Monday, November 8, 2010

Sam's soccer party

We had Sam's end of the season soccer party at Cici's pizza last night. I was trying to cheer him up earlier tnd his week while he was struggling about all the attention Jack was getting, and I said "Sam, you have your soccer party this Sunday."
"Mom, what's a soccer party?"
"Well, it's when you get your TROPHY and you get to eat pizza with your soccer friends."
"OOOh! I should get a REALLY BIG trophy cause I scored lots of goals! Remember that really cold game when I scored ALL the goals?!"

Modesty doesn't visit our house much! ;-)

Jack is six, and Claire is 8 months...

Jackson's sixth birthday was Saturday. There were two solid days of festivities, starting with his celebration at school on Friday. He PROUDLY wore his birthday crown, accepted his birthday paddles and kiss from his teacher with blushing and shy smiles, showed off the poster we made covered in pictures of his family and favorite places and things, and ate light saber chocolate chip cookies with his friends. I took him Subway for lunch, and we chatted and enjoyed a rare time together with one-on-one time. Saturday morning at his soccer game, not only did he score two goals and get some bonus time on the field, but his teammates chanted "BIRTH-DAY-BOY!" over and over while he was on the field. His party was a Star Wars lego theme, and about 16 of his friends came to play and share in the fun! The kids played with light sabers, wore Star Wars masks, ate party foods like "Vader Patater chips," and "wookie cookies," followed by cake, ring cupcakes, and edible lego candy blocks. It was an all-around great day!
Last night when I was tucking the boys in to bed, I asked Jack if it felt different being 6. He said, "I don't know" with a shy giggle. I said "Well, you're practically a grown-up. Are you going to start growing a beard?" He laughed and said "NO...YOU are!" I said "WHAT?! I'm a GIRL!" And he started calling me "the bearded lady." Those kids!
He has his first two loose teeth...the same bottom two front teeth that Claire is just getting. Sigh, the circle of life I suppose. While brushing his teeth last week, I discovered that he had the new teeth all the way in already, so it won't be long now. And we get to call him "Shark Boy" temporarily for his multiple layers of teeth!
We had his first teacher conference last week, and his teacher adores him. Not only did he score a 99 on his pals test (when the benchmark is around 50!) but he was placed in the highest reading group! His teacher said he is very sweet, concientious, and attentive. She also said she wouldn't be surprised at all if he was identified for the gifted and talented program! Yay Jack!
I've been making Olivia wear a pull-up to bed for a while now because despite her ability to stay dry, she seemed to discover that peeing in her bed resulted in being moved to MY bed, and started wetting the bed every night. That particular morning when I laid out her clothes she said, "Silly Mommy! I alweady HAB panties on! I wore dem wast night and I keeped dem NICE and DWY!" She's so full of herself!
Sammy has had a hard time the last week or so with all the attention being on Jack's birthday. I think it is a combination of feeling like he's being left behind (now that Jack is in kindergarten and rides the bus and has friends Sam doesn't know and has loose teeth, etc.) and being jealous of all Jack's birthday fuss, but he has been a little sensitive lately. But man that kid can make me melt when he sings "O beautiful, for spacious skies..." and when I join in, he always says "They had that song when YOU were little, too?!"
Claire has one tooth all the way in, and another about halfway. She smiles her little toothy grin all the time, and has remained so pleasant despite her first little runny nose and cough. She is crawling, pushing herself up to sit, and trying all kinds of new solid finger foods. I have yet to find a food she won't eat, from a variety of baby foods and cereals, to fresh fruit, bread, and other snacks. She is pure joy all day long. I am so going to miss having a baby in the house.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

How'd you get home?

Last night at dinner, Ryan was telling me / us about his day at work. He had a big presentation, and said afterwards he just "crashed." The boys continued listening until he finished talking and then Jack said "How'd you get home, Dad?" Confused, we said "What?" "How'd you get home, Dad? After you crashed?"
So literal! We explained that he didn't crash the CAR, but he was so tired he wanted to crash his body into the couch! Gotta love the way kids' minds work!

