Thursday, December 25, 2008

"It was the Worst Christmas Ever!"

"It was the Worst Christmas Ever!" says Connor while he is screaming and crying. Silly me, and I thought it was the best Christmas ever. You see, this year we stayed home. It was as low stress as possible with shopping done 10 days before Christmas, cards mailed in the first week of December and little cooking to be done. Caskey and I had even gone to bed at a decent hour since we got the wrapping done in a timely fashion.

This morning was fabulous. It was slightly rainy with low clouds. The perfect day to stay indoors. Connor tore through all this gifts yelling, "WOW. I have wanted this forever. WOW!" Lainy Ann was in heaven sorting the gifts and reading all the tags. 45 minutes into gift-opening and Lainy Ann had only opened one gift (2 pairs of jammies from me - she hugged me and said, "thank you for the jammies mommy, they are my favorite") and Connor has opened nearly all of his. She had so much fun just sorting and helping. William wandered around the living room stealing everyone's candy and playing with already opened toys - none of them were his. And Alexander thankfully sat quietly and watched it all while Caskey and I ran back and forth rescuing toys from their prison-boxes.

It went better than I hoped. No complaints of 'he got more toys than me' or 'santa forgot to bring me something'. They were very happy to unwrap presents and ooh and aah.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Merry Christmas to Me!

I finally finished my quilt. I first started quilting about 8 years ago at my first teaching job. The librarian taught me the basics and I made my first quilt; red of course, with cherries. I have used that blanket daily ever since. I cuddle under it on the couch and watch my nightly television, then Caskey began to use it once we were married with his toes sticking out, and then kids would cuddle under it when they were sick. They even threw-up on it once or twice. Yuck!
L Quilt
It now has holes in it, through all 3 layers. So last spring I started a new quilt for myself, for cuddling on the couch. I have decided to treat myself with breaks now that I have four kids. For the last 6 years I have lived for my kids and rarely taken time for myself. But I hit a wall and realized that I needed some me-time too. So in the Spring I took a class on how to make the quilt, then I spent hours at the quilt shop alone working on it. Once it was pieced together I had to take a break to have a baby. But even on break I was still having me-time; a NKOTB concert in October and Twilight the movie in December.

I finally finished it, just 10 days before Christmas. Just 2 more projects to go - Alexander Christmas Stocking and his quilt.

White Envelope

I hope by now you have read the story of the White Envelope. I first came across it when Lainy Ann was an infant and I was melding our two families into a new family with a new set of traditions. This one seemed too perfect and wonderful to pass up. Since then we have often donated and given anonymously to those in need; sometimes through the church, school or police station. This year has been a record of giving for us.

First it started with the fires. An acquaitance of mine lost her home. She has two children; the same ages as William and Alexander. Her infant was just 6 weeks old when they were left with nothing. The fires came so fast that they were lucky to escape with their lives. So I gathered 4 large bins of kids clothing, towels, sheets, and blankets. By the end of the following day they had more than enough for their kids; they were getting multiples of bouncy's, high chairs and cribs. It was so heartwarming.

Times are getting tough all over and people are having to cut back on the basic necessities. Last week we had some wild weather for Southern California; freezing temperatures, rain, hail and some snow. Some children were seen going to school in sandals and no coats. They too had fallen on hard times. The PTA was able to get the two families food, but they were still in need of clothing for their 7 children.

So, the kids and I got up early this morning to brave the mall. A few hours later we had basic winter wardrobes for 6 of the kids, including coats, jammies and hats.

I'm not posting this to show-off, but to remind us all that no matter how little we all think we have, someone else has less. No matter how tight things are for your family, someone else is having a harder time making ends meet.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Have a Green Day

Connor is the most empathetic and sensitive child I have, so far. The vote is still out on Alexander. William, well, so far he seems to be a lot like Lainy Ann - very busy and very loud and very, um, in charge (read: stubborn).

Lainy Ann had quite a bit of trouble at the beginning of the school year. So we spent a lot of time on the drive to school talking about how to behave. Lainy Ann's school has a color behavior system. Green is good behavior, followed by yellow, red and the dreaded blue.

Connor started early on coaching Lainy Ann on the appropriate behavior. Even commenting on how he handles certain situations in school; by raising his hand and waiting patiently. Ever since those early days of September he began wishing Lainy Ann, "Have a Green Day" as she left the car. Here is it late in December and he is still wishing her a "Green Day". What a good little boy!

No Rice Cereal

Its liberating having my fourth child. It was a huge learning curve with Lainy Ann. I read numerous books and thought they were right, even though half the time they were contradictory. I tried feeding her on a schedule, back to sleep, introduced vegetables first at 4 months. Then I had Connor and he was a boy, so things were slightly different. But by the time I was pregnant with William I figured I had a girl and I had a boy, so this time it would be pretty much the same.

Well, William had another idea. He was a skinny minny who worried me about his weight and eating habits. Then when he was 18 months old and still not saying any words I was worried about his speech. But we navigated the choppy waters of Early Intervention and speech. And I realized that his weight was him, not a factor of being under-fed.

So now that Alexander is here I am even more relaxed. We recently had his 4 month appointment where we discovered a whopping weight of 16 lbs and 3 oz. He is quite the chunker. The pediatrician suggested I start rice cereal at close to 4 months. I politely told her no. I don't like using rice cereal and I was going to wait until he was closer to 6 months. She gave me some other advice to and I explained how I would be doing it a little differently. She listened and realized I had good reasons.

Its just liberating having my own opinions on raising my child and not feeling like the doctor knows best. Sometimes, we, as mothers, know what is best for our children and for our family. I find it more and more enjoyable and relaxing to be a parent with each subsequent child. Just imagine how relaxed I would be if we had 10 children.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Mmmmmm smells good

Scents have always been very important to me. I associate scents with seasons; Christmas is cinnamon and pine, spring is Jasmine and flowers, fall the crisp leaves and pumpkin and summer smells of beach.

I don't usually get to have scented items in the house. Before children I liked to have a vanilla scented candle burning, or maybe even a raspberry scented one. But Caskey is really opposed to scents, so these days I sneak them in or bake in order to get them into the house.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Xmas List

I just asked Lainy Ann what she wants for xmas. She wants to organize; a binder to keep her papers that she hasn't finished coloring, oh, and a calendar so she knows what day it is. And some jewelry too.

I guess it shouldn't be any surprise that on her report card she got an Excellent for Organization.

Connor of course wants swords, light sabers and other star wars stuff.

William would just be happy with the box. Oh and tormenting his older siblings by stealing their stuff.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hungry

I know next week is Thanksgiving dinner, but one of the main reasons we remodeled the kitchen was for the big baking holidays. I have already baked dozens of cupcakes at once to see if the oven was up for the big job. It was. We have hosted a few parties and the kitchen has performed marvelously. So a turkey was the next logical challenge. I am making an amended Thanksgiving dinner for tonight; Turkey (with brine), sweet potatoes, stuffing, peas, and pumpkin pies. I have been talking with the kids about this meal for a week now. They have been helping as I gathered the ingredients, prepared the turkey, cooked the brine and baked the pies. William has been trained that each time we talk about the turkey he walks to the kitchen, opens the fridge and points to the turkey.

