Monday, June 29, 2009

A dagger to my heart....

I was going through Garrett and Landon's closet the other day, gathering things for a garage sale when I came across my wedding veil that had been buried in the very back of the closet. Bella happened to be in the room with me at the time. I got a little sentimental as I opened the box and lifted the veil out.

After my "moment of reflection", we went into her and Cole's room to go through their closet. This is part of our conversation:

Me: So do you think you'll wear my wedding dress and veil when you get married?

Bella: I like your dress but I'm not sure about the veil. Won't I look so cute in your dress?

Me: Of course you will. You'll be a beautiful bride someday. But promise me that no matter where you're living at the time with your family, whether you're just 5 minutes away or you live halfway across the country, that we'll still talk on the phone every single day.

Bella: Mooooommmmyyyyy....come on.

Me: I realize this is a huge thing for me to ask of you and you're only 4 years old so you can't possibly understand how important this is to me but you'll understand someday. So just promise me that I can call you every single day, just to say hello.

Bella: Okay, you can call me........but I might not answer the phone.

Talk about a dagger to my heart!!! How is it that she still doesn't know how to wipe her own butt, yet she's already aware of how to screen phone calls?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The laundry resolution....

If you've read my blog long enough, you know how much I absolutely dread laundry. With 4 young kids, it quickly adds up. And, of course, now that we're in the midst of the summer heat, they go through outfits quickly. We have the morning outfit, then the swimsuit in the early afternoon, then another outfit upon changing out of the swimsuit (don't even ask!) and, last but not least, we have the jammies. (the picture above is JUST the kids' laundry....Tim and I have another 2 baskets of laundry upstairs that need to be brought down to the laundry room...it sucks to be me).

That equals a whole lotta laundry....I simply can't keep up with it. I've heard of the "do 1 load of laundry a day" concept but it hasn't worked for me because I usually get interrupted by the kids and I never get back to the laundry. So it just continues to pile up, leaving me with 6-8 loads of laundry to be done on a Saturday (it takes me HOURS to get everything washed, folded and put away).

However, today, I read an article on the site Family and Parenting (a website for moms and dads that gives tips related to parenting, budgeting, and everything else the average family faces), which addressed how to tackle laundry in a more effective manner, especially for large-sized families. It reminded me of the "kill 2 birds with 1 stone" saying.

Simply put, you wash the laundry as you usually do but instead of folding and hanging up the clothes or putting them in a dresser individually, you take all the clothes and group them into specific outfits. Essentially, you group a shirt, pants/shorts, underwear and socks (if needed) into one outfit and put them away as such, whether it be on a hanger or folded neatly together and put into a dresser (read the article for more specific details).

Not only are you getting all your laundry done but you're also saving yourself (and your spouse and kids) the hassle in the morning of spending time picking out clothes to coordinate into an outfit....and those of us with young children already know how time consuming that can be on a busy morning...."No, I want the WHITE tank top with the RED skirt and the BLACK tights"....and then you're running around like a chicken with your head cut off trying to locate the black tights that you're pretty sure you tossed out with the garbage last week because you couldn't stand the sight of them.

This has got to be one of the best family tips on how to tackle laundry, while also managing your time wisely, that I've ever heard about ....I can already envision the beautifully coordinated outfits hanging in each child's closet, just ready to be grabbed off the hanger and put on. And for me....wow, I might actually look semi-decent from now on, with my outfits already put together and ready to wear....I might even throw a pair of earrings and a necklace into a small ziploc bag and attach it to the hanger so I even have my jewelry ready to go, as well.

If I can pull this off, people just might start to think I finally have my act together....and I may actually start to believe it myself!

For more great parenting tips, visit Family and Parenting!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Repeat that again, PLEASE!

This morning, Cole had a mouthful of food and he walked up to me and said, "Daddy said we can't have sex". I said, "WHAT?". He repeated it again, "Daddy said we can't have sex". I asked, "Are you sure that's what he said....you had to have misunderstood him".

Cole swallowed his food and then said, "Mom, I said Daddy said we can't have SHREK...you know, the DVD". I said, with relief, "Oh, okay....now that makes sense...I thought you said....oh never mind".

Kinda reminds me of the time just a few weeks ago when we were all in the mini-van headed somewhere and out of the blue, Cole said, "Daddy, do you have erections?". I said, "What did you just say?". He repeated it again..."I want to know if Daddy has erections". Tim and I just looked at each, like "did he REALLY just say that?". I was wondering where on earth he had heard of erections....was it those 10-yr olds at the playground the other day? Was it some friends at preschool? Do I need to keep him sheltered from the entire world until I'm ready to discuss such heavy topics with him? My mind was wandering all over the place.

Cole repeated again, "Daddy, do you have erections??!!". There was an awkward silence....Tim and I scrambled for something to say. I said, "What exactly do you mean?" and he said, "I don't want us to get lost so I just want to know if Daddy has erections". Oh okay, he was asking about "directions" but obviously mispronouncing it. Thank the Lord on that one too because I was SO not ready to discuss that with him yet either.

Good God, the paint fumes are getting to me....have I mentioned that we're in the process of painting our house?? How on earth could Tim and I have thought this was a good idea?






Yes, we're painting the ceilings too...we're going to put up crown moulding so it should look really nice when it's done. Unfortunately, we're nowhere near done....and our house is in such a disarray...just look at my kitchen counter, covered with stuff from our china cabinet.

This is SO not fun. To anyone thinking about painting their home (with young children underfoot), I strongly urge you to check into a hotel and hire painters to take care of the dirty work. That's my deep thought for the day....

Thursday, June 25, 2009

When all else fails, bring out the hot glue gun....

So we're only...what, maybe 2 weeks into summer break and I've been racking my brain every single day as to what to do with the kids to keep them....hmmm, what's the right word?? Happy! Yes, that's the word....happy.

They love to do crafts but I'm not exactly what you'd call "crafty"...not even "creative"....talented maybe? Nope, definitely not. But in order to keep my kids happy, I swallowed my pride and walked into JoAnn's one day and proceeded to shop my little heart out, pulling things off the shelves left and right..."oh, this looks like fun"..."the kids would LOVE this".

Before I knew it, I had 3 bags full of crafts and supplies, along with project ideas. Oh, this was gonna be so much fun....right? RIGHT?! I had to keep convincing myself of that.

At my last MOPS meeting, we had decorated flip-flops and the kids LOVED the ones I made so that was our first craft project of the summer. I brought out the hot glue gun and we all oooh'd and awww'd over it. They were all very impressed with that. Hot glue?? So cool. I quickly forbid them from touching the glue gun.

"But, why, Mommy?", Cole asked. I replied, "Unless you want to end up with your eyes glued shut, I suggest you just stay away from it, okay?".

I waited until Garrett and Landon were down for their nap before beginning the flip-flop project because....well, toddlers + hot glue gun = one very stressed out Mommy. Enough said. I just knew it would be an emergency room visit waiting to happen. I've had to learn my lessons the hard way.

