Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Copy Cat video

This is what I mean about copy cat. It's very funny. Also a very good example of how Cheeks is SO DARNED CUTE with her little almost-two-yrs-old language skills. And her love and admiration of her bigger sister, KJ, who does not appreciate it at all. Also a nice shot before mommy cut KJ's bangs a little too short. Good thing they grow fast. Which is also why I trim them, and not a "professional," because that would mean paying the $7 bucks or whatever, for some chick to quickly go "snip snip" across her not even 4yo forehead every 4 weeks or so. A 3yo does not need such pampering.

I had wanted to post video from the kid's school Christmas program but it was... um... less than memorable, except that my kids were the cutest in attendance, of coarse. But the performance was less than stellar. Two classes to learn 8 songs with actions is NOT EVEN CLOSE TO ENOUGH TIME for 3, 4 and 5yo's. She needed to have started immediately after Halloween. Or earlier. So very few sang, and they just basically watched what she did and followed suit... sort of.

Wow, does is always take this long to upload a video? I am a video uploading virgin. Jeepers, I ain't got all night. Tick tock, tick tock. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. I think I'll go make a sandwich. Or breakfast, cuz I may be here that long, apparently. Halleluja, and I didn't even finish my stew yet!

Ah, dang. I just realized I forgot to post my previous post, as it was still a draft. Ok. I'll post this anyway since no one ever checks my blog. Or rarely. It's not like I have any kind of following. Maybe I should give away free stuff. That seems to be a good trick.

Up next: Giveaway: One child to entertain you for a day!

What? No takers?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Kid happenings

I love child development. This is one of the few things that really got me excited during my much misguided track to becoming a teacher (which I did not, nor will, become, so help me God). The other was language and language development, which, coincidentally, goes along with child development. blah blah blah. All that to say, I love watching my kids grow and change. I'm only ever slightly nostalgic or sad about them growing up. Mostly I'm intrigued, fascinated, awed. Proud. Yup, one proud mama, here.

So Lil'D, yesterday, started rolling over, from back to tummy. All the time. Off the couch. Oops. I thought it was his siblings rolling him over so they could roll him up like a burrito in the blanket/mat (cuz they found it funny that I said that. They also made eating noises). Nope. Not the guilty parties. And my little chubby munchkin was found doing this in his crib in the middle of the night. He also has sort of started holding his bottle. (But admittedly I still get a little sad he's eating out of a bottle. I even have dreams of nursing. Weird, I know.) He has a harder time holding onto toys, but it's coming. And of coarse, everything has to go in his mouth, if he can manage to get a grip on it. (I just hope he's not another chewy-chewy child. Two is enough. B-Boy still does this at age 5.) It's funny to watch him, though, as he gets so excited he can't contain it and nearly slams whatever it is into his face. He just can't get that bottle in fast enough, and he pumps his arms and legs, and now is starting to arch his back in an attempt to sit up to get to it faster. Look out world, he'll be comin' atcha soon!

Cheeks is the one that provides hours of amusement. She's kind of a ham. She's also a bull in a china shop, so look out there. And curious, into everything, which makes me tear my hair out. Her language is in a boom, so everyday she says something new, pretty clearly, and we are awed. She's also a HUGE copy cat, so when her sibs are yelling something, she chimes right in. Today she was chanting the Clifford song at the breakfast table. So cute!

Miss KJ is a very verbal child (just like here momma. grin.) She has an amazing vocabulary and spouts off pretty complicated sentences for a 3 1/2 yr old. She loves learning and gets so excited by it. Last night she said "Thank you for keeping an eye on my food, mommy." Not that that's earth shattering (she has better ones), but still a pretty abstract phrase for her age. Her latest achievement has been learning how to play nicely with her sister, who adores her, and whom she's not always the most loving towards. This morning I came downstairs and was greeted with a simultaneous "Good morning, mommy" as they lay side-by-side on the couch covered up with a blanket. Aw, sisters! Makes a mommy's heart go warm.