So I remind the kids this morning that I will be cooking the turkey today. Lainy Ann innocently asks, "So are you going through drive-thru or making something else for me?" Um, What?! I'm making turkey for dinner. "Yeah", she says, "But I told you I don't like it and I'm not eating it". "Then I guess you are going to be hungry", I replied.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Mission Impossible

I have discovered the real problem with a large family. It isn't money, space or patience. Even time isn't really that much of an issue. I have gotten creative with spending one-on-one time with the kids as I grocery shop or get an oil change. And having enough energy to get all the kids dinner, bathed and in bed just means creative time-management. I cook full meals in the early afternoon while the kids are in school so we can spend all the time from 3 pm until bedtime together on homework, reading, etc.

But on Halloween I discovered the real reason you can't have really large families in today's society. Scheduling. Throughout the week I have cleverly scheduled the children's activities that compliments our family life. But on Halloween I had to be at 6 different events through out the day. Caskey had to work if we wanted him to come home early for trick-or-treating. That left Alexander and I running back and forth to the different schools and providing support.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Alexander's Baptism

baptism photo

My last baby boy was baptized recently. He was baptized at the church his siblings were baptized at and where Caskey and I were married. Its one of my favorite traditions with our newborns. I love welcoming them into our church, the church we have called home for years. I love dressing them in the same gown their siblings have worn and introducing our precious child to the community.

Welcome, my son, into the Catholic faith.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Math for Breakfast

Last night the clocks changed. We turned the clocks back an hour and thereby gaining an hour of sleep. No wait. Only those without children gained an hour of sleep. The rest of us got up an hour early and spent the day normally. This morning the clock ready 4:55 am when Lainy Ann asked if she could color. Because I didn't feel like arguing I said yes.

So I drug myself out of bed at 5:30 am and found them not coloring. But this isn't one of those oh-no-they-ruined-my-house-stories. No, its ends much better. They were both playing in the bedroom with pencils and blank paper. They were making up addition problems and solving them. My 5 1/2 year old and my 4 year old are doing addition this morning for fun.

Yup, I'm bragging. But wouldn't you be bragging too if your 4-year-old was doing math for breakfast?

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Paper Dolls - Modernized

McDonald's new Happy Meal toy is a Barbie. We have strict rules in this house about EVERYONE, including dolls, must be appropriately dressed. Lainy Ann is sitting on the couch playing with two of her new dolls. One of the dolls is wearing a pink strapless dress, strictly inappropriate. So Caskey asks me to hand him a sharpie. He is presumably going to draw straps on this Barbie. I remembered that I had 24 different colored sharpie markers. I have saved Barbie from a huge fashion faux pas; black straps and a pink dress.

Once Lainy Ann sees what Daddy is doing she agrees, "She wasn't dressed appropriately." Caskey even managed to make her plunging neckline less plunging. But then the requests started. "Can you put a purple bracelet on her?" "A necklace too?" "The other doll also needs a necklace."

So Lainy Ann and Caskey sat on the couch decorating Barbie dolls.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mr. Hanky

Just for all you South Park fans. *wink*

We are potty training William. Its been going on for about 5 weeks now. We are using the extra thick undies and I'm doing laundry DAILY. ugh Unlike the other two he will not poop in the potty. So like clockwork about 3 pm while I am stuck in the chair nursing Alexander William will poop in his underwear. So I have to put Alexander down and listen to him scream while I change William's underwear, talk about how poop goes in the potty, clean him up, find new underwear, yada, yada, yada. Same thing everyday. Oh, except for the day that he took his diaper off and pooped on the rug. (The rug is now outside waiting to be thoroughly cleaned)

Well, tonight he said "Tummy hurts" and he still hadn't pooped. So I whisked him onto the potty and I sat on the floor and I waited. I told him to try and then I grunted. So he laughed and grunted too. So then I said, no, try with your bottom. And low and behold we had poopy in the potty.

We celebrated. There was clapping and cheering. Both of the older kids came to see and then congratulated him. Then we had M&Ms. The whole time reinforcing that pooping in the potty equals candy.

Well, now he is tooling around his room an hour past bedtime. He won't sleep. Perhaps we need to do candy earlier in the day.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Knock Knock

William has been attending preschool for about 6 weeks now. He is loving it. And I am shocked about how much he has grown and learned in those few weeks. After all, he is only at school on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. At 18-months old he had absolutely no words, only noises; a car noise, uh-oh, and a few others. I hadn't even heard him say 'mama' yet. But here it is 6 months later and we have reached the will-he-ever-be-quiet phase.

He has accomplished his first real joke. And not the put-a-toy-on-my-head-and-call-it-a-hat joke. Nope, this is a mutli--step joke with variations.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Hanging Tough

Last night we had a girl's night out at the New Kids on the Block concert. It was fabulous. I am in no way saying the lyrics are well written or they are fabulous artists. Nope. It was fabulous being surrounded by 20,000 thirty-something women dressed in jeans and sensible shoes hiding their mommy-bellies. It was fabulous pretending to be 12 years old again and trying to figure out what love was about, with our only guide NKOTB. I remember listening to the hokey songs and swooning and thinking that was what love was really like. Joey McIntire was my first celebrity crush. It was just so much fun to travel down memory lane, bad P.E. clothes, awkward middle school dances in the dark smelly gym at 4 in the afternoon.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Walk to School Day

Today is National Walk to School Day and October is Walk to School Month. I was talking with friends about whether or not they would be walking to school today. With guilt I told them that although we live 4 blocks from the school I would be driving Lainy Ann because afterwards I drop the boys at preschool, which is about 1 mile away. Its still walkable, but its down a hill and quite frankly, I'm lazy.

It would just figure that today our local freeway was closed down for police activity. We live in a small town within 20 minutes of downtown LA. We don't have traffic. Well, we do, but it is associated with the drop-off and pick-up lane at the school, not rush hour. But we have tens of thousands of people living in our town and even more in the surrounding areas. There are two ways into and out of our town; and one was closed. So that meant that EVERY side street was gridlock.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

S-O-C-R

Connor is in Pre-k this year. He has been asking me to teach him to read for nearly 12 months now. Last year we made the tough decision to put him in pre-k 5 days a week. In the 3 weeks he has been attending school the printing of his name has improved greatly. And today he spelled the word 'soccer'; s-o-c-r.

I'm so proud of my baby, um . . . big boy. His teacher compliments me daily on how polite and well-behaved he is. Today he was able to get a treat from the treasure box; a blue match box car. And most morning and evenings he is pestering me to do his homework. I'm really proud of him.

He has even been trying to help Lainy Ann behave in school. On our short drive to school he reminds her how to sit quietly in school. Its so cute to watch the little brother take care of the big sister.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Looks of Grief

Now I know why people leave the grieving alone. Sure, the first few days, even the first week, there are phone calls, visitors, flowers, meals, and cards. Then after the funeral you are left alone with your thoughts. Those horrible thoughts of what-if and why-me. Its been three years since I lost our sons and just a few people remembered and mentioned it to me. It makes me eternally sad that my sons short time on earth has been forgotten.