Cole and Bella each picked out a pair of flip flops and we began our project. They each got to pick out what they wanted on their flip flops and they placed the decorations in place, while I used the hot glue gun to fasten the decoration to the strap of the sandal.


"Mommy, the glue gun is SO cool", they both said. "Yes, it is pretty cool but it's very HOT....do not touch the glue!!". So what did they both do?? Yeah, they touched the hot glue. I just looked at them....and I said, "WHY....why do you always do the opposite of what I ask you to do? I tell you something's hot and to stay away and the first thing you do is reach out to touch it??". They both looked at me all wide-eyed....obviously they had no explanation for it.

Just for fun, I tried a little reverse psychology on them. When I put more hot glue on the strap of one of the flip flops, I said to them, "Oh, make sure you touch the glue this time...it's super hot". They both stared at me and said, "Huh?". My point has been proven. So if you ever hear me shouting to the kids, while at the playground, "Make sure you throw sand in each other's eyes...no playground visit is complete until someone gets a handful of sand in their eyes".....just remember, it's not bad parenting. It's reverse psychology, at its finest.

Anyway, back to the flip flops, we actually did have a lot of fun making them. They were both very creative with their flip flop designs. Here are the projects completed (I even made a pair!):

These are the ones Cole made - a boy and his passion for dinosaurs


These are just one pair that Bella made - her feet look awfully puffy...kinda looks like I pulled a Kate Gosselin by denying my daughter a drink of water all day long, eh?


Here's the pair I made, along with a pair she made....she was very concerned that our flowers didn't match exactly but I assured her that they looked similar enough. She said, "Mommy, purple and pink are NOT the same...in case you didn't know that". My daughter, the smart-ass....I guess it takes one to know one.


So our first summer craft project went off without a hitch. Yes, they did touch the hot glue but no one walked away with their fingers glued together or their eyes glued shut.......this time, anyway.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Are you green? Ecostore USA product Giveaway!

In just the last couple years, I've become more conscientious and choosy about the products I use in my home....everything from laundry detergent to baby shampoo. After reading several articles about the potentially harmful ingredients in some of the things we use in our home, it made me want to make some important changes.

So when I was offered the opportunity to try the eco-friendly, plant based products made by ecostore USA, of course, I was happy to give their products a try. The company began over 15 years ago by a couple in New Zealand who based the business out of their home....word spread about how wonderful their products were and it developed into what it is today.

Ecostore USA describes their products:

Our eco-friendly, plant-based household cleaning products are as effective as the leading supermarket brands, and our body and baby care ranges are gentle on your skin and are simply beautiful to use. Our pet care products let you spoil your pets with our nourishing, rich blends of ingredients and show them how much you care by reducing their exposure to unhealthy chemicals.

All of our products are made from plant- and mineral-based ingredients, free of toxic chemicals that bring people closer to nature with non-toxic, environmentally safe solutions that also help to reduce our carbon footprint.

I received the Baby Body Wash, Baby Shampoo, and Baby Moisturizer to try. Garrett, especially, has very sensitive skin so I've had to use hypoallergenic products on him since he was a young baby so these 3 products were perfect for us. The body wash and shampoo were gentle on all my children and provided the same cleansing ability of other soaps I've used on them in the past.

Also, the products are mild enough to be used on a daily basis...and let's face it, sometimes my kids need baths every day but I hesitated to only because their skin would become so dried out. But Ecostore USA's baby products weren't drying at all...in fact, the kids' skin felt more smooth and softer and (here's a huge PLUS) the products seemed to have a very calming effect on the kids. The moisturizer has a fresh, clean smell to it and it kept their skin soft, well into the next day (until their next bath!)

In addition to the baby products, Ecostore USA has a number of other things, including bath and body wash for adults, a variety of household cleaning products (laundry and dishwash detergent, a pure oxygen whitener as an alternative to bleach, etc) and even a line of products for our beloved family pets.

Ecostore USA has generously offered to give away a $25 gift certificate to be used towards the purchase any of their products!!!

Here's how to enter the giveaway:

Visit Ecostore USA's site and check out their products by clicking here and then come back here and tell me which product you'd like to try.

For extra entries:
** You must complete the first entry above for other entries to count. Please leave a SEPARATE COMMENT for each additional entry.

-- Become a fan of Ecostore USA on Facebook by clicking here
-- Post about this giveaway on your blog and link back to my blog
-- Add yourself to my follower list (or let me know you are already following)
-- Follow me on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway (leave the URL of your tweet)

This contest ends on Wednesday, July 1 at 9:00 pm PST. One winner will be chosen via Random.org. Please make sure you leave your e-mail address in your comment if it's not accessible on your blog profile.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Yes, it has come down to this....

I suppose I'll have to admit it at some point but I'm a fan of Miley Cyrus. No, not her personally but I'm a fan of her music. Wanna know how I know this? I've memorized every word to a couple of her newest songs "The Climb" and "Butterfly Fly Away".

I hear them in my sleep, I sing them in the shower, I hum them while I cook....the other day, as I was doing dishes and softly singing "The Climb", Bella asked, "Mommy, are you singing a Hannah Montana song?". Oh wow...."why, yes I am...I guess". I was a little embarrassed.

Shouldn't I be rocking it out to...I don't know...um, The Fray or Coldplay....or whoever's popular now? Seriously, I have no idea which bands are popular now because I never get to listen to the radio anymore...when we're in the mini-van, the kids are either watching a DVD (I have every line of Nemo and Flushed Away pretty much memorized). Or if I'm lucky enough, I may get to listen to my iPod but of course I've downloaded those two Miley Cyrus songs for Bella, after we saw the Hannah Montana movie recently, so we're always listening to those two songs if my iPod is on. Sometimes I try to sneak an Adam Ant song or something from New Edition on (yeah, I'm all over the place when it comes to music....) but then the kids quickly protest, "Awww, Mommy, we don't wanna listen to this.....".

Yesterday morning, as I was putting on my makeup and humming "Butterfly Fly Away", Bella said, "If you like Hannah Montana, Mommy, you really need to watch Camp Rock with me....you'll love it".

And I did....and I loved it. The rest of the day I was walking around singing, "Who's got what it takes to be my guy, what it takes to make me shine, what it takes to get me fired up....."

Yes, it has come down to this....I suppose I'll be watching High School Musical next and loving those songs too.

Monday, June 22, 2009

"There's fried zucchini, steamed zucchini, grilled zucchini...all kinds of zucchini"

Our little garden has really taken off in the last couple of weeks....we've got zucchini (galore), green beans, strawberries, cucumbers and tomatoes.

So I've had to get a little creative with the zucchini because we've had so much of it....yesterday the kids and I were out in the garden picking some of the veggies and I said, "Look, we've got 4 more zucchinis". The kids didn't look very thrilled as they said, "Why don't we have more strawberries?".

