As moms we are stretched to the limit at this time of the year. All the shopping, wrapping, cooking, baking, planning, social obligations, picture taking, begin to take their toll. A friend asked me this question today; Since I have last year’s Christmas picture of the kids, that never made it into the cards, can I still use it? Answer; YOU BET! As long as the kids aren’t babies. And I only say that, because of the great difference a year makes in what they would look like. If the effort was made to dress everyone in their finest and haul them to the portrait studio, but the year was too overwhelming and hectic to actually put the cards together, I say use the picture that was paid for. The conversation was a good reminder of trying to stay in the spirit of the season without getting overwhelmed with the details and what’s “supposed” to happen. We need to leave our families good memories of the holiday and not frantic memories of a stressed-out mama. Good night~
Archive for November, 2007
After school today, I realized that I needed to run some errands that couldn’t be done tomorrow. My sister and the 3 youngest children were with me. Gabi and Max fell asleep during the drive and Maggie (my sister) stayed in the van with them while they napped and I took Luke-Xavier in to get the things that I needed. When I came out, they had woken up and were wondering when we were going into the store. They didn’t realize they had been asleep. Since I was done, I decided to take them over to the See’s Candy shop for a lollypop, since they were good for Maggie (granted, they were asleep). Silly me, I let them decide what they wanted when we got inside. Gabi picked a butterscotch lollypop, right away and was perfectly content with it. Max, however, looked at the display cases filled with an array of wonderful chocolates and couldn’t make up his mind. Twice he chose a lollypop, just to put it back again. The woman behind the counter was patient and kind, thank goodness! She suggested all sorts of pieces to him, only to have him start crying because he was so overwhelmed by the decision. The whole time, my words about not giving children too many choices were running through my brain. Finally I told him that I was going to pick a surprise and he had to close his eyes. He was excited about that, but ended up sobbing again when he opened his eyes. I don’t even think it was the particular piece of chocolate that made him upset, but that the “surprise” had not been some magical and amazing piece of candy that would make him forget about all other pieces. Poor kiddo! I finally put the “surprise” piece in the bag with the others and carried him out, crying into my shoulder, to the van. He cried while I buckled him in and cried when I let him stick his hand in the bag to pick out a piece. The whole experience just reinforced my belief that kids can’t be given a great amount of choices because it’s too overwhelming.
As in any house, I use many cleaning products to get the job done. But there are 3 things that I can not live without.
1. Mr. Clean Magic Eraser-This product is perfectly named, because it IS magic! I am able to clean textured wall, appliance handles, porous countertops, and cabinet fronts like I was never able to before. I discovered the “Magic Eraser” about 3 1/2 years ago while in the commissary. I had heard of it and decided to give it a try. So, I bought a 2-pack and tried them on the appliance handles when I got home. I quickly moved on to the hall walls. By then I was out of “Magic Erasers” and stopped a neighbor who was on her way to the commissary and gave her $20 to get me as many as she could. I’ve never looked back! There have been some emails that have gone around about children getting “burns” on their skin from using the product. I’m wondering if these are children who have a skin sensitivity to begin with, because my children have all (and I do mean ALL) used the product either to clean an area of the house that they were assigned to, or if it was one of the littler ones, to “clean” along side me and have never had a problem. So, it’s probably best to be careful if you’re unsure about skin reactions in your own children, but as an adult I can’t say enough about the amazing ability of this product to get rid of deep-down grime!
2. Shout Color Catchers-Laundry became so much easier after I found out about this product! I used to sort all the colors in combos like; red and pink, black and dark blue, etc. Of course there were always strange combinations that I wasn’t really sure what to do with . The Color Catcher takes the fuss out of it all. You just through a Color Catcher sheet in with your wash (I’ve used 1/2 a sheet on older clothes that I don’t think are going to bleed and have used 2 sheets with new, red items) and it “catches” all the stray dye that is in the water. The sheets come out in amazing colors! You can find them on the laundry isle. I recommend never doing another load of colored laundry without them! I know I won’t.
3. Clorox Bleach Pen-I love being able to control exactly where the bleach ends up! 3 of my kiddos wear white, uniform shirts to school. That means there’s a lot of bleaching that happens. This product is great for just touching up the exact spot that needs it. I also use it on the grout in the kitchen counters. It gets in and cleans out the stains better than anything else I’ve found. This is definitely not a product that I would let the kiddos use, because it is bleach and could be harmful to their skin, clothing, etc. But, I am a huge fan.
