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Consequences


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Wednesday, May 30. 2007

The kids have been struggling the past several days with changes in our routine (no more preschool, more trips to the Y for my trainings, sick baby etc) and it has resulted in "grouchy" kids that are resorting to yelling, screaming, pushing/shoving/hitting, name calling and speaking to each other in tones that are rude and disrespectful. They know the family ground rules and it feels like we are needing to review yet again, something that hasn't really changed. I wonder how they can forget these simple life rules yet, in the heat of the moment, in their frustration and "pure energy" responses/reaction, they do. They live in the moment and they let it all out. Their really doesn't seem to be much thinking, processing or problem solving taking place. Its a pure emotional response/reaction. So we start over. I feel like I am spending most of my time the past few days teaching (and not the fun stuff but the life stuff), disciplining and guiding. Its necessary but its tiring.

This afternoon, L was having a really tough time and she just wasn't seeming to "get" that the more she screamed and yelled at me and called me names the more consequences I was going to have to give her. Finally in pure frustration through the tears she screamed "Why do your consequences have to be so drastic?!?!?!?!?!?" I almost laughed but luckily for both of us I pulled myself together and smiled inside as I thought we were doing pretty well. She was still in the same room as I was, we were still talking and she was still going to activities that are in place for the rest of the day. I thought things were going well, consequences reasonable and we were making progress from the previous days. To her things were drastic! Guess its all perspective.

Baby faces


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Saturday, May 26. 2007

Baby L's personality is really starting to shine through. It is so much fun to see all the expressions he has.

















You've got the cutest little baby face!!!!!

Quote of the day


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Saturday, May 26. 2007

The quote at the beginning of the last chapter of the book I was reading said:

"If you dig a child a hole,
they will fall in.
If you build them a staircase,
they will climb it."
- unknown

Special moment


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Saturday, May 26. 2007

It is not very often that I find myself almost alone in our house. This afternoon was one of those rare and special moments. The baby was sleeping so I had stayed back and was going to work on various house things. The baby woke up unexpectedly and was very upset. He seemed cold so I pulled him into our bed and cuddled up with him. He drifted off to sleep and without any other urgent pressing demands (the laundry and tidying would still be there an hour later) I decided to cuddle with him, soaking in his gurgly baby sounds, deep breathing and that indescribable baby scent of his hair. I finished a book I had been reading that needed to be returned at the end of the weekend and thoroughly enjoyed the peacefulness of the afternoon. To many it likely doesn't sound like much, but to someone typically caught in the whirlwind and chaos of a family of six, it was a piece of heaven.

Changing Rooms


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Saturday, May 26. 2007

We were finally able to make the changes in sleeping arrangements we have been planning to do for a while today! WE set up bunk beds in the room L and AJ were sleeping in and that will now be the "girls" room and we moved L's junior loft bed into the old office for AJ. The kids were so excited about the changes. The rooms are still far from "perfect" or even really "workable" but the kids were able to enjoy a taste of what things will be like soon. I think the happiest of them all was AJ. He moved from a mattress on the floor under L's loft to the loft itself in his own room. When he first moved into her room, there was no way he could have slept alone. He needed to know she was nearby and now that he no longer has the night terrors he is able to be happy in his own space. L's biggest challenge will be to not get hit by the blades of the ceiling fan as she flits about her upper bunk with excitement. A-girl looks so small in her kid sized bottom bunk rather than her toddler bed. All three of them had such a hard time settling down to sleep tonight but they managed and are likely dreaming of all the things they would like to do to decorate and make the space come alive. I was taken by surprise by AJ's comment as he left the girls room after kissing A-girl goodnight. He announced "Now you will need to make me a routine!" L has a small photo album that I had written down a morning, afternoon, evening and school routine with a few steps to each one. The book is usually lost/misplaced and she still needs a lot of reminders (OK nagging) that I had hoped to avoid. He was brimming over with excitement and could hardly wait to have a routine. In his world I guess one needs to have a "real" bed before one can have routines despite the fact that he has them in place already and follows them better than anyone else in the house! I'm looking forward to getting the rooms more organized and workable........hopefully in the very near future.

