Friday, October 29, 2010

'Twas the Day Before Halloween Weekend

We had a great "Day Before Halloween Weekend".

I dropped the kids off for school and came home, only to get a call immediately from the school. Monkey4's [5yo, Kindergartner] teacher called to say that she thought Monkey4 had pink eye.

I went immediately to pick up Monkey4 from the school. I was very sad because I knew she would be *heartbroken* [today was the Halloween party and all sorts of festivities at school and she missed it all].

I got there and picked her up. She was definitely heartbroken. :( Looking at her very closely, I could see that one of her eyes was very faintly red, but there was no discharge, no puffiness, no redness on the outside of her eye - nothing that would indicate Pink Eye in my opinion [and we've had some pretty extensive experience with pink eye around here ;) ]. I think the teacher just got paranoid - she said some of the kids in the class had had it this week. I think Monkey4 just has allergies - and I'm sad that the teacher chose to send her home [especially since the whole class had already been exposed according to the teacher because of other kids having it].

Sooo... we decided to party all day. We got Starbucks for breakfast [something that NEVER happens]. We came home and we did lots of snuggling, a fair amount of dancing, and she got to play with her baby sister. In fact, the Monkey Baby was thrilled to have an unexpected playmate - they had a blast.

I let Monkey4 pick what she wanted for lunch and then I bought her an entire pint of Ben & Jerry's vanilla ice cream [she picked the flavor] and told her she could eat as much as she wanted. [She has since shared it with several siblings just because she is so sweet - and most of it is still in the freezer]. She was thrilled though. [I did this because she missed her party and I wanted her to have a very special treat - no child of mine has ever been handed an entire pint of ice cream and been told "have at it! Its all yours" before LOL!].

Monkey4 had a great day after all and proclaimed me the "Best Mommy Ever". ;)

Then the other kids got home and we ran errands.

We got home and I made a great dinner of pasta with two different kinds of home made sauces and my "special" garlic bread. The kids loved it. [and I love making something they will all actually eat and that nobody complains about!]

After dinner it was Jack-O-Lantern carving time! The children submitted two different designs they had agreed on, and I carved our huge pumpkin. I put one face on one side and one on the other. Then we roasted the pumpkin seeds and made "pepitas". They were surprisingly delicious! In fact, they were so delicious that Monkey4 declared that she loved them more than Ketchup [she is known around these parts as "The Ketchup Monster" so that is TRUE LOVE indeed!].

[See "The Ketchup Monster" below - note the TWO empty bottles of ketchup beside her.]

Then another dance party broke out... :D I love watching my kids dancing [and dancing with them, even though I'm terrible at it!].

Tonight I just feel so content - life is so good. My kids are so wonderful. I enjoy them so much. THIS is what life is all about!

God Bless You!

Beautiful Monkey4:

Adorable Sisters:

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I'm Raising A Cat Burgler

With my older 5 children, I have pleasant visions of what they will become when they grow up. Doctors, chefs, scientists, Firepeople, Veterinarians... you know - good, helpful, courageous.... very positive professionals.

Not so for my youngest.

I'm pretty sure that kid is bound to be a Cat Burglar.

She is really, really good at stealing things.

From her earliest days, she was able to get into places and take things that she shouldn't have been able to access. Here are some of her earlier stealth missions:

The door to this room was shut. A normal baby would not have been able to get into this laundry area with the dog food and the recycle bin. However, it was a piece of cake for Environmentally Friendly Baby:

The Egg Stealing Phase. This phase lasted for weeks. I would randomly walk into a room to find either A) the baby playing with a dozen eggs and looking cute, as in the photo below; or B) eggs smashed all over the floor and Egg Stealing Baby in another room playing innocent. Now, seriously, most kids this little would *never* have been able to even get the refrigerator door open. No problem at all for Egg Stealing Baby.

The child was an absolute Christmas Tree Menace. She was highly annoyed because for some ridiculous reason, we put all of the most interesting [and breakable] ornaments up high on the tree where she couldn't reach them. I was certain she would plummet to her death during one of her Ornament Stealing Escapades last year, but no. [Several ornaments DID, however, meet an early demise]. She's really good, that one.

I wonder if she thought that Snowman Ornament was worth all the effort she put into stealing him?

For a while she branched out into Hacking. I would come into the room to find all manner of strange things on the computer screen. Including a Mostly Naked Hacker Baby at times.

And since then, she's only gotten stealthier and more spectacular with her thieving ways.

This week, for example, I was making some pumpkin muffins to take to a friend.

Now, mind you, my little Cat Burglar had already eaten TWO huge muffins that I made special for her. [Which is a lot for a kid who weighs only 21 pounds IMO]. I made another batch for my friend. They turned out beautiful. I set them on the counter [up high, out of reach] to cool and went to reply to an email from my boss [I got a job! Did I mention that?!].

Less than 3 minutes later, I realize that Cat Burglar is VERY quiet. This is *always* a bad thing. Always.