Alright, those are 3 amazing things that make it possible for me to feel like the house is liveable. If you have a great product that you rely on, I’d love to hear about it and give it a try.
Have a great night~
Whew! What a day! Not only did I stay sick, but Luke-Xavier, Gabi, Maddi and my sister all got sick. I feel like putting up a quarantine sign. Clay just went to bed, saying he felt “achy”. I’m really hoping the JJ and Kateri stay well. So, with the yuckiness in the house, we decided we didn’t want to follow through on our plans to go to the Island Club. First of all, we didn’t want to pay for people who couldn’t/weren’t going to eat. And second of all, it’s Thanksgiving and that means we should be together. So, in between naps I formulated a dinner plan. I knew that there was Stovetop stuffing and 2 cans of cranberry sauce in the cupboard, as well as a large box of mashed potatoes from Costco. There were frozen green beans in the freezer and even a frozen apple pie. So, I made a short shopping list; 2 prebaked chickens, a box of Ritz crackers (for a green bean casserole that we love), whipped cream, vanilla ice cream and sparkling cider. Dinner took about an hour to throw together and we all gathered around the table. Those who weren’t eating sipped water or cider and the others enjoyed a decent substitution for “real” Thanksgiving dinner. And for the first time, no one walked away feeling like they were going to burst. We went around the table sharing the #1 thing we were each thankful for and then cleaned up and watched a movie. I wish we all felt better, but all in all, it was a good day. I hope you each had a great day and that none of you are sick! Good night~
Tuesday was the annual, family trip to Knott’s Berry Farm. Kateri was the only family member that wouldn’t be able to go because she didn’t get back from school until yesterday. So, we loaded everyone up, including one of the kids’ friends and one of my sisters. Just as we went to load Luke-Xavier in, he threw-up. Thank goodness it happened then and not on the way or at the park! So, my sister stayed home with me while Clay (brave soul that he is) took 8 kids to Knott’s on his own. They had a great time and came home exhausted. This has been an annual event for us for 10 or 11 years. Every November the park offers discounted tickets to military dependents. So, it’s something we all look forward to. We’ve found that the key to really enjoying it is to go on a week day. The lines are very short and the kids can get the most out of the experience. Plus, we are not worried that we will lose a child like we might in a huge, weekend crowd. But, it looks like I’ll have to wait until next year to see Snoopy. Whatever this bug is that’s moving through our house is no fun! Maddi was sick for 3 days, Gabi for 2 and Luke-Xavier for 2. It appears that I’ve caught whatever it is, and had a really yucky night, last night. So, today I will sip water and watch everyone enjoy their dinner. At least I won’t have to worry about eating too much. Happy Thanksgiving to all!
Last year for our anniversary, Clay surprised me with tickets to Trans-Siberian Orchestra. I wasn’t familiar with their music, but Clay quickly pointed me to the youtube video of a holiday light show and I was hooked. We LOVED the show so much that we decided to do the same thing this year. Last night was the show. It was just as much fun! If you haven’t heard their music, I recommend checking it out. And if you get the chance to go to a show, the energy is amazing! Their tech team deserves a standing ovation!!!!!! Top to bottom, a great show!
Have a great day~
First off, I want to say Congrats to Anna and Maddi and their volleyball team for taking home the championship today! Whoo Hoo! Awesome job girls!
I had a really great day! I got to have a very nice luncheon with some ladies from Clay’s last squadron. Unfortunately it was a farewell for one of the ladies and I will miss her, but it was so nice to get together and enjoy visiting.
