Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Preschool days

I love Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Only because those are the days I don't take Evan to school. It becomes a complete and total circus when I take him to and from preschool the other two days a week. Here is how it typically goes.

Around 8 I get the oldest three kids dressed and ready for school. Then we go downstairs and I make them breakfast, which is usually accompanied by whining and complaining about what we have or don't have to eat. While they are eating, I make Reilly and Andrew's lunches. Sometimes I get them ready the night before, but more often than not, I am making them during breakfast. I do have my coffee set at night, so I can just make a cup and drink it while I'm making breakfast and lunch. Most days, two cups of coffee end up being my breakfast. After the kids eat, I send them upstairs to brush their teeth. This usually comes with arguing and whining including "She got to the sink first." or "He's using my toothpaste.". I brush Evan's teeth for him. If I leave him in the bathroom on his own too long, he plays in the toilet water and squeezes toothpaste everywhere. Sometimes he squeezes toothpaste into the toilet water. Then Reilly and Andrew get their shoes on and put their lunches in their book bags. They put on their coats, hats, gloves, and whatever other cold weather accessories they need for the day, usually while complaining about which hat and gloves they are wearing. For the most part, I'm really good at just tuning out all the whining and complaining and I ignore them. At 9:00 we leave for the bus stop. It is one house away, on the corner, so Evan stays in the house when it is cold out, like today when it was a whopping 14 degrees at bus stop time. Once Reilly and Andrew get on the bus, I get Evan's shoes on and sit out his coat, hat, mittens or gloves, and his book bag. I go upstairs and get Grayson and Landon dressed. I bring them both down the steps and put Grayson in his seat at the table and give him his breakfast. While he's eating, I give Landon his bottle. Then I put on both of their coats. If you've never tried wrangling a squirmy 11 month old into a gigantic winter coat, it's almost as much fun as chasing down a 22 month old and holding them still to put on their equally gigantic winter coat. Then we load the van. I take Evan and Grayson out first. Evan climbs into his seat in the back while I buckle Grayson into his carseat. Then I ever-so-gracefully hike my fat butt up into the van to lean into the back and buckle Evan. Then I go back into the house and get Landon, lock the door, and get him into the van. In case you're wondering, it completely sucks trying to buckle three carseats around bulging winter coats. Once I'm in the van, we're off. It takes a total of three minutes to get to preschool. We're late. It's just how we roll. Actually, being late pays off because we get to walk right into the classroom and don't have to wait in the hallway until school starts. Besides, the kids just play for the first 15 minutes, and we're not the last ones there. And I get a better parking spot if I get there after most parents have already left. I have to unbuckle Grayson & Evan, carry G around to the other side of the van, sit him on the floor in front of Landon's seat, stand Evan on the sidewalk, and unbuckle Landon. I carry Landon on my left hip, hold Grayson's hand with my right hand, and pray that Evan doesn't run too far ahead and fall on the sidewalk. We walk to the door, and into the building. Then we have to go up 2 big flights of steps to get to Evan's hallway. We stop to take off his hat and mittens, hang up his coat and book bag, and walk around the corner to his classroom. I sign him in and help him find his name to hang on the board. I grab any papers that have to go home, kiss him good bye, and leave. Sounds easy, right? Except for Grayson screaming the entire time because he wants to stay and play with the broom, and Landon is sliding down my left side because both of our coats are slippery and I have no grip on him. So, I take my circus with me and I'm sure the teacher breathes a sigh of relief when we are out of the room. But I still have to go back down two flights of steps, out the door, and back up the sidewalk to the van, reload the babies and buckle them in, and drive back home, unbuckle and unload the babies and get in the house. The whole process takes up to 25 minutes. It's insane. Evan loves school, though, and he needs time to be around other kids. If we could afford it, I would have him go more days a week, but that money tree has yet to grow... The best part of all this? I get to do it all over again three hours later to pick him up!

It is easier to do the drop off and pick up thing when it's warmer outside. Many of these steps are eliminated when we don't need coats and hats and all that crap. Of course then we get to the point where it's so hot outside that I'm sweating my ass off carrying the kids up and down the steps at the school. But, I'll save those stories for another time!

