Thursday, May 28, 2009

The 'Lasts'

This last month has been a busy one. And since my blog is down you all got spared the multitude of entries detailing these tiny accomplishments. As we near the end of the school year, and in our house, a bunch of summer birthdays I am reminded that although my kids are growing up and doing new things and having "firsts" that means they have had "lasts" too.

Alexander no longer does laps around the coffee table. A hundred times a day I would put toys on the coffee table just so he could cruise over to them and toss them to the floor. Round and round he would go, only left, around the coffee table. I could put things out of reach and not worry about him making a mess or hurting himself. But that is all over now. He has recently learned to crawl, roll over, get into a sitting position, pull to standing (sometimes), and flop down and crawl away from the coffee table. He still however, only cruises left. Now we are concerned with keeping doors and gates closed so he doesn't play in the toilet or fall down the stairs. I can't even remember the last time he only went left around the table . . . .

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Creative punishment

Lainy Ann and Connor got their very own scooters

So the kids have been riding their scooters in the driveway and street lately, but they will just drop them and leave them on the curb next to the street. These are razors. Some teenager will walk by and just swipe it. For 2 weeks we have been reminding them to put them away and often times putting them away myself.

On Saturday night they left them by the curb with their helmets - that's at least $150 of gear! Caskey "took" them and hid them in my car. It took 24 hours until they noticed they were gone. We let them stew for a bit and cry for a bit about them being "stolen", then we told them the truth. So their punishment is they have to do chores around the house to earn $5 to buy back their scooters.

They have already earned $1 after spending an hour helping me fold and put away 6 loads of laundry. They will spend the rest of the week earning a dime or a quarter at a time doing chores.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Smarty-Pants

If you peruse my blog you will see stories of my too-smart-for-their-britches kids. I love them to pieces, but their intelligence can be maddening sometimes. My husband likes to joke that with four kids in the family they will be able to out-smart me before I know it.

Well, it seems Alexander is taking after his siblings in the smarty-pants department. The other day I was putting a blanket over his head and playing peek-a-boo with him, but after about 3 turns I began talking with Caskey. Well, that wasn't good enough. He pulled the blanket over his own head and began to giggle. Sure enough, when I said "Where's Alexander?" he pulled the blanket down. We had to repeat the game several more times with him putting the blanket over his head.

He has also followed in William's footsteps and discovered how very yummy the power cord to my laptop is. William rusted out 2 power cords and my goal this time, aside from the obvious - to avoid electrocution - is to not have to buy a new one at all. He has started his mini-tantrums when we take the power cord or other deliciously dangerous item away from him. But now he is hiding his vice. I discovered him under the coffee table. He had pulled the cord under the table so he could suck on it in peace and out of sight. Now that I have secured the cord out of reach he is hiding under the table with other items. I have caught him with a rock, a pencil, and lots of carpet lint all in his mouth.

He is copying now too. If I jiggle him and sing and then stop, he will then bounce and babble. Its absolutely adorable. And I know that all other babies do the same thing. But this is my baby doing it. So I find it much much more adorable.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

My Last Domain

If you know me at all you know that I can be a little controlling. Nothing makes me happier than being in charge of my environment and "keeping house". Every time we stay at a hotel I spend the first 10 minutes rearranging things and sometimes furniture. Its really no wonder I became a teacher.

I promised myself that no matter what our bedroom would still remain a sanctuary. So I decorated our room with our prized possessions. Then we had Lainy Ann, she moved into our room - her clothes, her baby bathtub, her bassinet.

And so it went. We added baby gates, moved breakables up higher, moved the tupperware drawer lower, and baby locks on everything. Then we moved. I didn't even bother unpacking the breakables this time. Our bedroom became the storage room piled high with too-small clothes and a dusty bassinet. But at least my yard was still nice.

Then they got old enough to play outside by themselves. Once again I gave up. The kids had taken over my yard - but I was proud of them as they dug my boxes out of the trash and created robots and forts and dinosaurs. Most of the time my yard is trashed, literally. There are boxes and broken toys all over the yard and if I dare throw them away, well, you can imagine the uproar.

But this weekend I lost my last spot - my driveway. The kids spent the weekend dismantling our brick drainage system, you know, the one that keeps my garage from flooding, and rearranging the bricks as an obstacle course in the driveway for their scooters. They dug MORE boxes out of the trash and placed them strategically as well. I had to park on the street. At least the grass is green, somewhere under all that stuff.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Big Man

Mother's Day becomes so much more special when you are the mother. It got even better once the kids started school and I got popsicle stick picture frames and pasta necklaces and a bouquet of paper flowers. I even get to spend some one-on-one time celebrating with my child at the preschool. The last few years they have hosted a Mother's Day tea with mini muffins and apple juice in tiny cups. We sit in tiny chairs, make a craft, share a snack and take a pictures. We wear too-big hats and feather boas and have "tea". Its fun to play dress up with your child for a little bit.

