sitting on Santa's lap would be a fabulous Christmas present for our moms. We were around 14 at the time, and I haven't seen the picture in years, until this morning, when she decided to send me a copy. So we hurried off to the mall to have one done. Looking at the expression on Santa's face here, I think it's safe to say he needed several years of therapy after this picture was taken. As for me, it was nice to start the day with a big laugh :)
Monday, December 8, 2008
Monday, December 1, 2008
I have said it so many times. My son's whole life is soccer. Every day. Soccer. Every week of the year. Soccer. Weekends, mornings, nights. Soccer. Indoor, outdoor, winter, fall, spring, summer camps, tournaments and training. Soccer the Brazilian Way, Coerver method, Dutch 4x4. That kid eats, drinks and sleeps soccer. And now I have proof!
One year when my oldest kids were 5 and my middle kids were 2 and the little boys had not yet come along, we spent several hours decorating our Christmas tree. (As I mentioned in an earlier post, Devin did her decorating au naturale). Although the younger girls were very haphazard with their ornament placement, the older kids spent a really long time finding just the right place to put each ornament. They grouped the snowflakes together. They hid the nutcrackers to try to challenge visitors to find them. They designated each side of the tree to showcase each child's homemade creations. Then I had to take several pictures of the masterpiece. The next morning we were all stumbling down the stairs around 5:30. (Remember that early riser son of mine!) As usual, my eyes were mostly closed. As we get to the bottom of the stairs my son lets out a wail. "Oh no! Somebody ruined the tree. The ornaments are off!" And the tears began. So I launched into a long, drawn out explanation of how, during the night, branches shift and sometimes an ornament or two will slip off and all you have to do is put it right back on. And although it is a little upsetting, it isn't a big deal and it is even fun to fix up the ones that fall off. At this point I look over at the tree and see that from the bottom, up to about 3 feet, there is not one single ornament. It's bare. Apparently, Devin got up in the middle of the night, wandered downstairs, and UNdecorated the tree, and then carefully stacked all the ornaments up on the couch. I should have taken pictures, but hey, it WAS 5:30 in the morning. And that wasn't her only night-time ramble. But that's a story for another day. Or several days.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
I don't know why I thought of this today, but I am glad I remembered it! This blog is bringing back a lot of memories of things the kids have done, and hopefully I'll be able to keep it going.
We had gone out one night as a family to a Disney on Ice show. It ended up being quite late by the time we got back home. As we pulled into the driveway in our luxurious 12 passenger Chevy van (yes, like the guys who come to repair your siding drive) I started giving the sleepy kids instructions. Straight inside! Brush teeth! Into jammies and into bed! My husband and I each unhooked a baby from his car seat to bring inside, diaper change, clothing change and put into bed. After this I did a bed check to make sure all the older kids had followed instructions. This was when I noticed one child was missing. Lauren was not in her bed. Well, I figured, she must have just laid down on the couch. Nope. No Lauren. So I check all the couches, but don't find her. I look in the other kids' rooms, and even under their blankets to see if she crawled in with someone else. No sign of her. I check all three levels of the house and the garage. Nothing. I am completely at a loss. So, even though I was sure that all kids had gotten out of the car, I went back outside to see if she had gotten back in and fallen asleep. But she was not there. At this point, I am completely out of places to look. As I start to walk back into my house I see her. Stretched out in the grass, fast asleep. She had gotten out of the car, laid down in the yard and gone to sleep. And had been there about 30 minutes by the time I found her!
Here she is- asleep in various places :) Sometimes a girl just needs a nap!
Thursday, November 20, 2008
My kids have plain-Jane pallets. We usually end up with something baked and something steamed for dinner each night. Not a lot of seasoning, no pepper, sauces on the side, no processing... etc. Casseroles are strictly verbotten (The horror! All that food mixed together!)
When I give them salad it is usually very basic stuff. Tonight I had a take-out salad from Panera. I was hurrying because I wanted to go to a parenting workshop at the school and I didn't have time to sort through the salad before dishing it out. Oh well, I decided. They'll just have to figure it out. I have about 7 or 8 loads of laundry on my kitchen table tonight (procrastination is a bad thing...) so I had the kids all lined up in a row at the island eating. I am turned the other way, washing something in the sink. My son asks me, "how long do we have to leave them there?" I am totally baffled by this and need clarification. I turn around to ask some follow-up questions and see all four of my older kids with their heads tilted back and the cucumber slices from their salads over their eyes! I told them to ask their father because he was in charge, and I left. Unfortunately, they didn't cover 'what to do when your children think their dinner is a spa treatment' at the parenting workshop.
