Saturday, November 28, 2009

Hello, World!

Can I just give a shout out to all those readers from distant lands?


My blog tracker thingy shows hits from the Czech Republic, Poland, and 2 different places in Canada, just in the last 4 days. I've also seen hits from Russia, Chile, Argentina, Africa, Spain (though I know who those ppl are) and Romania in just the last month alone. And that's just what I can remember.

That's so awesome to me.

I'm a world girl. I am fascinated by people, language, culture, food, customs. It's all very exciting to me. I knew I wanted to learn foreigh languages since I was four. I've only learned one, and bits of others, but life's not over yet. :) I was very involved with the International Club and peoples in all three of the colleges I attended (here, here and here), and I've traveled to England, Greece, and Spain, as well as lived in Madrid, Spain for a year. One of the best years of my life.

I would love to hear a bit from you all when you stop by. Leave me a comment and share a bit about yourself. It would brighten my day.

I got nuthin'

Can you believe it? Me.. with nothing to say. Unbelievable.

I know I've been a bit absent. I just have not had a single thing to tell ya.

Seriously, though. Is my life boring? Well, I guess so. As boring as it can be with 4 monkeys spicing things up.

Thanksgiving was nice. I didn't have to do "anything." Anything being a relative term, meaning that I was not responsible for making anything for the T-day meal. I did make a fruit salad, baklava because I felt like it, and cupcakes so my brood would have a tasty treat (as pumpkin is not a favorite for them, yet). And I still did laundry, dishes, cleaning, vacuuming, bathing, dressing and all the other stuff that mom's just do.

See? Even that is boring to me.

The primates say funny things, but I forget them. They do funny things, but I might only find it funny later. Today they wrote on themselves with dry erase marker. Which is worse than permanent marker, in case you are uneducated about such things. But body art is a daily occurrance here. So, not gut busting funny. Just normal.

Cheeks just told me, as I was eating the leftover turkey dinner than the MIL sent home with us, "I made that for you." Hmmm... really? A full turkey dinner complete with tamales (from my "SIL")? Such skills you have at 2. A prodigy, I dare say.

King Kong is black powder / muzzleloader hunting. Hasn't seen anything yet, though.

I bought some sheet sets at Kohl's. $9.99 each. I pranced in during the last 5 minutes of the Black Friday sale. No 4 a.m. shopping for me. Then I bought two birthday presents and a Christmas present online.

I know. You're so riveted.

Maybe I need to pray for divine inspriation, lest I lose all ya'll's interest.

Dear Father, who art in heaven,
please bless my brain with blog-worthy blubberings.
Shed light on the transpirings
Of crazy monkeylike children
In a way such that I might find humor in my life. Amen.

Can you believe I'm denying the right to let Koko vacuum, right now?

Yeah, I'll keep praying.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Halloween. Yeah, I know. This is very. very. late. So late, it's probably boring.

You'd think by now I would have learned my lesson to ALWAYS remember my camera.

nope. not me. sigh.

In my defense, I have FOUR kids and their accoutrements to juggle. If all I'm forgetting is the camera, (and not a kid) I think I'm doing pretty well, most days.

Here we have George, the "special forces police", complete with special vest, walkie talkie thing, and gun (which of coarse was not present at school). Koko is wearing her uniform, er, I mean, costume - a cheerleader! She definitely fits the suit, as she is encouraging, and great at cheering others on.

Miss Cheeks is sporting her own style of cheer uniform. Please note it says "Yell Leader"  on it. Fairly appropriate, I think. (Although an interesting tidbit of info is that the Texas A&M Yell Leaders are always male - and it's an elected campus position. Funny that they would make a costume that is so obviously for a girl.) Baby Boots did his best to be festive, but Mrs. Bananas finds it basically pointless to torture put small children in ridiculously uncomfortable or hot costumes, (especially those that include hats or such) and then actually expect them to wear them, happily. So he got a nice cheap Halloween t-shirt from Old Navy... again. :D And the cute lion costume will just remain in the dress-up box. This (see below) being the lion costume of which I speak. Isn't she cute? Though I'm pretty sure the size said 12-18 months, not years.

