Monthly Archives: April 2012

Better Than Little Tikes

I took the girls to my parents on Friday on our way up to the cabin.  They played so nice while my mom and I actually got to talk.  We were in the kitchen and the girls played just outside the door on the stairs.  We have stairs at our house but it is a long stairway that goes down to the basement so the kids were never allowed to play there.  At Nana’s there are about 8 carpeted steps that go upstairs.  The girls took their Hotwheels and raced them down the banister.  They pretended the steps were bunk beds and rolled out of “bed” on top of the each other bursting into laughter.  Then they took their stuffed animals and lined them up on the steps like it was a theatre.  I marvel at the creativity that young minds have.   The steps aren’t made out of brightly colored plastic, they don’t play music (or require batteries) and yet provided my girls with much entertainment.  I love that!



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Red Mulch Marries Brown Mulch

Here’s something that’s not covered in pre-marital counseling (among about a million other things), what color mulch do you prefer for your landscaping?  Red mulch, brown mulch, cocoa bean shells or rock?  Is it a deal breaker?  Is it considered an irreconcillable differences in divorce court?  Maybe.  Our landscaping needed to be spruced up so we talked about what we wanted to do.  The idea of rock was brought up so we wouldn’t have to “talk” about mulch every year but I had a hard time spending almost $1000 on rocks.  If we ever were to go to a party everyone else would be sharing how they took the kids to Wisconsin Dells or just got back from Cancun and I would chime in, “We bought a lot of rocks.”  Kind of a conversation killer.

So we decided to compromise (see I did learn something from that pre-marital counseling.)  We got red mulch for around the house, brown mulch for around the trees and mail box and natural-wood mulch for the garden area in the back.  It actually looks pretty good.  Maybe $1000 for rocks isn’t such a bad idea if that is the price for Spring Peace.  Now should we stain the deck or get a new one that is maintenance free…


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An “Outside” Car

We were at Joey’s track meet yesterday when we saw a convertible driving through the parking lot.  The girls both pointed and yelled, “Look!”  excited at the novelty of a car without a roof.  Then Callie said, “That’s an oustdie car!  I want to get that!  We just have an inside car, mom.”


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The 2nd Grade Concert

Not only was it Joey’s birthday yesterday (the girls and I got his birthday money in ones and spread it all over his floor to surprise him when he got home, he liked that) but it was also Lexi’s 2nd grade concert.  She had a one-line solo.  She did just great!  She stood up there with a few of her girlfriends and then sang her line.  It was very cute.  She’s 8 so she still has all the self-esteem int he world, “Didn’t I sound wonderful?  Don’t I look beautiful in this dress?”  Yes, yes and where does that go when you grow up?  I can’t remeber the last time I looked in the mirror and said out loud, “Wow, you look just stunning!”  I was proud she was brave enough to volunteer.  All the classes did a nice job and it looked like the kids were having a good time.

She has her church choir concert tomorrow night and Saturday night.  Look out American Idol!!


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“Help! I’m the Mother of a Teenager!”

It’s official.  My oldest turns 13 today (Happy Birthday Joey!!).  Let the fun begin.  No more, “Mother may I help you with the dishes.” or “I’d rather stay home and play with my siblings than go out with my friends on Friday.”  Oh, who am I kidding, those things never happened in the first place.  Truthfully Joey will make being the mom of a teenager seem easy.  Just like when I would overhear the other preschool parents complaining about this-or-that tantrum or this-or-that appliance that got wrecked by their toddler I just smiled and nodded thinking, “My Joey doesn’t do any of that.”  Concluding, of course, it was because I was such a great mom!  Then came child 2,3,4…to prove me wrong.  The truth is I was blessed with an easy-going child the first time around and it will be nice to “try-out” parenting a teenager with someone who won’t put us through the ringer right away.  There are definitely some teenage tendencies I have noticed in him like his increased “need” for money (mostly for youth group stuff but whatever happened to going out for pizza vs. an afternoon playing paint ball $$.)  He also spends more time at activities or with friends than at home (hmmmm, who does that sound like?).  He is still enjoyable to be around and only uses the “eye-roll-grunt” occasionally so I hope that doesn’t change.  It is an exciting time.

Of course I will spend some time flipping through his baby book and remembering the day he was born, making me a mother.  A proud mother.


