Summer Blahs

Posted in Kids on July 14th, 2010 and tagged , , , , , ,

My kids are driving me nuts!!  It’s the middle of summer, and although I’ve scarcely heard the words, “I’m bored”, my kids are driving me and each other up the walls and back down again.  My 3 girls (ages 10, 6, and 3) are bickering constantly!  By the time I get their brother (age 2) down for a nap in the afternoon, I’m so exhausted that I really cherish my “me” time, which is always laced with sounds of the girls’ fighting and bickering.  My husband suggested we do more activities together (we read books and color in the mornings, and I take them to the library every day to play), but it’s a vicious cycle.  The more they fight, the less I want to do with them, and the less I do with them, the more they fight, as if their fighting could increase.  I am so thankful that Friday is the day when I get to meet their Grandma in South Bend and arrange a trade – 3 girls to Grandma’s for the week!!  I could not be looking forward to it more!  Sure, I’ll miss them, but given the way they’ve been acting lately, it will be a challenge for me to not dread the monotony of the summer continuing when they get back.  I can think of plenty of things to do, but like I said, I’m so exhausted by the constant refereeing (aren’t refs supposed to be paid?) that it’s hard to find the energy to facilitate an activity and clean it up.  Wait, Grandma reads my blog, I better not dwell on the fighting too much.  Wouldn’t want to change her mind about next week!!

Only 39 days until school starts!  One week at Grandma’s and 10 weekend days, so really only 22 days left – not that I’m counting or anything…  Now where is that countdown timer widget?  🙂

Daily Bread

Posted in Everyday Life on April 23rd, 2010 and tagged , , , , , , ,

My Daily Bread spoke to me today.  Our Daily Bread is a little book that contains small daily devotions.  I keep mine in my bathroom; that way I can flip through it while I’m bathing a kid, or, er, whatnot.  Lately I’ve been struggling with being overwhelmed by back-logged home repair and organizational projects that I know I really shouldn’t waste time and energy worrying about.  Some people would say’ just do it’ – then I’d be less overwhelmed as the things start to get done, but with 4 kids, I just don’t have the time (see my post about Poison Control and you’ll see what happens if my kids are left unattended for mere minutes), and I’m tired all the time and also kind of lazy.  So anyway, I’m trying to just let go and not think about my To Do list, and here is the Daily Bread for today; maybe it will help others in my boat too:

It’s been a long, cold winter, and I am eager for warm weather. I’m tired of seeing bare trees and lifeless brown leaves covering the ground. I long to see wildflowers poke through the dead leaves and to watch the woods turn green once more.

Yet even as I anticipate my favorite season, I hear my mother’s voice saying, “Don’t wish your life away.”

If you’re like me, you sometimes hear yourself saying, “When such and such happens, then I will . . . or, If only so and so would do this, then I would do that . . . or, I would be happy if . . . or, I will be satisfied when . . .”

In longing for some future good, we forget that every day—regardless of the weather or our circumstances—is a gift from God to be used for His glory.

According to author Ron Ash, “We are where we need to be and learning what we need to learn. Stay the course because the things we experience today will lead us to where He needs us to be tomorrow.”

In every season, there is a reason to rejoice and an opportunity to do good (Eccl. 3:12). The challenge for each of us every day is to find something to rejoice about and some good to do—and then to do both.

Just as the winter turns to spring,
Our lives have changing seasons too;
So when a gloomy forecast comes,
Remember—God has plans for you. —Sper

Every season brings a reason to rejoice.

Those Crazy Kids

Posted in Kids on January 27th, 2010 and tagged , , , ,

Well, it’s not a full moon tonight, but you could have fooled me.  My kids are acting completely nuts today; I just had to get away from them for a few minutes for some “me” time to vent and blog this out.  Ok, it’s not really “me” time; the kids are right here, they just happen to not be needy at this moment – first time all morning.  I actually just checked the moon’s forecast, and we are only 2 days away from a full moon.  Oh, my – does that mean I have 2 more days of this?  My blogging teacher friend wrote about how she used to be able to predict her students’ daily behavior by the way a herd of Clydesdales were acting when she passed their farm on the way to school each morning.  If the horses were running around, there was a good chance the kids were going to be crazy.  I’m betting that if I had a herd of Clydedales in my backyard, they would be running around.  And that would be cool – I’ve always wanted a bunch of animals.  But hopefully I’m wrong about something crazy being in the air and the chaos is just localized to only our house because I have to teach youth group tonight, and I don’t know what I’ll do with crazy teenage girls if I have to deal with crazy little kids all day!