I tried to excite them about all the possible ways to prepare zucchini, as I did my best Bubba impersonation, "Aw, come on now....I know everything there is to know about zucchini....you got your fried zucchini, steamed zucchini, grilled zucchini...all kinds of zucchini...". Sure, it wasn't shrimp and they have no clue who the heck Bubba is but anyway....I did manage to get smiles out of them.

Here are a few pictures:

This here is "Junior Mama"....we ate "Mama" a couple weeks ago.



Here are Cole and Bella showing Junior Mama some love....(don't ask about the goggles Cole's wearing...he's going through a phase....)




Bella insisted I take this picture so we'd have a full-body comparison of how small Junior Mama is compared to her. She even put her bracelet around Junior Mama to show that she's bigger than the zucchini (don't ask about the bright pink rainboots Bella's wearing in 100 degree weather with no sign of any rain.....she's going through a phase....)



A couple days later, we picked "Big Papa" and his two friends "Straw" and "Berry". We've since noticed that Straw and Berry were the runts of the litter. We're starting to get bigger strawberries now (although Garrett keeps picking them off before they have a chance to turn red....he likes to carry them around with him everywhere he goes....he's going through a phase....)




Just the other day, we found "Little Papa", "Baby Mama" and "Bob". "Bob....why Bob?", I asked the kids. Cole said, "Why not Bob?". Okay.....that's an acceptable explanation I suppose (to a 4-yr old, anyway).



Yesterday, we picked a handful of green beans (forgot to take a picture of them). Sadly, the kids didn't give the green beans any names. We ate them tonight with dinner....while staring at a bunch of dead flowers in a vase that Bella picked from our neighbor's garden. Bella explained, "I picked them when they were alive but now they got dead....but they sure were pretty before they went and got dead".

On that note, we'll be having fried zucchini with dinner tonight....and perhaps some zucchini bread the next day.....

Saturday, June 20, 2009

10 signs that you've lost control of your kids....

1) You're at the park and one of your kids asks a total stranger to help her on the monkey bars. When the stranger looks over at you and then says to your sweet child, "shouldn't you ask HER to help you?"..... your child says, "Oh, HER? That's just my mom".

2) While grocery shopping, your kids walk by the grapes and pop a couple in their mouth. When they notice the produce guy is watching them, one child shrugs and says, "My mom told me to do it".

3) One of their favorite forms of entertainment is throwing various objects up into the ceiling fan....and they actually high-5 each other when one of them manages to make a dent in the wall.

4) You hear, "Look at all that poop....GROSS"....and they're nowhere near the bathroom.

5) You threaten them with, "If you all don't stop throwing food on the floor, I'm gonna send you to your rooms"....and they stop long enough to look at one another and break out into hysterical laughter.....and then they go back to throwing food on the floor.

6) You respectfully get down to your child's level to speak with him and he plugs his nose and says, "Whew....you need to brush your teeth! It smells like someone farted in your mouth!"

7) Out of frustration, you tell your unruly kids, "Okay, that's it....I'm calling Supernanny".....and they scream "AWESOME!" and hand you the phone.

8) While out with friends, you brag to them about how well you've been doing on your diet....and then not 5 minutes later one of your kids says, "Mommy, are you gonna have ice cream for dinner again tonight?"

9) You hear giggling coming from your bathroom while one little voice is saying, "here, put these in there".....and you walk into the bathroom just in time to see them flushing an entire box worth of tampons down the toilet....

10) When the cashier at the grocery store asks you "so did you find everything okay today?" as she's ringing up your order, your daughter happily answers for you with, "Yep, we did. My mom knows exactly where you keep the wine and the beer. The wine is for her and the beer is for my dad. They drink it after we're in bed every night"....and all you can do is smile politely at the cashier and say, "Well, it COULD be worse....we COULD be drinking in the middle of the day while they're awake, right?" You then make a mental note to yourself to remember to drive all the way across town to the other grocery store next time you need to replenish your wine and beer supply.....which just happens to be the next day.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Friday Photo Flashback....Skiing Disaster

It's time again for Friday Photo Flashback, hosted by Alicia at More Than Words. For this fun meme, we're supposed to dig out all those old photo albums (the pics that were taken before the days of digital cameras) and scan and share them....

So this week, I'm sharing a picture from my very first time skiing....January 10, 1988. I only remember the date because it was written on the back of the picture! The guy on the far left was my boyfriend at the time (that's me standing next to him)....he left for the military right around the time I went away to college that September. I was all lonely and sad....until I met my next boyfriend the following month in the dorms at college. Nothing like a hot new boyfriend to take the pain of a broken heart away....

Anyway, enough about my chaotic love life....these were my friends who I worked with at Sizzler. Yes, Sizzler....home of the all-you-can-eat shrimp. Even though it was my 2nd real job (after my disastrous 1st real job at Burger King....yeah, I had upgraded from BK to Sizzler....yay me), we had a blast! I actually looked forward to going to work every day.

So these friends convinced me to go skiing....I had never been and honestly the idea of it freaked me out. I was sure I'd get badly injured somehow or get caught in an avalanche (that's what happens in cartoons, you know). On the drive up, I thought I was gonna puke several times just from the anxiety of it all.

I totally panicked on the ski lift and then when we got to the top, I was like, "Okay, now what do I do?" and my friend said, "Um, you ski....down the hill....come on". I had to move or that chair was gonna hit me so I headed down the slope, starting off on my feet and ending up on my ass.

Tried again...same result. Tried a 3rd time...same result. I finally gave up and told my boyfriend and friends that I'd be at the ski lodge in the gift shop waiting for them.

I haven't been skiing since.....I don't do snow.

If you need a laugh today, check out this video! Remember for Chick Chat I had mentioned that I had to do like 20 takes for what was supposed to be a 3-minute video??? I put together a video with some of the takes...the kids have really enjoyed watching it. They laugh hysterically every time they watch it! And now that it's after the fact, I can laugh about it too. But man, you can just see how tired I was getting in this video...take after take after take.....

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sometimes they listen.....but mostly, they don't

Me: Hey, Tim, I think we need to get more paper towels when we go to Costco.
Tim: ......
Me: Did you hear me?
Tim: Yes
(5 minutes later) Tim: Hey sweetie, we need to get more paper towels when we go to Costco.
Me: OH MY GOD, I just said that to you not 5 minutes ago. You said you heard me.
Tim: Oh....I did??

=====================================

Cole: I don't want to wear this shirt.
Bella: Too damn bad.
Me: BELLA!! I never want to hear you say that again.
Bella: Well, Daddy just said it.
Me: How come you managed to hear that but you didn't hear me a few minutes ago when I asked you to bring your breakfast plate to the sink?
Bella: I don't know.
Me: Yeah, good answer....when all else fails, just say "I don't know", right?
Bella: Huh?

=============================

Tim (to me): I'm so tired of repeating things over and over again to the kids and they never seem to hear what I say....
Me: (continuing to stare out the window, ignoring him)
Tim: I said, I'm so tired of having to repeat things over and over to the kids and then never hear me....
Me: (still staring out the window....)
Tim: HELLO....anyone home?? Did you hear me?
Me: Have you noticed that the kids never seem to hear what we say to them, even after repeating it a thousand times?
Tim: That's what I was just saying....
Me: Yeah, it's frustrating, ISN'T IT????

