Thursday, December 31, 2009

Little Drummer Boy

Posted by Picasa

So much for dreaming of sugar plums. Winter3 dreams of drums. You might remember when Winter3 played the shovel and pail in the middle of the night. ( His love of drumming on everything has not waned since then. I've actually said the following to him:

"Winter3, please stop drumming on the oranges."
"Winter3, please stop drumming on the apples."
"Winter3, please don't drum on ANY fruit."
"Winter3, please don't drum on your baby brother."

He and Mike sometimes get together for jam sessions...Mike on the cheapie electronic drums and Winter3 on the cheapie keyboard. While Daddy loses himself in the drumming, Winter3 really gets into the beat. He'll stop playing the keyboard, pump a little fist in the air, give a "woo!" and then continue on.

He sets up "drums" for himself consisting of cups and an old dvd as a cymbal. Unfortunately, my spatula handles usually disappear from the kitchen and become drumsticks.

It was no surprise when Winter3 put "a big drum set like Anthony Wiggle's" at the top of his Christmas list. Santa, to his credit, said something like "hell no" to that request. Maybe when he's bigger. We convinced Winter3 that "a big drum set like Anthony Wiggle's" would never fit in the sleigh. Perhaps a 3 year old boy sized drum would be a better idea. And so a music set fit for a three year old boy appeared under the tree Christmas morning, complete with drum, drumsticks, maracas, castanets and to almost everyone's dismay, a horn. But that's another blog entry to be entitled, "toys that disappear in the dead of night."

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Next Time, A Fern

Spring7 has an incredible imagination and comes up with many plans and ideas. Most of these ideas and don't go anywhere. For example, he thought he might like a hawk for a pet so he could walk around with it on his arm. Keep in mind that he's terrified of large birds that swoop around. I think he just liked the idea of how badass he'd look walking around with a hawk on his little arm. Then a neighbor emailed us a picture of a hawk sitting on her playset eating a fresh bird. Out of concern for his little brothers, the idea of falconry as a hobby went out the window.

One of his most recent grand thoughts was that he wanted a cactus. If you say, "A what?!" you won't be the first. After all, this is the child who sprayed himself in the eye with air freshener because he was curious about how it came out of the can. (Yes, he's fine. It hurt ALOT and he smelled like pumpkin spice for a couple days but he's fine.) We decided just to ignore the cactus idea to see if it went away.

It didn't. We made a deal that if Spring7 helped clean out his room...going through old toys, clothes, papers etc. and cleared a safe spot for a cactus, we would get him one. He worked and worked and got everything done. Spring7 assured Mike that Home Depot sold cactus plants and off they went.

They proudly returned with a $3 cactus named Spikey. He had two long arms made of a bunch of round spike covered pieces. The pot was wobbly because the arms were so long but I really wasn't ready to tackle the repotting of a cactus. Within the first 24 hours, Spring7 had been poked in the fingers a couple times and once in the mouth (haven't figured that one out yet!).

Then the first crisis, as Spring7 watched me, I picked up Spikey to think more about the pot situation. While I'm looking at the pot, one of Spikey's arms fell off and broke into 5 or 6 spike covered balls and rolled all over the floor. Spring7 yelled, "You killed Spikey!!" We cleaned up Spikey's parts but now he was really wobbly. A few days later, Spring7 found Spikey on the ground, dirt and spike covered pieces everywhere. He's still with us and is much more manageable now as he's just a small pot with three ground level spike covered balls.

I suspect Spring7 wants something to care for but next time we'll go for something a little more leafy. Hey, maybe that could be the new plant's name...Leafy!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Revenge is Best Served Cold

Spring7 and Winter3 love each other. They play together, wrestling and laughing. Spring7 talks about his little brothers all the time. They can also make each other crazy. Unfortunately, they've reached an age when bopping each other and then running away is a favorite thing. Spring7 hit Winter3 and when he got in trouble this was his defense, "But Mooommm, he hit me! I was just following the golden rule, 'Treat others as they treat you.'" That led to another conversation, of course, about the REAL golden rule.

This morning, I found Spring7's checklist for today.

"Play wif Dad and frisbee
Punch Winter3
Hug Mom
Play wif Fall2"

The punching isn't acceptable but I love that he has it on the checklist in between playing and hugging.

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Baby Rooster

Our boys share bedrooms...the two older ones are together and the two little ones are together. We've had to tweak bedtime routines for the older boys and deal with some brotherly fighting but overall it's worked out fairly well.

The younger boys have been great together. Winter3 goes to bed first followed shortly by Fall2. When they wake up in the morning they laugh and talk. Winter3 brings blankets and books and sits in bed with Fall2 playing until I get them up. When they were smaller, the boys would sometimes fall asleep together in the crib, all tangled and snuggled together.

Every so often, Fall2 wakes up very early. Like 4:30 or 5 a.m. early. He'll go back to sleep but since he's convinced that it's time to wake up he makes it his mission to wake up his brother. Through the blessing/curse of the baby monitor I get to hear the entire exchange.

It starts with Fall2 calling Winter3 in a normal, conversational voice and progresses from there.

Fall2: "Winter3....Winter3....Winter3"
Fall 2: "Winter3Winter3Winter3!!"
Fall2: "WINTER3 [SHRIEK! SCREAM! SHRIEK!] WINTER3!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Winter3: [in a very sleepy voice] "whaaaaat?"
Fall2: "Yay! Yay!" [followed by much hand clapping and cheering because who wouldn't be excited to start the day?]

I can thank my lucky stars that Winter3's body tells him that it's time to go back to sleep. At this point, if he ignores his brother, Fall2 falls back asleep. Sometimes, I head over to the room, cover Fall2, pat him and try to convince him that five people in the house are indeed trying to sleep.

This morning, I opened the door to their room and didn't see Winter3 in his bed. I noticed him curled up on the heating vent behind the rocking chair with a blanket over his head. He hasn't slept out of his bed in a while now so I asked him why he was sleeping on the floor. Winter3 told me, "I tryin' to sweep. Fall2 keeps yellin' at me." Sure enough, Fall2 had gone back to sleep but only after his brother was out of view. Poor little boy! He can't run away from his brother but he can hide!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

An October Plague

It's only mid-October and already so much illness has been ricocheting from one kid to the next at the big boys school. Everything from colds, to strep throat, to stomach bugs, to the dreaded H1N1. So far, five of the six of us have had a nasty virus in the past week with only Fall2 being left out. We'll see how long that lasts! As of this moment, only Summer10 is sick.

All of this nasty germiness has taught me some things which may or may not be true.

1. Having tickets to a major sporting event will actually cause your children to become ill. Case #1, Cleveland Indians tickets clearly caused Fall2 to develop croup in June. Case #2, OSU Buckeye tickets clearly caused Winter3 to introduce this virus to our family this weekend.

2. A child who leaves his room and comes to the top of the stairs to tell his parents that he's not feeling well will throw up before he gets a chance to say anything. The chunky splashing sound will communicate far more than words.

3. The most active child will bounce back the most quickly. This is why Winter3 was sick only overnight and then better. He was able to run circles around the rest of us who were attempting to move from the couch.

4. Damp spots on the carpet, although cleaned and deodorized, are still gross. No matter how many times you try to remember the pattern of leaping that will safely get you down the hall, it is a guarantee that you will land in at least one spot. Ewwww.

