Thursday, July 30, 2009

Now You Know Why We Avoid Shopping Together

Mike has been doing a great deal of work at home (which I love by the way!), and this afternoon, Mike had to prepare for a big meeting.

I decided to take the kids out of the house so he could focus in peace. Since we are starting school very soon I thought going ahead and getting school supplies would be an awesome idea.

The kids were of course, thrilled.

So we get there and the usual patterns begin.

"Can I have this?"

"Wait, I need to see if there's anything new at the dollar stop!"

"They have Mcqueen stickers!!!!!"

And so my three older children began the constant questions, chatters and begging. Spanky never bothered to ask. He was far too busy filling up the cart with things he needed (the things all two year old need--water bottles, post it notes, balls, glue, markers, crayons, locker mirrors, protractors, erasers.....).

Trying to make sure I was getting everything on the extremely specific lists, I let the kids continue and went on with the shopping.

I was glad I came early because all the kids seemed to start wondering, especially Spanky who had his hands full with 5 lunch boxes (one for each day I suppose).

So anyway, I ended up letting the three older kids get a special 'school' treat. The girls got fancy folder covers and Dino got a Cars notebook (their school keeps most supplies plain so this was a big deal). I figured I would try to barter with Spanky with something he already put in the cart.

At the check-out line, I mentioned to the cashier, I did not need everything in the basket and would be giving her a few items. It was easy to do at this point since Spanky was very distracted with candy by the register.

I handed her:
  • 23 bottles of glue
  • 7 bottles of clear glue
  • 5 mini-post it packs
  • 9 boxes of 24 count crayons
  • 3 water bottles
  • 6 lunch boxes
  • 2 Hello Kitty back packs (guess he was thinking of his sisters?)
  • 1 Koosh ball
  • 7 packages of markers
  • 2 index card packs
  • 1 soup container

Miley commented as she was trying to wrestle Spanky away from the candy that she understood why I never liked to go to Target during the day and I only went at night when Daddy was home.

"I have a head ache and my legs hurt chasing that boy," she mumbled as we got in the car.

Sarah of course chimed in saying she would be happy shopping online from now on.

I smiled, thinking this would end the endless quests to go to Target on a lazy day.

And when I got home, I had everything we needed for the school list plus:
  • 4 extra index card packages
  • 3 extra sets of jumbo markers
  • 2 folders
  • 1 extra set of erasers

I'm sure I'll find a use for those items somehow ;)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Cannot Live Without Foods

We are trying some new items out at the Very Busy with 4 household right now so bear with me as I must once again miss Menu Monday. In lieu, I 'd like to share some of my items I always have handy just in case.

For breakfast, I always have eggs on hand. Honestly eggs are the miracle product. I can scramble 'em, fry 'em, bake 'em or whatever. I almost always serve eggs with salsa too--a house in Texas cannot be without salsa (pretty sure it's a state law ;) )

For quick lunches, I always make sure there are tortillas and cheddar cheese for quesadillas. I can whip these up pretty quick with a pannini press too. I tend to keep at least one package of tortillas in the freezer and we always have Mammoth Cheddar on hand :)

For snacks, I try to keep all ingredients for a smoothie on hand--that would be milk, fat-free plain yogurt and frozen berries. My kids live off these esp. in the summer!

For dinner, I always have a boneless skinless chicken breast (in freezer) and baby spinach. With these items and some various veggies, I can whip up a grilled chicken salad in a matter of minutes (just have to remember to thaw the chicken!).

For quick desserts (and if I know friends are stopping by), a container of heavy whipping cream and fresh berries. I can whip the cream with some sugar and vanilla (also always here) and serve over berries. I also like to grate some Callebaut semi-sweet chocolate over the dessert (yes, the chocolate is always here!).

And of course, there are always some French roast coffee beans. I need my coffee!

Now if you are really wanting a meal plan this week, check out Jen at Chive Talkin' :)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Split Personality

I have been leading two very different lives on the internet. There is the mommy of 4 here on the blog and Facebook, and then there is the very political and opinionated girl from Texas on Twitter who sometimes discusses a bit of her other life. I even use a different name but do reference my blog.

A while back I did do a political post on here and then another. It just didn't feel right. My blog is a journal of my life with my husband and kids. I know I do not share the same political views as my friends on this blog (and thank goodness, how terrible would the world be if we never spoke to those who think differently?). I'd rather discuss other issues here--things we can all relate to in some degree.