And for the real wowzer... dunt da da daaaaaH!

I know! So much different than any other day, huh! And yes, I'm super excited to show you my double chin. The only other pic that shows my home-made logo t-shirt is this pic.

Which looks like I'm in flight.
From my SuperMom powers. Not my broom, thankyouverymuch.
(And don't think I don't know some of you probably thought that. I'm oooooonnn to ya!)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Monkey Monikers

I always wanted to give us all cool "monkey" names. Famous monkey names. Somehow I  never took the time and just used (mostly) initial nicknames, which was so totally boring to me. For some strange reason, I recently googled famous monkey names, and giggled. I amused myself, and thought... now's the time. This being my ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY of blogging! Or, it would have been good if I had actually finished the post on my 1yr aniv, but since we've been playing the sickness tag, it's one year + 11 days. And if I'm being honest here, I very rarely ever do anything on time. Ever.

 So, here's to introducing our new monkey monikers, and the introduction I never really did:

King Kong. Muscley, big pipes (meaning, biceps. Just keepin' it clean.), slightly roundish belly, but not too hairy. (He's also part Eskimo, in case you were wondering.) He's the King of our Jungle. Adored and attacked with kisses and hugs by all. He can figure out anything that he wants to do / make / fix (and for what he doesn't know he learns on YouTube, lol) and has a ton of talents and hobbies. He workes as a driver of 18 wheels for a very large company delivering all sorts of things to places I'm sure you go (WM, Tg, K-M, Sam's). And when he's not doing that, or any of his million hobbies, he's working hard fixing up our fixer-upper home. He's a fierce protector, yet as gentle as can be. But, careful. Catch him in the morning and he'll likely let out a jungle roar. King Kong.

Mrs. Bananas. I buy the bananas. I am bananas. I feel like I'm going bananas most days. Of coarse, four children will do that to you, I suppose. (The fact that this name comes from The Simpson's, almost makes me want to choose something else. But there really isn't anything else. So Mrs. Bananas it is.) As the (stay at home) mama to monkeys, that's basically the main focus of every day, caring for all the needs of my family. When I need a break, I am addicted to blogging and FaceBook. Other than that, I enjoy reading, dreaming about a clean, finished home, and have "recently" taken up knitting. I studied Spanish and used to be fluent. Someday I hope to regain fluency and work in a position where I can help people. (Sorry, or not, but I couldn't find a link.)

Schweetheart. When she was 4, not long after I met her, she got this little monkey Beanie Baby in a Happy Meal. We still have it. I only recently discovered it's name was Schweetheart. And, it's a pet name her dad calls her. It truly does describe her, though. She's beautiful on the inside and out. She has a very sweet, gentle spirit, she's quick to love, and irrisistably loveable in return. She loves to be goofy, but is developing her "serious, deep" side, as every teenager must. We love her so much, and miss her dearly, wishing Florida was a bit closer to the Frozen Tundra than the 1500 miles it is. Schweetheart.

George. As in Curious. He always has been. I remember him as a baby scanning the room to see what he could get into. He has an amazing memory, and a crazy ability to learn things from watching. Just like his daddy; he's like an albino mini-me version of his dad. From the introverted passive-aggressive nature, to not being verbally expressive, to his love of fishing / hunting / airplanes / or whatever else daddy's into. He's very imaginative, and loves to draw build things, as well as play "dress-up" with his own very interesting costumes. He's a very good boy, and we are so very proud of who he is and who he is becoming. We are still in awe of how this beloved first-born child made us parents. Curious George.

Koko. Our expressive one. The polar opposite of her older brother. She is dramatic and joyful, chatty and cheerful, though she is also given to melacholic drama queen antics. She is very girly, in all ways, and loves things pink, frilly, dressy and beautiful. She is a lot like her mama, and very interested in learning her letters, and reading, sounding out things on her own. She can also be heard talking in her own "version" of Spanish, but is not interested in learning actual Spanish words her mom might teach her. She has infectious laughter and a beautiful smile. I would not, despite her girliness, describe her as gentle, though. She may be petite, but she can take you down. Koko.

