Friday, January 30, 2009

Where exactly did the time go?

Dear Meg,

Today is your 8th birthday. I cannot believe that you're 8 years old already. Your birth can't have been 8 years ago; it was just yesterday that you opted to wait until your due date to make your appearance. To this day you despise being late.

I know we have our issues. It's not surprising given that you are so much like me. You love to read and I'm so happy that we share that trait. You're stubborn too; I'd like to blame Dad for that but I'm pretty sure that's my doing as well. I'm happy that you got Dad's love of sports though. Maybe in a couple of years I can teach you to play the piano, or you can take up the flute, just like me.

Don't always be so hard on yourself. Remember, all we ask is that you try your best at things. That does NOT mean be perfect. It just means quality work, or trying your hardest when you're out skating. When we give advice, take it. It doesn't always mean that we're criticizing. Sometimes we actually want to be helpful in order to make you happy.

So baby girl, enjoy your hockey scrimmage tonight. Tomorrow we'll celebrate with cake and presents. Know that we love you so very, very much.

Love, Mama

Thursday, January 29, 2009

No really, I hate titles

There is nothing like my children playing nicely, or getting along. It's almost magical when it happens, and it allows me a moment to watch them and observe.

Right now, Annie and Izzie are taking turning jumping off a small basket. They're talking back and forth about jumping. They both insisted that I put ponies in their hair, and they're wearing matching outfits. When they're not getting into all sorts of mischief, they play quite well together. Now that they're both talking so much, it's fun to listen to them because they sound so different. Izzie has a higher pitched voice than Annie, and she pronounces her words a bit better. She also whines more when she wants Annie to stop something, or doesn't get her way. They may be twins, but there's not much about them that is similar.

Yesterday the refused to take a nap. The very last time I went up to their room to check on them, they were diaperless, so I changed them and got them up. Meg and Drew were watching Cars on DVD so the girls puttered around until the movie was over and the living room was big-kid free. Izzie climbed up into my lap and fell asleep. She hasn't done that in a long time. Meg and Drew came downstairs for something and were so in awe of Izzie sleeping that Meg covered her with a blanket, and Drew gave her sweet kisses. It's moments like these that remind me why I wanted kids in the first place. Their little acts of kindness can be so darn adorable.

Of course if you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you know that Izzie woke up from that little nap, barfed all over me (THREE times) and then went to bed. Amazing how barf can ruin a perfectly good moment.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Open Letters (edited)

Dear State of Maine Lawmakers:

Please, for the love of cookies, do NOT cut the school day to a 4 day week to save money. Study hard before you make this decision. While I'm thrilled that you're not considering making a 4 day week mandatory, the whole idea is awful to a parent of a 2nd grader who loves going to school more than anything in the world. I can barely explain to her why she has to stay home on a snow day, let alone the thought of explaining to her that in these tough times, her beloved State wants to take away school from her. While she thinks that being home with me is awful, imagine those kids who'd have to spend a day in daycare if their parents could afford the cost, because the politicians have their heads up their ()$*#( and think that eliminating an entire day of school would make a huge difference. Think long and hard on this one State of Maine Lawmakers; I'll be watching you.

Sincerely, Mama to a 2nd grader


Dear Megan,

I am not a mean Mama. Creating rules and order in our house is not an attempt to piss you off; it's an attempt to stop all the yelling I have to do day in and day out because you DO NOT LISTEN to me. You are the oldest, and trust me, it's no fun, but when I ask you to set a good example for your brother and sisters, I mean it. I do not mean that you have to be perfect, but I would love, love, love for you to do ONE DAMN thing that I ask of you and do it consistently. You're going to be 8 years old in a few days, and it's about time that you stop telling me that you "don't know why" you always act up and get it together kiddo. You're so well behaved in school, but when you get home you ignore me and Dad, and you run up and down the halls, you yell, you throw toys. This is NOT the behavior of an 8 year old; this is how Annie and Izzie act. Trust me, I do NOT enjoy parenting 4 kids who act like they're all 2. I would rather eat razors than yell all the time, so please stop acting up and be good.