B-boy. lol. This kid... Something about him being my firstborn... anyway. I got this in my email yesterday:

Ages 4 and 5 are sometimes called the chatterbox years. Talking is how your child gets a handle on the intricacies of the language and also learns, expresses new ideas, and forms social relationships. So be patient if your 5-year-old doesn't ever
seem to pause
. This is an important and necessary developmental stage — not to mention a fun one. Hearing his every thought expressed is like having a window into his brain!

Chatterbox? OH YEAH! Never seems to pause? God help me, he drives me crazy! Window to his brain? Well, lets see... He talks about guns. Deer. Antlers. Guns. Hunting. The "outdoor woods." Bucks. Does. Random things like monkeys, and trucks, and ... whatever is in his environment or on TV. And more about guns... like his daddy. He even knows some pretty complicated vocabulary, and the process for loading a muzzle loader, as well as cleaning it. Something I am dying to hear about. Over and over and over. And it is an endless telling of ALL that is on his brain. And if he's not talking, he's humming or making some other noise. Just purely for the sake of making a noise, not to mimic anything. Pent up energy due to being caged in the house. One of the downfalls of Minnesota winters. I mean, it's cute, mostly. It is a window into his brain for sure, and that's exciting. But wearing. I try not to squash him and his enthusiasm for all things hunting related. Sometimes I can't help it. I just can't listen any more.
I wish his enthusiasm would transfer to learning his ABC's. Daddy?

Monday, December 15, 2008

A forgotten Monday?? Almost!

Oh, wow. I set out to post a blog on something else, only to realize it's MONDAY! How could one forget. I guess I could. So I'll do a quick one, minus all the setup stuff - no logo, nothing fancy. But if ya wanna check out more Not Me's, go here.

1. I was NOT happy that school was delayed, thus canceling pre-school, and most importantly, the pre-school Christmas program. I was not happy because I was ever so prepared - clothes washed, much less clothes to stand up and make an impression in. I am not shallow enough to think that anyone really cares about what my kids wear, and do not feel it is important that they be among the best dressed. Cuz they're only 3 1/2 and 5. Their development is most important, not their social standing, or ours.

2. I was also Not happy that I did not have to venture out into the frozen tundra of -11 degrees and -30 windchills. I love the bitter cold and was looking forward to making myself even more sick.

3. I did NOT change out of my sweats and underwear from the day before (hey, i DID take a late shower) purely because I did NOT pee my pants during a coughing fit. I am an adult. I do NOT pee my pants. Having 4 children in under 5 yrs has had no effect on my bladder control. I also do not wear the same clothes 2 days in a row.

4. I did NOT dig out of the dirty laundry a pair of the cleanest socks I could find, so that my son was not wearing ankle socks to go shopping with daddy in sub-zero temps. I am way more up on my housework than that. My family always has clean clothes, nicely folded and put away in their dressers.

Well, that's all for short notice. Because I actually did not spend today obsessing about this post. Really.

As for the other post, I'll post it later.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Oh, Johnny

I love the things my kids pick up on, that entertain them, and that they, then entertain me with.

Today we watched Evan Almighty. The like it. Probably having to do with the animals and the fair amount of physical humor that Steve Carell is great at. Sitting at the lunch table, B-boy starts "doin' the dance." Then he encourages KJ to do the dance, and of coarse, Miss Copy-cat Cheeks has to also do the dance. A very funny picture - all 3 kids, sitting in their chairs, "doin' the dance," and making little humming noises.

KJ loves to pray. We sort of have made it more exciting by adding a big "aaaaaaaaaaaaaMEN!" to the end of any prayer, complete with throwing your hands in the air, like you're doing the wave. (And that's a - men, not ah - men.) On Thanksgiving, we sang "Johnny Appleseed". This has stuck with her. She asks me to help her sing it at every meal at least once. Usually twice. Sometimes thrice, before I say, "Ok, that's enough. I want to eat now." I am suffering from a cold that includes a sore, scratchy throat and plugged up ears. Singing is not what I feel like doing. Leave it to a child to change your mind. :D I kindly explain that mommy doesn't feel good and doesn't want to sing. She ever so sweetly attempts to sing it herself. She does pretty well. Once again, copy-cat Cheeks joins the fun and does what she can. "Oh, slkflkjlskdja;le me, amen, amen." Then she claps and cheers for herself. Man I love these kids. How could I not sing?

