Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Wednesday News, May 26, 2010

Welcome to this week's The Wednesday News.  What's new?  In a word, LEGO!

Andy will be first this week.  He earned a Lego gift card from his aunt, uncle and cousin for his First Communion.  With the return of Daddy on Saturday, Sunday meant a road trip to the Lego store to redeem said card.  Since it's a 1/2 hour drive to a MALL, this journey is much easier with two parents.

Andy decided to get handfuls of different kinds of unique Lego parts.  For those not familiar, the Lego store has a "Pick-a-Brick" section.  They are individual "bricks" and other parts that are in separate "bulk" style bins.  Andy ended up with a random assortment of "gems" (aka small, yellow, clear bricks), clocks (which are totally cool) and steering wheels (you need those especially with all of the wheels that he earned on a different visit).

You fill up different size cups and pay by the size (like buying a fountain drink where you pay for small, medium and large).  Andy figured out that you could get more bang for the buck if you put SMALL items in a cup.  Smart kid!  His gems seem to be his favorite.  However, he keeps forgetting to put the cap on these special Lego cups so they keep ending up all over the floor.  He's also tried rolling them in a dish towel and taking them outside.  I TOLD him this was not a good idea.  Gems have been a source of great frustration, but hopefully the joy will return.  His poison ivy is better, but now Malcolm has it all over his back.  "I fell in a pile of leaves" is his explanation.  Dude, "leaves of three, let it BE!!"

Malcolm, while not involved with poisonous plants, has made some wonderful spaceships with Legos this week.  He used some a bunch of Andy's odds and ends too.

There's just something about reveling in your child's creativity.  The ship was amazing in and of itself, but what's even better is asking Malcolm to talk about the ship and listen to his imagination run wild.  He explained to me how all of the steering wheels were needed because each one puts a shield up.  Then, once they're up, the yellow buttons are for firing at enemy ships.  (We are a Star Wars family.)  He didn't have an explanation for the clocks, but I'll let you know if he thinks of one!

Here's another creation.  This one has only one steering wheel, but lots of racing stripes on the fuselage and more clocks....

Harry didn't do too much in terms of Lego this week.  He's been outside a great deal.  My kids don't get an allowance, but they do have the opportunity to earn prizes for providing the family with extra help and good behavior.  Last week while Dad was away was really tough on me, but the kids found many ways to rise to the occasion including going to bed on their own and the older kids helped with tasks and story reading relating to the younger ones.

Andy earned the ability to buy extra Lego in addition to the gift card.  This week Harry and Malcolm earned a bubble set that they agreed to share.  They've both been enjoying that.  It's also been very hot weather so the kids have been playing in the hose a lot too.  How fun is THAT?!?

Harry (and Andy) also performed at their school's annual Memorial Day program.  Students are encouraged to invite family members and friends who are veterans.  There are usually a handful.  Each veteran stands up on stage during the concert and their name and branch of service is announced.  Then, each grade (K-3) stands up one at a time and sings a song to honor our country and the veterans who represent what Memorial Day is all about.

I love that the school is instilling such a sense of pride and patriotism in our young students.  I am also glad they're learning how important the job of the military is.

Lilly had also earned a prize.  This time she picked a Lego set!  She is really not that into Lego, but this set tickled her.  It was a Spongebob Squarepants Krusty Krab restaurant set!

Look at the Lego hamburger (oops, "Krabby Patty") with lettuce, mustard and ketchup!  LOVE IT!

Lilly also made this birdhouse a couple of weeks ago by painting a plastic coffee container at Girl Scouts.  We hung it on the tree that day and she was getting discouraged.  She even had a theory that the birds didn't like the smell of coffee that was embedded in the plastic!  However,...

Someone has moved in!  So far it's just twigs, but that's a good sign!  Andy added that he saw a broken blue egg on the ground and that he can see another egg in here now, but I'm not sure if he "dreamed it"....yeah, dreamed it...we'll go with that explanation...

