Monthly Archives: September 2009

fall activity #1.

To celebrate the fall season, I will be having a series of Monday posts dedicated to fall activities we do with the kids to celebrate the season and just to keep them enjoying the outdoors with each other.  Some will be extremely simple while others will involve excursions to some favourite places in the city.

I have to first say that this first idea is all thanks to a friend of mine, Shanley.  I am eternally grateful that she shared this simple yet brilliant crafty outdoorsy activity for the kids.  This activity isn’t particularly fall-themed but because mornings without #1 and #2 have become a challenge for #3 and #4, this has been a perfect 20 minute activity that lets me sit down outside and enjoy our extended summer weather.

Lately, the kids are addicted to sidewalk paint and not in the crack-cocaine sort of way but in the I-wish-these-summer-type-days-would-last forever-so-I-can-paint-on-the-sidewalk way.

cornstarch+water+food colouring=happy

cornstarch+water+food colouring=happy

This is how easy it is to make:

Ingredients (per colour) –

2 tbsp cornstarch

2 tbsp water

food colouring

As Shanley suggested, I used a muffin tin to house several different colours of paint which I mixed in each cup (which took about 5 minutes).  Then I armed the kids with brushes and they went paint-crazy on the sidewalk.  #3 and #4 just loved painting big blobs and mixing colours while #2 went for a more Jackson Pollock effect and would scold her sisters if they tried to paint on her sidewalk square.  The one thing we did find when experimenting with the different colours was that brighter colours showed up better on the pavement and the lighter pastel colours just turned out white.

#4 and her messy masterpiece...aggravating her sisters by dipping her brush in multiple colours before painting.

#4 and her messy masterpiece...aggravating her sisters by dipping her brush in multiple colours before painting.

muffin tin - ingenious.

muffin tin - ingenious.

#2 taking her stance, ready to flick the wrist...

#2 taking her stance, ready to flick the wrist...

#2's final product.

#2's final product.

Just thought I’d share this completely non-toxic, low-cost, and laundry-friendly activity that has been completely kid-approved in our household.

(I am always open to any inexpensive yet creative endeavour to do with the kids so leave a comment if you have any favourites that you want to share…I think next I am going to tackle building a cardboard kitchen for the little ones…)

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25 things i am proud of right now.

We are slowly settling into a good groove in our household after many tears, anxieties, and high-strung moments (and that was just me and my hormones this past week).  I thought that I would give myself and our family a little pat on the back for working hard at accepting and adjusting to change with this list.  Frequently, we have regrets floating around in our heads of things we should have done or should be doing so when we do in fact accomplish things be it small or large, it should be celebrated.  Here is my list and it is in the spirit of just being happy for the way we have responded to recent challenges…

