Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The ugly part of parenting

Have you ever noticed when people have children their conversations mostly are about poop and pee?

Its really annoying when you don't have kids. No one wants to hear about the color or odor or consistency. But once you have kids... its all open game.

So skip this if you don't feel you need to know about my children's bodily habits.

So the kids lay down for their naps. We had a time crunch here today because we were going down to the EAA to see the airplanes and helicopters and shop at 3:30. So took the kids outside and ran em around, we swung, we swam, we rode on toys, we bathed, etc... And do you think that they would lay down and sleep? No. Two of them had messy diapers. And this was a 1/2 an hour into when they were supposed to be sleeping. So I rocked Matthew and put him back to bed. No sleep for him, awhile later still up. So I brought him back down and he had another messy diaper. Got the other two up a 1/2 hour later and then John had a messy diaper.

And then tonight since Matthew didn't take a nap, I put him to bed at 7:30 p.m. and he was still up at 8 p.m. when I put John and Brooke to bed, and sure enough... another dirty diaper.

What am I feeding these children? I can't wait until they can take care of their own bathroom needs themselves and I don't have to touch poop and pee again.

Soooo, my sister Julie and I took the kids down to EAA. We parked at the outlet mall and got the lawn chairs out and snacks and drinks for the kids. Jacob thoughtfully packed cars and dolls and blocks for the kids to play with and handed them out during the air show. He was trying to earn back three sad marbles from yesterday. He got two of them back today, leaves one for good behavior tomorrow. (I feel like I'm trading again, talking about leaves)

Jacob and John were so excited to see the airplanes and helicopters flying around. Matthew and Brooke, not so much. But we sat for probably 30-45 minutes and watched and then we shopped.

I told Jacob we were only going to two shops, but it ended up being five. And the kids were very good for being two year olds strapped to a stroller. Jacob kept reminding me that it was more than two stores. BUT, we had to get him some shoes for school and Stride Rite had awesome sales. AND, (I'm taking a deep breathe) the outlet mall just got a new store. A Gymboree outlet store. I am so lucky to live within 25 miles of a real Gymboree level 2 store and a Gymboree outlet store. God bless America.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

White fence

You see this white fence? This is what our neighbors who surround us see. Its six feet tall and completely private. Of course it does not provide a noise barrier, which can be a problem.

A couple of days ago a neighbor pointed out that they heard Jacob yelling in the backyard. They heard me, not Jacob.

Anyone walking by my fence can't see anything but a nice vinyl white fence, but this is a sample of what they hear.

"I said, NOOOOO!"
"Stop splashing the babies."
"Don't get me wet."
"Stop that now!"
"Get your hand out of there!"
"If you do that again you are going inside!"
"No throwing!"
"Not in their faces!"
"I'll take it away."
"Good job!"
"Don't push that hard."
"Be careful!"
"Turn it off now!"
"When you waste water daddy has to work more!"
"Don't walk on the rocks."
"You have to take turns."

I'll bet my neighbors think all I do is yell. Its probably why my head feels this way at the end of the day.

And then for peace, I just look up at the sky and realize God gave me them all for a reason.

Monday, July 28, 2008

I'm up to my eyes in Barrettes

I'm been up to a lot lately. Just got a job at the local YMCA to work one or two days a week. I'm excited to: get out of the house, do something different, get a free membership and get out of the house.

Secondly, for the past few months I haven't blogged everyday because I've been busy making barrettes.

It started out that I wanted to match Brookes outfits. Then I thought, "Hey, this would be a good fundraiser for FVMOM." And then my friend and fellow president of the Club said she'd help out too. Well, she happens to be the next younger version of Martha Stewart... so she makes really cute stuff. If you have time, check out our new store.

I'm still loading all the barrettes on the sight, but pass this along to anyone who is needing barrettes.

Proceeds benefit FVMOM. And maybe my medical bills because I burned myself really good on the glue tonight. Ouch.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Time to throw the manual out

Is it over yet? Will I wake up one day and my kids will automatically listen to me and be polite to me and to each other? Does it take me saying, "No" or "Be gentle" or "Those are unkind words" or "Did you hear me?" or "I said, NOW!" 158 times a day to get through their heads.

I've heard that some children just become conditioned to these words or they know they can get away with it three times, but the fourth time they better listen. (or whatever the number is)

Its so hard not to yell and get in their face at times. Not talking about the babies here. I'm talking about a five year old.

As Scott and I took the kids walking around our circle today the neighbor stopped me who lives right behind us and as we were talking she said, "Oh yeah, I heard a lot of yelling today. Jacob must have been having fun." And I fessed up and said, "That was probably me yelling at him." Great. Now the neighbors can hear.

I never wanted to be a yeller. But with the noise of four children and especially when they are running away from you, you need to be heard, so the voice gets a little louder.

Brooke usually wears hair clips. But on this day when someone other than me put it in, it looked like this. Its Pebbles, reincarnated.

Below, Scott, his dad and Jacob went fishing to Lake Michigan Saturday night. Jacob fell asleep half way home and I couldn't resist taking pictures of him. These will be shown to all his girly friends in high school.

