Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Another Bright, Shining Star

Today was Ben's turn to be the Star Student in his class. Another big day in our family!

In Ben's class, his teacher has agreed to give a "dolphin dollar" to any Star Student that reads the chosen book to the class, rather than having his/her parent read the book. Well, Ben has been thinking about it for a while. I didn't realize it right away, but he has been carefully going through the books in his bookcase for quite a while trying to find the perfect book for this occassion. He did not want the book to be too hard because he wanted to be able to do it all himself, but he didn't want it to be too easy either because he wanted to show off his reading skills. He picked "There Was an Old Lady that Swallowed a Fly". He did a fantastic job!! This is my child that was so shy and timid in preschool that he barely opened his mouth, let alone raise his hand. Today though, he sat up in front of his kindergarten class, with confidence and read an entire book. When he was finished with the book, he told all of the kids about his favorite things and then showed them and described all 18 of the pictures that he brought from home. When all of that was finished, he answered about 20 questions from his classmates. It was a great day for him and I was so happy for him....and proud, of course.

Ben and his kindergarten teacher
January 2008

Ben's favorite things...(as of today):

Food - Hot Dog
TV Show - All Grown Up
Ice Cream Flavor - Vanilla
Animal - Dolphin
Color - Blue and Green
Number - Eight
Month - May and Decembr
Superhero - Batman
Video Game - Cars
Holiday - Christmas and Easter

And for the 'This is your life' portion of the Star Student festivities, Ben chose these pictures to share with his friends.

Genius??? Maybe, Maybe Not!

I met a friend and her triplets at the mall tonight for dinner and some burn-off-some-steam time. We were having dinner in the food court, next to the Merry-Go-Round.

At one point, Jack looks up at the Merry-Go-Round and says "hey Mom, do you see that picture of Mt. Moron?"

Me: "Mt. Moron?".

Jack: "yeah, Mt. Moron"

I told him that I don't know what he is talking about and never heard of a "Mt. Moron".

He responds "ya know, the picture of Mt. Moron up there with the 4 heads of the presidents".

Me: "Jack, do you mean that picture of Mt. Rushmore?".

He said "oh, yeah" "Well, which one is President Washington...".

Now, I can understand that with a vocabulary that is expanding by leaps and bounds every day that there are going to be mistakes. But, how bizarre for him to mix up "moron" with "rushmore". How did that happen???

Too bad it wasn't a picture of some of the presidents that we have had in the last 40 years...now that would have been funny!!!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Who had a worse morning?

Neither Charlie or I had a great morning, this morning. I'm trying to determine who had it worse. Here are the facts...

Charlie seems to be getting ready to cut 4 teeth...the pointy ones...top and bottom. I'm sure that doesn't feel good.

He also was a bit constipated this morning and clearly uncomfortable.

He accidentally fell out of the car. It is not like the car was moving though. It was in the garage and he was climbing in. I went into the house to grab my keys. He somehow managed to fall out of the car and was laying on the garage floor when I turned around. He got a bump on his head and a little cut on his nose from the fall.

I took the car to get the emissions tested. Charlie thought it was the carwash and went ballistic. The carwash is Charlie's least favorite place on earth.

Charlie wanted me to add this picture so,
that you can visualize how rough a morning it was.

As far as MY rough morning...

Well, I'll skip all of the typical rough morning stuff and jump right to the highlight. Charlie and I did our morning errands and then rushed home to unload the groceries before picking the boys up at school. I was unloading the groceries as my toothless, belly filled, banged up stinker in a green Oscar sweatshirt (how appropriate) followed me around while whining about wanting something to eat. I quick gave him some prunes (total ulterior motive) and put the groceries away.

Five minutes later, I put Charlie in the car, hit the garage door opener and ran to grab my keys. All of the sudden I heard a horrible noise and immediately knew that I made a BIG mistake! While I was unloading the groceries, the trunk door on the van would not open all the way so, it was leaning against the garage door. I forgot to close it and then opened the garage door....not pretty. The garage door and the van trunk door moved up together until something popped and the garage door got stuck 1/2 way up and wouldn't move. I pushed the button again in hopes that it would go back down, the door opener made a noise, but then stopped again. I pulled the release and tried to push the door up or down and it wouldn't move. Ugggg!

