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!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Excited for School

"I'm SO excited! I can't wait for school to start on Monday! I hope the weekend goes by really fast!"
I had to document this quote from Princess after Open House this afternoon. She's thrilled for a bunch of reasons. Her BFF is in her class. So is her other BFF, and her other one, and her other one. You get the point. Apparently in third grade you get to have lots of best friends. I'm so happy for her! I never had a lot of friends when I was in elementary school. I love that Princess has lots of friends, and that (so far) they haven't hit that age where girls are mean. It was really cute to see all of them hugging each other and talking about how much they missed one another, because, you know, 10 weeks of summer is a long time! She is also excited because her teacher is new to the school and "young and pretty", according to Princess.

Pirate had Kindergarten Orientation last night. His favorite part was the bus ride the kids went on while the parents sat in a meeting. By the time Superchunk goes to elementary school, I will be able to run orientation as well as all back to school nights! Pirate seems excited too. He appeared a little overwhelmed today going back into the school. I think he'll be fine. I'm happy his big sister will be there to help him to his classroom.

So, we're happy and excited for school Monday. I hope this enthusiasm lasts!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Family Trip to the Park

When I got this job, I knew I'd be working evenings and weekends. I had to work Monday and Tuesday, but was off last night and tonight. Tonight is Pirate's kindergarten orientation, so last night was kind of the last family night we'd have before school starts. I wanted to do something with the kids since we haven't gotten out to do much this summer. We planned to take the kids to the big playground at the park. The kids were were really excited. So, we loaded everyone up and headed to the park after dinner.

Getting everyone ready to leave the house, although easier than it once was, is still kind of a circus. While I cleaned up from dinner, Buster fed Superchunk his dinner. Then I changed Superchunk's diaper and put him in the carrier. He's the easiest to get ready to go. Next we send the kids (one at a time or they'll take forever) to go to the bathroom, wash their hands, and get socks out of their drawers. They've been living in flip flops and Crocs all summer, but tennis shoes are better for the playground. It never fails, someone seems to get lost upstairs or distracted with toys and this turns into a fifteen minute process. Once the socks are on, the fun process of getting shoes on begins. Buster started loading the kids in the van while I threw a few diapers and bottles of water in the diaper bag. The plan was to go play at the playground then get ice cream or milkshakes at McDonald's afterward since we had a gift card.

We drive to the park, and the kids are super excited. As soon as we get around the corner to see the playground, I know we aren't going to last long. It is packed. Apparently we aren't the only family trying to get the kids out to play. So, we unload everyone and I get Superchunk's carrier attached in the stroller. Buster gets Curly out of his car seat and immediately realizes Curly pooped. Somehow we forgot about changing his diaper before we left the house. We then got to enjoy the fun that is changing a squirming toddler in the back of the van with wipes that have been in the diaper bag way too long and are almost dry, while also trying to restrain three kids who just want to run across the street to the playground, while the baby in the stroller is crying because he just wants to fall asleep. Again, we were a circus. We overcome this and move onto the next obstacle, the fact that there is no ramp from the street to the playground on the side where we parked. We could either a) walk around the entire park with the 5 kids to get to the handicap ramp, b) leave (which Buster and I both wanted to do!), or c) ghetto-style carry the stroller down the steps. We went with option C. You'd think we would have caused a  spectacle with all the kids we have and the fact that we're carrying a stroller down the steps, but then again, we were at the Westminster City Park. If you've ever been, you know what kind of characters are there. No one even noticed us.

In my mind before we went, I'd push the stroller and follow Curly around the toddler area while Buster would watch the three bigger kids on the bigger playground. WRONG! Crowded doesn't even describe how many people were there. Before we separated, I made sure said out loud what color shirt each of the kids was wearing to keep track of them. I went into the toddler area with the little guys and Buster went the the bigger playground next to it with the other kids. Immediately I realized how wrong I was in my plan. Curly can't climb the steps and go down the slide on his own. I would need to go up with him. And I can't leave the stroller with the crying baby. So I carry Curly around. We try the swings. He freaks out and screams. We try the see-saw. He freaks out and screams. Thankfully Superchunk just gave up and fell asleep, so I only had one crying baby with me. We headed across the playground to where Buster and the kids were, and the look on his face said his experience wasn't going much better. Trouble wants to be big enough to do everything on his own, but he's still only three and needs help. It was so crowded it really was hard to keep track of everyone. We moved over to a less crowded part of the playground and the kids played some more. Finally, we decided it was time to go. I honestly have no clue how long we lasted. I know for sure it felt like 3 hours. I think it was more like a half hour though. Then we headed over to McDonald's and got some drive-thru dessert for everyone. By the time we got home and unloaded everyone, it was kind of melted, but no one minded. At least we had one last night out as a family before the end of summer!

Yes, I have enough kids to fill this weird see-saw thing!

This was a different night at a different playground, but kind of cute with all the kids in it. Apparently that's Pirate's favorite shirt.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Joys of Boys

When I was younger and thought about having kids, I always pictured myself with girls. I have two sisters and no brothers. I guess I just assumed I'd end up with the same as what I had growing up. Actually, I never really thought about the number of kids I would have, just that I'd have a couple of girls. I never imagined having four boys. I was delighted when I found out our first child was a girl. Picking out the patterns for her nursery, choosing cute little outfits and sandals, filling the closet with dresses in a sea of pink and purple... it was so much fun! At my baby shower, I got the cutest little gifts with "Princess" embroidered on them that we sat around her pink room. As  Princess grew, it was always so much fun to buy her new clothes. Anyone who's been to any store knows that the Girls' Department is five times bigger than the Boys'. Girls' clothes can be any color and have any picture or design. Boys' clothes are always the same colors and typically have a dinosaur or some type of automobile on them.

When I found out I was having a boy during my second pregnancy, I was ecstatic! Having a girl first made the second time exciting either way. I'd have a set of daughters, or I'd have one of each, a boy and a girl. I also received the cutest baby boy clothes and toys at my baby shower. Instead of accessories embroidered with "Princess", I got things that said "Little Dude" or "Little Man". Thankfully nothing said "Prince". I couldn't bring myself to decorate a room using the word "Prince". There weren't as many choices when picking out a theme for Pirate's nursery. Everything boyish seemed to be sports themed or animal themed. We went with a combination, teddy bears holding basketballs, baseballs, and soccer balls. His room was painted blue, and turned out very cute. As he grew, buying new clothes was easier because there was less of a selection.