The other reason why Jacob is getting under my skin lately is because he's being stubborn about whatever he eats. For the last year or so he has eaten just about everything that we eat. Now, he doesn't like it, its yuk, etc... and its really really getting me mad. I've tried making him eat a certain amount of bites, I've tried saving his plate for later, I've tried starving him between meals. And I'm getting frustrated because I don't want his behavior to rub off on the babies. They eat almost anything and I want to keep it that way.

This has always been a control issue for Jacob. He knows hes got us by choosing to eat or not to eat. And I'm not giving in. He doesn't understand he got his stubbornness from someone. And I've got a lot more stubbornness in me. Any suggestions would be welcome as he only wants to eat hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, toast, waffles and pancakes. And some assorted fruit.

Friday, July 25, 2008

A gallon of milk

You know when you have a lot of children when you purposely look for the earliest expiration date on milk because no matter if I get two gallons or five, it will all be drank within a few days.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Wordless Wednesday July Edition

Matthew fell on his milk cup - hence the eye injury. The chin injury... last week fell off a chair and bumped his chin. I'm just doing social services job for them when they come to take away my children.
Words don't describe John.
He's a very special child.

O.K. that was not wordless Wednesday. But its my blog. I can modify the rules.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Popcorn stealer

I already posted once today, but I HAVE TO blog about my Johnny. Oh, special Johnny.

We get to Bay Beach (local amusement park) and the first ride was decided. The kids were going to ride the "race cars" which are cars that go are on metal bars that go around in a circle. The kids each picked their race car. John was touching one, but as soon as Shell Dinter put him in it. I mean, tried to put him in it, he became stiff and uncooperative. So, he wasn't ready to go on a ride.
As went the rest of the night. John would run into the ride area when the gates were opened, but never wanted to get in. So each time I'd ask for his ticket back.

Then Shell Dinter took Katie and Jacob on the Ferris Wheel and I had the three monkeys. I had three 2-year olds and only two harnesses. Soooo, I put the harnesses on Brooke and Matthew and carried John since he's the lightest.

We sat at a bench right near the ferris wheel eating snackwell cookies and mini-Oreo cookies. (Its the fifth food group that really isn't talked about much in health class) A lady was sitting next to us with a newborn in a stroller. She had some popcorn that she asked me if the kids could eat popcorn. So she offered some and John sat by her and ate 3/4 of the lady's popcorn. Brooke was more interested in cookies and Matthew just stared at the popcorn, but didn't seem interested. So fast forward to the end of the ferris wheel ride for Shell Dinter, Katie and Jacob. Shell spies us down below and sees John eating out of this ladies popcorn and starts laughing. I'm sure it was a funny site, this child eating a stranger's food.

I don't think John wanted to leave because he liked "sharing" this woman's popcorn.

Its all funny until someone pees on your lap

Do you ever have days where you say something, but mean something else? Its been happening to me a lot lately.

I need to clarify in a previous blog that my friend Cindy is Matthews Godmother, not Brookes. Shell Dinter is Brooke's Godmother.

I'm so excited! Today, tonight Shell and I might take the kids to Bay Beach again. I working up the courage to do the swings. O.K. chances are that Shell will do all the daring rides with Jacob and I'll stay with the babies. Thats o.k. too.

A funny thing happened the other day.
We were all driving home from church. The kids were in their car seats and I was holding onto Brooke's doll. I had my feet up on the dash board and had Brooke's doll facing me. Its a 14-15 inch doll and it was naked.
Well, Scott noticed that the people in the lane next to us were just gawking at us. He thought it was because the doll looked like a baby sitting on my lap. It was hilarious. Because this doll does have a lot of human features. I'm sure they thought I was nursing it or cuddling it and were just outraged. If those people ever find this blog this is what I'd like to say. HAHAHAHA! You should have seen the looks on your faces! It was a doll! Com'on! You think I'd have a naked baby sitting on my lap? I'd have a diaper on it at least.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Home Improvement

Busy day at the Callaways. We went to church today and lasted 55 minutes. Not to bad for 2 adults being outnumbered by four children. We sat in the last pew possible. The poor people ahead of us had to listen to the babies talking. Its hard to keep them quiet and I haven't really worked on the whole whispering thing. And then there were fights over the Thomas the Train sticker book.

Scott put up new shelving in the garage to help keep track of our toys, shoes and other miscellaneous stuff that normally ends up on the floor. Jacob was intrical in getting all the bubbles, bubble toys and shoes lined up neatly on the shelves.

Which reminds me. Someone recently commented on how anal I am. (I like to call it organized and thoughtful) And I replied that Scott is more so. It falls short of having his socks lined up neatly in a drawer, but he keeps his vehicles and playtoys spotless and all his tools and hunting stuff neat. Well, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Yesterday Jacob lined up all the cozy coupe cars and the ride on toys and washed them all. Then he had to get all the soap out of the sponges before he put them away.

I think we're just supplying jobs for medical professionals later in life.

He also helped me take pictures of the barrettes that I and my friend Kamie from FVMOM have been making. I can make the simple ones but Kamie has such talent for well, almost everything. We're thinking about selling them on Etsy. His favorites are the purple dragonflies. He's got good taste.

I also put up all the new crib tents today and put hypoallergenic coverings on their crib mattresses. And while I had everything else apart, I vacuumed their room. They should be sniffle free tomorrow.