But today I visited a stranger, yet a sister in grief. Someone at our preschool lost her 11-day old daughter. I decided to visit her, bring her family a meal, make her life just a little easier. I knocked on the door and explained myself. She and her husband were very grateful. But the pain in her face just tore me apart. It was shocking how she could be so appreciative and devestated at the same time.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Teething, First Grade-Style

Driving home from school today I nearly crashed the car. Lainy Ann said something so startling, something I was totally unprepared to hear, something that caused me to jerk the steering wheel. Fortunately we were on a small side street with no cars parked on the street because I swerved into the oncoming lane.

Lainy Ann has her first loose tooth. Now, since this is a blog and you can't see the expression on my face, let me tell you that I almost started crying. In fact, typing this blog is causing tears to well up again. News of this loose tooth made me forget that she had an extraordinarily bad day at school and that we are supposed to have a serious talk with consequences today. I was planning on sending her to her room, maybe even writing a letter to her teacher, and starting a new system with her to ensure she gets "green days" instead of the "yellow days" she has had for the last 3 days in a row.

But news of this loose tooth mean a whole new milestone for my baby girl. One I was totally unprepared for.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Throw Money at It

Our baby gear lasted through 3 children. I'm actually impressed we got so much use out of it. But this time around Alexander is getting all new stuff. Last night he got his new swing; Fisher-Price Rainforest swing.

Now the main reasons for this purchase was because he isn't sleeping very long at night, when he previously was, and he is using me as his pacifier. So, the way I solve all my problems as a good consumer should, I threw money at the problem. I bought 4 different brands of pacifier and a new swing. I also couldn't wait for Caskey to get home to put the swing together, so after the big kids were in bed Alexander 'helped' me assemble it. I was very excited for him to try it out. I put him in the swing and he started grinning and laughing. So I called Caskey on the phone to tell him about how much Alexander liked the new swing. Well, Alexander started 'talking' to his animal friends on the swing. Even Caskey could hear him through the phone cooing and aahing.

*sigh* I would buy him a new toy everyday if he would get that excited about them. Oh, and it didn't help him sleep longer. LOL

Monday, September 22, 2008

3 Years, My Sons

I don't normally do diary type entries that just repeat the day. I prefer my entries to be stories rather than a report. Even so, I have been sitting on this entry for 2 weeks now. I wanted to post something, but I couldn't think of anything to say. So please excuse my ramblings.

First, I want to say Thank You. I have belonged to message boards for nearly 4 years now. But it was when I lost the boys that I really needed the support and camaraderie of ladies who said good-bye to their children too soon. Once my eyes cleared and I could see past my grief I realized that these women could provide other support; I could complain about things in my life without hurting people's feelings, get great tips on healthy meals, and laugh about a new joke on the internet.

Equal Opportunity Neglect

Each year from September 14 - September 22 I grieve. I shop for nothing, mope about everything and spontaneously cry. I generally feel sorry for myself, for our family and dwell on what could have been.

But here it is three years later and I didn't do that. I planned ahead and gathered the supplies needed for the mommy-loss boxes, so there wasn't much shopping to do. Instead we spent the week potty training, adjusting to a new job for Caskey, and visiting with my sister who surprised us by flying into town. In between all of that we had the new baby to contend with and the daily chores for a family of 6. There was little time to sit and rest much less grieve.

So, today I am feeling guilty. Since I didn't get to raise them and spend hours and years focusing on them I give them this one week, and I just cheated them out of it. I called the church to make sure Mass was being said for them, we planned on going. I spent an hour and a half getting us out of the house - too bad we were 30 minutes late, so we skipped church.

I guess this is the first time they have been treated like living children. They have been neglected just like the other four. Lainy Ann has been doing her homework by herself, all the kids dress themselves, William is even pottying on his own, and I'm sure Alexander will tell you he has to cry for his food.

They weren't forgotten. I could never forget the 18-weeks I had with them. Nor will I ever forget that I won't have them for the rest of my life. But this year they were neglected. And for that I feel guilty.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

S'mores for Breakfast; Cake for Dinner

Happy Birthday, Connor!! Today he is four years old. It seems so grown up today, but in a few years four-years-old will seem so little.

He has really shown how grown up he has become in the last few weeks. He has been helping out William and playing with him, even taking care of him. And the love he shows for Alexander is amazing. He is always asking to hold him or rub his soft head. I wonder if he will be my babysitter. Often times out of the blue he will say "I love Alexander" or "I love you, Mommy."

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Where's the Baby?

Now that Alexander is 4 weeks old I am having him lay on the floor so he can practice rolling over. Spending too much time in the bouncy just doesn't promote that kind of movement. If I am going to be gone from the room for a long period of time I BUCKLE him into the bouncy, because as I recall Lainy Ann once dragged Connor half out of the bouncy. I don't know what she was going to do with him, but Connor was so well behaved. Just laying there, feet on the floor and all contorted.

Well, I still have occasion to leave the room for a second or two; fill a glass of water, get the kiddos a snack, grab a diaper, etc. Twice now I have come back to the living room to an empty blanket where Alexander should be. Twice now I have found him UNDER the coffee table. UNDER THE COFFEE TABLE?!?!?!?!? Why??!?!? Well, ask William, not me. He seems to think that Alexander belongs under the coffee table. Oh, and I don't know how he gets there; if William picks him up, drags him, or rolls him. But I do know that he will be a great little brother because he just lays there quietly until I find him.

Maybe William and I are playing hide-and-go-seek . . . . . .

Saturday, September 6, 2008

I Do Not Like Green Eggs & Ham

Today was the morning we were going to make green eggs and ham (did I mention the ham had to be green too?). In the afternoon we were going to make fresh lemonade too. It would be a fun day of cooking with the kids.

As I was told yesterday the eggs were not to be scrambled. They had to be "pancakes on the bottom and mountains on the top". So I went hunting for a recipe. Green scrambled eggs would be easy, but I wasn't sure if the egg yolk would take the food coloring. I found numerous recipes for green eggs and ham, but most either made scrambled eggs, or some sort of omelet with spinach on top. I finally found a recipe for eggs over-easy. It required twice as many steps and dishes as simpled scrambled eggs would.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Funnies

Connor has been really enthralled with Dr. Seuss's "Green Eggs and Ham". We have the book on CD and at least once a day he puts the CD in and 'reads' his book. He has discovered that we have multiple copies of the book and has spent time collecting them all.

We went to the store together on Wednesday. As we pass by the lunch meats he screams, "HAM!! We need HAM!" he further explains that he wants me to make green eggs and ham. I agreed and we found the proper ingredients, thinking I could make green scrambled eggs. On the way home he says, "the eggs are scrambled, mommy."

Me: Oh. How do we make them?
C: They are flat like pancakes on the bottom
Me: Okay
C: And mountains on the top
C: Oh and the ham is green too.
Me: Sounds good.
C: Well, I will just show you the book when I get home.

Of course I have to see the book. He wants to make sure I do it right. I'm so pleased we have a family of perfectionists.


Lainy Ann was telling me about school.
She said, "We did easy work in our workbook today."
me: You sound angry about that.
LA: YES!
me: What's wrong.
LA: I don't want to do EASY work. I want to do HARD work. (exasperated)
me: Did you tell your teacher that? (I really hope she didn't, especially not angrily)
LA: YES!

