Friday, December 30, 2011

Peeking Around The Corner

I refuse to participate in Resolutions, mostly because I know I'll either forget about them by January 2nd or won't care by January 3rd.  I have bigger fish to fry right now than whether or not I'll limit dessert to 1x/week (HAHAHAHAHA) or...well, I can't think of anything else. I'm so lame.

Nonetheless, I can hear the rumblings of 2012 on the other side of my little world and, as much as I would like, I can't run away fast enough.  Instead, I'm choosing to squoosh my back against the wall of my life and taking quick peeks around the corner to see how much longer I have until the inevitable happens and I'm full-body-smacked with a new year.

And since I can't escape, I may as well put my purse down and man-up, and at least reflect on whether or not I should try to do something more than exist by successfully getting through the day without causing too much permanent harm.

Three minutes of reflection later, I came to the conclusion that I should work on my grumpiness this year - as in to be less grumpy.   One of my main battles is that I kind of like to be grumpy.  It feels comfortable to me and I come by it honestly as I have a long line of curmudgeonly ancestors to genetically inspire me and I have been a most excellent student at the craft.

What inspired me to this?  A true story that goes like this:

One day, a wife noticed a storm was brewing in the house and she decided she was not only going to nip it in the bud (even though the urge to feed into it was so strong), but also make the day cheerier and filled with rainbows and bunnies and lollipops.  Because it was THE HOLIDAYS, for crying out loud.   So what did the wife do?  She forced herself to smile - that really perky kind of smile that the really, truly, sweet people walk around with - and her husband said "What are you doing?".  No lie. "I'm smiling" said the wife.  "Why?" replied the husband. "Because it's almost Christmas and I'm going make sure everyone is HAPPY!".

The day did get a little bit merrier and bright, but the wife realized that perhaps she needed to occasionally alter her countenance a smidge so she wouldn't startle anyone if she decided to share a grin ever again.

And that is what's going to happen.  I'm going to fight my nature and be in a less crappy mood. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My Harrier

Ainsley's school has held a Turkey Trot for the last 12 years and, if you know me, you know I love it.  I've been fired up for this event ever since I found out about it and wish, wish, wish I could have helped out.  I just know my easy temperament would have made me the darling of the planning team.  In retrospect, it's probably best I didn't want to shell out some coin for babysitting so I could help hand out water bottles. Things would have gotten serious.

Anyway, every student participates and they spend some time in PE training for their big run. I made the mistake of calling it a "race" one time and was corrected.

"Mommy.  It is a Run.  Not a Race.  We are supposed to keep a steady pace so we don't get too tired and have to stop."

Okay, okay.  Fine. I have many years to brainwash my oldest into wanting to show the rest of the school how it's done.

I wasn't sure what to expect when I showed up to cheer her on and was floored by what had been prepared.  Every student had a race number, the roads (yes, they ran around the neighborhood where the school is located) were blocked by police cars, parent volunteers were everywhere along the course, there was a finish line chute, and bottled water and bananas had been donated by one of the local grocery stores for the athletes who, I'm certain, would be so exhausted from their 1/4 mile (for the first and second graders) and 1/2 mile (for the rest) respective runs.

The starting line. I was dying because they still had about 5 minutes until the PE teacher started the race and a couple kids held their starting stance the entire time.  Classic.

Ainsley isn't in this picture, but I still love it.  The kids are all so excited and serious and that's the way it's supposed to be.  It was so sweet to see every single kid having a great time while they're running.  I wish I had video because right after I took this picture a boy lost a shoe.  Of course.  So visualize a little kid running against the tide to retrieve lost shoe, then bending down to put it back on while 100+ kids ran past.  I thought for sure there would be a pile-up of some sort, but miraculously no one got seriously injured.

And my girl?  Well I got a little teary watching her run past, so stinkin' cute in her race number, the biggest smile ever, keeping a steady pace, just as she had been told.  Her very first road run.

The finish.  Check out that form.  Relaxed, perfect arm swing and hand placement.  Steady as she goes and she remembered to do exactly as she was told. A coach's dream.

The first of many ribbons, because of COURSE she'll run cross-country.

Are You Seriously?!?!?!

I hear myself, my words, come from my children more often than I would like.  The triplets, in particular, are known for parroting me more than Ainsley and Johnny more than any of them.

But tonight?  Lizzy strung together, without a breath, this string of my little isms for no reason other than for her own entertainment:

Oh my goodness!

Oh my stars!

Are you kidding me?

Are you seriously?!?!? (This last is her interpretation.)

This, from the girl who wears three pair of underwear at the same time because "they're my favorites".  Duh. 

I love this girl.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree

There are several Christmas-season songs I can't handle and the Amy Grant version of "Rockin'" is one of them (the Top 3 including "Little Drummer Boy" and "Santa Baby"). 

But that is not the point.  The POINT is that we purchased our tree much later than usual and the kids were starting to freak out.  Who am I kidding?  I was starting to freak out.  I barely decorate for Christmas, mostly because I'm too lazy and I hate having to undecorate from Christmas.  So I don't.  But the tree.  The Tree!  There must be a Christmas tree because just having the Nativity set out all by itself seems so...lonely.

The first weekend of December was consumed with family stuff, John was out of town the second weekend, and this past weekend was going to be crazy, what with Annie's first birthday (oh, I feel a little ill thinking about my baby getting older) and all.  So John decided to leave work a bit early on Tuesday to get a tree.  He and three of the kids drove off in the rain and returned not 40 minutes later with a beaut. 

Were we all excited? Yes!  So excited we (kidlets) decided to do a Christmas tree dance?  Yes!  John brought the tree in, set it in the tree stand, left to do...something...and we heard war whoops coming from the front.  My spazzy kids were doing laps around our Tannenbaum, chanting "Running around the Christmas tree" over and over and over again.

They're crazy.

We obviously released this guy from the netting and were impressed with ourselves by only taking four days to get it decorated.  I did say I was lazy, right?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bedtime Ridiculousness

It started this past summer.

We were in Ohio for our summer visit and the four oldest shared a room for the first time ever.  Ainsley's been dying to have the girls move in with her, so we were curious about how this would play out.

The first night was typical.  Giggling, more giggling, moving around, books/lovies/pillows "accidentally" falling from the bed and therefore needing to be retrieved by getting out of bed, over and over and over again. 

Then it happened. Ainsley declared herself the Trips' Ambassador and started to personally escort them OUT OF THEIR ROOM to tell us something completely irrelevant or simply inform us they were going to go to the bathroom.  The bathroom was one door from their sleeping quarters.   They had to pass directly in front of it to find us downstairs.  We couldn't believe it.

Until then, I can't remember any of the triplets coming out of their room.  Occasionally we'd hear them jump out of bed, run to get something, then jump back in, but they NEVER left their room unless instructed and always called if they needed something.

And now?  Now we have this:

Thump, thump, thump down the stairs.

"Mommy, I can't find my doggie" (It was in her bed.  As.I.Had.Told.Her.) Or:

"Mommy, can you cover me up".  Or:

"Mommy, Lizzy said poop". Or:

"Mommy, tomorrow Saturday?".

And on. And on. And on.

So now we're in retraining mode, which means the rules have to be told and repeated back every night; a miniature family catechism.

Me: "When is it okay to get out of bed or come out of your room?"

Trips: "Only in an emergency."

Me: "And what is an emergency?"