My DH is "back" from "the (former) USSR".  God is good.  It was wonderful for all of us to spend time together as a family this weekend.  We're looking forward to the long Memorial Day weekend too!  One of my favorite times of year!

As far as I'm concerned, things are going much better this week.  One of Lilly's major projects is now behind us and I feel like I have a better handle on where and when we're supposed to be as school winds down for the kids.  Now, my challenge is organizing all of this Lego!  I can almost HEAR at least two my readers' heads shaking at my decision to buy more, but I will NOT let the Lego conquer me!  Be proud (and maybe help me build an addition too)!  Some brilliant people online recommended Tupperware containers to organize them all.  I bought another 3-drawer sorter and plan to put these various Tupperwares into those for now.  I will let you know how it goes!

I am also trying to do daily exercise and lose some weight.  I HATE dieting.  When I'm on a diet, all I do is think about food.  However, I'm trying to replace at least lunch with a protein shake and cut down on treats and refined sugar.  It's even hotter in my house today than yesterday, so hopefully my "Theory of Perspiration" will help me achieve my goal too!  It's 85 degrees in here!  That's OK.  It's 95 outside!  Time to exercise!!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sweatin' it Out

I just stepped off our portable stairmaster!  I am back on track, people.  This morning I bought my meal-replacement protein shakes, had one for lunch and was still hungry.  Instead of eating a "real" lunch in addition, I downed a glass of water and hit the 'master!

It's been very hot here the last few days.  Normally I HATE the heat unless I can go swimming or hibernate in air-conditioning.  Today, I made the heat work for me.  We don't have our window air-conditioners in yet, so it was perfect!  It's time for me to lose some weight again.  I NEVER buy pants in a larger size, so when they start getting tight, I take drastic measures (but still healthy ones...would NEVER trade that for anything) to "untighten them".

Today I thought, it's hot, I'm sweaty...could that help me lose weight?  I had a roommate when I was in graduate school who went to Guatemala in the summer.  She said she lost 20 pounds JUST from SWEATING!  Kinda gross, but hey, it just might work as I don't see any trips to Central America on the calendar.

I wish I had a treadmill because I'm trying to become a runner.  I can't run outside right now as I have at least one kindergartener home with me at all times and I sense that he'd beat me around the block or won't be able to keep up, neither of which is helpful to me.  This also means the gym is out as it's adults only.  However, the portable stairmaster can keep me climbing while I watch clips of TV shows or stream talk radio programs that I like.  Someday I'll download songs for my iPod too.  Where is that charger....?

I already feel great after 30 minutes and have more energy!  Excuse me, gotta take a shower.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Keeping up with May

So I've been in denial about all of the dates of things going on in May.  However, we've reached the last week of the month, so it's time to find all of the dates for field trips, end of year concerts, lost library books, registrations for summer activities, you name it.

I've found it all very overwhelming, but now it's time to get serious.  Gotta go mark my calendar.  See you!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Wednesday News May 19, 2010

Hmm...can't italics the title or underline former English teachers would be appalled!  It also drives me crazy since I am a stickler for punctuation and grammar (and very little else in the world).

Onward to this edition of The Wednesday News.  Ahh, THERE it is...proper title etiquette!

I'll start with my dear hubby this week, just for the sake of change.  He's in Moscow and currently 8 hours ahead of us right now.  Lilly almost stayed up late enough last night to call Daddy first thing in the morning over there!  However, there's first thing and then there's just WAY too early...

I haven't talked with him very much given the time difference and all of our comings and goings at home, but we've managed to catch up a little bit.  He said things were going really well business-wise so I'm very proud of him for that.  Can't wait to have him back on Saturday!

OK, time for my story.  In a word (or two) I'm burned out.  I must say my attitude has improved today and I am much more productive than I have been.  I guess sometimes it feels overwhelming that there is ALWAYS too much to do.  I know, I need to expect that with 4 kids and I wouldn't change it for the world, but I need a day off!