Monday, December 17, 2012


It's been months since I have blogged. Life has been busy and crazy and going by too quickly. I often get to the point of feeling overwhelmed, like I have too much going on and at I won't be able to get everything done that I need to in a day. Last Tuesday was Reilly's birthday, and I was off work to celebrate with the family. That night I started to feel this sense of dread, knowing that we had a very busy 5 days ahead of us. I couldn't wait to get to 4pm yesterday (Sunday), when I got off of work. Wednesday and Thursday I had to work until 11:15pm. Friday I was off, but had to go to Buster's Christmas party in the evening, followed by getting up at 6am Saturday to work all day, then work again all day Sunday. Friday I had to babysit my nephew in the afternoon, and I was stressing over figuring out when to take a shower and feed the kids dinner after school and get them ready for having a babysitter that night. Buster and I both had to work both days this weekend, so he planned his schedule around mine. We then planned a babysitter for Sunday when our work schedules overlapped. On Tuesday night, this all seemed so overwhelming. I couldn't wait for Sunday evening to get here. I was literally wishing away the time. Correction - I was selfishly wishing away the time.

Wednesday and Thursday nights were very late for me at work, made later by some jack ass trying to steal from the store when it was closing time, making me stuck at work even later. I planned on trying to relax Friday morning before the hectic afternoon and evening and the busy working weekend began. Things don't always go according to plan, though. Friday morning, right after I got the kids on the bus, Grayson fell and got a big gash on his forehead that I couldn't get to stop bleeding. I knew almost immediately that he needed stitches. Buster came home from work to stay with Evan and Landon so I could take Grayson to the doctor, who sent me to Urgent Care for stitches...where we sat for 2 hours. Two hours with a 21 month old in a waiting room is not a good time. They had 2 TVs on, and thankfully one was on Disney Jr. On the other TV, I very briefly saw something that said breaking news about a school. In the end, the doctor was able to use Dermabond to glue Grayson's head to fix it. I was relieved he could get by without stitches. When we got home, Buster had to rush right back to work because he had been home for 3 hours. He said to put on the news. I had to feed the kids and get them down for naps before my nephew got here, so I didn't get to the TV for a while. When I did put it on, I couldn't believe what I was seeing.

There was a school shooting. In an elementary school. Children had been killed. Little children. In cold blood. In front of each other. There were a lot of conflicting reports about who did it and why, but the bottom line was the same. Someone went into an elementary school and killed students and teachers. I cried watching the reports. I wanted to talk to Buster, for him to reassure me that our kids were ok, but I knew how behind he was at work because of coming home that morning. I wanted to go get Reilly and Andrew from school and hold them, but I knew I had to wait until school was over. I called my closest friend to talk about it, just to hear another mom who I knew was just as worried about her own kids. We were both in shock over what we had seen and heard about the events of the morning. We both wanted our kids home, just to hold the and hug them, and never let them go. We agreed that Grayson needing stitches and the flu going around her house, things that had seemed like a big deal to us, were nothing in the big picture.

Most days I just wait at my front door for the kids to come around the corner from the bus stop after school. But I walked to the bus stop Friday afternoon and waited for the bus to pull around the corner. I hugged and kissed my kids the second they stepped off the bus, and I could feel my eyes filling with tears the as soon I touched them. Reilly asked what was wrong, and I just told her I was happy to see them. She's nine now though, and she knew something was up. I was able to play it off as being happy I was off of work that afternoon, and that seemed to be a satisfactory explanation.

The rest of the weekend went by fine. Maybe it was annoying to have to wake up so early to go to work. Maybe it was not ideal to need a baby sitter so we could both work our weekend shifts. Maybe it did feel like a very hectic weekend. But it wasn't as big of a deal as we originally thought. It wasn't awful. Because when I got home from work on Saturday, although Buster left as soon as I walked in, I was able to hold and hug and squeeze my kids. I was able to sit with them and snuggle and read books and play trains with them. I didn't mind when they didn't want to eat their veggies or clean up their toys. Because they were here. I knew that just 300 miles away there were parents planning their children's funerals. I'm sure those parents would give anything to hear their child complain about eating green beans or cleaning up the family room. Saturday night I sat with my boys (Reilly spent the night at my dad's) watching Frosty the Snowman, rubbing their heads and holding their hands, holding onto them, smelling them, watching them smile at the movie, loving them. As they sang the songs and laughed, I could feel their excitement about Christmas. They talked about how many more sleeps until Santa would be here and wondered where our elf would end up the next morning. My mind just kept going to the kids who were probably so excited about Christmas, and their families that would never be the same.