=================================

Tim: (to the kids) I'm getting sick of you all not listening to me.
Cole: Yeah, I'm getting sick of it too.
Tim: Uh, I'm directing that mostly at YOU, Cole.
Cole: Huh? What did you say?
Me: The apple doesn't fall far from the tree, does it?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Chick Chat: My very first Vlog!


It's time for Chick Chat!! I was excited when Francesca from 3 Bay B Chicks asked me if I'd like to participate for this month's Chick Chat....then after I said "of course", I got really nervous because I've never done a Vlog before. It actually turned out to be a lot of fun (even after having done 20 takes, while being constantly interrupted by my kids...I'm not joking...one of these days I'll put together a Vlog of all the takes...it's actually quite comical).

Along with my fellow MoM's, Jen at Buried with Children and Cindy at Follow Our Journey, we were asked to talk about the joys and challenges associated with being a parent of multiples. Be sure to head on over to their blogs and check out their fun videos too!

Cole and Bella were kind enough to critique me on my performance. Apparently, I say "um" way too many times and I roll my eyes too much. Oh, and I talk too fast.

So....here's my first Vlog! (please don't throw any rotten apples at me)....

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

How to know when it's time to pack up and head home after a day at the amusement park....

Every summer, we get season passes to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom. Why? Because we're insane....but you already knew that. For some reason, taking the kids to a crowded amusement park seems much more fun than just staying home. We just love to invite chaos into our lives....it seems more exciting that way.

On Sunday, we finally got the kids dressed and ready to go, after a major emergency which took about 45 minutes to resolve. I had gotten a speck of something in my left eye and, for the life of me, I could NOT get it out. I kept asking Tim to look into my eye to check if he could see what it was...but then as he would touch my eye, I'd freak out and say "don't touch my actual eyeball...just LOOK, but don't TOUCH!!". He finally just said, "Fine....then you figure out what it is and how to get it out". I started sobbing....major emergency resolved. Nothing like a little drama to start off our day of fun-filled excitement.

Part of our routine when we go to crowded public places is to write the kids' names and our cell phone numbers in permanent marker somewhere on their bodies. But usually between sunscreen and sweating, the marker wears off (so much for PERMANENT marker). So this time, I wrote the info on little notecards and stuffed them into each of the kids' back pockets of their jeans. I also dressed all the kids in bright red shirts and blue jeans...so much easier to keep an eye on them when they're all dressed alike. After they're dressed and ready to go, I took a picture of each of them with the camera on my cell phone. God forbid, one of them gets lost...it's an easy way to show the security people exactly what each of the kids look like and what they were wearing. I could say, "Um....he's got blonde hair, blue eyes and he was wearing a red shirt". Great....I pretty much just described most of the 2-yr olds in the park. But this way, I can just shove my cell phone in front of the face of the security guy, while sobbing "how can I be so irresponsible to lose track of my baby...."

We got to the amusement park and everyone was excited and ready to start the day. Because we got there a little later than we expected, we started off by eating lunch since the kids were already whining about how hungry they were.


Yeah, they look real hungry, right? They each took a bite out of their meal and then decided that climbing the pole surrounding the eating area was much more entertaining.

We went to the shark exhibit, where all the kids ooooh'd and ahhhh'd over the huge sharks and stingrays. Every fish that Garrett would see, he'd point and scream "Nemo.....Dori". Here they are, peering into the shark tank....I'm not sure why Garrett's walking away with a freaked out look on his face. I was only joking about the shark who was staring at him and saying, "Come here, you tasty little morsel...I shall eat you for my afternoon snack".


Then we entered Thomas town, where Thomas and all his train friends live. The kids met Sir Topham Hat....again....for the 5th time. I'm not even sure if the poor guy could see because Bella kept waving at him and he was just standing there, staring into space. Bella said, "I think he fell asleep standing up". Always observant, isn't she?


We rode Thomas the train...and saw all his friends in Tidmouth Shed...



Landon and Garrett were brave enough to ride Harold the Helicopter and Bertie Bus, although Tim reported after the Bertie Bus ride that he thought Landon was gonna puke up part of the $30 lunch.

Then we headed to the walrus exhibit, where the kids were more excited about the walrus' private parts than they were about the actual walrus himself. Cole loudly said, "Bella, look....I see his pee-pee" to which she replied, "No, that's his butt hole". Lovely....now everyone was staring at us instead of at the walrus.

We moved on to the stingray exhibit, where the kids practically fell into the water hole trying to pet the stingrays. They tried to get me to touch one but I declined. Stingrays are just another example of what I describe as God using leftover parts from other creatures to just create a random animal, who usually just ends up being completely hideous.

Of course, no amusement park visit is complete without a huge bucket of blue cotton candy. We splurged and let them go hog wild....here they are crashing after their sugar high....


The butterfly house is always a huge hit....until the butterflies get too close to the kids and then it's massive panic as they run away from the unsuspecting butterfly while screaming as if they're being chased down by Freddie Kruger.



After this, we went over and watched the camels. Bella argued with me that they are not "camels", they are "camos".

We saw a few more exhibits, including the snakes which made me want to wretch. Then we decided to end our trip with a visit to the penguin exhibit. The penguins have to be one of my favorite animals to watch. They have such funny little personalities, kinda like my kids.



Finally, Garrett insisted on climbing into the tank to go swimming with the penguins. When one of the kids has a tantrum to end all tantrums (oh, the video was actually the last part of the tantrum...he had gone on for a good 5 minutes before I started the video!), that's how you know it's time to pack up and head home after a day at the amusement park....

Monday, June 15, 2009

How to know when it's time for a haircut and a garage sale....

When THIS is the best you can do with your child's hair, it's time for a haircut....


When you run out of room on the ceiling of your garage to hang any more riding equipment, it's time to have a garage sale....




I'm just sayin.......

(stay tuned for tomorrow's post...."How to know when it's time to pack up and head home after a day at the amusement park")

Friday, June 12, 2009

Friday Photo Flashback....

Alicia at More Than Words is hosting this fun weekly meme! The idea is to dig out those old photo albums (before the days of digital cameras!!) and find a picture to scan and share.....

So I stumbled my way through our coat closet, where I was pretty sure I had stuffed away all my old photo albums. Sure enough, there they were....all crammed into a box...covered in dust. Before I knew it, I was caught up in looking at all these old pictures....reminiscing of days gone by.

This is the picture that I decided to share this week....


Yeah, it's a silly picture but everytime I see it, it brings back such fun memories of one of the best experiences of my life. Two words = College....Dorms

This was back in September 1988 (the pic is kinda faded) and it was my first year in college, away from home. I lived in one of the dorms on campus.....a co-ed dorm, I might add. Although I lived on the 2nd floor, which was the only floor that was all women and we referred to it as "The Nunnery", though we were all a far cry from how nuns should behave.