Here they are at Christmas, 2004 (ages 2.5 and 5.5)
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
When Devin and Lauren were 3, and their older siblings were in school, I took them to Chuck E Cheese one morning. It is really a great time to go, at 9 am. No one is there. The kids can run around like maniacs, and since you pretty much have the place to yourself, you can watch them easily. Plus, they come home tired and take a nap!
My daughter Devin, from about birth to age 6 was a major handful. I still anticipate picking her up from jail at least once during her teen age years. Seriously. So we are at CEC, and things are going fairly well. Devin has gone up into the climbing thing and was wandering around up there. I started talking to some other moms and I notice that the CEC workers were laughing and yelling at me, in Spanish. I had no idea what was going on. I turn around and Devin is coming down the slide. Completely naked. I chase her around the restaurant a few times thinking, where in that maze- that is suspended from the ceiling, am I going to find her clothes? And what do I do? Let her run around naked while I find them? Drag her along with me, on a clothing safari hunt? About this time, she runs into the mens' room. I can hear her in there, singing an flushing toilets. For about 5 minutes. She finally comes out, and someone, mercifully, hands me her clothes.
This was during her naked phase, when we could not keep clothes on her. My photo album is filled with lovely shots of us decorating the Christmas tree, and Devin is naked. The girls playing, and Devin is naked... I have a lot of Devin stories....
(Notice in this picture: her footie pajamas are turned around backwards, and zipped up the back. It was the only way we could keep them on her body)
I am planning on taking the youngest boys to CEC tomorrow morning. Let's just hope history does not repeat itself!
Friday, November 7, 2008
It's been a while since I've posted. I've been a little under the weather. And a little too stuck in mom land. You moms know what I mean.
This is one of my favorite poems. I am printing it out and hanging it on my daughter's wall. Sometimes I don't have the words to tell her how amazing I think she is, so I'll just borrow someone else's words :) (Here she is at preschool graduation)
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nohing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
Of course, it isn't really a poem, and it may be a little much for a 9 year old to grasp entirely, but I think she'll get the important parts.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Today, after preschool, another mom accidentally took my son's witch project from his cubby. Tonight, at a brownie meeting, she returned it to me. However, one of the witch's legs fell off. My son has not gotten the hang of the glue stick yet, and I suspect it was a bit under-glued. The other mom hands it to me, and apologizes for the missing leg. "Oh, no worries" I tell her. "It's fine!"
Then my son sees his one-legged witch. "Where's the other one leg?" He wants to know. "Well," I explain, "it fell off, but that's okay. Accidents happen."
The other mom apologizes again. "Really, its okay," I tell her. At which point my sons yells, "IT'S NOT OKAY! I WANT THE OTHER ONE LEG!!!!"
So now both the other mom and I are embarrassed. Now, the perfect mom thing would have been to gently pull him aside and explain that he is entitled to his feelings, but it was an accident and we can fix it later when we get home. And for me to not be embarrassed. What did I actually do? "Hey, you want a lolly pop?" That worked out pretty good too.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
After all these stories about my kids I thought it would be fair to tell one on myself.
This happened a while back. It was my third year as a teacher. I had a class of kindergartners. One day one of them, a boy named Zac, came in very excited. "Mrs. Buckley, Mrs. Buckley! You'll never guess what!! Just outside I saw a bird eating a cricket!" I thought I would tell him something that he would find interesting and exciting as well. Maybe even extend his knowledge of things that hunt for food, tying in with the topic of crickets. "Zac", I told him, "At my house, my cat eats crickets!" He looked at me dubiously for several seconds. And then, "Mrs. Buckley, at my house we buy cat food."
This is me carving pumpkins with my kids. The monkey hair band was from earlier in the day when we played 'spa and beauty parlor'. The mess in the background is, well, you know... mess.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
I saw this, and I thought of you :)
Buckeye Bars (with a name like that, must be yummy!)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
3/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
22 nilla wafers, crushed
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 of an 8 ounce tub Cool Whip whipped topping (do not thaw)
3 squares Baker's semi sweet chocolate
Line 8 inch square pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides.
Beat butter and peanut butter with mixer until blended. Mix in wafer crumbs. Gradually add sugar, mixing well after each addition. Press into bottom of pan.
Microwave cool whip and chocolate in microwavable bowl on high 1 minute. Stir. Microwave in 15 or 30 seconds increments until chocolate is melted, stir until blended. Spread over peanut butter.
Refrigerate 2 hours. Use foil handles to lift desert from pan before cutting to serve.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Declan said today: "Mom! I need help with my jacket, I can't zip it down!"
We zip up our jackets, and then unzip them. Why not zip it up and zip it down?