Eventually, 4pm on Sunday came, and our hectic five days were over. Buster was done working, and we were all home. We had pizza for dinner, and as I looked around the table at my big beautiful family, I felt the tears again. When we put the kids to bed last night and said prayers, I hugged my kindergartener tight and felt the tears. He is just a year younger than the victims of this brutal crime. I hugged Reilly tightly, my big girl who just celebrated her birthday. One of the little girls shared Reilly's birthday, turning seven just three days before this happened. The tears stayed in my eyes and my voice cracked as we said our prayers, but I didn't let the kids see me cry. I don't know if it is right or wrong, or what the proper thing to do here is, but I don't want them to know about what happened in CT. Maybe that sounds wrong, because there are so many children who witnessed horrific scenes on Friday. I don't want my kids to be scared to go to school. I had enough fear in sending them today for all of us. They love school and they love their teachers. I want them to continue feeling this way as long as possible. I was sad as I put them on the bus this morning, but I was also thankful that I was able to send my kids to school, knowing that there are families who cannot do that anymore.

My kids are the same kids they were last week. Evan is still Trouble, where his new obsession is putting things into the toilet after he pees in it. When I saw him putting a cup in the toilet today I didn't yell at him like I did last week when he was squeezing toothpaste into the toilet. Because he is here. I'd rather have a broken toilet than not have him.  The kids still argue and touch things they aren't supposed to and don't share with each other when they should. But they are here. So, the kids are the same. I am different. Buster is different. We are listening to them better than before, making them feel important, spending time being present with them. At dinner tonight, neither of us told them they wouldn't get a snack if they didn't finish their dinner. We didn't use our phones or iPod or iPad while we watched a Christmas movie with them tonight. We hugged them extra long before tucking them into bed. They have gotten more hugs and kisses than normal in the past few days. They are here. We are here. We are lucky. While I am enjoying the family time and counting my blessings, I have a sick feeling in my stomach thinking about the families that are burying their babies and loved ones this week. While I felt worried about sending the kids out into the world again today, I know their teachers would protect them just like the teachers did on Friday. My sister is a teacher, my mom is a school secretary, and I was a teacher. I know how much you have to love children to work in a school. I know my kids are as safe as they can be at school. But I still want to keep them home in my own protective bubble forever. I want to shield them from violence and keep them innocent forever. This tragedy has made me realize I can't wish time away like I did last week, for we have no idea just how much or how little time we have in this life.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Potty Training - Round 4

 It's written somewhere in my Mom Manual that I only have to potty train one child a year. I've met my quota for 2012 by going through the torturous process of training Trouble. Really, by getting him all the way potty trained, that should count for the next several years, but these kids are pretty close in age. Even though I'm off potty duty through the end of the year, we picked up a new potty chair for Curly last weekend. We had a potty chair for Princess when she was training, and since she and Pirate are three and a half years apart, we got rid of hers and bought a new one for him when it was time. We used that cute little chair for both Pirate and Trouble. It was cute and it played music when they peed in it. But, training two boys on one chair is the limit here. No matter how much we scrubbed the chair, it was still gross by the time Trouble was done using it. We threw it away months ago. Just as I was getting used to having a little more space in the bathroom, I realized we should get a new potty for Curly. Not to train him right now, but just to get him used to the idea of it and letting him get comfortable sitting on it. He's just now starting to say the word "poop" (thanks to two big brothers) and associating it to what's in his diaper. Maybe I'll start working with him in the new year, or I might wait until he's two in March. I'm in no hurry. I figure we have to keep buying diapers for Superchunk, so I'm not going to rush anything for now. One day, in maybe 2-3 years, I'll finally see that parenting raise of not having to buy diapers!  Here are a few pictures of Curly checking out his new puppy potty chair.

Cute potty! (ignore the ugly floor!)

Checking it out

sitting on the potty - note how he's ready to jump up and run away at any second

He's over it already! (also note the potty chart in the background, used for Trouble)

Friday, September 14, 2012

Another tale from the toilet

Trouble has been potty trained for a while now, so I haven't really had any bathroom stories to share. Once he finally got the hang of pooping on the toilet, we were in good shape. Right after that, he learned how to pee standing up. Now we're just working on getting him to pull his pants up all the way. He just started school, and I have to remind him to tell his teacher if he has to go to the bathroom. So far, so good.

Tuesday afternoon I was sitting at the kitchen table filling out some papers for the kids for school. Trouble was in the living room watching tv and yelled in to me that his butt was itchy. A couple minutes later, he said he thought he had poop in his pants. Then he came shuffling around the corner into the kitchen with his shorts around his ankles and his underwear down telling me he saw poop. I checked, and sure enough there was a little bit of poop in his undies. Not a whole turd, but more than a shart. I took him upstairs and wiped his but to get it clean and asked him if he pooped the night before when I was at work. He said no. I didn't think much more about it, just cleaned him up and put on his new underwear. Later that afternoon, out of nowhere, he says to me, "I went poop at my school today.". I asked him who wiped him and he said no one. I asked if he told his teacher he went poop and he said no. Apparently he just went into the bathroom, dropped a deuce, pulled his pants up, washed his hands (I asked & he said yes), and went back to class.

