Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Amelia and I went to visit my sister Abby and her two boy's Owen(5) and Nick(2) today. The three kids went to play in the basement and we heard some laughing and screeching. After about 20 minutes Owen came upstairs and told us we needed to come downstairs and see the big show. We eventually made our way downstairs expecting dancing or music or a play. We got something a lot more unique. Owen did the big announcement: "Here are Nick and Amelia!" Out from behind the door popped two little heads and then a big ta da as they stepped all the way out into the hall! Nick was wearing the white lacy stretch pants and pink striped dress Amelia had been wearing and Amelia had on Nick's jeans (which were capri's on her) and his t-shirt! Eventually when the giggling subsided I said, "what made you decide to switch clothes???" Amelia said. "I decided I wanted to be Owen's brother so I can live here with him." Then she told me that they decided not to switch underwear because she didn't think Nick's diaper would feel very good. I have to say I think that for two 5 year old's and a 2 year old it really was a pretty inventive plan and it certainly made the afternoon entertaining!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Ages and Stages

With three kids drifting in and out of stages constantly I have finally come to the conclusion that the next stage won't be better and it won't pass quickly. I remember when they were babies and taking them to restaurants around 18 months old and how horrible they acted. Didn't want to sit in a high chair, threw food, screamed bloody murder etc. I remember thinking then, "OH if I can just get through this unfortunate stage every thing will be OK." From there we moved on to more independance which leads to more challenging stages. The experts have print outs on the appropriate stages for each age and I swear most of them sugar coat the heck out of reality. I have seriously decided that I will never ever be in the clear with smooth sailing and NO attitude. It doesn't help that I have three kids. With so many opportunities for different ages and stages it is virtually impossible to avoid having at least one if not all of them hitting a rough patch. At the moment I have one that is just plain MEAN, one that is stubborn with her head in the clouds and the other is a Hannah Montana wanna be complete with the celeb attitude! I am of course wrong in every attempt I make in any which way about everything. I know that is the job of a mom, to be wrong, but good golly I wish for once they would all three smile and be happy at the same darn time! I know I can keep on wishing but the stages will continue and probably get harder and more complicated to deal with. Each one is like a rite of passage in the growing up process. The other,more important, thing I keep telling myself is that as hard and frustrating as all these different things are to deal with when they are grown up and are out on their own I will miss every single hideous horrendous stage that we have to muddle through.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Saturday Random Picture Challenge.

Joining in with 4 little men and girly twins in the Saturday Picture Challenge. You are supposed to find your July 2002 folder and go to the 25th picture but my folders didn't go back that far so I went to my July 2003 folder and the 25th picture.
This is a picture of Olivia (who would have been not quite 3) at Caroline's 5th birthday party. We had a princess party and all the little girls came dressed up. We made everyone up with sparkly make-up. It was a great party!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Summer Lovin'

I just read Jana's list of summer fling hopefuls on her blog, The Meanest Mom, and thought since my husband is going to be traveling so much this summer it might be the perfect opportunity for my own fling. Here are the candidates:

1. The first possibility would be the roofers that are always out at the crack of dawn and wave fervently yelling good morning to me when I am out jogging. They always look me up and down like I am wearing my prom dress. Don't get me wrong, I try to look my very best at 7am. I roll out of bed and slick my hair back and throw on old holey workout clothes..the perfect lure for greasy, sweaty roofers!

2. Another candidate would have to be the little old grey haired bus driver I see every morning when I drop Amelia off at preschool. He is always peeking over his steering wheel waiting for me to round the bend and when I do he always jumps up waving and as I walk by he opens the bus door with a swish and has a sentiment for the day. He says things like rain makes the flowers grow or it is mighty cold out today. I guess if I wanted a deep thinking poet type I would chose him.

3. If I decide I want to be a Cougar then I would certainly go for the cart collector boy at the local Giant Eagle! He is barely out of braces and has 4 hairs growing between the pimples to show for his distinct effort to grow a mustache. He is always polite and takes my cart to the corral for me. Sometimes he even offers to carry my groceries out and helps me load them in the mini van. The only part I can't quite get past is when he calls me Mam.

