Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Little Boys

Little Boys
And their smelly shoes
Rocks in their pockets
Sticky glue

Fingerprints on my glasses
Impish looks
Constant wrestling
Lost library books

Ninja masks
And Kung Fu kicks
Scattered colors of
Lego bricks

Boy parts, pee pee jokes
And new lingo-
Bakugan, Paper Jams
And Ninjago

Climbing Trees
All their jeans
Have holey knees

Pirate ships
And zooming cars
Flights to Mars

Splashing in puddles
Hills of ants
And far too many
Captain Underpants

Boogey noses
Sticky-up hair
Need constant reminders
To stop tipping their chair

Walking and talking
In their sleep
Spinning in circles
Till they collapse in a heap

Cuddly hugs
Yet they sniff my pits
Gales of giggles
Had in fits

So many kisses
And I Love Yous
Come with
Little boys
And their smelly shoes

The Froggy Hat

This is Gabriel.

This is Gabriel wearing his new froggy hat.

Gabriel looooooves his new froggy hat.  He wears it all the time.  He loves it so much, he even sleeps in it. 

Notice the little thread of yarn dangling from that little pom-pom?  A few minutes after this picture was taken, I was tucking my little ones into bed.  Gabriel noticed the little thread and pulled.  It became a longer thread.  Gabriel became very sad.  I told Gabriel to give me a minute and I would fix it.  I left and returned with the scissors, intending to knot and cut the thread so it wouldn't completely unravel. 
Gabriel saw me.  Gabriel saw the scissors.  Gabriel became completely panic-stricken.  And...are you ready?  I can't make this stuff up.

Gabriel yells:  "No, Mom, no!  Don't cut off my ball!!!!!"

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


It's been a truly wonderful summer with my kiddos.  Even so, the other day after breakfast and before my shower, I brewed myself a cup of coffee.  The kids were amusing themselves, and I just wanted a moment (or two!) to enjoy my coffee outside, enjoying the sounds of the morning. In peace, by myself.

Of course, this is not exactly what happened.  I tiptoed through the door and onto the front porch, and as I turned to close the door, Gabriel appeared.

"Whatcha doing, Mom?"

"Oh, I just wanted three minutes to sit here and drink my coffee..."

"With your son," he finished for me in a cheerful sing-song voice.

I sighed and smiled at the same time.  Sighing because the few moments of peace would not be, smiling because summer was coming to an end, and there were only a few precious days left before the start of school.  I could enjoy my coffee alone nearly every single day. For now, I would be enjoying it ...

"With my son", I confirmed.

We chit-chatted for a bit, and at some point we got around to talking about Gabriel's future wife.

"I'm going to find someone pretty who knows God," he said.

I told him that was a very smart thing to do, and to make sure she is kind as well.

"And funny, and smart."

He looked up at me with shining eyes.

"Just like you, Mommy."

Tears sprung to my eyes. I knew I would treasure this moment forever. Then he added two more words that would ensure I would indeed remember this.

"...except young."

Saturday, July 23, 2011

In Honor of Comic Con: Batman Says

In the early part of our relationship, my new beau was trying desperately to hide the geek side of himself from me.  I was already clued in the first time we got together.  I suggested a game of darts at a nearby pub and he admitted he carried his very own dart set in the car.

I agreed with him when he acknowledged it was a pretty geeky thing to do.

Then came his favorite show at the time, a popular sci-fi show on cable.  I wasn't familiar with it.  Perhaps as he began to describe it to me, my eyes glazed over, or perhaps he feared his enthusiasm for this show, along with the dart thing, might propel him so far into dorkdom I might cut my losses while the cutting was good.  Either way, he felt the need to justify himself, the show, or both. 

He began to shift in his seat.

He cleared his throat.


"Well," he stammered.

And then he said it.

The greatest Batman quote to date.

"It's not really Sci-fi...

It's a drama... in space."

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Babies are...

Let's get one thing straight.

Babies are not convenient. 