Fast forward five years, and the cute little boy nursery is now home to two cribs, torn teddy bear border, and a few "Little Dude" picture frames that are still empty. All four of my boys have used this room when they were babies, and the two little guys are still in there. By the time you have a second boy, then a third and fourth (within the same year), you don't really care if the nursery is cute. It just has to be safe. The clothes that were cute the first time around are now faded and stained. They outgrow the stuff so fast it's not really worth buying a whole new baby wardrobe. As they grow, we still buy them new clothes. Where Pirate might have had a red shirt with a tractor on it, Trouble's might be blue with an airplane, Curly's is orange with a dinosaur, and Superchunk's is green with a car. Not a lot of selection, but they don't care, and neither do I.

The picture I had of having girls has morphed into life with one girl and four boys. Where I thought I'd have a house full of baby dolls and Barbies, there are Legos everywhere and superheroes galore. The kids all seem to get along pretty well. Boys and girls are just different from each other. Boys do grosser things than girls. Not that Princess doesn't have her share of bad habits, but the boys are worse. Lately I've noticed that Trouble and Pirate play together better than they used to. They are also teaching each other bad habits. For example, the other day Trouble came running in saying, "Pirate just burped right in my face!". Pirate followed saying, "Because he farted on my leg!". I also caught them peeing in toilet at the same time, standing across from each other. I find boogers in random places around the house, and they always blame each other. Someone always has a finger in their nose, digging for gold. Rarely do they actually pick up a tissue to get rid of the booger.  They still call me to wipe their butts when they poop, and while I'm wiping them, they find it necessary to describe the size, shape, and color of their poop. They try to get away with not washing their hands after going to the bathroom because they are too busy making a mess playing with their toys. Trust me, I'm constantly reminding them that they can't do any of the above when they are in school. I see a lot of phone calls from school in my future!

These are just some of the joys of having lots of boys that I have experienced so far. I'm sure I will have plenty more to write about as the babies get bigger. However, all four of them are Mama's Boys, and I wouldn't trade that for anything, even less boogers around the house!

My boys ready for a preseason Ravens game

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Catching up

It's been a while since I have blogged. This is because I never get on the real computer. Sadly, I've become addicted to the iPad. I tried blogging from it, but the pictures get uploaded weird and turn out too big on the blog. So, I'm going to play catch up for a few minutes now. 

My last post prior to the one about Superchunk hitting six months today, was at the end of July. August is almost over, and this summer has flown by! August first I started my job search. Blah! We knew I was going to have to go back to work at the end of the summer. A family of seven can't live off of one income. My husband worked a part time job last school year. Now that I'm finally not pregnant and able to work, it's my turn. I debated going back to work full time, but my entire salary and then some would go toward child care. Totally not worth it. So, I started applying for part time jobs. It was easy to talk about going back to work. It was easy to plan schedules around a potential job. Getting a job and actually working it and working those schedules is another story entirely. My first interview was entirely nerve-wracking. I hadn't worked since June 12, 2009. I hadn't interviewed anywhere since August of 2006. I was sweaty-palms nervous about this interview. For a part time job. But hey, an interview is an interview, right? It went really well. And I wanted to work the morning shift at this job. I'm talking 5am to 9am. E.A.R.L.Y. But I was willing to do it to be home for the kids the rest of the day and evening. The interview was on a Thursday and I was supposed to get a call that weekend about a second interview. In the meantime, I had another interview at a department store, and I was hired on the spot. It was so strange, I was nervous for the interview, and the next thing I knew, I was filling out new hire paperwork. I was happy to have a job, but not so happy about the pay. But, a job is a job and I should be happy to have one. After my next interview at the first place, they said they'd call in a week or so about new hires. We're still in that time frame, so I'm not sure what's going to happen there. I had to start the other job last night. I was actually ok with it. I definitely teared up leaving the house after I said goodbye to the kids. I was sad because I was going to miss Pirate's first soccer practice. I missed dinner and bedtime too. But my husband is an amazing person, and has no problem taking care of everything himself. The night went well at work because it was just training, sitting in a conference room watching videos and reading a handbook. I did enjoy it though. I hope to continue the enthusiasm once I start really working. I'm giving up weekends and evenings at home to work, but I need to remind myself to be thankful that I'm still home with the kids during the day. In two years, the plan is for me to get a full time day job. The three oldest kids will all be in elementary school, and the little two will be able to go to preschool all day. We'll tackle that when it's time!

Other than that, August has been more of the same. Summer started to get that "dragging on" feeling. We've slacked on going to the pool. Weekends have been busy with back to school shopping and family birthday celebrations. We were totally into the Olympics for the first week, then got bored with them. The kids have had a few day trips with family members. They are lucky other people take them places because I still don't tackle a lot of outings with all five kids in tow! School starts Monday, and it will be nice to get into a routine with the kids. This week is Pirate's kindergarten orientation. They both have Open House Friday where we can meet the teachers and tour the school. Then Monday I will put them both on the bus together. I am thankful Pirate has his big sister to help him. I worry about my little guy going into that big school all alone!

So, I am here, although I appeared to be MIA for a while. Just a case of not wanting to fight the kids for the computer in this crazy age of electronics! I love the iPad, but it and it's crazy apps suck me in and don't want to let me go! 

6 months old!

Superchunk is six months old today! I'm amazed that it's been half a year since he was born. When I think back on the complete anxiety I was feeling in the weeks leading up to his birth, I laugh at myself. The anxiety was for nothing. I had an easy labor and delivery. And life hasn't been as hard as I thought it would adding another person to the family.