Then I was able to get some work done, get the Costco shopping done and go to an evening Mass. Gabi caught whatever Maddi had, so she was sick this morning when everyone left for church, so I stayed behind to cuddle her and make sure that her germs didn’t spread to an entire congregation. BUT, when I was in Costco, I witnessed some really scary parenting practices. A family was shopping with their 4, young children and the dad kept saying things like, “shut-up” or “Boy, you better sit down or you’ll be sorry”. Granted, it doesn’t seem nearly as bad, typed out here, but the attitude behind it was a little bit shocking and the kids weren’t being mouthy or loud. I know that I’ve told my kids to sit down in the cart or said that they “better” do what they are told, but the body language just scared me. At one point he shoved his daughter down in to the cart. The mom was there, but just stood quietly by. I fought the urge to say something less than kind to the dad. Instead I took a deep breath, and I mean a REALLY deep breath and decided that my scolding would only make life worse for the family when they left the store. Undoubtedly he would have felt embarrassed and would have blamed the kids for being so bad that they drew attention to themselves etc. And, I didn’t have ANY kids with me, so I would have appeared to be one of those people that just didn’t understand how parenting 4 children needed to be done. Again with the big breath. Every so often, I am caught by surprise at what people find acceptable. So, I guess I’m asking if any of you would have said anything, or if you would have done what I did, which was follow at a safe distance and offer a few prayers for peace in their family. It was a reminder that we are responsible for our actions and that people are watching. Plus, it reminded me of the fragile nature of children. They test the limits, but we are called to KINDLY, yet FIRMLY guide them. Reminders are good!
This week’s show is about reflecting on the good things and people that have come into each of our lives this year and what we are each thankful for. I share our family’s Thanksgiving tradition and lead you to www.mwrtoday.com a website for military members and their families in the Southwest region which is full of great weekly information. May you each have a blessed Thanksgiving!
Well, we’re in for it now! Little, 19 month-old, Luke-Xavier learned 2 things yesterday. First, he learned he can take his clothes off. Great! I must have dressed him 15 times yesterday. As a matter of fact, he was dressed completely inappropriately at Tristan’s soccer practice because when I scooped him up to leave, he was down to his diaper (thank goodness he hasn’t figured THAT out yet) so I grabbed the first item on his clean clothes pile and brought it with me. Poor little guy ended up in a onesie for evening soccer practice and got cold enough that I had to sit in the car with him. And second, he’s learned to climb out of his bed. So, all routine is out the window! Between Clay and I we put him to bed more than a dozen times last night. And forget putting him back down after his middle-of-the-night nursing session. UGH. Clay was curious as to HOW he was managing to get out of bed, so he set up the video camera to find out. I thought it was funny! He throws any items he may want ie; bottle, pillow, etc. out of the bed and then swings one leg up until he gets his heal over the side and then wiggles his way up and over, landing on his feet. So, here we go for the ninth time with a toddler too young to understand the value of a good night’s sleep or an afternoon nap who can get out of bed and be cranky because they aren’t getting enough sleep. I know the phase passes, but it’s never fun!
Today, I met with the great ladies from my Bible Study and we had an interesting conversation about parenting. We are all like-minded in many things and have found that we are in the minority when it comes to “no” parenting. We are finding that all around us, parents are putting children above themselves and family and saying “yes” to every whim and want. While children are a great blessing and should be cherished, it does them a great disservice to ALWAYS indulge their wants. BUT, it’s easier to just say “yes” than it is to actually parent. I find that at every age level parents are giving, giving, giving. Children are missing out on great character building lessons and life skills. Instant gratification is becoming the norm and kids are not able to look forward to earning a privilege or reward. One of the hardest parts about standing firm on this issue is that other parents bombard the “no” parent as being “mean” or “not caring”. I’ve personally had parents look at me with great pity and say things like, “if you didn’t have such a large family, ‘so-and-so’ would be able to attend ‘such-and-such’”. Here, they assume that it’s lack of monetary resources or me being spread too thin to indulge my child. This makes me want to tear wads of hair from my head and scream that it’s about the actual parenting and not the money! Geesh! Admittedly, it’s a fine balance. Kids DO need special time and special things…….sometimes. But I feel strongly that everyday events have become blown out of proportion and that the simple things in life are rapidly being lost. It takes a conscience effort to throw more time and love into each moment and to spend time TRULY parenting. I pray we all do the job we are called to do with great zeal and confidence. And I wish each of us luck in standing firm in the face of adversity. “NO” is a powerful tool.
I am SO tired! Since yesterday, I have felt like I could just fall on my face. Maddi’s been home, sick for a couple of days and I started to think that I might be getting sick, as well. But as the day’s worn on, I think that the explanation is that Clay is home. I mean that while he’s gone, I just stay in, “GO” mode and know that I have to get everything done and keep it all running and that when he gets home, I instinctively know that I have my partner here to fall back on and my body just shuts down. I feel bad for him, because then he ends up getting the worn-down, “I need to be taken-care-of”, me, instead of the “I can do it all and keep a smile on my face while doing it”, me.