Not from the moment they attach their minuscule selves to our insides, making us crave bologna sandwiches for breakfast, yet sending us running for the nearest thing to hurl into at the faintest whiff of a vanilla-scented candle.  And certainly not when we become completely wiped out after such rigorous activity as, say, making ourselves a piece of toast.  And later down the road, when their presence is more visible and they instigate a fun game of Guess Which Limb That Is, Jabbing Me in the Ribs/Stomach/Bladder/Kidneys/Liver and God Knows What Else.  And as for the poor mom who endured the bizarre sensation of her baby using his teeny, pokey little fingers to tickle the very bottom of her uterus before he was born, and  no amount of jumping, pressing, or yelping would make it stop, her baby was certainly not convenient. 

Most of us are familiar with the numerous trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night, the attempts at turning over onto our other side without trying to wake up all the way, and the ridiculous feeling that we've swallowed a beach ball as we try in vain to put on our own socks.

Certainly, none of that is convenient.

The simple, natural act of relocating those babies from within our bodies, into the outside world, is probably the least convenient thing that I can think of.  Natural, yes. Convenient, no.

Guess what?  That amazing creature who amused us with its inconvenient antics, gave us great material with which to bond with other mommies, not to mention a trump card to win any argument with our spouse for the rest of our lives, will not suddenly become convenient after he has moved out of our uterus.

We accept the fact that our children do not come into the world ready to use the toilet.  We spend a bundle on diapers and accept the whole poop thing, and hope we have a camera ready the first time daddy gets squirted in the face by his new baby boy.  We have a child knowing we will change their diapers and wipe their bottoms some eight or nine thousand times before they are potty trained.

Then why on earth do some not accept that feeding and nourishing their child may not be the most convenient thing for mom?  Why do some parents decide it isn't worth the investment of a little more of their time and effort to give their baby the most superior nourishment, designed just for them?  Let me put in the disclaimer here: This post does not refer to that tiny percentage of moms who, despite their absolute, very best efforts, and due to very special circumstances, wound up having to bottle feed.  I am talking about all parents who decide it's just not worth the "hassle" for mom to have to be the one to feed the baby all of the time.  There is a biological reason for this setup.  A baby is meant to have lots and lots of close cuddling with their mama, and nursing encourages this close contact. 

It has been proven that breastfed babies have lower obesity rates later in life, along with fewer allergies and a better immune system, along with countless other benefits.  Plus, it's free, always at the right temperature, and frankly, I thought this was a tremendously convenient way to feed my baby.  No powder, cans, measuring, or getting the water to be just right. Baby's hungry? Lift shirt. Baby's happy.

I just think it would be lovely if people everywhere would view breastfeeding as the most natural, logical thing.  I never want to hear another story of a woman being told to feed her child in the bathroom or being given dirty looks for nursing in public.  I would love to hear mothers, aunts, grandmothers, sisters and husbands encouraging the new moms in their families to breastfeed.  A positive environment can go a long way for a new mom who is nursing. All of us can support them. Yes, it can have its challenges, so negative comments, or talk of giving up breastfeeding, in favor of what is "easier", can be very discouraging to an already tired mom.

We are supposed to be an evolved society.  Let's behave as such and encourage all new moms to give their babies the best possible start in life by breastfeeding.  It has been scientifically proven to be the superior baby food, the absolute best thing we can nourish our babies with.  Don't they deserve our absolute best?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Batman Says....

So it has been determined that my darling husband should have his very own section in this blog for the bizarre things he says.  You know, "Batman-ism", or "Stuff Batman Says", that kind of thing.  It will simply be called, "Batman Says."  Some things will be humorous- at least from outsiders' perspective.  Some of what I include in here will give everone a peek at what I contend with on a regular basis. We will laugh at him, with him, near him, and some of you will be overwhelmed with empathy for me.  But only occasionally, because overall, he's a pretty neat guy.


Batman Says...."This is a Pigsty."


Do you see what I'm up against, ladies?

Stay tuned for more "Batman Says." And oh yes, feel free to leave comments.  He's looking forward to reading them.  ;-)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Picnic Dinner!