On the night this particular picture was taken (I'm in the middle....my friend Kristine is on the left and my friend Jen is on the right), it was the first week of college....the first time all of us had lived away from home. We were all hanging out in one of our rooms one night when two of our guy friends busted into the room and convinced us to go downstairs to the pool. At least, I think that's what happened....maybe they grabbed us and carried us down there....my memory is somewhat foggy. I might have had a little bit of alcohol in my system that night.

Anyway, next thing I know they threw the 3 of us into the pool....with our clothes on, completely unexpected. After we went back up to our rooms, I remember someone taking this picture....the 3 of us were freezing but we could not stop laughing. Welcome to college....welcome to life in the dorms....it was seriously one of the best times of my life.

One of my blogging buddies, Onna at Toddler Craft, will be hosting a super fun art contest with all kinds of prizes! Go visit her blog for details....

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Stop by my E-Bay auction today....Buy 2 kids and get 2 more for free!

Yesterday was rough. I won't sugar coat it. It was ugly. All the kids seemed to wake up on the wrong side of the bed in the morning. By 8:04 am, they were all in meltdown mode....as Tim walked out the door heading to work with a smile so bright on his face, I almost felt tempted to throw a frying pan at his head. He said, "Bye sweetie, hope you have a nice day" and then he ran so fast to his car that he left skidmarks on the front porch. The asphalt was still smoking as he peeled out of the driveway....

At 8:56 am, Bella kept asking me about a pinata. "Mommy, can we see pinata today?".....WTH? I told her "NO, we are NOT going to Target today so forget any pinatas". She stuck her bottom lip out and started to cry, as she was very frustrated and screamed at me, "No, not THAT pinata...the other one". Again, I had no clue what she was talking about and told her as much. She folded her arms against her chest and screamed, "You just never understand". Oh, the drama of it all...

Then at 9:03 am, there was a knock on the door and it was Garrett and Landon's IE specialist, Kenyatta, coming to do her weekly session with the boys. Bella said, "See, that's pinata". I repeated, "No, it's Ken-ya-tta....not pinata". She shrugged her shoulders and said, "Yeah, that's what I was saying....". I didn't argue with her....I know how to pick my battles.

At 10:03 am, Kenyatta was wrapping up her individual session with Landon and told me how wonderful it was to have that one-on-one time with him. Yeah, I'll bet it was really nice....too bad I'll never get to experience it. Guilt....party of one....your table is now ready.

At 10:36 am, if I had to listen to another child screaming and crying, I knew I'd simply lose my mind (wait....I hadn't already lost it??) So I took them all out back. They fought over who was going to get to sit on the swing on the far left. It just had to be the swing on the far left. For crying out loud, the swing on the left is far better than the swing in the middle....everyone knows that. Then they discovered a dead mouse in the grass. They poked it with sticks to make sure it was really dead. Cole said, "Hey Bella, poke it's eyes out". Awww, my little nature lover....so gentle and kind.

At 10:52 am, I had had enough and said, "Okay, let's go out front and ride bikes"....and they all cheered and ran back through the house into the garage, leaving dirty footprints in their tracks. Thank God I never bothered to clean up the applesauce they spilled all over the kitchen floor at breakfast time....and the smashed pieces of American cheese....and the sticky maple syrup....(and let me just mention here that the maple syrup was from Monday's breakfast).

At 10:56 am, the kids were happily riding their bikes in the cul-de-sac, laughing loudly. At 10:58 am, those laughs quickly turned to blood-curdling shrieks as Garrett freaked out because Bella was trying to push him in the wagon, Landon wanted to ride the tractor that Cole was on and Cole refused to get off the tractor.....I frowned as I noticed that the neighbors who had been outside working on their yards were going into their homes, one right after the other....retreating inside to their nice, quiet, immaculate homes.

At 11:26 am, Garrett started playing in the gutter that was filled with dirty, disgusting worm-infested water. Cole and Bella were fighting over a ball and Landon was sitting in the driveway crying...for no reason that I could see, other than he had probably just realized that God, indeed, had not made a mistake in sending him to the wrong family. I imagined God was peering down on him saying, "You poor boy....I can't possibly send every single child in the world to Brad and Angelina. These are the cards you were dealt, boy...just suck it up".

At 11:57 am, their lunch was ready....a healthy, nutritious lunch of Kraft mac-n-cheese and sliced apples. The phone rang and I answered it. Foolish me....thinking just because the kids were sitting down and eating lunch that I'd actually be able to have a phone conversation. All the kids were suddenly glued to my side, screaming and whining about this and that. I'm not even sure who was calling, as I yelled into the phone, "Sorry, I can't talk now....but you can probably reach me later tonight after I'm checked into the psych ward". As I hung up, I prayed to God that it wasn't the realtor I had e-mailed earlier asking about a listing she had with SIX bedrooms and FOUR bathrooms....along with a secret treehouse built in the backyard by the mother who used to live there before she, too, went insane.

At 12:18 pm, 3 of the kids were chasing each other around the house as I was attempting to clean the dishes from lunch. Garrett had no diaper on, Landon had permanent black marker drawn all over his face, Cole was running after both of them pretending to be a monster....the little ones were screaming at the top of their lungs. Bella was in the bathroom yelling, "Mommy, I'm done pooping....you can come wipe by butt now". I walked in and said to her, "You don't know how much I've been looking forward to this all morning long....it's a complete honor for me to be able to wipe your butt". I don't think she knew what to make of that so she just said, "Um....you're welcome??" What's the beauty of sarcasm if it's always completely misunderstood?

At 12:22 pm, one of my neighbors knocked on my door to ask me if everything was okay. I asked, "Define exactly what you mean by 'okay'?" He smiled sympathetically. I tried my best not to cry. I assured him that everything was fine....the kids were just having an "off" day. He just stared at me, as if he were thinking, "Dude, they're like this EVERY SINGLE DAY....this is not just an "off" day....this is reality....face the music, lady". As he walked away, I'm pretty sure I heard him mumbling something like, "someone needs to call Supernanny".

At 12:24 pm, I looked out the window and noticed the neighbor's windows were all now closed....tightly, with the blinds down. I peered out the windows on the other side of our home and I noticed that that neighbor had her windows opened. I instantly felt bad....because she's a 3rd grade teacher and she was probably trying to enjoy the beginning of her summer break. Silly, crazy neighbor lady....my kids are going to completely ruin any hope you had of hearing the beautiful birds chirping outside your window...and for that, I'm truly sorry.

At 12:37 pm, after their diapers were changed, I took Garrett and Landon upstairs for their nap. I stayed in the room with them long enough to assure myself that they were too tired to leave their beds. I started to quietly creep out of their room when it happened....I stepped on that one damn squeaky floorboard and 2 little pairs of eyes flew open. CRAP!! And I was so close to freedom....