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“Mom Got Dropped-Off by a Guy in a Flatbed Truck!”

Now I know where they get the term “stay-at-home” mom.  Not hard to decipherer that one.  It means the mom stays at home.  In our case I have 6 other bodies to take care of while I’m home.  BUT this weekend was the annual Family Building Conference and I always volunteer to speak at one of the workshops.  That means I would be gone for 7 hours and need someone else to “stay-at-home” with our brood.  Usually I would have my parents watch the two little ones and have my husband wrangle the other four but the soccer team my oldest is on changed their plans after I committed to the conference and they decided to go on an out-of-state tournament the same weekend.  So my husband and Joey left for the soccer tournament on Friday and I started divvying up the kids.

My brother and sister-in-law took Lexi for the night.  They have two little girls that Lexi loves playing with.  Just for fun I had to remember to bring her Amoxicilyn due to the tick bite she got that ended up with “the ring of death”.  The doctors don’t think it is serious but boy does the internet scare you.  Lexi told me laughing, “When Uncle Tim gave me the medicine he picked me up and shook me!  It said ‘Shake Well’ on the bottle!”

I dropped the twins off at Nana and Papas house next.  They had their enormous back packs which I repacked for them and they were so excited.  We only stayed for a bit before driving back home.

I had Josh and Johnny with.  We pitstopped at McDonald’s on the way home for French Fries.  The boys were going to go with Jerad and Joey but the games were early morning and late night and the boys really need a pretty predictable schedule.  Plus Joey didn’t really want his brothers tagging along so it was OK.  It is a good thing they didn’t go because the hotel pool wasn’t open and it was rainy and cold most of the weekend.

Saturday I got a new sitter for Josh and Johnny.  One of the moms in my adoption group has a daughter that sits and she also has two brothers that are adopted from Russia.  She turned out to be fabulous!  The boys had a fantastic time and she did a great job following the schedule and keeping things mellow-ish.

So at 8:30 Saturday morning, with my family dispersed across the nation (or at least the midwest region) I drove to my conference.  The conference was great.  I did a workshop on bonding and attachment in adoption and then facilitated two others, one on IVF and one on International Adoption.  There was a great turn-out and it was nice to touch base with those whom I’ve connected with in the infertility/adoption world.

I left the conference around 3:00, all fired up and trying to shift gears.  The plan was to pick-up the boys and then head to my parent’s for dinner and to celebrate the girls’ birthday.  Half-way home the truck died.  Not good.  My husband took the mini-van on the soccer tournament and I had his SUV.  I was able to pray it off the highway and into the Sports Authority parking lot.  Called AAA and then tried to navigate the reunification of all my family members.

My parents, who live about 45 minutes away, were able to  pick-up Lexi from my brothers and drive all three girls home.  I called the sitter at home to see if she would be able to watch the boys longer.  I got the truck towed to a service station close to home and the driver graciously gave me a ride home.  His tow truck was one of these flat bed ones that carry heavier vehicles.  Josh and Johnny, already wound up from a day with a sitter literally climbed under the garage door as I opened it to greet me.  They thought it was so cool I got to ride in a tow truck.  Cool when you’re 10, yes, not so much when you have a couple responsibilities revolving around being able to drive.

When my parents arrived Josh blurted out, “Mom got dropped off by a guy in a flatbed truck!”  If you had not known the details behind that statement there may have been some red flags waved.

Despite the craziness that had transpired my mom carried in a box from her car.  Inside she had packed the 2-tiered birthday cake she had made for Cassie and Callie and their gifts and started setting up to celebrate their birthday!  We sang happy birthday, ate cake and watched the girls open their gifts, all exhausted but refreshed by their happy spirits.

So I love being a stay-at-home mom but when life calls me away from home I need a better plan.  I’ve heard of things called BABYSITTERS.  I’m sure there is at least one person in the area that is both capable and willing to watch all our kids at once.   It’s probably time to find that person.  If you have the Super Nanny’s direct line, let me know!