 I'll be totally honest. When I found out I was pregnant last summer, June 25 to be exact, I was freaking out. I mean, absolutely freaking out. I cried hysterically when the pregnancy test was positive. To be fair, I had a three month old baby on top of a two, three, and seven year old. I was just starting to feel like me again. We were getting into a routine. The baby was sleeping at night. It was summer time, and we had joined the pool for the first time. We had a vacation planned. Life was feeling normal. Then this total shock came to us and I didn't think I could handle it. I don't love being pregnant. So, I wasn't exactly happy to have a positive pregnancy test. It took me some time to get used to the news. We waited a while to tell anyone. We knew the response we'd get. "What? Are you kidding?" "Don't you know what birth control is?". Yes, we got all of those responses.  I even got a "Congratulations?" emailed to me, like it was a question.We also got a lot of positive responses, like how blessed we were to have a big family, how we were already great parents, and we'd be great parents to a fifth child. My husband always tells me that everything will be alright, and that everything happens for a reason. It took me a while to get used to the idea, but after a little while, I embraced pregnancy for the final time.

Back to my little Superchunk. He is such a joy to have in our family. I can't believe how I was so upset last year. I could never imagine life without him. Yes, life with five kids can be hectic at times. But it is very rewarding. Superchunk is very laid back. He doesn't cry much. He's starting to develop a personality, and it's so cute. He laughs at his brothers and sister. Just recently, he started to get upset when we walk out of the room. He loves attention and to be around people. We've been so lucky that Superchunk has slept through the night since he was six weeks old. He's the book definition of a good baby!

Landon still definitely deserves the name Superchunk. He weighs almost 21 pounds, as much as his big sister weighed when it was her first birthday. He's moving into 18 month size clothes. If he doesn't slow down, he'll be sharing a wardrobe with Curly! He loves his oatmeal for breakfast and just started trying baby veggies. He's only had peas so far, and he's a little unsure of the taste. He's rolling over both ways, and pushing himself up on his arms. On his tummy, he reaches for toys and tries to push himself toward them. I'm in no rush for him to start crawling though, as that means he'll be on the move. I know all too well that once they start, they never stop! He also babbles all the time. My personal favorite is when he says, "mamamamama" over and over. I know it's babbling, but I still like the sound of it!

Our family is complete, and I am totally in love with this family. We were meant to have five children. I can't picture life any other way!

8/21/12 - 6 months old!
peas are yummy??

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Thankful Thursday

It's also Thirsty Thursday, which is why I am writing this while drinking a beer :)

I am thankful for so many things. I have been blessed in many ways. The main thing I am thinking of today is my family. I know that the majority of the time I complain about them, and my kids drive me crazy. However, I honestly love them more than anything in the world. I am incredibly thankful to have such an amazing husband and to have happy, healthy kids.

My mom recently told me about how a first grader at her school was diagnosed with leukemia and has been in a children's hospital for months. The little girl is six. Not that I think anyone deserves to get cancer, but this little girl should be spending her summer in the pool or on a beach or at camp or doing anything else that does not involve living in a hospital. This makes me think about how much I take my kids' health for granted. I complain about when they have colds or a stomach virus. Things could be so much worse. I am thankful to have healthy kids.

My husband went to see The Dark Night at midnight when it opened last week. Neither of us ever thought about some whack job going in and shooting up the movie theater. I'm sure no one in Colorado thought that would happen either. I still can't wrap my head around this tragedy. I continue to pray for the victims and their families. Life is precious and you never know when it might end. I am thankful for the lives of everyone in my family. I want to keep us all in a little family bubble where no one can never hurt us.

So, on this Thankful Thursday, which I may or may not continue weekly, I am incredibly thankful for my family. They mean the world to me, and they always will. Thank you, Buster, Reilly, Andrew, Evan, Grayson, & Landon for being my amazing family.

July 4, 2012

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

I've seen this on many other blogs and think it is a great idea. Especially since I am a little too wordy at times. Who knows, maybe I'll even make this a regular thing. (probably not!)

She painted her nails for the first time. Creative genius did her own designs!

Monday, July 23, 2012


Whew, haven't blogged in a while. That's because I was on facation!!

This year, we decided not to go on our regular summer vacation trip to Ocean City. We decided not to go on vacation period. We knew we'd have five kids and that money would be tight. Back in January, we decided that we wouldn't go away this summer. In January, all I could think about was having the baby in February, so not going on vacation didn't seem like a big deal - at the time. Once summer hit, I wished we could go to the beach. But we knew that it would mean spending a ton of money we didn't have, and that it would be stressful with five kids. Even with only four kids last year, we had to split up most of the time. One of us would stay at the condo with the napping kids, while the other one would take the other kids to the pool. We basically do the same thing at home. Buster still had time to take off of work, so he took vacation time for a week, and we had a facation.

He was off for ten days, and before his time off, we had all kinds of big plans for when he was home. We were going to fix some things around the house. We were going to take a few day trips with the kids. We were going to go to the pool every day. During the second half of the vacation time, we had a lot of doctor appointments scheduled, that were best to get done while he was home. Superchunk had an appointment with the ENT to get his tongue clipped because he was tongue tied. Side note - I was super proud of myself for taking him and watching. He was great, and it literally took less than a minute. We are incredibly lucky because this was our first experience with ever needing a specialist or needing to have any type of procedure done to any of the kids. I thought about pushing it off onto Buster, but I sucked up my anxiety so that I could be there with my baby.  After that we also had yearly checkups for both Trouble and Pirate, and Trouble had his first dentist appointment. Luckily, no one needed shots! We got both of their health forms for school filled out and dropped off at their schools, so I don't have that hanging over my head anymore. Aside from these appointments, we didn't really have any set plans. We just had a bunch of stuff we wanted to do with the kids.

Buster got home from work around 1pm on July 12. I was working on lunches for the kids. They were whining, and they jumped all over Buster as soon as he got home. I think he was ready to go back to work about 20 minutes later! We decided that since we weren't going away, we were going to pretend to be away for the whole vacation. At first we were calling it Stay-Cation, since Buster was off but we were staying home. But then we decided to call it Facation, since we were faking our vacation at the beach. No one else may find it funny, but we laughed about it all week. After naps on Thursday, I took Trouble to the pool by himself to spend some quality time together, and to reward him for pooping on the potty regularly. Any time we went to the pool, it was the equivalent of the pool at the beach. Friday we slept in and relaxed during the day. After dinner, we took all of the kids for a walk to the playground at Princess's school. That was the same as when we take evening walks at the beach, only there was no beach. Right now it is only a little over a week later, and I honestly can't remember exactly what we did last weekend. I know we sat outside and had drinks Saturday night, like when we sit on the balcony of our condo at the beach. The more we drank, the more we pretended things were the same as Ocean City.