At 12: 58 pm, Cole and Bella started fighting over the scotch tape. "I had it first"...."No, I had it first"...and then the fists started flying and the screams escalated. I said, through gritted teeth, "Unless you two want to spend the rest of the day scrubbing the kitchen floor and all 3 toilets in this house, you'd better work this out.....and quietly, please". Their little eyes stared back at me, all wide and frightened. "We're sorry, Mommy....we'll be quiet". I brought my face closer to their little faces and practically spit on them as I said, "Oh, you better be....or I will personally stick my hands down each of your throats and rip your vocal cords out...do you understand me??"

At 1:48 pm, Landon woke up from his nap crying....WTH....an hour nap??? No, this is SO not fair. As I hurried towards the stairs to get him before he woke up Garrett, I stepped on this lovely little kitchen utensil from the kids' pretend kitchen...




Oh yes, right foot....full pressure....I burst into tears. I screamed, "Dammit, how many times have I told you all not to leave toys sitting out on the floor like this?!". Bella said, "Mommy, you said a bad word" and Cole said, "Well, YOU never clean the floor either".

And now Garrett was awake, crying right along with Landon. It was only 1:51 pm. ONLY 1:51 pm!!! The day was only HALF over. I grabbed a quarter from our coin jar and flipped it....it landed on HEADS. Heads meant "just deal with it....Tim will be home in 4 more hours". That was very fortunate for my kids....because TAILS was "stick my head in the oven until it explodes".

It's going to be a very long summer....

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

"Your opinion does count, sweetie....it's just wrong".

I had just read the latest on the whole Jon and Kate, Plus 8 marital affair fiasco and I was sharing my opinion on the subject with Tim.

He listened for about 10 seconds but then he just couldn't help himself. He had to cut me off completely and take the opportunity to share his thoughts on the subject, which were typical of any man..."well, she kinda deserves what she's getting since she's such a bitch to him".

I said, "So in that whole year that I was suffering from a severe case of PPD and I qualified as a 100% stark raving mad lunatic, it would have been completely excusable if you had cheated on me??" He shook his head and said, "That's different...." and the whole argument ensued from there on. I finally just shut down and deemed the conversation over with.

I can't talk to him about anything without him arguing with me. He loves talking about current events and other things that are important to him so I try to keep up with the latest in the news (as much as I can with 4 rugrats underfoot). But the minute I open my mouth on a subject, 9 times out of 10, he'll start shaking his head....I can almost see steam coming out of his ears.

Oh, and the few times I even dared to venture into a conversation about politics with him....well, let's just say, I almost threw him out of the house. He's a Rush Limbaugh fanatic and listens to talk radio all. the. time. So I guess that makes him an expert on all things political.

So back to the conversation about Jon and Kate....after I shut down and stopped talking to him, he said, "Oh, come on....what?!". I just shook my head. He kept egging me on..."come on, we can keep talking about it...". I said, "I can't talk to you about anything without it turning into an argument. I'm just wanting to have a simple conversation....you know how that goes, don't you? I share my opinion, you share your opinion and we continue the conversation, while being respectful of each other's thoughts on the subject?" He replied, "I thought that's what we were doing...".

I shrugged my shoulders and said, "No....we were having a conversation until you decided my opinion was lame and then you argued with me about why your opinion is right....it can't just be a simple sharing of my thoughts with you, it has to get turned into a heated argument. I just wish my opinion counted sometimes, ya know?"

He smiled at me and said, "Your opinion does count, sweetie....it's just wrong".

Good to know, hubby....very good to know.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Hey, all you avid readers out there...Book Giveaway by Double Up Books

As a mother of multiples, friends who are expecting twins often ask me for advice on what life will be like with multiples (as if they actually expect that I know what I'm doing??) My answer is always, "Your life will be more manageable if you keep the twins on a strict schedule....oh, and a wonderful sense of humor will go a long way as well....you must NEVER EVER lose your ability to laugh at the little things".

I'm nice enough to leave out the part about how you'll need your sense of humor when you're cleaning puke off the carpet for the 4th time in 1 hour (and just as you're done cleaning, the other twin will start puking) or when you've been awake for 24 hours straight with a baby who has colic (and then as soon as you finally get that baby calmed down enough to sleep, the other colicky baby starts screaming, waking up the calm baby....and now you have TWO unhappy, colicky babies).

After Cole and Bella were born, one of my favorite books was "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" written by Dr Marc Weissbluth. Everything I needed to know about sleep issues was in that book. I only felt brave enough to try the CIO (cry-it-out) method with Cole and Bella after reading his book, which convinced me that rocking them to sleep every single night was only doing them a disservice in the long run (and that they wouldn't turn into raging psychopaths 20 years from now because I let them CIO for a few nights).

This week, Dr Weissbluth's book "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Twins: A Step-by-Step Program for Sleep-training Your Multiples" is coming out!! While I loved the first series of this book, I did find myself wishing that he would have written a book completely dedicated to dealing with sleep issues pertaining to twins. Who would've known 4 years later, I'd still be dealing with sleep issues....Garrett and Landon are still transitioning from cribs to toddler beds and now Cole and Bella have been joining us in bed. Needless to say, I'm thrilled that Dr Weissbluth has written this new book!!

Dr Weissbluth's book is the ONLY book completely dedicated to the unique sleep challenges that twins (and high order multiples) may experience. In this book, parents will learn how to implement Dr Weissbluth's step-by-step sleep training program, including how to synchronize your twins' sleep schedule and how to know when it's best for your twins to sleep together or apart.

Another one of my all-time favorite series of books is "Chicken Soup for the Soul". I cannot get enough of these feel-good stories, which often move me to tears and make me that much more grateful for the blessings I have in my life.

For a long time, I had wished that Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, the authors of the series, would dedicate a Chicken Soup book solely about multiples. So imagine how excited I was when I was in the bookstore one day just recently, perusing through the Chicken Soup for the Soul books when I came across "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Twins and More" (co-authored by Susan Heim, a mother of twins herself). I must have read the book in merely a couple hours...I laughed, I cried, then I laughed some more, because I could relate to so many of the stories in the book. What I love is that the book focuses mostly on the positive aspects of having multiples....the stories are filled with joy, excitement and inspiration. I felt empowered after reading it.

If you're a mom of multiples (or even if you know someone who has multiples), both of these books are MUST-READS, in my opinion. They are both filled with a wealth of information and encouragement that all moms need.

Shelby Tutty, founder of Double Up Books and a mom of twins herself, has generously offered one of these books for a giveaway (winner has the choice of which of the 2 books he/she'd like to receive). Shelby, a professional book seller, is proud to have the ONLY bookstore specializing in books for and about multiples. Double Up Books will be celebrating their 2nd year anniversary in September 2009 and they pride themselves on their fast shipping and excellent customer service. The best thing about Double Up Books is that they have every book on multiples available that you can imagine....no need to go searching high and low for the perfect book on twins anymore! It's all right there in one place!

