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Kid's Rules to life


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Monday, July 31. 2006

Because we were away this weekend and trying to sleep in high 90 degree weather in a tent, the kids are a bit sleep deprived and their behaviour is definitely a reflection of that fatigue. They are not tolerant of each other and easily become frustrated and unable to cope with things that usually they sail through.

At one point late this morning the older two were quite upset that we were postponing A-girl's party til later in the week. Apparently that was one of the worst things a Mom could do in their books.

As part of an expression of her own frustration, L. was irritating A-girl by taking her new doll and stroller and trying to play with it. I asked her to please leave A-girl alone with her new things. L promptly replied "Anything that comes into this house is the property of the family and needs to be shared by all" Did S. or I actually say that?!?!? Interesting how she becomes the rule enforcer only when she will benefit from the stated rule. I am eager to see next month when it is her birthday if anything that comes into the house is the family's and will be shared by all.

Too hot to party


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Monday, July 31. 2006

We were supposed to be at park enjoying a birthday celebration picnic and splashing in the wading pool, however with a current temperature of 100 degrees and an earlier high of 101 degrees and a heat index of 108 degrees we decided to postpone our get together with 3 other families til Thursday when it is to be 20 degrees cooler.

We were up early this morning and baked a cake. I needed to do it anyway for the party and since A-boy and A-girl insisted on greeting the day really early we decided to make it early and try to beat the heat. A-girl was hilarious as she kept saying "me kack/crack" and grabbing another egg to smack on the side of the measuring cup. She and A-boy had a great time. Now the decorating will have to wait til later in the week.

A-girl, your birthday this year certainly is a series of interesting events......no gift from your family as your siblings hid it to keep you from seeing it and now can't find it, no party as planned due to really high temperatures and yet you go through the days with no hint of disappointment and only pure joy in each and every moment. Things that seem so simple to us or have become routine bring you the most excitment, fascination and joy. I hope we can learn form you to love each and every moment. You just keep smiling and singing "Happy to me!"

"Happy Happy me!"


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Sunday, July 30. 2006

A-girl walked around today saying this phrase as it was her second birthday. It is hard to believe that 2 years have passed since she came flying into this world at 10:05pm Friday July 30, 2004 giving us barely enough time to make it to the hospital. Labor and delivery was about an hour and she has kept those around her running ever since just as she did on the night of her birth.

I think she had an ideal birthday in her world. She spent all of it outside (except for a 2 hour nap in the car) and a large amount of her day was at the beach. Our friends had made cookies and we had a little party with blowers, hats and cookies at the campsite before packing up and heading for the beach.

Throughout the day you could here her break out into song "happy happy me!" which is her rendition of Happy Birthday and she would clap and cheer for herself if anyone asked her about her birthday.

Once home, we were going to enjoy dinner and have her open a little gift from us and one that B. had sent to her via UPS. Earlier this week A-boy and L. decided they needed to hide the large bubble tumbler toy that I had bought for A-girl so that she wouldn't find it. I tried to explain that she was with me when we bought it (so was A-boy for that matter!) and that her pure excitement and screaming with delight "my bubbles!!" was the main reason I picked it up. Anyway, they decided to hide it so A-girl wouldn't find out what she was getting. I went to get it this evening and of course it was not where I had put it. Unfortunately neither of them could remember where they had put it either! We spent a while looking for it and the more frustrated I got the more they assured me that it was around......they just didn't know where they had put it. I see some humor in this (and likely as time passes I will think it quite hilarious) although I was more annoyed with A-girl not having a gift to open on her birthday despite my efforts to have one. We weren't going to have cake due to travels and I had felt bad but kept thinking she'll have the gift to open tonight and then the cake another night. Now it looks like she will have both another night.....and not likely the same night as the kids were very good at hiding the gift so that nobody can find it!

Our neighbors S. and T. saw us on the back deck this evening having dinner and asked if A-girl had had cake for her birthday. We said that she hadn't as we had been away. T. promptly went inside and came out with a large piece of chocolate cake complete with 2 candles and A-girl was most excited. She practically threw her dinner plate at me like a frisbee to make room for the cake plate. She blew out her candles, grabbed a fork and dove in to the cream cheese icing and then the cake without ever slowing down.

She did have a gift to open this evening too, thanks to B. who had sent a very large box Tuesday. A-girl was initially afraid of the box as it was about as big as her! She wouldn't go near it and was afraid to walk by it in the porch. We kept telling her there was a present in it for her birthday and this evening she was so excited. She clapped, cheered and called out "gank gu!" (thank you) as she opened it. B. sent her a doll and stroller and she absolutely loved it. The older kids tried to convince her to let them push the doll in the stroller on the side walk but she quite clearly had a different plan. We had to bring her into the house screaming and yelling as she would have kept walking that baby all night long.