Uh oh. I guess I have explaining to do at Back to School Night.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

By-e

Today was the first day of school for the three big kids. Lainy Ann started at the public school; 1st grade! Connor is in pre-k in the 'big school' at our preschool and William is starting in the potty-training class. It was quite an effort to get all 6 of us dressed, breakfasted, and out of the house. We had a lot of 'gear' too - backpacks, lunch boxes, blankets, emergency forms, and pumpkin muffins for the teachers. Yup. I'm a suck up. :-)

Lainy Ann already has a friend in her class. They both went to the same Kindergarten last year. Her teacher seems very nice and is strict and a control freak. A woman after my own heart. The boys had a great time seeing her off to class. I got a wave and a "bye mom". No hugs, no tears. She is such a big girl.

Then we were off to the preschool. Connor was dropped off first and thrilled when he found 3 of his friends in the same classroom as him. He quickly started visiting with his friends and then it was time to line up to play outside. Only at the teacher's insistence did we get a hug goodbye.

William wasn't actually supposed to start school today since he is a MWF child. We were just going to drop off his supplies and forms and visit with his class again. The goal was to make his first day of school easier with fewer tears. Well, he ran away from me and was on the playground in a moment. As I was talking to his teacher I hear him yelling, "by-e, by-e". He was done with us. No tears, no hugs. We ended up leaving him at preschool for about an hour while we attended a PTA meeting at the public school.

I am no longer needed. I have raised my kids to the point that I am out of a job. William reinforces this daily, especially now that he likes to 'cook'. He has been microwaving stuff like crazy; crackers, cheese, a marker. Maybe I should polish my resume.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Bye-Bye Umbilical Cord

Yesterday two exciting things happened to Alexander. He didn't think they were very exciting. He just cooed and went back to sleep. But they were big milestones for him. We got size 1 diapers in the mail yesterday. He has been overflowing his newborn diapers and they were getting tight on his thighs. But the size one diapers reach up to his rib cage. I know he will grow into them, but it is quite a size difference. And his umbilical cord fell off. Well, I think I accidentally pulled it off. I was holding him in one arm while preparing a snack for the other three kids.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

"A Pair of Shoes"

I am wearing a pair of shoes.
They are ugly shoes.
Uncomfortable shoes.
I hate my shoes.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

new pics

My internet buddy, Alicia, holding Alexander.

ADF

Alexander 3 weeks old, enjoying McD's
baptism invite

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Juggling 4 kids

William has discovered one of the bigger perks of having a younger sibling - mom is highly distracted. In the last two days he has helped himself to a box of See's Candy, a can of Cherry Pepsi, and drank a bottle of pancake syrup. Lets not mention the numerous granola bars and fruit leathers he has opened on his own accord. Oh, and he has been emptying cupboards as well. Later in the day he was running laps in the house and making car noises. I guess he had some excess energy.

So while I cleaned up his 'syrup drink' I gave Connor a job; take some pictures of freshly bathed Alexander. Here are the results:

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Visiting Hours

Early Saturday morning Caskey packed up the three kids to come visit Alexander and I in the hospital. They showed up with McDonald's in hand which I was very thankful for. I had a few issues with getting my meals in the hospital. Connor was so excited to meet Alexander and he keeps going on about having a new brother. Then it was time to explore the hospital room and look out the window. William ended up at the sink playing with the foot pedals and watching the water turn on. Connor cuddled on my lap and watched Saturday morning cartoons. Lainy Ann announced to Caskey, "I bet I can hop on one foot all the way across the room and back before you count to 100".

It was such a perfect picture of our family; William figuring out how the world works, Connor taking the opportunity to cuddle, and Lainy Ann finding something active to do. Its just amazing to me how different we all are, yet we are still a family.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Alexander Francis

I have always said that the kids show their true personality as early as labor and delivery. Lainy Ann was vacuumed out after 3 hours of hard pushing, today she is still that stubborn. Connor fell out and the doctor had to rush over without gloves on to catch him, today he is our easiest going child. William was "evicted" and then didn't speak on schedule and still today marches to his own drummer.

I was starting to get sad on Thursday evening because by inducing baby #4 it would mean that I have never gone into labor. My water broke with Lainy Ann and Connor, and then I was induced with William. I would never get to experience the contractions getting stronger and closer together. But because of my medical history it was still a good idea to induce #4.

So I spent all day Thursday in a mad frenzy picking up toys and cleaning each room of the house, then when that was done I picked up the front yard and the back yard. And since the kids were such good helpers we went to Chuck E Cheese. nesting xtreme

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Nesting - STILL!

Poor Caskey. After remodeling the entire kitchen he is still having to put up with me. This time it was to finish a quilt for our new nephew. As is the rule when finishing any sewing project, when you have only 5 inches left to sew the machines invariably breaks, runs out of thread or jams. And it happened three times. Then I ended up washing it twice and redoing the entire binding. But its done and in the mail. I am so happy about it too - because I had the fabric picked out months ago. His daddy is a huge Chicago Bears fan, so I hope they like it.

Matt Jr Quilt

Princess Droppings

This summer has been rough since we all have been home and out of preschool in a too-small house with a too-cranky mommy. The kids are starting to outgrow naps, but I desperately still need one. Also, if the older kids make too much noise then William will never get to sleep. So we still enforce nap time. Although, to ensure everyone actually sleeps/rests Lainy Ann, the princess, ends up in my bedroom, which is isolated from the rest of the house. She is free to count to 300, sing, read, and make whatever noise is necessary for her to rest or even fall asleep. We have a small box of toys and books in the bedroom so she can keep entertained. Its mostly miscellaneous stuff like ribbons, a tiara, 10 legos, a pair of binoculars, 3 Little People, etc. She does a pretty good job of staying quiet and busy so the rest of us can nap. It has been working out for the most part. But when nap time is over she hightails it out of there and leaves the debris all over my bed. So each night before I can go to sleep I must clean up her highnesses mess. I collect all the books and stack them, they have usually been organized by size or color. I end up hunting for other princess droppings; barrettes under the pillows, a tiara wrapped in the sheets, and ribbons hung all over the bed. Just last night I reached under the pillows to find a handful of miniature satin roses.

Monday, August 4, 2008

I'm Alright

My kids are singers. They love it when I turn up the volume of their favorite songs in the car and they can just sing along. Caskey says they take after their mommy. Their favorite songs are "Manic Monday" and "Hit the Road Jack". I made a special mix CD just for them with all sorts of upbeat non-kid songs including, "Yellow Polkadot Bikini", "Yellow Submarine", "Purple People Eater", and "Sugar". It is definitely one of my favorite CDs to have on in the car and the kids are really enjoying it too.

Last Friday we were in the car and a great loud upbeat song came on the radio, "I'm Alright" by Jo Dee Messina. I turned up the volume and sang at the top of my lungs all the way down the freeway. It was such a beautiful day and my kids and I were going on a playdate. The summer has been mild here, humid, but mild and we are very lucky.

Get out!

I'm beginning to see a pattern. My first two children are fast friends and just 18 months apart. They both came tearing into this world early (38 and 37 weeks) when my water broke. William worried me to death his entire pregnancy. Most of that was my emotional status, but at 39 weeks on the dot we induced him after several days of kick-count scares. Even after starting medication he didn't arrive for 29 hours. His personality shown through at his delivery and now he is just as worrisome and stubborn. Now here I am 39 weeks pregnant. Dr. Chan says this baby isn't coming any time soon. WHAT?!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

TWO!