So do you want a chance to win one of these books??!! Here's how to enter the giveaway:

Visit Double Up Books and then come back here and leave me a comment on which book (or books) would be on your "must read" list.

For extra entries:
** You must complete the first entry above for other entries to count. Please leave a separate comment for each additional entry.

-- Leave a comment sharing any parenting tip(s) you have regarding children's sleep issues
-- Post about this giveaway on your blog and link back to my blog
-- Add yourself to my follower list (or let me know you are already following)
-- Follow me on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway (leave the URL of your tweet)
-- Add my blog to your blogroll (or if it's already on your blogroll, let me know)

This contest ends on Tuesday, June 16 at 12:00 am PST. One winner will be chosen via Random.org and he/she will have a choice between "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Twins and More" or "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Twins" (to be sent by Double Up Books). Please leave your e-mail in your comment if it is not listed on your profile.

Oh and today, I'm the featured blogger at the Multiples and More Network Blog! How awesome is the timing, right?! I got a whole twin theme going on here today. I'd love it if you'd stop by and read my interview over there!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sunday Regurgitation - "10 reasons my kids will need therapy when they're older"

One of my bloggy buddies, Andrea from Creative Junkie, came up with the idea of Sunday Regurgitation and I loved it so much that I "borrowed" it.....again.....for the 5th time. The whole idea is to go back and find an old post and re-post it (or for lack of better words, in my case, I'm just too lazy to come up with something entertaining today....). If you need a good laugh, definitely go check her blog out. I promise she will turn your frown upside down.

So here's an oldie, but goodie.....

"10 Reasons My Kids Will Need Therapy When They're Older"

1) They've had to learn their lessons the hard way. They have been begging me for a new pet (even though we've had the same cat since before they were born....apparently, she doesn't count as a pet). Cat or dog? Doesn't matter as long as it's alive with fur. I keep telling them we have a no-pet rule until they can all wipe their own butts (sufficiently enough to not leave skid marks, thank you very much). The other day, after listening to them talk yet again about wanting a pet, I said, "Okay, guys....I'll let you in on a secret. I got you a new cat but he can't come home with us for a few more days. Wanna see his picture?". Of course, they did. So I showed them this picture....

After looking at their stunned faces, I said, "What's the matter? Isn't he adorable? Look at his blazing green eyes...they seem to glow, don't they? Won't he be nice to wake up to in the middle of the night? You won't even need a nightlight when Satan comes to live with us.....oh, I didn't tell you his name is Satan? Silly me". Cole said, "Mommy, I don't want a pet anymore". It's a pity that they have to learn lessons the hard way but it sure nipped the "we want a pet" conversations in the bud...they may fight a good battle, but Mommy always wins the war.

2) Mommy and Daddy's warped sense of humor. Last Saturday, we took the kids to the park and Bella proudly said to Tim, "Daddy, wanna watch me do the pole?" (referring to the pole that kids can slide down on from the climbing structure). He started laughing, then I started laughing. She looked confused and said, "what's so funny?". Oh, nothing...it's just that our minds are always in the gutter. I joked to him, "Hopefully, that's not a foreshadowing of what's to come in her future but, if it is, at least she'll be able to put herself through college".

3) I vacillate between "helicopter parenting" and "just-walk-it-off parenting". One minute I'm standing right next to them, holding their hands as they go up the climbing structure at the playground (the same one they've climbed up a million times already)....then the next minute, I watch from afar as they trip over a step and fall, and then yell out to them, "Just walk it off". Nothing like a little confusion to keep the kids on their toes.

4) I have given them each bizarre nicknames, which will stick with them until I go to my grave. Peanut (or just Nutty), Dude-Z Dog (or just Dog), Evil (or just E) and Chicken (or just Chickie). It's sick, I know. Even their nicknames have nicknames. And I have no shame....I see nothing wrong with being in a room full of people and calling out to my kids, "Hey, Nutty and Dog....go grab Chickie and Evil...it's time to go".

5) I plan on chaperoning each of them to the prom. That should kill any plans they might have had for engaging in underage drinking and sexual activities. Enough said.

6) Mommy and Daddy are guilty of dropping the "F-bomb" when we think little ears aren't listening. But you know they're always listening, ever present to point out that Mommy and Daddy said a bad word, which makes God sad. But then I quickly follow that up with, "Yes, that may be true but it makes God even sadder when children bring attention to their parent's faults."

7) They will eventually figure out that all the white lies I've told them as children are just plain BS. They'll figure out that every time they pick their noses, angels don't really cry and that watching too much tv does not, in fact, cause them to have explosive and painful gas, and there is no such thing as sugar bugs who poop all over their teeth when they forget to brush twice a day. I'll have the last laugh, though, when I overhear them telling their kids the same crap.

8) "Do as I say, not as I do" is my parenting motto. I can eat candy right before dinner, leave my dirty clothes on the floor, and wear sandals in 40 degree weather. My kids, however, are not permitted the same privileges. When they say, "But, Mommy, you do it"....I smile and say, "Yes, but Mommy always says...repeat it with me....do as I say, not as I do".

9) When my kids want to discuss sensitive topics with me, I stress about it way more than they do. Take, for instance, the time Cole asked me why one of his preschool buddies has two moms. I just stared at him for a few seconds and said, "ummmm, hmmmm, yeah....about that....ummmm...can I get back to you on that?" Thank the Lord for the internet. I spent half the afternoon reading articles online after googling "how to talk to your preschooler about same-sex relationships". And then I wrote a script of what I wanted to say and consulted my notes the whole way through the conversation, as beads of sweat dripped from off my forehead. After "the talk", he shrugged his shoulders and said, "oh, okay", as if he was already trying to think of what he should color on the piece of paper laying in front of him rather than focusing on anything I was saying. In the future, I'll leave these heavy conversations for Tim to handle.

10) My sarcasm is misunderstood sometimes. I often forget that little kids do not have the same sense of humor or the knack for sarcasm that we adults have. Like the time, Bella complained about having to eat veggies with her dinner every night. She said, "Well, Kaitlin said her mom never makes her eat veggies" and I replied, "Then go move in with Kaitlin and her mom". Bella smiled and said, "Cool". I thought nothing of it until Kaitlin's mom greeted me the next day with, "So I hear Bella is moving in with us because I don't make my kid eat her vegetables?". I stumbled my way through that conversation as well, with "um, yeah...about that...."

Friday, June 5, 2009

Is it possible to host a fabulous party but let someone else do all the work? You bet!!

I'll just say it right off the bat....here's the deal. I have four kids but I only have to remember two birthdates. How awesome is that?! Ah, yes, the convenience of having two sets of twins.

But the flip side to that is that I feel this huge pressure to throw a fabulous birthday party for my kids (even if it is only twice a year), just like any other parent does. I've always hosted my kids' birthday parties at our home and every single year, I go all out. At the last minute, I'm cranking out homemade appetizers, finger foods, kid-friendly snacks, homemade cold cut trays....the list goes on. I'm scrambling to come up with fun things for the kids to do at the party...pin the tail on the donkey, pinatas, craft tables, bounce houses. And all that involves a great amount of time on my part, which I don't have a lot of.