Olivia's twang

I don't know where it came from, but I don't want to forget that Olivia says "Sam" like it has three syllables..."SA-YA-AM" or the way she sings "We are the Champions" more like Chee-yam--peee--yuns." That girl, she is a piece of work!

Sam at school

Yesterday I was able to chaperone Sam's 4 year old class trip to the Fire Station. It always surprises me to see how different my kids are at school than at home, and that my fears of misbehaving are completely offbase. Sam was a perfect angel. He was quiet, attentive and raised his hand. He was polite, genuine, and respectful. But more than anything else, I was amazed to see his natural leadership traits emerge. When we arrived, the kids were told to have a seat on the couch. Sam ended up smack in the middle of a "girls" couch and I took his pic with 3 girls on each side! He decided he wanted to sit with the boys, and as they saw him coming, they made room for him. As the group was told to move to the next area of the fire station, Sam was ALWAYS right up there, leading the group to the next location, and there was a feeling that the other kids were waiting for him, EXPECTING him to lead them forward. I see great things ahead for that kid. And I can't wait to see what will happen next.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Time marches on

Claire is 7 months old today. SEVEN months old! I can't believe it! She is still too cute for words, smiling anytime a smiling face looks her way, and her dimples exploding out of her cheeks! She scoots around quite well, is eating baby puffs all by herself, and drinking water out of a sippy cup. She babbles in the cutest ways, always trying to communicate with the big kids, who still delight in her every move.
Her two bottom teeth are just popping through her gums, and I am starting to mourn the loss of the gummy smiles, the newborn/young infant stage. I see pregnant women, and I feel jealous of the new life they feel inside, moving around, kicking, hiccuping and squirming. The excitement of wondering when the baby will come, what will the baby be, who will the baby look like? And although I think we should stop having kids now, with two perfect boys, and two beautiful and sweet girls, it makes my heart ache to think that phase of my life is over.
Each year, I see such changes to our routine and to my kids. This year, with the addition of kindergarten, I am running all the time. I feel most days like there's not even time to enjoy being home, for the kids to play with their toys or run around outside. There is school, and homework, soccer practice, ballet, and karate; back to school nights, girls night out, and Ryan's basketball. There is just never a break from the rush rush rush. Such a contrast from a few short years ago when going to Target might be the big outing of a three day period!
Taking Olivia to the children's museum without her brothers was bittersweet. She ran from place to place, playing wherever SHE wanted without me calling out for them to STAY TOGETHER, and we'll go where you want NEXT. She seemed to enjoy it, but she didn't light up the way she does when she shares those experiences with the boys.
The other day in the car, I was listening to the radio and the boys were talking in the back. I heard Jackson say to Sam, "SO, how do you like Mrs. Ray's class?" Sammy said "Good. I like the centers." And then I couldn't hear anymore over Olivia's bellowing "I DO CENTERS TOO! AND I LIKE GOING OUTSIDE! BOYS! BOOOOOOYYYYS!" I hope they are always this close.

Monday, September 6, 2010


My dear, sweet Jackson,
Tomorrow you will embark on a new adventure. Your first adventure without me or Sam by your side. I have such mixed feelings about this day. I am so excited for you to learn new things, make new friends, and discover more about who you are. At the same time, I am so sad to think that this era of our life together is over. There has been so much time for me to spend with you...only a little time with you alone, but so much time with you and your siblings. Me and my kiddos heading to the Children's Museum, the library, the mall, the grocery store...playgroups and preschool. It just won't be quite the same with one missing link.
You are my "big" kid...the one who generally settles disputes between Sam and Liv, loves to sit and color or practice writing, disappears into a quiet corner to build with Legos, or watch a movie. You are so sweet and so genuine. Always trying to be avid people-pleaser like your mother. You are quick to say thank you, (for making dinner, for buying slushies, for taking you to the pool) and always quick with a smile. Lately, you are also always looking for and finding change on the ground...seriously, its a strange but intriguing knack that you have!
I know you are going to be great at school. You will be a good listener, a good helper, and an enthusiastic student. But I hope that you will also be a leader, staying true to yourself, and not worrying about being a "guy's guy" cause that's just not you. I hope you will find friends and be a good friend. I hope that you will find out what you like and don't like, and have the courage and assertion to say how you feel. I hope that even though disappointments and heartache are inevitable, you will learn from them and know that God is with you and has a special plan just for you. And I hope you know now and will always know how very much I love you. YOU. Exactly you, and just the way you are. Go get 'em, baby.