5. A toddler who never got sick will think his brothers are staying home to play with him. He will bop their nearly lifeless bodies with toys because surely they're not sleeping but rather playing hide and seek.

6. Finally, this one I know is a fact...neighbors who offer help make everyone feel much better!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Oh boy!

Every so often, someone will ask me if we'll have a fifth child to "try for a girl." I have to stop myself from bursting into laughter. For one thing, our fourth child was a surprise beyond all surprises and miracle beyond all miracles. Don't get me wrong, I'm convinced that Fall2 was meant to be with our family. He fit in seamlessly with everyone else and if my family can agree on nothing else, we all agree that Fall2 is about the happiest and most joyful baby you'll ever meet. It's just that we're not going to try to make more of anything. Besides, I have four boys. If I had five children, I'd probably have five boys. I wouldn't trade my boys for anything but four is plenty, thankyouverymuch.

When I was pregnant with Fall2, some friends told me that he must be my girl. I knew, just knew, that he wasn't. And that was fine. I'd made peace with being a mom of all boys long ago. I will miss out on alot of girly things but that's okay. As far as I'm concerned, being the only female in the family means I have no competition for queen/princess/goddess of the house. Plus, I have a nice matched set of children. And what kind of girl would I have with three big brothers? Probably a girly girl wearing a dress but carrying worms around in a purse. Would she ever be asked out on a date? As protective as my boys are of me, I can only imagine what they'd be like with a little sister.

I hope to have one daughter-in-law who likes me. The odds seem good. My own mother-in-law is a great role model...everyone likes her. I pay careful attention to friends' in-law horror stories because I definitely don't want to be the dreaded kind of mother-in-law.

Daughters-in-law are waaaay in the future. Right now, I content myself with nieces and friends' daughters and stories about their girls. Some of these stories make me realize how loud and active my boys are. Some of these stories make me grateful for my loud and active but far less dramatic boys. Regardless, I have four wonderful, healthy, happy and funny children and I am grateful for those little men every day.

Anyway, Summer10 and Spring7 are sure that one of the goldfish must be a girl. Maybe I could just glue a pink bow on the hermit crab's shell? Um, maybe not.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I'm Baaaa-aaack

Okay, so no one ever told me that writing is like exercising. All is fine and dandy when you're in the routine but if you take a couple weeks off, say to get everyone back into school schedules, BAM all of the sudden it's more than two weeks and hard to get back into it.

I have missed writing. I've received so many compliments about my blog...many from people who are not related to me. Amazing! I kid but truly appreciate all the nice things people have to say.

So what's happened over the last few weeks? For one, my Fall baby is no longer "Fallwhatevermonths," he's an official Fall2. How much easier is that to write and read?! Spring7 and Summer10 are bouncing along with life. Winter3 started preschool two days a week and he hates it less every week. He never really hated school, he just hated me leaving him. On the second day of preschool, he had to bring a family picture to school. He spent the entire four hours wandering around the classroom, sucking his thumb and looking at our picture. How's that for heart wrenching? He does enjoy it now, doesn't mope around the classroom but drop off time is still hard. Leave it to my family to create a scene beyond all scenes. Imagine this...teacher steers Winter3 into class. Winter3 bursts into tears and begins yelling "Mommy! Moooommmmyyyy! I want Moooommmmyyy!" This hysteria causes Fall2 to burst into tears because a.)he doesn't like it when his brother is sad and b.) he doesn't like to leave his brother any more than his brother likes to be left. Good times. We're definitely not people who can come and go unnoticed.

Winter3 talks about his friends and teachers. He sings me songs from music class. Tells me what he did in gym class. Laughs about the book "Mrs. Sporkey" read (not quite close to her name but it works for him). I know he's happy and loved at school. I know the transitions will get easier because I went through the same thing with his big brothers. I just hope he finds a good balance...I don't want it to be too easy for him to leave me at any age!

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Fourth R is Recess

For years and years people have joked that a little boy's favorite part of the school day is recess. This is certainly true for Spring7. By the time lunch is over and it's time for recess, Spring7 is like a puppy who needs to be let off a leash. If I ask him about his school day, I get answers like "reading" and "stuff" and "I hate writing". If I ask about recess, I get a minute by minute detailed list of who he played with and what exactly they did.

This morning, he got dressed and with an irritated voice told me he had a problem. His major crisis: shorts with no pockets. How is he supposed to bring his Matchbox airplanes to recess without pockets? I dug out a pair of pocketed shorts and saved the day. Yes, he'd rather sit at school with airplane wings poking him in the thigh for several hours than be without.

I'll never complain about problems so easily solved!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Pets? Aren't Brothers Good Enough?

For the place where I am in my life right now, the best pets are my neighbors pets. The lack of furred creatures in my house is partly choice, partly necessity. No walks, no food, no vet bills, no poop. My kids give me all of that stuff that I need. A bigger issue is that in our family, we have cat and dog allergies. Fortunately, we found out after our last cat died and before we got a new one. (I really miss having a cat in the house.) Hamsters, guinea pigs and the like are cute but I don't care to own one.

We do have three pets: two goldfish and one hermit crab. Apparently, I have a special talent for nurturing small things because these critters have lived far longer than I expected. Our goldfish, $0.19 feeder fish we rescued from a terrible fate, are more than three years old now. Our hermit crab, Clawed McBroad, is almost 2 1/2.

Seriously, I'm stunned that my hermit crab is older than my youngest child. When Summer10 bought Clawed, we researched hermit crab care and discovered that he needed a crabitat. Yes, I said crabitat. (One of the best words, ever) A crabitat is a pretty simple place consisting of sand, a water dish, a little shell for food, extra shells for when he outgrows his current shell and a coconut hut for hiding from prying eyes. At this point, I think I'm the only person who still interacts with Clawed but I like having him around.

This isn't to say that the boys don't still think we need more pets. In fact, one day I thought Clawed had died. I saw a crumpled little body in his crabitat, said a prayer for him (my God loves even the crabbiest of us) and went to tell the boys. Can you believe that this happened to me twice before it became ingrained that hermit crabs molt? Anyway, Summer10's first words were, "Oh well. Now can we get a parrot?" A parrot? As in another thing that talks? As in a bird that will live forever and require a large place to live? I don't think so!

There must be something about birds and my kids though. Today, Spring7 and I saw several large birds flying over our house. He told me, "Mom, I'd like to have a hawk for a pet. Then I could walk around with it on my arm."

I could be the mother of a seven year old falconer.

I'm not cleaning up falcon poop either.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Five More Minutes?

I'm not a morning person. The older I get the more I realize this is just part of who I am. I love the morning but hate getting up to see it. Why can't dawn come at 10 am? Unfortunately, the rest of the world isn't on my schedule and I can't hit snooze on the school bus. I'm happy to get up and get my big boys off to school in the morning but they're usually up and dressed before I am.

Yesterday, Summer10 asked for a bowl of cereal with milk for breakfast. While he put on his shoes I got his cereal ready. He walked into the kitchen and said, "Wow, that was fast." I told him, "Yep, your mom works pretty quickly." Here's the number one sign your child knows that you aren't a morning person. Summer10 replied, "You're really fast, once you get started."

