...my child sold your honor student the answers to the test...

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Kids These Days

Sometimes kids do things that are so wrong, but so damn funny at the same time.

Overheard (and seen by J) this afternoon. Ashe had finished watching the movie "A Year Without A Santa Clause". Xavier missed it and wanted to watch so hit play again. Ashe decided he didn't want to watch it again and got upset. After screeching no to his older brother a few times he went up and yelled "YOU'RE BEING NAUGHTY!!!!" then proceeded to smack Xavier.

Now, I shouldn't laugh. But seeing as I wasn't the one who had to discipline this time (since I didn't see it happen) and was told the play by play action from J who was trying not to snicker too loudly after he dealt with the situation, I did.

New Years

I apologize for not blogging recently. It's hard to do so when you have a 15 pound baby strapped to your chest for a lot of the time due to not feeling good and just needing to be on top of mom in order to calm the tears. I tried a few times but I kept having my keyboard commandeered and was left with multiple lines of flhflshf.sgjs;dogujs.gs.jfgslujs and such.

Lots of great things have happened: my mom finally moved down and the boys and I drove over and helped paint her bedroom (Ashe painting houses and suns on the walls while Xavier tried to wheedle Grammy for money for helping. She held her ground and I'm proud of her). We had a wonderful Christmas. The boys loved their toys and J and I appreciated both the fact that we kept it small this year and that no toys we bought needed a chainsaw to open the packaging.

Soren is obsessed with mashed potatoes and gravy. And I do mean obsessed. I now have to make a potato or save some each night for him to maul and mash into his fuzz hair, and anytime he can grab a finger with gravy on it he ruthlessly shoves said finger into his mouth and greedily devours it until the finger is wrinkled.

Now today is upon us and it is New Years Eve. We have no major plans. We'll stay home, grab some Mediterranean take out (I promised Xavier he could have 2 baklava's tonight) and Xavier and I shall stay up to watch the ball drop while J and Ashe crash on the couch snoring in harmony. Soren will hopefully be oblivious to the fact that today even means something other than a regular day. But I have my doubts. He's too smart for his own good sometimes.

As for New Years Resolutions, I resolved long ago not to make any and it's worked this far. In fact its the only resolution I have kept for longer than a year. However this year I am breaking it to make one tiny resolution. I resolve to try and drink one glass of water for every cup of coffee I consume. I know its silly, and small, but its the small ones I have a better chance of keeping. And the amount of coffee I do consume I should be getting a healthy dose of H2O. I should also resolve to stock up on more toilet paper now that I think about it....

But other resolutions I think of...

I resolve to:

take one day at a time, and try to enjoy each one as it comes. And before I freak out on a hard day remind myself it's only one day.

remind myself that this lack of sleep is only temporary. One day I shall have my fantasy come true and sleep a full night uninterrupted.

Sneak attack the boys more often for kisses. One day they will look at me like I am the most embarrassing thing ever (and oh I plan on playing that role to the hilt!) and I wont get them as easily as I do now. I need to really store them up.

keep teaching my kids how to become independent in small ways. In other words I am really putting my foot down and refusing to make chocolate milk for my 7 yr old anymore. He knows where the ingredients are. He knows how to measure and stir. I'll be damned if he can make a steak but cant make himself a cup of chocolate milk. (this has become a recent point of contention between the two of us).

Pick up the Mantra "It's because he's 3, it's because he's 3" when Ashe starts to get that 'tude that comes with age.

Cuddle Soren to death but also try to not baby him too much when the time comes. I know I could easily fall into the trap of wanting to keep him little forever with him being my last baby. And he grows sooo fast! But I also have to make sure I don't hamper him down with too much. He does have to keep up with 2 older brothers after all.

And let me family know how much I truly cherish them, each and every one. My family, my brood, they are an amazing bunch. And I love them so much! Each one unique and special in his own way.

Enough sappiness. I can only take so much. Happy New Years everyone. May you have a wonderful 2010!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Picture Perfect

J and I have a friend M from high school who came to visit us this past weekend with her husband. While she was there she took some photos of the boys with her new camera and I had to share them. I think that when my kids are old enough to not touch my things (so when they are adults really) I may want a camera like this. M, thank you for the photos. They are beyond beautiful!

Soren and Xavier making the same face

Ashe and his smoothie

The Eavesdropper

Soren and Dad

The Little Things Keep Us Sane

Yesterday afternoon Soren got up from his nap but wasnt quite ready to face the world again. He's grumpy like his mom when he first wakes up after a nap. So he and I cuddled in my big warm bed and he nodded off and on as he lay on my chest and I just watched him in awe. This precious baby was so big from what he was, and yet so little and fragile. So beautiful. I traced his ears with my finger as he slept, exulting in his beauty. I stroked his fine, almost invisible eyebrows in wonder. My heart filled with love and peace and awe as I watched this little human so utterly trusting as he slept on me, mouth slightly open. Pure perfection.

And I held that vision closely to me last night when he decided he did not want to sleep at all, 2 hours after bedtime, wailing for me nonstop to come grab him so we could play when all I wanted to do was pass out from the exhaustion I feel after trying to keep up with 3 kids all day. Mother Nature knows what she is doing when she makes babies cute.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Family Time

I am anal about being on time. I blame my mom (hi Mom!). No really, it's all her fault I start getting anxious and pushing my family when we start to run late. I remember clearly when it started. My mom has always been late, but I remember having to serve detention every day in 6th grade because even if I was ready for school, she would insist on driving me in, and would run really late EVERY DAY and thus I was detentionified. This is just one example though. Basically if we went anywhere we were ALWAYS late. And I hated it.