I have been going through the motions of getting kids to school, bathed, fed and their homework done, but I have put in very little effort more than the bare bones.  There have been too many hours of video games and TV, but I am encouraged by how much I got done today already.  Still holding onto the "one piece at a time" philosophy...just that some days, I really don't have my heart in it!  Holding out hope for today though, like I said.  :)

Andy is covered with poison ivy!  Monday night he showed me some spots on his wrist.  I denied them and told myself they were "bug bites" although I knew they weren't.  He didn't seem too bothered by them so he went to sleep.  Last night, he came down again after going to bed, complaining of itchiness.  I could no longer deny the spots and now there were spots on his arm, his ankles and behind his ears!  He had taken a long, soapy bath on Monday night so whatever poison ivy oil was gone.  The damage was done.  There was nothing we could do.  I told him not to scratch it and he fell asleep.  Good, because I was too tired to get the calamine lotion!  I would have of course, but he fell asleep so I was relieved.

Still scratching this AM, but off to school he went.  He told me he had gone into the woods and was "cutting down plants" with a stick in a sickle-like fashion.  Whoops!  those plants had their own defense!  This after he hurt his ankle coming out of the tree on Sunday.  It was nasty and bruised up right away so I thought it was sprained, but he was walking on it by Monday morning.


Lillian has missed two days of school since last week's The Wednesday News.  She had her first migraine on Thursday and another one on Monday.  It's been very hard for me to get her to do homework since the headache has been lingering since the first migraine on and off.  She's been a trooper though.  I don't know what's triggering them, but she does have terrible seasonal allergies.  I've been having her drink a lot of fluids too.

Malcolm is enjoying Andy's Nintendo DS more than he should, but I've had to fall back on it this week.  Guilty as charged.  Other than that, he's loving tee ball and soccer.  He's had a lot of outside time in the great weather we've been having too and having a great time playing with neighborhood kids.

Harry too is having more than his share of screen time.  He's also in a vicious cycle where he falls asleep in the afternoon, can't fall asleep at night, falls asleep in the afternoon....I'm hoping that gets back on track soon.  He, too, is enjoying tee ball, soccer and the neighbors!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

One Piece at a Time

Yes, I am a HUGE Johnny Cash fan, but in this case, I'm not talking about taking one piece of a car home everyday from my job and building my own car for free.  Although, that isn't a bad idea, until you get caught, arrested, etc.

I am taking it "one piece at a time" in terms of getting through this week while Dave is away.  Those of you who read my blog and/or know me, know that I kind of flounder without structure, even if the structure is just "some downtime with the kids".  So far, so good.  He left last night for 7 days.  I took dinner, baths and bedtime each as their own chunk.  It went well!

So far, this morning, I've been to Andy's makeup baseball game and have come home.  My terrifiic weekend babysitter has made lunch for the kids (another piece of the day) and now I have to have my lunch (another piece).  I don't like to miss Mass, but it is an exercise in futility to take all 4 with me alone.  I watch Mass online when I can't go on Sundays.

I am going to take my wonderful kids to Dairy Queen this afternoon to make up for the fact that Daddy's gone on the weekend.  So, this will be one more piece of our Sunday.  Then, Lilly has some homework to finish and then we'll be back on the dinner/baths/bedtime track.

Tune in tomorrow for more pieces!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

New Tradition!

Hi Everyone!  I have been thinking about doing this for awhile.  I find that I tend to talk about different members of my family depending upon what person is providing the most "newsworthy" events!  So, I am going to try something on for size.

It's called the Wednesday News.  I will take time to recap what's going on in each of our lives each Wednesday!  Here goes:

Why not start with Yours Truly: I have been especially enjoying my blog lately.  I've added some new features.  BTW, any readers who haven't signed up for BlogFrog, sign up!  It's free and we can follow each other's happenings.  Thank you to the readers who are following me and visiting on BlogFrog!