Cheeks. This name stays, famous monkey or not. She's just so darn cheeky. Well, I'm still figuring her out. She has a strong personality, but it's still developing and emerging. Recently, we have been noticing how serious she is. She is absolutely hilarious, a HUGE clutz, and the first (and only) of our children to (ever) need a trip to the ER for stitches (or any other wound). She has been twice now. And she's not yet 3. She looks up to her sister in a huge way, but has also learned exactly how to push her buttons, and does it quite well. She may not be as dainty, but she's just as girly, and her favorite color is also now pink. Many afternoons are spent playing dress up, and she often requests music so she can dance.

Baby Boots. Because he is our baby. Boots because he likes shoes. (And how many toddler's do you know who like to wear shoes?) This one, I think, is becoming daddy's mini-me #2. He has many characteristics of his older brother, in addition to looks, but he is clearly his own person. He loves to laugh, and smiled and laughed very early on.  He is just like his siblings and loves to climb whatever he can, which is more and more every day. He is a joy and a blessing, and mommy is so happy he's part of our family now that she's gotten over the shock of having four children. And call her crazy but she frequently entertains the idea of another, despite the insanity of the thoughtBabyBoots.

Squirt. Of coarse, the story wouldn't be complete without including our dear friend, Squirt. This nice little Western Painted turtle joined our family in May of 2009, when King Kong rescued him from the danger zone he was lost in, a truck stop in northern Wisconsin. He carried him safely home to Minnesota, where he has happily (or at least I hope) lived in our kitchen in a aquarium. He arrived the size of a quarter, literally, and has grown to aproximately 3 inches in diameter. Despite the fact that he's a picky eater (and why I would expect anything else in this house I don't know) we expect him to keep on growing, and plan to enter him in the local turtle races for our small town's celebration in June of 2010. We'll keep you updated on that. He is well loved, though not touched much, and hears "I love you" from at least one of the monkeys a few times a week. He really does bring happiness to our lives.

Well, that's us. Our happy little family of monkeys and such. Thanks for letting us be a part of your lives, even if only for a few laughs a week.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

God knows

I hate when you spend hours writing a long beautiful content-rich post, and it disappears. God only knows where in cyberspace it went. ugh. So I'll try again. But I don't know if I have enough creative genious left to recreate it. sigh.

Deut 1:30 The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes,

Mark 16:7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter, 'He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.'"
Some people would argue it's coincidence. Fate. Karma. I don't. I know it's God. Because He knows what we need, before we do, better than we do.

When my babysitter needed to cancel 3 weeks in a row, God knew I really didn't have the money to afford it anyway.

When she called to cancel a fourth week, God knew I needed time at home with my kids, less crazy running, and time to balance the checkbook.

When I recently tithed, with tears because I knew we couldn't "afford" to, God knew he was going to stretch my faith, remind me to have some, and that he had blessings awaiting.

I forgot that he would provide for all my needs. He knew He would enable me to stretch a whole tank of gas two weeks, to live within my grocery budget, to pay the whole electric bill and still have $.48 left over.

He knew there was $45 bucks hiding in a pair of pants I probably wouldn't have worn til spring, $45 that enable me to treat us to beer and pizza. Well, the beer was for me, not the kids, though when I walked in the door, Cheeks did say, "Beer! I love beer!" (And yes, mama needed a beer that day.)

When my babysitter called to cancel for the fifth week in a row, I asked, "hmm... what does God know?"

Well, he knew that I would have not one, but two sick children, who needed a mama and not a grandma-babysitter.

Last week, when I was pondering the fact that I, a pridefully self-less person, had become self-ish, He knew he was preparing my heart for this week.

He knew that I needed extra doses of love and patience to care for them, when I very likely could have been selfishly short tempered.

And honestly it's been the sweetest time of caring for my children.

This spring/summer/fall, while I was freaking and being of little faith, God was taking care of my child, placing him with the best teacher for him. According to my eyes, I didn't believe that. This week,  emblazoned in neon, God showed me that He had gone before, had paved the right path, in spite of me. He gave my son a teacher who was genuinely excited at his progress and success, not frustrated or annoyed at his inability. Her passive, quiet nature was exactly the right kind of nurture for him.