Thanks to friends, A-girl was able to celebrate her birthday in style with a cookie with candles, cake with candles and a gift. Your family will get it all together at some point A-girl and we'll have phase 2 of your second birthday.

Happy Birthday A-girl!!! We love you. Hope your day was special.

Camping in the tropics


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Sunday, July 30. 2006

We went camping for the first time in about 2 years and it was great to get back outdoors. I think I would have preferred a bit cooler temperatures as the temps were in the high 90s and at one point last evening in the car and again this afternoon the outdoor temperature read 100 degrees. We spent a lot of time in the lake and checked out the air conditioned interpretive center yesterday for a bit as well.

Despite the very hot weather and the difficulty for all sleeping we had a blast. Our friends have 3 boys almost the same ages as our three kids and it was fun to watch them playing together. I overheard A-boy telling Grandpa A. on the phone this evening that he went hiking and swimming and he was very excited in his desciption. We were a little worreid yesterday as we neared the end of our hike and he managed to run off the trail around a sign post and then started screaming that his leg hurt. It immediately began to swell, turn red and get white "bite" like marks. We used water to try to wash it off but that didn't seem to bring too much relief so we made some mud to put on his leg until we got back to the campsite and used soap and water to wash it off and it all disappeared. Sounds like he didn't even remeber that little incident in his account of the weekend's events.

At one point L commented somewhat annoyed "some people act as though they live here!" When we talked a bit more we figured out that she meant it looked like they had brought all the great things from home which in her world includes bikes, wagons, big lawn chairs, all sorts of toys and outdoor games....of course non of which we could fit into the van once we got the basic camp gear for 5 and the dog in the van!

All the kids were upset to have to leave this afternoon after a great weekend outside. Even the lure of a drive in air conditioning, though very appealing tot he parents didn't compare to the great fun they had at the beach and in the campground.

Learning to love each of life's moments


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Thursday, July 27. 2006

Last night I read this quote,

"I hope my children look back on today
And see a mother who had time to play.
There will be years for cleaning and cooking.....
For children grow up while we're not looking."

This morning I asked L to do some addition questions in a little workbook as part of our summer practise. She was reluctant and told me that she felt like I was spending all my time with the little kids. She said she needed cuddle time and I was just doing dishes. That was a pretty accurate statement since it was 9:00am, I had prepared, served and cleaned up after breakfast, moved the laundry forward, showered/bathed 4 people and was just finishing up all the dishes. She has been away a lot in the past couple of days with special activities and a playdate and she had missed out on our usual time together. I am so grateful that we are at a point in her development that she can verbalize what she needs rather than showing me through behaviour that is often misinterpreted.

I realized that it is so easy to say "in a minute" or "when I finish doing the dishes/putting a load of laundry in/cleaning up the mess on the bathroom floor/picking up whatever in whatever room I will be right with you." With a long list of daily tasks to try and accomplish it is so easy to lose sight of the wonderful moments in life that can easily pass us by. At times life itself adds several more tasks as the day unfolds and it is often hard to find the joy in each and every moment. I do find myself laughing at various times throughout the day as kids are just hilarious by nature.

Here are some moments from my recent past that tend to draw frustration as the first reaction but I am trying to look for the pure joy that each one also brings.

Yesterday, I had a quick shower and in the 15 minutes I was in the bathroom, A-boy (A-girl was with me in the shower and L. was still asleep) managed to take a large box of packing peanuts, dump them on the floor and then proceed to throw them all over the room. He took a new bottle of glue that I had just purchased for school and turn the cap. It must have been pressurized in some way as "it just (ex)ploded everywhere and I didn't even really squeeze it!" and there was glue all over the hardwood floor in the livingroom and the bookcase and the toys surrounding it. He then took several toys and containers and put them under the table (yes the one with a nice plastic cover that would have made glue clean up so much easier) and crammed them under there in such as fashion that you couldn't even move the chairs. He also decided to do a puzzle. He took two 48 large piece floor puzzles and dumped them both on the floor and then realized he had no idea which pieces went with which puzzle so proceeded to just put them in whatever box he could and the lids on neither of the boxes would go on. As I stood there looking at what he had created realizing there was a good two hours work and my friend's kids would be there in less than an hour I felt myself starting to get pretty frustrated til a smile started creeping over my face as I just couldn't believe all the mess he had made in such a short time.

This morning, I was on the phone and within minutes of the start of my converstaion, A-girl starts screaming. I go towards the bathroom to see A-boy mopping up standing water all over the bathroom floor and trying to stop it as it ran out onto the hardwood in the hallway. Apparently they had been throwing cups of water and then A-boy realized it was getting messy and took his sister's cup away resulting in the screaming. I hadn't planned on washing the floor today but its quite clean.