Sunday, Buster took the kids to the pool for a little while. By the evening, I wasn't feeling well. I've been fighting this ear infection since the beginning of July. I took ear drops for over a week, felt better, then it came back. Sunday night I felt out of it. Monday I called the doctor, but they couldn't see me until Tuesday. Monday afternoon I took Curly to the pool with my sister and my nephew, and we hung out at the baby pool for a while. By the way, the baby pool is not a babysitter for your kids, people! I hate when people just let their kids go into the baby pool without watching them. It is still water, and your kid could still fall under and drown. At the same time, don't let your kids steal my kids' toys. I don't care if they play with them, but don't pack them up in your bag and pretend like you didn't notice it wasn't yours. That's why my name is on my toys. There is a reason I don't take all 5 kids to the pool... because I couldn't handle them all on my own. I'm not going to pawn them off onto everyone else in the baby pool so I can lay on my stomach and tan myself with my head covered, or sit at the snack bar where I can't possibly see my kids. I apologize for the pool rant!  Monday evening we took the kids to a park nearby which we refer to as the Duck Pond. We checked out the ducks and spent a long time on the swings and the playground. There is a park on the bay in Ocean City that we go to every year during our vacation, so that was our beach equivalent.

Tuesday morning I went to the doctor for my ears, which turned out to be my ears, sinuses, chest, and a whole mess of other stuff. Turned out that going to Urgent Care on July 1 was a waste of money because they just treated me for what I thought I had, not really looking to see what the cause was. After spending the morning at the doctor and waiting at the pharmacy for meds, I was exhausted and had 75 pills to take. Taking all the medicine together made me feel dizzy, so I was able to squeeze in a little nap while Buster had the older three kids at the pool. I usually love getting a pool day, especially during the week. This sickness has made things unenjoyable this whole month. Right before dinner Tuesday evening, our lights flickered. The day before we heard a transformer blow nearby, and we thought maybe we were getting some kind of aftermath from that. Later on, we sat down to watch our evening show with the kids. Buster went upstairs to check the thermostat because he thought it felt a little warm in the living room. Then he disappeared into the laundry room to check the a/c unit. We just spent a butt load of money getting our indoor unit fixed at the beginning of June, so I was praying there was nothing wrong with it. Buster checked outside and that part of the unit wasn't working. The a/c company couldn't come out until the next morning. It was 7:30 in the evening and 94 degrees outside. The inside temperature was climbing. That night was the most miserable night we have spent in the longest time. Buster, Pirate, and Trouble slept in the basement. He said the boys were up and down all night - couch to floor to chair to sleeping bag. I slept in my room so that I could hear the babies in their cribs. We had a fan on each crib, one on my bed, and two in the basement, along with every window in the house open. Princess slept in my bed. Curly woke up every hour all night. I brought him in my bed a couple times, but he would just get all exited  and start jumping around. Superchunk slept all night with no problem at all. By the morning, we were all sweaty, exhausted, and just plain miserable. I took Superchunk to his ENT appointment, and when we got home, I saw the greatest sight ever... closed windows! Luckily it was a relatively inexpensive fix. The part was only $30, but the labor was $115 for a whopping ten minutes of work. But every penny was well worth it to not have to spend another night in hell.

Although me getting sick and the air conditioning breaking were nowhere in our plans for facation, we still equated them to being away. We've had to visit the doctor in OC on more than one occasion. And most years, something bad happens to us while we're there. One year the a/c in the place broke. Another year the place we picked was just plain gross. Last year, our car broke down and we had to get it towed and fixed while were away. We just have the best luck! Buster said that it was actually better we were home because the unit would have kept trying to run if we were away and it could have caused more serious damage.

Wednesday we were all so exhausted from the night before we just laid around the house and enjoyed the cool air. We headed over to the mall and ate lunch and let the kids get on a few rides. The whole time we joked about how we were at the boardwalk in OC on the rides. That night we all went to bed early to catch up from the night before.

Thursday morning, Pirate had a checkup and Trouble had a dentist appointment. I had scheduled them a half hour apart, thinking there would be plenty of time to get from one office to the next. The night before we thought we might be cutting it too close, so Buster took Trouble, Curly, and Princess to the dentist office, while I took Pirate and Superchunk to the doctor. Buster was done at the dentist in plenty of time for the doctor, so we swapped kids, and he stayed with Pirate for his checkup. I thought it was cute that he wanted to go to the appointments. He said he likes to take them when he can to get to see how they're doing. Bonus - Trouble loved the dentist! He came home and proudly showed off his bag of goodies with a new toothbrush and flossers. That afternoon, I went for a much needed and long overdue haircut. When I was done, I dropped off both Pirate and Trouble's health forms for their schools. Then Buster left for his night of Batman. He and his friend went to watch the entire trilogy. He got home at 4am. We didn't hear about the CO shooting until the next morning. My heart goes out to those affected by such a senseless tragedy. I just don't understand how things like this happen. It definitely made me hug my children tighter and pray hard for those families that lost loved ones.

Friday, I spent the entire day in bed. I felt awful. The doctor had told me that as the congestion broke up and started draining properly I could get pains in my head. Apparently a side effect of the steroid I was on was pain in my muscles. I felt sore and everything felt tender. It rained all day, which made laying in bed all day a little more bearable. I equated this to being on vacation with morning sickness both last year and the year before. At least this time I didn't have to go through an entire pregnancy afterward!  It also rained all day Saturday. We had family over Saturday night for a party. We had a great time, but everyone stayed up too late. Yesterday was another day where we just laid around.

In the end, we didn't go to any of the places we had planned on taking the kids. We didn't fix any of the things around the house we were going to fix. We didn't do very much at all. We weren't counting on me being sick or on the air conditioning breaking, which both contributed to us not doing much else. But we had a nice week of family time. Today everyone is missing Daddy!
wish we were here!