  1. I am proud of #2 and her attitude to school this week.  Last week, every morning, I would find a large pile of crumpled tissues on her bed (from crying herself to sleep in the middle of night dreading the next day) and now, I’ll find one or two which I know are from morning sneezes rather than twilight tears.
  2. I am proud that I have stuck to a crappy “meal adjustment plan” (they don’t want me to think of it as a “diet” per se) to keep my blood sugar in the normal range (it has now been too low for their liking).
  3. I am proud that I mopped the floors today.
  4. I am proud of #1 and the maturity she has shown in dealing with a situation with soccer.  It showed me how she is developing her character and really trying hard not to suppress her feelings.
  5. I am proud of #4 as she showed restraint this morning and only pushed #3 once.
  6. I am proud of #3 not pushing #4 back but walking away.
  7. I am proud of Ever-Patient and his positive career momentum.
  8. I am proud of #2’s courage at her allergy testing this week and not being phased by by big and scary words like “anaphylaxis” and “Epipen.”
  9. I am proud that #3 has made friends easily at school, at her Wednesday morning preschool class, at the playground, at the grocery store, at the library…
  10. I am proud of my children in the morning.  I am in awe as I see #1 help #2 prep lunch and #3 and #4 get their bowls ready and sit quietly at the table talking to each other, just waiting for breakfast.  They have been bright-eyed and ready to go before we even have to leave so we end up sitting on the porch or sitting together on the sofa just talking.
  11. I am proud that we have been able to stick to a bedtime routine for #2 and #3.  After all is said and done, they are in bed by 7:30pm and there is no whining for water, more book-reading time, or for their big sis to sleep with them.
  12. I am proud that I have been more patient with #4 and her whiny outbreaks.  Instead of thrashing herself on the floor for more attention, she goes upstairs to my room, whimpering all the way.  After 2 minutes, I follow her upstairs, give her the biggest bear hug, and she is ready to go on with her day.
  13. I am proud of how the 3 youngest ones are able to play together in an unstructured and free way after school.  #1 has been busy with soccer every day this week which leaves me with the little ones for meal time, bath time, and bedtime routines.  In order for me to get dinner ready for them, they have been able to occupy themselves but with #2 at the helm of course.  For example, last night, they had  an impromptu puppet show that #2 had directed, #3 sang all of her lines and #4 held up the backdrop.
  14. I am proud of how #3 has accepted #4 as her morning playmate.  I can tell that she doesn’t mind it so much when this morning, as I swiffer-vac’d the floor, #3 held #4 on the sofa as close to her as possible and said, “Don’t worry baby, everything’s going to be ok, I’m here” (as if she and her sister were in mortal danger from dust bunnies).  #4, who normally would push #3 away loved it and hugged #3 right back.  (Then they fought over a hair clip as soon as I stopped vacuuming.)

    #2 and #3 sharing a brief moment of happy sisterhood.

    #2 and #3 sharing a brief moment of happy sisterhood.

  15. I am proud that I have avoided buying maternity clothes throughout this pregnancy.
  16. I am proud that we have been making time for extended family although it may mean driving through traffic or re-arranging our schedules.
  17. I am proud of myself that I won my first fantasy football game of the year considering last year’s embarrassing team…this gives me a one-up on all the smack-talking….for now.
  18. I am proud of Ever-Patient’s and my attitude lately.  We are more and more seeing the glass half full as opposed to bone dry and completely broken.
  19. I am proud of #4 as she has begun to open up to others, although she is still attached to my hip 75% of the time.
  20. I am proud of #2’s extravagant ideas about space, time, and the possibility of constructing a swing that could fit an entire family.  #2: “All we need is a very very big tree.”
  21. I am proud that #1 is a team player – on the field, in our home, and at school.
  22. I am proud that I have been able to keep up with the blogging thing.  It’s been a great cathartic release for me these last few weeks.
  23. I am proud of myself that I have not let myself be overwhelmed with worry over situations I can’t control.
  24. I am proud of #3 and how well she can ride her bike now uphill without constantly needing a push in the back to get going.  We are pleasantly surprised at her coordination.  Ever-Patient was able to tell her exactly how to turn around while still pedaling and maintain her balance and she knew exactly what he meant.
  25. I am proud that our family has survived this recent transitory period together.

Now it’s time to get ready for the next big change coming in about a month’s time…

home ec revisited.

According to Wikipedia, Home Economics…

“is a field of formal study including such topics as consumer education, institutional management, interior design, home furnishing, cleaning, handicrafts, sewing, clothing and textiles, cooking, nutrition, food preservation, hygiene, child development, and family relationships.”

When one sees the term, “home economics,” a vision of a June Cleaver-type goddess of domesticity teaching young ladies in poodle skirts in the 1950s is immediately conjured up in one’s head.  I still remember having my home ec class in grade school – the projects simply alternated between sewing lunch bags and miniature pillows to baking chocolate chip cookies and apple muffins.  At the time, this class held the lowest value in my opinion and I took a similar course called “Family in Canadian Society” in high school for easy marks.  I didn’t take the lessons on marriage and parenting seriously.  I often worked on my English and Math assignments during the class – the bread and butter of my secondary education.  I was going to have a high-powered career which would be far more rewarding than anything else I would do with my life – chasing the almighty dollar and being “successful.”  I scoffed at all things domestic, as if they were obsolete skills that went the way of the dinosaurs.  My mother is an excellent cook, baker, seamstress, and gardener, and I never took an interest.  Actually, I almost looked at her with such contempt because I thought that women should not have to assume these roles in this day and age.

