Saturday, December 15, 2012

life lately with my gaggle of kids...

life has been busy.
  how can life not be busy with four kids, sports, school, church, family time and everything in between.  but it's been good.  good busy.
last month i took all of my kids to lux one morning and as they all went through the door, the gentleman waiting to come out said, "wow, you have a whole gaggle of kids."  he said it with a smile on his face and obviously meant it to be funny, so i just smiled back and said, "yup, they sure are fun."  sometimes i find it humorous how people react to a family with four kids.  when i was growing up we had four kids and i never felt like we had a big family.  we went to school with families of 6, 7 and 8 kids.  in high school we knew several families with 10.  to me four was nothing.  i wonder if my parents got comments about having a lot of kids and we just never noticed.  
oh, well.  i must say, i love having four kids.  i highly recommend it.
now, before you read on, i am going to go ahead and say that i really want to get back to blogging for my kids' sake.  so they have some sort of written journal of the goings on in their lives.  with that said, this post has the potential to come off as an annoying, bragging holiday letter about how wonderful and perfect our family is.  we're not.  my kids' have currently been so completely on my last nerve with all their bickering and not listening to me, that i have actually considered that there be no presents for any of them on christmas morning.  but that's life with kids, right?  at the end of the day when you sit down to think about them, you see what great kids they really are and all the wonderful things about them.  and aren't those the things we should focus on?  i think so.  
so, what have we been up to...

jack played flag football again this fall with the same team he has played with the last two years.  he loves it.  he really just loves all sports, but since football is the sport of the moment, it is probably his current favorite.  he is ridiculously into soccer right now as well, as pete mentioned.  wanting to watch manchester united games on tv and asking for a balotelli jersey for christmas.  jack also still has an extreme love of reading.  he is currently making his way through the ranger's apprentice series, recently finished island of the blue dolphins and sign of the beaver, and pete just let him start the fellowship of the ring, which should keep him busy for a while.  he read the hobbit last year and is currently completely geeking out over the upcoming movie.  and since he caught me in a moment of weakness last spring and i promised he could see the hobbit when it hit theaters this december, it will be his first pg-13 movie.  big deal here, folks.  so, school, sports, reading, playing indoor tackle football with finn (more on that later...) and being a huge help all the time with miss dot (he comes in from school and scoops her right out of my arms), that seems to nicely wrap up jack's life at the moment.  

lucy is keeping us laughing as usual.  she is always dressing up, dancing around the house and playing silly games.  she loves putting hard-to-find or random items on her christmas lists.  the last three years were a typewriter, a golden key and a record player.  this year it's a hand held telescope for adventures. she is currently playing tennis, which she seems to love, which is good because its hard to find a sport this miss isn't too embarrassed to try.  she has finally discovered her own love for reading.  it started with the magic tree house books (which she somehow is already too cool for) and completely exploded when she read the invention of hugo cabret.  she couldn't put it down.  shoot, i just remembered i was going to get her a reading light for christmas...  anyway, she also is our kid who completely, 100% adores her school.  they all like school fine, but lucy loves it.  she loves her teacher and loves her friends and hates being late (pete can elaborate on that if he wants).  when asked recently for a school video what her favorite thing about her school is, she said going to the chapel at lunch to pray while its quiet.  she can be a complete goofball sometimes, but has a sweetness to her that i just adore.  she is our little sue heck.  (super random reference to the show the middle).

mr. finn is currently playing soccer, but really his world is all about football.  he is always looking for someone to play with him, spends hours by himself tossing the football in the air and making dramatic diving catches, collects football cards and sleeps with his football like a teddy bear.  it's bad, folks.  a full-blown obsession.  he is currently missing his two front teeth thanks to an indoor game of tackle football with his brother.  instead of dropping the ball and catching himself with his hands, he held tight to the ball and went down, face to the hard wood.  the teeth were knocked straight out.  as in, we had to look around on the floor to find them.  needless to say, there was lots of blood.  since it has been so long since i blogged, i should also mention that finn started kindergarten this year.  so between school, soccer and spending any and all spare time in some football related activity, finn is a pretty busy dude.  he really likes school.  he has one of the sweetest teachers on the planet and his buddy zach is in his class, so life is good.  the only downfall is having to have his haircut.  as you may know, we let mr. finn's hair get quite unruly on many an occasion last year.  when we informed him he was in need of a haircut, he said, "noooo!  i like this pile of hair on my head!"  