Summatime 2010

Busch Gardens...lather, rinse, repeat 5 times. Emerald Isle times one week. Pool multiplied over and over and over. Visits with family, both at our house and elsewhere. New deck = bad garden this year but lots of time outside this fall! Hot, hot hot. Temps regularly over 100 degrees. Olivia's third birthday. Karate twice a week- graduated to blue belts. Vacation Bible school for one week. Swimming lessons for Olivia. I think that covers most of it...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

May and June recap

We wrapped up the end of the school year in May with lots of school parties, outside playing, and Jack's preschool graduation (sniff, sniff!). Our plans for Memorial weekend of going to Nags Head with Ryan's family had to be cancelled when there was a chicken pox situation, but we made the best of it staying home and hanging out at the pool. June was a trip to Roanoke (b/c Mother's Day visit was cancelled from Sam running a fever) and an extended stay through Wednesday of that week. Olivia's swimming lessons were up next, followed by her Alice in Wonderland Mad Hatter tea party birthday celebration, and summer was in full swing. I have been filling the days with running errands, taking the kiddos to the pool, Busch Gardens, and the free summer movies. July 4th weekend was bliss! Friday the whole fam went to Busch Gardens for the day, concluding with a spectacular fireworks display, and filled with lots of rides and eating- 11 hours' worth, to be exact!! Saturday we lounged at home and the pool, and Sunday we worked around the house and cooked out with our good friends and neighbors next door. We attemped to view more fireworks, but wound up parked in exactly the wrong spot so that trees obstructed the show! Oh well, the kids had a blast running around in the warm evening with their buddies and glow sticks, so all was not lost! The day ended late for us again with a glow stick bath and bed for the kids at midnight! Monday Ryan was still off, so we headed out to see Toy Story 3 (sooooo cute- and I cried at the college room scene with his mother), lunch at Cici's, more playing at the pool, and finally smores in our firepit with friends. Packed full, but so much fun!
Claire now....still our angel baby. She smiles all.the.time. , giggles when tickled, sleeps peacefully, and tolerates far more than most, both from beibg dragged all over kingdome-come in 100 degree heat with the fam, and from all the "love" she gets from her adoring siblings! At four months now, she has been rolling both ways for a month, is very vocal and communicative, sleeps with or without her paci, and actually plays in the exersaucer for periods of time. Since turning three months, she has actually been USING the toys on her exersaucer, which is amazing!
Olivia at three is still not remotely potty- trained, and is growing more difficult by the day...testing, testing, testing! She is also growing cuter by the day, and the end result = stinker! She plays very well by herself, and can often be found roaming the house in a pull-up, high heels, and tiara. Very fitting. Princesses, pink, shopping, and all things girly are right up her alley! She plays with the boys more these days, but only if she can be the "pwincess". Swimming lessons did not go as planned, and by the final day she was refusing to even get in the water, Ridiculous, of course, b/c she goes under all the time when we are there to play, especially with her new ariel "gobbles"! She went for her first haircut at a salon, and is now sportin' a super-cute stacked bob. Love my baby girl, even with the 'tude!
Sam has backed off a bit with the constant Claire kisses. Maybe it's because she started punchin and scratchin! He still says the funniest things and is very wise beyond his four years. He is excited about playing soccer in the fall, and despite claiming to not like karate, excels in balance and kicking! He sounds out words like a champ now, and still loves his soy butter and jelly sandwiches all the time. Helping in the kitchen is one of his fav pastimes, and Phineas and Ferb is the reigning choice for tv. He is definitely growing up right before my eyes.
Jackson's new favorite is legos right now, and he can usually be found either building a new ship or playing his DS. He loves the privelege of 15 minutes of quiet time at night after we read to him, when we leave the lamp on and he gets to look at books on his own in bed. He is very much looking forward to kindergarten,but we'll see how he feels when its actually here. Loves the pool, his whole family, and fast amusement park rides. Big brother, all the way.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sam loves...