When I grew up it became a pet peeve of mine if people showed up REALLY late, or didnt call, or I was running late. In fact to this day even if Im 10 minutes behind for something I will call you to let you know.

When J and I got engaged, my mom showed up 4 hours late to our party. Because she would be halfway to the party and realized she forgot something so turn around. And then when she was half way there again realized she left something else and turn around, instead of leaving it. And never called to let us know what was going on. So we were left to think she was dead in a ditch and really all she was doing was driving 40 miles back and forth to get the damn knife she forgot.

When it was our wedding day I had to tell my mom that the wedding was really 2 hours earlier than it was. She showed up on time (for the real time of course, not 2 hours early).

It's always been this way. I should be used to it by now, but it always throws me for a loop. I cant figure out how an adult can continually have a pattern like this. But hey, shes my mom. And world of wonders, she found someone just...like...her. Her husband, my kids Grandpa.

2 years ago we moved away and finally, after years of insistence that they would move here so they could see their grandchildren they are finally doing it. My moms husband, R, moved down in Sept to take over my brothers house in Jacksonville ( 2 hours away) as he was being transferred to Hawaii. My mom is moving down this week. And the antics continue. I really shouldn't be surprised. Really. And yet, my mouth is agape.

When it was Ashes birthday R promised up and down he would be there to celebrate at his party especially since it would be the first birthday party for Ashe he would attend (we left MA when Ashe was 10 months old). Come party time there was no sign of R, no phone call no nothing. He knocked on our door 2.5 hours late, after the party was done. He missed the exit and kept driving.

Today, R was supposed to have flown out at 9am to Boston to pick up my mom and drive down with her in order to arrive for Christmas Eve. I just got off the phone with him (11am). He's on the road to Raleigh because he had thought his plane was leaving from Jacksonville but in reality it was Raleigh so he missed his flight. But there might be another one at 4pm he says.....

"Did you not look at the ticket to make sure you knew where it was flying out of?" I ask incredulously.
"I thought I did, but I must have been mistaken." (obviously!!!)

So now hes trying to get a flight, whining about parking tickets ("just park your car here and the boys and I will drive you in" I offered) and all I can think of is here we go again!

Family is wonderful, but sometimes they drive you batty. And if this is just the beginning, I'll be happy if Im not totally drooling and spouting gibberish in dealing with their antics come Christmas morning. I just thank my lucky stars this gene seemed to have missed me.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Dog Days

Our 3 yr old has been replaced by a dog, or so it seems. This past week, Ashe has decided that he is no longer a kid but a canine. Trying to sort laundry while your child sits upon the mountain of clothing and attacks a towel barking and growling is an experience every mom should have at least once in their lifetime.

It's not a new thing, this insistence on being a dog. There have been a few times I have shopped at Target and he has dropped on all fours out of the blue and started yipping. One time I glanced longingly at the pet department and wondered if it would be a bad Mom moment if I bought a leash. Take heart. I didn't buy one. I found out my "doggie" came knowing how to heal already. And he doesn't bite ankles either.

But this week he's taken it up a notch and has been galavanting all around the house on hands and knees, insisting he is a dog, barking at me while I try to get things done, and even once coming to curl up in my lap and licked me. I was all happy, thinking I was about to get a kiss and instead he slurped my face from jawbone to hairline, giggled, and scampered off with a ruff.

A couple nights ago, after dealing with his insistence that he wont eat people food, only dog bones, I decided to try and trick him into eating ravioli, calling them dog bones. Hey, they're white. He doesnt know the difference. While I boiled them up he kept asking me as he hopped around on all fours when his dog bones would be ready. Alas, when it was time for dinner and I proudly gave him his "canine cuisine" he refused to eat. /Sigh

I guess I should be happy. Xavier went through the same phase around the same age and he was worse. I vividly remember a few times of him insisting on eating his food in a bowl on the floor under the dining room table. I put my foot down when he started begging for scraps though. Ashe hasn't gotten that far yet. I'm thankful for that.

Yesterday Ashe came over to me and curled himself up in my lap. I stroked his hair as I held him and we contentedly cuddled for a bit. When he decided he had enough he sat up, took my face in his little hands and said "MOMMY, I A CAT! MEOW." He jumped off my lap and off the bed, ran out the door on all fours again, meowing all the way.

Right now Im just glad he doesn't cough up hair balls. Ahh, to be 3 again.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Virtual Scrapbook 2009

Every December I take all the photos from throughout the year and with a handful that are my favorites or mean something, I make a virtual scrapbook and put it to music. I waited until Ashes birthday was done so I could add in a shot of him and his cake and tonight I finally finished it. This years music was "My Wish" by Rascal Flatts. (I'll post the lyrics below.) So if you're interested throw those headphones on, turn up the volume and enjoy. =D

My Wish Lyrics

I hope the days come easy and the moments pass slow
And each road leads you where you want to go
And if you're faced with the choice and you have to choose
I hope you choose the one that means the most to you

And if one door opens to another door closed
I hope you keep on walkin' ?til you find the window
If it's cold outside, show the world the warmth of your smile
But more than anything, more than anything