God knows. He has shown me that He knows. Better than I. He does go before me. He knows what I need, and give me opportunities to see that.

Before I forget

Here's KJ's latest. I would like to attribute the nonsensicalness to the delerium of her fever, but I don't think it is.

Why did the hair cross the lasagna res'rant?

To get to the other one cocka poodle poodle.

I know. And yet, it still gets laughs.

We meet in the middle

Sometimes a girl just needs to talk. Laughing and crying in the same conversation is just the cherry on top. Commiserating is like comfort food. It helps you know that you are not alone in your struggles, and encourages you to push on.

I have this friend. We meet there, in the middle. We grab nuggets of time amid craziness, children crying or fighting or interrupting with a million questions, and we talk. We share our heart and struggles, laughs about life, and the whispers of God. We talk about life. We meet in the middle. Our common ground.

It's good.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Sticking my head in the sand

Fear is a funny thing. An irrational thing. Usually, our fears are unfounded. Usually, there's nothing we can do to change what may come. With small children, they are small and helpless individuals, with imaginations a mile wide. There are so many things that are unknown or not understood by them, so many things bigger than them. And it is scary. All that stuff. The unknown.

As parents, it is our job to protect them. Sometimes it's possible, sometimes it's not. We do our best, and yet, it is impossible to protect them from all the evils of this world. I don't believe that it's appropriate to isolate our "children" from the world. My opinion is that it makes the world a scarier place, or makes for children so naive that they have no idea of the dangers that will find them. I find it a much better plan to expose them as it is fitting, to teach them about life, where we live, and how to live in it as best we can. Allow them to explore and learn, and even encounter some unpleasant things, but to provide a safe place for them to return to with arms wide open. My goal is to teach them what God says about the world and how they should live in it. Just as God does with us.  Under the shadow of His wing. Under the shadow of my wing. That is not to say that we should not protect our children anyway.

Though I am a parent that believes in natural consequences, in living in the real world, there are some things that I don't want my children to know about or experience yet. They don't know how to process them, because the "monsters in the closet" aren't real, because 4 yr olds don't often encounter witches. And I want them to feel safe, even if I know this is impossible to guarantee 100%.

Tonight my son was scared of his closet. He didn't know what was in there. So I lay in his bed next to him and explained that God keeps us safe. Mommy and daddy pray over our house and ask God to protect us, and he does. Nothing bad is going to happen. But still, he worried about 'cat burglers.' I laughed and told him we didn't have a cat so no cat burgler was going to come. No mom, they come and steal your silverwares. Oh, my bad. Well, we don't really have any silverwares that they would want to steal, and besides, cat burglers only live where there are really tall buildings, and we don't have any tall buildings anywhere near us. He was not completely satisfied, but enough for me to leave him. Though I found his fear amusing (yet not to be dismissed), I also was irritated. Thank you, WordGirl. Without you, we would know nothing of cat burglers or "going to jail" or other such pleasant things.

See, on that kind of stuff, my philosophy is, what they don't know can't hurt them. If they don't have a concept or a word in their vocabulary or frame of reference, then it is never an issue. (And let me tell you the strange and 'yeah, whatever' looks I got when sharing this "strategy" recently at a local family education class.) I tried out this philosphy with the word 'mine.' When our children were smaller and learning to speak, we never said the word 'mine.' We said, this is mommy's, or this is daddy's, but never, that's mine. When it came to sharing, child one and child two had no problems whatsoever. Maybe it was because they were so close in age. Maybe it was because they were of the opposite sex. Maybe we were just awesome parents. (haha). But I like to think that it was the attitude that we tried to teach them, and removing that one word was a big part of it. Eventually they learned it anyway, and subsequent children have learned it from them, and habe been heard employing it at the tender age of 15 months. The older two, however, never had a problem with sharing with each other or with their peers, or not nearly to the degree as their peers.

I have this same concept when it comes to 'scary things.' When I read stories, I skip over words like 'monsters' and change it to something else. We don't read books or watch movies that have ghosts or goblins. There are enough mean things in the media without introducing those sorts of  **'imaginary' characters. It is because of this, I believe, that we have not had any problems with nightmares or night terrors. Not to say we don't have the occasional bad dream, but nothing disruptive, nothing earthshattering. Anytime we have had bouts of children not sleeping well, including us, we pray over our home, and it goes away. (Seriously, don't knock it til you've tried it.)