I walk into the kitchen to find that Cat Burglar has *silently* pulled up one of her little chairs, climbed up onto the counter, and taken one bite from each of the dozen muffins I made for my friend. Just one bite. Out of all of them.


So, I scolded Cat Burglar [while laughing hysterically on the INSIDE] and then made a new batch.

But seriously - I can SO see her making a long and very profitable career out of stealing highly desired but obscure things from impossible places.

And she has a knack for getting the job done before you catch her. I mean, biting one dozen muffins in less than 3 minutes - AFTER moving furniture and climbing to get up there within that same 3 minutes - you gotta give the kid some cred. She's GOOD! So, while on the bad days I despair and envision a long future of going to visit her in the maximum security prison every week when she grows up; I think it is more likely that I'll be visiting her at her mansion. Which she will, of course, procure with her massive amounts of ill gotten gains.

It is going to be an interesting ride to see where this one ends up. ;)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The BEST Weekend

I try to write about thought provoking or funny things on this blog, in an attempt to entertain my readers. However, I also have my blog posts bound into books each year to become keepsakes for my family.

So, today, I'm writing about something that I want in that book - to remember forever!

Due to a SNAFU on my part [and being generally broke!], we ended up home bound this weekend with no ability to drive anywhere. What could have been a really boring weekend turned out to be the best, most fun weekend I can remember in a very, very long time.

We just had fun!

Here is what we did:

- Tons of snuggling. It was wonderful to just have the whole weekend to hang out with each other, snuggling, tickling, giggling and just being silly and lovey dovey.

- Tons of cooking together [after having no AC all spring/summer/fall, it was AWESOME to have it cool enough to bake - check out these yummy cookies we made!].

- We talked - about serious stuff and extremely silly stuff.

- We laughed. A lot.

- We had several "Dance Parties" featuring our new favorite song by and lots of other favorite tunes. There is really just nothing cuter than watching little kids dance like crazy.

- We walked our dogs all around our neighborhood.

- We went to feed the ducks and geese at the lake in our neighborhood and they ate right out of our hands.

- We did "crazy hair" [including a less than successful - but hysterical - "faux hawk" on The Boy] just for fun - because we could.

- We read and read and read. And read some more. All cuddled up cozy on the couch.

- We played Chess. A lot. I am really bad at chess. I'm hoping that my kids are still learning while they are beating me [and no, I'm NOT "letting them win"!]. ;)

My only regret is that my digital camera died on me and I had no way to take pictures. [That is truly a travesty with this many cute kids around. My life brims over with adorable photo ops! It is a real shame to miss them!].

All in all - an incredible weekend! I'm so glad I had this time to just *enjoy* my children - because they are amazing!

Hope your weekend was great too! God Bless you!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Should I Be Concerned?

So, it is a lazy Saturday afternoon. I am sitting on the couch snuggling my 2yo and talking with my 9yo son and 12yo daughter.

Suddenly, my 7yo daughter walks in, leading my 3yo daughter - who is completely tied up from head to toe with the dog's leash and a long strand of ribbon. Bringing up the rear is my 5yo daughter who is making sure she doesn't escape.

My 7yo announces loudly, to no one in particular, "We have a prisoner!".

The 3yo prisoner is smiling from ear to ear, marching along without complaint.

They march through the living room, and then the 5yo pats the 3yo prisoner on the shoulder gently and says cheerfully "Let's go Baby Monster".

Yep. My life is surreal. ;)


My New Theme Song

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Quote of the Day:

I was holding my 2yo and she was being especially adorable. I said "I love you!" and she laughed and looked at me and said "You're so cute!". LOL! [not that she hears that ALL THE TIME or anything... :D ]

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Don't Apologize To Me!

There is a phenomenon that I experience fairly often and I want to address it.

Women who know my background will sometimes say something and then backtrack.

For instance, a woman of my acquaintance will say something along the lines of "My husband is SO awesome! Last night he came home from work and sent me up to take a bath while he made dinner and watched the kids! I love him so much!"

Then she will stop, think for a moment, get this sad or embarrassed look on her face, and say "Oh, I'm so sorry, I guess that's not a very nice thing to say to you after all that you've been through."

And it makes me want to cry - because I was *thrilled* to hear what a good guy her husband is - it makes me happy for them, for their children, and for the world at large.

We are ALL enriched by good men treating their families well.

Unfortunately, I get this reaction on many occasions - on the announcement of a 20th anniversary, or a woman sharing about the date her husband took her own, or the cool thing he did with their children that weekend. The woman shares her good news with a glowing face, then she stops, her face falls, and she apologizes to me.

And it just breaks my heart. I am FULLY capable of feeling VERY happy for a woman who has a good husband. In fact, because of my experiences, I probably understand more than most what a treasure that man is to his family. I do not want another woman's joy dimmed because my husband turned out to be .... less than worthy of the the gifts he was given, shall we say.

My experience has been extreme - most women will never be abandoned to live in poverty with 6 young children like I have been [and Thank God for that!]. But my experience has NOT made me hate men, or hate marriage, or hate happy families.