My wish for you
Is that this life becomes all that you want it to
Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small
You never need to carry more than you can hold

And while you're out there gettin' where you're gettin' to
I hope you know somebody loves you
And wants the same things too
Yeah, this is my wish

I hope you never look back but you never forget
All the ones who love you and the place you left
I hope you always forgive and you never regret
And you help somebody every chance you get

Oh, you'd find God's grace in every mistake
And always give more than you take
But more than anything, yeah more than anything

My wish for you
Is that this life becomes all that you want it to
Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small
You never need to carry more than you can hold

And while you're out there gettin' where you're gettin' to
I hope you know somebody loves you
And wants the same things too
Yeah, this is my wish, yeah yeah

My wish for you
Is that this life becomes all that you want it to
Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small
You never need to carry more than you can hold

And while you're out there gettin' where you're gettin' to
I hope you know somebody loves you
And wants the same things too
Yeah, this is my wish
(My wish for you)

This is my wish
(My wish for you)
I hope you know somebody loves you
(My wish for you)
May all your dreams stay big
(My wish for you)

While I am at it, since I started this blog only in August, if you want to catch up I will also link from youtube 2007 and 2008s vids

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Hey Birthday Boy

To my sweet, funny, rambunctious, smart, silly boy:

Ashe it's your third birthday today and I just want to say I am so in love with you. I look at you now, today of all days especially, and just stand there in awe thinking of what you are now, what you have been, and wonder what lies ahead of you in your years to come.

I remember vividly how you were the easiest pregnancy out of all three and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for that.

I remember how fast you came into the world, where you were almost born in the car as we drove the 5 minutes to the local hospital. Thanks for hanging on just a little bit longer!

You were my snuggle bunny and you still are. I cherish each cuddle, hug, and random sticky kiss from you.

I love your "I WUV YOU MOMMY"s, all done at volume 11.

I love the fact you call a frog a fog and a dog a frog.

I love that every time we put something silly on our heads and call it a hat you give us "the look" and say with utter disdain "IT'S NOT A HAT!". Guarenteed laughter each and every time.

I love how you love to sing Rhett and Links Space junk song.

I love how, no matter how many times beforehand that I say its ok you MUST ask me "MOMMY CAN I EAT THIS?" even when it's chocolate milk.

I love how you argue with me over whether you eat or drink chocolate milk. And honey, I promise, you drink it, not eat it, no matter what you say.

I love how you pronounce please as Peas

I love how you love preschool, and your favorite part is Circle Time.

I love the fact that you have exploded with your vocabulary and can now actually argue with me instead of getting frustrated and scream.

And while I shouldn't admit this, I crack up when you sneak up behind your brother while he is busy playing quietly, to smack him upside the head and run away laughing maniacally. No, I dont love this. But it is flipping hilarious to watch before I have to step in and give you a time out.

I love how you sing YODA to the tune of Lola after listening to Weird Al Yancovich.

I love how you are finally sitting (mostly) nicely at the dinner table with us each night instead of running around like a wild thing, even if you dont eat. We'll work on that next sweetie.

I love how you are potty trained, and you are SO proud of yourself each time you have to go to the bathroom. May that excitement never wear off. You earned it!

I love the fact you love Pirate stuff.

I love how when we call you silly you say "NO I NOT. I A BIG GOOBER!"

I love how you talk in Cap Locks.

You make me giggle each time you tell me not to sing/hum/dance/wiggle when we're listening to music.

I love how you eat your feet. It's beyond gross. But it is so you.

I love your new saying "OH YEAH" in a deep grumbly 3 yr old voice.

I love how you help me around the house when I ask you to and dont whine about it. I know that's only going to last a little while longer so I really cherish telling you to put your dishes in the sink and you actually do it happily.

I love the fact when I tell you to put the dishes in the sink you always put them in the bathroom sink.

I love watching you follow your brother around and try to do everything he does. Although I dont love some of the things he is teaching you.

I love how you go to bed so well most nights.

I love the fact you still have that natural mohawk that you were born with. While it will suck for you as an adult to try and tame that thing, it is absolutely precious on you.

I love how you love baseball almost as much as Daddy. I know Daddy really appreciates having a baseball buddy.

You are such an amazing kiddo. You're a great older brother to Soren, the perfect little brother to Xavier. You are so unique and fun and special. You are YOU! And there is no one in the world like you. And I am the luckiest Mommy in the world, to have such a special boy to call my son. I love you little man. Happy Birthday

Friday, December 11, 2009

When One Door Closes

It usually slams on my toe causing me to stifle obscenities so the kids dont pick anything up they shouldnt know in their tender years. OK seriously, Today was filled with endings and beginnings. Ashe has been in speech and developmental therapy since the beginning of this year due to speech issues. While we stopped speech therapy awhile ago due to the fact he and his Speech Therapist didnt quite mesh so well, we continued on with our wonderful Developmental Therapist Nerissa because frankly, she rocks. She was able to teach Ashe what his Speech Therapist could not do, plus help me help him learn how to overcome obstacles without getting on the floor and crying...much. Not to mention she's just so damn funny. I loved sitting there chatting with her while she and Ashe played, both of us talking about the issues moms go through on a daily basis, funny ways to try and help Ashe out, and just chatting. Right before Soren was born Nerissa declared him a perfect 2 yr old, but we decided to keep the lessons going because of the (very good) potential of him regressing once he had an infant to deal with in the house. With her help we bypassed all of that and he is now a very well adjusted, and verbal 3 yr old.