The Big Read

I just saw this on a friends blog and could not resist adding!

Look at the list.
Bold those you have read.
Italicize those you intend to read.(I'm modifying this to books I've seen as movies or plays)
Underline the books you LOVE. (I'm skipping this)

1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6. The Bible
7. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8. 1984 - George Orwell
9. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11. Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12. Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14. Complete Works of Shakespeare
15. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien1
7. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18. Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19. The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20. Middlemarch - George Eliot
21. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchel
22. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23. Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33. Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34. Emma - Jane Austen
35. Persuasion - Jane Austen
36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40. Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41. Animal Farm - George Orwell
42. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46. Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48. The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49. Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50. Atonement - Ian McEwan
51. Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52. Dune - Frank Herbert
53. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57. A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63. The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65. Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66. On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68. Bridget Jones’ Diary - Helen Fielding6
9. Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70. Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72. Dracula - Bram Stoker
73. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75. Ulysses - James Joyce
76. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78. Germinal - Emile Zola
79. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80. Possession - AS Byatt
81. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87. Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92.The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94. Watership Down - Richard Adams
95. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98. Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Game over

If today was a game, the score would be 10-0 with the kids winning. They really got to me today. It didn't help that today it was hot and humid or more humid than anything else and I always feel like crap and have no energy.

I was on the phone with my friend Cindy, Brooke's Godmother, and we were catching up on stuff. During that phone call, the kids broke into the pantry five times. And then they scattered kitty treats all over. So I'm trying to clean that up and my back is turned, they 'd get into something else. Now, I have a disclaimer. I WAS watching them. I was not on the computer talking with Cindy for more than 2 minutes out of the 1 1/2 hour conversation. I sat on the steps looking into the kitchen and they still got the child-proof locks open.
Then at nap time John learned to open his crib tent (which has a hole in it by the zipper for easy access) and he got out and was monkeying around in the room. I was trying to lay down in the room next to them and heard him. He had given all his NUKs to a sleeping Brooke. Which was somewhat nice, but I didn't want him to wake her up. So I put him back into the crib and I told him if he got out again I'd tie him down. Luckily he never took me up on that threat.

Then tonight, Scott and Jacob went to Lake Michigan fishing. So I took the kids to run some errands. Between stores, I stopped at a Brat fry (only in Wisconsin) and got a hamburger and a coke. Ate that and went to Target. As I was loading each child out of the cart and putting them in the van, John got a hold of my can of coke and spilled it. All over my seat and the middle console. Yeah. Right there I did get tears in my eyes.
So I went to my parents house to visit and cleaned it up while they played with the kids. And I sat on a biodegradable shopping bag that wasn't water proof. So of course my bottom was wet. It couldn't get much funnier. But at the time and even now I still didn't feel like laughing.

Then the kids were pains when we got home and when I got them out of the van scattered in three different directions. Bedtime was a pain. And my frustrations grew to a boiling point. When will they or any of my kids learn not to push my buttons. Or at least recognize when they shouldn't mess with me.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Life in the not so fast lane

I got (received) good news the other day. The Birth to Three OT said that since we're doing really well with John with him seeking input for sensory issues. But its interesting because it seems we go in streaks where he has really good days and then days where he pins Matthew down on the ground, lies on him and tries to smother him with a pillow. Or he's just a live wire. Which has been the past few days.

The OT suggested more sensory play. We have a texture box with rigatoni, chickpeas, and navy beans. We have Crayola Fusion model clay. The kids will go around and around in circles on their ride-on toys. I encourage a lot of jumping and dancing. Outside in our backyard we have a mini-trampoline, ride on toys, a huge sandbox, a pool, two play sets and out of all that, I think John likes to play on the rocks or walk barefoot in the grass the best.

I'm very lucky that John has responded well. The only issues left for him are his oral fixations and his low muscle tone in his mouth. He still drools when he concentrates and much of the time his jaw is hanging open just a little bit. I'm not sure if the speech therapist will come for that issue yet or someone else.

Today I discovered at Woodman's that the Fast Lane (Under 20 items) is not really the fast lane. I newbie, who was actually quite old, was in charge of the five registers. I brought my own reusable bags and put them on the scale. The checkout lady just needed to clear the screen from her computer and I could go on checking out my 22 items. She was working another checkout area and couldn't get that error cleared. Pretty soon four out of the five registers were at a standstill because the rest of us just needed her to push just ONE little stinking button and we'd be on our own self-checking way. It took her eight minutes to clear me. I even asked her to just clear my bag weight error. And she was extremely disorganized and had to focus on just this one thing. She missed out on the multi-tasking gene.

So, I picked up my Dodge today from the local dealership today. They had to fix something something air condition piece in the rear of the van. I mistakenly thought they'd do this under the van. But no, they had to take out all three of my car seats out to do whatever they had to do. Scott told me to get over it, which I should. But it is a real pain in the patuddy to put them back properly. It will take me over an hour to get all three just right. And its humid outside and even more humid in my van. But wait! My air conditioning is fixed so I'll probably turn that on.