Addison from school because "she doesn't talk much. Only when Mrs. Hunter calls on her. But when she does talk, she has a beautiful voice." That kid is gonna be trouble and I mean SOON!

I survived 4 days alone...

with a 5 yo, 4 yo, 2.5 yo, and 7 week old! I may need to have t-shirts made that say just that! Ryan was in San Diego from Sunday at 4 am until Wed nite at 1 am. Major obstacles: getting the kids ready in the mornings (but my wonderful Tammy came and helped with that), karate lessons, gardening, and Sam getting diarrhea/projectile vomiting. But hey, I survived, I planted most of the veggie garden, I kept the house picked up, I cleaned out my closet, and I did Tons of laundry to completion....and most of all, I didn't kill ANY of the kids. So, rock on me! Rock on with yo motherin' self! ;-)

Edited to add:
That diarrhea/projectile vomiting incident turned into "Puke and Poopapalooza 2010" in our house. The three older kids ALL got it, and we endured 5-7 days of endless shifts on the cleanup crew. Finally, after a solid 5 nights of getting up and changing sheets because every night SOMEONE had thrown up or had diarrhea IN THEIR BEDS, Ryan was getting ready for work when Olivia started crying because she had more diarrhea IN HER BED. Ryan took her to the tub while I nursed Claire, and then Jack came running into our bedroom because Sam had thrown up ...wait for it...DOWN THE STAIRS. And you know what? My husband BAILED. He looked at me and said "I gotta go to work." I stood there with a newborn in my arms, surround by stench and funk and stinky kids and he said "If I stay, you're just gonna have one more person to clean up after. I gotta get outta here." And just like that he escaped! We survived though, and I like to think we are stronger for it. At least that's what we keep telling ourselves. *Shudder*

Sweet baby smells and sweet baby coos

You continue to be such a sweet baby. I love to hold you and just stare at you. You are growing cuter by the minute, and now that you smile those huge gummy smiles, that make your dimples ridiculously deep and your eyes completely light up, I am powerless against your every wish! You coo at me and the kids, and find very few things to complain about...perhaps a diaper that has been soiled too long, an occasional desire to be held while you sleep, a car ride that you just don't want to be on, or hunger. Overall, you are just so pleasant. You smell like baby, and I could just soak you up all the time, knowing in my heart you will probably be my last baby. My last one month old, I say to myself as that month ends. My last two month old I am saying as that date approaches in 5 days. As I see you outgrowing the 0-3 month clothes, I will be so sad to part with them, knowing I won't need them again. My friend Jayne posted a link on Facebook last night, "The Gift of an Ordinary Day" by Katrina Kenison and it all rings true. It made me cry, but it also made me a better mother by reminding me that when mothering so many little ones, the days are long, but the years are fleeting. Sigh.

Kindergarten registration

Kindergarten registration for Jack was last week. I was a total stresscase about it, and totally went all Monica from "Friends" with the competitive spirit I tend towards. I drilled him with his phone number and address and date of birth, because as we all know, the kindergarten readiness test is SOOOOO important! He did a fabulous job, scored VERY high, and the teacher that tested him said he is absolutely a joy and totally ready for school. Way to go preschool teachers! and WAAAAAH, ma BAYBEEE is growing up!

Blame game

The boys were goofing off at bedtime the other night, and I went upstairs to reprimand them. I had already been up once, and told them NOT to get out of bed. When I opened their door, Sam was still laying in his bed, but with a stricken look on his face, and Jack was standing frozen next to Sam's bed, half smiling and half afraid of my wrath! Sam said right away "I stayed in my bed!" and Jack pointed at Sam and said, totally seriously, "But HE made it fun!"