BECAUSE he turns 3 tomorrow, we can no longer work with her through the county. Nor do we need to anymore. So today we had our final DT lesson, filled with cupcakes, chocolate milk, coffee for the adults, and played Mr. Potato Head. It was bittersweet today, seeing Ashe and Nerissa have their final "Play Date". We're going to miss her.

Nerissa with Ashe and Soren at todays celebration

Ashe turns 3 tomorrow. And that's a big deal, because this is the first year he actually gets what birthdays are all about. And the first year that he has his own idea of what he wants for a birthday celebration. This year he was adamant about having a Transformer Cake and Transformer robots for his presents. He doesnt care about anything else except that his cake HAS to be chocolate!

I'll be honest. I Suck with a capitol S at baking. In fact I have never ever made a real birthday cake before. Ever. Pitiful I know, being 30 and having 3 kids. I realized long ago my shortcomings and have always bought a premade cake. But this year, after watching my friends make their kids cakes at birthday parties, and seeing how they made it look sooo easy I thought, Aww hell, why not? It's got to be cheaper to make it on your own right? And it cant be that hard. Right?

I say, looking back in hindsight.....


/sniffle. I crack myself up

NEVER again shall I make a cake unless it is either
A> The weekend and someone can watch my kids for me
B> Someone can watch my kids for me
C> I am left completely alone to work on the damn thing, no matter how long it may take me.

And this cake, between baking, and frosting, and running out to get more frosting, and consoling sobbing infants, and yelling at crazy 2 yr olds to leave the dang cake alone until tomorrow and repeatedly telling 7 yr olds No you can not help let me do this please.... DO NOT TOUCH THE FROSTING I SAID..... WOULD YOU STOP LICKING THE FROSTING OFF THE SPOON I NEED TO USE THAT!!!!!! took me almost 5 hours to make. And it sucks.

It's supposed to be the head of Optimus Prime (the leader of the Autobots, or good guys for you who are not in the know). I followed the instructions per frosting as best as I could but you know what? I think next time I'm just going to do it my way. Wait... I already said no fucking way was I going to do this again over and over as I was in the middle of the process. Instead, I have no idea what it looks like, but Optimus Prime it ain't. Of course as I was working on it I posted on Facebook how awful it was going to be. My friend R said not to feel bad, it couldn't be worse than those on cakewrecks. Of course I looked at the link she so graciously provided and wept at how much better they looked than my own monster creation. Thanks R. I know you were only trying to help. And after, I was able to laugh at myself while I continued trucking on.

So here is the monstrous notquiteOptimusPrimebutmaybeifyousquintalittleyoumightkindofgetwhatIwasgoingafter cake. And yes, I realize you will be laughing. I'll walk away from the computer until you calm down. Go ahead, I won't take offense. I laughed too.

....Need a tissue to wipe your tears of laughter away? I've got a couple if you need them. ok now. Breathe a little. Look at the print here. Focus. Don't let your eyes stray back up or you'll start laughing agai.... oh hell. Go ahead. Keep laughing. And when you've got a hold of yourself scroll down a bit and we'll continue.

I hope we've now got a hold of ourselves? Good, let's move on. Now I know this cake sucks but I also knew going into it that it would, this being my first time baking a cake, as well as trying to get it done while juggling 3 antsy kids at the same time. And really, all that matters is that it tastes halfway decent. Scratch that. All that matters is that it doesn't poison anyone. And I'm 95% sure that it wont. I can deal with that percentage. And when all was said and done, when Ashe caught site of his finished cake, his very own birthday cake he flipped out in pure excitement. From the moment I finished it until he passed out in his bed all he could say was "WOW! That's my birthday cake!I have a birthday cake! Mommy made ME my birthday cake! I WUV my Birthday cake!!! Daddy did you see the birthday cake Mommy made me? It's AWESOME!"

And that's all that matters. My son is in love with his birthday cake. So much so that I had to threaten him with time outs 3 times if I caught him touching it before tomorrow when we sing happy birthday to him. So while my cake may be the WORST looking Optimus Prime birthday cake ever to grace the earth, in the eyes of an (almost) 3 yr old boy, it's the Best. Cake. Ever!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

If A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words....

I stocked up on about 52,000 words yesterday trying to get a decent photo of the boys for our holiday cards. Of course only a couple came out halfway decent. As I viewed all the pictures on my computer yesterday I had to laugh at them. They do tell a story: one of fidgety kids who wish they could be doing ANYTHING but pose. Here's a few of my favorites:

This was just the beginning and already I realized I was going to have a hard time keeping everyones attention on me. Poor Xavier was trying so hard to follow directions but even he was getting frustrated with the constant clicking of the camera. Meanwhile something caught both Ashe and Sorens attention the moment my finger clicked the button.

The faces just crack me up. You can physically see the lethargic attempt from Xavier to smile, Ashe just bored out of his mind, and I'm still trying to figure out what Soren is thinking.

I have about 15 pics just like this in various poses. Fantastic smiles, goofy faces and 1 kid who lets you and everyone else know he is just NOT filled with a festive spirit! He reminds me of a kid who just found out that birthday parties no longer have cake and ice cream. Its a shame too because if he had only smiled for this photo we would have been done in 5 minutes instead of the 20 I forced them to stay. Sorens face makes me laugh. It may have to become a new avatar of mine.