Today, as I was on the phone with the dealership trying to figure out if my van would be ready for me to pick it up, Jacob made the babies their dinner. I was on the phone downstairs so I wouldn't be disturbed. I came up and he had them in chairs, with plates and had given them yogurt, deli turkey and sliced cheese. It made my heart melt at how thoughtful and helpful he was. He gave them big people forks and he said,"Mom, I didn't know what forks to give them." And I said that he did a great job.

Tomorrow I'll blog about my arch-nemesis. Actually, I have two.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Door to door hoodlums

Tonight at an FVMOM dinner, I dropped my van off at the local dealership to get fixed. I have a Dodge. In my life I have owned two Dodges. My first Dodge in 1999 had a whole new transmission after 6,000 started the trend of the unlucky Dodge Stratus which I got rid of two years later.

Then I needed to get a minivan and I think Dodge was the only one with stow and go AND in my price range. And in the 30 months that I have owned this thing I think every summer the air conditioning has been broken and its had two or three recalls. You try to buy American and see what it gets you...

So, last Saturday night at 8:30 p.m. central standard time, the doorbell rings. I'm sitting on the couch with the kids (babies) and we're about to go to bed. And the front door has a straight shot view into our living room. So I can't not answer the door. So I get up and the three monkeys follow me. They have their noses squished up to the front door while I step out into our entrance to get the door.
This young man has a tan polyester short sleeve shirt with a plain brown tie that's loosened at the neck. He's young enough to be a punk in ill-fitting clothes.

So he says to me, "I'm the building inspector and I'd like to" - and then he laughs. And he starts his plug for whatever he is selling. He's got this yellow pamphlet in his hand and he's waving it around while he's yapping about vacuum cleaner specials. He's a hand waver. This habit doesn't go well with a customer trying to read the "special".
Actually there would be no way I'd let a stranger into my house at 8:30 at night and my husband is not home. And WHY would someone sell Oreck vacuum cleaners at this time of night.

He was up to no-good. I just know it. He was either casing the joint or going to steal my kids. After he saw that there were three, I don't know if he changed his mind or not.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


How about some fluff? Enough of that serious stuff. I've got a headache just thinking about it. Or it could be that the barometric pressure thingy.

There's a new show called Wipeout that ABC has put on the air. I think that ABC has hit an all-time low with a show that purposely makes fun of people and makes them look stupid. Com' on! So, ABC was on today and during General Hospital and Who Wants to be a Millionaire I saw commercials for this Wipeout show. So did John.

John laughed hysterically. That's not even a good way to describe what his laughter sounded like. It was a guffaw, it was a shriek, it was pure joy. So tonight, the show was on and John sat on the couch and laughed when the people fell off the obstacle course and did stupid things. It was so refreshing to see someone laugh so uninhibitedly. Even though I normally would not have that type of show on because I think it teaches children that you can make people laugh by doing stupid things. These stupid things often lead to them hurting themselves. Remember that MTV show Jackass? If not, its not worth anyones time.

Another strange thing I saw today is when I was at Sam's Club. In the parking lot there were two girls - teenagers getting out of their vehicle at the same time the kids and I were. I glanced at the girls and both girls had these little baby doll dresses on. You know, the ones strippers wear when they come out on stage. (See the Demi moore movie for affirmation) These dresses did not come down probably more than 2 inches of their bum. And one of the girls pulled up the dress and adjusted her underwear. It was white with little designs on the edges. That was how long she pulled up her dress. A 14 year old girl pulled up her dress to rearrange her underwear. She was even with her mother. At first I thought maybe she was disabled in some way. Because there is such a thing as self-awareness at age 14. That is cute when a girl or boy is first potty trained, but not at age 14.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Bubbles anyone?

The thing I put on my wall in last nights post... it proved true today. "Grant me patience to deal with my blessings."
First, there were a lot of tears shed today. Not by me though. By all four kids. Jacob didn't want to go to swimming lessons, he didn't want to go to VBS, he didn't want to come home from Katie and Sam's house. He wanted band-aids on about eight different scrapes.
Brooke was picking on the boys, literally. She was pulling them around by their shirts, pulling their hair, she was a meanie today.
And THEN, THEN!!!!

No one took naps today. The three monkeys just jumped up and down in their cribs, they unzipped each others crib tents. Brooke gave all her blankets to Matthew. John horded all the nuks. He actually stacked about eight of them together and was playing with them.

So needless to say, it was a difficult day until they went to bed. I cuddled with Matthew after I put Brooke and John to bed and he fell asleep before his head hit my shoulder. They were all in bed by 7:30 - an hour earlier than usual. Oh, I should say that after I picked Jacob up from my brothers, Brooke did fall asleep in the car and then she took a nap until 5:30 and STILL went to bed at 7:30 without a fight.

Then I went outside and Jacob had the bubble machine going and I just sat and drank my margarita. It was one of THOSE moments. Those moments where everything is perfect and still in the world and you know the reason why you're at the place you are at. Doesn't happen that often, but most of the time it does happen when I'm with Jacob. Its that feeling that I'm glad that I'm at home with my children and there is no other place I'd rather be. I've only had that feeling once or twice with the babies. Its just because there is so much more chaos with them that I think those moments will happen more as they get older and more civilized.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Grant me patience....