I only had 10 minutes before school was getting out. I tried a few more things with the garage door and then grabbed the stroller, rolled it through the house, grabbed some extra warmer coats for everyone and basically ran the 1/2 mile to school to pick up the boys. They were quite suprised to see me with the stroller, rather than the van in the rain/sleet/snow mix that we were experiencing. I explained to the boys what happened to the garage door and then had to listen and answer 1001 questions on the way home.

Them: "Well, what about swimming? Can we go to swimming?"

Me: "Swimming is not until Saturday, we will fix the garage door before Saturday."

Them: "well, what about religious education, that is today?"

Me: "Religious Education is at OUR house!"

Them: "How about school tomorrow, what if it is raining when it is time to go to school tomorrow"

Me: "You mean kind of like how it is raining/snowing now and we are walking home from school? We'll do the same thing in the morning if it is not fixed yet.". "Can you guys please walk FASTER!!"

Them upon seeing the garage door: "Look Mom, the garage door is stuck 1/2 way!!!"

Me: "Aaaahhhhhh!!"

Charlie's afternoon improved...he took a nap...and pooped. My afternoon remained a bit rough with the usual Monday stuff. The car door guy showed up about 3:00. The good news is that it is fixed. The bad news is that I probably did not need a repair guy. Apparently, when I pulled the release, it fixed whatever the problem was. He un-did the release and pushed the button...all fixed.

Wish us both luck for a better day tomorrow. :)

Sunday, April 27, 2008

It's Not Easy Being "Green"!!!

***Edited to Add*** I saw on someone else's blog a great idea for recycling the plastic shopping bags...I can use them to put the disposable diapers in before I throw the diapers in the trash. LOL!! I think that goes against the idea, but I thought it was pretty funny.

Really, it's not (easy being green)!! In trying to keep up with what's "in", I've been thinking about what our family can do to be more "green". My family makes an awful lot of garbage. Since we have been in survival mode for the last 6 years, to say that we haven't placed 'saving the world' as a high priority is a bit of an understament.

I figured that we can start out with baby steps. I heard that disposable diapers have been outlawed in Vermont. We are sooooo not going there!! Remember...baby steps.

First of all, a few months ago, we finally got a recycling bin. How embarassing is that. When we bought our house, the old owners took the recycling bin with them and I never called to get a new one. Turns out, I can use an ordinary bin from Target...not like I don't have 30 of those in my basement! So, Step One ~ DONE!

Step 2, I decided that the boys and I would spend a day "goin' green" over spring break. I figured that if I got them involved, I would be more accountable and therefore, more successful. So, we all wore green shirts, I printed off "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" coloring pages, we colored them, we talked about what all of those words meant and how we what we could do in our lives to help the earth, blah, blah, blah. Yup, in one ear and out the other! That concluded my lesson on how we could save the earth....back to Webkinz and scooters. I really have no idea how people homeschool their kids, oh well, another topic for another day. Anyway, thank goodness real school stepped in with their Earth Day lessons. Since Earth Day, I have been reminded over and over again to recycle my milk containers, pop cans, waffle boxes and everything else. Yesterday, it was pointed out to me that Menards sells "Earth Day Lightbulbs". Which by the way, I already had at home(!!). And, my kids have actually been asking for the "paper with the writing on the back" rather than stealing my printer paper for their art projects. I love kindergarten!!! Maybe my family is not a lost cause after all!! It would be nice if kindergarten mentioned to turn off the water (all the way!) and to shut the lights off when leaving a room. Ironically, I spent 10 minutes trying to figure out where a strange sound was coming from tonight in my kitchen. It turned out to be the faucet that was not all of the way turned off in the boys' bathroom, directly over the kitchen. And, Jack left the bathroom today (a different time) without turning off the water AT ALL!! How does that happen?!?!? The water was running, full blast and he didn't even notice! Maybe we are a lost cause....Help Kindergarten!!!