I don’t have many regrets in my life but I do regret not paying more attention to her everyday lessons in “home economics.”

Since having my children, I have drastically redefined the term “success” and “happiness.”  The definitions no longer include material acquisitions and monetary accomplishments.  They no longer include symbols of status or a future destination.  It is amazing how I never expected to live the life I have but I also can’t imagine how I could not live this way.

Yes, I love the daily grind with the kids, but more often than not, I must admit that I often find myself overwhelmed.  While my top priorities are stimulating and motivating the kids, I also am responsible for scheduling school and extra-curricular activities, doing a load of laundry daily, keeping the house reasonably tidy, feeding and caring for 4 children, and occasionally cooking a meal or two once a week.  I must also be financially aware of incoming and outgoing cash flow to properly plan for major expenditures.  The constant purging, organizing, planning, and trying to simultaneously enjoy the present moment and not worry about the future is quite the challenge.  Our household to-do list is daunting.  We do a little jig when we get to cross something off the list only to have two or three more items be added to the bottom.  We have learned to accept that the list will always be there and that managing and prioritizing is the key.

Enter my new home management system.  Thanks to the blog, SimpleMom, I stumbled upon a step-by-step guide to creating what I like to call: The Everything Binder (a.k.a “The Home Management Notebook” according to SimpleMom).  Here is a photo of my new best friend:

The Keeper of the Sanity.

The Keeper of the Sanity.

I went to Staples (one of my all-time favourite stores – there’s something about aisles of writing utensils and reams of paper that bring me such joy) and I purchased dividers, page protectors, divider pockets, plain white cardstock.  I went to purchase this kraft-coloured binder made out of recycled paper and just made it my own with some few stickers and stamps and of course, decked it out with a nice little title, part of our family mission statement: Live Simply…a constant reminder to choose the simplest route for myself and for our family when planning our lives.

In this binder, I have taken suggestions from SimpleMom and also OrganizedHome (where there are tons of printable forms, lists, and categories) to start the binder.  I have divided the binder based on what we do on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis – e.g.  housekeeping, car maintenance, banking and finances, school, events, schedules, contact info for everything and everyone, health records, home inventory, meal planning, birthday planning, occasions…it is basically a repository for all the crap that comes into my house and ideas that pop in my head in the middle of the night.  No forms, phone numbers, invites, or other important information are misplaced because they are all in this binder.  We have even included a visual list of what the baby needs in the binder:

The girls are more excited when they can visually see the "baby stuff"...

The girls are more excited when they can visually see the "baby stuff"...

My brain, after 5 pregnancies, has to be the consistency of tapioca pudding at this point.  In the past, I have forgotten playdates, doctor appointments, various commitments, promises made, and my own phone number.  During the day, I carry my trusty Moleskine notebook and write any and everything down that I don’t want to forget and the information is transferred into the binder.  The kids’ schedules, school information, forms, and extra-curricular activity reminders are all in there.  I have even inventoried their clothing for the season and have it in there as a reminder of what they still need and what they have too much of.  I took pictures of ALL the shoes I have in storage and the shoes that fit them now and have written down the sizes so I know what we have as each child’s feet grow.

Don’t get me wrong.  My home is still not in the shape I often fantasize it to be in when I will be walking through our door 6 weeks from now with a bundle in my arms, but at least, I am no longer running around asking the kids, “What were we supposed to do today?  Come on guys, think!  I know we have to be somewhere this morning but where???”  Then we play twenty questions as they help me try to retrieve vital information from the growing chasm that is between my ears.  It’s really like the Bermuda Triangle in my head – you could tell me things now and they will be lost forever.  But for some reason, I can remember the details of a fight I had with Ever-Patient in the fall of 1994 and the lyrics to “Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love for You” by one-hit wonder Glenn Medeiros (circa 1987).