Sammie, my Kindergartner is still sleeping, and it’s almost lunch time.  I can’t complain about her behavior because for the past 3 days now (knocking on the wood floor), she’s been good as gold.  Yes, I am counting the days of her goodness because we just endured an incredibly bad phase of hers that lasted a few months – it was really bad.  Why dwell on the negative, though?  Today she was playing with her little brother without even being asked, and they were so cute together!  They played tag, and she read books to him – I would have taken a picture, but I was busy meeting the demands of my 3-year-old, Disney.  She was always the one I could count on to be good; she’s always been a sweetheart.  But lately, she’s been in a really intense phase, and it’s hard to handle.  She has a very loud, shrill little voice, and she’s always using it to yell “MOM”, and you wouldn’t believe how often she needs something – hungry, thirsty, help with something…  we starting heavily potty training; I’m talking no more diapers during the day, so of course that makes her even more needy.  By the way, the potty training is not going very well.

Well, I’d better wrap up; I’m sick of all the interruptions – I’ve found it’s better when I don’t really try to blog or work while the kids are around because it causes more frustration than productivity.  But it’s amazing how positive things look when our Kindergartner is in a “good” phase!  And her older sister has been completely awesome lately too, so that makes 3 of my 4 kids in good phases.  And Disney’s bad phase can’t even be called “bad” when you compare it to one of Sammie’s bad phases.  It’s funny how our family dynamics are constantly changing as the kids go in and out of phases – kind of like the moon!

Let It Snow… Well, Just For Tonight

Posted in Everyday Life on January 7th, 2010 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I am glad to be home.  I’ve got a nice warm cup of coffee next to me as I sit at my computer…  but don’t let my facade of relaxation fool you.  I’ve already changed 3 dirty diapers and broken up 4 squabbles in the past hour since I’ve been home, with more of both sure to come.  But my errands today went even worse – one of those days where most things, even the littlest things, are going wrong – too many things to list, and I’m exhausted.

And it’s snowing, which made everything I did today more difficult.  It depends upon the news outlet of choice; the radio says we are to get 2-4″ of snow today with another possible inch tomorrow.  I am also a fan of weather.com, who says my area is due for a possible 3-5″ today, and another 1-3″ at night.  Basically the same forecast, but I know they weren’t exaggerating this time – there are already at least 3″ of snow on the ground.  I know because I had to trudge through it, both on foot and in the car.  The roads are terrible, but walking is a breeze thanks to the boots I got a few months ago.  Well, it would be a breeze if it weren’t for all the little ones I have to bundle and re-bundle and lift out of the car at every stop.  I had so many stops to make and was so sick of the snow today that I decided to not go to the library and pick up the second Harry Potter book.  I know, it sounds great to be snowed in with a good book, especially because hubby is working all night, but it’s difficult to imagine that I will achieve any kid-less time.  I just couldn’t bring myself to make that extra stop, especially when the day’s other errands had already gone so awry.  Some of it was just plain bad luck and some had to do with the fact that all 4 kids – well, ok, 3 of them, but I’m not mentioning any names –  have been terribly behaved lately.

In what has turned into a ranting blog post of complaints, where was I?
My husband had a major issue with his work in December, so he needs to work basically whenever he’s awake to get our family back on track.  I lost my other best friend in this house in December, and it feels kind of lonely when the people you hang out with all day do nothing but poop, cry, or argue, sometimes all doing all 3 things at once.  And I started today on such a good note; where on earth would I be right now if I hadn’t?  I stayed positive this morning while I cleaned the poop out of the bathtub, and I even smiled when my son pooped again on the floor and slid on it like it was a banana peel – disgusting, that’s obvious, but you have to admit that it makes for a humorous mental picture (no one was hurt, unless you count my bathroom floor).