I dub this "Happy, Anxious, Apathetic". And the last one I will share...

Poor Ashe was trying to scoot down to sit next to his brothers at my insistence and he scraped his leg on the step. He insisted I put the camera down and kiss his booboos. I decided to stop soon after and let the boys have some peace.

All I can say is my digi cam was one of the best purchases I ever got. Without it, it would be impossible for me to capture that 1 perfect photo seeing as I have to take roughly 50+ per session to get just one decent one.

Oh, and if you noticed the dang hole in Zavis jeans? I told him to go find a pair of blue jeans with no holes in them. he comes back down after 10 minutes to state he owns no pair of jeans without a hole. Seriously??? I know you play hard man, but I just bought you 2 new pairs 6 weeks ago!
Note to self: buy more jeans for Xavier

Hell in a Handbasket

Have you ever gotten through half of the day, looked back and realized it would have been so much better if you had slept through the entire day and woke up the following morning? Well, ok, as parents I think we sometimes feel like we could use the extra sleep anyways so I'm sure there are echos of resounding YESes being yelled at many computer screens. But I'm talking about those days that really, just should have never happened. Today is one of those days for me.

I've been fighting a cold for a few days and last night it decided to explode into full on coughing fits. Of course out of the entire drug store I call my medicine cabinet, we have everything BUT cough syrup. So bad sleep for me as I was too tired and lazy to drive to the store at 3 am and buy some. By morning my throats raw, I'm still coughing, and I have a headache THIS BIG....sorry, I couldn't help myself. 80's childhood tv memories kicking in for a moment. So already I have one strike against me.

Next I'm still trying to keep all 3 kids happy and out of the house for the month. Todays excursion was to be the Dinosaur Walk and running around the Museum of Life and Science in Durham. While in MA this past September, J and I bought a membership to Boston's Museum of Science for $150 solely on the fact that the informational packet they showed us included the museum in Durham. Today was the first time we were going to use that membership card and a good thing too, because our extra cash flow this month has been going to birthday and Christmas stuff. So after trying to nurse my cold cup of coffee being interrupted multiple times by 3 boys whining for this and that, I bundle everyone up, strap them into the van, and we drive 40 minutes listening to the Batman Theme song the entire way there. I now can say with ease I hate the Batman theme song. And if I hear it one more time today I just may go batshit crazy and throw something at whatever machine has the sound emanating from it.

We get to the Museum with minimal fuss. We go inside and at the counter I happily present my card and ID. Guess what? They refuse to honor it. Why, you ask? Oh, because it's only valid if I lived further than 90 miles away from the museum. Otherwise they only honor membership cards bought from their museum. Seriously WTF??? I saw no information on that when we purchased the membership in Boston. "It's a new rule". The woman at the counter told me she would happily sell me another membership (which of course is also good for the Boston Museum) for a mere $135. I just looked at her, trying to compute how she would think asking me to shell out even more cash for something I already have and should be honored to do so is a good thing. My only other option is to purchase tickets full price for myself and the boys. Or leave the Museum.

I looked at the boys eager faces, I thought about our finances, I looked at the woman with a fake smile plastered on her face, and after telling her that while I understood it wasn't her fault personally I thought they really dropped the ball on this... I walked out. And I don't think I'll be going back. Not for a long while yet anyways.

The boys did awesome, not complaining, only confused, asking what was going on and why. So I explained to Xavier, who at 7, can understand more complex issues. He got it, he understood why I left. He agreed with me. He was mad. But he was mad at the museum. THANK YOU for one small favor!!!! Together he and I vented and bitched about the unfairness of it all as we walked to the car. I was still steaming mad, but hey, I now have a partner I can bitch with ha!

Get into the car and start driving 40 minutes home. Of course the moment I leave the parking lot Soren decides to start crying lustily because damnit, he is DONE being in his car seat! And of course he didn't stop crying the whole way home. By the time we got off the high way I had almost made myself believe that the Batman theme song really wasn't that bad after all, in comparison.

Still fuming, now anxious to be home so I can just escape the sound and my frustration, still coughing up my lungs. It's only 11:30 am. The kids are hungry. I feel bad for them that they missed out on our trip, so I take them to Wendys drive through and over the wails of Soren I ordered us lunch to take home.

Get home, try to calm Soren down, which takes about 40 minutes, eat my cold hamburger, try to get Soren to go down, realize HOLY SHIT I still haven't started cleaning the house for Ashes birthday party on Saturday as I look around at our toy strewn kitchen/dining/living/bathrooms. At this point I just want to put my head in my hands and sob. And I still haven't had a chance to run out and get myself medicine.

I wont bore you with the rest of my day. Suffice to say I did end up making a run for cough medicine and swallowed it the moment I got home. Its not working too well though. Ahh well. I emailed both museums to let them know how disappointed I was and that they lost my family as a patron. And the kids are antsy but I rented a movie for them and bribed them with chocolate cup cakes and mini almond Joys. It appeased them for about 30 minutes and now they're at each others throats again. I'm trying to ignore them. Only if I hear a worried whisper of "I'm sorry please oh please don't tell Mom" will I worry about their welfare. Right now, I just need to have some alone time with my coffee, vent here in the hopes that I'll feel better, and not kill anyone in the process by accidentally being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Tomorrow better be better or else I want a refund!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Play Dates of Today

I realized today that I am "Old". Which is a shock to my system as I'm really not that old and think I'm fairly savvy in the ways of whats cool, not to mention I spend my free time killing dragons and Orcs on the computer. Oh wait... that's only cool to me. Some might actually find that geeky. Whatever. My kids think its cool.