Maybe I should teach him how to make my coffee?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Let Me Fix You a Little Something...Black Bean Enchiladas

I'm always looking for new dinner ideas. This one is an oldie but goodie and is inexpensive, healthy and my boys love it. It's meatless too and it's nice to have a filling but vegetarian recipe in the rotation.

2 TBSP oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 cans of black beans, drained
1 cup of corn
8-12 flour tortillas
2 cups shredded cheddar
2 cans of enchilada sauce (I go for the mild, especially for the boys)

Saute onion and garlic in oil for a few minutes until soft. Add beans and cook for about 10 minutes. Mash some of the beans then add the corn. Spoon some of mixture into each tortilla and top with cheese. Roll up and place in baking dish. Pour the sauce over the enchiladas and cover with foil.

Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.

I have a batch in the oven as I type. I also have hungry boys on the prowl looking for food. Perfect combination!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

With a Banjo on his Knee

Today Winter3 ran up to me begging for a banjo. Mmhmm, a banjo. As in "Mommy, I neeeeeeeeed a banjo." I confirmed, "A banjo?" He confirmed, "Yes! A banjo!" My first thought was that there's too much noise and activity surrounding me daily and the last thing I needed was to introduce more musical instruments into the house. {Summer10 will be learning the recorder at school this year, heaven help me.}

My second thought was "Wait a minute! Since when does anyone ask for a banjo in a desperate, pleading way?"

So I asked the million dollar question, "Winter3 why do you neeeeeed a banjo." He replied, "For my knee. I hurt mahself." I went off to fetch the bandaids and life made sense again. I told him, "Poor guy, you need a bandaid for your knee." He said, "Yes, a bandaid" like I was the one with problems.

Not five minutes later, he proudly showed me his knee and exclaimed, "I have a banjo on my knee!"

I might as well agree.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Keep on Rollin'

If there's anything I've learned from being the mom of a herd of kids, it's how to roll with the punches of every day life. There are days, like today, when I say to myself, "Seriously? Really? Can anything else happen?" I really can't complain because I think my life is golden but sometimes I can only laugh at my life.

Today started out with me hosting playgroup. I decided that the group would meet at a church in our town that has a great indoor play area. Easy enough. All I had to do was meet the other kids and moms with some snack mix, drinks and paper towels. Being an indoor play area it tends to be rather loud. Please note...when three of your children are yelling at you that "Fall23months is climbing the wall" (oddly enough, this didn't concern me) they're actually saying "Fall23months is coloring the wall." OMGOMGOMG, my toddler has colored on two walls of a lovely, free church playarea. Could it have been yellow crayon? No! Brown! Trying to look calm, I found hand sanitizer in the kitchen area and thought maybe, maybe if the world is truly good, this will work. Hand sanitizer, together with paper towels and a hell of alot of elbow grease removed the crayon. The wall looks a little lighter in color but shhhh, that can be our secret.

I felt like MomGyver and was feeling pretty sassy about my quick thinking and that's when the world decided to play some jokes on me.

Let it be known...
  • That clunky sound in the washer is a rather large Matchbox airplane.
  • That clunky sound in the garbage disposal is a peach pit (Note to my children...I love that you love fruit. I love that you remember to put your plate in the sink but peach pits go in the trash can!)
  • A toddler who spills a container of snack mix and gets a broom has good intentions. He will realize it's too hard and simply sit in the middle of the mess to snack on it.
  • Going out for ice cream before haircuts will only give the cut hair something to stick to. On arms, on faces, on necks.
  • The kids haircut place will not be running on time the day before school starts.
  • Sitting in the hallway, chatting with a friend on the phone and watching two little boys play in the tub will make your toddler poop in the tub. And pick it up because it's just that cool.

And most importantly...

  • Finding a bottle of red wine in the pantry makes a mom ready to face the next day.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Of Moose and Men

Driving home from a friend's house late one evening, we had to drive through a dark, wooded area. Spring7 pipes up from the back, "these are moose woods." Most people would think, oh, okay, probably no moose in Ohio but they don't know about the moose. Spring7's moose. Some kids have imaginary friends. My child has an imaginary moose. Wait, wait...not just any moose. A moose who is sometimes friendly but most of the time mean and scary. I'm fairly certain I'm the only woman in the world who has a nefarious imaginary moose in her family.

I was surprised to hear Spring7 mention the moose because he (the moose) really hasn't been around much during the last year. The moose was part of our daily lives for several years. Years.

The moose was serious business. Spring7 doesn't mess around; he means what he says. We don't joke about the moose. Conversations about the moose required solemn tones and straight faces while talking about, for example, how the moose surely wouldn't vacation with us because everyone knows moose don't like sand in their hooves. Going to Grandma's house? No moose allowed there. Do you think Grandma would put up with moose in her basement? No! The moose riding to Lake Erie with us in the car top carrier? Did you see how full that thing is? No room for a moose there. No, I really don't think he can hold on to the back of the van spread eagle with hooves.

Besides trips out of town, the moose hunkered under beds, in dark rooms and closets. I actually had to tell his preschool teachers "Spring7 has an imaginary moose who may or may not come to school with him." I wanted to follow that with "but we're really a very normal family." I'll never forget that one of his preschool teachers looked at me like I was a little crazy and the other one said, "No problem. That kind of imagination just means he's very intelligent." Guess which teacher I liked best?

The moose could also be a barrel of laughs kind of imaginary moose. At those times, Spring7 called him "my moosey friend" and not the moose.

We argued the fact that moose don't live in the wild in Ohio. We showed him the gentle and friendly looking moose at the zoo. (I suppose they could also look huge and slightly menacing too?) Spring7 believed us but that didn't take away the fact that he had a moose under his bed.

We knew in time that the moose leave on his own and for the most part he has. Sadly, that just means that my little Spring7 is growing up.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Lather, Rinse, Repeat

  • Toddler grabs full cup of Winter3's forgotten water.
  • Toddler spills water.
  • Toddler slips in water and cries.
  • Mom picks up toddler and consoles him.
  • Mom puts down dripping wet (but no longer crying) toddler and runs to grab towels.
  • Mom takes cleaning towel out of the dryer. (Freshly washed from being used the day before!)
  • Toddler sees a puddle to play in and once again slips in the water.
  • Mom comes back to console toddler yet again but this time holds him while cleaning up the spill.
  • Mom hears Winter3 pouring himself another cup of water.
  • This time, she's smart enough to move the cup as soon as he puts it down.

Update on potty training

Winter3 is becoming a pro at using the potty. A few times, he's even run to the bathroom, used the potty and then washed his hands...all by himself. He's sporting his new "fancy underwear" and everything. Yes, I'm knocking on wood as I write this.

I owe all my success to poop presents. Poop in the potty and you too can choose a fantabulous prize out of the mysterious poop prize bag.

Some of this fancy underwear is designed for the cute butt factor and not for the child as it has pictures only on the back and not the front. Last week, Winter3 looked like a dog chasing his tail while trying to see a cartoon picture on his bottom. He's still in the habit of carrying his (clean!) underwear around like a trophy but I'm hoping he'll get over that before the start of preschool.

To sum it all up, Winter3 told Spring7, "I was so proud of me!!" Nothing like giving yourself a big pat on the back!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Typical Toddlers, Part 2

In my last post, I wrote about Fall22months' newly discovered voice. Even more fun are his newly discovered climbing skills.