then there is our little, teeny, tiny miss dot.  she really is such a little peanut it makes me laugh every time i look at her.  i took some 6 month pictures of her and had every intention of posting them, but kind of missed the boat.  i will try and post them soon, but here's a little 6 month update, nonetheless.  dot is a complete maniac.  she is a ball of extreme energy.  she is kind of like buddy the elf - she needs little sleep, has tons of energy and is, for the most part, very happy.  and like a real elf, she is tiny.  did i mention how little she is?  anyway, yesterday she was up for more than 12 hours with a whopping 20 minute nap.  i'm not kidding.  luckily she is so cute, so i don't mind that most of my time is spent trying to get all the things i could do while she should be sleeping, done with her in my arms or close at hand.  she has been scooting around for a couple months now, but is just starting to get up on her hands and knees.  she babbles constantly and loves her brothers and sister.  she has earned the unfortunate nickname of "car pooper" since her car seat seems to be her favorite place to soil her diaper.  probably 3 out of 5 days a week, the kids get in the car from school to inform me, "mom!  it stinks back here! can you pull over and change dot's diaper?"  fun times with a baby and older kids.  and you can mark another tally for poop references on our blog...

and lots of days, especially like the last few when she hasn't felt very well, she just wants to be held.  and that is totally ok by me.  when i look at my other three kids and see how fast it all goes, i can't find fault in the sleepless nights or the times that seem hard or even on the fussiest of days.  
good and bad, i'll take it all.  this is my life and i wouldn't trade it for anything.
i certainly feel blessed.  

Monday, November 12, 2012

pete post - kids quotes and one question

since emily has apparently abandoned this poor blog, i figured i would take over - and maybe on a more regular basis.  but i will need to figure out the picture portion since i know it is depressing when you go to a new blog post and just see words (especially when they are my words).  it is like opening your email and seeing 15 new emails, only to find out that 14 of them are spam and one is an error telling you that an email you sent yesterday was kicked back because you are a moron and wrote @yahho instead of @yahoo.  in any event, here is your spam blog post of the day.

favorite kid comments recently:

emily: i hope our grass comes in nice this year (referring to winter grass)
finn: i hope solo too.

apparently finn still has some summer olympic memories stored up.  either that, or jack has brainwashed him enough to be obsessed with soccer.  on a side note, jack and finn are apparently die hard manchester city fans.  they want to record the games.....they know the players.....they understand the rules....even extra time which makes no sense.....what the hell happened.

here is another one - after talking about grandma sherrick as we headed to my parent's house for her birthday dinner, somehow it was mentioned that her real name was martha, to which jack asked, "is that short for marthias?" yes jack.  because martha is a much shorter version of the commonly used name marthias.  i might start calling grandma sherrick marthias.  it would be out of know, using her God given name.

lucy recently asked, "what does unique mean?".  i gave her the definition in the best 2nd grade terms that i could, and then i provided some examples, such as "finn is unique because he has the chubbiest cheeks....or dot is unique because she is so darn cute....or lucy is unique because she somehow can walk even though she is so darn skinny".  and then i said, "and mom is unique..." and jack chimed in, "because she doesn't pooter".  and lucy said, "and dad is unique because he pooters a lot!" and finn appropriately added, "and it stinks".  i was just glad jack chimed in, because who knows where i was going with that one....

i overheard a discussion between lucy and finn recently in which finn confusedly asked, "what is beautiful about pilgrims' feet?!?!?!"  thank you vdm for not only singing America the Beautiful every morning, but also for singing every verse.  don't worry, i told finn the answer - "because pilgrims' feet are hairy, but the hair is always nicely parted to the side on the boys feet and braided into pigtails on the girls feet."