I have found that no matter the amount of time that he is gone, there’s always a transition period when he comes back. I have to step back a little and let him jump in to be in charge and have his say on matters and co-parent instead of being completely in charge. This is SO hard! Any of you reading this, that are a military spouse, undoubtedly know what I mean. It’s such a balancing act. I think I fell off of my tight-rope at least once today.
Well, wish me luck and say a little prayer that I am NOT getting sick. I need to be 100% for the arrival of the kids and for the holiday!
Today is the observed Holiday for Veteran’s Day. However, my kids had Friday off instead of today. But only two of them actually made it to school today. Maddi stayed home throwing-up.
Tristan decided that if it was good enough for her, it was good enough for him. Mariah started to feel ill.
Arianna went to school with her hand all splinted up and I’m sure she enjoyed the attention. Max went to his 1/2 day of preschool with the cake that we didn’t eat because of the ER visit and celebrated being 5 with his classmates. He was very happy! I was home for most of the day cleaning up after the madness that my preschoolers exuded. Luke-Xavier was an artist with a red Sharpie on one of our walls.
I will Mr. Clean Eraser it tomorrow and hope it comes off. Though, I must admit, Mr. Clean rarely lets me down. He’s my Go To guy when it comes to dirt and marker. It’s kinda nice to have a cleaning guy just sitting in the cupboard waiting for you to ask him to come out! Then Gabi decided that brown sugar and crackers were her snack of choice and took them to her room and spread them everywhere!
Thank goodness for vacuums! Her pants were covered with a light dusting of brown sugar when I asked her why she took it to her room and threw it everywhere. Her answer, “I didn’t”. Hmmmm…..Gabs, your pants are covered in the stuff. She then hung her head and said, “oh”. I didn’t find out the why of it, but at least she got the message that I knew the truth. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
So, Clay returns from his 3 week work-up, tomorrow. Three weeks isn’t much in the grand scheme of it all, but it was certainly long enough. So, here’s to a good homecoming. We aren’t made to be solitary creatures.
Oh the Saturday we’ve had! Well, let’s start with soccer. Tristan did great! He actually made contact with the ball several times in this game. Other parents were cheering him on. So, he just needed a few months to warm up to the idea of going after the ball and focusing on the game. Whoo Hoo! There’s one more game in the season, so I’m looking forward to him being excited about it. After soccer we picked Mariah up from her volunteer time at the Nature Center and headed to a birthday party for a friend’s daughter. All the kids had a great time! The older kids helped set up and the younger kids got to enjoy the games, jumpy, food and fun! Anna and Mariah joined in the festivities and had a water-balloon fight. This eventually led them into the jumpy, where they collided and it looks like Arianna may have broken or at least, very hurt and bruised fingers. We will keep an eye on them through tonight and head to the ER in the morning, if necessary. She is very upset because tomorrow is the next play-off game for volleyball. We’ll see how she’s feeling in the morning. So, after a long and fun party in the park, we headed home to put kids down for a nap and I jumped in the shower and then made a mad dash for the store to get a bday cake for Max. He will be 5 tomorrow. The service at the Vons bakery was TERRIBLE! I won’t go into the whole thing, but, Man, do we have a loss of the sense of service these days, or what?! Anyway, I left, cake in hand and headed to, my friend, Casey’s for a Silpada show. We enjoyed some great wine and conversation as well as her jewelry collection. The kids called a couple of times while I was there and this is a sample of what was said, “you know that glass thing on the butcher block? It’s broken!” Then there was this, “So I heard your bedroom door close and lock and when I got it unlocked, Tristan was standing in front of the littler kids with a sword (foam sword from Legoland) saying, ‘Who’s with me?’ ” So, let’s see, Tristan was leading a revolution against the babysitters. Nice! What’s next? The whole 2nd grade?! So, I came home and cleaned up the rest of the floor and read the posted “List of Complaints”. Mariah had taken a poster board and asked each of the kids for their complaints for the night and listed and posted them for me to view when I returned. You’ve got to love the way my organization skills have rubbed off on these kids! Not too many months ago, Mariah led a protest, complete with signs and chant when the computers had been turned off due to abuse. These kids are going to be something big someday!
Well, that’s life in this crazy house of mine!