Love, your very tired and frazzled Mama


Dear Annie and Izzie,

Where to begin? First and foremost, the gates that keep you off the stairs and out of the computer room are there for a REASON. They are not there for you to push aside in order to get into said computer room or up said stairs; frankly, we've had enough broken bones for a lifetime and I don't want you getting hurt. Secondly, throwing toys is NOT an acceptable form of play. I don't think I need to explain that any further, do I? Third, and most important, is that we have an established naptime for a reason. Please use that time wisely, instead of stripping off your clothes and/or diapers, throwing your blankets and stuffed friends out of bed, and NAP for crying out loud. This "let's take an hour and a half of settling down before we nap for maybe an hour" is turning your once loving Mama into a crazy woman. Cut the crap.

Love, your very tired and frazzled Mama


Dear Drew,

Thank you for helping me with the laundry. As I type, you're sweeping the kitchen just because. And I appreciate that so much. But please, clean up your room so I don't kill myself on a car/Batman/pirate/book/stuffed friend. And please stop picking up the cats while they're sleeping. The constant scratches on your face/hands/arms are a sure sign that they don't like it. While you're at it, stop fighting with Megan. I know you love her more than the moon and stars, so instead of antagonizing her, go read a book or color or PICK UP YOUR ROOM.

Love, your very tired and frazzled Mama


Dear Mother Nature,

Are you fricking kidding me? Another storm? With another foot or more of snow? Get over yourself. Yes, we all know that it's winter and you love to make snow. But come on and give me a break. Paying my plow guy is going to break the bank again this winter.

Sincerely, Kristin


Dear Doug,

If it snows tomorrow, please consider working from home (see above letter). I am almost certain that one more day with all four children stuck inside will send me over the edge. Need I say more?

Love, your very tired and frazzled wife

Dear American Girl,

Why on this great earth should I pay an extra $19.95 for quicker shipping? Are you kidding me? All I want is my kid's birthday present from her grandparents to arrive by Friday. I should not have to pay $19.95 extra for that. And if you're going to send out my product at $7.95 shipping and allow me to track it on UPS, please give a delivery date, ok?

Sincerely, Mama to a soon-to-be-sad birthday girl if her present isn't here on time

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Ugh, I hate titles

Have you ever watched Jeff Dunham? He is a ventriloquist. Google him if you've never heard of him. He is fantastic. One of his puppets is named Walter. Walter is a crotchety old man who hates his wife. I'm starting to feel like I've become Walter.

Holy shit have I been CRANKY. My posts are all whine, whine, whine, bitch, bitch, bitch. Now, yes, I am in MAINE, in the dead of WINTER, with four children, so I suppose I'm allowed a wee bit of venting. But all the time? Umm, no, that is not a good way to win friends and influence people. So, I apologize if my constant bitching is a turnoff.

I had some friends over to scrapbook yesterday and it was so much fun. I laughed. I drank coffee. I even put a few pictures in my Christmas album. My friend Emily and I were talking about The Mentalist (on CBS, 9pm Tuesdays) and how HOT HOT HOT Simon Baker is (Cass, you know what I'm talking about). It was so nice to just sit and chat with friends that I wish I could do it more often.

This Friday my baby girl is turning 8. Hard to believe it's been 8 years since she was born. She gets the honor of my last special cake of the winter, a butterfly. We gave her the option of skipping hockey practice Friday night to celebrate on her birthday, or go to hockey and celebrate on Saturday. She's going to hockey Friday night and we're celebrating with family on Saturday.

So, I'm hoping this week brings more smiles and less bitching. I would love to rid myself of the black cloud I feel following me around all the time. Anyone have ideas for how I can get rid of it?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Things I don't do

As a mom of four under age 8, there are lots of things I simply cannot do during the course of the day. Since I've been thinking about them, I'm just going to throw them all out there. Here goes:

1) I cannot run out for milk or diapers if I need them. Rite Aid is just down the road, but I have at least 2 kids with me at all times. I cannot just hop in the car and go get milk or diapers. I have to email my husband and ask him to pick them up on his way home from work.

2) I cannot go shopping. Period. The twins hate being strapped up in their stroller for more than a milisecond, the mall is 20 minutes away, and we only have Wal-Mart around.

3) I cannot talk on the phone. There is always a screaming child in the background. Always.

4) I cannot go to the bathroom alone. Annie and Izzie follow me saying "watch you, mama?". While that's adorable, I don't think it's going to encourage them to potty train any earlier.