When he reads a story he tells me that there is an "ending, and a begending". Makes sense - begENDing must be the opposite of ENDing!
And also, my clever son knows who is featured on the penny. Hammerhead Lincoln.
Here he is last Easter. I know it is a poor quality picture- but it was hard to capture him in action as he colored his eggs. His unique stye- throw them up into the air, and see if they land in a bowl of dye.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
This was a typical long day. It started off with getting up extra early, to help one of my daughters wash her hair and blow dry. It was school picture day, and her hair can't be tamed any other way. Then it was getting 6 kids dressed and out the door by 9. Four on the bus, 2 in the car for a school field trip to the Pumpkin Patch and Animal Farm in Leesburg. Spent several hours there, going on a Hayride, going on severl long slides, swings, moon bounces, etc. We fed animals, we even saw several animals you'd only expect in a zoo. Then it was lunch at our new Pei Wei (yum! I am reheating my doggy bag right now as I type this). To Target for birthday gifts for 2 parties on Saturday. Home to meet the bus. Then the kids went for a bike ride with friends (the 3 year olds included, so I supervised). Quick dinner. Quick homework. Soccer. Cheerleading- with the 3 year olds in tow, playing on the playground. Capped off by a 7 pm family night at the school. Home for baths, stories, toothbrushing and bed. As we are settling down and talking about our day and all the fun things the boys did on their field trip, I ask my son Collin, "what was your favorite part of the Pumpkin Patch today?" "The monkey!" he tells me. "That's great!" I tell him. What was another thing that you really liked?" "The other monkey!" :)
Now I am off to do some busy work for my son's teacher and then clip coupons. And eat my leftovers!!
Here they are- enjoying those two monkeys! Not the greatest shots though.. It was hard to get all four monkeys in the same frame and then my digital camera ran out of room. The sad part is- it holds over 1,000 pictures!!
Friday, October 17, 2008
This is Connor. He has always been an early riser. Since he was born I stopped using any kind of alarm clock, because it is always a safe bet Connor will wake us up before we need to be anywhere (this includes a yearly sunlight service). So, as usual, this morning Connor comes into my room and tells me he is going to take his shower. Fine, I mumble to him, in a daze. After his shower he wakes me up again, to help him find his favorite shirt to wear to school. Okay, fine. We go through his disaster of a room and start hunting. We find the shirt, dirty. So I figure I might have time to do a quick wash and dry so he can wear it. I go downstairs to look at the clock and throw the shirt into the washer. It's 3:45 AM. Apparently he woke up around 3 and figured it was morning. And none of us noticed that it was really dark for morning!
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Collin - #5 kid.
Well, I've been talking a lot about our potty training struggles lately. This is a related story. A few days ago my son Collin peed in his shoe. I don't know why. I don't really even know how. But he somehow managed this feat (punny!) and then proudly brought me his footwear, filled to the brim. I tried several different ways to clean his shoe off. His feet have grown so much he has only one pair right now, plus a pair of sandals. I sprayed with Febreeze. I spot cleaned. I threw those suckers into the washing machine. Twice. And this morning, as I took them out of the dryer for the second time, I realized that smell was NOT going to go away. I went to find his sandals. I eventually located them- outside by the trampoline soaking wet. Stinky shoes it was! I hoped no one would notice the malodor, tied his laces and sent him off to preschoool with a kiss on the cheek (and a reminder to USE THE POTTY!). At noon I picked them up and headed off to a lunchtime play date. As we were driving along I glanced over at the art work the boys did today in school. So cute! So thematic! They are studying the holidays - Halloween, and colors- today was white. This project is so cute I thought I would probably frame it. And then, realization hit. Horrible realization.
It's a cute little ghost. Made from a foot print.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
There were many things about being a mom I never figured on. Things that have surprised me over the last 9 years. (I am sure there will be more to come.) One of those things is that nothing is mine. Not really mine. Everything in this house - EVERYTHING - is fair game. Why my children would want to play with salad tongs, when there is a room full of toys, I don't know. But there you have it. Eyebrow brushes are particularly fascinating. I have bought about 6 of those guys, and I still don't have one to call my own. They like to clomp around in my shoes - and then lose one. Yellow dishwashing gloves are highly coveted. Those little things they put on your baseboards- to keep the door handles from slamming into the drywall? All removed, in my house.
So tonight I was helping my oldest daughter (9) with her homework. Sniff, sniff. "Regan," I ask her, "What is that familiar smell I smell right now?"
"I don't know. Could be my lotion."
"Your lotion? What lotion is that?"
"Well, it could be your lotion."
"Where did you get it from?"
"Oh...in your room. In your drawer."
