Thursday, October 27, 2011

So It Begins

Although I love my rain boots, and think my boots lined up neatly with my little boys' boots is the cutest site (neatly is the key word there), I am not so excited by what this site symbolizes: the end of warm, dry weather and the beginning of cold, wet weather. Everyday activities are more difficult in the rain or snow. sigh...

Incidentally, I wrote this post a few days ago and didn't put it up, and now it is already outdated! This picture should have snow boots, rather than rain boots, from all the early snow we had dumped on us yesterday! The picture should look more like this!

Brain Injuries

Today we were releasing some extra energy by throwing balls at each other in a battle for the domination of the earth (the basement.)

Before you start imagining getting socked in the temple by a baseball or a football, I will add that these balls were all hand picked by mom and were all soft enough to be deemed safe.

At one point, right after I landed a sweet shot right on Mitchell's noggin, he fell over and said, "Oh mom! you hit my brain! Now I can't even think anymore!"

This explains so much! So many times, I have wondered why Mitchell's brain isn't functioning properly. We now know that one too many soft squishy ball to the head has caused some slight brain injuries.

Squirrel Food

Carving pumpkins is one of the highlights of the year for my older two boys. They love Halloween in general, but this is one area mom and dad participate with them and we all work on it together. It's just a fun time for us all outside in the cool fall afternoon.

This year, when I was talking to my neighbor about carving our pumpkins, he warned me not to leave them outside or the squirrels would get them. When he said they'd "get them," I assumed he meant they'd engage in squirrel-like activities, like picking and scratching at them. As I wanted the pumpkins to decorate my giant front steps, I decided not to heed his warning.

We all spent a fun evening carving our pumpkins. Everyone was delighted with theirs and the boys had already named them and adopted them into the family. We lit them up and enjoyed them for the evening, then just left them out on the back patio where we had worked on them.

The next morning, Ben took one look out the window and said, "Oh, Mitchell! Something terrible has happened! Your pumpkin fell off the table and is all splatted and he has no face!" Mitchell got a look of pure misery on his face as he surveyed the damage: those were some seriously strong and intelligent squirrels! They must be a super breed out here because they destroyed our pumpkins! They somehow took the tops off all the pumpkins and even took the tea lights out! Most were missing pieces of their faces here and there, but Mitchell's came out the worst. They knocked it off the table completely. The front, face part was just a big, gaping hole where there was once eyes and a mouth.

Next time my neighbor, who has lived here his whole life, gives me some advice pertaining to the area, I will listen. Although, I still can't believe squirrels could do that. I mean, come on... taking the tops off and taking the lights out? Pushing a heavy pumpkin off a table? I suspect it was something with a bit more bulk and more experience scavaging: raccoons...

Well, I spent all morning fixing our new family members and if you don't look too closely, you can't even see the dozens of toothpicks holding their fragile faces together! Looking back now, I think it may have actually be easier to just start over again...

I did remember to take a quick picture of them before their assault though, so at least we can remember them in their prime.

Happy Halloween!

How Did That Get In There?

I built the boys a fort today. It's raining. It's cold. What else are we supposed to do once all our responsibilities are finished?

Once the fort was built, we all picked our light up toy of choice, turned off the basement lights, and settled in. It only took a minute for Jack's aroma to fill the small space though. Always a funny topic in our house, we made jokes about it. I then turned to Jack and asked him, "Jack, what have you got in your diaper that smells so stinky?"

He looked like he gave it some serious thought before responding and shouted, "Dog poop!"

Cue the hysterical laughing from the other two boys who love a good poop joke. I have to wonder how that dog poop managed to get in his diaper though. Poor Jack. The cruel victim of a poop prank.

That's Mine!

Matt likes most food. He eats most things I buy and make and rarely asks for something I don't normally get, but for some reason, I almost always ask him if he wants me to pick him up anything special when I am heading out shopping. He always gives me a look like "Why do you always ask me this? My answer is always the same!"

Well, this week, he actually made a request: beef jerky! I think the most recent package from my parents (which always includes jerky for Matt) got him thinking about it. Since he ate that entire package in under 5 minutes, he must have had a hankering for more!

So while I was at Costco, I got quite a few giant bags, with the intention of rationing Matt by hiding some of them. He was quite pleased with a large stash of his favorite snack.

He was pleased, that is, until I informed him that all three of his sons love beef jerky as much as he does! I thought he'd be pleased and call it "dude style," but his first reaction was the opposite: "What? You gave them some of my jerky? That's mine! They're going to eat it all!"

Haha... now he knows how I feel when he polishes off something from the fridge that I just got!I know the point in buying food is to eat it, but I hate seeing it disappear so quickly. So I completely understand his reaction; it was just so funny coming from him!