The trip to Walmart today went surprisingly well, even though I didn’t leave myself enough time for lunch.  But then the kids lost it as I was loading the groceries into the car, and between the yelling and the snow, I realized I was not really IN the drive-thru at McDonald’s – I was kind of taking up the drive-thru lane AND the drive-past lane simultaneously.  It was too late for me to move over, at least not until the car in front of me moved, and sure enough, there came someone squeezing past me…  I turned my head, ready for the dirty look I knew I was about to receive, and the driver did not disappoint.  He glared at me, and that’s when I saw it was a county sheriff, and I sank low in my seat – how embarrassing.  And great – I feel sorry for the other red vans that get pulled over if this guy is looking to get revenge on me; he looked awfully perturbed at my ignorance.

So then I get home, and my little boy has fallen asleep (only took 15 minutes of crying in the car), so I put him in his crib and venture back out into the snowstorm because I  forgot milk – a morning requirement in this house o’ kids.  But because it was today, and because anything that could go wrong was going wrong (remember that I’ve left out still most of the gory details), the first store I check is completely out of milk.  So I go to another place, and they do have milk, but there I run into an acquaintance with whom I am forced to make chit-chat.  Normally, I’d be ok because I like most people I meet, but there are a select few (usually those afflicted with P.A.S.) who really get on my nerves.   Enter this guy, today, one of “those days”.  But I’m nice, I’m still in a positive mood, I’ve got my milk, and I’m on my way home.  When I slide into my driveway (reminding me it has to be shoveled later), I want to sit at my computer with my cup of coffee and relax, but I decide instead to play a game of Dora Candyland with my 3-year-old because it’s something we can’t do when her brother is around and wreaking havoc.  No sooner do we get out the Candyland than her brother wakes up – great, so all I accomplished during his nap today was getting milk!  No “me” time and worse yet, no quality one-on-one time with my daughter – just errands, UGH!

Well enough ranting for now, let’s just say that I did end up with my cup of coffee and my quiet time.  But if you think the kids relented and gave me this on their own, you should read more of my blog posts because that is SO not the case.  My husband had to take a break from work and spend it with the kids.  So now it’s my turn, and my quiet time is over.  But let it snow – we don’t have anywhere to be because Girl Scouts was canceled this evening due to snow.  Maybe we can counteract some of today’s unpleasantness by spending some quality family time together tonight while we’re snowed in….  but please, not another day off school for the kids – after today, I don’t think I could handle a snow day!

New Baby!

Posted in Kids on December 3rd, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Made you look!  Did you think I was going to say we were awaiting the arrival of our 5th child?

No such luck – probably wouldn’t declare it for the first time on a blog anyway.  I just wanted to share my son’s first professional haircut that made everyone joke about him being a different baby – although “toddler” is a much more appropriate word here than “baby” – my son is all over the place, and the haircut made him look SO MUCH older!  He’s really cute with the haircut, but why do they grow up so fast!?!  These pictures were taken only 4 days apart.

BEFORE:

Santa Arrival parade 11-27-09 019

AFTER:

Christopher's new haircut 12-2-09

Fun AND Free!

Posted in Everyday Life, Kids on November 2nd, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , ,

What’s super fun for kids and free for parents?  Well, free for parents who live in most parts of the country, anyway…  AUTUMN LEAVES! Last week my kids had a blast playing with the leaves in the back yard.  It might cost time and money to dispose of the once beautiful fallen leaves, but before they become a nuisance, there’s no reason why they can’t provide hours of family fun!

playing in the leaves oct 09 029

playing in the leaves oct 09 029 (3)playing in the leaves oct 09 029 (16)

Kid Currency

Posted in Kids on August 16th, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Sometimes Dr. Phil does give good advice.  Among my favorite Dr. Phil advice lines is: “every kid has his (or her) currency”.  Unfortunately, our second-oldest daughter’s (age 5) currency (referring to something that can “buy” a kid; in other words, cheer up a sour mood) happens to be one of the girlie things her parents despise most: makeup.  She is starting to encounter the all-too-familiar plight of being a younger sibling: big sister leaves home bound for all kinds of fun adventures that little sister is not old enough to do; swimming at the pool, sleepovers, girl scout outings, the list seems endless when you’re ‘not old enough’…  It’s hard to be the little sister and to get left behind – I know because I was there!