Men are important. Husbands and Fathers are VITAL to their families. There is nothing in this world that gives me more joy or happiness than to see a man treating his wife and children well. I love it. It warms my heart and gives me hope for this sad world that we live in.

I devote a fair chunk of my childbirth education classes to the importance of fathers - if I can affect even just one single dad in each of my classes, if I can give him the encouragement to truly bond with his child, to take his job as dad seriously, to give it the place of prominence it deserves in his life and his priorities... then I have made a true difference in this world.

Because, you know, I worry about our world. I see very few men taking an active interest in their children - very few. [There are GREAT dads out there, don't get me wrong - I'm just worried that they are the stragglers of a dying breed]. I see a LOT of men abandoning their children - not just having a midlife crisis and divorcing their wives, but MOVING out of state for some woman they met online and literally *leaving* their children behind. I see this happening all over the place - I know so many women who are just like me.

This has become an epidemic. I heard some refer to this recently as a Facebook problem - but I don't think it is really Facebook that is to blame. While it is true that I know a scary number of women who were abandoned by their husbands after those husbands hooked up with some girl from 20 years ago on Facebook, the fact remains that if these men had not had access to Facebook, they would have picked up women in some other way. You can't blame Facebook because it is being ill used by men who have no loyalty to their families.

It is a very serious thing and something that I see happening more and more these days. Maybe this problem of male abandonment has always been there in these numbers and I just didn't know - but it is certainly pervasive these days.

So, I worry a lot. Children need their fathers - they really do. They need GOOD fathers who love them.

But then I read something like this guy, and it renews my sense of hope for our society. The world needs this message, and I'm so grateful to this Dad for speaking out to his fellow dads. Good for him! Good for US!

So, back to apologizing - don't apologize to me because you have an awesome husband, or because your children have an amazing father. Treasure him - because a man like that is worth treasuring. [And please, SHARE your JOY with me - by all means!]

You know who I wish would apologize to me? Women who have good men and don't appreciate them. I truly HATE to hear a woman bashing her husband. It is something that I just don't think should be done. [Even when I was married and in a very bad situation, I never bashed my Ex husband - I always spoke well of him to everyone who knew him. That is part of why it was so shocking to everyone when he left I guess].

I don't like to hear a woman being petty - a woman who has a perfectly good husband, who loves her and her children, and she's nitpicking or criticizing him for stupid or trivial things. THAT kind of thing drives me crazy - because a woman with a good husband should value that man, not tear him down.

THOSE are the women that I want to apologize to me. :)

God Bless you - and today, especially, I ask God to bless all of those fathers out there working so hard to do a good job and raise up fine children. Those guys ROCK!

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Perfect Weekend

Last weekend was a perfect weekend. It has been a long time since we've had a nice weekend like that. Nothing special happened, but I wanted to write about it - to remember it.

It had finally cooled down some, which helped - it was the first time in 5 months that it has been less than 85 degrees in our house. We ALL felt so relieved. I did not realize how oppressive the heat had been [for June, July, and August the temp inside had been between 89-92 degrees non-stop - it had cooled down to 85 for September]. [And it was MUCH hotter than that in the bedrooms where the window unit AC could not affect the temp]. It was outstanding to be in our house and not be sweating and sticky and miserable!

Saturday morning started with all of us snuggling on the big bed. We laid there for an hour or so, kids taking turns [nicely!] on who got to lie right next to me. We just talked and hung out and snuggled. It was wonderful.

Then we got up, and I made crepes with the help of my 5yo [it was her turn to cook with mommy]. It was lovely. The children LOVE crepes, and it is so simple to do. We had a great breakfast together.

We spent most of the day lying around, reading, talking, cuddling, playing Yu-Gi-Oh, and just enjoying life.

My 5yo had a birthday party to attend, so we took her to that.

Then we came home and made cookies.

For dinner, my oldest child had requested lemon spaghetti. So, we had fun making that together [though half the kids chose to eat just spaghetti and parmesan cheese without the lemon cream sauce!]. I thought it turned out delicious though, and so did half the kids.

On Sunday we got up early for Church. I got all of the kids ready without too much stress [still one of the hardest things I do - getting 6 young children ready for Church and out the door on time with no help!].

When we got home, we ate lunch and then decided to sort shoes. With 6 children in shoes, I had about 5 big garbage bags of shoes that I was saving "in between sizes" or that others had given me for the kids. We sorted through it all and got it down to 3 small rubbermaid containers that are easy to store. The rest we donated [or threw out - some of them I was like "WHAT was I thinking even saving these shoes?! They are ragged!"].

We ended up with 3 big bags that we donated to the Salvation Army on Monday, and we cleared out quite a large spot in the area where we were storing them. It was great. The children all helped and were very enthusiastic - we worked together and it felt like a huge accomplishment. [Plus they were excited because all of them got "new shoes" out of the deal LOL!].

Nothing special happened this weekend. We just got to enjoy each other. It was wonderful!

I hope this fall brings many more weekends like that!