Not too much to report.  Still looking for that extra hour in the day (isn't everyone?), except for me, I want the extra hour during the SCHOOL day!  I love my kids but I really love having only one home at any given morment...and that's only during the day!

I'm still struggling to do basic chores.  I know, just do them!  I get too bored too fast.  However, I am still seeing the benefits of keeping up daily and being bored rather than having all of it escalate into total chaos.  I already have enough chaos in the house without the house adding its own.  Our goddaughter's Communion was Saturday, one week after Andy's.  We had to fight what seemed like the same downpour following us to get there, but it was wonderful.

Dave has come off of a family reunion of sorts.  He was away last weekend and I stayed back with the kids.  He is going on another business trip very soon, but in the meantime, he's fighting horrible seasonal allergies but still being a great dad.  He's been showing up at all of the baseball games (and there've been a lot of them) and pitching in around the house (more than his share lately, but I'm trying to take back more again).

Lilly is still making origami boxes.  They're amazing!  She even made some for her brothers to put their "presents" in for Mother's Day!  I'll add a photo as soon as I have one.  She is keeping up well with most of her homework.  Her advanced program still presents a challenge, but she does very good work.  She loves her friends and her family and she got the opportunity to see a bunch of people we hardly ever see at the two Communions!

Andy is doing a lot of baseball.  He typically has 3 games a week.  It goes pretty well for us since the rest of the kids can play at the playground while Andy's game is going on.  My kids are also old enough now that they can wait until after the game (typically, we're home by 7:30p) to eat dinner.  It's not ideal and after they leave the playground, they realize how hungry and tired they are and ROOOOOAR!  At least I don't have to bring dinner to the ballfield anymore and try to fight them off the swings to eat a bite here and a bite there...  He's loving the advanced math sheets his teacher gives him and completes Lilly's math when we're not looking.  He's in 2nd grade and she's in 4th.  She's not complaining but we are!

Harrison is doing T-ball.  He is on the same team as his twin brother Malcolm.  They tend to feed off each other and tune out the coaches, other children, their parents, the world...So, I have to lend a hand to their coaches so they can focus on, well, coaching!  Harry is my afternoon errand helper.  I am really trying to split it up so Malcolm goes with me sometimes, but Mal is home in the morning...and you know how I am in the morning.  I am pretty useless, but it has to get better.  I have to get things done around here!

Malcolm is also doing T-ball.  They both love it.  It's interesting how their pants don't get dirty until AFTER the game!  Malcolm and I have very quiet mornings together.  It's so nice to spend time with each one of the twins one-on-one.  He never gives me trouble when it's time to go pick up his brother from morning kindergarten.

That's it for this edition of Wednesday News.  News updated throughout the week!  Come back and visit soon!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mother's Day 2010

 This one was unconventional, but still great!  Dave was away for the weekend for a family thing.  I hired a sitter to watch my remaining 3 kids while Andy and I took off together.  Andy had a playdate of sorts, but I dropped him off and myself, in the peaceful quiet of the beautiful Sunday morning.

Was this the best Mother's Day so far?  Absolutely!  To me it was perfect.  Recharge my batteries with no kids in the morning and then be all smiles, full of patience and energy by the afternoon to spend time with my kids!

It was my mom's birthday on Monday so she was going to come visit with my sister's family, but it didn't work out at the last minute.  That's OK though.  Two more playdates (one more for Lilly, one for Andy).  Twins were tired and calm.  Tacos for dinner and everyone in bed on time.  Perfect!

We are rescheduling the Mother's Day holiday for this coming Saturday to do our usual traditions like breakfast in bed.  Two Mother's Days!  Am I the luckiest mom in the whole world?  Yes!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Purely Anecdotal

Hi friends! Thought I'd share a couple of fun bits of our life with you today.

The first one is called, "Have a Coke and a Smile!"