I digress.

Back to the home ec lessons.  I have seen the light.  I have seen how much I have underestimated the difficulty of managing a household can be.  My mother made it (and still makes it) look effortless – the sewing, the baking, the cooking, the cleaning, AND she worked (and still works full-time).  Being a home manager, which is what I call myself these days, requires skills that a CEO of a Fortune 500 company possesses – mental stamina, negotiation skills, creative thinking, the ability to act quickly and make decisions that directly affect the lives of others.

It’s funny, I find that the one thing I have learned that has been one of the more important lessons from school actually came from my Economics class.  The lesson of opportunity cost.  I am constantly weighing my choices throughout the day.  For example, if I spend this hour cleaning, what am I giving up?  Spending time with the kids?  Eating breakfast? What is the value of that to me?  More often than not, I look to our family mission statement to give me direction and remind me of what I value especially when I can get caught up in the messy details of life.  Normally, the answer is staring at me in the face with a arms out ready for another round of Ring-Around-The-Rosy.  Oh, if the CEOs of the world had someone to play that with every morning, the world would be a different place.

(I’d tell you again what our complete mission statement is but I just have to take a moment and look it up in The Binder…)

for my scrapbooking peeps…

Just thought I’d share some recent layouts…

A layout on #3's errant hair.

A layout on #3's errant hair.

And a portion of a school layout…only because there are photos of other children on it…

Just a snippet.

Just a snippet...

Hope to post some crafty stuff at least once a week…

Happy Wednesday.

a late birthday post.

My youngest, #4, turned 2 on July 30.  I am very late with this little birthday post…

IMG_0511

The morning of her bday..a little dazed and confused but happy.

“2” is a crazy age.  We are in the thick of the toddler years and have never experienced it quite like this before.  I have never encountered someone so little test the patience of an entire household and toe the line of established boundaries so often it seems like she is doing a non-stop psychological hokey-pokey (which incidentally is one of her favourite songs).

#4 is a ticking time bomb at the moment.  Some mornings she wakes up and is a ray of sunshine, greeting her sisters, “Good Morning,” making funny faces, and generally loving life.  Other mornings, her sisters try to give her good morning hugs, only to be greeted by a hand in the face and a cranky, “Leave me ‘lone!”  At this point I realize that everything will be a battle of wits and wills and someone will end up in tears (most likely me).  She pushes every last button of mine and just when I eventually use up my last ounce of parental self-control, she flashes me one of these:

This is the face she gives you when you tell her to smile.

This is the face she gives you when you tell her to smile.

This little one is also the big boss lady amongst her sisters.  We have had to curb the constant tattling on her by her sisters and have had to referee what appears to be uneven fights, thinking the older sis has the upper hand, only to realize who is really the puppet master of us all.  Sharing and following simple instructions – mostly related to chores – represent her major areas of improvement to say the least.  There have been multiple incidents where #4 has decided to throw an object to the ground (or at someone).  50% of the time she will pick it up and put it away nicely, and offer an apology if necessary with the most angelic expression.

One of her angelic moments...with her current BFF, Ernie.

One of her angelic moments...with her current BFF, Ernie.