**As an adult and a Christian, I know that there really are monsters and ghosts and demons. But that is a rather advanced topic to explain to a preschooler or a toddler. We can talk about that in 10 yrs. For now, we won't go there.

Since going to public school (this is not a public vs private commentary, I'm pro-public.) they have gotten introduced to these things, even in preschool, much to my dismay. And so we have seen more of those irrational fears pop up. Also, they come up even on PBS shows like WordGirl. I guess I could take the blame for that by allowing them to watch. But whatever. Sometimes I need the tv as babysitter. Though I do draw the line. No Scooby. No Family Guy. No Friends.

So, am I sticking my head in the sand with this philosphy? I guess. But it works for us.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Dump it.

So until my wise and wonderful husband suggested putting my memory card into my mom's camera, all pics (well, the good ones) were taken on her memory card. The obligatory post-Halloween parade of costumes post will thus be delayed due to my slow-poke mother (though I love her, she's not quick about fulfilling requests) as I wait for her to email pics. Some snap happy children happened to drain all the batteries in my camera (with their 118 shots of the tv, me in my underwear folding laundry, more tv and random out-of-focus shots of the wall, carpet, etc), and of coarse the ones that were charged were dead by the time I put them in the camera.

For now, I thought I'd share a little about the developmental stage that has me pulling my hair out my smallest is in. I'd like to call it the "trailing tornado" or "dump it" stage. I thought I was just going crazy, but then I had my crazy confirmed and brought to a "normal" status with something I read today. Our local United Way has this wonderful program that sends out books to kids age 1 thru 4. We get several books a year, accompanied by a monthly newsletter telling of area kid-focused events, parenting tips, a cook-with-kids or craft idea, and a sheet from bornlearning that "highlights what's happening at this stage of your child's development." I remember this "dump it" stage with dear Cheeks the most, and remember calling her Tornado Abby. (get it? Tornado Alley/Tornado Abby. Haha. I know, I crack myself up.) Wherever the child goes, they leave in their wake a tornado of whatever they can get their hands on. Usually, what you've just picked up. Lil'D happens to be in this same phase of life, where he is exploring, testing and manipulating his surroundings. He (and I quote this sheet from bornlearning) "likes to push, pull and dump things."

Why, YES he does!

He also likes to take things and put them other places. I regularly (as in  s e v e r a l  times a day) check my garbage for things like Barbies, puzzle pieces, silverware, phones and remotes. I also have found toys clear on the other side of the house from where they originated. And I can't for the life of me find a match to either his shoes or slippers. He also likes to raid the cupboard for crackers, or whatever he can get is little hands on, be it Bisquick, paper plates or bananas.

So after doing nothing yesterday to recover from the events of the last week, today meant that my HOUSE needed some serious attention.

**Can I just interrupt this story for a moment to tell you that mere seconds ago, this sweet little exploring bugger of mine dumped out the puzzle I just picked up and brought me the empty puzzle board. Aw, how sweet. sigh. Only minutes before this he had raided the cupboard and brought me stacks of paper plates and bowls, and there was an equally large stack of plates and napkins spread out on the floor near the cupboard.

Ok, back to the house, now that I've just illustrated what I was going to explain. The mirad of dress-up clothes and costume parts, candy wrappers, strewn about books and dirty laundry, not to mention the thick layer of sand and whatnot that covered my living room rug called my attention like a red waving flag, with the pole repeatedly whapping me in the face. We had sunk to new levels of grotesqueness.

I at least had the clarity of mind to wait until most parties were not present to attack. And so my morning went smoothly in my efforts to rid us of our uncleanliness. I had made headway. Then I took a break. It should be noted, also, that Dr. Disaster had by now gotten up from his nap.

So what once was a clear-to-navigate surface, is now, again, a landmine. This is why, most days, I feel it's pointless to clean or pick up. I feel defeated and overwhelmed. But today, I smile. He's just bein' his normal baby self. And I love that baby oh so very much.