But I have a limit when it comes to computer generated gaming, both for myself and my kids. There comes a point where you (I) say OK, put down the Wii/DS/PC/remote. Get your butt up and outside or in your room and play with all those toys you beg for and earn with my tortuous ways also known as "Chores". It amazes me how much whining I hear day in and day out of how I never let them have what they want and they really really really want this cool new toy that costs $99.42 and OF COURSE they will play with it until they're old and end up in a nursing home, when you and I both know it will be forgotten in a week if that. Not to mention the fact I'm pretty hardcore about toy buying: unless it's Christmas or your birthday, or you have done something really cool and amazing and I want to show you my appreciation, any toys brought into this house throughout the year will be earned with Allowance money.

So today Xavier is having a play date. It's not too often we have kids over without their moms because J works from home and it's hard to keep a few 7 yr olds (and a 2 yr old... AND a 6 month old) happy and quiet enough in case J has a conference call without me losing what little sanity I still cling to. Not to mention during regular school time Xavier doesn't get home until 4:15 and then does homework and we do dinner soon after. Just no time during the week. But with it being track out I thought I could handle a house of 4 kids for a few hours so long as the older kids allowed Ashe to join in (which was agreed upon by both 7 yr olds).

Of course MY idea of a play date seems to be very misguided for this time and age. I was thinking forts, games, playing with those toys that are begged for all year long. Playing outside (normally but it's very wet out here today so indoors it is). You know, actual physical playing. Instead I was informed that Xavier and his friend R were going to want to play Wii for 3 hours.
"Why not Mom? We'll be quiet. R wants to see Lego Indiana Jones!!!"
"No. No Wii. Pretend you guys are Indiana Jones instead."
"MOOOOM, Wii is fun! Plus it makes us move around too!"
"Build a fort. Play with your 452 Bakugan. Have a Transformer War. If you guys are bored by lunchtime maybe you can play Wii towards the end. But that's it."
"UGH! No fair! You're so mean Mom!"
"Yup. You have no idea. I'm just the meanest."
"Yeah!" (Sigh)

So that conversation was yesterday as we were preparing for his play date. This morning as I'm trying to nurse my coffee and wake up I get hit with:
"Mom, can I call R?"
"Sure, whats up?"
"I want to ask him to bring his DS over so we can play."
"Why are you looking at me like that Mom?"
"No! No Wii, No DS! What part of go play with your toys do you not understand?"
"DS IS a toy!!!"
"No, it's not! It's not a kind of toy you can play with your friends together. You two can sit there and play your own little game side by side, but not together."
"Uh, Mom, yes we can. DS' can hook up together through the Internet."
"Well we don't have wireless Internet here to do that."
"We can try!"
"That's not my point! My point is you have a ton of other things to do instead of sitting on your butt and playing video games. You can do that any day. But you have a friend coming over and you guys need to play...together!"
"MOOOOM!.... Fine! Can I at least ask him if I promise to build a fort?"
Insert the famous Puppy eyes here "Please?"
"Fine!. But no playing it all day!"
"OK thanks Mom!"

And so now the two of them are playing DS downstairs, in the fort they built, side by side, waiting for lunch to be ready. I guess I shouldn't complain too much. At least I won half the battle. They did make a cool fort. And I might just be small enough to squeeze in it once they're bored and move on to something new.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Fun Facts

I have a new favorite word: Coprolite. It means poop, generally used for fossilized poop, but I was also told it works for present day usage as well.And even if it really only refers to fossilized poop, I'm still going to use it! I think I'm going to teach my kids to use that word. Just imagine a 2 yr old Soren saying "MOOOM! I NEED TO COPROLITE!!!" How awesome would that be? Or, if I can get Ashe to start using it, instead of him calling Xavier a Poopy head he would call him a Coprolite head. I think I'd be better with that word than poopy, although the meanings are the same. Or, J and I can talk about all the Coprolite diapers Soren keeps going through. Coprolite. Can't say it enough.

I learned this word today while the kids and I explored the Discovery Room at NCs Museum of Natural Science, our favorite museum. Normally this room is jam packed with kids and parents, but today it was only us for an hour, and then only one other family for the second hour. Yes, we spent 2 full hours in one room, discovering a whole bunch of things together. It really helped that there was an amazing volunteer there by the name of Anthony (if any of you go be on the lookout for him) who took a ton of time jazzing up all of the different topics for Xavier, helping him lay out string to see how long a T Rex is, listening to conch shells to figure out which had the best wave sound, and just really got into it all with the kids.

~We learned about honey bees, the difference between a worker (female) and drone (male). We learned that the average worker bee only lives for 6 weeks but the Queen bee can live up to 5 years. We learned that drone bees must be fed by the workers (I laughed at this information). We took time to look for the Queen Bee and when I found her I felt childishly excited. I even childishly refused to tell Xavier where she was, only giving hints, so he could find her himself. He did after a bit on concentration. We decided to play a game and try to find her each time we go back. (There is a trick to this by the way. Look for a bee a little bit bigger than the rest, encircled by bees all facing her direction. The Queen Bee does nothing but reproduce and the circle of bees hang around her feeling her vibrations with their antennae to figure out if she needs anything like food. Another fun fact!)