This is my second vinyl expression by upppercase living. The wall was bumpier than the dining room and took more time to put up. The secret - a hairdryer. The vinyl when warmed will stick much better.

I wish I would have ordered this sign in the next size up. I think it may be a little too small.
This morning the kids were all coloring at the table. We have a table that seats six people comfortably. The four kids were sitting on two chairs total until Brooke "booted" Matthew off her chair and then I had him sit in his own chair next to her. They love to color, but love to color on objects other than paper more. Until then, colors will be under lockdown.

Friday, July 11, 2008

In-between the lines

You know how people say that they have it tougher than their parents did? Growing up in these times can be really tough with peer pressures, over-scheduling, inflation, etc...

Well, I found another thing that I can add to that list. Coloring books.

Jacob and I were coloring tonight using small crayons and I pulled out this coloring book that there was no way I could color in between the lines because it was so complicated and detailed. Whatever happened making kids feel good about themselves when they accomplish something? I've run into more coloring books that are so detailed and not simple that its really hard to stay within the lines.
I didn't have a sharpener with me and I could not stay in the lines. No wonder kids these days have self-esteem issues.

Uppercase Living

I got my Uppercase Living order today and immediately put one of the Vinyl sayings up. I know I'm a grown up when this kind of stuff thrills me.

I wish my pictures weren't so dark. I guess I'm no Dave Jackson.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Hide and Seek

I took Jacob out to lunch today to meet a friend, Magan. That was the last lunch he will ever eat in a public place other than school.

I didn't know how prejudice he really was. He wouldn't eat his chicken tenders and french fries because they looked different. We were at a mexican restaurant. They had a different batter on their food and I think they did leave it a little too long in the fryer. No other puns intended here. I told him (with Magan as my witness) that it tastes the same on the inside even though it looks different on the outside.

This will be a lesson tucked away for later in life when he finally notices that people come in different shapes and sizes. Although, I think he knows people come in different shapes because today as I was in my bedroom and told him I wanted privacy he said, "O.K. buttabutt." and left. That was a jaw-dropping moment.

So, tonight Jacob and Scott were playing hide and seek. Jacob has been playing hide and seek, probably since about 2 1/2 to 3 years. The problem is that he hasn't really caught on to the concept of the game. Lets look at the words and their meaning. First word Hide - not found in plain sight. And - this word connects two other words. Its a conjunction? I think? Last word Seek - to look for, to discover.

So Scott counts to 20 while Jacob hides. First of all you can hear obvious signs of where he hiding. He slams doors, opens closets, etc... Then he yells for Scott , "Ready Dad!" Now that's a problem cause it gives away his position. So Scott walks around and says, "I wonder if Jacob's in the laundry room?" And Jacob yells out, "I'm in the bathroom!" Scott walks around more, "I think Jacob is in the computer room." And Jacob yells out again, "I'm in the bathroom dad!"
He's always going to be it because he'll be the first found.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Park Incident

I forgot about an incident that happened at the park yesterday until I was not so gently reminded of it today.

I was parked next to the park and my friend Shell Dinter was parked behind me. We got the kids packed up and we both got into our respective cars. Jacob started jabbering and I'm checking my mirrors. I see Shell in my mirror and wave to her. I start to pull away and get maybe 20 feet and realize that I left my sliding door open. Sigh. O.K. so I'm NOT perfect and I'm a bit frazzled when I have all four kids in the car and Jacob is talking.

That was just an excuse. That was just a classic Jean move.

And when I stopped the car and looked back at Michelle she was laughing - at my expense. I closed the sliding door. I pulled away and she was still laughing.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A moving force

I had a lot to say all day, but didn't write it down.

A story that I had meant to tell, but forgot. (Foreshadowing) We have some next-door neighbors that are an old-retired couple. They are originally from a state that talks slower than we yuppers. One of the first things Scott did when we moved in was cut some branches that were hanging in our driveway from the neighbors tree. This tree is planted a foot from the lot line. He did go and talk to them about it. The guy made a comment like, "you have something against trees?" and we weren't sure how to take that. So each year Scott trims the tree parts that hang in our yard. And these branches are literally hanging in our faces and our cars hit them when we drive in the driveway.

This couple watches their grand kids every so often. These kids are ages 8 to 13. These kids have done the ding dong ditch to us. These kids aren't watched when they are outside.

Last year we put up a white vinyl fence in our backyard to keep the kids in. It also helps to keep everyone else out. It has one gate and we keep it locked for two reasons. 1) So the babies can't get out. 2) Deter nighttime visitors from entering our garage from the back.

These grand kids of the neighbors seem to always get a ball over in our yard when they are over. The neighbor is nice enough to come over and ask if they can go in the back yard to get the ball. I do appreciate that. But it seems like the kids keep hitting the balls over the fence when they are playing baseball. The ball they use is a smaller light ball that is normally used by toddlers for play. You know, those 97 cent balls from Walmart?
So last week, I had put the babies down and they were not falling asleep. And ding-dong, the neighbor rings the doorbell. Don't people universally know that at 1:30 p.m. in the afternoon not to ring the doorbell of a homeowner who has young children. Really? So they go get the ball. Five minutes later I see someone running in our backyard getting it again. More time elapses and I see a head and an upper torso of a kid leaning on our back fence. Not sure if they are trying to climb it or see over. Another kid runs and gets the ball.
Scott walks in the room a few minutes later and as I'm about to tell him this story, it happens again. Head and torso leaning on the top of our fence and a kid in the yard. Well, of course I flip out and tell Scott to go talk to them or I will (and it won't be nice).