Movement. Fall22months was a very late walker. Not a 15 or 16 month old late walker but a nearly 21 month old late walker. Such a late walker, he was almost elderly. Fall22months was late to crawl so when he wasn't walking at around a year old, I didn't think anything of it and honestly sort of thanked my lucky stars that I still only had three children who could run away from me. Fall22months also has three big brothers who provided his every want so he didn't really need to walk. When he turned 18 months old, I started to worry. I asked our reassuring pediatrician who did a few tests and told me that Fall22months is hypermobile. The doctor assured me that Fall22months wouldn't wind up as pretzel boy in the circus but he has some pretty cool party tricks. Thumb to wrist, check. Top of foot to shin, no problem. Knees turn to face each other, yes sirree.

This all meant that the act of walking would take some time. The good doctor promised me that Fall22months would walk by the time he was 21 months old and sure enough, with a couple weeks to spare, he did. His hypermobility caused him to wobble rather than toddle but he was at least moving on two feet. A few days later, Spring7 announces "Now that he can walk, I'm going to teach him how to RUN!" I managed to convince big brother that walking is good enough for now and that Fall22months will learn to run in his own time. (Perhaps weights on his little ankles will delay this? Hmmm.)

Fast forward a few weeks and Fall22months is walking (still wobbling a little) everywhere. He's been climbing stairs for months but is now strong enough to climb up on the couch. He's graduated from sitting on the couch all proud of himself to climbing on kitchen and dining room chairs. Fall22months will look at a book or play with a toy while sitting on the chair seeming all proud of himself, "Yep, I decided to sit on this chair to play today." His big problem...he can't get down. Here is where his voice comes back in. Fall22months is vain enough not to yell for help for a while. He sits there, "yes, this is where I want to be" for a few minutes before YELLING for help to get down. "OOOOUUUUUUTTTT" is his word that means "get me anywhere but here."

This weekend, he took sitting to a whole new level, literally. He now sits on tables. As self-important as all toddlers are, he sits right in the middle of the table, sometimes munching on the snack that someone left there (not realizing Fall22months could get it, aha!). Of course, he can't get down from the table any more than he can get down from chair but he thinks he's so cool. Until he gets caught and removed from his perch. Then he gets mad!

Overall, Fall22months is a sweet and happy baby. Summer10 called Fall22months "a little package of joy" which sums him up perfectly. His adventures are just beginning!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Typical Toddlers Pt. 1

Oh great. I knew this was coming. Fall22months has started acting like a normal toddler. In my house, all signs point to noise and movement.

Noise. Fall22months is my quiet child. Summer10 isn't too loud but Winter3 and Spring7 can blow out your eardrums with their enthusiastic voices. If they get excited or hurt, watch out and cover your ears! Fall22months has so much to compete with in the house, I expected that he would be loud too. Not so. When he started talking, he'd say words like "book" in an itty bitty voice that made the word sound like [insert very quiet little voice] "boo."

It's possible he's been talking since he was six months old and none of us knew because he was so quiet. Things change and big brothers are so useful for teaching baby brothers things like HOW TO BE REALLY LOUD SO EVERYONE HEARS YOU! It didn't take Fall22months too long to realize that if he sits in his booster seat at the table and says [insert very quiet little voice] "more" or sweetly signs the word at dinner time, it takes a while for us to notice. Now, he yells, "MAAAAAA" (his way of saying more) and even waves his empty plate in the air. This works. It's his way of indicating, "Hello, I'm here and I'm hungry. Try and ignore me now, Mama. Geez, the service in this place is terrible."

He also used to let brothers take toys from him and he'd only voice a quiet complaint. Ha! Those days are gone. Now when a brother tries to play with his toy or push a button he wanted to push Fall22months unleashes a newly discovered piercing, shrieking, screaming sort of noise. Again, this works. He's still a little young to understand sharing and as far as I'm concerned he can yell at his brothers all he wants to. For almost two years now, Fall22months only whimpered in protest but now he has the power to make them back off a little.

Fall22months is still quiet most of the time. Since he's developed this voice, I'm quite grateful that he knows when he really, really wants and needs attention and when he's happy to simply play, quietly.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Now with 50% fewer boys!

For three days this week, I'm down to two boys. My husband and the two big boys are at Cub Scout day camp doing manly things like shooting BB guns and arrows (hopefully not at each other), hiking, creeking and making volcanoes out of water bottles. [Yes, I'm fully aware that Mike deserves a medal for volunteering.] After the morning insanity of packing lunches and getting the three of them OUT, the house is pleasantly still and quiet. With the little boys still in bed, I can grab a quick cup of coffee before starting my second shift.

I truly enjoy getting out and going places with all four of my kids, whether it's a playground, bike ride or museum. Sometimes, though, I feel more like a boy-herder than a mom. Having only two around lets me put down my shepherd's crook and play. While the little boys nap in the afternoons, I get to hang out with my big boys but I'm rarely alone with the little ones (that is, until school starts!) The energy in the house is very different with only two...I suppose that's because there's alot less energy. I don't have to mediate arguments over who looked/poked/bumped/touched who or what tv show to watch or who took (insert name of item here) from (insert name of brother here). Winter3 and Fall22months are brothers after all and I know that they too will have these arguments. But they're not yet. And I'm fine with that!

Being alone with two has a downside. Over the course of the summer, I've grown accustomed to having big brother helpers around. Right now, there's no one to sound the "Mmooooooommmmm" alarm when a little brother gets into something. And oh, my sweet little boys will play very nicely when I'm around and playing with them. The moment I leave the room to say put laundry in the washer, they spring into action. My feet are barely out of the room when I hear a chair or stool being dragged across the kitchen floor. If I stop and call out a name "Winter3!!!!!", the dragging stops, if only for a moment. They move faster than the speed of light and as I walk back into the kitchen, I might find two little boys being "helpful" by cleaning the sliding door with the dish sponge or eating a pint of blueberries.

These two darlings work together to get into trouble. Winter3 ran up to me today to say, "Fall22months is playing in the toyyy-let." I cleaned up the mess and asked, "Winter3, your brother can't open doors. Did you let him in the bathroom to play?" "Yes Mommy!" is the answer I already knew. They haven't yet figured out that if one creates a diversion, the other can get away with anything. Key word, yet. Hopefully they won't until next June when I can count on having my two big brother shepherd boys around to help for a couple of months, at least.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Let Me Fix You a Little Something...Avocado Feta Salsa

At first glance, you might say "avocado and feta, really?" but if you taste this salsa, it will become a favorite. This recipe was given to me in the b.c. (before children) time of my life and I've made it frequently since then. And yes, I'll admit that I had to look up the spelling of avocado. The more I repeat the word, the sillier it sounds.

Avocado-Feta Salsa

1 avocado, nice and ripe, chopped. You'll be sorely disappointed if you use one that's rock hard.
2 plum tomatoes, chopped (chop up whatever tomato you have, this isn't rocket science)
1/4 c. red onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, chopped (see a chopping theme?)
1/2 tsp. chopped fresh oregano (I rarely use fresh oregano. Start with about 1/2 tsp. dried and add more as you like.)
1 TBSP olive oil
1/2 TBSP red wine vinegar
1/2 of a 6 oz. package of crumbled feta cheese

Combine the chopped avocado and tomato in a large bowl Add the remaining ingredients except for the feta. Combine well then fold in the cheese. I typically add some salt and a little more vinegar. Serve with tortilla chips.