Oh, the Lord is Good to me,
and so I thank the Lord,
for giving me
the things I need
the sun and the rain and kids that sing*.
The Lord is Good to me.

*My own little adaptation, for blogging purposes. Makin' it mine!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Super Mom Super Powers Revealed!

That got your attention? Good.

I was reading another blog and felt moved to share my own thoughts. I will apologize in advance for being long winded. She has good answers. She also doesn't cook much, hires help for general house stuff (laundry, dishes, mopping, I'm guessing), currently has a live-in MIL who is doing her laundry and generally helping out, and hires a regular babysitter so she can do errands without all in tow. Not everyone has that luxury. Nor does that diminish her mothering skills or abilities. It just helps her keep sane, I would think. But the thing that most got me motivated to write were the comments she was getting. The negative ones. The ones ppl didn't bother to read correctly, or had their own (misguided IMO) opinion on her method or value. I was surprised by them, actually. For such a young mom, she has a lot of good advice. Is she perfect? No. Does she claim to be? No. Did she ask for your opinion? Not really. :D

One of the strangest things about having four children, to me, is the fact that everyone else seems to think that that 4 a HUGE GINORMOUS family. It's not, really. (And for the record, I don't think MckMama does either, but everyone else does.) Four children is just one more than three, which is not considered a large family. It's considered average, the norm. Having eight kids is a big family. Four is not. But the world seems to think it's this amazing thing. Now, when they are all under a certain age, I get that the task seems all that much more daunting. And rightly so. It is. With eight children, I would think that some things would actually be easier. Ya know, the built in slave labor factor. (I'm joking there. My neighbor has 8, and they're lovely. And very convenient babysitters for me.) Plus, a mom of 8 has had much more practice... at making things work, I mean. **wink wink**

Another odd things about being a mom of 4 small children are the comments. The "are they all yours" (No. they're the Dalai Lama's. I just kidnapped them), "wow, you must be busy" (well, that's stating the obvious. But isn't everyone these days?) and "I don't know how you do it." Then there's always the looming, "are you going to have any more," which I always head off before they even get to that one. Yes, it's my last. #3 was my last. This one is really my last. I made sure. Only my mother doesn't believe me, but that's another conversation.

So back to "I don't know how you do it." Well, neither do I. You just do. I don't have much choice. When a hurricane blows in, do you pretend it doesn't exist? Or do you get up off your derriere and do what needs to be done? (I can tell you from experience that ignoring "it" does not make it go away :). A child, that is. Well, a hurricane too. Not that a child is devastating like a hurricane. A child may leave a hurricane-like trail, but they are sometimes joyful, delightful beings, capable of turning one's heart to mush at the first "i wuv oo, mommy." And they almost never tear the roof off my house.)

I found that the hardest transition for me was from two kids to three. But with each welcome addition, you learn more tricks, hone your skills more, find better ways to cope. Because you have to, you need to. Mostly it's by accident. Trial and error are good for that too (lots and lots of error). I am a much better housekeeper than I was before I got married. It's amazing how much my efficiency has improved. And yet... I still have a ways to go before reaching perfection. But then again, that's not my objective.