Friday, October 21, 2011

No Dumping

We all have things that drive us crazy when it comes to our kids. One of mine is dumping.

I hate it when my kids enter that stage where they feel the need to simply dump things. A nice bin of Legos? Let's dump it in a pile! And here is a separate bin of dinosaurs! Let's dump it and add it to the mix! Oooh... puzzles! those would look better dumped out into a pile of pieces!

Play dates are especially stressful to me as it seems my baby boy is not the only one who enjoys this. I turn into the crazy, mean mom who keeps lecturing other boys on proper ways to play, trying to force them to clean up after themselves, or, at least actually play with what they have dumped out. Some kids really do only dump, but never actually play with the dumped toy. Like nails on a chalkboard...

My older two boys have tried it and learned their lesson. They no longer dump without permission. Sometimes, you need the bin of Tinker Toys dumped out to find that piece you are looking for. I get it. We do it. They also always play with the dumped toys afterwards.

Jack, however, is still learning. He still desires to dump his bin of dinosaurs out before he plays with his bin of cars. This was the age I struggled to teach my older two boys, so I have hope that Jack will quickly learn not to irritate mom in this way as well.

Am I not allowing my boys to experience the sheer joy of dumping? Perhaps. I just can't stand dumping for the sake of dumping.

What drives you crazy?

Thursday, October 20, 2011


It isn't too out of the ordinary for me to smell poop. In fact, I smell poop more than once a day! Usually, it means my youngest has done his duty and it is time for me to do mine.

So yesterday, when I was sitting in the car and smelled poop, I naturally blamed Jack.

Jack? Are you poopy?


Jack... I smell poop. Do you have poops in your diaper?

No poopies! Fresh and clean!

Oh well... Like it matters if he admits it or not. Nothing I can do about it in the car and a little stench never hurt anyone.

The mystery deepened though when I got home and changed his diaper. He was telling the truth! He was fresh and clean! Now why do I still smell poop?

I smelled it all day long, but couldn't figure out where it was coming from.

Later, I noticed a spot of dirt on my jeans. As I looked more closely, I solved the mystery. I somehow got poop on my jeans and didn't know it. That was the smell! It was me! I still blame Jack. At least, I hope it was his poop and not someone else's...

I love being a mom... I love being a mom... I love being a mom...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Just Imagine!

Mitchell comes up with some pretty interesting "what if" scenarios. Today, while finishing his lunch, he was contemplating a world in which his pesky mother didn't wipe or wash all the food off his face and hands after he so masterfully put it there.

After a sip of milk, (which completely covered his upper lip of course) he put some words to his thoughts: "Mom, what if we lived in a world where all wipes were sharp! And what if tissues were spiky?! And when you turned the faucet on, sharp spikes came out instead of water! Can you imagine that?"

I can imagine it, yes. I imagine your face would very quickly be unrecognizable from all the peanut butter and other food collected there.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Farewell To Football, Late Nights, and Port-a-potties!

Ben's last football game was last weekend. It's funny; it sorta snuck up on him. When I told him about a month ago that we were almost done with football for this year, he said, "What? Why is it over? We don't just keep playing all year long?"

Oh man... as much as I loved having him play, I can't imagine doing this all year long! Ben and I jumped into this with both feet, not quite expecting so many hours spent at practice every week. Ben was great though, and I dealt with it. He loved it. What a great outlet for him to play rough and play like a big boy should!

As proud as I am of Ben and all the progress he made, I have to give Mitchell and Jack some props too. Every hour Ben spent at practice, the other two boys spent there with him. They ate many dinners on the ground and got more bug bites than I could count. They dug giant holes in the dirt and filled their socks with sand to use as sand bombs. I wish I had a way to measure how much dirt we took home from that park. Mitchell learned the hard way that when you refuse to use the clean, flushable toilet at home, you are forced to use the "stinky toilet with no flusher" while trying to hold your breath, not look into the deep hole, and not touch anything all at the same time. They both made friends and ate a lot of ice cream from the ever-present ice cream truck. Way to be so adaptable and be there for your big brother, little guys!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Optimus Prime's Secret Weapon Against Man Stench

Have I mentioned that Ben will be Optimus Prime, the Transformer, for Halloween? He has had the costume for weeks now, but has been a bit lonely as an Autobot. As his trusty sidekick, Bumblebee, has had to only pretend to be an Autobot, he usually tires of being a transformer long before Ben is ready to end the game.

Well, for the sake of harmony (and adding minutes or even hours to play time that doesn't involve mom), I finally bought Mitchell a Bumblebee costume. He will still be an astronaut for Halloween, but I deemed an extra costume a necesity, so I got it!