But God help us all if she refuses.  Just recently, she threw a marker on the floor and Ever-Patient and I exchanged glances as if we knew we were sitting on the edge of a dormant volcano wondering if this is the very moment it will erupt.  In the most nonchalant and non-confrontational voice I could possible muster, I say: “Baby, can you pick that up for me please?”  During her perfectly sane moments, she’ll say “sure” and pick up the marker and put it away.  But should the wind blow the wrong way on a particular day or if there is a full moon, everyone run for cover because you are about to witness the mother of all tantrums.  In the episode now known as the infamous “Marker Meltdown,” after I had asked her casually to pick it up, she screamed a hearty “NO!” and began to stomp, cross her arms and engage in her patented whiny cry – the warm-up cry to the much-feared “the-world-sucks-as-I-know-it-and-you-will-share-in-my-misery” cry.  Ever-Patient tends to be weaker in will power during these tantrums and he swears it’s because she looks just like me and he can barely say “no” to me as it is.  But me on the other hand, I will match her stubbornness and NEVER-back-down-even if-you’re wrong mentality which is totally characteristic of our sign, Leo.  The marker will remain on the floor until #4 picks it up.  Here is how our little dance goes:

Me (calmly): “Please pick up the marker and put it away.”

#4 (not so calmly):  “NO! Go away Mom.”  Crying continues with head being thrown back, writhing on the floor, and seizure-like limb flailing around…kind of like someone who is desperately in need of an exorcism of some sort.

Me (5 minutes later, still calmly):  “Please pick up the marker and put it away.”

#4 (as if being tortured):  “Nooooooooooo….”  Still consumed in what appears to be demonic possession without any actual demons.

Our little pas de deux normally continues for about 20 minutes before she eventually runs over to hug me, says “sorry,” and then picks up the object.  However, during “Marker Meltdown,” it took almost 2 hours.  At about the hour and a half mark, and her sisters constantly begging us to pick up the marker for her, Ever-Patient moved her into her Time Out Spot – sitting on a stool in the bathroom – and we would ask her every 2 minutes if she was ready to stop crying and pick up the marker.  Finally, she had stopped crying after half an hour.  #1 peeks in on her and says, “She’s asleep in the bathtub.”  Ever-Patient moves her into a bed and decides to pick up the marker for her.

Post-Marker Meltdown

Post-Marker Meltdown

You may think my pregnancy hormones have inflicted some sort of irrational crazy disease on me after you read about the “Marker Meltdown” incident.  But, I am pleased to inform you that since then, she has not had a tantrum of that magnitude – on our meltdown scale, it was probably a 10.2 (on a scale of 1 to 10).  However, there have been a sprinkling of the whiny cries, but only during sleepy moments which are understandable.

I love how she exerts her independence and is constantly challenging herself (and sometimes us).  Out of the 4, she is the youngest to have climbed ladders in the playground and to have gone on rides in the amusement parks.  She is fearless in the water – jumping in with just water wings and prefers to cruise the pool by herself.  I love the way she pretends to “eat my arm” by pinching it and pretending to put a piece of it in her mouth.  In fact, she falls asleep that way – by squeezing my arm.  I love how that as soon as she turned 2, her vocabulary and eagerness to talk exploded exponentially.  Today she introduced herself to the guy fixing our neighbour’s porch: “Hi, I Lala.”  He replied, “Hello, I’m Peter, Lala.  Nice to meet you.”  Now every time we pass by him she says, “Hi Peeta.”  I love how she asks, “Mama, play Piggy Mah-ket Go Home with me”…which is “This little piggy went to the market…” on her toes on both feet.    I love her tender moments with me.  On my birthday, just as we lay down to sleep, she put her little arms around my neck and whispered, “Happy Birthday Mama” and we hadn’t really talked about it being my birthday since that morning.  I love it when I give her carrots for snack she asks, “Where’s hummus Mom?”  I love how she is embracing pretend play with #3, calling her “Mom” when they are together.  I love how when we drop off #3 at school in the afternoon, #3 says, “See you later alligator!” and #4, all teary-eyed because she has to leave her big sis says back, “In while croc-dile.”  I love how she teases Ever-Patient, dangling her love in front of him like a carrot in front of a rabbit, only to say, “I want Mama.”  I love how over the past 2 years, she has managed to fit perfectly in our family.

Jumping in the pool (topless).

Jumping in the pool (topless).

A zoo birthday for #4.

A zoo birthday for #4.