Why do I do this to myself?! Because I'm insane? Perhaps. But I just want to be able to create a wonderful birthday party experience for each of my kids...something they will always remember. And something that our friends and family will enjoy.

But what if it doesn't have to be this much work to throw "the party of the year"? What if you could host an extraordinary party with minimal effort on your part? You know...have someone do all the work for you but you get all the credit??

Believe it or not, it IS possible. Inflatable Adventures is a busy parent's dream come true! If you need help planning the perfect party, they are the ones to go to. Or even if you just need an inflatable bounce house and some carnival games for your party, they can provide that too. They will come to your home (or wherever you're hosting your party) and set everything up for you....make sure the equipment is clean, functional and ready to use immediately....and then at the end of your party, they will come back and pick everything up.

If you need tables and chairs for your guests, no worries....If you need a popcorn or cotton candy machine, no worries. They have something for every age....from inflatable jumpers (with all the works), water activities and carnival games for the little ones...to video arcade games, extreme sports games and photo booths for the teenagers. Can't seem to think of a fun party theme?? Don't worry. Inflatable Adventures has it ALL!

No matter where you're located in California, Inflatable Adventures has 3 main offices to serve you:

They also serve Reno and Las Vegas.

Just imagine being able to truly enjoy your child's birthday party (or whatever event you're hosting), knowing all the little details are taken care of, instead of having to be behind the scenes making sure everything is going according to plan and missing out on all the fun. Why overwhelm yourself when you don't have to? This definitely qualifies as an "Oprah a-ha moment".

So, tell me....what do you find to be the most stressful part of planning an event?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Rock star + Stage fright = Fame is never gonna happen

Yesterday was Cole and Bella's preschool graduation. As I watched the kids walk into the classroom for their little ceremony, I started thinking back to their first day of preschool last August. Has it really been a year already? Wasn't it just yesterday that when I dropped them off at school for the first day, my brain had to convince my heart that they would be fine, even though they were both sobbing? Each time I tried to walk out of the classroom and they would cry for me, I felt like I was throwing them to the wolves. So I kept going back and letting them cling to me, which apparently is the worst thing a parent can do. Although I think I've done much worse things than that over the last 4 years....trust me on that.

Anyway, I had a lump in my throat as they marched into the classroom in their adorable caps and gowns. I think my heart melted into a huge puddle right there. Some of the other moms were already crying and dabbing their tears away with wrinkled-up tissues. I looked back at Tim with tears in my own eyes and he just rolled his eyes and said, "Oh come on...it's JUST preschool". I gave him the evil eye and said, "This is a very emotional moment....it's a big deal! Our babies are no longer preschoolers....they're off to elementary school next year....our babies are growing up", as my chin started to quiver. He just continued rolling his eyes everytime another mom would start bawling her eyes out. I think even some of the dads has tears in their eyes. But not my lesser-than-sentimental husband, obviously.

So after they all got to their places, the teacher instructed them to start singing a song that they had been practicing. I had been treated to hearing this song repeatedly at bedtime for the last couple of weeks so I was eager to hear Cole and Bella sing it with their classmates. But....and this is a huge BUT....performing in front of Mommy in the privacy of her own bedroom is one thing....performing with her classmates in front of 50 parents and grandparents while dozens of camera flashes are going off is a whole 'nother thing. Bella's eyes got huge, her face turned bright red and her chin started to quiver (she's so much like me it's astounding) .....


And then....oh, no please don't let her start sobbing...please, God?? But the tears fell anyway.....


If that wasn't bad enough, she reached her arms out to me and while crying, in between heaving breaths, she'd sob, "Moooommmmyyyy, I want yoouuuu". Of course, none of the other kids were crying. Not even Cole, who was completely oblivious to her emotional meltdown. Other parents were starting to turn to look at me, smiling sympathetically....but I just knew they were all thinking, "Thank God that's not MY child".


Then after the singing, she calmed down, while the teacher called each of the children up to get their "diploma". As she called each child up, she announced to the parents what the child had said he/she wanted to be when grown up. Cole was happy to run up to the front to get his diploma. The teacher said, "And Cole would like to be a firefighter when he grows up"...and Tim and I just looked at each other completely dumbfounded. Huh? A firefighter? Where did that come from? Then we heard the teacher quickly follow that up with, "But for right now he's just going to be a train driver". Oh, okay....that sounds more like Cole.


Then it was Bella's turn to be called up. She had been calm while all the other children had been called up. But when she heard her name, the tears started flowing again. She walked up to the teacher and got her diploma but refused to show her face to the applauding audience. Miss Denise said, "Bella would like to be Hannah Montana when she grows up". I tried to get a picture of Bella smiling while holding her diploma....nope, not gonna happen.


After the ceremony, I was hoping to get a picture of both of my little graduates together, smiling beautifully while holding their diplomas. This is what I got....


Now Cole was in tears because his friend Carson got balloons from his grandparents as a graduation gift and he didn't. Who knew a lack of a huge balloon bouquet on preschool graduation day could mean the end of the world to a 4 year old? ME! That's who...I should've known. See, just add this to the list of one of the worst things I have done in the last 4 years.

I said to Bella, "If you wanna be like Hannah Montana when you grow up, what are we gonna do about your stage fright?". She said, "I was just a LITTLE scared, that's all....and I can just put on a wig like Hannah Montana and then people won't know it's me". I processed this in my head for a minute and thought that maybe I don't have to kiss my dream of having her buy me a vacation home in the Caribbean and in Greece when she becomes famous goodbye afterall.

Then I wanted to get a picture of them with their teacher, Miss Denise, who has been fabulous!! Every child should be so blessed to have a preschool teacher like her. She convinced Bella to at least make an effort at a smile. Cole, however, was still reeling from the fact that his parents are completely clueless on graduation gift etiquette.


We wanted a picture of them with their teacher's aide, Mr Pok. By now, Bella was all smiles (probably because the classroom was practically empty now and no one was watching her). Cole had just gotten done saying, "So will you guys get me some balloons too, like Carson?".


So that was preschool graduation, in a nutshell. The preschool days are over for them...my babies are off to kindergarten in the fall. Be still my beating heart. The time has gone by so quickly....too quickly. If I had one wish, it would definitely be to slow the hands of time. Let them be little for just awhile longer.

But God was thoughtful enough to give me another set of twins to experience this with because He must know what a huge sap I am and how hard it is for me to accept change. As we were leaving, one of the teacher's aides from the other class came over to give Cole and Bella a hug, and she said to us, "I'm so sad that I won't be seeing you all again". I smiled and said, "Oh no, have you forgotten.....we've got another set coming through in a couple of years...it's not over yet by a long shot". I'm not sure if she smiled or if she winced a little....but I was smiling for sure.

I figure that if the children are alive when my husband gets home at the end of the day, I've done my job.

----Roseanne Barr



 
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