The gloomy rain seemed to match my mood the other day as I followed my hubby around the house, watching him pack for his trip.  He will only be gone a few days, but I always feel a bit unsettled anytime he flies.  Thank goodness for Skype!  He was able to say a quick goodnight to me last night, and the kids were thrilled to see him this morning before they went off to school.  Technology really is something.

It's been a rough few weeks around here. I was home with Julian for a full week while he suffered from a wicked virus.  Had to rearrange my work schedule, as in ask my very flexible coworkers to cover for me.  It's probably a good thing we don't all have kids or it could have been a very interesting winter at the store! The boys have been a bit "cheeky", we'll say, lately.  It seems they have a fit and argue and complain anytime anything is asked of them.  Maddie has her own issues with the attitude she sometimes gives off.  Lots of snow days, lots of illness, which are both unusual around here.

 I think the good news is, spring seems to be creeping up on us- maybe winter is actually over!  The thunderstorms we had here overnight were pretty intense, but the boys slept throught it.  I really expected company in my bed around 4:30 this morning because of it.  School was delayed by two hours, and we noticed at breakfast that our grill (fairly good-sized and heavy) had been blown several feet across our deck. We still have power, and no tree limbs came crashing down, so pretty uneventful for us.

With hubby gone, the kids and I enjoyed one of our favorite dinner traditions- what we call a Picnic Dinner.  This healthy dinnertime treat began when I was a single mom and my boys were preschoolers.  I should call it Mommy CopOut Dinner, because that's closer to reality.  On evenings when I was truly exhausted and still wanted to feed my boys a sound dinner, I would excitedly tell them we were having a picnic for dinner! This would usually mean us sitting around the coffee table in our living room, which was a very big deal.  I would gather grapes, apple slices, strawberries, orange slices, baby carrots, sliced red peppers (yes, they love them!), some cheese cubes, whole grain crackers, pretzels and yogurt.  I would artfully arrange the fresh fruits and veggies on a few platters that I had and voila! Dinner was served. If we really needed some fun, I would pop popcorn- they love this! It definitely makes it feel more like a party or fun snack-fest.  It's still my most requested meal from them.  We have it less often now that I am married to a meat and potatoes guy, so it's still a treat and still special. We change it up, depending on what we have in the house- sometimes a variety of dips is offered with the veggies, and I am still trying to get them to like hummus. Even without the hummus, it is probably the healthiest overall meal they can have- it's super fresh, has tons of color from the variety, whole grains, and protein.  And it's their favorite.  My friend tried this with her seven-year-old, and said he really got a kick out of it!

Does your family have any special meal traditions like this?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Feeding my family and getting organized

I am now a mom with all of my children in school. This has been quite the transition for me, much more difficult than I ever could have imagined. I still work part time, and right now hours at work are fairly low. I have been immersing myself in getting caught up around the house. Life was pretty chaotic when we married a year-and-a-half ago. My husband was working his usual 60+ hours every week, I was working 20 hours a week, and we merged our families and had to figure things out as we went along.

When we all moved into our lovely home, some things never really got unpacked, and some things that did, never really got a home. So I've been catching up and organizing like crazy. I am currently obsessed with a few organizing blogs:, (I'm an Organizing Junkie). These women have great ideas and are inspirational.
I am also putting a concerted effort into the art of feeding my family. I have learned so much about the crap that passes for food in our country, and just how imortant it is to read labels and be proactive about what we bring home and prepare for our families to eat. I absolutely adore Jessica Seinfeld's two cookbooks- Deceptively Delicious and Double Delicious. Both books feature recipes that include sneaking vegetable purees into dishes that even picky kids and husbands will like. I am making better use of my slow cooker, thanks to the A Year of Slow Cooking blog.

A cupcake I made from Deceptively Delicious- it has pumpkin puree and a yummy cream cheese frosting with a bit of cinnamon added. No plastic-y frosting and the kids loved it!