Trips: "If we have to go potty, if we have to throw up, if the house is on fire, or if you and Daddy say we can."

Me: "Just call if you really need something.  We'll always come."  Because we do and it's important they know that.

Of course they feel the need to question what exactly constitutes and "emergency" and try, in vain, to offer up extra options (what if it floods? no. or we hear tornado sirens? no. if we hear a loud noise? no.)  We're three months out of the summer visit and I feel we're circling in on back-to-normal. I'm sure it will all go to pieces when the girls (+ Johnny as he has informed us "because I don't want to be alone") move into Ainsley's room. 

Work in progress.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Good, The Typical, And Just Gross

Let's start with Just Gross.  I abhor vomit.  There isn't much else that gives me a violent case of the "ewwss" as vomit and with a truck load of kids in the house, the statistics are in favor of it presenting itself on a regular basis.  Right now a minor bug of some sort has taken its time seeking out all little ones in my care, and this is one of the side effects. The problem with this particular bug is that the vomiting comes out of nowhere.  No real warning (Lizzy excepted) and therefore no chance to act in preventing serious yuck in the house and therefore emotional damage to myself. You see, this virus-thingy is sneaky.  Symptoms? A little whiny, low-grade fever, slight runny nose, that's it.  Eating remains fairly normal, sleep habits are normal, etc.  And then?  WHAM!!!!  Just Gross.

They Typical?  Well. All of this nastiness started over a week ago with Ainsley and I was hoping, praying, it would either stop with her or race through the house quickly in order to have everyone finished with it by Thanksgiving.  Yesterday afternoon (the day before Thanksgiving), I was ignorantly checking off who had thrown up so far and was pleased that the two left rarely do so (Gracie) or had never (Annie in her short life).  Annie was a little goofy all day, clingy, but not entirely off her feed and was terribly impressed with herself at dinner for eating broccoli like a big kid.  Typical bedtime behavior for about 20 minutes and then...totally atypical.  I hate, hate, hate changing cribs from an episode and she did a thorough job.   John was thankfully home for this one...but then he left to hang out with a friend and not 7 minutes after he left, Gracie started that weird cough.  You know, the one where - if you have the level of vomit experience we do at Chez Laird - you just know it will not end well.  I made it up the stairs in time to almost make it.  Poor, poor Gracie.  And oh, so typical of when I get a little over-confident when we have something licked.  It always becomes so apparent we don't.

Where is The Good in all this mess? 
1. We were finished with everything before Thanksgiving.  Yay!
2. With this particular Yuck, the infected only throw up once.  Yay!
3. No carpet was affected.  Yay!
4. Lizzy's was outside on the patio (easy clean up - thank you Lizzy) and 15 seconds after a 40 minute car ride.  It would have been disastrous. Double Yay!

And that's how it goes around here. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Fellow Parents, I Apologize

We were putting the Trips to bed tonight when the question was asked:

"Hey Mommy.  How do babies get out of Mommies' tummies?".

Ugh. I'm getting these already?


Of course I told them the truth (and not the way they arrived).

They thought it was absolutely hysterical.  To be honest, I'd say I have to agree with them.

So apologies all around to everyone in my world who has children who associate with mine, because the odds of one of these little angels telling one of yours how babies arrive in this dear world are great.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Lizzy got pushed at a playground this afternoon. She has an unmistakable cry, so I started to shimmy up a rickety wooden ladder to the top of a wooden fort of questionable engineering. On the way up-and-over, a little boy told me someone pushed her. Then a little girl said the same thing. Of course Lizzy, trying to find me, had cried down the slide just as I reached the top and I had to reverse-shimmy down the ladder to reach her.

Once I got her calmed down, the "That Boy pushed me, Mommy! He's naughty!" came out.

Now. With my kids, there is a loose interpretation of what a "push" is. They cry foul over true accidents, such when another kid trips and falls into them. I usually end up taking the a-snuggle-will-make-it-all-better approach and then blowing it off because 95% of the time it really was an accident.

But this time Lizzy had two witnesses who had ratted out the little punk before I had reached her, so I felt this was a credible accusation. Still, there wasn't a whole lot I was going to do with this since we were at a farmer's market pumpkin patch for crying out loud, there wasn't any blood, and the guilty party was out of my range of fire.

So to make her feel better (because she wouldn't stop with the "that boy is naughty Mommy! I'm going to be a crossing guard at the slide and let all the big kids down, but not That Boy! He's so naughty!"), I turned to Johnny and said:

"Johnny, when someone pushes one of your sisters down, your job is to yell right. at. that. kid "HEY! Don't push my sister! No one pushes my sister!".

I told him that's what brothers are supposed to do. They take care of their sisters.

Fast forward 5 minutes and Lizzy is much better. So much better that she has run off to play again. I sort of kept an eye on her and Punk Boy who caused the ruckus - fresh kettle corn was involved in my distraction - and...

....I saw her, hands on her hips, jawing at That Naughty Boy who was trying to climb the crappy ladder.

She stopped, turned on her heel, and marched back to us.

Me: "Lizzy. What were you doing?"

Lizzy: "I told That Boy he should not push! It is mean to push! And that's my job as a sister! To tell him! That's my job!"

Me: "Yes it is. That's your job. You take care of your sisters."

Lizzy, who by then was probably known as the "crazy girl on the playground" just stayed on top of that kid for the next 10 minutes, so much so that I had to call her off a couple times lest she became the bully.

Lessons learned?

1. Lizzy holds grudges.
2. Lizzy will greatly struggle with Forgive And Forget through the years.
3. Lizzy is not to be trifled with.
4. Lizzy doesn't need ANYONE to look out for her on the playground.

I can work with that.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Monkey House

Scientists near Geneva recently announced they had broken the "speed of light". They did this by observing my sweet monkeys descend upon and destroy a previously clean room.

Unless children are napping, silence is always suspicious at Chez Laird. Load of squeals and maniacal laughter are also suspicious. Alternating between the two means an uprising is in the works and I should just open a beer now because I'm going to need it to handle what happens next.

An example:

There had been fighting. I intervened and the fighting stopped. But then the chasing began and the oldest four were shrieking like banshees, running laps over and over and over again through the kitchen. When the decibel level surpassed concert-status, I sent them upstairs. Ainsley generously offered up her room (a rarity so of course the trips jumped all over that), so I blah-blah-blahed the usual "if you play in Ainsley's room you have to listen to her or you'll have to leave".

Ahhh...silence in my kitchen. Silence upstairs...wait. Giggling? Laughing? Squealing? Pounding of feet? MORE squealing? More pounding of feet?

No. Please no.

I walked in my room to find this:

Folks, that's 3 loads of laundry strewn all over my room. It had been folded. Duvet and pillows thrown off my bed.

Commence beer-opening.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Soccer Saturdays

I swore to myself my kids would not play soccer until they were 8, 9, 10 years old. It's ridiculous to toss the little ones, many of whom can barely kick the ball much less have anything that resembles a skill set, out on a field and let them go at it.

Yessiree, we were going to do some backyard lessons/play time and if they liked it? We'd take them down to the city where they could get schooled in pick-up games, but learn some creative skills. My kids were going to learn the old-fashioned way so they wouldn't have to do the boring and time-wasting stand-around-and-wait-your turn-to-kick-a-ball practice that is the hallmark of soccer practice in this age group. And I know I've offended some people by now, but you must know I really don't care.