and finally, if anyone is still reading this blog, i am looking for some suggestions.  emily wants to write a family mission statement (something she has been reading about in some silly mom books).  so we are doing that tomorrow night with the kids.  however, i am reading a much more manly book called pride and prejudice (yes, i have read it before, but it is one of those books that i am basically always reading when i don't have a better book to read).....and i was thinking, "why don't houses have cool names any more, like longbourne and netherfield?"  so i told emily we could only write a mission statement if we also named our house.  so instead of saying, "i am going home" i would say, "i am headed back to pemberley".  and so i am asking for suggestions.  if you would be so kind as to leave a suggestion in the comment section, they will all be considered.....and then promptly discarded until i come up with something better (but i would like your suggestions nonetheless).

have a nice evening.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

pete post - san francisco trip {part 2}

after our first 3 days in san francisco, finn and i had completed most of our checklist (more on that later).  but we still had quite a few things to accomplish.  and now that it was past the labor day craziness, i was hoping that the crowds would die down and we would be able to get around town easier and least easier and quicker than walking 14-18 miles a day.

tuesday morning we headed back down to the water to get on the ferry boat to alcatraz.  since we had seen it from pier 39 on our first afternoon, finn was eagerly awaiting to step on the rock.  so eager in fact that i had to keep telling him, "whoa, whoa, whoa.....marriage police police pull over".  

i know what you are thinking in looking at this picture...."wow, i need to go back and look at sand francisco from day 1...this looks exactly like it.  perfectly to scale and even the same number of windows.  amazing"  but unfortunately, you would be wrong.  our top row of windows were more of rectangles than squares because finn was distracting me about how the west side of the island needed to be steeper because of erosion from the waves, and we were building it to look like it was in the 1860's when it was used as a military base during the civil war.  don't worry, finn was right, and we rectified the west portion of the island, but we clearly missed the windows.  that was my way of revealing that alcatraz was a military base.  and yes, it was during the civil war that occurred on the east coast.  it was never attacked....but if it was, they would have been ready.  actually, i bet they probably would have been caught by surprise because they would have been playing "would you rather".  which reminds me, finn and i played quite a lot of "would you rather" and "eye spy" while on various buses.  i liked when i asked, "would you rather play would you rather or eye spy?"  finn answered, "would you rather."  and i said, "would i rather what???"  and then finn would laugh.  the matrix would laugh too if he was there.  

our view of the golden gate bridge from the ferry - which we were planning on walking across after visiting alcatraz.  we previously tried to go across the bridge, but we couldn't see more than a few feet in front of us because of fog.  and seeing it from the ferry didn't give me a good feeling that it was going to be any better today. 

not only was it a military base, it was taken over by hippee indians in the 1960's and claimed as their land until the federal gov't took it back and decided to give them reservations.  just think, if things had gone differently, i could have been playing "slot machine gun kelly" in al capone's old cell.  i bet i would have won too....

the jail cell and grate to show how the only successful escape occurred.  although they don't think the escapees survived, they were never found.  so they still claim it was unsuccessful and "nobody has ever escaped from alcatraz".  whatever....david copperfield did it....i think....or maybe he just sprayed down some women in a jail cell with a hose while phil collins' "i can feel it coming in the air tonight...oh no..." played in the background.  

the library that andy dufresne helped build.  and the yard where they played baseball and andy collected his rocks / chess pieces....which reminds me, andy get over it alcatraz, its not that hard.  

this is where finn threw a "rock" from the "rock" into the ocean.  he loved it.  check it off the list (more on that soon).

finn peaking through a grate and saying, "what kind of $#&*@ up tour is this"

and then off to the golden gate bridge.  luckily for us, the fog had cleared up a bit and we could at least see it.  it was still foggy, but unbelievable.  and to think that this was built in the 1930's still amazes me.  finn was adamant that we walk across the entire bridge.  i think he figured we had not walked enough in the past few days so we needed a little exercise.  but before walking across, a nice fellow, who we will nickname "baldy mcbalderson" (i don't remember many features about him except one), took this nice picture of finn and me.  and about an hour later when i asked another random person to take our picture on the other side of the bridge, finn informed me, "that is the same guy you asked before" (to which mr. mcbalderson shrugged in confirmation).  but he did a good job, so nice work baldy mcbalderson.