Something else that has intrigued me: making bento lunches for my kids! This is a whole thing in japanese culture. And now American moms all over the place are creatively cutting out veggie, cheese and fruit shapes, sometimes making faces on them, and tucking them artfully into teeny silicone holders that form to the corners of the lunchboxes, keeping everything beautiful, fresh, and neat for lunchtime. I even discovered hard boiled egg molds! You peel warm eggs and put them into the various molds, submerge them in cold water for a few minutes, and voila! Your child gets to enjoy a bunny-shaped egg for lunch later. There are so many moms blogging about this- taking pictures of what containers they use and what yummy, pretty lunches their kiddos get to enjoy. I was so excited to get started with my bento lunches, that yes, I too took pictures.

My first bento-style lunch. I have since bought larger silicone "cupcake" holders to hold trail mix, fruit, and the hard-boiled eggs in various shapes. The kids are really enjoying these!

So in addition to sharing all that is crazy in our blessed, child-rearing, family-blending lives, I will pass along some practical things that are making our family life easier, healthier, or enriching it in any way. After all, we mommies need to stick together!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Ninety percent of the time

I need to take a poll.
I thought the biggest things most couples fought about were money or sex. My husband and I really do fine in those areas. We get along beautifully, enjoy a shared sense of humor (thank goodness!) and are really quite happy together. When we do disagree, ninety percent of the time it's about: The Kids!

Why did no one tell me about this?

I'm still trying to figure this one out. I guess when my boys were babies, their father really didn't get the whole baby thing, knew I already had experience in this area and left most of the decision making to me. By the the time my boys were toddlers, I was a single mother making all of the decisions by myself. As they get older, their care becomes slightly less physical and more about what goes on in their little minds. So much more is about taking advantage of those "teaching opportunities" when possible, answering the constant questions, and setting the moral expectations in the family.

Blending with Batman has been a crash course in shared parenting. It's been great at times, because my interesting husband is so good at answering the kids' questions about everyday things. How does this work? How many people have ever been to the moon? Why do you stack the wood that way in the fireplace? The boys have gotten so used to his explanations, that if I hesitate after they ask me a question, they automatically say "that's a Batman question, huh?" My husband has made me give more thoughtful, in-depth answers to their questions simply by his example. And he really enjoys sharing his knowledge, as most dads do. Also, I now have reinforcements! It is so nice having that other adult there to back to me up.

It's interesting, though, because here we are, years into our children's upbringing, and there's suddenly someone else to consider when deciding whether or not your child can do this or that and how certain situations should be handled. And not to mention the miscommunication!

"Why are you letting him do that? I just said he couldn't."
"Well you didn't tell me that. How was I supposed to know?"

I could list many variations of the above exchange, but for all parents, it's probably familiar. We've come to an agreement that above all, we need to present a united front to the kiddos, and work out any disagreements or objections out of their earshot. If one of us convinces the other to change their mind about a decision given to the children, we always come back to the kids and say we've discussed it and we've decided on the new decision. This way, it's not "Mommy talked Batman into it" or "Mommy was wrong and Batman was right."

We certainly are far from perfect, but I think we are finally getting it more right than not. We are kind to each other when we disagree, try to fight fair, yield to the other's wishes when appropriate, and keep our sense of humor. Our love for each other and that sense of humor are what get us through each time.

Well, that and watching Modern Family together on Wednesday nights after the kids are in bed.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Here we go....

"Mom, do you know how babies are made?" asks Julian, completely out of the blue at dinner.

"Yes I do."


I eye my seven-year-old, wondering where this will lead.

"So do I," he says cheerfully. "Daddy told me some stuff."


"So what do you think about what Daddy told you?"

"Welllll... kinda gross and kinda cool."

I laugh. "Well, how babies are made IS kind of gross and kind of cool."

Before I can find out just how much "stuff" his dad has told him, he asks if I want to know what Daddy said to him, so I can validate how much of it is accurate. I consider my five-year-old sitting at the table with us, take a breath, smile and say, "Sure!"

"Well there's a baby cell," he begins. "And it starts to divide into two cells, then four, then eight..." He eventually gets to the part where each group of cells develops into a specific body part for the baby- muscle cells, eye cells, bone cells, then individual parts like limbs and things. We have an interesting and enjoyable conversation about just how much the babies can do, even while still growing in their mommy's belly.

After a moment, I ask "So Julian, what was the gross part?"

"Oh. The baby cells, when they split up."