Thursday, July 12, 2012


When I was in the shower this morning (the place where I do most of my uninterrupted thinking) I was thinking about how the kids are really changing and developing.  I realized that things are getting easier around here, and that's due to the fact that the kids are all getting bigger and doing more. Milestones are important, but sometimes they get overlooked in all the chaos that is life with five children. Writing the things that have happened lately will help me to remember them. Some might even make it into the Baby Books, although I doubt it :)

Superchunk is an absolute dream baby! I mean, he is as close to a perfect baby as one can get. He hardly ever cries. He's been sleeping all night since he was six weeks old. He sleeps 10-12 hours every night, and doesn't even seem bothered when Curly wakes up crying during the night. I admit, he spends a lot of time being moved from place to place, Jumperoo to Exersaucer to playmat to highchair to Bumbo. He doesn't get held as much as I'd like to hold him, or as much as he did when he was a newborn, but he seems to be okay with it. I try to rock him to sleep at night, but he wants no part of it. He likes to be in the crib and fall asleep on his own. (I told you he was a dream baby!) As tough as things seemed when he was first born, they have gotten so much easier where Superchunk is concerned. He's on a schedule where he takes his four bottles a day, two regular naps in the crib, and the same bedtime every night. It seems like all of a sudden he's into a routine that just flows with what everyone else is doing. He just started eating cereal, and we put him in the highchair at the table when everyone is at the table so he can be part of our meals. He also started rolling over last week, which I thought would take much longer for him to do since he's so big. That's a lot of baby body to move! The kids love making him laugh and coo, and he loves watching them. There is a lot of activity in this house, so there is always something to keep him entertained! 

Curly seems to be getting bigger every day. His clothes that were too big when summer started are fitting better. He has an older look to him now than he did just a few weeks ago. He has a mouth full of teeth, with all four of his incisors coming through in the past few weeks. He cut back from two naps to one. We moved him from the highchair to a booster seat at the dining room table. Although he loves to throw his placemat and utensils on the floor, grab everyone else's food and drinks, and bang on the table, it's still neat to see him sitting with the rest of us. He's also walking backward, running, dancing, and trying to sing to his favorite songs. I'm pretty sure he is Mickey's biggest fan!  More words are coming into his vocabulary, and he's starting to make animal noises to match the animal he sees. He is constantly watching his big brothers and sister and trying to imitate the things they do. He's a huge Mommy's boy, and I love it. We go for a little walk every night and spend a few minutes on the porch watching cars and birds. I love that one on one time with him. 

Trouble is potty trained! I've mentioned before that he's been trained since he was two and a half, but that he wouldn't poop on the potty for anything. FINALLY, within the past week, he has started regularly pooping on the potty. We're still using the sticker chart and making a huge deal out of it every time he goes, but it's a HUGE improvement over where we were before. It's been a journey, that's for sure! He also hasn't worn a diaper or Pull-Up for a nap or at bedtime in over a week. I can't remember for sure, but I think he speaks better than Princess or Pirate did when they turned three. Some of the things he says really make me laugh! He also watches Princess and Pirate and imitates everything they do.

Pirate is starting to read, which is amazing to me. I know for sure that I don't spend as much time reading with him as I did with Princess. She was reading well before she started kindergarten, and he is just beginning. But he really enjoys it, and I'm spending more time working with him. I love that my kids love books and going to the library. Pirate got his first library card, and he gets a kick out of doing the self checkout at the library. He's at a great age where helping is fun. He loves to do his chores, which I think is great because I know that in a few years I'll probably get the same eye rolling from him that I now get from his sister. He's gotten much more independent recently, getting up early and entertaining himself rather than waking up the rest of the house, getting his own breakfast, cleaning up after himself. He has a great imagination and loves playing with his superheroes and dressing up like them. 

Princess is getting very mature. In most ways this is a good thing, although I'm not loving the eye rolling and the stomping up the steps when she doesn't like what I tell her. Pretty sure the teenage years are not going to be a good time! Where she does her share of eye rolling and whining, she is an enormous help around here. I am constantly asking her to run and get something for me or to help the boys clean up. I know she gets annoyed, but it's good for her to help. She is reading the Harry Potter books now, which really hit me that she is growing up. I'm used to her reading much younger books, but she's reading longer more mature books now, and understanding them. She's also into popular music now. All the kids know some of the popular stuff that's out there now. I'm not a parent who plays kids' music in the car, so they know stuff that I like. But she now tells me to change the station when she doesn't like a song, and I see her in the rear view mirror singing along. In the past year, she has really started showing her taste in clothes and how she wears her hair. I know this is a good thing since she is going on 9 (OMG she's going on 9!), but I miss her being a little girl that I can put in cute little dresses and fix her hair any way I want. She's growing into her own person, which is amazing to watch, but also terrifies me!

This is a busy house, and it's easy to miss the milestones the kids are achieving. Nothing is going unnoticed, it's just a matter of taking a step back and looking to see everything that is happening. Sometimes it's hard to see everything at once, so I have to take a second and separate the big picture into smaller pieces. It's worth it though, because this is all happening so quickly that one day Superchunk is going to be the eye-rolling eight year old, and I'll wonder how he got there!

PS- I was recently nominated for a couple blogging awards, to which I am shocked and thankful. I will write about them as soon as I can get my thoughts straight!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

It's that time of summer...

Has the excitement of summer worn off? I think it might be gone. Maybe we're getting tired of being around each other all day, every day. I'm still happy the kids are off of school. As a former teacher, I love the summer. I spent six years teaching and counting down the days until summer vacation. As a parent, I still love it. I love that the kids are home. I love not having to wake up to an alarm every day, staying in pj's as late as we want, and having laid back days. But when someone offers to take one or two kids for the day, I do a happy dance.