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To Nana’s House We Go…

The girls (Cassie and Callie) are staying overnight at Nana and Papa’s house tonight.  I made the mistake of telling them about it on Tuesday and that is all I have heard about all week.  I finally let them pack yesterday just to ease their excitement.  They packed all their stuff in their backpacks and I kid you not have been wearing them pretty much all the time since (these are those huge back-packs for school-age kids, they look like turtles!).  Today they unpacked what I packed for them and repacked with what was more important.  Cassie dumped her backpack out at the top of the stairs and it had her jammies, 5 stuffed animals, her blanky, 5 wooden pieces of playfood, her wiggly dinosaur, a Polly Pocket car, a baby doll and a Ziploc bag full of wheat thins (where did she get that?).

Anyway, it will be a fun adventure for them this weekend.  I’ll post on Monday about what everyone else is doing.  A little bit of everything so I hope the weekend goes smooth.


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My Mission Statement: Get Everything Done

I know it’s a little general, for a mission statement, and nearly impossible to measure, but somehow I think if I can get everything done it will just be a matter of maintaining a well oiled system…(It’s not going so well.)  I want to organize all the kids clothes, organize all my clothes, clean every closet (stay tuned for the song with the same title sung to the Sound of Music favorite “Climb Every Mountain”),  get rid of everything we don’t use, seal the driveway, mulch the whole landscape, put in a new patio around the fire pit.  Then I want to organize the Tupperware cupboard, alphabetize my spices (that won’t take long…Garlic Powder, Pepper, Salt), patch and repaint all the scratch-n-dents in the walls from the kids.  I’d like to plan, build and maintain a garden that grows all the herbs (I’ve heard there are more seasonings than salt, pepper, and garlic powder) that I can use in my 3-month menu plan of organic health foods.  I want to make an emergency shelter in my basement supplied with bottled water, canned goods and a crank radio (as it is now, if there was a flood or other disaster I have enough stored up to last a family of 8 about 5 hours.)  I want to have all the kids’ activities scheduled and the carpooling choreographed for 3 months in advance.  I want to update my calendar with all my recurring events (I entered “Oil Change for the Van” on May 1st  and Oct 1st for the next 50 years!)  I want to put together a scrapbook for each child detailing every important life event.  I want to decide where I will spend my charitable giving money so when they call for x,y,z, I am prepared with a rote answer of “I’m sure x,y,z does good work but I’ve decided to contribute to ____.”  I want to buy clothes in the fall for spring and clothes for the spring in fall (big sales!)  I want to organize a date night and a girls night out every month.  I want to volunteer in all my kids classes at least once a month and coorcinate the school carnival…Oh wait…my kids…that’s right, I have six of them.  Hmmm, where do they fit into this?  I know there was one time I read a book to one of my kids.  And another day I gave one of my kids a hug.  Once I even sat down with one of them and colored a picture of Diego and some wild animal that I’ve never heard of.

I suppose in 20 years my daughter will not say, “You know mom, remember that day you seal-coated the driveway while Cassie and I watched Sponge Bob for three hours straight?  Those were special times.  Thank you for keeping our driveway as black as the Jones’.”  Then again all the money I save buying clothes off-season may be enough to pay for all the kids’ therapy.


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You Know You’re Growing Up When…

…given the choice at the vending machine between “Cheetos” and “Blue Canyon Artisan Adzuki Bean Chips” you go with the snack that doesn’t turn your fingers orange.


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“What a Bunch of Clowns!”

I hurried everyone into the van to get to church on time.  Jerad took Josh, Johnny and Lexi to the cabin for a day so it was just me, the twins and Joey.  So I was more relaxed in getting ready which was really nice.  As we drove to church I looked back and noticed Cassie hadn’t done her hair.  I know, she’s 4, she shouldn’t be responsible for her hair but she HATES having her hair done and she insists on doing it herself.  She’s the one with the curls so usually all she needs to do is get it wet and it curls up nicely to her head like “Annie”.  I told her to get it wet and then walked away to get my shoes and forgot about it.  So when I looked at her in the van it was clear she hadn’t gotten it wet.  It’s just long enough now that if it doesn’t curl up to her head it looks wild and, as I put it, “You didn’t wet your hair now you look like a clown!”  Not one of my best comments but my filter was off-guard having so few children to tend to.  Luckily, instead of damaging her ego she laughed hysterically, Callie did too and then she blurts out, “What a bunch of clowns!”  Joey and I started cracking up.  “Where did you here that?”  “Don’t know!”

Needless to say it was a fun trip to church.  God works in mysterious ways to make sure you lighten-up!


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