5) I cannot tidy up my house. Oh please. As I put things away, I have many children right behind me dumping them all back out.

6) I cannot read Breaking Dawn. The noise level in the house at all times resembles an airport runway. But dammit I want to read that book!

7) I cannot watch daytime tv. Not that I want to, but I never have the tv on during the day unless Drew is watching Word World.

8) I cannot get laundry all put away. The only time I can get upstairs to do the laundry is when the girls are napping. And it's THEIR laundry that needs to be folded and put away. Do you see the conundrum?

What things can't you do when the kids are awake?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

It's NOT coming up roses

I'm listening to the kids (yes, all four of them) run around and yell in the background and figured that instead of yelling at them to shut up for the love of cookies, I'd do something "productive" and blog. Yeah, my life is all roses, all the time.

In the last week, I've baked two cakes, watched my babies turn two, surprised my in-laws with a 50th wedding anniversary party, dealt with 14 inches of snow, taken the twins to the doctor for their 2 year checkup, eaten lots of cake, washed a bazillion loads of laundry, folded and put away some of that laundry, put kids in time out, been hit in the face by hands/toys, been yelled at, yelled at my kids, cried, watched four back-to-back episodes of CSI in one sitting, been circumvented by my kids every time I clean up their toys, taken away ALL the wooden puzzles, listened to all of my kids cry sometimes simultaneously, pondered running away, cried, had at least one Captain Morgans and ginger ale, and eaten an entire bag of Hershey's Hugs in pretty much a couple of hours.

So, what have YOU been up to?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

2009 Valentine's Day Goody Swap (Edited)

I know times are tough for lots of people and spending money can cause the pocketbook to scream. I'm one of those people but I decided to have a little fun for Valentine's Day and I'm joining the 2009 Valentine's Day Goody Swap over at An Island Life. Here's a little button that you can add to your blog if you decide to join:

Go to the website to read all the rules and sign up to participate if it sounds like fun. I like getting something other than bills in the mail and that's why I signed up!

I am answering the following questions so that my swap buddy can get to know me better:

  • What is your idea of a romantic Valentine’s Day? A nice quiet dinner at our favorite restaurant. A HOT dinner. Without kids.
  • In reality, what is your Valentine’s Day really like? We have 4 kids; they take priority, even on Valentine's Day.
  • If you could have a lifetime supply of your favorite sweet indulgence, what would it be? 3 Musketeers or Lindt chocolate
  • Is there any sweet treat you absolutely do not like? Red Hots. Oooh, and no coconut.
  • If you fell into a pool of chocolate, how would you get out? I wouldn't want to get out; would you?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Too good to be true, but they're 2

Two years ago today Annabelle and Isabelle were born in a flurry of doctors and nurses, machinery and lights. They weren't preemies, but full term babies that I begged to be born at 38 1/2 weeks. That first year was full of diaper changes, nursing sessions, bottles, clothing changes, sleepless nights, diaper changes, hugs and kisses.

This second year has been all about walking, talking, running, throwing, kicking, climbing, singing, bones breaking, hugs and kisses. Oh, there are diaper changes in there, but much more sporadic than that first year. Bottles gave way to sippy cups that get launched across the kitchen upon completion, and clothing changes come at the hands of the girls now and not me. Hugs and kisses are reciprocal now. Sleepless nights are few and far between these days. Days are filled with block towers, flash cards with animals and toys, books and music, stuffed animals they've named with names like "Oooh Aah Ahh".

We've gone from this: To this:
Happy birthday to my Annie Bananie and Izzie Bizzy Boo. Can't believe you're already two.

With much love, Mama

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Third Time's a Charm

Yes, two posts in one day.

The Elmo cake was a pain this time around. It stuck to the pan; when I finally got it out, most of the nose and cheeks were still IN the pan. I scraped them out and stuck them in place. Thank goodness for frosting.

Apparently I haven't been reading the full decorating instructions for Elmo all this time, because to make the red for his face, I was supposed to add a bit of orange to the red. I don't remember doing that for the other two cakes. I did this time around and put in a ton of red tint. Third time's a charm:

Tomorrow night we celebrate and by the time the party is over, Elmo won't be able to see or smell. Ah the joys of baking cakes.

The big day is a-coming!