My final baby-step attempt at "going green" is that I decided that I wanted to purchase some of those reusable shopping bags that I have been seeing more and more often. We go through TONS of those plastic bags and try to reuse them, but really collect more than we will ever use so a lot go in the trash. The reusable shopping bags look really convenient and of course great for the earth. So, I marched Charlie and I into Target to get some of those bags. I couldn't find them! So, I asked the guy, you know, the manager looking guy that works close to the registers and directs people. I told him that I was looking for the reusable red shopping bags that I had seen not long ago by the registers. He looked at me like I was from another planet...had no idea what I was talking about! He said something about them having bags like that around for the holidays? Huh, like Earth day? Nope, he meant like Christmas?!?! If this guy was that clueless, it makes me kind of wonder what the cashier would think when I handed her the bags for her to bag my groceries. Someone told me that the first time they used them, when they got home, they realized that the cashier bagged the groceries in the plastic bags and then put the plastic bags in the reusable bags. Ummmm, I guess that I am not the only one that is not "green". Since I decided to revisit the issue tonight, I thought that I would check online for reusable bags. I found the cutest ones from Walmart. There is a picture below. Aren't they cute! Here is the problem...I HATE Walmart! If I have to go to Walmart to save the earth, the earth is in BIG trouble!! I'll have to think about it. Maybe Charlie and I will make a quick trip to Walmart to buy the cool bags to use them at Target. ;)

So, that is our plan to save the planet. Any other suggestions for us?? I'd be interested in hearing what other people are doing...besides wearing green shirts and typing in a green font. :)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

More than just survive...

So, my friend Cathy watched the boys for the 3 days that we were in Florida. Almost everyone at the conference asked me who was watching the boys and they all seemed a bit surprised when I told them that we left them with a friend. Almost everyone responded with "wow, she must be quite a friend". Yup, she is!

Cathy was the first friend that I made at freshman orientation at Aquinas College. It is unbelieveable that it was ...OMG...almost 19 years ago. How could it be that many years? Anyway, Cathy happened to live 20 minutes away from my house in Illinois, but we met at college 3 hours away from home. Cathy transferred to a different school after 2 years, but we have been great friends ever since. She is the kind of person that will do anything for you and always knows how to brighten a day. She is also a bit nuts, but that is definitely a good quality and makes a fun friend. ;)

AQ ~ October, 1989

Anyone that knows Cathy will be able to tell you that two of her best qualities are her organization skills and her love for children (and their love for her). I don't know about you, but I realized early on that these 2 skills together make a great babysitter!!! ;) If you add her degree and experience in photography, she is like a babysitting angel from heaven. LOL! When the boys were very young, Cathy had no problem taking care of 3 infants by herself. If you have never done it, it is probably not as easy as you think. I remember the first time that my dad watched the 3 of them by himself. The boys were about 6 months old. My mom and I were gone for about 2 hours. When we got back, my dad was wearing one of Spencer's shirts and was sweating profusely. Too funny...ummm Dad, Cathy doesn't look like that when we get home. ;) When Cathy babysat for us, by the time we got home, the boys were asleep, the house was clean and there would be pictures of her evening with the boys already loaded onto the computer. Amazing!!
July 2003

Needless to say, Cathy was a top person on my list of people to call when I needed help taking the boys to the doctor, or to get pictures taken, or really anything else. So, when this trip to Florida came up, we knew that it would not be right to call my mom and dad because they babysat for us for 4 days in November (I know, we're spoiled) and of course they are busy with the cousins. So, we called Cathy.

She did awesome. As usual, the house was clean, the boys were ready for bed and there were pictures on the computer that detailed each of the days that we were gone. Everyone was very happy when we got home, including Cathy! My pantry doors were even decorated with a Cubs and Sox schedule that the boys can fill out with wins and losses....she even had time to do a craft! She did agree that mornings were a bit crazy, but it wasn't as hard as she thought it would be(!!). As parents, that was such a relief and joy for us to come home to.

Thanks Cath!! You are awesome and I have learned so much from you!

Taken by Cathy at Kiddie Kandids in Schaumburg 06/07

Go there, she's awesome!!!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Enjoying spring while we have it...

I heard the high for next Tuesday is supposed to be 41 degrees. :(

We took full advantage of the decent weather today. They predicted storms, but the weather stayed nice for most of the afternoon. Maybe they are wrong about next week's weather too. ;)

Florida Was Great!!!

Naples 04/22/08

Enough said!!! ;)

Charlie's Own Triplets

Charlie had a playdate with his very own set of triplets. These triplets belong to my friend Laura. They were born July 6, 2006, which is the same day that Charlie was born. Isn't that cool?!?!?! Now, in our world of multiples, Charlie can finally be a part of a set. Well, except for him not actually being related to the kids born on the same day. Still neat though. :)

We're Back

Oh boy, are we back! We had a great trip. I'll post more about that later.