Am I the only one who remembers when Coke had that as one of their many slogans over the years? I am? OK, then, just take my word for it. They did. There was a commercial with a little boy, Mean Joe Green (formerly of the Pittsburgh Steelers) the video (from "Mean Joe Green Superbowl Ad, 1980"). 
Get a load of the GLASS bottle!

So, I finally made it to the grocery store Tuesday out of desperation. My trusty helper, Harry, was with me as it was the afternoon and the time I usually realize that if I don't go NOW I won't be able to go without taking everyone with me after school! Would that be so bad? Could I do that? Could I be lazy even longer and take everyone just this once? No, I had to go. We couldn't skip karate to go shopping, or else I would have hauled the gang with me. I was so tired and lazy!  I didn't want to do ANYTHING!  Like I said in a previous post, this Tuesday was worse than a Monday.

Got it done. We had run out of Coke. Now, my DH is a Coke drinker as he has no other options that he likes for caffeine. I know I need my coffee everyday, so I try to make sure we always have it in the house. So, we're going down the soda aisle and there's another mom with 2 kids shopping. She goes, "Kids, we have to get Coke for Daddy! Daddy's not happy without his Coke!" Being the friendly type that I am, I uninvitedly comment on her conversation with her children, "Our Dad isn't happy without his Coke either! That's why we never run out." I fibbed, but it was only a white lie to make conversation.  It made everyone smile.  Coke apparently can do that even if you're just BUYING it!

"Twin-iata" (pronounced like piniata but with a twin)
This would have been a great post for yesterday, Cinco de Mayo, but alas, I'm a day late.  So, Andy made his First Communion on Saturday.  Great job, buddy!! (an anecdote in and of itself, but I had already mentioned it in another post and I don't want to be redundant.)

We had a wonderful day with family and friends that of course, included a lot of outside play with the kids.  Harry has a tendency to climb up small trees and then freaks out when it's time to get down.  That day was no exception.

There he was hanging from the lowest branch a few feet off the ground.  I was inside preparing to serve the meal.  The husbands were all outside including mine, but he had his hands full doing something else.  Harry made his usual cry for "Heeeeeeelp!!" even though he could have come down on his own with no sweat.

Dave, DH, called to Malcolm, his twin brother, who was just inches away from him to give Harry a hand.  Not only does Malcolm NOT help him, he runs in the opposite direction and retrieves a wiffle bat.  Then, charges toward a still-dangling Harrry yelling, "PINIATA!!!"

The husbands are now laughing hysterically.  I never did find out who actually got him down, but isn't it interesting that instead of rescuing and/or coming the aid of his brother, he decides he's going to hit him like a piniata.  Wouldn't that have been a hoot if CANDY came out.  Boys.  What are they THINKING?!?!

In other news, Malcolm and Harry promoted from their very first belt in karate...only took them 10 months!  They have a lot of trouble behaving as a twosome in class so one, the other or both often had to sit out.  Hey, I'm still very proud of them. 

I'll leave you with some pictures that are worth a thousand words, but I'll write a few anyway.

Malcolm wears the pants in the family.

Lilly's Emergency Preparedness Kit in response to the Severe Thunderstorm Watch the other day.  If you recall, Lilly's my beyond-budding meteorologist.  I have since removed my asthma inhalers, Dave's iPod charger and a pitcher of water.  One of the boys took the flashlight (can't keep one...EVER!...they just disappear) and Lilly repossessed the portable DVD player.  Good to know her brother's shoes are still there as are 3 of our favorite DVDs!  Thanks Lil (oh, better put the player back in...and some batteries!).

Finally, Lilly and I got our nails done!  Mine are the orange ones attached to my bumpy hands...oh, and I'm the one with the wedding rings...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

This Tuesday is Worse than a Monday

Think about it, you have an excuse to be unproductive on a Monday.  What's my excuse for today?  Well,
I'd better go do SOMETHING this afternoon.  See you soon!