4. My favorite choice would have to be the Starbucks drive thru guy. He changes his accent on a daily basis. Sometimes he is French and his name is Pierre and other times he is Jamaican and his name is Raphael. Quite often he is even wearing a beret or a brightly colored knit cap depending on his persona for the day. No matter what nationality he decides to be he always has a wink and a smile for me. If I chose him I would get the fresh delicious nectar of sweet mocha delivered to me on a daily basis. OUI OUI!!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Letting Go..Just a Little.

From the very moment our kids are born we try our hardest to protect them from everything. We vaccinate and use the newest safest car seats and strollers. As they get older we protect them from kids on the playground who throw sand or steal their cracker. We run to their defense when they struggle with the transition to kindergarten. We make them wear helmets and knee pads when they ride their bikes and roller skate. They follow along like good little soldiers for a while until one day they want to ride to the library with a friend or they want to stay home for the 20 minutes it takes to run to the store instead of coming with you. How do I make sure that I have done my job to teach safety and independence? I want to trust that the time has come for me to stop hovering over every aspect and detail and let go a little more. I want to be a fly on the wall and see how they deal with situations on their own but since that isn't likely to happen I just have to bite my lip and grit my teeth and trust that my little sponges have absorbed all my lessons on stranger danger and first aid. I know the world is a different place then it was 20+ years ago when I was 10 but I don't want my girls to be jaded and afraid to experience the milestones of growing up that are so crucial in the long road to adult hood.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Random Picture Challenge!

Joining in the Saturday Random Picture Challenge started over at 4 little men and girly twins!
This is my April 2008 folder and my 4th picture!
This is a picture Caroline took of herself (I am guessing). It is a bit out of focus.. and a little close up but it certainly was the beginning of a love for taking pictures. She absolutely loves it now and takes great candid shots of the cats and her sisters!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Facts of Life Really are All About You!

Tomorrow in the 4th grade they are going to separate the boys and girls and show the health film about changing bodies and hair growing and periods. It is probably the same film that we all saw when we were in 4th grade 30 years ago. A lot of the moms around here were very concerned about the content of the film..they were worried about the mention of sexual intercourse and how they would talk about HIV and AIDS. Some went to the preview for parents to make sure that the information was appropriate. Don't get me wrong I think it is fine to go and check out what your child will see especially if you are going to use that information to promote communication. I guess my question is what are you going to do if you don't like the information?? Not let them watch at school with their classmates? I am happy that they are showing the film. I think it opens a lot of doors for questions and for kids whose parents have never mentioned any of it it gives them at least the basic information so they are totally freaked out. My mom never told me a thing. A lot of women my age I have talked to were never told a thing either. Must have been a generational trend. I am totally in the school of thought that sex education should be taught in school. I even think (GASP) that in high school birth control should be available at school. I am not one that thinks having the condoms sitting there will make kids want to have sex. I think that kids will already be having sex and the condoms will cause one less of them to become pregnant or infected with a disease. I know a lot of you are saying but that should be talked about at home. I totally agree and I plan to talk about it BUT most people will not talk about it at home or if they do they will say DON'T HAVE SEX and that will be it. Some of you are saying teenagers should not be having sex, but they are, so we should educate them to protect themselves. I believe that education and information breeds power and confidence and children who have power and confidence over their own bodies are less likely to engage in risky sexual behavior. I know we all want to believe our children will remain virgins until they are married. Me too! However, I am realist and I remember when I was 16 and in love. When your child tells you that you may think they are too young or they don't know what they are talking about but no matter what you might think those feelings are real to them. Unless you put a leash on your teenager there is no way to be certain they are following whatever guidelines you have put in place in your house. As a matter of fact forget 16 year-olds, on a recent Oprah they were talking to 12-14 year-olds and they had all engaged in some sort of sexual behavior already!!
As much as you want to imagine your child as the little girl (or boy) that you remember with no front teeth and trouble tying their shoes it is time to wake up and see them for the curious individuals that they are becoming...no more umbilical cords. Create an environment where they feel able to disclose things without repercussions or consequence. Let them know that you might not agree with all the choices they make but you will be there for them to talk to and you will always love them.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Inspirational Marathon

Sometimes life seems like what I imagine running a marathon would be like. Struggle and pain for what seems like forever but then reaching the finish line in a blaze of glory (or sweat and blood depending). Life these days seems to be dragging on with considerable slowness yet filled with constant hustle and bustle. Every night is filled with activities yet the next week and the one after that seem to be the same so it doesn't feel like we are getting anywhere. I hope that the end of school equals the finish line and I can find some time to regroup and regain my energy. For right now I am depending on little things that encourage me and push me on through the stress. Here are some of MY inspirations.
*Warm sun shining down on my face. Even if the temperature isn't as warm as I would like if the sun is shining it makes me smile.