~We learned that rabbits are not actually rodents but are in a family all their own called Lagomorpha. Rodents can be identified by their brown teeth due to a strengthening enamel that coats their teeth (we saw this with a Beaver Skull).

~We learned about Dinosaurs (where I gained a ton of rep points with the volunteer by knowing the difference between a sauropod and a theropod) and fossils. This is where I learned about my new favorite word. Coprolite. Yes, I'm just throwing it in there because I can. Coprolite!

~We learned about spiders and their silk, and how to recognize a Brown Recluse (in order to run away screaming if we ever see one).

There was so much more, but the best part was just how much fun the kids and I had running from area to area, learning a new topic, me throwing out bits of knowledge and information I had gained over the years. I know most of it will go in one ear and out the other but I figure one or two facts may get stuck in their little brains and they will remember "Oh yeah! I learned this from Mom!" when they're adults and passing on their own form of education to their kidlets. Under normal circumstances Xavier and Ashe race from exhibit to exhibit, but today while they devoured anything they could get their hands on, they threw themselves into learning what was right in front of them through touch, scent, games, and 2 adults that were having a ball showing them all the delights the room had to offer. I couldn't believe it when I looked up at the clock and realized 2 hours had past already. Alas we had to go.

Normally I take the kids to the museum in the morning, but as dead as it was this afternoon, and how much more the kids (and I) got out of our visit, I may change our timing up a bit when Xavier is tracked out. It's amazing how much more fun things can be when you have it all to yourself. We're looking forward to going again soon.


Monday, December 7, 2009

The Big Guys Magic

Every single year at Christmas time, I take the boys to the local mall to meet Santa. And every year Xavier (who still believes completely and for that I'm both thankful and in awe) would stand no closer than 15 feet from the Big Guy and shout out his list instead of sitting on his lap or even coming to shake his hand. I don't know why this is. He never had a bad experience with Santa (or the Easter Bunny for that matter). He just never ever wanted to be that close. And I never pushed him. Santa for us, is not something forced on our kids, but is to be cherished and respected. And each kid develops their own relationship with the jolly old elf. My oldest just had a relationship that was a minimum of 15 feet or further away.

Today I bundled up the kids and we headed to the Mall to meet Santa and let the kids give him their wish list. I fully expected the same deal. Wait in line for 30 minutes, stand at the edge of the red carpet next to the velvet ropes, help translate Xaviers shouts (and Ashes who of course copies everything his older brother does) and translate back to the kids Santa's responses. Instead I was gratefully surprised to have no lines whatsoever to deal with, a real authentic looking Santa (real beard and all woot!) and to my complete astonishment, Xavier sauntered right up and sat on his lap while Ashe clambered up beside him and they conversed for a good 5 minutes. I was completely floored. I noticed Santa kept glancing up at me with a confused smile on his face, probably wondering why my jaw was touching the ground as I watched this episode occur.

Soren was snug in his Moby wrap while their conversation was going on and at one point, Santa turned to Soren and said "well young man I understand you want some tub toys for Christmas?" (Of course all I'm thinking is NOOOOO! he wants a ball popper and robeez not damn tub toys!! Crap now I got to go out and buy tub toys too???) Xavier looked at Santa and said,
"How do you know what Soren wants?"
"Oh Soren and I can talk with each other in our own special way." (wink)
"You can?"
"Oh sure. It's part of my magic. I bring gifts to babies too."

So here I am listening to this conversation and a whole slew of things start racing through my mind with a smile plastered on my face.
1. I need to buy tub toys for Soren
2. This could potentially be the time where Xavier starts to really question Santa if I cant pull off a good explanation from the questions that were sure to follow. Which is fine if it came down to that, but I'd be sad to see the end of this childhood era this year.
3. What the heck kind of tub toys can I find that will fit into a stocking and is good for a 6 month old?
4. How do I explain this new magic Santa has that he didn't seem to have for Ashe when he was a baby?

We finish our meeting, I add in to Santa that Soren really wants a ball popper too, and maybe a pair of robeez, but I'll send him a letter with the size and style sometime this week and we walk away.As we sit down for lunch the questions start to come and my brain has to go into overdrive:

"Mom did you know Santa could talk to babies?"
"No I didnt, but I always wondered how he knew what to get you and Ashe when you were babies. Now I know."
"How do you think it works? I mean it's not like Soren knows words or anything."
"I don't know. Maybe Santa can see pictures in Sorens mind and knows what it is he is trying to say."
"But why would Soren want tub toys?"
"Beats me. Maybe he sees you and Ashe having a lot of fun during bath time and sees you playing with your toys and he thinks it looks like fun."
"Huh. I never thought of that.... do you think he would want to have a couple of our bath toys until Christmas is here?"
"Aww honey that's sweet, but I think that your toys are too big for him. He'll need baby tub toys. Thanks for offering though."
"No problem. I cant wait to see what kind of tub toys Santa brings Soren!"
"Me either."

I casually steered the conversation to how astonished and proud I was that Xavier went right up to Santa and sat on his lap for their chat and he smiled, proud of himself too. He's growing up in one way. But I hope I have another year or two before he grows up and out of Santa completely. It will be a bittersweet year when he finally decides he's too old to believe in magical fat elves who can shimmy down a chimney and bring every boy and girl toys in one night. I know it's coming soon. In fact I'm surprised it hasn't come yet. But I'm grateful it looks like I still have at least one more year to keep the magic alive for him.