"You mean the little white jar, with the gold lid?"
The jar of $65 an ounce skin plumping cream. The jar from the Red Door Salon, that was my present to myself on my birthday. Guaranteed to fatten out your wrinkles and perfect your skin. (Sort of)
"Yep. I was all itchy when I got out of the tub so I put it all over myself. But it isn't that great. I didn't even have enough to do all of me plus my feet."
And you know, looking closely at her, she didn't look a day over 7 and a half.
Here she is, looking very young indeed- about a week old.
Monday, October 13, 2008
I have been working lately to try to get all the kids to be more independent. With the younger ones in particular, it's potty training. After 9 solid years of changing the diapers of multiples I am ready for the mental and financial break! Unfortunately, the boys haven't embraced this concept as much as I have. Yet. I sat them down and gave them a heartfelt pep talk about how great it is to be a big boy and do big boy things. I admired their Thomas the tank engine underwear. I told them how they can do more things with their older siblings, because they are so grown up now. All the while I wondered exactly how much of my pep talk these little guys were taking in. Later in the day, my #6 son runs past me and yells, "I gotta go potty!" And dashes into the bathroom. Yes! Success! I am mentally high-fiving myself and picturing my life becoming easier and easier as my children learn to do for themselves. My mental celebration was cut short when my son stuck his head out of the bathroom door and said, "MOM! Come hold my [you-know-what]!"
Friday, October 10, 2008
This is my 9 year old daughter Regan. When she was about 3 years old we were having a conversation about different family members, and how each were related to the other.
Regan asked me, "Is Connor a boy?"
"Yes," I told her.
"And is he your son?"
"And I am a girl?"
"So I am your moon."
This is the same little girl who couldn't figure out how she had three feet. A right foot, a left foot and a wrong foot. Because people kept telling her that her shoe was on the wrong foot.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
The other day my oldest (9) year old son told me that he thought he should start carrying a wallet to school now, because, really he is growing up now, and he's responsible, and he should be prepared for whatever comes along, so he should have a wallet with some of his own money it, just in case. "You know," he told me, "like dad and grandad. Like men do." So I agreed that this was a good idea. I asked him if he needed any help and he assured me that he could take care of it on his own. So this afternoon I checked in his backpack, to see if he had indeed put the wallet in there, and how much money he was in danger of losing. And this is what I found. My grown-up almost a man, responsible boy's wallet. In case you can't see it- it's a furry wallet with a moose head on it that his cousins from Norway gave him, with two dollars inside. It makes my heart ache with the sweetness of it- him with one foot on each side of the division between little boy and maturity.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
We are at a playground one evening. This particular playground has a rather long row of monkey bars. One row after the next. Altogether, probably about 20 - 30 feet of monkey bar. A young man (older than a teenager, younger than a dad), was there diligently working out. He went the entire length of the monkey bars, hand over hand, swinging gracefully. He even made those little breathy sounds that people do when they work out. The kind that sound like "Whew!" "Whew!" "Whew!" When he got to the end of the line of monkey bars he dropped down to the ground and brushed his hands off triumphantly and wiped the sweat from his brow. Then he turned around and saw my toothless, 45 pound, six year old daughter right behind him. "Hey look!" She tells him. "I followed you the whole way! You know why I am so good at that? Because my mom says I am part monkey, that's why!" At which point the young man slunk off to his car and drove away without a word.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
I am upstairs, helping my six year olds was their hair. Lauren stands up in the tub and looks out the window. "Hey mom. Declan just climbed out the window." To which I reply, "Don't be silly. He has not climbed out the window." Ignoring me, "Hey Devin, look at this. Declan just climbed out the window." To which I say, "Stop being silly! You shouldn't say that." I go downstairs to fetch clean jammies out of the dryer, and sure enough, Declan is not in the sun room where I left him. I go out on the deck and at this point see Declan playing on the swing set, and Collin climbing out the window. I ran back into the house and grabbed my camera off the table and snapped these shots. I swear, in no way was this shot set up or contrived by me. Although apropos, it was a pure coincidence that the kid was wearing a shirt that says 'my parents are exhausted'. As for the naked hiney, what can I say. Collin prefers an unfettered lifestyle.
Monday, October 6, 2008
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Soccer on a sunny Sunday :)
This is my son with his big play of the game, if you can't tell from this horribly blurry shot! It's hard to take a picture when a three year old is trying desperately to pull you toward the port-a-potty for the third time in 30 minutes). He zipped the ball past the kid in white, and set up his team mate to take the shot and score! It was a brilliant pass, if I do say so myself! Apparently (I think) it's called a wall play. A box play? Whatever it is called, he did it perfectly :) And it was really cool to see everyone jump to their feet and start screaming about how well he did it- even though he didn't actually score the goal. It's one of those mom things- knowing that for tonight, your kid falls asleep feeling really good to be himself. Score!