Tomorrow my babies turn 2. I have a post swirling around in my head about that and it will be up tomorrow. In preparation for their party, I've been baking and decorating cakes. Yes, that is a plural. The girls each got their own cake last year and since I started a tradition, I will indeed carry forth.

I chose to decorate Abby Cadabby with her 3 shades of pink and two shades of purple last night. After 3 long hours of tinting frosting and decorating, this is the final product:

I like the decorating kit I bought for myself, with one glaring exception: I have to take it apart and wash it all out each time I change colors. Therefore, it takes much longer to get to the final product. I actually resorted to plastic bags in the end for the hair ties and the black parts of her eyes because it was easier than washing out the darn tube (and it was 10:45 pm). Now I want to take a Wilton decorating class so I can really use the kit and the tips properly. Tonight I decorate Elmo, which is so simple, especially since I've made him twice before. Then it's another two weeks before I'm making and decorating Megan's birthday cake. Phew.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The post where I vent

I figured I'd get that out right away so if you don't want to read, you can just go on your merry way. I'm going to vent about my children. Ready. Ok.

The twins will be 2 on Friday. They are in the full throes of being toddlers. They are downright defiant 99% of the time. They throw their cups, forks, spoons, bowls and food from their high chairs. They throw every.single.toy they touch. They launch every blanket and stuffed friends out of their bed at naptime. Diaper changes are such a struggle that there are days when I'd rather leave them in soggy pants than attempt one more diaper change. Bathtime takes two people and while in the tub they're great, they fight hair drying and teeth brushing with such passion it's amazing. They hit each other, their older siblings and me. If they figure out biting we're screwed. (OMG. While I was writing this Annie started screaming in her crib. I went upstairs, and there she was NAKED except for her shirt and onesie around her neck, and pee all over the crib. Arghhhhhh.)

Drew is 4 now, and has become this mouthy little brat. He sticks out his tongue, throws toys, wrestles toys out of his sisters' hands. He throws himself on the floor in huge crying fits over the littlest thing. He refuses to pick up toys after he's done playing with them. He constantly tells me and the girls what to do. His behavior is maddening.

Megan. Well, let's see. Megan refuses to do ANYTHING. She won't pick up her bedroom. She won't help clean up the living room. She fights every attempt at rules we have. If we say we're going to take away hockey practice, she just yells that she hates hockey and doesn't want to go anyway. She says we do nothing for her, yet everything we do revolves around her. She throws herself on the floor and cries every time we ask her to do something helpful. And she's going to be 8 in two weeks. Acts more like the 2 year olds most of the time.

All of this behavior happens on a daily basis. It's not an every-once-in-awhile event. It's constant. I'm exhausted and exasperated. I don't get vacations from them, and rarely any break. Oh, I love them more than anything, but these days, I just want to get away from them in the worst way possible.

And now I must remind the twins for the zillionth time that it's NAPTIME dammit and to please for the love of cookies GO TO SLEEP.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Because Delurking is Delightful

Yep, made that up ALL on my own. Sheesh. I truly need to get out more.

Today is Delurking Day. See this? It's official! So, come on, delurk already and leave me a comment. Don't make me beg. It won't be pretty. It might involve tears and throwing of the myriad of toys cluttering my living room. So, stop by, say hi, whatever. Tell me you think I'm pretty or something sweet like that. Ok? Thanks.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The story of a boy

Doug started coaching ice hockey the week after we returned from our honeymoon. I used to attend all the practices and games back then, at 7 am on Saturdays. People would ask me which child was mine, and I always replied "the big one behind the bench". Parents found it fascinating that not only was Doug coaching just to coach, but that I came along for the ride. I became friends with the head coach's wife, and some of the other parents. I became particularly friendly with the mom of a boy named Andy. We sat together all the time and talked. Andy was learning to play goalie, so Doug was his personal coach. Andy's dad worked in Chicago at the time and he really looked up to Doug as a father figure. Doug really nurtured him along the way. It was a great relationship.

As the years passed and we had children of our own, Doug still coached the kids and I still went to practices and games. Meg attended her first hockey game at 10 days old, all wrapped up in her bunting that one of the hockey parents made for us and gave to me at the surprise baby shower they threw for me at the hockey rink. They were a special group of parents.