Now to figure out bath tub toys for a 6 month old......

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Night Noises

Last night we had a storm blow in that caused tornado watches in our area. The rain was pelting down in droves and the wind was fierce. Around 2 am in the morning I was woken by a trembling voice of Xavier, standing silhouetted in the door frame. Trying to quickly dash the sleepiness out of me I asked him what was up.
"Mom, I'm hearing voices in my room."
"Oh yeah? What kind of voices?"
"Ghost voices. I know it's not a ghost but it sounds scary. Can you come up and listen?"
"Sure honey."
So I climbed out of bed and hand in hand we walked upstairs, his hand grabbing my own in a death grip and he stayed so close to me he kept tripping on my heels. In his room I could hear the wind whipping by in gusts and instantly I heard the wailing of the wind in the trees. It did have that eerie quality of what you would expect a ghost to sound like, so I felt for the poor kid. It brought memories of my own times being scared in the dark as a child and no one giving me comfort or an explanation. So instead of dismissing his fears I did two things: I explained what was going on, and I told him what I did to help me when I was a kid and scared.

First I explained how the wind was whistling through the branches of the trees, making itself a musical instrument. In a way, I explained, it's the earth making music and singing its song to you. It sounds eerie, yes, but beautiful too, once you understand it. He stopped and listened and smiled. We got into talking about wind instruments and how they work the same way the wind was working through the trees. We talked of flutes, and clarinets, and even tubas. It got him interested in learning how those work.

Then I told him when I was his age and scared I learned a trick from a friend. If you put yourself under your sheet or blanket completely, nothing, NOTHING, can hurt you. I told him I used to go to bed every night completely covered except for a nose hole and felt safe every night. And lastly I told him if he was quiet, he could read in bed until he felt better. So I left him happily covered under his blankets reading a book with the light on, listening to Earths music.

...he fell asleep feeling safe. I'm glad I could offer that to him.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Just Call Me the Ring Master

Trying to keep 3 kids in a small house stuck together for 5 weeks straight without killing each other is like trying to catch a greased pig in a school gymnasium while you and the floor are covered in Crisco shortening. When you can figure out the statistics on that happening let me know.

It's track out time again and this time we have an extra 2 1/2 weeks added on due to the holiday season. Which means Xavier was done with school the day before Thanksgiving and will not return until January 4th. Which means I am looking at an entire month plus of trying to keep the boys entertained and happy while also juggling present purchases for both Christmas and Ashes birthday, and planning a birthday party for him next week, (which I have done nothing about except to invite some friends and buy a Transformer cake mold and the cake supplies... yes I stupidly decided that this time I will bake instead of buy).

I was smart this time around, having been through a few track outs with nothing major planned, and before vacation officially started I sat down with Xavier and we made a list of all the things he wanted to do to stay busy, then added them to our Master Calendar. This way instead of twiddling my fingers in the morning trying to figure out what to do with the kids to keep them sane I already had it done for me. This has been working out splendidly aside from the fact we are literally always on the go and I'm crashing into bed at the end of the day barely conscious.

It's only Wednesday and we have already hit a place where you can paint your own pottery so the kids could make some gifts for family members, hit a local craft store and bought a few things to do on a rainy day when we dont have something already planned, built a volcano, had an adventure at the Tire Store, lunch at IHOPS, DRs visits, 4 trips to Target (ever notice you always forget something when you leave that store?) and today we hit the Museum of History which was featuring an exhibit on Pirates (ARRRRH!) Tomorrow is our first unfilled day and I think I'm going to plop the kids down at the kitchen table with paint and their crafts and let them go to town while I quietly nurse my coffee in hopeful peace. AHAHAHAHAAHA! I can hope though.

In the meantime while we are home I am constantly being Momed to death. As I sit here typing, after diligently ensuring the kids are happy, fed, and have something to do, Ashe is constantly going "Uh, Mommy...(insert babble here.)....Uh Mommy.....Uh Mommy....." The title of Mom is a glorious thing and one to be cherished, but at the same time if I hear Mommy or MOOOOOOM one more time for something inane I just may run out the door screaming. Sometimes you just need a 10 minute break of silence in the middle of the day. I'm contemplating the idea of wearing my Ipod when we're home after I know the kids are fine and can play on their own so I can pretend I do not hear them.

I have broken up a bunch of mini fights from Xavier thinking Ashe is playing too close to him (despite the fact Xavier has plopped himself in the middle of their bedroom doorway and Ashe needs to scoot by just to get in) Ashe flipping out over Xavier "talking to him" and numerous other mundane scuffles that go along with siblings. Poor Soren is just stuck in the middle with me, wading in to separate the two combatants. I sometimes wonder what he thinks about all that goes down here.

I'm still trying to figure out how to accomplish gift shopping with the kids home. I think I might just send them to a drop in daycare center tomorrow and Soren and I shall go off and shop in peace. Or maybe I'll just head home and take a much needed nap. Oh how I fantasize about naps right now. I think for Christmas what I want is 2 days with the kids happily at someone elses house and I can sleep for one day and catch up on my fun grown up stuff without interruption for the other day. Santa, if you're reading this I think I've been good enough this year to warrant 2 days off, don't you? I'll throw in a couple of extra cookies to sweeten the deal ;)