Scott goes and talks to the kids. He told them to hit the other way, not towards our fence. And the ball keeps going underneath the fence the kids say. The ball isn't a normal softball or hardball, its those inflatable kind. There is NO WAY that it is going underneath our fence and traveling 30 feet into our yard. Light balls like that don't have that momentum. Well, unless someone is sitting right on the other side of the fence and batting it through. Hooligans.

Did this ever happen to you? Have you ever had a sore or pimple in your ear? It hurts like a, a, I can't say the word I really want to say. Actually its a three part word. I have one right behind that thing that sticks out in your ear canal. So of course it hurts if I lie on that side.

I took Katie, Sam, Jacob, Matthew, Brooke and John to Sam's Club today. Katie pushed Matthew in a cart and I had the other two monkeys. We were quite the interesting spectacle. As we were approaching the main aisle, I had to stop because another woman was in the main aisle and she had 7 or 8 kids with her. She called her group a "moving force." Which means, don't get in my way or we'll trample you.

So later as we were eating she went by with her litter and asked if the kids were all mine. I said four of the six were. And since she asked me, I asked her if they were all hers and she said yes. The thing I noticed after I asked was that she had a child of another race with her and I'm guessing that this woman adopted some of the kids or she's a foster parent. But seriously, I couldn't even count all the kids because they kept moving around so much. It was seven or eight though.

One of my proud moments today was at City Park in Appleton. I was pushing Brooke and she looked at Shell Dinter and said, "Shell". She normally doesn't point out peoples names. None of the kids do. Well, they will for mama and daddy and Jacob and Cosmo. That makes her family. Another cute thing is that Brooke and John have been calling Matthew, "Math". And now Jacob calls Brooke, "Brookster".

Very Interesting.

Monday, July 7, 2008

An unordinary day

Jacob and I were off to swimming lessons today. And as we pulled off the highway onto one of the main roads, a driver in a cement truck pulled up next to us. Since my air conditioning in my van isn't working, I had every possible window open. My van has a sticker on the back that says, "Got Triplets?" And has two stick boys and one stick girl below it. The driver yelled out, "Hey, you got triplets?" And I turned towards him and saw he had a goofy-happy look on his face. And I said, "Yes, they are two." And he waved his hand in the air and yelled, "Yeah!" It was nice to NOT get that normal reaction. The way people gawk and turn their heads at odd angles when passing us. Sure, I could take the sticker off my van and be like the other million blue mini-vans. Maybe I'll get one of those obnoxious little boy peeing on a Ford stickers.

So this prompted one of those in depth life-altering conversations with Jacob. Jacob says, "What did that guy yell?" And I replied, "He likes our sticker on the back of the van about the babies." Jacob say, "Mom, they aren't babies." And I said, "Well, what should we call them? I call them my babies because they are my youngest children. And I don't like saying triplets all the time." Jacob thinks for a moment, "I can be your big kid and they can be your little kids." And really, that was a good idea! But a moment later he told me I could call them babies again.

So, fast forward through the afternoon and Brooke unzipping her crib tent and falling out today. Tonight, I will be making ties for the zippers so they can't get out. After that, the babies fell asleep for a little more than 2 hours. (Yipee!)

So we went outside and played. See pictures interjected into this blog.

Next, we go inside and I get some snacks out. Baked Cheetos. The babies LOVE baked Cheetos. They gobble them down. So, I'm sitting on the couch and Brooke and John are on their second community bowl of Baked Cheetos. John turns his head to look at me and he's got a Cheeto stuck up his nose. Now, at this moment, my reaction could change the way he eats or sniffs Cheetos. So I try not to let him see my nostrils flare and my eyes widen in laughter. And the oddest thing is that he was completely serious, just looking at me. He didn't even have a twinkle in his eye. He took the Cheeto out of his nose and then put it back in again. And finally I think I found my voice, "John, not in your nose, in your mouth!" And he took it out and ate it. (It sounds more gross than it actually was - the eating after in the nose part)

So I went to get the camera and waited for him to do it again. But no such luck.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Donut holes

Before I forget, I posted about 63 pictures to flickr, so check them out. They include our June vacation to Minocqua and some backyard fun. And A LOT of fish.

On Friday night I was watching my niece and nephew with the babies. We were outside and I got some food out. Sam loves donut holes. So Sam and I brought out Donut holes and chips for the kids to eat.

When we came inside we just put them on the counter. Later on, Brooke and Matthew were sitting on my lap reading and John came in the living room. He had a powdered donut hole stuck in his mouth, and his hands were holding about 6 to 8 donut holes. He had this silly look on his face like he knew he did something wrong. It was just so cute to see that he had all these donut holes in his hands and he still figured out that he could carry one in his mouth. So he gave them all to me and then took bites of each one. I guess that's the two year old version of if I lick it, its mine.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

A new day

Today, I was all alone in my house for the first time ever. EVER. EVER! For two glorious hours I didn't have to listen for babies, take care of babies, be responsible for any two-legged things.