This year the school hosted a Mother's Day shopping spree. We went to the 'food court' for our snack. In the pet store we glued paper fish onto paper fish bowls. At the show store we stuck jewels and buttons onto paper shoes. At the flower store we used dot markers to decorate our coffee-filter-flowers. And the jewelry store had all the supplies for beaded necklaces.

I try to do all the stations first with one child and then the other. After all, its the perfect opportunity to spend one-on-one time. Its at the preschool, so there are plenty of activities for the other child to do while he waits. First William and I visited all of our 'stores', took a picture and I opened my popsicle picture frame gift. I had asked Connor to play with his friends and wait for me. But when I got to his room to start shopping with him he looked at me like I had 2 heads.

Me: Okay Connor, Let's shop!
C: Now? (exasperated)
Me: yes! (excited to play with him)
C: really? (in a bored voice)
Me: well, not really. We are going to pretend shop at the preschool.
C: Do I have to?
I started to say no, but then I realized "Yes, you do"

So he hung in for barely 2 stores. He kept asking to go back and play with his friends. I can't believe he is growing up so quickly and loving his friends so much. My husband says its only a matter of time before its his girlfriend, instead of his friends, that are the priority. At least I still get to kiss and hug him in the morning, sometimes.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

6

My baby girl turned 6 this year and I failed to mark it with a blog post. So here it goes.

She has changed so much over the year. In the last 2 months especially. Recently she needed a pair of jeans for school, so she and I went shopping while the boys were in preschool. First I bought her her first pair of jeans in over 2 years. Then she asked me to buy her some summer shorts. I also bought her a bathing suit, her color choice was blue (not the usual everything-must-be-pink preference). After that we headed to drive-thru where she proclaimed she would want chicken nuggets, 6 of them, rather than her usual cheeseburger, no onions and no pickles.

Honestly, she is changing right before my eyes. And she is so responsible too. She got her own room in the last few months and I am letting her keep it the way she wants, as much as it pains me. She has her own organizational system and she will spend quite a bit of time rearranging her belongings.

She has taken charge of almost everything she does these days; showers, meals, choosing her clothing. She even does her homework by herself. She really doesn't need me much these days, but its nice that she still wants me around - sometimes.

She is doing fabulous in first grade, even after her rocky start. And as we near the end of the school year I am allowing her to start walking to school. I don't worry about someone stealing her. Because she is so opinionated that she wouldn't dare get into their car without a booster. I do worry about her being so busy thinking in her head that she will step in front of a car while crossing the street. So for now she only walks part way, no crossing the street. I am hoping that by September I will be able to help her cross the first street and she can walk the rest of the way by herself. She will be so pleased.

Caskey says we are throwing gasoline on a fire by giving her responsibilities. It might be true. No. Its definitely true. But she is so happy being in charge and she is good at it too. She knows the rules, she follows them and she is a born leader. In the morning when the boys wake up they go into her room and play. She keeps them all organized and quiet. She will even come to my room and ask what she should get for breakfast.

I'm proud of my baby girl. I really am. I feel like I can look at her and know what her future holds. I'm not worried. She is a leader and a survivor. I just have to survive her childhood.



Instead of painting, Lainy Ann organized the girls into playing with her new dress-up Minnie Mouse. She told all the girls which outfit they could hold. Lainy Ann held Minnie Mouse.

Happy Mother's Day to Me (In Pictures)

My gifts:


Each hand print was taken at the same age:


We went to the park in the morning






Then the kids enjoyed their new bikes






Tea Party

It was a three-generational tea party. Although we did not don gloves and hats. There was no tea or tiny pastries. Instead we stood outside of City Hall and protested the raising of the sales tax and other taxes.

I hadn't realized this but this was my mother's first protest. As a girl I remember looking through pictures of my mom before she was married and had kids. She was a hippie. Long hair and flowing dresses. In fact she got married in yellow carrying a bunch of wildflowers. I just assumed she had also been burning her bra and sitting-in.

We were able to go on my mother's lunch break. It wasn't initially my plan to take Lainy Ann, but there is nothing wrong with teaching my child to think for herself and even more importantly to stand up for herself. Regardless of which side of the aisle she is on.

It was very heartwarming being there. There were quite a few senior citizens there with a cane in one hand and a sign in the other. There was a mother pushing a double-stroller. She then got out the picnic lunch for her 4 kids while the organizer spoke of lowering taxes and writing our senators.

I'm not sure how much of a difference we made that day. But I know I can rest assured that I have taught my daughter that our government is of the people and for the people.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Do you like my new server?

It might be Mother's Day, but honestly, I wouldn't be a good mother without a fabulous husband. He makes it all possible and worthwhile.

So I want to thank him for being a good provider, role model and friend. Most importantly he is the best server provider ever! Our 9 year old server bit the dust two-weeks ago. He worked many long nights at work a launch date on the horizon and then came home and tried to fix the server. In the end he bought a new server and then spent many hours looking for data, including a recent copy of my blog.

He found it and I am back. I have lots of new pictures and things to say. So stay tuned.