Thursday, April 1, 2010

My silly kids

We have been overtaken by tiny bugs. Terminix has come once, but the bugs will not go away! They are some kind of tiny shelled bug, and they appear at every doorway all day long. Yuck. No one in this house hates bugs like Jackson, and yestday after discovering some in the laundry room doorway, he wanted me to get rid of them. I was busy getting Claire and Olivia, both asleep, from the car into the house, and as I snapped a pic of Liv with my cell phone to text to Ryan, Jackson came to the doorway and said "What are you doing, Mom? It doesn't really seem like you're doing anything about this bug situation."
Good observation, and yet... ;-)

Angel baby

Oh my poor, sweet, child number four...there are no pics posted here yet, and no posts about your size, what you're doing, etc. The camcorder is rarely pulled out, and the camera (which was used daily with our first, despite the exorbitant cost of developing at Ritz, the two unemployed parents, and the fact that it was a film camera) is used only a few times a week. It's certainly not that we love you less, because that could never be true. You are beautiful, you are sweet, and we love you very, very much. It's just that there are so many kids now, and we are outnumbered and crazily busy! My day today was a race from getting ready this morning to taking the boys to school, taking Liv to ballet, running errands, picking the boys up from Lucky lunch after school, baking/decorating cupcakes for Jack's class party tomorrow, cleaning and finding a sitter for tomorrow morning while washing the karate uniforms, dashing to karate class, then off to the CFF fundraiser at Friendly's until we were home and I showered with the three older kiddos and had them in bed by 9:30. And that is not really so terribly busy of a day. Life is just that way right now, and I love it, despite being exhausted all the time.
Dear Claire, you were four weeks old yesterday. You are spending more time alert and have "smiled" at the kids, though I'm not entirely sure we have seen a genuine smile yet. You aren't fussy at all. Your Daddy has named you "Angel baby" because you have yet to keep us up at night. I don't think you have cried at all at night, and you are so pleasant 99% of the time. You are holding your head up so well, and your siblings continue to ADORE you, smothering you with kisses all the time. Even though it may seem at times that you are being shortchanged, just remember how many people you have to love you and look out for you, and you will know you are so very lucky.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Bathtime adventures

Overheard tonight during bathtime
Sam, to Jack: "I smelled your heinie and it smells like pineapple a....n....d (thoughtful pause) GLUE."

Jack, incredulous: "REALLY? Try it again!"

I laughed until I cried. Kids, gotta love em!

Claire Allison is here!!!

Claire Allison was born Wednesday, March 3, 2010 at 6:42 p.m. at 8 pounds, 14 ounces, and 21 inches long. Labor was LOOOONG, starting at 8:15 am and stalling out several times. But in the end, getting from 7 cm to holding a clean baby in my arms was approximately 30 minutes, so she made up for it!
So far, she has a very sweet temperament, tolerating the older kids with ease, sleeping and eating and pooping just like a baby should. Nights have been relatively easy, and she has had absolutely no day/night confusion. (KNOCK ON WOOD!!!) The siblings ADORE her and smother her with adoration and kisses all the time! Olivia calls her "My cutie pie" and "My pooh bear" and I have to PUSH Sam away multiple times a day. He is very protective of her, asks to hold her ALL the time, and kisses her all day long. Hopefully things will stay this way, but we'll see...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

D day

The due date has come and gone, and still no baby. I am two days late right now, and the back pain, contractions (but without rhythm) and discomfort is becoming debilitating. I am scheduled for an induction on Thursday (March 4) and while it is nice to know there is an end in sight, I also feel some sadness at missing out on the spontaneous labor experience; the excitement of the first regular contractions, the race to the hospital, the unknown. But the planner in me loves the fact that my mother arrived tonight, the kids' clothes have been laid out for the next three days, their schedule has been written, backpacks packed, laundry done, and house all cleaned up. Going into labor on my own in the next 36 hours would be perfection. But we'll see! I have grown increasingly tired of the anxiety of everyone around me about the arrival of the baby, and want to scream "I WANT HER TO COME MORE THAN ANY OF YOU, and if I knew WHEN it was going to happen I would be a billionaire!!!! BUT THANKS FOR ASKING!"
The kids have grown with excitement each day and while I know there will be jealousy, I hope they will love their baby sister as much as they think they will!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Mmmmkay, time to get my heinie back in gear!