So what are we doing? We signed them up. Why? Because for Ainsley, her best friend from Kindergarten (oh how we truly LOVE Olivia!) did it last year and had fun. For the trips, because theirs is a non-competitive soccer camp (no games) and since Gracie could spend as much time as we'd let her kicking a ball into a goal, why not? And, let's be honest, it's practically free.

How did it go?

Well, most of the children at the camp had fun. Not mine, but most. Of the 30-odd kids with the Trips, mine were 3 of the 5 kids who did everything they could to NOT participate. It was so painfully obvious that we don't get out much. Highlights for The Three? Purple soccer socks for the girls and blue for Johnny. Oh, and new soccer balls which they carried around. At one point they were supposed to kick the ball to one of the coaches, who would then stop it set it up so they could have the thrill of kicking it into a goal. What did Johnny do? Kicked it to the coach, then ran up, picked up the ball, and threw it into the goal. Sigh. I should add that I had to keep folding Lizzy and Johnny's socks down b/c they preferred to wear them as thigh-highs. Very fashionable. And cool.

For Ainsley? Hanging with her sweet friend, water breaks, and snacks were pretty much the highlights. Oh, and the team jersey. And her purple socks. And her purple soccer shorts.

And I'm over it. I'm super-selfish with my time and after an entire Saturday morning being occupied with soccer...I wouldn't be devastated if everything was cancelled.

Since it won't, at least I'll have a week under my belt and will be better prepared. All these professional soccer parents showed up with chairs, drinks for themselves (I had some for the kids), blankets, the works. I did not. I had nothing except for a laden backpack filled with water and snacks for the kiddos, so I totally looked like a newbie, which was annoying.

Johnny, holding the ball. Socks pulled down around his ankles b/c he didn't like them the traditional way. At least they no longer looked like leggings.

Gracie, just before camp started. I had to walk with her out to her coaches, clinging to my leg.

Buddies. I'm loving the fancy socks!

Lizzy, carrying her ball around. Again. She kept putting it down, which meant another kids would innocently use it, and she would get pretty frosted.

This week will be better, right? Right?!?!?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Put It In The Toilet!!!

Ranks in the top 10 of sentences every mother does not want to hear, especially when the four oldest have crammed themselves in the 1/2-bath, armed with glow-stick things, lights off, and the worst? The door was locked.

Happy shrieks, lots of the word "hiney" used (why are they sooo obsessed with hineys, and what in Creation were they doing that required the word?), and then the dreaded "put it in the toilet!!" was shouted. Oh My Stars. Put WHAT in the toilet??!??!?!?

Apparently, someone (Ainsley) thought it might be cool to see if the glow-axe in Johnny's possession lit up the toilet. Thankfully we never found out how cool it would have been because John started pounding on the door, telling our little urchins to open up and get out. Please.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

For My Children

Dear Ainsley, Johnny, Lizzy, Gracie, and Annie,

I've debated for days about whether or not I should write something about this day in history. My fear was being cliche' or impersonal or not respectful enough. Complete enough. Deep enough.

But then I felt it ought not to be ignored, if only at the very, very least, for its historical significance. My generation, born as Vietnam was raggedly coming to a close, thankfully hadn't experienced a major war, or at least one that deeply affected the nation as a whole. And that statement in itself doesn't acknowledge the soldiers involved in Desert Storm or the fear of the Cold War, but I will arguably state that neither of those created an instantaneous and intense emotional reaction as the symbolic representation of evil on September 11, 2001.

You will learn the details of the day from us and in school, so they would be redundant to repeat here. What you won't learn in school, but hopefully from us, is that this was not an event that stands in isolation. Because we are inherantly bad and are therefore capable of bad things, bad things will happen. Horrific and unspeakable events, such as what happened on that day in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and New York, will and currently take place, every minute of every day, because of the simple presence of humanity.

Your dad and I will fiercely try to protect you from the horrors that exist while you are children. We don't pretend the world and everyone in it is perfect and filled with gumdrops and lollipops, but we firmly believe children need to have a knowledge foundation built of the safety and beauty of God's perfect Love before they experience hatred. There will be too many years that Hatred will be a presence in your life, if even only on television and oh, let that be so.

We will point you to all that is perfect, He who is perfect. We will teach you that Evil exists but will not and can not prevail because already there is Victory.

For Thine is the Kingdom.

And the power.

And the glory forever.


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

23 Minutes

Ainsley's school starts promptly at 8:39 am

This morning she crossed the threshold of her school at 8:38 am and I consider it a minor miracle.

8:15 am is supposed to be Game Time around here (shoes on and exiting the house).

On this day, the clock hit 8:15 and...

1. Annie spit up on herself and the carpet and played in it because that's what babies do.
2. Toilet got clogged which is SO fascinating for SO many wee ones.
3. Annie then pooped.
4. We forgot Gracie hadn't gone potty yet (it'd only been 14 hours, folks).
5. Toilet still clogged b/c of other issues, so Gracie is sent somewhere else. Under protest.
6. Ainsley decided she needs to go potty, so she is sent somewhere else. Under protest.
7. Annie changed, dressed.
8. Backpack. Lunch box. Shoes. Check. Check. Check.
9. 5 kids in the car. Check. Strapped in (we have been known to forget someone). Check.

8:28 - drove away from the house

8:32 - arrived at school. Parked, unloaded the car, and made my little ducklings spit-spot it up to the door

8:38 - yell "I love you! and Have a good day!" to Ainsley as she raced onward and upward.

Mental double fist pump.


We were back for about 30 seconds when I heard Lizzy freaking. I looked over and Johnny had intentionally put a wind-up toy in her hair (which immediately became embedded). He made a second poor decision and laughed about it, which promptly landed him in some serious business.

It's all normal around here.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Oh So Painful

I was out on a run tonight and felt absolutely wonderful until I was about 75 yards from my house and a little piece of me died.

On the way out I passed by a neighbor's house. She was having some people over and they were having fun, which reminded me of all the times I've sat on a friend's back porch/patio on a summer night, with no worries about the consequences of staying up too late.

So I was smiling and reminiscing on my jaunt, missing some dear friends who have moved away, and it was good.

But then I passed by again on the way back and, in the midst of their sweet and laughing conversation, someone loudly said "oh she's older, like in her 30's".

What!??!?!? WHAT??!?!?!

I wanted to stop running, curl up in the fetal position, and cry. Because folks, I no longer have the luxury of being in that "older" age group and do not want to know how my current decade would be described.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Someone's On The Move

See this yummy little munchkin?

She is no longer interested in her toys or the exersaucer, or any form of confinement. She thinks it's hilarious to make a break for the stairs, the bathroom (try making 4 kids remember to keep that door closed - yuck), and the forbidden toys strewn all over. The pantry doors open and she makes a break for it, knowing the napkins and other playthings are there, just begging her to yank them out and stick in her mouth.

She's growing up way too quickly.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

This Is A New One

I was putting Annie down for a nap today when Johnny appeared. The kids know not to barge in when this is happening since they have the knack for popping in just as I'm oh-so-gently placing her in her crib. Their presence reminds her there's a party going on in the house she would not care to miss and it makes me crazy.

They know they are allowed in only if: someone is bleeding or unconscious, someone hit/kicked/smacked someone else, or was hit/kicked/smacked, or if the house is on fire.