William is two years old today. We have been so busy that I haven't had time to get nostalgic and weepy. And quite frankly I'm excited about what 'two' means. First off he will get to start preschool in the fall. Something he desperately wants to do, at least that's what I figure since I spent the last few weeks of school carrying him kicking and screaming to the car. And when we are at home he confiscates the kids empty lunch boxes and puts things in them and carries them around the house. He is ready. W bday dinner

William at two is very different, yet very similar to the older kids at two. He still isn't talking tons, but he has making huge strides lately. His latest words are; Grandma (d-ma), cool, milk, woohoo, baby (ba-de), and cheese. Now he is learning how to use a sentence. His most common sentences is "I want more eat please".

Monday, July 28, 2008

Baby = Kryptonite

My best friend had her baby girl about 3 days ago. Our big plan for the summer was to hang out at my house so the kids had playmates and the moms had someone to help and chat with. Its been a lot of fun. Even more fun now that there is a newborn in the home.

I'm sure I have mentioned that I am very pregnant. Nevertheless, holding her tiny infant still gives me baby-fever. How is it that I have baby-fever just holding someones newborn. I certainly can't get pregnant and have another child since I am already pregnant. In fact, I will be having my own newborn in a few short weeks.

So my friend tells me that the baby is up all night, gassy and has to be switched to soy formula. I groan thinking about all those new baby things that are so draining. But then the baby fusses. I hold her tiny pink body and she cuddles against me. *sigh* She is so sweet. My heart melts. The baby-fever sets in again. Babies are my weakness as kryptonite is to Superman.

Happy Birthday Boys!

connor bday

For the first time we had a birthday party outside our home. Usually we have home parties where I clean like crazy for two weeks, spend the entire morning of the party haranguing my husband to finish up the last few items on the list (paint the house, build a hand-rail, re-landscape the yard, etc). I end up exhausted at the party trying to remember what everyone needs, prepare food, find extra napkins, clean up spills, and take pictures. I end up having dozens of interrupted conversations with our friends as I greet another guest or start the next craft project.

kids bday 2

Inductions for Society

I used to think that ladies who were induced prior to 40 weeks for non-medical reasons couldn't "hack it". That somehow they were getting off easy by only being pregnant for 38 weeks.

But after a trip to Costco today I realized that OBs who induce are doing society a favor. They are taking cranky pregnant women off the streets and making society a better place to live.

Friday, July 18, 2008

A Conflicting Message

A tirade at bedtime tonight from Lainy Ann:

LA: "I hate you. You are a mean meanie! Its so unfair (that she has to sleep in my bed because she was talking with Connor). I'm never going to sleep. I'm going to use all your pillows and never give them back again."

Me: "Do you want a kiss?"

LA: "well, yes." "But you are the meanest mommy ever!"


LOL

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Child Proof Gate STILL not Child Proof

William showed signs of being ready to sleep in a big boy bed many months ago, April to be exact. But we were scheduled to go on vacation to Georgia and I didn't want to transition him to a bed, back to a crib for the trip, and then back to a bed when we got home. Then in May we moved into my mother's house for 2 weeks. I couldn't have him wandering around the house at night, especially since he learned to unlock and open the door after just two days there, so into a playpen/crib he stayed.

I Have a Problem

My problem will only be cured by having a baby girl in six short weeks. I have had my share of boys, four in a row to be exact. I have girl's names bubbling up in my dreams. I can't wait to buy pink and frilly again. This problem has existed for two years now. When baby Madelynn was born I lived vicariously through my best friend. I shopped sale racks and bought her new clothes whenever there was a 'deal' I couldn't pass up. At least that's what I told her mother. The truth is that whenever I felt the need to buy girl clothes I would find something adorable that I would love I bought it. Sometimes I would buy it in several sizes.

Monday, June 30, 2008

I'm baking

I am currently baking puff pastries from Trader Joes in the middle of the morning when it will be near 90 degrees this afternoon. Ordinarily I would never even turn my oven on if it was going to be over 80 degrees. But we have been without a good oven for months. The last several months my oven has baked the food leaving the top undercooked or burning the bottom. Try making a birthday cake under those circumstances. I almost bought Lainy Ann a birthday cake this year.

But here I sit waiting 22 minutes for my snack. I can't really smell them as they are cooking because of the industrial smell in the house. But I'm not alarmed because its common for a brand new oven to give off a scent like that. That's right. I have a BRAND NEW RANGE. I'm so excited.

This whole process was decided in a few days time, almost impulsively. We have been talking about remodeling the kitchen since the day we moved it. But as the refrigerator started to hum strangely and give off an odor we knew the time was coming near. The oven was the next to go. It just made sense to replace the worn flooring, apartment style cabinets, and cracked counter tops.

We checked pricing, schedules and calendars and made the scary decision to order the cabinets. We decided to save time and money by Caskey doing most of the work. The work he wasn't able to do we were able to hire or ask friends to help.

Three weeks ago the kids and I moved into my mother's home for 2 weeks. Mostly because everything from the kitchen had to be stored in the living room. We had already been storing the cabinets in the kids bedrooms. But having a small pathway from the front door to the kitchen wasn't going to work for the whole family. Poor Caskey was left behind to do all the hard work.

This isn't an accurate photo of the entire kitchen because the fridge and breakfast bar aren't in the picture.

Before demolition
kitchen before

kitchen cabinets

almost done kitchen

kitchen almost done

kitchen paint

C painting K

Friday, June 27, 2008

Boring

July 2015 I'm going on vacation. It may be a permanent vacation. It will definitely be an extended vacation and I am likely going alone.

The last two days have given me a glimpse into the preteen girl years ahead of us. First she came home from YMCA Summer Camp wearing nail polish. Something that is not allowed in our home at the young age of five. So we had to have a long talk about age appropriate behavior and how she can still be pretty and have pretty things that are for children and that nail polish was for grown up kids. Then she sobbed while I removed her nail polish. I explained to her that she wasn't in trouble, but she was sad nonetheless. She then went up into her bunk bed and cried, no, sobbed, for 20 minutes. Connor was introduced to his moody sister and didn't understand why she was ignoring him and being mean. She finally stopped crying long enough to say she wanted to go straight to bed.

10 loads

I got a new Washer and Dryer on Wednesday at 3 pm. Today is Friday. We have had it less than 48 hours and have already completed 10 loads of laundry. Can you believe it?! If anyone is a candidate for two sets of washers and dryers it is definitely our family. I haven't even used the steam, delicate or kids wear features yet.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I'm Ready, Almost

In May we started getting ready, well, actually March. We ordered all the cabinets, picked out flooring and countertops. In April we ordered new appliances and in May I moved into my mother's house. The kitchen is nearly done, sort of. But it is functional and I'm able to cook for the family. The kids love the new open space and I love that they can get their own snacks and drinks of water. Its working out really well for us.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Thelma and Louise/Lucy and Ethel

That's what Caskey calls us. I call her my best friend. I truly cannot live without her in my daily life. We make at least 4 phone calls a day to each other, each one interrupted with a string of "can't you see I'm on the phone, don't hit your sister, yes you have to eat ALL of your dinner" and various other motherly sayings. But in between all that parenting we triumph in each other's successes, give advice when we have problems, and become angered and hurt for the other on bad days. We talk about everything, well almost everything, some things are better left between husband and wife. And we know that each of us tells our husbands everything. Regardless of how important we are in each other's lives, our husbands come first. In fact, half of our phone calls end in, "My husband is home/just called I have to go". The other half end in "Oh no, what happened, (to a child) I have to go."