Twitter I am all-together different person. Different name, different attitude. I rarely 'hold back' and do speak my mind. It's my place to let loose and discuss world events. Not the day to day mommy stuff I usually talk about. It's a refreshing change.

And then came Facebook.

Facebook includes so many of in-real-life friends along with blogging friends. I decided from the start I would use Facebook more like my conversations I have with my friends. I admit when I see some 'status' messages that include anything remotely political, I am tempted to say something, but I will not. Beside, talking all politics can be really tiring. Is it just me or do you get emotional after watching too much news?

There are times when path cross and I do have many blog friends who also follow me on Twitter (and bless those who think differently then me and still follow me!), and I do list my blog on Twitter, and my Twitter handle is named on Facebook. But for the most part I keep it separate.

So am I alone here? Anyone else guilty of split personalities? And if you are on Facebook, let me know! (If you dare to follow me on Twitter, I am Lisaindallas -- but don't say I didn't warn ya!)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Well that's different

We parent differently. We are as unique as our children. I believe God gave us our children because we will know the best way to parent them (whether through birth or adoption--His hands brings us together).

Unless there is abuse, I see different parenting methods as just that. Different methods. Maybe not for me but maybe for them.

So at the pool the other day I saw a mom with three young boys, ranging from say 6 months to 5 years. She was 'playing' with them in the shallow portion of the pool. 'Playing' for this mom consisted of kicking (yes, kicking) her oldest in the stomach so he fell back in the shallow water falling completely in. He came out coughing from air he swallowed. She stopped, asking if he was OK. He nodded so she did it again. And this time, when he came out coughing, she laughed. Then she threw one of those balls soaked with water to her middle son, well not threw, more whipped it at his chest. Once again, fell over. And more laughter.

I turned to some life guards. The teenage boys were watching the mom with their mouths dropped open.

Then she sat back down with the baby she was holding the entire time and let the boys play. Please note, the baby never even touched the water or got splashed--both mom and brothers were very gentle and sweet to the little guy (he was very cute!).

I am still not sure what to think. I know my husband has bugged me about handling my kids, especially the boys, with kitten gloves. I am just not the 'rough house' type. I could never imagine doing this with my kids.

So I'm wondering. Is this normal? I mean they all seemed to happy and laughing (when not coughing). Am I just too 'soft'?

Monday, July 20, 2009

But what is normal?

The kids have taken their final bows, I have penciled the last Siamese eyebrow on the last child. The play is over.

Now we can get back to normal.

After we wash the piles of clothes that have been waiting. After we wash all those bed sheets that have been waiting. After we scrub the floors that seem to have taken on new colors. After we wash the mountain of dishes. After we catch up on all the mail I've left in a giant pile. After I return those 40-50 phone calls. After I respond to the emails.

Then I can get back to normal.

The days when my kids go to bed at a decent hour and wake up at decent hour. The days when the kitchen stays clean. The days when I have some summer school work ready. The days I have that one load of laundry and I am totally on top of it. The days the kids do their 15 minute clean-ups plus their chores. The days we go a quick fun activity. The days everything is together.

Do you have a lot of those 'normal' days?

I have to be honest. I cannot remember my last 'normal' day.

Our new 'normal' always seem to include some sort of snag. Kids staying up too late. A broken AC. A quick errand that turns into a four event. Running out of milk right when I am about to make muffins is 'normal'.

Maybe I should think about wanting an 'abnormal' day. Those days when everything seems to be perfect......but then how boring would I be?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Someone was going to say it sooner or later

It finally happened last night.

"I've been watching him. I don't know if it's ADD or tourettes or just discipline, but I know something is wrong with him," a mom said looking at me.

She was talking about Dino.

Dino, my sweet lovable boy who seems to be a little delayed in almost everything but kindness. His gait is getting better, his speech is getting a little better. But he's still not up to snuff.

I know he's not. We've been to doctors. His special ed teachers don't know what it is. They think maybe dyspraxia, maybe mental cognition. The doctors think it might be the low muscle tone--that he will get better, it will just take longer and more work. I have asked about autism--every doctor and teacher has said no, not in the slightest. Some friends think he make have selective mutism because he has moments of perfectly clear conversation with me but very few other people.

I know because of the delays, he has confidence issues. We are trying to build him up. We have been blessed with this theater experience to have so many kids run up and hug him. His older sisters praise him constantly.

Things just aren't clicking.

He has had a few outbursts on stage because someone is out of place, and usually in his spot on stage, or his clothing gets messed up and he tries to fix it.