So anyway, the other day, our oldest daughter left for the pool, and Sammie was really upset she couldn’t go with – but I knew just the cure: makeup!  I had bought a few makeup kits on clearance just after the Christmas season, and since I don’t wear makeup, what better use for it than to cheer up a sad little girl?  We don’t want the kids wearing makeup out in public or to school, and we especially don’t want it leading to an “addiction” – a teenage girl who won’t leave the house without her makeup on, yuck!  But for a special play-treat once in awhile to cheer up a left-behind little sis or two, makeup is just what the doctor ordered and works like a charm!

Multi-Tasking

Posted in Everyday Life on March 6th, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , ,

Because being a Stay-at-home-mom (SAHM to laypeople) is my current profession, I am required to multi-task on a daily basis in a way some people have never experienced.   My “pay” (bringing up healthy happy children who turn into independent, admirable adults) is by no means immediate, and it also depends upon my ability to multi-task.  Consider the following 2 scenarios most SAHM’s must endure on a daily basis (and these are just 2 of MANY!):  Can I fold and put away a load of laundry while planning and preparing a nutritious lunch for 4 kids while simultaneously managing “surprise” but necessary tasks that appear; like changing diapers, washing hands, and refereeing any arguments that break out?  Can I accomplish buying everything I need at Walmart while staying within our family’s budget AND concurrently fulfilling the needs of my two youngest children in a timely enough fashion to be able to pick up their older sisters at school at the time I’m expected?

Man, when I put that all on paper it sounds difficult.  And sometimes it is, but most of the time, I do it without thinking because I love and treasure my family.  But if you know a SAHM and she seems like an airhead or like she’s not-so-bright or even a little bit loopy, just remember everything that must go through her mind on a daily basis, then multiply that by how many kids she has…  It just might provide enough explanation for her scatter-brained behavior!

Gee, being a SAHM-of-four sure makes my working-mom-of-one days look easy.  Back then my multitasking consisted of paying bills and doing paperwork while I sat in  traffic…  And although my current lifestyle is much more hard work than I’ve ever had before, it’s that much more rewarding also, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world!

Awesome Anthem Of Moms Everywhere

Posted in Fun Forwards on December 22nd, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Apparently while people are on Christmas break – off work or just home with their kids – they like to send email forwards.  I’ve gotten a burst of them lately, and 2 caught my eye so I will share them.  The first is another personality quiz, but it had some different questions than ones in the past, so I’m posting it.  Second is a really cute youtube video of a lady doing a marvellous job singing a song with which every parent will identify.  She is very talented, and it’s a good performance.  Not only do the lyrics ring true, but the woman has a nice voice, and she just performs the song very well.  It’s amazing to me that she was able to memorize all those words – they come awfully fast!

Here’s a copy of the personality quiz email with the answers I wrote:

A little fun thing to do.
44 ODD Things about you! If you opened this, FILL IT
OUT! Learn 44 things About your friends, and let them
learn 44 things about you! Send back to Me and to
several more friends !!