Let me tell you, it was a great decision! The boys do everything as transformers together now!

The one downside to these costumes is the fact that they are not very breathable or machine washable. They specifically say to hand wash and line dry them. Lame. I don't even buy clothes for myself with those care instructions!

So what is a mom to do when her two crazy boys not only wear their onesie suits constantly, but wrestle in them? Febreeze to the rescue, once again!

I tell you, when I discovered that Mitchell was actually naked underneath that suit the other day, I thought, "this is trash now. I will never get that man stench out!" Ben wearing just underwear under his suit wasn't much better in the whole stinky, smelly, boy smell area. I Febreezed the you-know-what out of those bad boys!

I should be in a commercial...

Stinky Stockings

I have been shopping for Christmas stockings for years now. Every fall, I start shopping. Every Christmas comes along and I have, once again, waited too long to order them and we make do with old tube socks, the way my family intentionally did every Christmas (which is special in its own way.)

But this year, I finally found exactly what I was looking for for an AMAZING deal, and pounced on it! As they were going to be hand made and personalized (and I needed FIVE of them), I knew I had to order now before the Christmas rush began. So a couple weeks ago, I picked out the colors I wanted and ordered them!

Today, they arrived! I had almost forgotten about them, to tell you the truth, and when Mitchell came running inside with a FedEx box (he checks the mail 3 or 4 times a day for packages from his grandparents), I had no idea what was inside!

The moment I ripped open the top, all 4 of us wrinkled our noses and said, "Whew!" Smelled like someone mailed us a smoker! I would only have been mildly surprised to pull out a bag of smoked cigarettes!

Instead of cigarettes (smoke sticks, as the boys call them), inside were individually wrapped, personalized, and BEAUTIFUL hand made Christmas stockings! I couldn't believe how quickly she made these, how quality they were, and yet how SMELLY they were! I can't decide if I am pleased or repelled!

I'd share the link with you for how to order some of your own (that's how great I think they are besides the granny cigarette stench), but that smell is almost a deal breaker!

On a positive note, the boys had a blast using up a bottle of Febreeze on them. They are now hanging around on the front porch until they air out a bit. Will that smell ever truly go away? I sure hope so.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

I'm Right Here!

Jack and I get to spend some time alone together on school mornings. While sometimes I have no idea what to do with him during this time, sometimes it turns out so nice that I wish I could wait just a little longer to go pick Mitchell up at school.

We had a morning like this one day last week. The sun was shining so I brought a cup of coffee out to the front porch to watch Jack run around in the yard. He was having such a great time and being so good that I kinda forgot about him for a few minutes. When I looked up, he was nowhere to be seen!

Knowing he could not have gone far, I called for him and heard a faint, "I'm right here!" coming from the yard. I followed the sound and called for him again: "I'm right here!" Now the sound appeared to be coming from a large bush and group of trees. This is what I could see:

I see grass, trees, and bushes, but no Jack.

Now that he knew I was hunting him down, he just put his "I'm right here!" on constant repeat for me. I ducked down and lifted the branches of the low tree to see my little boy climbing the branches. When I asked him what he was doing, he said, "Riding cycle!" He found a low branch to swing one leg over and was having so much fun on his motorcycle that I had to actually crawl in there a while later and physically drag him off in order to make it to school in time to pick up Mitchell.

I do love that he has learned how to say "I'm right here!" and it comes in quite handy when I lose him. Perhaps I should be embarassed that I lose him enough for him to learn that phrase...

Friday, October 7, 2011

Nummy Treats

While I am not against kids drinking juice and eating treats, I admit that I don't really have them in my house. I don't ever buy juice for two reasons: 1. it makes my kids hate water, and 2. Matt will drink it all before the rest of us even get a chance. I don't keep baked goods or chocolate of any kind in the house for only one reason: mom will gobble it down in mass quantities until it is gone and before anyone else even gets to see it.

So while I feel badly sometimes that I don't have a chocolate chip cookie or M&M on hand for my boys at opportune moments, it really is better for us all and it is one area that I feel I do well with. My kids drink a lot of water and think a cookie is one of the most special treats there is.

So imagine a world where a toddler rarely has a sip of juice and only gets chocolate for special occasions (poor kid!) Now imagine this same kid has a week of his life where everywhere he goes, people are giving him juice and cookies and donuts and treats of all kinds!

For the first week of school, I went to more "getting to know you" activities and functions than ever before. That's great. Helpful even. What isn't great is the spread each and every one provided my innocent toddler: tables and tables of treats, just there for the taking! Jack. was. in heaven! He even developed a new word to describe his delight: nummy treats!