So it was unusual for him to be there and even more unusual that he was cheery and persistent (to his credit he knew not to cross the threshold and was actually whispering, too). I couldn't understand anything he was saying, so I smiled and waved him on and told him I'd be right down.

The FIRST THING they all told me, and they were terribly pleased with themselves, was "Don't worry, Mommy! We cleaned everything up!".

I looked down, and there is the last remaining portable potty in the middle of the floor. With urine in it.

Me, in my calmest voice: What did you clean up?

Johnny: See! I used a towel and everything! :)

Lizzy: I tee-teed a little on the floor! :)

Gracie: We all used the Swiffer! :)

Johnny, Lizzy, Gracie: We all took turns with the Swiffer! We cleaned everything up! Don't worry! We did a great job! We didn't get any tee-tee on our feet!

It should be noted here that the Swiffer they used was the one that is used like a broom, where a disposable cloth is attached. There was no cloth attached, so they had basically spread urine around with hard plastic.

From what I good-cop pieced together, this is what took place: Lizzy had to go to the bathroom but was too busy playing (very nicely) with the others and didn't want to miss out on anything. So she missed out on something and went all the way upstairs to get a portable potty so she could be more efficient. She must have had some degree of an accident (hence the towel and swiffer) because I'm sure she waited until the last second, but who knows how much or little.

The angle I'm choosing to take on this is that this was a good event for three reasons:

1. There was no tattling.
2. They worked together (love Teamwork!!)
3. It was on the hardwood, so no carpet involved.

A good day.

Monday, August 15, 2011

So Embarrassing

I got a little cocky on a run a couple weeks ago and paid for it in spades. My 3-milers had become slightly less painful, especially since I figured out to pop a couple ibuprofen the moment I stagger in the door to trick my knees into thinking they just went on a joy ride.

So one Sunday, when the heat index was past the point of flirting and was in a committed relationship with over 100 degrees, some time opened up in our schedule and John suggested I use it to go for a run. I went, mostly because there was this eensy yet influential part of me that needed to be a little hard-core; something I haven't experienced in awhile.

I was about 1/2-mile into this gig and decided I would try to go longer and do one of our 4-mile routes. That decision is an example of what happens when I allow siblings Silly and Irrational to drive.

Regardless of my misery starting around mile 3, what happened in that last mile was a classic Kitty move.

I was running down a favorite street in our area, comparing houses and wondering what some particularly well-done ones of the newer-construction-type were like inside, when I glanced backwards (why??), my right foot hit a surprise slope of a driveway and I had an immediate and painful investigation of some local concrete.

Three Thoughts on the Trip Down:

1. Aww Man! I am too old to fall publicly.
2. Protect the ring. I always sacrifice the hand for the sake of the engagement ring.
3. John always tells me to "roll into the fall", so maybe I should try that and put my shoulder into it. (this was not executed properly)

The result of my conceit in thinking I should crank out a run in nasty temps:

All kinds of ugly.

Like how the twig is in focus as opposed to my knee?

And so there I was, sprawled awkwardly out in some one's driveway. This was a bad one. My shoulder was killing me, my knees were killing me, I had to go to the bathroom, and I was still 3/4-mile from home.

What does one do in that situation? Pop up as quickly as possible and act like what just happened was not a big deal.

I tell you what though, the bairn were super impressed with my wounds. They asked if I cried (I did not). They asked why I did not get a Curious George or Cars band-aid (they don't make cool band aids big enough for this one). They asked over and over and over again why I fell (and I told them over and over and over again I did not know why). They asked why I was walking around the house with bags of ice bound to my knees with ace bandages (because I have 5 little crumbgobblers, that's why).

Won't be running that route again for awhile.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Once Upon A Time...

...there was a little girl. She was just a regular little girl; one who loved to read and play with friends, and just be outside. She was a better-than-average student, but a daydreamer, so she probably could have had a stronger academic performance. She didn't think about boys much. She always had close friends and boys were either stinky or weird, unless they were needed for a good game of kick-the-can or ghost-in-the-graveyard and then they were welcome into her little world.

That little girl grew up a bit and boys were noticed but still not necessary. She had very close friends who were girls and great friends who were boys and that was usually enough. She still loved to read and go to school. She also loved to run. Running created a pocket of time where she could allow her mind to drift along. It wasn't often she had the opportunity to be completely by herself and it forced her to think about her world more deeply than she would have cared, but knew it was necessary. Running forced introspection, at least as much as a teenage girl who wasn't a total flake could handle.

And then, one evening, the Girl was at a different church with her youth group and saw a Boy. He wasn't an ordinary boy, although she didn't know that at the time. All she thought was "Hmm. That boy is very, very cute." And she found out his name from one of those ridiculous "let's force ourselves to get over our introvertedness and talk to strangers" activities she still hates to this day (but in this ONE and ONLY instance appreciates). And she found out he had just moved to her town and went to her high school and was in her grade. Yay!

So they talked on the phone and at school and dated for oh, about 3 months. He always brought flowers and/or ice cream, so we know he was a smart boy. But then summer came and people go on vacations and hang out with other friends and somehow the Boy and the Girl weren't dating any longer. Such is life.

So the Boy and the Girl then proceeded to be ridiculous and ignore each other for a year or so. It was easy to do, especially since they never had classes together or mutual friends. But THEN came Senior Year and oh-my-stars the Boy had to sit right behind the Girl in math class because they were placed in alphabetical order. How annoying. Sill very cute. No. Annoying. But he was cute and there always had been those flowers and ice cream and conversation and a general nice-ness factor. Good penmanship, too. How incredibly frustrating.

And that was it for awhile. The physical distance and surreal experience of college change a person and the Girl certainly had a lot of growing up to do (she still does). It is good that the Boy and the Girl did not run in the same circles any longer. She still loved to run and read and be outside and study, but her world was changing and she wasn't changing along with it very well.

Then one summer, the Girl went to a party and the Boy was there. Drat? Hmm...lots of talking and catching up and it was very, very nice. But his parents were moving and since he was still in undergrad, that meant he was as well. In a couple weeks or days or something horrible like that. Great. Fabulous.

So they called occasionally and, since this was a few years before email, wrote letters occasionally, but that was it. Somewhere along that time the Boy finished college and started grad school and in that short in-between time the communication escalated to the point where the Girl thought about the Boy lots and lots and lots. She was still figuring out her world and where she belonged in it, and starting to realize she needed something more than herself and the activities around her to be complete. That's when Faith entered into her life and she took it and ran. God helped that silly Girl figure out loads and loads of things and helped her finally get her act and priorities (mostly) together. She'll be happy to share the details some other time if you ask.

Then one day, the Boy called while she was making an apple crisp (she is not sure why she remembers that part) and told her had bought a pair of running shoes. He had also found his heart loved God and, well, what else does an ordinary girl need in a boy? The Girl realized she really, really loved that Boy.

Two years ago, The Girl married The Boy and it was lovely.

Fifteen years later, it is still lovely.

Happy Anniversary, Baby.

The Girl

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Don't Blink

I sold a small load of baby things a few weekends ago and it did not bring me joy. Oh okay, there was a little thrill because I do like to purge the house whenever I have time (it is so cathartic!), but I was mostly sad. We do NOT desire another body in this house and there isn't an inch for another car seat in the Super-Cool Minivan, but a chapter is starting to close in our life-story and I'm not quite ready to turn the page.