Thank You, Baskin Robbins

Well, its been a rough few weeks. When I read back on this blog in a few weeks I will think it was silly for even posting it, because the reality is I am very lucky. Our family is happy and healthy. Caskey is on break for the summer. We don't have the catastrophic worries of the people in the midwest. Caskey's job is safe. We are very fortunate.

But sometimes the little things get to you. To start off I am now 33 weeks pregnant. It still a while until I give birth, but saying I am 'uncomfortable' is no longer accurate. Its more like something hurts no matter what I do. My hips are starting to give out, after a nice nap by back hurts, its takes me several minutes to go from sitting to standing which is putting a real damper on dashing after William when he is getting into things, oh, and I am having a hard time breathing. Pregnancy symptoms alone are making me cranky.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Hunters and Gatherers

I am just shocked time and time again the innate differences between boys and girls. I have heard the argument of nature versus nurture and long, long ago before I had children I really believed it was the fault of mothers who gave their daughters dolls and fathers who played trucks with sons.

Now I know differently. And once again my children taught me how their personalities and differences were there on the day they were born. No amount of dolls or trucks would have changed their nature.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Graduation Etiquette

Today we were seated in the cheerleader section at graduation. The boys seated in front of us yelled, "Yay" and hollered out their siblings names through out the entire ceremony. At any other event this would be mildly annoying as you sat through the numerous speakers and countless graduates. But this event only lasted 20 minutes and the graduates numbered 14. But they were the bet Kindergarten graduates ever (well, until Connor, William and baby #4 graduate). The boys sitting in front of us are three years old and all attend the same preschool class. They are fast-friends as are the older siblings. Normally the hooting and hollering would annoy, but not this time. It was adorable to listen to these boys, so infatuated and proud. And they equally supported each child. Connor hooted and hollered for the other siblings, as they other boys yelled and cheered on Lainy Ann.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Spacing Children

Every once in a while I am left alone with just Lainy Ann and William. This time it was because Connor and Daddy had a boy errand to do; going to the auto parts store. (I'm still not sure what they plan on spray painting black . . . . . )

I just finished the bedtime routine. It was a piece of cake. I can't believe how easy it was. Lainy Ann can do almost everything herself and by the time she was done with her shower William was tucked into bed. Now she is sitting (semi) quietly doing her homework by herself.

Now I understand why most people have three years between their kids. Do you think I can keep this baby in for another 12 months?

My Funny Guy(s)

We bought a few new things at Target yesterday; boring stuff, jammies, underwear, swim trunks, swim suits, normal stuff. Last night while I was tucking the kids into bed Lainy Ann was exclaiming about how much she liked her new jammies.

LA: "And they don't have sleeves, mommy!"
Me: "Wow. I am glad you like them."
Connor: "Mommy, my underwear doesn't have sleeves either." As he dissolved into giggles.

He then repeated his 'punch-line' several times to make sure I heard his funny joke. I gave him a half-hearted laugh and tucked them both into bed.

Later that night as I relayed the conversation to Caskey I had de-ja-vue as he guffawed at his son's cleverness. There is no doubt who Connor resembles.

Monday, June 2, 2008

"Prince and Princess"

The kids have been playing a new game the last few days "Prince and Princess". It appears to be a royal version of 'house'. Lainy Ann is the princess (of course), Connor is the prince, and William is the cat (at least they are including him).

Connor has to go to work. He gets on the trike and rides a little ways off from their 'home'. Lainy Ann yells at him, "Where are you going?" He yells back, annoyed, "TO WORK!" She responds, "But you aren't going anywhere?!" Connor, still angry, "I'm stuck in traffic". It is definitely a classic game of 'house'.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Car seat safety

I'm a fanatic when it comes to child safety. And even worse when it comes to car seat safety. I just can't see any reason to have a young child, 3 years old and 30 pounds in a booster seat, especially when there are so many inexpensive choices available and the research is so clear. It has even been suggested that adults retrofit their cars so they can have a 5-point seatbelt, just like the race car drivers. Even airplane pilots use a 5-point seatbelt.

So when I see a child NOT in a seat it drives me absolutely insane. It child-abuse, plain and simple. An adult is making a choice of convenience that could kill a child.

Hot Shower

Caskey has been taking his EMT classes for the last several weeks. That has left me home alone Monday through Friday from 7 am until Midnight. I have been grabbing 5 minute showers while the kids are watching television and the 'climber' is buckled into his high chair.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A Mother's Day Message

Grab your tissue!
-----------

Being A Mom...
Anonymous


We are sitting at lunch one day when my daughter casually mentions that she and her husband are thinking of "starting a family." "We're taking a survey," she says half-joking. "Do you think I should have a baby?"

"It will change your life," I say, carefully keeping my tone neutral. "I know," she says, "no more sleeping in on weekends, no more spontaneous vacations."

But that is not what I meant at all. I look at my daughter, trying to decide what to tell her. I want her to know what she will never learn in childbirth classes. I want to tell her that the physical wounds of child bearing will heal, but becoming a mother will leave her with an emotional wound so raw that she will forever be vulnerable. I consider warning her that she will never again read a newspaper without asking, "What if that had been MY child?" That every plane crash, every house fire will haunt her. That when she sees pictures of starving children, she will wonder if anything could be worse than watching your child die.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Milestones I Didn't Count On

It seems Kindergarten has been a big year for Lainy Ann. Not only has she learned to read, do addition and subtraction, she has gotten her dental appliance removed and wears glasses in school. She just recently got a dramatic haircut too! But the next two months will have the scariest of milestones, for me; an alone playdate, Kindergarten graduation, and Summer Camp. This coming Saturday Lainy Ann has been invited to a birthday party. Unfortunately, Caskey and I have plans that evening as he is receiving an award in connection to his SELP degree. Our babysitter, Melanie, would be happy to take Lainy Ann, but as the previous blog states we don't have a car that will fit all the kids. So that meant finding someone else to take Lainy Ann to the party.

3 + 4 = 7

Its a simple number sentence and the result doesn't seem like a large number. But when you change the number sentence into a word problem the result seems much larger.

3 Cahills + 4 Dicksons = 7 children under 6 years old.

Seven children seems to overwhelming. Although, I only have true responsibility for 4 of them, the Cahill children will always be in my heart and thoughts (and even sometimes in my schedule). Just as my kids are often Melanie's responsibility as well. Melanie and I are such good friends that we spend several days a week together. At this point that is *only* 5 kids. I can't believe that 5 children seems like such a small number. In a few short months when we have dinner together or set out on an outing we will have 2 newborns, 2 toddlers (almost 2), 2 4-year-old boys, and a 5 year old girl.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

He Can't Talk, But

William is delayed in speech. At 18 months old he still wasn't babbling and had only said a few words spontaneously, but would not imitate any of our sounds or words. He was speaking at a 9 mo level. We contacted Lanterman Regional Center and set up the first of many assessments and began the journey into Early Intervention and speech therapy. I purchased books, talked to friends, and made many calls to our caseworker. I am now enrolled in a behavior workshop, have completed a complete hearing exam, and am awaiting a behavior assessment. I have also been told that the Regional Center will pay for preschool when he turns two and respite babysitting for any workshops I need to attend, up to 16 hours per month.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Constructor or Destructor

Connor is going through a 'building' phase. He is always making telescopes by rolling up paper or other things. However, he is usually ruining thing in the process, like when he rolls up the cover of a book, or today when he bent the tube part of our squirt bottle. Last week he was simply looking at a marble pastry board, he dropped it and it broke into two.