Yet another thing I never thought of with Princess or Pirate. Neither of them would poop at school! Oh, boy!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


I love my kids more than anything. But they are a lot of work. I look forward to nap time every day. This is the time in the afternoon where I have peace and quiet in the house. I'm experiencing it right now, and it's amazing. Today it will be a little short lived because I have to go shower & get ready for work, but I've had 45 minutes to myself. I catch up on my shows, eat lunch, check out Facebook, mess around with apps on the iPad, and enjoy the quiet. Trouble and Curly usually go down for naps around 1:15, then I give Superchunk his bottle and spend some one on one time with him. He's getting big so fast, I have to remind myself that I need to enjoy this time with him because there is no "next time" for baby stages. I put him down for his nap around 2, then get some time to myself. Trouble usually wakes up around 3 and comes down to snuggle with me on the couch for a little while. Then the mad afternoon rush starts. I either get ready for work & write Buster a note about what everyone needs that evening, or if I'm off, I get the kids off the bus, do snacks & homework, get the babies up, and start dinner. Never a dull moment here... except for right now, and I love it! Better soak it up before the moment passes!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Start of School and Fall Activities

I've really been slacking off on this blogging thing. Days are pretty busy now, especially the ones where I work. When I do get some "quiet time" I'm usually folding laundry or straightening up...or catching up on my shows. Anyway, the past two plus weeks have been busy to say the least. All three of the big kids started school, we celebrated Buster's birthday, we celebrated my grandmother's birthday, and Pirate started soccer. Instead of doing a separate post on each thing, I'm making this one fun-filled post about everything!

Sunday, August 26 was Buster's birthday. We had gone out to dinner and to a couple bars the night before to celebrate. We stayed out until 1am, which is pretty much unheard of for us. We had a great time. Unfortunately I had to work all day on his actual birthday, so we didn't have a special birthday dinner. I did have time to make a cake that morning, so we sang Happy Birthday and had cake to celebrate that evening.
This is kind of a funny picture!

On Monday, August 27, Princess and Pirate started school. Princess started third grade, and Pirate started kindergarten. They were both really excited about school, and they had a great first day. Luckily, their enthusiasm has continued through the first two weeks of school, and they are both still loving it.
Everyone on Facebook used these signs this year. Thanks, Pinterest!

Trouble had an Ice Cream Social on August 28th to meet his teachers and the other kids. His first official day of school was September 4. I was a little worried about how he would do in school given how he acts, but he had a great first and second day. He's only going Tuesday and Thursday mornings, but it's just enough to get him out of the house and have some structure and interaction with other kids. He definitely needs that!

Couldn't forget a Pinterest sign for the little guy!

It is unbelievably quiet in here when Trouble is at school. Superchunk takes his morning nap for a good part of the time Trouble's in school, so Curly gets a lot of Mommy Time, which we both love. He turned 18 months on Friday, and he seems like such a big boy now. He weighs around 25 lbs. I'll find out for sure at his checkup tomorrow morning. He loves playing with trains and trucks running around the house. He is 100% a Mommy's boy, and I don't mind that one bit!

 My handsome big boy after a much needed haircut!

Pirate started soccer during the first week of school. He only had two practices before his first game this past Saturday. He really loves playing. I missed his first game because of work, but Buster said it was pretty entertaining to watch the kids play. I get to go this weekend, so I'm excited to watch the action on the field!

Wearing his official uniform for Team USA!
Big family gatherings are few and far between since everyone has so much going on these days. Last weekend my dad's family got together to celebrate my grandmother's birthday. She turned 39 again this year, which is pretty amazing considering she has a granddaughter catching up to her age! We were able to grab a quick family picture of my grandparents with their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The only one missing is my cousin who lives in Florida. We pretty much filled up the entire living room at my uncle's house to get this picture!

That's a big crew!
Superchunk continues to be a chunky boy. He had his six month checkup last week and he weighs in at a whopping 21lbs! He's also 27 3/4 inches tall. This is one big boy! He's rolling all over the place, and trying to scoot himself around. He is also working on sitting up, although he only lasts a few seconds at a time doing it. That's a lot of weight to move around!

Rocking his first pair of shoes!

Today is the first Ravens' game, and it's Purple Monday. The kids could probably care less, but I made sure they were all supporting the Ravens. We're also crazy excited about how the O's are playing right now too. It's a great time for fans in Baltimore!

Don't they look thrilled? Nothing like a photo session at 8am!