Friday, July 31, 2009

We All Scream for Ice Cream

This week, we've had day after day of rain. Great for my growing garden, bad for my growing boys. Friday we had to get O-U-T of the house and go on an adventure. I decided we'd head up to the Velvet Ice Cream Factory in Utica. It meets all the qualifications for a great adventure

a.) haven't been this year b.) get to see people makin' stuff c.) plenty of space for running and d.) food (notably in this case, ice cream). Plus, there's a "big wheel". Velvet Ice Cream is a very old Ohio company and they're currently located on the site of an old grist mill. The water wheel is still spinning away and my boys yell, "Look at the big wheel!" every time we go. The first time Mike went with us he said, "Look at the big wheel!" I think it's a guy thing.

Something to know about me is that I never leave the house when I think I will/should. In my mind, things happen a lot faster than they do in real life. Plus, I'm just not a person who wants to go anywhere very early while we're all on summer break. Then there's always the stuff that happens moments before stepping out the door: the poopy baby, one lost shoe, a boy who thinks he's dying of starvation. We managed to make it out of the house around eleven. I knew we'd have to eat at some point and decided to throw our money at the ice cream factory restaurant rather than a craptastic fast food restaurant.

That means, drumroll please, I took four boys to a sit down restaurant by myself. [Wait, let me polish off my tiara before continuing.] We were the most exciting thing to hit that little restaurant all week and thank goodness we had a sweet waitress who didn't quit when she saw us coming. Crayons and paper hats to color kept the two youngest fairly occupied. Winter3 bounded out of his seat minimal times. Spring7 was initially pouty for a variety of reasons but got over it pretty quickly. Fall22months happily waved at everyone who walked past us. All in all, a good lunch. The highlight of lunch came from Winter3, of course. When he saw the waitress bringing our food to the table, he stood up on his chair, gave her a double thumbs up and exclaimed, "Good job!"

After lunch we wandered over to the viewing room part of the factory. Even though there's not a whole lot to see, conveyor belts, workers in hair and beard nets and big tubs of ice cream fascinated the boys. Next stop, the playground...two playsets and tons of space for running. Life is good! On the way to the playground, we passed the pond and a bunch of ducks. At this point, Fall22months breaks out in a fit of pointing and quacking. Winter3 wanted to "go see dem". Um, no, you can see them just fine from a distance.

Ice cream doesn't get much better than when you're at the factory so we had to finish our trip with ice cream. Fall22months and I shared ice cream and each of the bigger boys got cones. Winter3's junior ice cream cone was about 3 times bigger than everyone else's ice cream cone. Since three year olds, summer heat and gigantic ice cream cones don't mix well, we avoided sure disaster by getting an extra bowl to dump the cone into. What a great way to waste a summer day!

Watching "the big wheel"

Like two little duckings

You know when you're in the heart of Ohio's farmland when you find an ice cream cone that looks like an ear of corn.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Out on the Town...Franklin Park Conservatory

The Franklin Park Conservatory is one of my favorite places to visit. It's beautiful and you feel transported to different ends of the earth. Some might say, "Er, are you sure it's a good idea to take your calm, and well behaved albeit perfectly wonderful family of boys to a place with delicate and rare plants and a glass exhibit?" While my boys don't qualify as calm, they're usually pretty well behaved and I've found that most museum workers love to see curious and engaged kids come their way. I will admit that we've been avoiding the area with the bonsai trees. Wisely, I think, as the thought of Winter3 looking at (touching, poking, bending) a very, very old mini tree gives me heart palpitations. The same goes for the orchids. Oh, and the desert area with all the cacti. Hmmm, well that makes it sound like I miss half of the exhibits.

We always spend the most time in the tropical water garden area. The area is enclosed, warm and damp. It's filled with tropical plants, flowers and currently is home to the annual butterfly exhibit. Every day, butterflies hatch (in some sort of conservatory hatchery, I suppose!?) and are released. You might think that Winter3 is a danger to butterflies but since he doesn't exactly sneak up on anything, the butterflies see him coming a mile away. It's really pretty funny. Imagine Winter3, stopping in his tracks, pointing and saying in his loud whisper "Oh look! Der's a buuuteeerrfly" You can almost see the butterfly look over its shoulder and fly off in a different direction, quickly. It doesn't prevent him from having a great time, running on the walks through the plants and flowers, finding waterfalls and chasing his brothers.

My favorite part of this last visit was seeing the
Chihuly installation coming to life. Dale Chihuly is a Seattle based artist (eye patch and all) and his studio is well known for producing fantastic and colorful glass art. The Conservatory owns a large collection of Chihuly glass and this installation uses pieces from the collection as well as borrowed pieces. The glass looks alive when placed among the plants. Truly breathtaking.

Here, I hope I don't have three boys falling head first into the water. I also have to tell Spring7 that he can't take coins out.

Spring7 in the tropical house.

A lush garden of glass orbs.

Shhhh, please don't tell! Fall22months snagged a leaf!

My favorite piece.

All the art work aside, this was the highlight of the trip. A big fan.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

It's a Cape not a Cake, of course

Winter3 is a fan of the Wonder Pets. If you haven't seen the show, the Wonder Pets are a group of animal friends including a guinea pig, a turtle and a ducking who are regular classroom animals by day and superheroes by night. Naturally, (well duh) the Wonder Pets have capes. Winter3 was constantly finding cape-ish sorts of things and having me stick them in his shirt so he could perform animal rescues. I decided that this little boy needed a real cape. I'm no seamstress but few can beat me when I'm armed with a bottle of fabric glue and a good pair of scissors.

I more or less drew out a sketch, figured out what we needed to buy and broke the exciting news to Winter3 who was thrilled. My only concern was that he told everyone in the fabric store and even my mom on the phone "Mommy's making me a cake! A Wonder Pet cake!" Hmmm. When I'd correct the cape/cake mix-up he'd say "a cape!" like he'd been saying that all along.

At naptime, I whipped out scissors and glue and went to work all the while saying a little prayer that he would be happy to see a cape and not a cake. This is the final product and he was thrilled.

The Wonder Pets have a letter W on the back of their capes. I suggested a different letter to Winter3 and he looked at me like I was a lunatic. Here, he's inspecting my work.

With cape flying behind him, Winter3 is off to rescue his brother or rescue someone/something from his brother.

He's played with the cape so much it's pilling and probably starting to smell but truth be told, if he really, really wanted a Wonder Pet cake, I'd make him one of those too.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Let Me Fix You a Little Something...Peach Sangria

This is one of my summer favorites. What's not to love about peaches and cold white wine in the summer? I found this recipe in the paper six years ago and have made it many times since then. The wild couple that we are, we've even made it in the middle of winter. If you're making this for friends buy two bottles of wine because the first batch will go in a flash. If you're alone only buy one bottle because I don't want to be blamed for your problems.