I start the summer the same way every year. I say we're going to go to the library every week. I sign the kids up for something, anything to get them out of the house for a little while. This year, Pirate had swimming lessons for two weeks at the beginning of the summer. I also signed Princess and Pirate up for Vacation Bible School at a local church. I've never sent them to anything like that before, and I thought it might be fun. This was in May. At that time, July 8-13 seemed really far away. By this weekend, I was rethinking the decision. Did I really want to get everyone up and dressed and in the car to drop them off at 8:30? I know where the church is and what the parking is like, and it didn't seem appealing to have to drag five kids in there twice a day all week. So, the second Princess said she didn't want to go, I jumped on it and decided not to take them. Classic Amy. I sign up, then I back out. In my defense, neither of them wanted to go, so I didn't feel so bad about not doing it. And it was free. If I had paid, I would have made them go. Everything else just seems to have that 'blah' feeling to it lately too. Last week was around 350 degrees out, so we stayed inside the whole week. Now, temperatures are back to normal, and we're still not doing much. I still offer to fill the pool every day, but the older two say it's boring. Yes, a small plastic pool with a little slide is nothing compared to the community pool down the street. However, I am not insane and I will not take all five kids to the pool alone. Or with help. Not gonna happen this summer.

Usually when the Summer Blahs hit, it's right around vacation time. Then we go away for a week, come home refreshed, and everything seems fun again. This year we aren't going anywhere, and the summer feels looong. My husband is on vacation next week, so hopefully we'll do some fun things, or just having him home will make things feel less 'blah'.

In the meantime, I am getting sick of hearing the same things over and over and over from my kids. I'm tired of the whining, complaining, fighting, yelling, arguing, and the mess. Here are some things I hear every day:

1. "It's too hot." -No shit, it's summer.
2. "I'm bored." -Seriously? I know it's not that exciting to be home all the time, but we have trillions of toys, crafts, art stuff, games, etc.
3. "What are we doing that's fun today?" -This is it. Tough.
4. "Can I have my turn on the computer now?" -Asked at least 100 times a day.
5. "Can I play my DS now? Or the Wii" -Also 100 times a day.
6. "Can I have a snack?"  All day long.
7. "He/She isn't cleaning up!" -Said at least 500 times a day, instead of actually cleaning up the toys. (For being so bored, they sure do drag out a lot of shit.)
8. "Where is my____?"  -Are you kidding? Keep track of your own stuff.
9. "What's for dinner?" -This starts first thing in the morning. And is repeated all day. Usually followed by "I don't like that." Tough.
10."When will Daddy be home?" -This one's my favorite because it shows they are tired of me, and that clearly Daddy is the more fun parent. Also it means they'll be off my back for a little while ;-)
11. "I'm telling." You don't need to tell me. I heard what happened. I'm ignoring you.

I'm not just tired of hearing them say the same things. I'm tired of constantly repeating myself, too. Sometimes I wish I had a CD that I could just repeat of my voice saying the same thing over and over.

"Clean up!"
"Get off of your brother/sister."
"Stop jumping on the couch."
"Stop throwing toys."
"Stop throwing food on the floor."
"Stop tattling."
"No, it's not snack time. You're not that hungry. You don't know what starving means."

Now I know why parents send their kids to summer camp. I wouldn't trade my time at home with them for going to work all day. But I do breathe a sigh of relief when Buster gets home from work. Some nights I go out for a walk, either alone or with Curly. Some nights I get excited to run to Target, just to have time alone. And by far, the happiest time of day is when I see all of their sweet faces sleeping. I love them the most then!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Happy 5th Birthday, Pirate!

My big boy is five years old today! It feels like he's been here forever. Yesterday I was telling him the story of the day leading into the night we went into the hospital to have him, and I realized that day was the last day we only had one child. Princess was listening to the story and said she wishes we could go back to her being the only kid... Tough luck, sweetie!

On July 9, 2007, I had my last doctor's appointment. They doctor said I was due July 6, but I thought I was due July 2, so by the 9th, I was ready to go. I was enormous and miserable. At that appointment, I still wasn't dilated, and I was scheduled to go to the hospital at midnight to get Cervadil on my cervix to get me dilating and start the induction. We left the doctor's office and took Princess out for a day of fun. We went to  the "big" mall and did all of her favorite things. We even made a Build a Bear for the new baby. After that we took her to my parents' house, where she was going to be spending the next few nights. We had pizza with my parents and sisters, hung out for a little while, and got ready to leave. I was crying leaving Princess behind that night. I knew that the next time I saw her, she would not be my only child.  I was incredibly nervous about going through labor and delivery again, but I was mostly scared about going from one child to two children. For three years and seven months, Princess was our only child. Everything revolved around her. I didn't know how I could love another baby as much as I loved her. I was really scared about that. On the forty minute ride from my parents' house to ours, Buster tried to joke around and make me feel less nervous, but it didn't work. When we got home, we watched the finale of Hell's Kitchen, watched the news, and left for the hospital, after stopping at Wendy's for a burger for Buster. 

When the in-house doctor checked me around 1:30 am, I was already 4 cm. All that mall walking earlier had gotten things going. He told me to sleep and they would start pitocin around 7am. We went to sleep, and around 5 I had to go to the bathroom. As I was walking to the bathroom, my water broke all over the hospital room floor. I yelled for Buster who came running in his socks and slipped in the water. Gross! He called the nurse, and from there things started to go fast. I never needed pitocin. My contractions started and sped up, and I had an epidural. I was able to take a little nap. My mom and sister came to be in the room, and I remember the doctor letting me know when it was time to push. I was really scared. I pushed for a couple hours with Princess and I didn't know what to expect this time. I pushed for a long time, but not as long as with the first baby. In the end, they needed to use the vacuum to get Pirate out. Now that I've had three more babies since him, I think that I could have probably given more and gotten him out without help, but in the situation, I couldn't do it. At 11:17am, my 8lb, 9oz baby boy was born. Andrew came into the world and I loved him immediately! In that second, I knew all the worrying was for nothing. I had plenty of love for him, and my heart had indeed doubled in love for my two children. I was so happy to see him and to be done with labor and delivery. I thought to myself 'Never again', but of course I was wrong there! 
July 10, 2007

We had a big party for Pirate when he turned one. We had friends and family and a big celebration. He had a Batman cake, which was really Buster's pick and not Pirate's! We didn't know that he'd be Batman obsessed within a few years!
July 2008 - one year old!

When he turned two, Pirate had a three week old baby brother. We took him to a bouncy place to celebrate, then had a birthday party with our family.
July 10, 2009 - two years old!
For his third birthday, we went to the "big" mall and to Build-A-Bear. We had a Pirate themed birthday party for Pirate's third and Trouble's first birthdays.
July 10, 2010 - three years old!
 (We've really gotten some use out of that birthday shirt!)
Last year when Pirate turned four, it was our second day of vacation in Ocean City. He thought that was the coolest thing in the world, being three when we left for vacation, and being four when we came home. Opening presents at the beach was a plus, too!
July 10, 2011 - four years old!