My sister-in-law and brother volunteered, no, asked!, to take the babies for the morning. So I dropped them off and was back at the house by 9 a.m. and I cleaned the downstairs toy box out. Seriously, this is a catch-all for anything. And one of my pet peeves is when, instead of putting the fisher price animals in the fisher price farm, they all get thrown in the toy box. If I, as an adult, would think twice before playing with something that doesn't have all the parts because I'd have to go find them, I'm sure that two year olds and a five year old feel the same way.

So I put all the constructions stuff in a sterilite box, all the fishing/hunting toys has a new home in its own box, all the play tools have their own home in a new box. All the Tinkertoy have been returned to their original container, all the matchbox cars put back into the car holders, all the train stuff put on the train table.

I want it to stay this way. Sooooo, I guess no one will be playing downstairs for awhile. I'm going to have to remind anyone that plays down there to put the stuff back where they found it.

So then, I picked up the babies, they got their Daisy dog fix, and we went through McDonalds drive through to get some cheeseburgers. Brooke ate a whole cheeseburger by herself. She loves cheeseburgers and hardly even eats the french fries anymore. Matthew on the other hands loves the french fries and really doesn't touch the hamburger. Not surprising because he has more texture issues and also takes awhile to try something new. (Sounds like another 5 year old in my house)

Then it was after one, I put the kids in bed and John, the ringleader, started jumping up and down in his crib and the other two monkeys followed. He was wound up so much I took him out and rocked him for awhile so the other two could fall asleep. I put him back and noticed that Matthews foot was through the crib slates. About a 1/2 hour later and into my nap, I heard some crying and it was Matthew. He couldn't get his foot out. Its what happens when you have wide and pudgy legs and feet.

So then we cuddled and I tried to get some more sleep.

After all the naps were done we went outside and I filled up the pool. Interestingly enough, Matthew is very comfortable in the pool. While John sat on my lap pressing against me until he felt comfortable enough to get in. Brooke isn't all that thrilled about the water. She doesn't mind it, she's goes in for a minute and then goes and plays something else.

We ate dinner outside and then I got the ice cream cones out. Amazingly, Brooke didn't want hers so John had two in his hands. He steps in the pool with the ice cream cones and he starts doing this dance. Matthew was in the pool with his ice cream cone and he starts dancing too. It was hilarious. I wish I had the video camera. We had a really good time outside.

Then during bath time, which didn't go so well, I noticed John started mouthing things, his arm, me and he was getting almost hyper. So I got out his chew toys for his oral issues and then he stopped licking me and his arm. Its really weird to have a child lick you. When I got him out of his crib after bath time he had licked his whole left arm. You got to wonder about him...

Friday, July 4, 2008

A birthday hangover

Lets see... whats new for today? Hmmm. Oh, pee and poop. Miss Houdini here likes to take off her diaper and clothing. (Clothing is usually first) I found her naked in her crib today and then when it was nap time, she had a messy diaper and took it off.

I wanted to take a nap today. The babies were giggling and having a good time. Then they started whining. I went to check on them and noticed John had a messy diaper. So I changed him and put him back to bed. I noticed Brooke was still up and her clothes were on. Then I had to go in a little while later to check on them and then Brooke had fallen asleep. So I go lay down in my comfy bed and I'm just about asleep when I hear Brooke screaming. I get up and see that she was naked, again, and she had a poopy diaper. But the diaper was not on her. It was on one side of the crib and she was on the other. Her skort was on the floor.

So I had to do another load of wash and clean her up. I was out of wipes on the upper level so I just used a wash cloth, but most have missed some because at the next diaper change she was really red and sore. (I'm sure most of you find this particular blog just dripping with excitement, but I'm going some where with this)

So, I put desitin on her right before bed. She wakes up at 9 p.m. and just was screaming. I try to rub her back, but that's not helping. So I took her and changed her diaper, added a layer of desitin and rocked her for awhile. I probably rocked her for 20 minutes with her screaming in my ear. Not exactly easy to hear the TV over her.
So I finally just put her to bed and she stopped crying.

I got a lot done today because Mark and Luann came over this morning to watch the kids. I cut the lawn, ran a few errands, and tonight I made some mini scrapbook photo albums and now I plan on cleaning up Jacob's room of little beads and things that the babies can put in their mouth.

Jacob and Scott have been busy catching fish. They are on vacation with my mom and dad and Julie. They caught some pan fish earlier in the day and then caught a bunch of crappies tonight. Jacob just lives to fish. Its so nice to see him get into a hobby.

Happy Independence Day! I'm not overly patriotic when it comes to BBQ's and fireworks, but I appreciate the men and women who leave their family and homes to serve over seas.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Partly Cloudy, Partly Sunny

You know when you have those mixed days? Those days when you realize that there has been forward progress made, but you can never go back to what was easier.

So today, I'm upstairs putting clothes away (which is a whole another story) and I heard the gate open. Thinking it was Katie or Sam, I didn't say anything until I heard the pitter-patter of footsteps. Little footsteps. And Brooke came running into Jacobs room and then ran out. I heard the gate wiggle and then open again and I walked out of the room just in time to see her close the gate all by herself and go down the steps.