Happy Birthday Princess.

a little DIY action.

And by “little”, I mean an itty bitty tiny bit.

The kids are beginning to get antsy.  As I expand and inflate, alien-like movements can be observed from across the room over the surface of my belly.  The kids are beginning to realize that their little bro is getting more and more interesting everyday.  They are so curious and excited at the prospect of having a new baby brother.

They talk to the baby.  They play music for the baby.  They read books to the baby.  They draw pictures of what they think his face will look like…but not on paper.  They all take a crayola marker and take turns drawing faces on my stomach with my belly button being featured as the nose, mouth, or dimple on his chin.  They can’t stop kissing and patting and rubbing my belly.  Most times I want to just escape this constant invasion of personal space but I quickly realize that they just want to connect with the baby inside me and could care less about mom’s comfort levels.

So…in order to get them actively involved in the preparations for his arrival, I decided to let them help me make personalized onesies for the little man.  I was inspired by this post (scroll down for detailed instructions) from Two Ellie.  We searched Dafont.com for some free downloadable dingbat designs.  The kids chose their favourite designs and we printed them out.  #1 was the only one who could pretty much do the craft on her own while I cut out #2 and #3’s shape with the knife and ironed on the freezer paper.  The kids chose their paint colour and painted away…

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(#1 is still finishing up her onesie since she plans to also put a message on the back of it.  When it’s done, I will update this post with the image….Can you guess who did the giraffe?)

We had bought the inexpensive plain white joe fresh onesies from our local SuperStore and went crazy.  The kids cannot wait to design T-shirts for themselves.  I tended to steer them away from more intricate designs since I was getting carpal tunnel with all the stencil cutting, but for the most part, they had creative control.

So the countdown begins…almost 4-6 weeks left of the pregnancy and I am trying to harness all my nervous and anxious energy into the completion of productive tasks like laundry, organization, and making never-ending to-do lists.  I am also trying to schedule more “welcome baby” activities for the kids.  #2 took the initiative and completed a mini-canvas for the baby – she glued the ultrasound pic to a canvas that she had painted blue with clouds and decorated it as a gift for her brother.  #3 drew a new family portrait with the seven of us under a rainbow…although when Ever-Patient quickly pointed out that all the members of our family were clad in pretty pink dresses, #3 just giggled mischievously and ran away.  #1 loves to help me add to my list of items that we still need to get before his arrival.  She loves to look at online baby shops and choose her favourite items.  #4 is just content talking to the baby, “Hi Cutie Pie Lopez.  How are you baby?  My mama” and then she hugs me and smacks my stomach.

If you have any other suggestions on how we can prep the kids or get them involved with getting ready for the new baby, let me know…especially tips on how to explain to #4 that Mama will have to be shared.

25 things i am grateful for.

Whenever I am in the midst of a challenge or am confronted by what seems to be an insurmountable obstacle or when my brain literally feels like it’s about to explode, I make a list of all the things that I am grateful for.  Sometimes it is difficult to begin this endeavour so I often warm up reciting all the usual blessings like health, home, and food on the table.  This usually leads to a slow shift in attitude and a rapid disintegration of self-pity.  I feel like I begin to take large steps backward and start to remember the big picture.  There are no good or bad situations, it’s all how we ourselves judge them and perceive them.  Our family mission statement is reinforced in my head which is a constant reminder of what we value as a family and soon, it’s not so hard to see all the little things that give me comfort, that make me smile, and those that definitely act as encouraging pushes to just keep me going.