*A hot cup of tea. This always makes me wake up and embrace the day. I love coffee but I always have to have a cup of tea to begin my day. This is a tradition my own Mom passed down to me.
*Unsolicited thank yous. Especially from ten year olds.
*Helping a friend just because I want too.

*Seeing the girls head toward the end of another school year. Realizing all that they have learned and what they have taught me over the past 9 months always makes me feel pride and makes me look forward to what they and I will learn in the future

Friday, April 10, 2009

Home Sweet Home.

My parents are contemplating putting their house up for sale. This is not just their house but the home that I lived in from the time I was 7 until I was 21. This house holds so many memories I don't even know where to start. I guess the beginning is a good place. We actually closed on the house on my 7th birthday. I remember having pizza with my family on the floor with paper plates and candles. I remember my first day of 2nd grade so clearly it could have been yesterday. Walking out that door, pigtails bouncing, down the steps to the brick path. When I see pictures of that day now I see myself as an almost mirror image of my daughter,Olivia, who is in 2nd grade this year. I remember playing all day,every day, in the back yard making mud pies and climbing the clubhouse in the mulberry tree. I remember when a new family moved into the red house across the street. We peaked out our windows watching the moving van and hoping beyond hope that it was little girls that were moving in. Those girls became our friends and we spent years playing barbies and sharing secrets. I remember when our next door neighbor's had a new baby girl who was so tiny and cute. I babysat her for years and watched her grow. Just last year I went to her baby shower to celebrate her first child! I remember the first time Chris walked in the door of that house at 15. He walked in and his eyes met mine and that was pretty much all she wrote, we have been together ever since. I remember having my own baby shower on the deck overlooking the goldfish pond and surrounded by the many plants and birds that flourish there. I have images of my three girls toddling around there, snuggling with their Mimi and Poppie and frolicking in the yard with their cousins. Every holiday holds a new memory waiting to happen in the Garden Road house. I understand my parents need someplace smaller and easier to take care of in my head but my heart is sad . I know it isn't the place but the people that make the memories but it is hard to let go of the past and move toward the future. Gosh if I am already feeling this way and they are only starting to think about selling how will I deal when they actually do???

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Plan for a Tan

When the April showers come and start to turn to May flowers it is time to start planning for summer activities. I start to panic that the kids are going to sit and whine and be bored so I tend to over sign up for things. The last few summers we have done camps and lessons pretty much every week. By the end of the summer we are all so exhausted that going back to school feels like a break. This summer I am trying to convince myself that it would be more relaxing and beneficial to just hang out and let the kids sleep in and play all day. It doesn't help that Caroline wants to sign up for every camp she sees regardless of time commitment or cost. Then there is the other side of the coin, what if we decide to just hang out and the kids are bored and drive me and each other crazy all summer. I guess at this point it is the lesser of two evils. Then again what I really think matters it that the girls are growing so fast and time is escaping left and right. Before I know it, spending the summer with mom is going to be passé. There will be pool parties and driving lessons and boyfriends and best friends that will fill their warm long summer days. I am leaning toward drastically reducing our activities and lounging together listening to their giggles in the sun.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Kicking Adversity in the Stomach.

On a daily basis I take for granted the health and ability of my children. Sometimes it takes seeing someone who faces daily struggles yet remains optimistic for me to appreciate what I have at my fingertips. My five year old can dress herself and fix herself breakfast. She can write her name and dial her phone number. She is beginning to create her own independence in the usual path. Sometimes people have to create their own unique path to independence when they are born with challenges. I would like you to take a moment to look at this site http://www.littlemustardseed.org/Home.html and read the story of Eva. Eva is the relative of a dear friend of mine. She is a little girl almost the same age as Amelia. She was born with Cerebral Palsy and has faced much adversity in her short life. Cerebral Palsy is a lifelong condition that insurance companies and our meager health care system loosely cover and families often have to finance all necessary therapies and devices. It is hard to imagine that a specially equipt wheel chair that will surly make Eva's life more complete cost's as much as the family car!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Not ME Monday!