  • So you master the art of multi-tasking. And when not to multi-task. (Ask my hubby about my bbq-ing "skills")
  • You figure out better methods of organizing your madness. A system.
  • You learn to clean the bathroom while the kids in the bathtub.
  • That other mom blogger shared that this is also a good time for learning... captive audience. Bible stories, ABC's, colors, etc.
  • You teach your children (as you should) how to pick up after themselves (a loooonng process), and dress themselves. General independence. I don't teach my children this. They come by it naturally (who me?? :D). Mine are more independent than I like, actually.
  • You buy a dishwasher, which I didn't have until the day before #4 was born (no, not slave labor. Whirlpool.). So instead of spending 2 hrs doing dishes, I waste it online reading blogs. :p
  • Deal, don't dump. The mail, school papers, doctors forms, wet clothes, coats/ shoes/ boots/ mittens. All that stuff that comes in the door. Piles form way too easily in my house. As evident by all the piles.
  • Remove any offending items. (Also called child-proofing) If the kids are gonna get into it, and that will be disastrous or make you angry, move it. That's not everyone's philosophy. It has worked the best for me. And they still find things to get into. Even when I hide them.
  • Give up the idea of perfection. Because as soon as everyone wakes up, it will be shattered.
  • Pick your battles. For me that includes picky eaters, crazy dressers. Kids will eat when they are hungry, and there's always PBJ. Plus I'm not going to force them to eat something I KNOW they won't like. I've tried. It doesn't work. And as long as all the necessary parts are covered, and the clothing is "appropriate" (Hubba Hubba would freak if B-Boy wore a Barbie shirt), it's OK if it doesn't match.
  • Don't sweat the small stuff - which goes along with pick your battles.
  • And, I think, you need to have a plan. This is one I'm still working on. Formulating a plan, and, this is where I get stuck, setting it into action. A schedule or routine. Parenting goals. Disciplinary tactics/methods. Then the answer or solution is already set up. Saves you time and energy wondering. Can also save you some screaming.
  • You learn SLEEP is of the UTMOST IMPORTANCE.
  • Laughter is the next thing of utmost importance.

You might learn to be patient, you might not. I have a hard time with that one, with not getting angry at messes or disobedience, with things not going my way, with disruption. But God's not done, so I'm in good shape.

One thing that seems to be a rather challenging task is finding time for yourself, to take care of you, recharging your batteries. Some people have spouses that bend over backwards to help make that possible. Some don't. I have had to assert myself, to myself if that's possible, to get that accomplished. So if it doesn't work with Hubba's work schedule, I choose to afford hiring a babysitter. If it does work for his schedule, I try to not let guilty feelings get in the way. He can handle it. Even when he doesn't want to. :D

Some people would be aghast at what I "allow" my children to do. Like not dressing them. No clothes on, no clothes dirtied. Cheeks (#3) will just take off her clothes anyway, and put on everyone else's clothes, clean or dirty. So I wait til we have to leave the house to dress her. And if they run around in diapers/ underwear / pajamas all day, hey, that's less laundry I have to do. Yippee! If they want to be dressed, then that gives them the opportunity to learn independence in choosing and putting on their clothes. I "allow" them more independence outside that many other's feel comfortable with. If they break the rules, they lose the privilege. I "allow" them the opportunity to make mistakes, under my watchful eye. If they fall, well, then hopefully they'll know better next time. Do I let them make mistakes that are dangerous to where they could lose limbs or break them? No. That would be irresponsible. Too often, IMO, parents are so overly cautious or sheltering, that when left to their own devices, the kids go berserk.

One last thing that I found interesting about the comments in MckMama's blog was about how she placed putting her husband first of great importance, and that many people didn't agree with that... saying that marriage is a partnership. Well, it is... kinda. But God calls us to respect our husband, he is head of the household, and to be submissive. That does not mean or imply that he is the King of the castle, whip in hand, ready to beat us down. Sometimes other things will come first, out of necessity. It does not mean that there are never marital "discussions" or disagreements. But sometimes you have to "allow" him to 'be the man' and get out of the way. Also, "putting him first" doesn't mean neglecting everyone else. It means placing importance on your husband, instead of placing him last, after everything else is done, dealt with, and asleep, and you, consequently, have no energy left. So the phrase "if mama ain't happy, ain't no one happy" does have some truth. But for mama to be happy, she would serve herself well to make sure her man is happy. He is much more likely to make sure she is happy, then, too. If you don't believe it, try it.