What is wrong with me???? Why did I get all verklempt when I put Annie's wee little baby newborn clothes in the bin and then the 0-3mo and now the 3-6? Why did my heart hurt when her first teeth came in? When she started eating baby food? Now that she is sitting independently? Why am I already dreading and getting misty about 1st grade because then Ainsley will be at school all day instead of a 1/2-day? Why was I a little sad when Johnny had his first drop-off play date? Or when the little girls were invited to their first birthday party? It's ridiculous. I'm ridiculous.

If I had my way, Ainsley would stay 6, the trips would turn and then stay 4, and Annie would get to the crawling stage and stay that way forever. I know it's selfish to think this way. I know it. But there are so many, many lovely times, even on the very roughest of days and those sweet moments make me want to stop time or at least slow it down.

I've mentioned this before, but someone told me a couple years ago I would turn around twice and the kids would be off to college. So no turning around for me, especially twice.

I won't even blink.

Eating frosting. I wish we had more room on the counters...

Sweet baby girl.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

So Tempting

I gave up soda, but that's old news.

But this is what faces me every time I open the fridge:

20 oz of loveliness. A real Coke. I'm not sure I can take it. I open the refrigerator no less than 40 times/day and this baby is begging me to twist the top and have that coveted first sip every single time.

No one who has come over drinks real soda and I'm too frugal to throw it away (that whole dollar, you know).

Oh my.

And now I'm taking a closer look at the picture and I also see: 3 gallons of milk, a few beers, 1/2 and 1/2 for my coffee, formula for Annie, and some eggs.

Yup. Seems like we have our priorities straight.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Boy.


Apparently when a boy:

has one of these in his chubby little boy-hands:

And one of these is close by:

(the car, not the people or hose)

This happens:

And then a sweet little boy is very, very sad because he realizes he has done something very, very wrong. Part of the reason why he knows this is because his oldest sister said "Johnny! You hit the car?!?!". But because he knew he had messed up, we were able to launch straight into Forgiveness because he felt so terribly burdened. It broke my heart to see him in so much misery, but it also made me rejoice because he came to us. He didn't run away. He didn't deny he had done it (we did not witness the act). He didn't lie about what happened. He told the truth and came to us for mercy and love, which we of course gave him with lots of holding close through his tears and explaining that John and I love him regardless of what he does. That we love him and we don't love the car. That we forgive him and adore him and he is ours.

This is what boys do. They take baseball bats to cars.

Friday, July 8, 2011


I did two stupid things a couple days ago.

The First Questionable Act:

I gave up soda.

I've done this before and my longest streak was 2 years (?). Give or take a month or two. It ended when I was coaching track. All coaches get meal tickets at the meets and dreamy items like non-diet sodas that have been in huge ice baths for hours are there to tempt. And one day when the girls were making me a little nutso because they probably did something like not practice hand-offs before a relay AGAIN or barely warmed up for their race AGAIN or forgot all/part of their uniform AGAIN, I needed a Coke. A real one. Not that diet nastiness. I caved and it was sooooo gooood. I fell of the wagon in a state of bliss.

But now I have all these kids and I should, I really should practice what I preach about being healthy. So when I realized I was up to 3 cups of coffee and 2 sodas/day ( wonder Annie doesn't nap well!), I figured the soda - which truly is horrible for you - needed to go. I'm two days into it and Oh My Land do I want to drive through somewhere and get a Coke.

The Second:

I signed up for a 1/2. If you run, you know that means a 1/2 marathon and this is another oh-my-word what was I thinking!??!? I don't have time (or the inclination) to clean my house, let alone put in some training. But a friend I care about sent out an email and asked if we'd help her celebrate a birthday with this race.

I debated. I hemmed. I hawed. And John said I should. So I am. And he is right.

He's right because I love my friend but I also love to run. I haven't trained for anything in years and, while speed work is no longer an option for me, it will be wonderful to make running a necessity instead of "well, what day/s can I run this week". When I'm out on a run, even though what the observer sees me doing is plodding at best, I feel free. I feel normal.

I feel crazypants.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I Do Not Heart Great Clips

We got a free hair cut the other day because my son's perfectly lovely locks were destroyed by Great Clips. We take the kids there because of one reason only: we don't need an appointment. In this house, appointments sometimes have to be last-minute cancelled because someone either: threw up, accidentally destroyed something or made an unholy mess, or I simply forget.

Now, I don't expect my children to look perfectly coiffed after their cut. I get it that they are kids and they tend to unpredictably whip their heads around (which is how Johnny lost his side-burns from the last disaster), can't hold their head steady long enough or at the right angle to get everything perfectly even, or the stylist is fresh out of school or is having a rough day. I get it.

What I don't get is why my son looks like someone took a weed whacker to his head and did a crappy job of it to boot. Johnny has (had) envious hair. It's crazy thick and has just the right amount of curl so it would turn out under a baseball cap if we allowed it to grow out. In fact, it's so thick it's hard to get completely wet to wash for baths...sort of like a Labrador.

And just because pics are necessary:

I don't get the front. And he is so sweet and happy and oblivious.


Not the best angle...

Ainsley was just in awe and kept rubbing her hand up the back.

Monday, July 4, 2011

A Good Day

We were winging it this year and I'm not sure why. We have one established tradition and that's attending a parade in the neighboring city in the morning. Ainsley loves it (candy, candy, candy!), the triplets mostly love it (candy! but this thing takes for freakin-ever! I'm hungry!), and Annie didn't seem to care as long as she was being held which is fine with us.

Other than the parade, though, we had nothing on our dance card. But then the day just kept falling together. Friends ended up coming over for post-parade lunch. Naps happened. The kids mostly got along (big, big bonus). We quasi-spontaneously went to the local pool and that was bliss. I was waffling because I've been to the pool with our sweet chuckleheads and was not up for what could potentially happen, but John wanted to go and so we did and it was lovely. Hardly any people so we weren't constantly owling our necks to keep track of children, no one seemed to need to rush to the potty (figure out the logistics of gathering 5 children from the pool to take the one child who probably waited a wee bit too long to let me know), Annie was bliss, and Lizzy was feeling brave.

A and C, her very, very bestest friend.

Crappy Happy Meals for the kidlets for dinner because we closed down the pool. Then friends who understandably couldn't make it to the pool because I called on a whim as we were getting ready to go, brought us dessert and hung out because they are that nice.

What? No grilling? Not worth the effort today. No fireworks? A couple of ours would freak and so it would be painful. No putting the family through torturous over scheduling? Exactly. I didn't even try to pick up today. It was just lazy and wonderful and perfectly perfect.

Happy 4th of July!

two notes:
1. For some reason Johnny calls Happy Meals "Happy Males". I don't want to think about this, but it needs to be recorded for posterity.
2. Gracie seriously calls McDonald's "Old McDonald's" and we don't correct her. It's too funny.

Monday, June 20, 2011

She Made It

Kindergarten was wonderful for Ainsley. My little girl grew up a lot this year and her teacher deserves loads of credit for keying in on Ainsley's personality and learning style at the very beginning of the year. Katie thankfully targeted her developmental strengths and weaknesses and did an excellent job bringing A as much out of her shell as possible. On top of that, she really went to bat for my daughter a couple times and I am grateful for those acts as much as anything else. We really, really loved Katie and the triplets are going to be devastated they won't have her as their kindergarten teacher. She was sort of a celebrity in our house.