This year, Pirate has big plans for his birthday. He's been counting down since July 1st. This morning he said, "I've been waiting for my birthday all year!". That's a long time to wait! Yesterday he was rambling off a list of what he wanted to do for his birthday, including me serving him breakfast in bed and the kids breaking open a Batman pinata. He was up too early for breakfast in bed, so he got a candle in his Poptart and we sang Happy Birthday this morning. We've never had a pinata, and I don't plan on starting that tradition today. When Buster gets home, he's taking Pirate to the pool for a little while. Then we're going to play Glow golf and do some inflatables and have some cupcakes.
July 10, 2012 - five years old!
Happy Birthday, Andrew!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Grocery shopping during a heat wave

Holy cow, it is HOT out there. The high temperature for Baltimore for tomorrow says 109. That isn't summer. That's hell. The last time I checked, it's around 97 here. It's just like stifling hot out there. It's been like this for a week now, and it is brutal. We haven't gone out of the house during the day all week. I sat on my front porch this afternoon for a few minutes and the cement was burning my butt.  I haven't even wanted to go to the pool. I can see the parking lot from my house, and it has been packed. I don't like when it's that crowded. It's not relaxing, just annoying. I prefer the air conditioned indoors.

Yesterday morning, my dad picked up Princess and Pirate and took them to his house to spend the night. Princess has gone there before a bunch of times, but this was Pirate's first sleepover. He was so incredibly excited! He normally sleeps with around 75 stuffed animals on his bunk bed. He picked up about 50 of them to take for the sleepover. We were able to narrow it down to two. Thankfully he has an overnight bag and I told him anything he took had to fit in there. Princess is a pro at packing now, so she knew exactly what she was taking. The kids left around 11:30, and suddenly I only had three kids at home. Although Princess and Pirate are the "easiest" to care for, it still made such a difference to only have three kids. Rest time was great because all three little boys slept and I had 'Me Time', which unfortunately consisted of doing dishes and folding laundry, but at least it was quiet!

Usually my husband goes to the grocery store Thursday evening after work. He just goes on the way home to get it out of the way so we don't have to go during the weekend. I am very blessed in the husband department! Yesterday we had so many leftovers from our 4th of July cookout, he said he would go after work today instead. This morning, he had to get up at 5am to go to work, but was going to get done early, stop at the grocery store, and come home early to start the weekend. At 7:30, he texted me that someone called out and he had to stay through and work the dinner shift. I guess that's the downside to being the boss. So, since he's working 13 straight hours today, I thought the least I could do is get the grocery shopping done. Well aware of the fact that it was 300 degrees outside and I'd have to take three kids three and under with me, I decided it was still better than being at work all day.

My original plan was to get out the door by 9. Even with only three kids here, I couldn't get my act together, and we didn't leave until close to eleven. The big kids were going to be home around one, so I had to move it. Thankfully Curly just gave up his morning nap so I didn't have to work around that. Once everyone had shoes on and Superchunk was in the carrier, we headed to the van. Usually I make a couple trips to load everyone in, but today I was determined to do it all at once. I carried the carrier and held Curly's hand and hoped Trouble wouldn't run out into the street. Once everyone was buckled, I blasted the a/c and crossed my fingers that the little bit of gas I had would be enough for the trip to the store, because more than one stop was out of the question.

I was under the assumption that the store wouldn't be too crowded, but apparently when it's a zillion degrees out everyone goes to the store. I got a spot close to the cart return so I wouldn't have to carry everyone too far. Bonus, there was one of those carts with the bench seat on the back of it. It's not a car cart like Trouble really wanted, but it was one big enough to hold everyone. I parked that bad boy right up next to the van and unloaded the boys, then buckled them into the bench seat, pushed them around to the other side, unloaded the carrier, and hooked Superchunk onto the cart. This particular kind of cart is great to hold all of my kids, but weighs about 1000 pounds and is hard to push and maneuver. I really wanted to take a picture of it, but trying to fish my phone out of the bottom of my purse while steering this cart wasn't happening. The novelty of the fun cart wore off after about five minutes in the store and Trouble started asking to switch to a car cart. While it would have been really fun to walk to the entrance of the store, transfer three kids and some groceries to a different cart, and finish shopping, I passed on that idea. Trouble needed to make his own fun, so he held onto the strap that was hanging off of Superchunk's carrier, said he was on a train, and made a "Choo-Choo" noise as loud as possible for the rest of the trip. Curly started whining, I guess because he wanted a strap too. I gave him one of Superchunk's toys, and we played a fun game of 'Throw-the-toy-on-the-ground-and-have-Mommy-pick-it-back-up" for a few aisles. Somehow Superchunk slept through all of this. I maneuvered my giant cart that progressively got heavier through the store in record time. There was no backing up or going back to an aisle I already left. If I missed something, I'm going back alone to pick it up another day!

Finally, we made it to the checkout section. For some crazy reason, although the store was crowded, there were only three cashiers open - one of which was an express lane. Clearly this was not an express trip. And doesn't it figure, as soon I got close enough to start unloading my groceries, two more cashiers open registers. Such is my luck! The checkout was the hardest part of the trip. Even though this cart was enormous, I could still keep it in the middle of the aisles so that Curly and Trouble couldn't reach anything on the shelves. But at the checkout, it is very narrow. Trouble was right up on the candy section, touching everything. Curly was reaching for a balloon. Trouble started asking me every two seconds for a balloon, for a pack of M&Ms, for Skittles, for gum, for a different balloon... you get the picture. Curly started whining for Goldfish he saw. Superchunk started crying. In my head, I was cursing the cashier for being so nice to the person in front of me that they wanted to have a long conversation. She was super sweet to us too, despite the meltdowns that were beginning. When she was giving me my receipt, she asked if I needed help out to the car. I was tempted to ask if I could get help once I got home, but I didn't. I pushed the ginormous cart out the door into the sweltering heat and wished I could snap my fingers and be home. After I walked the 10 miles to the van, I loaded the kids back in, piled in the groceries, returned the cart (smart to park by the cart return!) and blasted the A/C. I was beyond a hot mess. Sweat was just pouring off my face. I looked back at the boys, and they seemed completely unphased by the heat. Burger King is in the same shopping center as the grocery store, so I told Trouble I'd get him some fries for being so good in the store. I knew deep down that the prize was really for me for surviving the store trip! 