No longer is water what he wants when thirsty; he will first whine for a good, solid ten minutes for juice before collapsing in dehydration and finally reverting to the dreaded water. Grapes and yogurt are no longer dessert in his mind. He learned that treats such as donuts and muffins exist!

Jack is still a great eater. He still loves yogurt and grapes. I still don't keep juice or chocolate in the house, (or Nutella anymore either! I will eat it by the spoonful! Delicious...) but Jack has learned what a "nummy treat" is now and there is no going back. It ends up working well for me, though. I now have a great excuse to stop at Starbucks on the way home from the gym after dropping my big boys off at school. Jack and I sometimes just need our fix of "nummy treats!"

Deja Vu

Sometimes, when I look at a picture of one of my little dudes, I get a feeling I have seen that very picture before...

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Fetch, Fetch!

Ben came home in the funniest mood today. He was bursting with energy (more so than usual) and was being so contagiously silly. Where he gets the energy for this sort of thing in the second half of the day, I have no idea. It must be that getting-out-of-school freedom feeling. I remember it from my school days, but I also remember falling asleep in the car on the way home quite a bit too...

Anyways, like I said, he was being quite silly. So silly, in fact, that he decided he was going to be a dog the rest of the day and we were required to call him Fetch. Can you guess what Fetch's favorite game is? Fetch! Mitchell kept throwing a large stick for him, while I threw the frisbee. Ben would pick it up and come bounding back, drop it at our feet, and whine or bark for more with his tounge hanging out. Even Jack got in on the game by chasing him around yelling, "Fetch! Come, Fetch! Come here, doggy!" and petting him with "nice pets."

So when Matt asks what I did today, I can tell him I literally played fetch with my son, I mean, dog, Fetch!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Few New Best Friends

Why I ever worry about my kids making friends is a question I don't have the answer for. Every time we move, I loose sleep over it. Every time school starts up again, I send up constant little prayers for them while they are gone. Every time they are in a position where they have to start over again, I worry, yet my unease is unnecessary. They are old pros.

Ben has already got his little "gang" at school and has already been to many of their houses to play. I love to watch him run around with them after school, just enjoying his life and experiencing something so special to him that is not dependent on his mom. I love to stand back and just watch him play.

Jack, although full of attitude that may one day hinder him in this area, charms people everywhere we go. Kids love him, moms love him, old people love him, even the occasional dad will get sucked in! His short little sentences and charming displays of politeness at just the right time almost make me think he knows exactly what he is doing when he works a room (or a playground.)

Mitchell, my most complicated boy, is making quite a few new friends as well. Although there are three or four little boys at school that are his favorites, they don't even make his Top 3 list. Those spots are reserved for adults: two moms and a neighbor. This morning, on the way to school, I asked him who he was going to play with today. He said, "Oh, I don't know. Probably some kids. But do you know who my best friends are? Stephani, Susan, and Kevin!"

Stephani is a mom of a couple boys who are not in either of my boys' classes but who we see at the school playground every day. Susan is the mom of one of Ben's football teammates. Kevin is our neighbor.

For some reason, Mitchell is most himself around adults - especially adults who really seem to get him and know all the right things to ask and say. He would follow Kevin around all day if I let him and they do all sorts of little projects and discuss all manner of important things.

We spend quite a bit of time every week at football practice and I don't know what I would have done with Mitchell had we not met Susan. They treasure hunt together and talk about football and tell jokes.

He is so fond of Stephani that she came up to me at the park last week saying, "Did you know Mitchell just invited me over for a play date at your house today?" I asked him about it and he said, "Well, Ben gets to have his best friends over and I really really want to show her all my treasures! Please can she come home with us??"

Oh Mitchell. You are the spice of life...

Sunday, October 2, 2011


Jack had two obsessions lately: talking without ceasing and BMW's. It's really great (that last word is said with heavy sarcasm) when he combines these two obsessions.

It is amazing how talented he is at spotting a BMW, but even when he doesn't actually see one, he talks about finding one. He will sometimes spend an entire car trip babbling on and on about "W's," as he calls them. His one sided conversations often sounds something like this:

"Mommy! Daddy's dubba-you! Fast dubba-you! Find one! Dubba-you outside! Window down! See dubba-you! Go fast! Vroom vroom!"

Sounds cute huh? Well, for a few minutes it is cute, as long as he keeps the volume down, that is. But after a few minutes, and I have not given the appropriate response to all his comments, (still trying to figure out what, exactly, he expects me to say through all this) he begins to up the volume until he is shouting about "dubba-you's."

The only thing that will distract him from BMW's is a Porsche, although then we just have the same conversation, just substitute "Peesha" for "dubba-you..."


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