The fabulous Katie B. AKA the Best First-Year-Teacher in the world.

Thank you for friends! Ainsley was blessed to have a small and close group of girls in her class. Two of them specifically sought her out from day 1 and I am so thankful for sweet Olivia and Hannah. It is impressive to me that these young girls helped make my very shy oldest feel cared for in an environment where her personality lends itself to be overlooked.

The girls. I thought they were mostly quiet and shy and then I had them over for a valentine's party before school one day. Holy Moly was it loud. Eardrums bleeding loud.

Her bestie, Olivia. We love, love, love Olivia and could not be more thankful for how darling she was to Ainsley.

Many thanks go out to Mr. Derek, the famous bus driver who cared for his kindergartners so much his autograph was coveted for their yearbooks. His and Miss B's were the ones A had to point out to me before we even got in the car on her last day. I hope the district keeps him on this route because he is the best.

Notice the wardrobe change? Only my child would wipe out on a soggy field the last day of school and get completely soaked. I'm just happy I was there because she would have been devastated to have to sit in wet clothes the rest of the day.

Thank you to the school and the district. Family is important in our district (as I'm sure it is in all districts) and we delighted in it. From the Halloween parade through the neighborhood, to the family nights with all the cheesy games, to the all-school-family picnic at the end of the year, we loved it all.

Saturday, June 18, 2011


Annie has been baptized about 7 times now, but that number may not be completely accurate. Her real one was Mother's Day (which I secretly loved even though I am not a fan of the holiday) and it went as well as it could with 5 kids, ages 6 and under, standing in front of a congregation.

John and I tried to explain to the kidlets what baptism meant beforehand and I tried to explain to them what behavior would be appropriate during the ceremony. And for once I think they either listened or God quieted their hearts for 10 minutes because they did better than I expected. There weren't any loud questions or announcements, no crying or whining, no grabbing on to John or to me and begging to get out of there, no discernible bodily noises, etc.

Apparently they spent some of the time actually observing what was going on, including the details. How do I know this? Because they baptized Annie a few times in the weeks after, especially Lizzy. It always happened during bath time and it took me a few times to understand what in the world were they doing getting a handful of water and holding it on her head for a few seconds. To be honest, I didn't figure it out. Lizzy finally said "I baptize you" and it became obvious.

And so I can add "stop baptizing your sister" to the growing list of things I never thought would come out of my mouth.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Heartache Beyond Measure

There are critical developmental milestones during pregnancy. Since multiples obviously arrive early and sometimes too early, those of us blessed with these particular pregnancies breathe enormous sighs of relief when each milestone is reached and then passed. Week 24 (threshold of viability) is the first. After that, the next goal is Week 28 (higher survival rate with less, but still possible, life long complications) , then 30, then 32 where there is an excellent chance for survival. After that, every 24 hours is bonus. John and I are acutely aware of how fortunate and blessed we were to make it to 34+ weeks with Johnny, Lizzy, and Gracie.

What is heartbreaking is that some stories don't end like ours. I've been following a triplet family for awhile and they just unexpectedly went into early labor at 22 weeks when Baby A's water broke. The mother delivered their three sweet boys a couple days ago and held them all too briefly because they were born 14 days too soon to even have a chance at life. Their story in its entirety is not mine to tell. It is too sad and personal. But their words in the telling are beautiful and filled with dignity and worth a read if you have the time.

I mentioned a couple posts ago that I pray for expectant triplet families as soon as I hear about them. This family brought me to my knees in a way I hadn't experienced in awhile and made me hold Annie longer before I placed her in her crib, even though she had been asleep for 20 minutes. It made me stand in the doorway of the triplets' room and watch them and pray over them as they slept as only small children can, arms and legs every-which-way. And it made me indulge Ainsley and read to her and snuggle with her longer than I have in months.

Read about the family and pray for them, if you will. I can not imagine their grief.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


School is almost out and I am antsy. I'm completely ready for this to happen and PLEASE can it come sooner??? Please?? I asked Ainsley if she wanted to get the calendar and start counting down the days till school gets out and it is generous to say she was mildly interested. I'm making her do it tomorrow.

I'm very tired of the monotony of the school week and how it cramps our style. Everything revolves around having to be at school at a certain time or waiting for the school day to end and it is not fun.

But Summer! We will rarely have to be on time for anything. We will be in control of our schedule and there won't be much of one. Want to stay in jammies until we need to put new ones on for bed time? Yes. Want to count a visit to a pool as a bath? Yes. Want to go to the zoo so we can each see our one favorite animal or just to pop in and get some fresh kettle corn? Yes. Become regulars at my favorite custard stand? Yes. Want to jack up our water bill because we play with the hoses so much? Yes and yes.

We have a couple commitments this summer and that is it. I've decided that, outside of one fun camp for Ainsley and VBS, we will not be accountable with our time to anyone.

It will be lovely.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

An Every Day Thing

Like other young children, mine are interested/obsessed with body parts. THE body parts. To the point where we had to declare they are not to talk about other people's body parts. The conversations were starting to go:

Me: Hey guys! So-and-so is coming over to have dinner with us. Isn't that fun??

The Three: Is he a boy or a guwul? (They would already know the answer)

Me: He is a boy.

The Three: Does he have a p----?? (Again, they already know the answer)

Me: Yes, but we aren't going to talk about it with him. We don't do that.

The Three: Yes. We don't talk about other people's p------, but he does have a hiney! (Big Smiles)

Me: Yes, everyone has a hiney. But we don't talk to people about their hineys.

And on, and on.

So I've been trying to teach them for a few months that there are words we don't shout out, especially in public. But then baseball season arrived and their school had a fun Opening Day celebration where the kids dressed up in our team's colors and I'm not sure what all they did, but BOY! were they excited. We were talking about it all after school and I asked them if they sang "Take Me Out To The Ball Game". They said no (I'm sure they did). Horrified, I immediately felt called to stop the world from spinning and teach them something practical. Everything was going swimmingly until I reached the "buy me some peanuts and cracker jack" part and Lizzy flipped out. "Mommy! We don't say p----!". I had no idea what she was talking about. So I started singing it again. Same line, same reaction by Lizzy AND Johnny this time. They were freaking on me. What the...no_waaaay. "Guys! It's not p----! It's PEANUTS! PEANUTS!! Buy me some PEANUTS!!!!!" Even Ainsley was trying to help me out.

After a few more tries I gave up because even though Lizzy still knew in her sweet little heart I was saying something else and shouldn't, Johnny and Gracie had figured out I really was singing about peanuts and the conversation became obsessed with the fact he is allergic to peanuts and he would have to go to the hospital if he ate one.

And so it goes.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Great Joy and Great Hardship

I started this post several months ago and never finished, mostly because I really do this for us and the kids and there are some things in our lives that just need to fade.

But lately I've had more than a few people ask if "it" is getting easier because the kids are getting older. My answer is always "a little easier, sometimes a lot easier, but mostly different". It isn't the logistics any more of how to clean and make 27 bottles/day or how to get everyone to and through the grocery store, or the unholy sleep's the parenting. The daily routine is certainly less challenging, but the mental and emotional exhaustion brought on by trying to lovingly parent 5 kids ages 6 and under can be overwhelming.