I know I'm not spending all my time cooking and cleaning. If anyone walked through my front door it would appear as though a tornado had struck my livingroom (and practically any other room as well). Unfortunately I don't think I am spending all my time playing with my kids either. I feel as though I spend most of my time in crisis management and running from one "fire" to the next trying to put them out before they start raging out of control. I rarely get to any of the tasks on my daily list as it seems my extremely active, energetic, exploring kids with an incredible zest for life are adding new items to my task list as each moment of our day unfolds. I figure if the kids make it to the end of the day without losing vast quantities of blood, without any broken bones and the house is still structurally sound we have had a great day!

I do hope that my kids can look back and see the foundations and roots of wonderful life experiences and values. I also hope that they will understand how much they are loved and cherished.

Our Pioneer school girl


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Wednesday, July 26. 2006

L. had the opportunity yesterday to attend a program at the Gibbs Museum that provides children with a chance to learn what it would have been like to attend school in the mid 1800's. 16 children participated (only 2 boys) and L was in first grade (the grade they just completed) along with three other children. They wrote words on a slate with a slate pencil, participated in a Spelling Bee (which L. was extremely proud to win for her grade), recited math, played games common to that time period, made a candle, made a corn husk doll and enjoyed home made ice cream.

L was so excited to go and proudly wore a dress that my mother had made for me to wear in our town's centenial and a bonnet that we got for her. Loran calls this dress her Laura Ingils dress. She loves to read the "Little House" books so spending a day back in that time period was incredible for her. She talked non-stop about her experiences. Her play once home, focussed completely on her "old fashioned school" experience. A-boy and A-girl became her students and she was the teacher. Unfortunately the younger two lost interest long before she was wanting them to (despite staying with it for a lot longer than I had anticipated) and left her wanting to play with "someone who understands what it was like then!"

A day in the life....


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Wednesday, July 26. 2006

This morning, I had three extra kids and somehow thought it would be great to take them to the wading pool at the park at the corner. So the kids (7, almost 7, 4 3/4, 4 1/2, 2 1/2 and almost 2) and I headed down to the park.

A-girl screamed for almost 45 minutes after we got there. That girl is so driven by food and there was food in the stroller that I wasn't giving her! We then had a picnic lunch, play in the park and back into the pool. All in all it went pretty well.......until the end. No one was ready to leave and then A-girl decided to try to give me a heart attack. Luckily my friend had arrived as she was early to get the kids from the house and decided I likely needed some help. Just after she got to the pool a preschool or camp group with at least 20 kids arrived and the pool turned to chaos as there was at least that many already in it. As we were trying to round up our 6, A-girl decided to swim on her back. She has never done this before but often crawls on her hands and knees on her front telling everyone she is swimming. She laid on her back, and started to walk her hands backwards but slipped and was unable to get her hands back underneath to push her face out of the water. We both watched her slip and then try to push herself up once and then the second time I realized she was struggling so ran in shoes and all (we were ready to leave) and pulled her up. She wasn't really panicked at all, grabbed a towel, wiped her face and announced she was all done and headed for the gate. She wasn't phased at all. My friend and I couldn't believe how calm she was in the water or out for someone who obviously was struggling to breath while stuck under the water.

After lunch, L got to go back to the pool with a friend on a playdate. I gave A-boy the opportunity to pick any game in the hosue and I would play it with him. I was expecting to play one of his many favorites. What did he choose.........."Pretty Pretty Princess" complete with jewelry and a crown! There he sat in his shorts, no shirt and his trucks by his side wearing a necklace, bracelet, ring, earrings and a crown. Now there's a guy in touch with his feminine side!

Game called due to....flooding


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Monday, July 24. 2006

A-boy had t-ball fundamentals camp for 4 and 5 years olds this afternoon and was looking very forward to it. It was starting to rain as we left for the park and he was really disappointed. They ended up moving it indoors to the multi-purpose room. One would think this would be a safe location, however the rains came heavily down and within a half hour, the room began to flood. Water ran steadily in underneath an emergency exit door. Despite efforts of other staff and parents to mop up they finally had to call it quits after the water was a couple of inches deep, ran the entire length of the one wall and had made its way along the adjacent wall and was creeping further across the floor into the middle of the room. I don't think I have ever been to a t-ball game indoors little lone one called indoors on the count of rain! A-boy had a great time anyway and wanted to know if they would have the waterfall tomorrow. Not sure buddy, but it is supposed to rain again......

Fun at the beach


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Monday, July 24. 2006

This morning we loaded up the wagon, found a small corner for A-girl to sit and headed off to the beach. The older two road their bikes and I dragged along the wagon. We had a great time playing in the water and sand and having a picnic lunch.