I am really happy that he wants to build and create, but why must he break things in order to do it.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Atlanta Zoo a Nice Surprise

I have to be perfectly honest. I was not looking forward to going to the Atlanta Zoo. I had heard that it wasn't that great, I looked online and found that it was significantly smaller than the LA Zoo, and it was about twice the price. Being pregnant it didn't seem like a fun way to spend the day; walking around seeing animals we have seen before to the tune of $18 for adults and $13 for kids. Especially since we have a pass to the LA Zoo.

William's Newest Skill

William has learned how to fake smile on demand. This is not a skill I am particularly pleased about, especially since we just had professional photos done and they almost all look like this. We are entering the next phase where good photos will be candids and professional photos will be fakes. *sigh* And we just finished this phase with Connor.

Snip, Snip and 5 years of Effort is Gone

About a year ago Lainy Ann started talking about how she had long, pretty, princess hair. She wanted to grow her hair long like a princess and never cut it. I started talking to her about one day cutting her hair and donating it to Locks of Love. I didn't have a preference of long or short hair on my daughter really, but I feel its important to teach children philanthrophy at a young age so it is always a part of who they are. We donate to goodwill, women's shelters, canned food drives and friends who are in a pinch. They are actively involved in that donation so they see it as part of our life and who we are.

My husband is WONDERFUL

My blog has been down for a few weeks. Thanks to those of you who noticed. :-) It was nice to get your emails. We were waiting on a new piece of server equipment. Our first new piece in nearly 10 years. In fact, most of the delay was the shipping process from Penguin. Well, the server arrived on Friday afternoon. The kids and I left for vacation on Saturday morning and by Sunday evening my blog was back up. He is such a great guy!!! He had to go to LMU to work, do whatever reformatting/uploading stuff required, and drive to the data center. And not a single blog was lost.

I love you, Caskey! You are the best tech guy ever.

Beating the System

Most airlines have a rule that says luggage can be no more than 50 lbs. However, each person is allowed to check 2 pieces of luggage. So when I flew to GA with my 3 ticketed kids I was allowed to have 8 pieces of luggage checked. Well, there was no way I was going to be able to manage 8 pieces of checked luggage, 4 carry-ons, and 3 kids. So I took our biggest suitcase on wheels, its about the size of Lainy Ann, and one small toiletry bag. I also checked 2 boosters. So in all I had 4 pieces to check, but only one suitcase. Well, if you shove clothes for 4 people for 5 days into it, plus diapers, blankets, loveys, and bottles it is bound to be over 50 lbs. 55 lbs to be exact. Well, I thought I would just pay the overage fee. Until I found out it was $80! For that price I could go buy a new cheapo bag from target and just check another bag (or two). We managed to move some things around and put some stuff in my mother's underweight bag.

But for our return flight we beat the system. We went to the post office on Thursday morning and paid for a first class express mail box for $13. I stuffed it full of coloring books, board books, and 2 lbs of pancake mix from Cracker Barrel (YUM). It was just enough weight that all of our bags were under 50 lbs and I received the package on Saturday. It was great. The kids didn't notice that they were missing about 15 books and we were able to say under that magic 50 lb number.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Survey

I came across this survey and article in one of my support groups. Grab your kleenex though. This isn't for the faint of heart.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Pine Mountain, GA

We decided to visit the Wild Animal Safari in Pine Mountain, GA today. I had heard about it online and it seemed like it would be a great rainy day activity since you could stay in your car and drive around.

We decided to rent their zebra van for about $11. I was hesitant to rent it since it meant my three kids wouldn't be in car seats and I'm a bit of a car seat freak. But we had 4 adults and three kids, so plenty of hands available to help the little ones (5, 3, and 20 mo). I was concerned that the youngest would be afraid of the animals so we sat in the back in the middle of the seat, far away from the windows.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Back Scalpel

The thing I most remember the ER nurse telling us (oh, and great bed-side manner, by the way) was that taking the stitches out will probably hurt more than putting them in. Fortunately, Connor either didn't hear him or forgot he said it. But it has been weighing on my mind for the last 9 days. When I haven't been worried about him falling on the asphalt and ripping his lip open again, trying to dissuade him from salty fries or ketchup I have been worried about getting his stitches out.

Monday, March 17, 2008

We Are Potty Training

At least this time around its a tad more convenient. Connor decided to potty train when William was 3 months old. I can't tell you how many times he got ripped off the breast in mid-feed so I could run Connor to the potty. What a great introduction into the Dickson family.

William has been showing interest in the potty for a bit, so I did a ton of research looking for a small inexpensive potty for him. His legs are so short I figured there was no way he could climb on our toilet. We ran around to several stores before I finally gave in and ordered the Baby Bjorn Little Potty online. I spent as much on shipping as I did on the potty, almost.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Growing Up

I don't know if I like this new stage Lainy Ann is in. There have been lots of 'hard' stages in the last five years; being up all night when she was a baby, following her during the toddler years when she was making messes, potty training and then sending her off to school. But becoming independent has been really hard on us emotionally.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Gray Hair

I noticed a new gray hair today while I was in the bathroom at the ER today. It wasn't there yesterday. Do you want to know why it is there today?

I was napping in the bedroom when I hear Connor crying and Lainy Ann say, "You're bleeding from the mouth. Quick go see Daddy!" Caskey met Connor at the door and I was already on my way out of the bed when I am hearing exclamations like "Oh My God" and "LESLIE!"



Connor's upper and lower lip were lacerated. Cut isn't even an accurate representation. It looked like someone had taken a razor bladed and sliced his lips wide open. There was no doubt it was an emergency room visit. The only question was who was going and what toys to take with us. But how did he sustain such an injury? Lainy Ann answered that question for us, "I threw a rock at him." I was envisioning a hand sized rock, but the cut was so severe that I was sure she mistaken and she had thrown a piece of glass or metal at him. A few simple words and Lainy Ann knew she shouldn't be asking questions, "Go get the rock."

This was more of a brick, it was larger than a softball. When we told the ER staff about the size of the rock they were shocked that a 5 year old would be able to throw a rock of that size. Even when I explained that she is the size of an average 7 or 8 year old they were amazed.




The ER visit went well and the staff was amazed at how calm Connor was. After he received the numbing shots he laid very still, bundled up, and closed his eyes, to avoid the bright light. At times I thought he had fallen asleep or passed out. He was SO still. And then when the PA started the stitch that would go just inside his bottom lip he opened his mouth wide so she would have better access. I was incredibly proud of his calm demeanor and helpfulness. It is truly in his nature to behave that way. This is not to say he didn't cry. The numbing shot was incredibly painful and he got about 8 injections. He screamed through the last two stitches saying, 'mommy'. But it could have been much worse.