And so I remembered desiring to vaguely write about the early years and here it is (mostly composed pre-Annie):

Before I begin, I need to qualify everything with the fact that I desperately, desperately love and cherish my children. Even in our darkest days, weeks, months, after the triplets were born, I have never desired for any other plan for my life. I can't and won't imagine our world without one of my babies. I am NOT complaining, because that would mean I was dissatisfied and I am not. I know and am, beyond measure, thrilled with my family.

That said, I'm always shocked when someone tells me "I wish I had had triplets", which is usually followed by some reason such as "it would have been so nice to get all the pregnancies taken care of at once" or "I always thought it would be hilarious". Side note: this is not nearly as ridiculous as when I get the "Oh, they're triplets? I had Irish triplets, so that's the same". It is not the same, random stranger. Not at all.

I would never wish for someone to have triplets. They brought out the very, very best in me and in John and also the very, very worst. The triplet road is hard and long and sleep-deprived and, unless you have an extraordinary amount of help or are the most wonderful and perpetually cheeriest people in the world, the potential for serious collateral damage is great. I think we had more help than the average triplet-couple (from incredible and self-less friends, some of whom still want to just be with us and some of whom still aid us in raising our children) and I still would never want to repeat the first 1 1/2 years again. Ever.

Yes, there was great joy in those dark months. We rejoiced that they were born healthy. (In the triplet world, we were very, very fortunate in this aspect.) We rejoiced that we were given the privilege to have four children when at one point in our marriage we had to face the idea we may not be given a child at all. We rejoiced in their smiles and sweetness and sometimes silliness. We rejoiced in the quiet times because it was then we were gently reminded they were ours.

The great hardship details are unimportant and unnecessary and I hope I will completely forget them all someday. They were part of a time when John and I had nothing left to give to each other, let alone other people, even though we wanted to. When the urge to run away, just for an hour because it would make my heart hurt to be gone any longer, had to forcibly be suppressed. When I (very much a non-crier) had to cry in the shower because that was the only time I was alone. This "forgetting" process has already started, of course, because our home is wonderfully maxed-out with four children who make us laugh. There are times when John and I just look at each other and are happily incredulous at whatever event just happened x 4. And then happened again.

But then a couple months ago I was at the zoo and ran into another triplet family. The mom firmly had both feet in the "oh I wish we had so many more kids" la-la-land, but the dad circled back after the conversation was thankfully over and, very seriously and somberly said, "tell your husband it finally becomes easy when they turn 4. Tell him you will make it.". I almost hugged him and cried because sometimes it felt like we weren't going to make it.

And so I am thrilled when someone calls to tell me they're pregnant with triplets or a friend-of-a-friend has been blessed. But I also instantaneously pray for them and hope they are praying, too. Because there will be hours and days where they will need to cling to what they know is True and Perfect and Holy, just so they can get to the next hour.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

I Still Have It

My second and third runs (they're so pathetic; I'm not sure they deserve to be called "runs") were hardly better than the first.

But a discovery made me feel a bit better. I can still impressively spit while running. Maybe 7-8 feet, wind-aided.

This may not seem like a big deal, but spitting on a run is an art form and takes practice. It can also seal the deal or dissolve a relationship and I'll address that in a bit.

As any seasoned runner knows, spitting is an unattractive necessity. The act has great potential for nastiness with poor execution (I've been on the receiving end - grody), but good quality ones are admirable, memorable even, if only by the spitter.

Rules of the Road:
1. Look before you spit, and that includes tossing in a backward glance.
2. Take into consideration wind direction and speed.
3. Always use the grass or at least avoid the sidewalk. It's just rude to make others walk through your saliva.
4. Attempt to make as little sound as possible.
5. Try not to do it around people just out for a walk. You can wait another 20 yards.
6. Practice. Practice. Practice. It's embarrassing to be an ineffective spitter. They are easily spotted because they look like they drooled all over themselves. You don't want people to think you need a bib.
7. Never EVER spit on a track. Ever. Ever. Ever.

And now for the relationship section. I knew John was the man for me when, after going on a run together (a criteria for anyone I considered dating material), he still continued to call. Not many guys would see a girl do something sort of gross and not be a little repulsed. In fact, I just asked him to make sure. He's sitting right next to me and said he didn't care (or didn't notice). True love.

And so, even though my form is awkward and my knees are questioning my sanity, my heart is a little happy because there is one eensy weensy part of my run that still works.


Monday, March 28, 2011

Pigs In A Blanket

The other night, after baths, John walked in to our room and yelled for me to come see the latest Ainsley-orchestrated activity.

And then the camera had to be searched for and dug out of the permanent piles of rubble scattered around our house.

First there was this:

Which quickly developed into this:

And then, of course, this:

But I really love this particular moment:

These two have a mutual adoration society and I can't wait to see the relationship develop. Annie practically breaks her neck, craning it about, when she hears Ainsley's voice (which the big sister LOVES). And Ains is beyond sweet to her, as you can see.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

You Know You're Getting Older When...

1. The head coaches at The Dance look like adolescents.

2. The assistant coaches look like toddlers.

3. A 600mg ibuprofen is needed after a run to help the knees.

4. You think of a musical reference during a conversation with friends and don't use it because you realize they were in preschool when it was running.

5. Your heart dies a little when you realize you're having to hold fine print out a bit to read it better.

6. Your opthamologist suggests you could use some "cheater" glasses when sewing or reading in "dim light". (I refuse.)

7. Your heart dies again when someone at a party off-handedly mentions something about "40-year-olds" and it takes everything you have to not mention you are...well...sigh.

8. You take the kids to preschool and have to refrain from punting the moms who don't have grey hair because not only do they actually look cute in their work-out gear, they get to work out. Often.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Bedtime Shenanigans

I've been meaning to document the silliness that happens as soon as the door is closed for wubby time (nap) or bedtime for awhile now. I keep thinking the games and songs and insanity will stop, but they simply continue to create new ones that usually reflect what is happening in their world at the moment.

The early ones, when they were still in their cribs, were simple:

1. Motorcycle - one would straddle the front rails of their crib and hold on to the end in front, yelling "VROOM VROOM!!! I'm a motorcycle rider!!! VROOM!!!".

2. Carousel - similar to "Motorcycle", but they would each choose and animal and "ride it". This one was fun because they would discuss at length which animal they would ride. Then it became more complicated because the carousel at a zoo we visited in Ohio last summer was under construction "broken" when we visited. Before riding their crib carousels, they would have to "fix it". The conversation usually went like this:

Trip 1 - "Hey! Let's play Carousel!"
Trip 2 - "Yay! Okay!"
Trip 3 - "But it's bwoken!"
Then - "Oh NO!" and "Don't worry, I'll fix it!", followed by "Oh thank you!" and a "You're just like Handy Manny!", then a "Let's have Handy Manny fix it!". "Yay!!"

3. Birthday Party - this obviously started during the birthday months around here and this was the first year they really started LOVING birthdays, especially theirs. It went like this:

Trip 1 - "Hey guys! Let's play Birthday Party!"
Trip 2 - "Yay! Birthday Party!"
Trip 3 - "Hooray!"

Then there was usually a short discussion on who would go first. After a choice was made, the "Birthday Song" was sung. Then "presents" were given to the birthday girl/boy, who would ALWAYS say "For me??? Oh THANK YOU! I love it!" Then they would be instructed to blow out the candles but "don't spit on it!".

And then it was someone else's turn. Then sometimes it was a stuffed animal's birthday, etc.