Continuing on with the NOT me Monday tradition started by Mckmama over at My Charming Kids. Baby Stellan is still in the ICU and my thought are still with him and his whole family!

I could never have caught my heel on a step and fallen on my sore knee...NOPE not me and definitely NOT after a few glasses of wine.

I certainly didn't ditch volunteering in the 2nd grade simply because I dislike the teacher and hate making all her copies and transparencies on the humongo Xerox machine.

I would never have taken Amelia to her five year old Dr appointment fearing her reaction to her shots only to be pleasantly surprised by her not only watching as the needle went in but not crying even a drop ...NOPE that would have been a miracle.

Chris's flight could never have been delayed and delayed and delayed again and he could have never have gotten home at 3:30 am that would have been crazy especially when we had to watch my sister's two kids in the morning and he had to coach a soccer game.

I could never have taken four kids to a soccer game and I could have never been chasing the 2 year old while the two 5 year olds decided to play in a huge mud puddle nope not ME!

My sister certainly didn't move 2 miles from me and I am NOT at all happy about it!

Why Search for a Unicorn if Unicorns don't Exist??

For 20 years I have tried so hard to be agreeable with my in-laws. I have followed my upbringing and been mannerly and cordial. I have bent beyond what I thought I could to fit into their schedule and the mold of their holidays. They are never happy. They are never thankful. They never consider the fact that we have three children who are in tons of activities. They never seem to remember Chris travels a lot and sometimes we only have one day a week together as a family. Most importantly I think they have never faced the fact that Chris is a grown man. They decide what is going to happen and then inform us. Chris is an only child and has two aunts (on his mom's side..so his mom's sisters) who have no children. He is the only one. My girls are the only ones to fill the grandchild void for all those women. The problem is that their actual grandmother really doesn't like kids. She is scared of them and doesn't have any interest in them. She lives about 10 miles from us and sees the kids MAYBE 5 times a year and never without the rest of the family (her sisters) there. Chris's aunt who lives 2 hours away does like kids and has interest in them but doesn't have a clue about them. She always wants us to come to her house which entails traveling 2 hours to a museum-like house with NOTHING the kids can do and sitting there through 5 course meals on china that last for hours and hours. I have done this for 10 years since Caroline was born because I love Chris. I am done. Even when I comply to their intricate holiday plans they are not happy. When I try to shift the get together to our house where the kids have things to do they are obviously hurt and so ungracious that I always end up upset. They always bring lavish gifts when they see the kids so the girls think of that when they think of them. I hate that. I have come to the point where I can not do this any longer. I cannot try and try to make them happy at the expense of my family. I cannot continue to search for serendipity when I seriously don't think that exists for them. You might as well hunt unicorns.

Random Picture Challenge!

Playing along with the Random Picture Challenge over at 4 little men and girly twins! This is my February 2008 picture folder and my 33rd picture (actually I didn't have 33 so I just used the last picture in the folder!)
We took the girls to see Disney on Ice and this was after the show complete with crown and cotton candy! It was a fun day!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Two Sides to Every Story.

As the girls get older it is so interesting to watch their personalities emerge. Especially because they are all three so unique with such distinct strengths and weaknesses. Caroline has an affinity for math and loves to write but she can't spell worth a lick and is extremely jealous. Olivia is sweet and sensitive but she is a pack rat and doesn't like to brush her hair.
When you see your child struggle at something it is hard to remember that when there is a weakness there is a strength not far behind. In turn when your child does something so wonderful and genius you know that an area that is not so strong will surely show up soon. What got me thinking about this was the kindergarten evaluation they did at registration. Amelia scored high on the evaluation. Obviously a strength of hers is letters and numbers. Quickly followed by her inability to stick to one activity for more then a few minutes and her mean attitude. My nephew who also registered at the same school scored lower on the evaluation. He, on the other hand, can sit for hours putting a Lego set together by looking at the picture and can figure out the secrets in video game after playing them a few times. These things shape who they are and who they will be in the future. I think it is so important for kids to realize that everyone has both strengths and weaknesses. No one is perfect and no one is good at everything even if it sometimes seems that way.