Peach Sangria

1 bottle riesling
1 cup peach nectar (in the juice aisle)
1/2 cup peach schnapps
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons sugar
3 fresh peaches, sliced
1 lemon, sliced
1 lime, sliced

Combine all ingredients. The recipe says to refrigerate for four hours. I never do and it's great anyway. Lately, I've been using Relax riesling. It tastes good, is pretty inexpensive and the name makes me laugh. The first time I drank Relax riesling was on vacation last year. I sent Mike to the corner store for a bottle of wine. He saw it and thought, "Steph needs to relax so this must be a good wine." Indeed. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Boys that Go Bump in the Night

We all know that my days are full of excitement. I yearn for dull nights. Some nights are quiet but with four kids odds are that someone will need something. My bedtime routine always, always starts with me going into Spring7 and Summer10's room. Summer10 is just like me and will stay up reading much later than he should. What I am I supposed to do? Say "It's summer, you have no reason to get up early tomorrow! Stop reading!" No! But when it's very late, I do tell him enough is enough (or at least get to the end of the chapter).

The second thing I do is check on Winter3 and Fall22months. This chore used to be an adventure. After the crib, we moved Winter3 to a toddler bed. He loved the idea of the bed (What's not to love about Wiggles sheets?) but didn't love sleeping in the bed. Every night, I played a Where's Waldo game when entering his room. I'd find him sleeping next to, in front of, behind and under the bed but never, ever IN the bed. Sometimes he was in more unusual spots like on the changing table curled up like a cat, snuggled with Fall22months in the crib or slumped in the rocking chair. Finally, we bought a twin mattress, stuck it on the floor and he's been sleeping in it ever since.

I bought Winter3 a cheap shovel and pail set a couple of days ago. We didn't get to play in the sandbox and he desperately wanted to take the shovel and pail to bed with him. Fine. How many kids choose to snuggle with a hard plastic shovel and pail? Whatever. Fast forward to 3 a.m. I hear a LOUD bang, bang, bang coming from the monitor. What on earth was it, you ask? I think you can see this was Winter3 practicing his drum solo with the shovel and pail.

Now, my dear husband is a huge Rush fan. Not that baby monitor sounds wake him up but if they did, I'm sure he'd go right into a dream that Winter3 is the next Neil Peart. I imagine him as a frail old man in a rocking chair, sucking on his gums talking about when his World's Best Drummer, Ever! son started playing the drums.

I convince Winter3 to drum in the daylight and head back to bed (after settling an angry Fall22months who was all "hello, I'm trying to sleep here!"). A short time and one dream later, I feel the unmistakable poke of Spring7's finger in my back. He is convinced that a fly is in his ear. Truthfully, I did notice a fly upstairs when I went to bed and apparently he heard it fly through his room. Logic does not rule at 4 a.m. and once I convince him that there is no fly in his ear he is convinced it's because the fly has tunneled through his ear and into his brain. Surprisingly, he accepts the fact that the ear canal is not a hole leading to gray matter and goes back to bed.

As I try to fall back asleep (which takes zero effort) I hope the pesky fly doesn't come into my room. I pull the covers over my head, just in case because there's no way I'm going to have some nasty house fly tunneling in my brain.

Monday, July 20, 2009

When the Rubber Hits the Road

Whether it's the grocery store, a walk or a bike ride my life can seem like one circus parade after another. Having recently repaired my bike tire, (er, or having it repaired by a handy dandy bike shop, I should say) we decided to take the boys for a bike ride this weekend. The weather was perfect and the boys had plenty of energy to spare.

First, Mike had to get the bike trailer up and running. Flat tires were the least of it's problems. Believe it or not, he had to clear a wasp nest out of it. Can you tell it hadn't been used in a while? Finally, we got the little boys settled in the trailer and the ten wheels of our four bikes and one bike trailer hit the road.

We looked like a family of ducks on wheels. Daddy duck leading the pack, Mama duck at the end with little ducks in between. Everyone who passed by us looked. Some with a look of Oh how sweet and some with a look of THANK GOD THAT'S NOT ME!

It was fun to watch the two big boys on their bikes. They're such different people. Summer10 is the straight arrow first child. Spring7 is no straight arrow and has the energy to power 100 suns. Summer10 just rode his bike (and talked, of course because that's what he does). Spring7 weaved, stood up on his bike, rode side saddle, stuck out his hands and feet to brush tall weeds and flowers and aimed for rocks and puddles.

The fussing and complaining didn't start until we were on our way home. No one complained that they were tired. Brothers complained because one brother rode ahead of or next to him. One brother "got to talk to the babies" and he didn't. "HE blah, blah, blah" is what it sounded like after a while. As we neared home, Summer10 rode up next to me and said, "Mom, this was so much fun. We need to do it again soon!" I guess all the fussing and complaining that brothers do is just part of the day. They surely don't notice it as much as Mike and I do.

Monday before dinner, Mike suggested another bike ride. This time, I got to stay home. I'm always up for a little exercise but I'm also happy to have a few minutes to myself in a quiet house. I sent the boys off, closed the door (should have locked would have bought me a few more minutes), opened a bottle of wine, cracked a book and read in the silence for about 8 minutes before I heard a distant rumble of thunder. Sigh.

Before too long, the herd returned to the ranch. Winter3 ran in declaring, "I skeered of funder!" All in all, I think bike riding (more like bike adventuring) is something we'll keep up. It's something we can do as a family and throws a little activity our way. Can you imagine what we're going to look like when all six of us are on bikes? We're going to look like a mini version of the Tour de France minus the spectators waving flags and support staff following in vans! Now that I think about it, I am the family support staff. Maybe I'll follow in the van, wave a flag and hand out food and water. It would be quieter, at least.

Friday, July 17, 2009

I Should Know By Now

I have learned three lessons that I hope stick with me for a while.

1. Never leave an opened box of cereal on the counter when leaving the room to do laundry. Little boys know.

2. The sound of a box of Cheerios being upended on the carpet is unmistakable even from the next room.

3. Cheerios will clog up the vacuum hose if you try to suck up too many at one time requiring the use of a chopstick to poke them on through.

After lesson 2, I walked into the family room to find Winter3 (of course) and Fall21months happily munching on the cereal. When I got out the vacuum, both little boys looked at me, threw themselves on the cereal and started eating as quickly as possible--their little fists bulging with Cheerios. (I really do feed my sons. Promise.) Winter3 added an element of drama by crying out, "MY CHEEEEEERRRRRIOOOOOOS".

After lesson 3 and lots of muttering and aggravation on my part, my carpet was more or less clean again. Winter3 walked over to me, offered me a high five and said, "Good job Mommy!" Next time, I'll just put the box of cereal away.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Piece-A Hair?

All four of my boys are very attached and devoted to me which I think is pretty typical for little boys (well, at least for boys with rockin' moms like me). Spring7 has always hated when I get hugs and kisses from other men, meaning males other than himself. Men like his father. When Spring7 was a toddler/preschooler and my husband (his name is Mike, by the way) sat next to me on the couch, Spring7 would yell, climb on my lap, suck his thumb and glare menacingly at his father as if to say, "You may have been here first but she's mine now, loser." Interestingly, he's a great big brother and is more than happy to share me with his little brothers. The two big boys do fight over me but I can live with that kind of attention. My joke is that someday when I'm old and frail, I'll hear the boys walking down the hall of my nursing home arguing over who gets to pull my plug.