Yesterday was such a crazy day. I knew it was going to be nuts because we had so many things on the calendar, but it was definitely a 'Calgon, take me away.....again' kind of day. I am finding that there is no easing back into this job as a mom. I better be ready to be a mom again as soon as I walk in the door.

Yesterday, our day started out busy. A neighbor dropped off her little boy a little before 8:00 to walk to school with us. I'm glad that I remembered that he was coming because at 8am, I usually have 1/2 dressed little boys running around upstairs. We did manage to get the baths in and everyone dressed before he showed up. It took us FOREVER to walk to school because dandelions have started to come up and the 4 boys were having a competition to see how many they could each get.

When Charlie and I got back home, we threw in some laundry and then went to the store to grab the essential groceries to get us through the next couple of days. Then, we rushed home, unloaded the groceries and walked back up to school to meet Spencer in the parking lot. I had Ben's annual review meeting for speech and Spencer played with Charlie at the park. When the meeting was over, I went out the front door of the school and ran over to the side door to pick up Charlie and meet the boys as they were coming out. Unfortunately, for me, all of the dandelions had not yet disappeared so, it was another slow walk home for the boys and the neighbor friend.

Charlie's naptime was filled with laundry, piano practice and sewing patches on karate uniforms. Sewing patches took a lot longer than I expected. When Charlie got up, it was time to bring Ben to a birthday party. After dropping Ben off, the rest of us then rushed home to have time for Drew to take his turn practicing the piano, me to finish sewing on karate patches and eat dinner...all in 45 minutes. To say that did not go well is a major understatement! During that 45 minutes Jack and Drew were both in tears at some point. I swear that I wasn't even being mean....Jack has a cold and both of them were GRUMPY! Grrrr....

We went to pick Ben up. He had to leave the party 5 minutes early because we had to go to karate graduation. You wouldn't think that would be a big deal, but of course, it was. Ben's eyes started to get all watery because I told him that we had to go. It was 5 stinkin' minutes early! At what age does all of this crying end?!?!?! Luckily, he recovered quickly and we left.

Karate graduation was nice except it was obvious that the boys were pretty tired. Drew especially was having a difficult time focusing and kept trying to relax. Relaxing on the floor is not exactly appropriate for karate. Charlie was also quite tired and wiggly. We were supposed to do the 4:30 graduation, but did the 6:30 because of the birthday party. By the time it was over, it was bedtime. Thankfully, the boys all "graduated" and got new belts...white with an orange stripe.

Spencer took Charlie home and I was driving the van with the boys. I was thinking about how relieved I was that the day was over and we survived. Jack, apparently, was also thinking about our day. He said "wow, we did a lot today". I responded "yes Jack, we did do a lot today". He then says "What a great day!!!". I about passed out. ;)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Livin' the Good Life

Well, tomorrow morning Spencer and I are off to Naples, Florida for 3 days. Spencer's company has an annual seminar (schmoozefest) that they plan for their clients. It is usually held in Chicago and they do lots of fun things in the city. This year, they decided to have it at a resort in Naples. His company is sending less employees, but the people that they are sending are encouraged to bring their spouses. Apparently, Spencer is really important at work!!! Yay me!!!

Since my parents have been busy with the new babies and they watched the boys for us when we went to Orlando in November, we hired my friend Cathy to watch the boys for the 3 days. Ben, Jack & Drew are pretty excited. Jack said "Yay, my silly God-mother is coming". I know they will all have lots of fun and the boys don't seem upset or stressed at all that we are leaving. Charlie, on the other hand, took one look at Cathy tonight and started screaming. I was really surprised because she came to visit a couple of weeks ago and he was very comfortable with her. It is like he knew that we were leaving. I hope he doesn't give her too much trouble...I think he is going to be a bit angry in the morning.

So, send a couple of prayers for a safe journey for us, if you don't mind. I hate flying. I know the odds are slim, but I always worry about crashing. Our flight is 7am...ugh! Can't wait to feel that Florida sun though!

Worst Mom in the World

I screwed up. I hate screwing up.

Friday was "Eat Lunch with your Kid Day" at school. I love those type of things. I love seeing the boys at school, I love seeing and socializing with the other moms and teachers. I really look forward to those type of things. This school event was so easy too, I could bring Charlie. It was sooooooo easy in fact, that I forgot all about it. :(

I wrote it on the calendar that is on my wall in the kitchen AND the calendar that I carry in my purse. I think that if it was tatooed on my forehead, I would have forgotten. As I was driving up to the school to pick the boys up from kindergarten, I even noticed that there seemed to be a lot of cars at school and I wondered what was going on. I'm such a moron. It didn't even click when the teachers started to walk over to my car without the boys. It was not until the teacher started to explain to me that the boys were inside waiting for ME to eat lunch with them. I felt horrible.