The Lord is certainly stretching me, with each step of life. Child rearing is no different than any other obstacle we may face. Health issues, marital discord, natural disasters, financial woes. But the great part is that He is there for us when we fall, fail, flop. He forgives. And forgets. And we learn and grow. God is good!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Monday Monday Monday

Well, here we are, back at Monday. Yet again time for more conscience cleansing of parental imperfections. Not that I have any. Nope. Not me. I have no tales to tell, no mishaps, no blunders, no embarrassing moments. I am THE IMAGE of grace, beauty, and poise in all my endeavors, especially parenting.

Be sure to hop on over to MckMama's place to check other moms' Not Me, Monday posts. It's surely good for a giggle or two, and a great way to find out that you're not the only one!

So to begin...

1. I did not find these 2 photographs, and about 27 others, on my camera, indicating that someone (um, KJ?) had gotten a hold of my camera and used it without my knowledge. I would not be so irresponsible as to leave my camera in a kid-accessible spot. And if I wasn't guilty of leaving it somewhere reachable to small children, I most certainly do not have the sort of children that climb like monkeys to get things they should NOT have. Because I don't breed monkeys. That has nothing to do with the name of this blog. And I most certainly do not have problems finding new places to put things so my kids can't get to them. I have never been heard screaming "Is nothing safe in this house?" I don't yell.

2. This was not one of the pics found on my camera, that is not my desk, and those are not fingerprints all over the monitor. My desk is always orderly, never piled high with mountains of things that should have been attended to weeks ago (at least), and I am such a magnificent housekeeper that you won't find fingerprints on any surface in my home. All is shiny and tidy. Always. (But isn't my Cheeky girl such a cute little ham bone :D)

3. I did not have one of the most traumatic experiences of parenting this week while in Gymboree. My Cheeky girl did not totally dive bomb into the foot of a clothing rack, gashing her chin, her lower gum and knocking loose one of her top front teeth. She was not gushing blood all over. I was not SO RELIEVED that my mom was in Barnes and Noble and could immediately come help me tote all my 4 children to the car until Hubba Hubba could get there. And I did not still manage to buy a sweater for my birthday boy anyway, despite the chaos.
4. I did not almost have an anxiety attack at the thought of tooth removal and stitches, remembering back about a year ago when we had our first suture experience as parents, and did not begin this near-panic attack because I was specifically remembering the screams of my then just 1yo daughter, as they treated her before the anesthesia had kicked in.
5. I did not pitch a fit and basically threaten the pediatric dentist on-call because he didn't want to come in, with going to another dentist. I was not a slightly hysterical mother.

6. I did not purchase IttyBits for one of my children and her only, while at my son's birthday party, because I did not feel bad that she can't eat anything. I would never do such an unfair thing in front of other children. (And if you're interested, check out the nice gash on her chin.)

7. I do not nearly gag any time she breathes on me because her breath stinks so bad, mostly due to finger sucking. And I have not thought of ways to freshen her breath because brushing is out of the picture until her gums heal. That would be unsympathetic to her delicate condition.

8. I did not lose this child in Walmart on a busy Saturday evening, in the height of the shopping season, because she is not such an agile (well, obviously not always agile considering how often she falls) monkey that she climbed out of the front of the cart while it was moving and wander off to the electronics section, while I had my view obscured by an infant car seat. It did not take until I was in the baking goods isle to notice that she wasn't there. And when I finally found her hanging out at the electronics counter, she was not attempting to take off her pants and diaper, to the dismay of the very young workers, because her diaper didn't weigh about 5 lbs from all the pop she drank at the birthday party.

9. I am not putting up this pic just to brag about my handsome son and beautiful daughter. I am not proud of them. And they are not extremely cute children. (They're the ones on the left.)