Summer10 still likes to hang out with me and Fall21months wouldn't let me out of his sight until fairly recently but of course it's Winter3 who has the most unusual obsession. Freud would love this one...Winter3 loves my hair. Not just to pat and twist around a finger when he's upset but he soothes himself by holding a strand of my hair and sucking his thumb. A lovey, if you will. A little piece of me. Sometimes, maybe at naptime or bedtime, he'll ask very sweetly, "Mommy, a piece-a hair, please?" Okay, so maybe I'm feeding into this obsession but how can I say no to that? What I don't like is when he sneaks up behind me and yanks a piece-a hair on his own. Ouch! What embarrasses me is when I have to explain this whole hair thing in public. A close friend told Winter3, "Let me get that yucky piece of hair off you." I had to stop her, "Please don't take his hair! It's his piece-a hair!" Even worse, if he gets hurt or upset when we're out somewhere and starts wailing, "I NEED A PIECE-A HAAAAIIIIRRR!" People will say, "What does he need?" Being the mom I am, I pretend that I have no idea what Winter3 is talking about. "Hmm, I think he bumped his head. He's not making any sense." Then we retreat into a corner so I can run my hands through my hair and get a nice long strand.

Clearly, my apron strings are made of pieces-a hair. Maybe someday he'll marry a woman with hair like Crystal Gayle and then my job will be done. Until then, let's just hope I don't go bald.

Update on my "new car smell"

Thanks to a friend's handheld steam cleaner and a product called Urine Gone (their slogan "for pet and people accidents" I kid you not!) my car is (mostly) back to being a sweet smelling new car.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

I Just Made You Say Underwear!

I have deemed July (insert booming voice) The Month of the Potty. Oh yeah, I'm sure you all want to come and visit me now! Winter3 is almost 3 1/2 and starting preschool in September. We're at the point where potty training isn't just a nifty's a must. I'll be honest and say that I haaaaaattttteeeee potty training. I know, who likes it? It's one of those tasks that didn't seem so horrible before we had kids. That was before we knew anything.

My job is complicated by two things...the fact that I have boys and the fact that my children are stubborn and hard headed. Many (not all) of the little girls I know are horrified at the thought of sitting in their own excrement. Boys, not so much. It's next to impossible to convince a little boy to leave his favorite car/truck/train/book/tv show for a trip to the bathroom. You can see the wheels turning...why on earth would I want to do that? I have a perfectly good diaper/pullup/pair of underwear for that. I don't think boys are ever truly convinced it's a necessary interruption. In fact, I'm willing to bet that many men I know hate the fact that they have pull themselves away from the tv to use the bathroom.

Porcelain god takes on a whole new meaning as a parent in the midst of potty training and I have done things I never imagined: cheered for dry underwear; cajoled and bribed for trips to the potty; cheered for pee in potty; tried to convince Winter3 that being a "big boy" is a good thing (he doesn't believe me); told all my friends about trips to the potty; danced a potty dance; told Winter3 all the people he knows who use the potty "Hey, did you know that Elmo uses the potty?/Let's go play with [insert name here]. I know he uses the potty. /Daddy's home! I bet he used the potty at work." The damn potty takes over life and it's exhausting.

During The Month of the Potty, Winter3 has been doing pretty well. When we're home, I keep him in thick cloth training pants. I've promised that as soon as he uses the potty all the time, he can start wearing his "fancy underwear" (or "under-whare" as he says). Fancy under-whare has fantastic designs like Wonder Pets, Bob the Builder, Mickey Mouse, Go Diego Go and Spiderman...basically everything I could find in an attempt to make Winter3 think the potty is cool. Until then, I'll put on my big girl underwear and my happy face and continue to cheer, cajole, bribe, and dance around my porcelain god.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Quotable Quotes

Things moms may or may not want to hear...

1. "I really have to pee but Summer10's in there so I'll just go outside" says Spring7. Um, no, we have THREE other bathrooms in our house.

2. "My mom is such a good cook that she forgets she's a good cook until she eats someone else's food" says Summer10 to a group of adult friends as we're serving ourselves at a potluck picnic.

3. "It will be fine. Each part is strong enough to hold an angry mob of ants" says Spring7 to me trying to prove that the sled he's building for Fall21months is strong enough. What's one toddler compared to an angry mob of ants? Apparently, there's no comparison because the sled fell apart. To Spring7's credit, he planned to pull Fall21months not the other way around.

4. "Have you heard the story about the five boys and one lonely girl?" asked Spring7 as a way of introducing himself to a neighbor. Neighbor thought he was about to hear a fable but Spring7 told him that was our family. Seriously, if there's one thing I'm not, it's lonely!

5. "Just wait a minute. I'll get a broom" says Winter3 to his baby brother. The two of them had been helping themselves to a snack and obviously made a mess. I guess the three year old wildman deserves some credit for intending to and knowing how to clean it up.

6. "Hey Steph, you have a big blob of mustard on your shirt" says the husband upon coming home at 6:30. Mustard had been there since lunch and I never noticed.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Prince of the Playground

When a three year old makes up his mind to wear a hat, there's no dissuading him. Last night, with one on a scooter, one on a bike and two in a stroller, all four boys and I headed to our neighborhood park. Winter3 decided that the beautiful summer evening called for a hat. You'd think he might get a little warm but he didn't seem to notice. Winter3 isn't a kid who does a few monkey bars and then swings either. He runs, jumps, climbs, leaps, crawls and scurries from one place to the next. I will admit that the hat made him much easier to find on the playground!

Usually, I make Winter3 stick with me and Fall21months but last night I let him run ahead to catch up to his brothers. While I pushed the stroller on the walking path, he ran across the field to the playground as fast as his little legs would go. Like a dog who is off a leash, he kept looking back at me as if he couldn't quite believe that I was letting him free.

With hat still on, he walked almost the entire way home. Make that ran. Only once we got home and sat down with a snack did he reveal the sweaty head that was under the hat. In true three year old fashion, I'm willing to bet you that once winter comes, he'll want nothing to do with a head covering of any kind!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Happy Independence Day!

The Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays. We put aside our differences and celebrate our country which belongs to all of us.

For the past few years, my husband and I have divided the Fourth of July festivities. He typically takes the big boys to the afternoon parade while I relax at home with sleeping babies. In turn, I take the big boys to the fireworks while he relaxes at home with sleeping babies. Everyone is happy! Little boys don't know they've missed out on anything. Big boys get to do everything. We each get a little downtime and funtime with the boys.

This year, Summer10 and Spring7 were walking in the parade with their Cub Scout pack along with their Daddy Den leader. I was more than happy not to be involved with that.

Saturday night the big boys and I headed out to the fireworks. Winter3 loves fireworks too but he's terrified of the noise and is more of a "watch them on TV" kind of guy. (For the record, all loud noises scare him. During thunderstorms, his whole body quivers like a frightened pup.) We went to a new location this year recommended by some friends. We found a great patch of grass, laid out our blanket and...waited. I love the fireworks but every year I think the waiting will kill me. Waiting with Summer10 and Spring7 involves lots of wiggling, jiggling and poking of brothers. (It's a big blanket but at some point your brother might touch you with his toe. You'll live.) This year, Summer10 even sang a song about waiting. Oh yes, it's that fun.

When it was time for the fireworks I indicated the general direction we should be looking. BAM! We all laughed because when the fireworks started we realized that they were RIGHT THERE. Front row seats! Now, a street light was RIGHT THERE too but seriously, if that's the worst thing in my life, I'm doing okay.