The boys have no clue how to open the gate, but Brooke, she's detail-oriented and a girl. She's got a couple of good things going for her. I just knew when I brought her home that she'd be the first to try to sneak out of the house and I still don't think I'm wrong about her.

So now tonight, I have to clean up my spare room, which is Brooke's room, which has a hodge-podge of stuff all over. I need to put the little stuff away that they can't swallow or just wreck.

Why can't we just lock them up and leave them? Why do we have to let them spread their wings and learn to fly?

I'm a planner. I love for things to be orderly and done on my schedule. I didn't plan for this. I plan on keeping the crib tents on until they are three and keeping them in their cribs even after that. I'll just lower the one side so that it will be easier for them to get out, but they still won't fall out. By the time they are three I hope to have one potty trained and will be working on the other two. I don't want them out of their rooms at the crack of dawn because sleeping in is all I have left.

Come August 26th, Jacob will have to be school before 8:00 a.m. Which means that either Scott or I have to leave here by 7:30 a.m. to get him to school. Which means that I'll have to start getting up earlier and get Jacob ready to go to school. I have had four years of being able to sleep in to some extent. I guess my vacation is over.

Today Katie, Sam, the babies and I went to Target to pick up some Vanicream sunscreen for the adults and the babies. I had just heard that some chemicals in some of the sunscreens have some bad side effects. So I did a little bit of research and realized that zinc oxide is the safest physical blocker of the sun. It protects from UVA/UVB and all the junk. But Vanicream also has titanium dioxide in it which on some sites it says it is safer than the chemical blockers, but also may be linked to some cancer or DNA stuff. What to do, what to do?

Some of the "all-natural" sunscreen is so expensive. Since I have four very pale children, I go through a whole tub in about four or five applications. And since I'd like to stay looking like I'm 25, I've been using a whole bunch of screen too. And if you've seen my husband and happened to see him put on sunscreen, you know we really should buy it by the case.

After Target, the crew and I head over to Stride Rite. Matthew got new sandals less than a month ago and I don't like how they fit. I even mentioned it to the girl when she put them on and she said that they looked fine. But after watching him take them off all the time, I decided to see if they'd take them back, even though they were worn. I happened to pick a day when a girl was in training. I told her that I was unhappy with the fit, that they had been worn, etc... and she said that she was told that as long as they look pretty new and its before 30 days, I could exchange them. Whoohooo!

So we picked out another size 8 water sandals for my boy and we got next years sandals for Brooke.

Then we stopped at the pretzel place to get a bite to eat. Its in the middle of the mall where you sit and as I got back to the tables where the kids were, Katie said to me, "Everyone is looking at us." And I nodded my head and said that it happens all the time. People don't normally see triplets and its obvious in the stroller. I think we get more looks when I have more kids with me too. Because you know what everyone is thinking... God those kids are cute! Or maybe more realistically, God that's a lot of kids! Did you ever hear of birth control? And all those canned phrases.

Because before I had kids that's what I thought when I saw people with a bunch of kids. See what happens to ignorant people? They eat their words.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Outback saga

I got a phone call from Outback Steakhouse. The manager called about my complaint that I e-mailed to headquarters.

In the end, I'm getting a "tuck-a-way" gift card to buy some hamburgers. Not sure how much it will be for but at least they responded.

Also, today Luann came over and brought me a couple of lottery tickets for my birthday. I scratched them and swore, SWORE!, I won twenty-five dollars. So, I took it to the store my niece works at and she scanned it and she said it wasn't a winner. My jaw dropped and I probably drooled a little. Huh. The lottery ticket said to scratch the four corners and if there were three alike amounts you'd win the prize. So I scratch the MAIN part of the lottery ticket and three out of four corners were the same. Well, I didn't realize that it meant, the very corners were there were $$$ signs. And even the codes in the main area were a T F V or something like that which made me think it stood for twenty-five.

That's just another moment in the life of Jean.

Also, its my birthday today! Thank you for all the nice cards, messages and phone calls. Makes me feel special. How did I celebrate my birthday? I had carpal tunnel therapy, I had blueberry pancakes, a girl scout mint cookie blizzard (small), tomato basil bisque soup and tonight I'm having stromboli with the kids. It may not be the best for my WW diet. But I turned 29 only five times in my life so far!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A lot of first the last few days

The boys all got their hair cut this Sunday. Matthew got his first haircut just short of 27 months. He had about four wisps of hair on the ground. Then there was John. John has a lot of hair and doesn't appreciate his hair cut. The purple blob that has him in a head lock is me and my snazzy PJ's. I play the role of a leisurely housewife a little too well some days. I wanted to give John a Mohawk, but Scott talked me out of it. So now it looks like he's a mini-marine recruit.

Matthew has some big shoes to fill. He and the other kids love to play with shoes and wear them around the house. I think that shoes is almost the size of him.

Scott, Jacob and his dad went fishing on Lake Michigan for the first time. Well, Scott and his dad used to go all the time when Scott was little, but this was Jacob's first time. He was woken up at 3:30 in the morning and never stopped talking the whole time. I wish we could bottle his energy. They caught three Salmon. This picture is kind of fuzzy, but I love Jacob's expression.