What a parent says


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Friday, May 25. 2007

Several times in my years as a parent, I have said something and then thought, "Wow, I never imagined saying that in my life time!" Yesterday, I found myself thinking the same thing. A-girl has taken to putting the baby's fingers in her mouth and "gently" (or maybe not so) biting them. A couple of nights ago she all of a sudden bit the corner of his eye leaving quite a mark and leaving him very upset. Yesterday she kept putting his fingers in her mouth and ended up biting him yet again and leaving him relaly upset. Being extremely frustrated with her constant need to touch him and often not very gently or appropriately I said "Would you please keep his body parts out of your mouth!!!!!"

Four months old


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Friday, May 25. 2007

Its hard to believe that Baby L is already four months old! He is such a happy, content little guy that loves to be in the action. He is tolerant of his siblings "lovin'" and pretty much just goes with the flow. He is quick to smile and loves action. He jumps in his jumper, likes to stand in an exersaucer when we are where there is one, loves to eat and tries to reach for and play with his toys. He is a cuddler but also likes to "stand" on your lap when you hold him. He loves to pull hair and pinch skin when given the chance so is finding ways to defend himself in the interactions with siblings. Today, he even tried out a new line of defense! A-girl was doing her typical "in your face" smothering and lovin' and he was tolerating her. All of a sudden she flew away quicker than any words from me could have ever done. I looked at the baby and saw spit up on his face. Then I looked at A-girl and saw spit up on her mouth and face and a total look of disgust in her face and eyes. "He just barfed on me!!!" she said with astonishment. I did what any understanding parent would do. Well actually not. I burst out laughing totally unable to control myself. What a fitting payback! We got everyone cleaned up and it wasn't long til A-girl was back to her constant kissing, hugging and smothering. Poor guy may have to try the unexpected a few more times before she gives him any space!





Trip photos


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Thursday, May 24. 2007













Circles of life


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Tuesday, May 22. 2007

I like the analogy of the spiral effect of life and the fact that it really moves in a circular pattern giving us lots of opportunities to experience and learn the same things over or work on the same "issues" at many points in our lives. My life has orbited around to a familiar place for me. Today was my first day of training as a swim instructor at the Y. I was a swim instructor/life guard 26 years ago and when I graduated with my Master's Degree in Speech Pathology, I never imagined myself back in a pool working. Life has a funny way of taking us where we never thought we would go and I am back working in the water. I won't be working many hours a week but enough to meet the requirement for a membership and enough to give me a change of pace each week. During the training I will be taking on shifts that I would not normally work and as a result the kids will be coming with me and being in the Kid's Gym (childcare) at the Y. It is quite a different experience to have your punch card in hand and head to the time clock with 4 kids in tow but there is something reassuring about looking up from the pool and seeing your kids walk by the windows as they are going to get a drink of water. Its certainly not where I saw myself working at this stage in my life, however it works for our family at this point and that is what matters most. It definitely is a learning curve for all of us. I would have never guessed that my oldest would have the hardest time in the kids gym because she wanted one of us to be home with her while the other one was working and that wasn't possible as S was playing ultimate this evening. Baby L did about as well as I expected. He wasn't impressed but eventually calmed down. A-girl was so excited to be going to work with Momma and thoroughly enjoyed herself. AJ....well let's just say the trip had worn him out and he found a nice quiet place in a tunnel to curl up and go to sleep. When I went to get them I couldn't see AJ at all. I asked one of the staff where he was and they told me he was asleep in the tunnel. I was stunned that he was asleep but she reassured me that he wasn't bothering anyone and no one was bothering him. Everyone is now home and sleeping soundly. I am realizing I will need to be a lot more creative in time management to ensure that I can meet the demands of family life and being away from home a few hours a week for work......something I didn't have to consider when I was at this point in my circle of life many years ago.