In all he has 11 stitches in both his upper and bottom lip. The upper lip has a 2-level stitch. His lips are huge and purple and eating is very difficult. But he got a new electronic football game from the ER staff to reward him for his good behavior. That seems to be all he remembers since when he greeted Papa he first showed off his new toy and Spiderman sticker. Oh, and the 'treats' of Jello, yogurt, ice cream, and applesauce for the rest of the day are keeping him in good spirits as well.

Lainy Ann is in big trouble to say the least. She has had her swing taken away (from the swing set), she had to help clean up all the blood, she has to carry the rock for the remainder of the day (to remind her of what she did to Connor), and she had her bed canopy removed. We just peeked on her after lunch time and she has fallen asleep with the rock on her chest. Sadly, when we ask her why she is crying she tells us she misses her swing. We are hoping to teach her empathy and cause and effect. She truly hurt her brother today in an unprovoked action. She knows well enough not to throw rocks.




It has been a draining day an I'm not sure which is worse; comforting the injured child or teaching the attacker a lesson about hurting people. When someone hurts your child you want to lash out and protect them, even if it means hurting the attacker. Well, in this case its impossible. I want to protect them both. I don't want to punish Lainy Ann, but I don't want her to hurt another child either. I really wish she had just broken a window.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

YMCA and The Little Gym

We have spent the last several months attending The Little Gym in La Canada. Prior to that we spent several years attending the YMCA in La Canada. Now why can't I meld them together to make the perfect place for my kids?


The Little Gym

Pros:
Well-trained, friendly, caring staff
Clean, neat and tidy
Thorough lessons with instructors that know how to teach and encourage children of all ages
Efficient use of time, children are never waiting around and classes are not cut short

Cons:
Not many morning offerings
There isn't an adequate area for siblings to wait
Expensive (about $20/class)
Classes are once a week
Few options for 3 year old boys
Huge classes (10-20 kids)

A Bunch of Comedians

They all have a sense of humor. Every single one of them. Now William is telling his own jokes. He often takes his pacifier and sticks it in his ear until I laugh. Or he will put it in my ear. Then yesterday in the car he took his shoes and socks off (his new favorite car activity) and put a dixie cup on his foot instead.

Of course no joke isn't complete without the laugh, so he continues to "aaaaaaahhhh" until we laugh or praise him appropriately. He is quite the ham.

A few weeks ago he emptied the laundry basket, climbed inside and yelled for Caskey to show off his accomplishment. Just now he climbed up the ladder in the castle and hollered until I came to see how high he had climbed.

I am continually amazed how different they all are, yet at the same time, how similar.

Sears Home Repair Customer Service Sucks

It started nearly a month ago now. My Kenmore Elite dishwasher started leaving soap residue on all the dishes. I had to rinse all dishes before using them. It was quite a hassle, but at least the dishes were still getting fairly clean. I called Sears Repair to come out and fix the dishwasher. I was given an appointment 2 weeks out.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Lainy Ann is 5

Lainy Ann has learned so much in the last year. Not only did she start Kindergarten this fall, but she is now reading fluently on level 1 and some level 2 books. I think the birthday party activities are the biggest indicator of her growth this year.

This year we invited *her* friends from school, not just family friends. She chose the theme, flowers, and helped us get ready by running errands with me, taking stickers off of party favors and taking things out of packages. She helped frost the cupcakes and even chose her own party dress. She has become very independent and I am incredibly proud of that.

After her party, which was books only for gifts, she opened and read every single card out loud and by herself. I'm so proud. She opened the gifts and read me the book titles so we had a record of her gifts. The following day she buckled down and wrote half of her thank you cards. I wrote the sample for her and she wrote the cards.

Dear ________,
Thank you for my present. I really like books. They are my favorite.
Love, Lainy Ann

Monday, February 25, 2008

Tears

It was one of those days. The one that every mother has, but only complains about to her best friend. The stress was getting to me, I had 'lost' Lainy Ann at the store, and everyone was cranky. By mid-afternoon I started to cry because the toy vacuum was broken and hadn't been glued together, still.

I was so surprised to see my wonderful sweet boys try to fix mommy's tears. Connor stopped playing and ran off to the kid's craft drawer to get me Elmer's School glue. Then William gave me his blanket. Because when he is crying it helps him to feel better.

Immediately I did feel better. Both of my boys were trying their hardest to make my day easier. It brought a smile to my face. Just what I needed after a long day.

By the way, the vacuum is still broken.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Lainy Ann for President

If I were president I would take care of the whole world. I will send bad people to jail. I love the people who are good to me. I will give good people presents. I will give the kids toys. Written by Lainy Ann on February 20th, 2008, nearly five years old.

Quite frankly I think her stance is pretty similar to most of the democrats running for president. Please don't let her be a democrat. Oh, and she has a love for lobbyists and her supporters. Those are all common traits to have in a president.

Funny that a 5-year old is competitive with our current choices.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Rocks

The current trend is to invest in home wares that do double-duty. A microwave that will also roast a chicken, a toaster oven you can bake cookies in, or a washer that also steams your clothes. Well, I just discovered a second use for my older-model washing machine. ROCK POLISHER. And it does a pretty good job as I picked out 12 shiny smooth tiny rocks from the bottom of the machine this morning.

Thanks, Connor, for teaching me so many ways to use my washing machine.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

At The Car Wash

We woke up to a dreary day here in Sunny California. Its not all that cold to most of the country, but for us southerners its freezing. Today is overcast, drizzly and a freezing 48 degrees. Yup, go ahead and laugh now my family to the north! :-)

On top of all that we slept badly last night. I have a cold and feel worn down and the kids got up almost an hour early. Since putting them outside to play isn't an option I had to find a way to fill most of the morning and wear them out before an early nap, the nap I will be taking too.

As a special treat we went through drive-thru at McDs and then on to the drive-thru car wash. Lainy Ann was already at school, so I thought this would be a special treat for the boys. The bonus is that my car would be less dirty and I wouldn't have to take them out of the car.

I ask the gas station attendant if the car wash is open today. He laughs at me. He can't imagine why I want to wash my car. I'm tempted to say, "Hey! Its my car and my $8. Are you open or not?!" Instead I politely smile and say, well, its really dirty.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

One Cushion Left

I managed to salvage one couch cushion to sit on. The others have been confiscated by the boys. Yup. Plural. The boys are building a fort together, jumping on the cushions and otherwise being boys together. Its great to see them playing together (with a little mediation) and having a great time.

That last few weeks their relationship has really blossomed. William is coming into his own and asserts his independence by bonking Connor on the head. Connor is learning to treat him gently, sometimes. But they are able to play together now, instead of Connor complaining that William is bothering him.

In fact just this afternoon Connor got pretty mopey when William couldn't play with him outside.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Me Time

I would have to say this is the biggest hot topic for moms; just behind discipline and education. As mothers we are on duty 24-hours a day, 365 days a year. The stay-at-home-moms are jealous because their husbands get to leave the house each day use the bathroom in peace and have lunch with adults. I am green with envy that Caskey gets to sit in traffic for about 90-120 minutes each day and listen to whatever he wants; talk radio, his favorite station, anything but kids fighting or Laurie Berkner. I wish I had that kind of 'me time'.