When we found out we were having a boy, we struggled with a name. Meg would have been Cameron (for #8, Cam Neely, Boston Bruins) but we opted not to pass that name along. As we listed of boy names that we liked, we kept coming back to Andrew. We talked of the Andrews we knew-a guy Doug played hockey with I'd known my whole life, and Andy, the boy Doug coached. I remember talking of how proud we'd be to name our son after Andy, because he'd grown up to be a wonderful kid. It was settled then, after I chose Patrick (after Patrick Roy, best goalie in the NHL) as his middle name. Andrew Patrick it was.

I lay out this story of a boy because on Saturday my own son started hockey. On Friday I sent a message to Andy on to let him know that if he was interested, his namesake was starting hockey (Andy is a college sophomore now and home from college for winter break). As we were standing in the lobby Saturday morning debating how to get upstairs with the twins in their stroller because the elevator was broken, Andy and his mom walked in the door. This isn't the first time that they've come to see our kids do something; they also came to see Meg last year at hockey. But on Saturday I was so thrilled that he came, because it proved to us how right we were to name Drew after him. How many college age boys come to see a 4 year old play hockey? We're so very lucky to have been touched by such a wonderful family.

Drew and Daddy on the ice

Saturday, January 3, 2009

An interview with a hockey mom

No, not an interview with Sarah Palin thank goodness. An interview with ME, conducted by my friend and blogger CK. If you'd like me to interview YOU, drop me an email and I'll come up with some awesome questions. Promise.

1. How did you and Doug meet? Doug and I "met" our senior year of high school in calculus class. He was the first kid in class every day, and I was the second. So, every day I'd say hi and he'd say hi back. That was about it. Nothing earth shattering or special. Then after graduation, we both ended up at a party on the lake, here in the town where we live right now. We hung out that day, swimming, jumping from enormous rocks into the lake (I am deathly afraid of heights and was truly showing off because he was paying attention to me), and after my friend who drove me went home, I had two choices~ride home with Doug, or with the creepy kid I'd known since middle school who I was certain had horrible plans for me had I ridden with him. So, I chose Doug. Then I went off to college, had a couple of boyfriends, dumped them and have been with him since 1991. Well, it's more complicated than that, but that's for another post.

2. If you could have dinner with three famous people (dead or alive) who would they be, and why? First, I'd have dinner with Mozart. As a musician, I am drawn to his music. I've played some of his flute concertos with an orchestra (omg was that fabulous as a soloist) and I'd love to chat with him and get his inspiration. There is nothing better than fine classical music. Secondly, I'd have dinner with Shakespeare. I hate his sonnets, but love his plays. I'd love to write, but find that I don't string my thoughts together well enough. I'd ask his advice. Thirdly, I'd have dinner with Laura Ingalls Wilder. It's been so much fun rereading those books with Meg, so I'd want to ask about her life and how much of the books are fictionalized, and how much are so true to life. I would actually take Meg to that dinner so that she could truly understand what life as a pioneer was like.

3. If you could have your dream job, what would it be? I'd be a teacher, either a high school english teacher, or teaching law classes in college.

4. If you had to go w/out computer, tv/movies or music which one couldn't you part with and why? Well, I hate going without my computer, but I couldn't part with music. I always listen to music with the kids, in my car, on my IPod. It can soothe my soul, or wake me up.

5. If you hadn't named your children their names, what would you have named them? This is a tough one. Meg would have been Cameron (Cam for short) if she had been a boy, Drew would have been Sidney were he a girl, and I debated calling the twins Charlotte and Emily after the Bronte sisters. I can't say that I would have named Meg anything other than Megan, although I do love Julie. Drew was almost Stephen after my grandfather, but he is actually named for a boy Doug and I know.

6. If money, jobs, etc. were no object, where would you live and why? I'd still live right here in Maine. I grew up without family nearby, and for my kids to have their grandparents (both sets) and cousins, aunts and uncles nearby is something that we wouldn't give up for the world.

7. What is the household chore you hate the worst? Which one are you best at? I hate, hate, hate to clean the cat boxes. I also hate to empty and reload the dishwasher, although I despise seeing all the dishes in the sink or on the counters. I love to vacuum. It's a Zen thing. I also love to do laundry (weird, I know) because the piles of dirty clothes make me nuts. But, I never manage to get any of it put away.

Thanks CK for these great questions!