It is understandable that John and I were hesitant to move our little chuckleheads to big-kid beds. What would happen once they were truly free?

Not that much; just more fun.

1. Sing-a-long: simple but darling. Someone chooses a song and then they all sing it together.

2. Let's Fling Something: mostly played by the girls because their beds run parallel to each other.
It is what it sounds like - they fling their stuffed animals back and forth across the chasm between their beds, laughing hysterically. It's a simplistic version of "Take Out The Trash".

3. True Play-Acting: now this covers the majority. What happens is that each child has a stuffed animal or some other random object they have stowed away. Then the production happens. One animal/toy may be the mommy (this is usually Gracie's b/c we can hear her go "Oh Honey, It's okay. You'll be okay" and that's how she talks), some one's usually needs to be rescued and the others do so, or they go to school (this one is pretty complex b/c they then do songs, projects, or go to the playground), and so forth.

I did catch them out of their beds once and only once because they were being so loud they didn't hear me coming. They had thrown everything out of their beds into a big pile in the middle of their room and were dancing around like crazy people.

Even though it usually takes them FOREVER to fall asleep, I actually love this. Every night is like the greatest_slumber_party_ever! and who doesn't like slumber parties?

Can't wait to see what happens when the girls move into Ainsley's room in a few months. Johnny has declared he will be part of the move (which is fine; the poor guy would be so lonely), which means the four oldest will be together.

It's going to be like the monkey house at the zoo.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Snow Days

It snowed again yesterday. March 14th. I had glanced at the forecast the night before and blew off the prediction because well, it's the middle of March. Plus the meteorologists have grossly missed the mark so often this winter that I just didn't believe it.

Imagine my shock when I stumbled out of the triplets' room that morning, happened to glance out the window and was greeted by yet another world of snow. Ugh. Why was I in the trips' room? Because my sweet Lizzy Lou had a freak-out at 5 a.m. about some random thing and once that kiddo's huge brown eyes pop open she wants to play. Since I was NOT going to give her the privilege of running around the house that early in the morning I climbed in with her in the hopes she would go back to sleep. She did not. Neither did her brother, who would occasionally sit up in his bed and say "why isn't anyone talking to me?". I cried Uncle around 6:15, released them from their room, only to be confronted with the white stuff.

And what was the first thing I did? Go online and check the school closings....and Whew! School was still on. We've had loads and loads and loads of snow this winter and I was over it. Too many snow days and too many hours to kill with five kids.

But then I got to thinking about how much fun we had this winter. The kids were finally old enough to really play outside for more than 3 minutes. If they fell down, outfitted like Randy in A Christmas Story, they could get back on their feet instead of staying turtle-up. They were awesome, which means next year will be even better.

Miss Lizzy with the coveted red snow shovel.

Johnny. Happy as always.

Miss Gracie

My big girl.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Heart Is Willing

A week ago, I finally had a few minutes to go on my first run in 10 months. I knew it wasn't going to be easy-peasy, but I feel free when I run and freedom is something I haven't experienced a whole lot of lately.

So it was with joy that I lovingly tied my kicks and bounced out the door. I felt light and sort-of fast and fantastically normal. I did my usual left-turn at the bottom of the driveway, elated that this was finally happening! I had looked forward to this moment ever since Annie arrived (really, I thought about running while I was in the hospital), so I was thrilled I felt so great.

20 yards...fine and fancy. 40 yards...hmm. 50 yards...oh boy. 100 yards...good golly this is going to be horrible. So with my triplet apron flapping and my hiney-baby flopping I old-lady-shuffled through the next mile, praying that the cracks in the sidewalks wouldn't trip me up.

The maddening part is that my problem is purely muscular weakness, made worse by the 10+ lbs I need to shed. The heart and lungs are fine. The mind is still competitive and prideful enough that I refused to walk.

It's the rest of me that made my first run of 2011 so ghastly.

Baby steps. More like baby crawling. Without the spit-up and drool.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

So Sweet And So...Boy

The Scene:

It is bedtime. John has already had "snuggle time" with Johnny and has left to take care of Annie and Ainsley. I'm reading to Lizzy when I hear in the sweetest Little Boy voice...

"Rock-a-bye baby, in the tree-top"

I peek over the top of "Clifford's First Autumn" and see my boy, cradling Christmas Bear (the stuffed bear Ainsley gave him for, of course, Christmas) and gently rocking it to sleep. It was so stinkin' cute and he just continued to stand there, serenading his beloved stuffed animal. *

"When the wind blows, the cradle will rock"

I smile and glance at Lizzy, who smiles back. I continue reading and peek again because it is so, so very sweet to watch.

"When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall, and down will...BWAAUURRRPPP!!!"

A belch so loud it could NOT have come from a 3-year-old exploded from my son. It obviously caught him off guard and I flat-out guffawed. Lizzy thought it was hilarious. Gracie hadn't been paying attention to Johnny's singing since it is common practice in their room, but heard the burp and squealed. Since we were all laughing so hard, Johnny thought it would be funny to continue the comedy by forcing burps (not funny, but he'll figure that out someday).

And so they got themselves all wound up and bounced around in their beds for another 45 minutes or so.

Just another day in the life...

*Did you know our zoo calls stuffed animals "plushes" instead? Makes sense. Think about it. Call me if you need some help with this one.

Monday, January 31, 2011

I Never Thought...

...I'd be worried if 7 gallons of milk would get our family through 4-ish days of being holed up in the house. Supposedly we're in for a significant storm, which means no popping over to the grocery store for anything. Heck, they (I'm unsure as to who "they" are) have announced the storm to be so severe that people and friends are hauling out the generators.

We don't have a generator.

We do, however, have 7 gallons of milk.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Starting Early

The Boy tried to work me over today and, while he didn't get what he wanted, the effort was appreciated and admired by The Mommy.


Johnny loves, loves, loves chocolate milk. Chocolate milk is something I crave during pregnancy, so he comes by this naturally. Lately he's had a lot of it, due to time spent with the beloved Fooz, Daddy, and junky winter weather that sometimes softens my heart.

Which leads us to today's conversation:

Johnny: Mommy, I don't like white milk. (Note - he had just drained a cup of milk.) White milk is for girls. I like chocolate milk. Chocolate milk is for boys. Boys like chocolate milk.

Me: I like chocolate milk and I'm a girl.

Johnny: No, girls like white milk and boys like chocolate milk. I want some chocolate milk. (It must be said that he wasn't being demanding, just factual.)

Me: Nope. You just had some milk and chocolate milk is for special times, like with Fooz or Daddy or weekends. Plus, you just had some milk.

Johnny: But I didn't like my milk (not true) and I'd like chocolate milk.

Me: Nope. Chocolate milk is for special times with Fooz and Daddy.

Johnny: But Mommy, you're special. I can have chocolate milk with you. (said with this enormous smile, as if he was trying to hold back a belly laugh. He knew what he was doing.)

Me: Nope. Sorry bud. You can have it tomorrow.

I'm so cold. But again, I'm pretty impressed with my 3-year-old boy. He'll quickly learn it's going to take more than words to sway me. It will take ice cream (that's how his dad won my heart) or chocolate, preferably lots of both.

I'll leave you with the very latest pic of my too-smart-for-his-britches son. Whom, I should add, I adore. Please excuse the quality; it was taken w/the phone.

He ran around the house like this...