Tired


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Tuesday, May 22. 2007

The kids did very well with the travel over the past few days. They were up late at night for several nights in a row, slept in the van in their car seats and then woken up in the middle of the night to transfer to a hotel when Mom and Dad were too tired to continue driving or if we did continue would put us in rush hour traffic in Chicago. Despite all the sleep deprivation we subjected them to, they did fairly well. Today however, it really caught up with them. L was almost asleep on the couch at our neighbors when I picker her up this afternoon after they had watched her for a couple of hours for me while I had the other three at a class. Poor AJ actually was so tired he fell asleep in the Kid's Gym at the Y in a tunnel at 7:30PM. He also feel asleep on a chair at the wedding this weekend while his sisters were tearing up the dance floor. NOw we'll have to see if we can catch up on sleep in the next few days.

Travel


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Tuesday, May 22. 2007

Traveling with children is always interesting. Our past trip was no exception. We ended up doing a lot of the driving in the late afternoon, evening and night although we still spent a large portion of the day driving as well. (12 hours one day on the way out and 8 on the way back). Around bedtime, we would put the kids in PJ's and they'd fall asleep as we drove. One the way home, we had stopped and I was in a gas station bathroom trying to get three of the four children in pajamas. The older two were pretty much self sufficient but I was helping A-girl. I turned to help AJ and A-girl sat down naked on the floor of the bathroom to pull up her PJ pants. I cringed to think of all that is on a bathroom floor and then figured I better not "go there" and told her to stand up. As I was helping her stand up and get her pants on, L announces "Oh the drama of staying clean!!" She pretty much summed that one up in one sentence!

Stepping Back in time


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Tuesday, May 22. 2007

At the end of last week, we loaded up the van and made the 750 mile trek to Ontario. I had lived there for 10 years before moving here 10 years ago this coming fall. It was my first job out of College and I met many friends there in the same stage of life and growing up. We had a great time. While there I was matched with a great nine year old girl. This weekend, I got to share in the joy and celebration of her wedding. It was so amazing to see all the accomplishments she has made in her life and I am so proud of her. She was an incredible kid when I met her and a truly amazing young woman now. My very special friend AMC, generously offered us a place to stay and she, M and their three wonderful children set the foundation for a wonderful weekend creating great memories. I have been back once since leaving in 1997 and that was a surprise visit that another friend from here and I made for the 40th birthday of another friend. Lots of changes have occurred in that time. Many of my friends had toddlers, newborns or no children at all when I moved away. Sunday, we filled the G family's home with 6 families and 14 children (only one was born before I left). It was great to see friends that I haven't seen in ages. They look just the same but their lives have changed remarkably...just like mine. It was great fun to be back in that part of the country again. I really miss the deep friendships and the sense of true connection in relationships. Perhaps its an age thing, a stage in life thing or a setting thing but it just has never been like that again. Thanks for a great weekend guys!

Marked


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Tuesday, May 15. 2007

This morning we dropped off the van for an oil change and made our way home via the bagel shop. I had A-girl in the stroller and Baby L in the front carrier. About three blocks from home he fell asleep. About a block from home, I looked down and he had an interesting smatter on his face. Somehow a bird had managed to poop on him and only get him and not me! Guess that's one to add to his list of firsts!

All fun and games..............


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Tuesday, May 15. 2007









.........till you get it in your mouth!!

Dancing Girl


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Monday, May 14. 2007

Ever since L was a toddler, she has loved to dance. She has taken various dance classes at the park and then when they no longer offered programming for her age group, she participated in a summer program at a dance school and loved it. She has been there for two years now. She enjoys dancing but doesn't really like the warm ups very much. This weekend marked her final dance class for the 2006-07 year. We are looking forward to many impromptu performances over the summer.















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