another one of my favorite "would you rather" questions from the trip that was asked multiple times by finn went like this:
finn: would you rather jump off the golden gate bridge into the ocean or jump off a cliff into the ocean
me: a cliff
finn: what if the cliff was as tall as the golden gate bridge?
me: then the golden gate bridge
finn: why?
me: because then i wouldn't hit the rocks
finn: but there are no rocks.
me: then it is not a cliff
finn: yes, it is a cliff that is like a really long diving board as tall as the golden gate bridge
me: then that is not called a cliff.  it is called a really long diving board
finn: you are the coolest person in the world
me: i know

as i told finn to scoot out further so his feet would overhang enough to capture a good picture, an old lady looked at me in shock.  i think she thought i was a terrible parent for asking my son to move closer to the edge of the railing that was humanly impossible for him to fit through.  maybe she thought he was triple jointed and he could somehow flatten himself, twist around, and squeeze out and fall into the water....all in a matter of seconds where i would not be able to stop it from happening.  it reminded me of when jack and i went to the top of the empire state building and he ran to the edge, jumped on the little block wall, and stuck his head through the fence to look down and multiple people gasped.  they didn't realize that i would have needed bolt cutters to cut the fence if he was going to get any further.  at first i thought, "wow, people scared of heights are not that smart....especially people scared of other people's heights."  but then i thought, "i bet baabee would have shrieked like a little girl.  so maybe people that are scared of other people's heights really like black high top converse and guinness."  

seriously, baldy mcbalderson is a regular ansel adams.  scratch that, he is annie leibowitz, because then finn and i are famous.  but seriously, this is one of my favorite pictures.  

after the golden gate bridge, we went back to the golden gate park.  and this time, we went to the koret children's quarter, which is a great playground that we missed last time we were there.  but lucky for us, it was no longer labor day weekend, so the park was not too crowded, and we had a blast playing football on the playground, completing obstacle courses, going down the rock slide, and throwing sand in other kids faces to make them cry.  

there are fake waves that have holes to climb up them.  very exciting stuff to pretend you are surfing.  

just like jack in central park, finn could have stayed here all day.  i am not sure why we take our kids to cool cities.  we should just take them to a park they have never been to before.  

and we finished the day with some dinner and ice cream at another hipster place that emily found on some super cool blog.  they make homemade ice cream every day and the shakes are supposedly delicious.  i can't vouch for that because finn just got vanilla, so how could they really screw that up.  but i can tell you that their food was surprisingly good, and their new castle in a frosty mug was tasty too.  however, this was likely our last chance to check of the list: "tell a funny joke to a waiter or waitress".  i tried to pressure him into telling, "where does the king keep his armies? his sleevies!!!"  but he would not.  sadly, that item will remain unchecked from the list.    

on wednesday, our last day in san francisco, we still had a few items we wanted to check off.  but we didn't have a ton of time before we had to head back to the airport.  so we headed off to coit tower.  and we climbed the hundreds of steps to get to the top.  pretty neat little walk way, and i can't imagine having my front door open up onto these stairs (which many apartments seem to do). but the gardens along the way were impressive and the views were great.  

we got there early, so we were the first ones up it along with another couple that was from phx who was also in town to see the giants vs. dbacks.  he rudely said, "if you are from phx, why are you wearing a yankees shirt?"  to which i very politely responded, "because i am a better person than you."  just kidding, i wasn't polite.....and i may have said, "um, because i like the yankees."

one of the first thing finn asked to do when he heard we were going to san francisco was to ride a cable car.  and specifically, he wanted to ride it on the outside.  we had hopped on a cable car on a previous day for a short ride, but it was too crowded to ride the outside, so i figured wednesday morning when it was not crowded was our last chance.  so finn and i got on an empty cable car and rode it back to our hotel....on the outside.  it was great and finn loved it.  it was a nice way to end our trip.

and now for the list.  i made a check list for finn before we went so that i could plan ahead and he could get excited.  as i mentioned previously, the list was always fun to pull out at dinner or on a bus and finn would always ask, "can you read me the list and i will check off the ones we did today."  as you can see, we missed a few, but we did a pretty good job.  thanks finn for being such a good sport the whole trip.  next time you turn 5 we can do it again.