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
And this is my favorite story about Joann...
I met Joann many years ago in our neighborhood book club (about 7 years, actually!) Each month we take turns hosting the group. The first time it was my turn I was very nervous. I mean REALLY nervous! I went through all the preparations and the big night finally came. As I was rearranging some furniture to make more seating in our TV room my oldest kids (who were ONLY kids at the time, and about 2 years old) thought that the couch looked really cool pulled out from the wall. They decided that they were going to turn it into a stage for a puppet show, and wouldn't mommy's book club love it? As the guests arrived I kept shooing them out of the room. At that time, I was the only member with children so young, and I figured it wouldn't make a great impression to have them running amok during our meeting. So every time they tried to sneak in I shooed them out, embarrassed. We ate, we had some wine, we discussed the book. As we were all getting ready to leave, Joann says, "Hold it! I've been waiting all night for the puppet show. Let's see that puppet show before we go anywhere." Folded her hands in her lap and smiled at me. I've loved you ever since Joann! Baby Jack got lucky with his choice for grandparents :) And I survived my first night hosting the book club. It wasn't until my second turn hosting that I exploded the wine! And my fourth time hosting I ate almost an entire key lime pie that was left over, got sick, and figured I'd given everyone food poisoning! And most recently, my son (same kid - now 9) decided that it as too hot in our house, and kindly adjusted our thermostat down to about 57. Everyone had icicles hanging off themselves before I figured it out. But I know now that these flaws are overlooked by dear friends. And the red wine doesn't hurt either!
Saturday, September 13, 2008
This is my friend Joann's favorite story about my kids...
My older two children (who are now 9, but were 3 at the time) figured out that their rooms shared a common wall. They would spend some time each night at bed time tapping on the wall or yelling through it. One night they figured if they just made a small hole they could peek at each other! How resourceful! Well, I guess they knew their mother wouldn't much care for this plan. So they made the hole behind their doors- so when the door is open, you can't see it. This was possibly a happy coincidence- or maybe they are criminal geniuses! Anyway, they chipped away at the drywall night after night until they had a satisfactory hole going. Then one day I noticed some drywall chips on the carpet. They had been flushing most of them down the toilet, but I guess they missed a few. I was very surprised by this, and also a little irritated. They assured me that this was nothing to be upset by, and it was very very awesome. So I told them that I was never going to fill in their "awesome hole" and we'd see just how awesome it really was, in a few years.
Well, 6 years later my son is trying to stuff toys and every possible thing in there to keep his sisters from spying on him and his friends when they are playing Pokemon! The girls, however, just poke whatever is in there right out the other side! (The hole has grown over the years. A 6 year old head fits in there very nicely, this I know for a fact.)
Tomorrow (or whenever I get around to it) I will tell you my favorite story about Joann :)
Yesterday evening I am at cheerleading practice with the 6 year old girls. (I also have the 2 year old boys with me, and my 9 year old son. My 9 year old daughter is at soccer with my husband coaching). We've been working on potty training for weeks now. My boys are completely trained, and can do it perfectly, no problem---provided they are naked. The minute any type of clothing, pull up underwear, etc is on their bodies they forget everything they've learned. (This goes over well at preschool). So last night, we are at the playground, watching practice when Collin announces his "Pee pee is coming out RIGHT NOW". I realize we will never make it all the way up the hill, into the school, down the hall, and into the bathroom. And I want to reinforce this potty training breakthrough, rather than letting him pee the pull up. So I really quickly hustle him around the corner, and behind a parked car. Sadly, he suffers a bit of performance anxiety, and it takes a bit longer to get the job done than I had anticipated. As I am helping him readjust his "Bun Bob Pear Pants" shorts, I turn around and realize there are 2 little tots who have followed us to our hiding place. Two kids who now have their pants down and are peeing in the grass. Their parents will be so pleased when they show off this new trick they learned.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
This is a blog just to describe what we are up to. For example, This morning Devin and Lauren(and their buddy Katie B.) are in Fairy Camp, and Regan (and her buddy Allison) are in Camp Rock. It was fun loading up all the kids in the big white va, - plus Theresa and Eddie (Allison's siblings) and heading over to camp this morning. This afternoon the 4 older have a dental appointment, and then Regan will have a sleep over with Allison and Devin and Lauren will have a play date and dinner with Katie. I will continue to paint the office, hoping I can get it done before Saturday. So there ya go. Exciting? Not so much.