SO much has happened since my last post. We've had oodles of snow, Christmas, school parties, Sam's birthday party, Valentine's Day, and Livi started school and ballet. We have redone the nursery in anticipation of baby Claire, gotten back our precious next door neighbors who moved to Nashville for 6 months, and had tons of fun!
And with the best intentions, I will for SURE go back and update to include all that stuff, complete with pictures. And fairies will sprinkle pixie dust all over my house, which will be clean and organized, and my kids will behave. Oh yeah, right. None of that stuff is actually gonna happen, so I guess I should just vow to do better from here and begin again.
SOOOOOO, Claire is officially due in 5 days. I was 2 cm dilated as of this morning, and Dr. Wiles attempted to get the ball rolling, so we'll see what happens from here. This pregnancy has been a fairly easy one, once I got past the treacherous first trimester when I couldn't eat...or get off the couch...or survive. BUT since then it has been pretty easy, and even here at the end, I think it has been easier than my others, but I am just ready to Have.This.Baby.Already. I thought that since this is most likely my last baby, I would feel more sadness at the end. But not so much. I'm sure it will come with a vengeance after the baby is born, but right now I just want her to come out, meet her excited siblings, and be able to hold her in my arms.
Olivia talks about baby "Cwaiwa" all the time. I think she will eventually love having a sister, so that in the moments when the boys are playing the wii together and Ryan and I are working on a project, she won't have to disappear into the playroom alone like she does now, but will have her own partner in crime to share her tea parties, fill her dollhouse, and wear princess costumes. Right now, she tells me I am her "best fwend in da whole wowod" and melts my heart. We have "girl power" together, and we comb each other's hair. We sing princess songs, paint our fingernails, pick out adorable clothes, and love pink. I look forward to sharing those things with Claire, and having a special relationship with her, but at the same time hope Olivia and I don't lose our magic.
She loves school and adores her "bawaweena cwass" (ballerina class), and is such a joy in so many ways. For her second day of school, she was so concerned that the boys might make her late for school, she made them get dressed, put on their shoes, and get in the car. I turned around from pouring my coffee and all three kids were in the car waiting to go...a full 25 minutes early. She loves the boys, takes care of them, and demands that they take care of her too. On Wednesday as I chatted with another mom in the parking lot after picking her up from school, she was tugging on my arm, pleading with me to hurry up "I want to see my BOYS! Come ON Mommeeee, I need to see my BOYS!" They carry things around for her, hang up her towel, make her bed, and help her use the computer.
Jackson has changed so much since turning 5. He is definitely seeking some independence, and tends to be a bit more difficult than he used to be. He is sent to his room alot more, and struggles between wanting to please, and wanting to take care of his younger siblings, and being terribly jealous that they get their way so often. When he wants to be sweet, he is painfully sweet, but when he wants to be rotten... well... he excels! He still loves art, and will sit at the table to draw, color, and write for long periods of time. Olivia often joins him, but Sam...not so much. The boys have become rather obsessed with video games since getting the Wii from Grandpa for Christmas, and DS's from Santa. While I welcome the quiet time it provides for ME, I know we need to be firmer with our limitations on screen time.
Sam has been a sweetheart lately. He definitely is all boy and tends to get a little wild sometimes, but genuinely wants to help and make others happy. Anytime I need someone to bring me something, he's my man. He does his bath by himself, wipes himself, and is so looking forward to "the new baby sister." He loves karate (especially dodgeball) and continues to thrive at school. He is so smart, and so funny, and definitely keeps us on our toes.
SO come on out, Claire, and meet your family! Here's hoping for a baby soon!