The boys looked fine when I finally got inside, about 15 minutes late. It was not the enjoyable experience that it could have been, but at least they were not in tears. Afterwards, as we were driving in the car to piano lessons, we were talking about it a bit. I told them about the time that my mom forgot that I had 1/2 day of school when I was in 1st grade. She picked Jen up from kindergarten and forgot about me. Sorry Mom, but they adore you and I figured that if I told them that even Grandma did things like that, I had a better chance of being forgiven.

I think they have forgiven me, but it still bums me out when I think about it. I can't even blame this on being a busy mom with 4 kids thing. This involved 3/4 of my children and the remaining 1/4 does not really have planned activities. I just plain screwed up.

My camera cord is still broken, but if it was working, this is where I would post a picture of the boys eating the ice cream that I used to bribe them to forgive me. ;)

Thursday, April 17, 2008


**Update** The problem with my camera/computer seems to be the cord that connects the camera to the computer...it has been CHEWED THROUGH! And, NO!, we have not gotten a dog. Ewwww!!! I think there may be some neglected Webkinz over the next few days...I hope the poor little Webkinz have enough to eat because the daddies may not be seeing the computer for a while. If your Webkinz see a hungry looking black lab, chocolate lab, tree frog, yorkie, cocker spaniel, alley cat, frog, duck, penguin, reindeer or bull dog over the next couple of days, you may want to toss him some leftover food or a Kinzquarter. I hope they all survive. ;)

Earlier today...

My camera is not on speaking terms with my computer. That is a very sad story for my blog.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Almost Birthday

Six years ago today, the boys were almost born. It was a beautiful 80 degree day and I had a regular doctor's appointment that turned out to be anything but "regular". I had been on home bedrest for the prior three weeks because I was having a lot of contractions. Even considering that, we were all very surprised when I went to my appointment and turned out to be 3.5cm. dialated and contracting every couple of minutes. I was sent over to the hospital and put on Magnesium Sulfate to try to stop the labor. That is the worst stuff ever, but it worked. After 6 weeks in the hospital, the boys were born May 28, 2002.

We are very blessed.

Star Student!!!!

All of the kids in kindergarten take turns being "Star Student" for the day. My kids are very excited to be Star Student and have been waiting patiently for their turns. I guess that I was a bit cruel in that I signed each of the boys up for their turn at the end of the school year. It seemed like a good idea in September...we'll just say that I gave them a chance for the anticipation and excitement to really build up.

Today was FINALLY Jack's big day as Star Student! Let me tell you, the excitement was definitely there!!! He has been counting down FOREVER, he even declared yesterday "Star Student Eve". He came bouncing in my room very early this morning. Quite a different start to this school week than the start of last week. He was so quick doing everything this morning that he was ready a whole 15 minutes before we were leaving the house...that never happens!
Jack & his teacher

The best thing about Star Student, IMO, is that Mom gets to go to school for the whole Star Student event. Jack and I sat in the front of the class. Jack had answered a questionnaire about all of his favorite things and sent some pictures for a bulletin board. While sitting in the front of the class, Jack and I read his list of favorite things and then Jack told his class about all of his pictures. After that I read a story that Jack picked out ("Hercules") and then Jack's classmates asked him questions. Jack did a wonderful job and I was very proud of him. He smiled from ear-to-ear the entire time, but took the whole thing very seriously. He also started out by answering each question with a "well.....", but it sounded more like "wwwwwaaayllll....", kinda like how George Bush talks. Too cute!!
I forgot to copy his list of favorites, but these are the things that I remember:

Favorite Food: Skittles
2nd Favorite Food: Apple
Favorite TV Show: Danny Phantom
Favorite Movie: Cars
Favorite Color: Yellow
Favorite Book: Stone Soup (Thanks Aunt Elaine!!)
Most Enjoyable Time: When Daddy is home
Favorite Number: 100
Proudest Accomplishment: Doing hard math problems
Favorite Flavor Ice Cream: Chocolate

Here are the pictures that Jack selected to show his class.