1. Do you like blue cheese? yes
2. Have you ever smoked? yes
3. Do you own a gun? NO!
4. What flavor of Kool Aid was your favorite? mountain berry
5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments? yes
6. What do you think of hot dogs ? like em – especially Vienna Beef or Nathans
7. Favorite Christmas movie? Elf
8. Favorite thing to drink in the morning:water
9. Can you do push ups? barely
10. Favorite piece of jewelry? my wedding and engagement rings
12. Do you have A.D.D.? I just might
13. What is one trait you hate about yourself?  that I can be high strung
14. Middle name ?  Marie
15. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment. My Grandma’s Christmas village is cooler than the one they’re showing on the news – I can’t wait until Christmas – I can’t wait until Chris gets off work
17. Current worry? money
18. Current hate right now? arrogant, self-absorbed people
19. Favorite place to be?  home
20. How did you bring in the New Year? with friends
22. Name three people who might complete this.  Jamy, Megan, Mary Beth
23. Do you own slippers?  no – I wear imitation Crocs around the house
24. What shirt are you wearing? a red sweatshirt with snowflakes on it
25. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets? yes – but only in the summer
26. Can you whistle? yes
27. Favorite color?  green
28. Would you be a pirate? I’ve got a parrot…  but I don’t really know what this question means.  I would not hijack ships and steal from people, so I guess not
29. What songs do you sing in the AM. Country
30. Favorite girl’s name?  Taylor
31. Favorite boy’s name? Christopher
32. What’s in your pocket right now? a piece of Barbie fake dog poop – don’t ask
33. Last thing that made you laugh? My girls seeing their baby brother jumping in his bouncy
34. What vehicle do you drive? minivan
35. Worst injury you have ever had? emergency cesarean with a blood transfusion
36.  Favorite Season?  Spring
37. How many TV’s do you have in your house? 6
38. Who is your loudest friend? Lisa H. I guess
39. Do you have any pets? 2 dogs, a parrot, and one hibernating ladybug
40. Does someone have a crush on you?  does marriage count as a crush?
41. What is your favorite book? Monkeys on the Interstate by Jack Hanna
42. Do you collect anything?   board games, Legos, Cubs stuff, local historical memorabilia and books
43. Favorite sports team? Chicago Cubs / Bears
44. What song do you want played at your funeral?  Whatever other people want to listen to, I guess…  it’s not like I’ll be enjoying it!

And here is the Mom’s Anthem video:

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A Can Of Formula And A Pack Of Marlboros, Please

Posted in Kids, Uncategorized on August 15th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Yesterday we made a trip to our second-closest Walmart, and that location keeps their baby formula behind the counter, with the cigarettes.  I guess formula theft is rampant, at least at that Walmart location.  The cashier said something about it being used to make drugs, but I don’t know if that’s just her own hypothesis or if it’s true, but it doesn’t really make sense to me.  Whatever the reason, it’s so much more inconvenient for us regular shoppers.  Not only do I have to remember to get the formula on the way out, but we have to stand in a special line since only the one checkout lane has the formula.  Then you have to be clear on which kind you want, and you have to make sure the cashier knows what you’re talking about because there are at least 10 varieties.  It would stink to come home and find that you were given the wrong kind or had forgotten the formula altogether, which did happen to me last time I shopped at that Walmart location.  Anyone who has or has had little kids can understand how crazy kids can get in the checkout line.  Not only is it boring (especially at Walmart, where it often takes forever and a day also), but they’re nice enough to stock both sides of the aisle with plenty of tempting goodies for kids, conveniently all at eye level.  So the kids often are going crazy in the checkout line, and now the weary parent is expected to remember they still need their formula (and probably cigarettes, the way the shopping trip is going!) and to make sure they get the right kind of formula.  It’s a stupid set-up, and I really hope they don’t implement this change at my local Walmart where I do most of my shopping.  I have a suggestion that would make things a wee bit easier if they insist on keeping the formula behind the counter.  In the baby section of the store, have papers with bar codes on them corresponding to the different types of formulas.  That way, we can just grab the slip we need and put it in our cart, eliminating the need for remembering to get the formula later or confusion with the cashier.  This system works well when you buy large items, like swingsets, so why not try it with formula?

And while we got on the subject of drugs with the cashier, she told us an interesting tidbit about Walmart’s cash registers.  It seems they are trained to recognize the combination of supplies one needs to create a meth lab.  If someone buys this combination of items, the register will alert the employee.  Now I’m as opposed to meth labs as the next person, and I certainly don’t want them in my neighborhood, but when the Walmart cash register is programmed to tell you what not to buy…  I think that’s a little too much.  Big brother, here we come…