Fireworks are loud, of course, and Spring7 held his ears the whole time. When he needed to take a drink or or move around, I held his ears. (I'm such a good mom, don't ya know!) By covering his ears, he missed not only on the booms! but his brother's incessant talking. Summer10 felt the need to narrate the fireworks. A sample: "Maybe this is the grand finale. No, maybe this is the grand finale. Wouldn't it be cool if that firework did [blank] instead of [blank]? That's my favorite. No, that's my favorite." I'd rub his back and say, "Hey, buddy, let's just enjoy them." Fifteen seconds of silence later..."Sometimes the bright ones are big ones and sometimes they aren't." Sigh.

During the grand finale (when we finally got to it!), all I could do was appreciate the moment and enjoy those boys for all that they are...Spring7 holding his ears and Summer10 humming the 1812 Overture. He missed all the cannons but who am I to complain?

Friday, July 3, 2009

Just Like His Brother

I worked out of the home as a Speech and Language Pathologist until Spring7 was born. Often, I'd have early meetings so my husband was on duty in the morning, getting Summer10 up and ready for the babysitter's. It was a relief to leave the house and not worry about dropping off the little man in the morning plus it gave "the guys" some special time together.

We're a family who thrives on the familiar so the two guys had a set routine in the morning. Part of the routine involved having Summer10 pick out one special stuffed animal to bring downstairs. We limited it to one special animal because Summer10 slept with a zoo of animals in his bed that allowed just enough space for his little body. Something to know about my oldest son is that he's not a very good decision maker and choosing one stuffed animal became increasingly difficult. Finally, came the morning when Summer10 stood up on his bed and said with a sweeping arm and all the authority of Charlton Heston, "All animals". Well, that didn't get very far but it gave us a good laugh.

Enter Winter3 at about the same age. My husband and Winter3 have a special bedtime routine (we love those routines!). They snuggle on a bed and tell stories...two stories per night. My husband is a great storyteller and lets Winter3 help him. They have a bunch of stories they've come up with and rotate through them including stories about a goat, Blues Clues, a little boy named Winter3, a monster named Henry (that one stopped when Winter3 thought Henry had moved into his closet) and so on.

As it happens, Winter3 isn't much of a decision maker himself. He's finding it increasingly difficult to choose only two stories each night. Out of the blue, with a glint in his eye but no authority in his voice he said, "All stories!" He giggled because he knew that was just a crazy idea. The next night he said, "All stories! Dat's funny!"

My boys are very different people but brothers have similarities that run deep. Both little boys had the same problem and tried to solve it in basically the same way, one with a sense of importance and one with a sense of humor. The same but different.

By the way, neither one got their wish!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Go Fish!

This afternoon, Spring7 asked me to play Go Fish with him. Sure! I said, but this is not what I expected. Perhaps something, um, a little bigger? Who thought these were a good idea?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

R.I.P. little plant

A few flowers and whole bunch of dead ugly mess is all that's left of my (first) hanging basket of the season. Honestly, I have a good track record when it comes to keeping things alive. Dependent on me are four children, one hermit crab, two goldfish, a vegetable garden, a flower garden and two houseplants. The goldfish and hermit crab are both more than two years old and who knew that was possible?! I don't know what it is about hanging baskets but when I buy one, my husband shakes his head and says, "That poor little plant. It doesn't deserve to die." Every time, I swear that this is the one...the one who will live. I'm proven wrong every time. I water often, take off the dead pieces, encourage and love the little plant. And then one day, I look outside to find a dead plant. The fact that I keep buying new plants qualifies me as an optimist, don't you think? Oh, and yes, my next victim is hanging on the deck now awaiting it's cruel fate.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Mischief is My Business and Business is Good

All four of my boys are active and curious boys but Winter3 is in a class by himself. Three year old boys are some of the wildest creatures in the world. Winter3 runs everywhere and I should be skinny since I'm usually running after him (I'm not, but that's another story). He explores every part of his surroundings from the big to the small details. He'll open/close any door or drawer. Poke, push or pull any button or lever. Peek behind and under, jump on and run around any obstacle. Then he'll stop and do a little dance for you. Winter3 is just a fun-loving little guy.

This afternoon, the boys and I brought Spring7 to meet his tutor at the library. Another mom was setting up future appointments with Mr. M. so the boys and I sat down to wait. All of us except Winter3 of course who happened to be telling everyone in a very loud whisper that they had to whisper. He then decided to look for books and was annoyed that he couldn't find any Max and Ruby books in the nonfiction section. After doing a little dance routine, he pulled a book off the shelf, gave it to me and said he wanted to check it out. What was this fascinating book? A teacher's resource for working with ADHD children, of course.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Boy 1, new car smell 0

We bought a new minivan last week. It's just way too nice but it makes driving kids from point A to point B so much more fun. Our other van was 9 years old and had almost 125,000 miles on it, plus various dents, scratches, a nonworking radio and a wonky door.

One of the very best things about my new car is the smell. My old car had its own smell. Husband said that it was stinky but really it just smelled like a car that transports four kids. You know, french fries and stinky feet. My new car smells like heaven. New car smell has to be one of the best scents ever and it never lasts as long as you'd like it to. Before you know it, the french fry and stinky feet smell is bound to creep in. Last night, husband and I got gyros for dinner. I was tempted to hold the bag out of the sunroof on the drive home. {Yes, I realize it's hilarious that a minivan has a sunroof. Imagine me hanging out of it. Moms gone wild.}

Unfortunately, Greek food was the least my poor car would face this weekend. I know many of you are going to see this coming. Husband was bringing Spring7 home from a birthday party when Spring7 started "not feeling so good." Five feet from our driveway (you know what's coming now, don't you?), Spring7 pukes everywhere. Summer10 comes in the house gagging, "Something really bad just happened". Sigh.

So much for new car smell. After an hour cleaning it, I think french fries and stinky feet would suit me just fine.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Starting Out

I've been rolling around the idea of writing a blog for some time now. I have so many conversations in my head all day long (well that makes me sound insane) and those thoughts need a place to go. Too many things happen in my world daily, weekly, whatever and I don't want to forget all the wackiness that is my life. I try to keep a positive view of the world around me and see it all with a sense of humor. Try. Besides, my house is so loud and crazy at dinner time that I'm pretty sure my husband doesn't hear much of what I say about my day. Now he can read it, right honey?

You may say to yourself, "surely that didn't happen" or "seriously?" but I swear that I couldn't make this stuff up. If I could, I'd be writing a novel, not a blog.

One problem I had to solve before joining the blogosphere was what to do about my kids' names. Husband preferred I not use their real names. Fine, but what to call them? Some people come up with great descriptive names for their kids. Good for them but I couldn't come up with anything that didn't sound forced or just plain goofy. Do I call them by their order in the family? So should I call my second born #2? No again. The 9 year old boy lurking deep in me thinks it would be SO funny to name a brother after poop but I'm not going there. I also thought about naming them after the month in which they wre born. Do I want a son named April? Now, I'm all about not pushing gender roles on kids but that's going too far. I tried the route of using their godfathers' names but couldn't get past the fact that Carlos just doesn't flow with John, Jim and Tony.

Husband (who gets credit for naming my blog too) suggested naming each boy by their season and age. So here we go, A Boy for All Seasons starring Summer10, Spring7, Winter3 and Fall21months.