One of the funniest scenes had to be, A-girl laying in a couple of inches of water, kicking her feet and moving her arms in a front crawl motion yelling as loud as she could "I wim!" followed closely by A-boy riding his bike home in only his bathing suit which had worked its way down leaving his butt looking very much like plumber's!

Thinking of Lucy


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Saturday, July 22. 2006

Our friends' neice Lucy, Friday at the age of 12 after a long couragious battle with cancer. What an amazing young girl. She had told her family that she wanted to die and Thursday told them that this would be the day she died.

I can't imagine the pain of losing a child. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

Camping Prep


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Saturday, July 22. 2006

We are heading out camping for a couple of days in the near future and since we have not been for almost 2 years now, we had some preparation work to do. We spent most of the afternoon washing "camp kitchen" stuff as it has 2 years of construction dust and debris in with the plates, pots and pans.

We also realized that we are short on a few things. We have 4 sleeping bags and 5 people. Good thing its hot and 3 are little people so we'll just make it work. We have three sleep pads and 5 people. That's a little trickier as despite the kids being small they are still wider than one narrow sleep pad......I'm wider than 1 sleep pad and I'm not realy wanting to share it.

We set the tent up and the kids had a great time running around it and playing in it. Alex doesn't remember it and Arianna had never seen the big tent just the smaller one that we had set up earlier in the summer for a backyard camp out.

It should be great fun and we're all looking forward to it.

Child restraints


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Friday, July 21. 2006

I've decided that the inventor(s) of various child restraint/safety harness straps need to spend some time (it would be brief) with our toddler. She seems to be able to undo any and all of them despite their vast differences. It has become common for us to look up into the rear view mirror and find her hanging forward in her car seat with the straps undone.

This evening we were in a store picking up some things for the older two to go to day camp in a couple of weeks and she was sitting in the 2 child area of the cart all buckled in with over the shoulder harness and lap belt system. As S., the older kids and I were looking at various things on the shelves and comparing various styles and brands, I happened to look over and see A-girl swinging from the handle of the cart, hanging upside down with her feet on the handle absolutely unrestrained enjoying the freedom of her own personal climbing structure.

I'd love to see the passive, semi-conscious children they used to test these harnesses/safety systems and then introduce our whirlwind, extremely energetic, lively full of zest almost 2 year old into the mix. Could be very entertaining......a lot more entertaining than flying down the interstate with the sudden realization that your toddler is unrestrained in their car seat making them a projectile if you ever had to stop suddenly. Be calm my heart!

Life's lessons


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Friday, July 21. 2006

This week, the kids have had the chance to play with old neighbors that left a year ago to spend in Boston while their Dad got his degree at Harvard and are back briefly visiting with family and friends before they leave tomorrow to live in Hawaii. It was so fun to watch all 5 kids play together almost as though time had stopped still over the past year and they hadn't missed any time being together.

This afternoon, the realization for the older girls (both almost 7) was that they would not see each other for a long time again and saying "good-bye" was difficult.

At dinner, L. became very angry, followed by tears and being really upset. When she was able to voice her feelings, she said "I wish M. wouldn't have to move again. Why can't they just stop moving and stay here". It was a great opportunity to talk about all sorts of feelings and things but I don't think Mom's words of love, comfort and support could really take away the sting of having great fun with special friends and get that taste of what could be only to realize that she'll have to wait at least another year to have that joy with her friends again.

Tough life lessons.

Imagination


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Thursday, July 20. 2006

This morning as I was cleaning up from breakfast, I hear A-boy talking to his little sister about a forklift. He is talking about "forklifting the table, the chairs and the stove" in the play area. I am wondering what he has found that creatively could become a forklift. I look over and see that he has a pant hanger with 5 "forks". I asked him where he found the hanger. He had just gotten himself dressed (a rare occurence so I wasn't saying anything). He replied "in the bedroom, just sitting there waiting to be a forklift". I asked him if there were pants on the hanger (knowing there were about 5 pair placed on it ready for wear this fall). He replied "No, not anymore. They are in a heap on the floor." He then proceeded on with his forklift to do all sorts of construction and lifting tasks likely never giving the heap of pants a second thought.

Language explosion


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Wednesday, July 19. 2006

A-girls' speech has been rapidly developing over the past week or so. You can actually ask her something and she will carry on a bit of a conversation. This morning , she left the livingroom and then a few minutes later returned announcing "I'm back" while pointing to her back.

The drawback at this stage of language development is that one sound combination or word to her has many different meanings. Later this morning she announced "I pay". In the past this has meant "I play" so I said "OK go play". I went downstairs to put in a load of laundry only to return a couple of minutes later to find her face completely painted with blue and black paint. Apparently "I pay" can also mean "I paint" and I had said "OK" and she did! I guess I will need to be more cautious as to what I agree to in the future.



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