10. And I would never brag that I throw the best birthday parties of all my friends. My food is not the best, my themes are not the best, and my cake decorating skills are certainly not to be complained about. I would NEVER brag. I wallow in humbleness. (But if any friends friends should happen to read this, it's not that your parties and cakes and food isn't good, it's just that mine is better.) I did not just say that. :)

11. And finally, I am not rather reminiscent of the birth of my first born child as he turns 5 today. I did not share with him the story of his birth. That would be corny. I do not feel overjoyed at what a great little boy he is. I am not proud of him at all.

Have a great Monday!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Not Me! Monday, again.

I appologize MckMama, I cannot get the button to work. Blogger is giving me an error code and I don't feel like dealing with it anymore. Sorry for breaking the rules. You still deserve all the credit, and I am sorry to not have been able to insert that lovely thing, as it's such a beautiful punch of color.

Kuddos again to MckMama at My Charming Kids for her lovely idea of Not Me! Monday, where one can participate in a rather cleansing form of (free) therapy by telling the world what you most certainly did NOT do that week. Because as mother's, we all know the importance of our job, what's at stake, and how we mold lives and hearts and self-esteems and all that kinda crap, to actually NOT be perfect all of the time. No, we are model citizens.

I'm tired today so this may be short. I was actually not going to do it at all. But then I'd be pooping out on a thing and I wouldn't want to do that. Cuz I never poop out on things. Especially not discipline. Or self control.

  1. I did not have to convince my almost 5 yo son that it was not ok to wear a dirty, snotty (short sleeved) shirt for a second day, or to church. I have raised my children to appreciate cleanliness and the fact that we change our clothes every day.
  2. I did not get sick again, causing my Hubba Hubba to ask if I was sure I wasn't pregnant. I did not lose sleep over this, hoping and praying that I wasn't. I did not go into town the next day, spreading my sick germs, and buy a pregnancy test. (One line, not two, thankyouverymuch.)
  3. I did not go to the store all THREE days that I was sick, all three very busy shopping days of the year, (and actually run into my children's ex-pediatrician), because I am more socially responsible than to risk exposing 50,000 people in Walmart with the germs of my intestinal distress.
  4. I did not kinda "forget" about my sons upcoming birthday and then have to plan the party with only 1 week's notice. I am a higly organized machine, never missing appointments or birthdays, always plannin ahead.
  5. I did not decide to hold his bday party in a public place just to avoid cleaning my house. My house is always clean. The DHS would have no grounds for removal here.
  6. I did not have a melt down most of Sunday, starting with lunch at Taco Johns, concluding at around 8 pm when I was finally getting supper on the table. It had nothing to do with my very whiny, sassy daughter, or my helful Hubba Hubba taking a 4 hour nap, then coming downstairs grumpy and getting on me about yelling at the kids. I did not slam the pot of rice on the table and storm out. He did not accuse me of having a tantrum and storming out of the room. I do not have tantrums or storm out. I did not choose that moment to exit my house and go shopping.
  7. I did not feel SO MUCH BETTER about an hour later, and $70, a pair of jeans, a shirt, a tank and 3 shirts for the baby later. None of which have anything to do with Christmas.
  8. I did not come to a very firm conclusion about the rather unfirmness of my figure. I did not do something about it by having leftover turkey dinner for breakfast.
  9. I did not come downstairs the next morning to have my children greet me with comments about how mommy had a tantrum. No, any heated discussions with my spouse are definitely behind closed doors and away from impressionable ears.
  10. I did not forget about my children's homework, again, quickly helping them do it at 8 o'clock this morning. I was not still in my pajama shirt, doing their homework, when their ride arrived. And of coarse my children were all ready to go so that she did not have to spend 5 minutes hanging out with me (with me in my pajamas and no bra) while they got shoes and coats on.

Just another normal, perfect week in my perfectly decorated, always clean house, in my sleepy little town. I love my family. I really do.

On the rather great side, I got back the pics from a photo shoot we had. Beautiful! Wendy - You So Totally Rock, Dude! Thank you very much. And I will be posting some of them soon.

Thanks for stopping. Have a great rest of the day Monday.