Driving home, the gas light came on, but I knew I could make it home. No more field trips for today! When we got home, I took the kids in the house first. Then I really wished I had brought the grocery store helper home with me. I piled as many bags on my arms as possible and got everything in the house in two trips, again sweating like crazy. Before I put anything away, I fed the kids and inhaled my own Kids' Meal. Fast food always makes things better. Now I have no intentions of leaving the house anytime soon!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Poop Training Trials and Tribulations

Trouble has been potty trained for months, since before Superchunk was born. He's great about peeing on the potty, tells us when he has to go, doesn't have accidents, loves underwear, etc. Really for as much trouble as he causes, I was surprised at how quickly he was trained. Pooping is a whole different story. For the life of me, I could not get him to poop on the potty. Buster has way more patience than I do, and he is much more laid back. He has sat in the bathroom on a little stool with Trouble for hours waiting for him to poop. Finally, he went on the potty about a month or so ago. I swear, Buster sounded like he was coaching Trouble through labor the way he was talking to him about pushing the poop out. Since the first time, Trouble has pooped on the potty a total of five times. I know this because there are five stickers on the chart. However, he has not only pooped five times since then. He has pooped in his underwear a ton of times. He has pooped in his Pull-Up a ton of times. And best of all, he has pooped on the floor. I'll get to that in a second.

Every time I think we're making some progress in the pooping department, Trouble proves me wrong. We will be so excited, get him a prize, put a sticker on the chart, praise him, make it the biggest event in the world when he goes on the potty. But then, the next day or that same night, or whenever he has to go again, he'll revert back to going in his pants. Such a letdown. We look for all the signs of him having to go and get him on the toilet as soon as we see them. And he sits and sits and sits. Usually, once he goes, he's good for a couple days. I think he stores it all up because he doesn't want to deal with having to sit on the potty.

Last Friday morning he came in our room and said his tummy hurt. We knew it meant he had to go, so I put him on the toilet and sat with him. We sat and sat and sat until the other kids started asking for breakfast. I put his underwear and shorts on and took him down for breakfast. After the kids ate, he said, "My tummy feel all better", so he went downstairs to play. While I was cleaning up the kitchen, he came upstairs and said, "Something's wrong with me.". I asked him what was wrong, thinking he hurt his leg or foot, and he said, "There's poop in my Wall-E underwear.". All that time we spent on the potty, and he went downstairs by the train table and pooped in his pants! (He has two pooping spots in the house, the train table in the basement, and next to his bed) I got him cleaned up and dressed and figured that was it for a couple of days. That night after dinner, we were all in the basement watching 'Wipeout', and Trouble was playing with Curly. Pirate was next to me, and I asked him if he farted because I smelled the smell. When he said no, I looked across the room at Trouble who covered his face with his hands. He had taken a dump in his underwear AGAIN, and in the same room as the entire family! He didn't even run off to try to do it in private or anything. Must be somethin' about that train table.

Buster looked up some training tips online that night, and one of the tips was to have the child walk around with no pants or underwear on. It said it could take a few days, but they will eventually have to go, and they'll use the potty . Apparently they like the security of the poop going right into their diaper or underwear and they are scared to let it fall into a potty. I don't get it, and I don't remember that with Princess or Pirate, but Trouble is way different than they ever were. So, we tried it. The boy went bottomless all day Saturday. He's not to the point of wearing underwear overnight yet, although he wakes up dry every morning. I guess this is laziness on my part, because I don't want to change pee sheets. He wears a Pull-Up to bed. Saturday night, Buster put the big kids to bed while I gave Superchunk his bottle. Buster stayed upstairs for a little while, and I heard him yell, "You have got to be kidding me!". Trouble got out of bed and crapped in his Pull-Up. After walking around half-naked all day, and pooping twice the day before, he went right as soon as he had pants on. But what can you do? Try again the next day.

Trouble walked around the house (thankfully we don't go anywhere when it's 500 degrees out) sans bottoms all of Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. We did put a Pull-Up on him at bedtime, but even for naps he slept with no bottoms. I'm pretty sure any other kid would have a problem with this, but he did not. He didn't poop. Yesterday was the 4th of July, and we were having family over, so we knew he needed to wear pants. But I decided to have him wear shorts with no underwear. That way, if he pooped, it wouldn't be caught in something, but would fall on the floor. More work for clean-up, but I figured we should at least try it. When it was time for a nap, he kept coming out of his room because we had company. Finally he laid down and looked like he was going to sleep. I was just about to feed the baby when Trouble came running out of his room again and said "Something fall down in my room.". I thought he pulled his curtains down (regular occurrence) so I ran upstairs to put them back up on the wall. The curtains were still up. I asked him what fell, and he pointed around the corner next to his bed. Before I looked, I thought he had pulled down his floor lamp. He said, "That turd just fall right out my shorts.". Sure enough, there was a turd on the floor, right next to his bed, in his usual pooping spot. And he was freaked out. It scared him that the poop fell onto the floor. Buster dumped the turd and cleaned Trouble, and I cleaned the carpet. Trouble took a nap, and when he woke up he kept talking about the poop on his floor. It really bothered him.

Later in the afternoon, Trouble told Buster his tummy hurt and he had to poop. He said he wanted to sit on the potty to go. This was HUGE for us! Where he has pooped on the potty before, he has never told us he wanted to sit on it and go. He sat down, told Buster to leave the bathroom, and he pooped! He even said my favorite words, "DADDY, I'm DONE!!". He said he didn't want to poop on the floor anymore. He said the turd on the floor scared him. This is major progress! I don't know if he's poop trained for good, as it's only 24 hours later. Today he's wearing shorts without underwear again, and I keep reminding him that he has nothing on to catch the poop if he has to go. He may not go for a day or two, but hopefully he will tell us again and use the potty!