The other night when I was putting him to bed it took every bone in my body not to shake him and scream 'what is wrong with you?' but I held back, spoke to him. I did most the talking as his looked at me and nodded his head, occasionally whispering a quick response.

He does have a few friends at school. He laughs, he plays but rarely actually talks with them. It's more gestures and smiles.

I don't know what I should be doing to help him. I fear I am the reason he is having so many issues. I don't do enough with him. I don't give him the care and help he needs. I wish I could just wave a magic wand and he would be 'normal'.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


When I first signed up the kids to be in the summer musical at the local theater, I will admit it was because of two primary reasons, 1. keep them busy 2. cheap (near free) alternative to pretty much everything else out there.

I was first surprised when I found how much both the kids and I were enjoying it. No community theater is not Broadway, but I challenge anyone on Broadway to come up with half the quality of set design and costumes with the shoe string budget our little community theater has! The director has amazed me too--taking my very shy, Dino and bringing home on the stage to perform, taking my lovely girls and showing them the magic that happens when you step on stage and the audience claps. I could go on but I am sure you get the point!

But even if these things were not there, this experience would be worth it. For a reason I did not see until we spent hour after hour with the older children in the green room. The real feel of community.

The older, more seasoned performers seem to take on a natural, loving, older sibling role to the younger, less experienced cast members. I have looked around the room and seen the prince (a middle schooler) sit down and chat with Dino about whatever, the King (an amazingly talented senior) calm down a crying Spanky telling him 'one day I tell you, you will be king', one of the wives gently fixing Sarah's wig, and another wife sitting and telling jokes with pre-schoolers. And that is just the tip of ice burg! There is so much encouragement and love from the older kids to the younger and vice versa. No one thinks they are 'better' or 'too good' to settle down and hang out with the different age groups. They hang out together and have a good time! I don't know if it theater magic or the community feel that seems to radiate in everything there--whatever it is, I wish I could bottle it and share it with the world.

Chatting with another parent, he made the following comment regarding the older children, "I can only hope my children will act that way when they are older."

I could not agree more.

And now--back to the green room!

Monday, July 6, 2009

It's 9:50 pm and my kids are wide awake...

And it's not going to change anytime soon.

It turns out the play they are in, 'The King and I', lasts at least three hours. Night performances start at seven pm and they are all in the last scene.

The last practice ended around 8 pm, and Dino fell asleep in the middle of the stage in the bow position.

I need to change their clocks and turn them into temporary night owls.

If I heard another mom tell me this, I would say she was insane. Why would ever want your kids to break into your 'me' time?

Well, maybe I have gone a bit batty. The thought of letting my five year old son stay up as late as me (if not later) is a bit crazy.

But there is bright side. They sleep in. This morning they slept until 8:45 am. Really.

Guess for a little while, I'll just have morning 'me' time. Until I have to change the clocks back for school which sadly is closer than it looks.

Wish me luck on that one ;)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

This is America

**Please click on the above picture if it's not all showing. I am once again having sizing issues :0

I cannot think of a better picture of the Fourth of July. No there aren't any fireworks or flags but to me this is America.

The smiling boy, full of hope, optimism and joy, like the American spirit so many are drawn to around from around the world. The standard American fare beside him--Coca Cola, nachos, junk food. Symbols of America. The blur next to him--America is never slowing down. The mix of the crowd--we do not have a national language, we don't have a similar look (OK most of do have big, blonde hair in the Lone Star State). We are a melting pot, of cultures, ideas, traditions.

And of course, the football field lit up with the bright lights. This is small town Texas. The only place to be on Friday nights in the fall; the only place for our small town to be on the Fourth of July.

Happy Birthday America!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Suddenly I'm Bright and Breezy

I am not a stage mom. Not in the least.

But three of my kids are in a big musical production this summer. And we have been sitting at the theater for over three hours almost every day practicing. I've even downloaded the songs they sing for the play and we practice at home.

The meeting of the royal prince and princesses, Getting to know you, Home Sweet Home, The Temple, the procession, the tearful ending. We practice the dancing, the bowing.

And they are having a blast. And guess what? I am too!

I never would have thought sitting in the theater watching the scenes over and over again would be magical. Yet they are.

I can honestly say neither I or the kids have 'Hollywood dreams' --we love the Lone Star State far too much. However, as an activity--this may be right up there with ballet.

So on with the show...what show, you ask.

Here's a clip from the movie, based on the musical. It is not puzzlement, I think it's one we've all gotten to know ;)