  1. Today I am happy and grateful because Ever-Patient was able to do drop-off this morning.
  2. Today I am happy and grateful because #2 woke up in a terrific mood.  (#2:  Mom, what day is it today”  Me:  “It’s Friday.”  #2: “Yay!  It’s the weekend tomorrow, then I get to come home for lunch on Monday!”)  She may not be in love with the idea of school yet but at least she’s not completely overwhelmed by anxiety anymore.
  3. Today I am happy and grateful that I do not have gestational diabetes, although my test results have revealed that I am glucose intolerant (one step down from diabetes).  As a precaution, I am undergoing the same treatment as if I were diabetic which means multiple glucose tests I have to perform on myself each day and a modified diet.  But so far so good… the levels have been normal.  (And my twisted sense of humour gets a kick out of seeing Ever-Patient squirm as I prick my finger and squeeze.)
  4. Today I am happy and grateful that #1 had taken out her lunch bag and placed it on the counter for me last night.  Yesterday, I was in a mad search for it during our morning rush.  I think after seeing my distress yesterday and listening to a lecture on making life just a little easier for her mother, she has learned her lesson.
  5. Today I am happy and grateful for the mild weather and no rain.
  6. Today I am happy and grateful for having the internal motivation and time to clean the kitchen, dining room, and living room this morning.
  7. Today I am happy and grateful that #3 and #4 are getting into a groove with each other in the morning without #2.  Today was the first time they really played together all morning.  #3 played school (of course) with #4 and then spent 45 minutes dressing her sister in different outfits and then pretended to be a photographer and take pics of her.  Their pretend play allowed me to get some morning chores done and #3 only asked, “Is it time for school yet?” twice.
  8. Today I am happy and grateful for fresh fruit and cheese.
  9. Today I am happy and grateful that I don’t feel exhausted.
  10. Today I am happy and grateful that it’s Friday and that I’ll have all my kids home for the next 2 days.
  11. Today I am happy and grateful that despite my mountain of laundry, I was able to locate an outfit for myself instead of wearing one of Ever-Patient’s T-shirts.
  12. Today I am happy and grateful that I will be having tea this afternoon with a friend.  There is nothing quite like adult conversation to lift one’s spirits.
  13. Today I am happy and grateful that we have decided to have “Family Movie Night” every Friday.  It’s something that the kids can look forward to in the week and a nice ritual for us to maintain to keep us grounded.
  14. Today I am happy and grateful for the emails and phone calls from family and friends inquiring about the kids and their first days at school.
  15. Today I am happy and grateful for my dad who was able to look after #4 yesterday afternoon and pick up all the kids from school so that Ever-Patient could take me to an appointment.
  16. Today I am happy and grateful that I am exercising will power with the food I choose to eat today.  Although there are 3 yummy apple oatmeal muffins left from the batch I baked for the first day of school and a tupperware full of brownies that I also baked for the kids’ snacks, I have not succumbed to the sugar temptation.
  17. Today I am happy and grateful that Ever-Patient will be able to pick up the kids this afternoon.
  18. Today I am happy and grateful that I am embracing the philosophies of this man which is why we have chosen their new school for #2 and #3….my next step would be homeschooling if their current holistic school is not right for them.   “Since we can’t know what knowledge will be most needed in the future, it is senseless to try to teach it in advance. Instead, we should try to turn out people who love learning so much and learn so well that they will be able to learn whatever needs to be learned.” -John Holt
  19. Today I am happy and grateful for witnessing so many fights between #2 and #3…only because their little makeup routine after the fight is so adorable.  #4 normally pushes #3 in anger and #3 runs to me as if mortally injured and then #4 finally comes over to us and says, “Sorry, Frankie.”  Then they hug it out and are playing with each other, laughing and hugging.  They have had approximately 13 fights in the past two hours…a new record.
  20. Today I am happy and grateful for these.  I finally ordered them this year as opposed to taking a black sharpie to every item.
  21. Today I am happy and grateful for “7:30pm bedtimes”…if only #4 would jump on that bandwagon.
  22. Today I am happy and grateful that Ever-Patient is about 15% less stressed out these days.  Baby steps.
  23. Today I am happy and grateful I have been able to get out of bed each day this week at about 6:30 – 7:00am and enjoy at least 20 minutes of quiet before I hear footsteps running across the upstairs hallway.
  24. Today I am happy and grateful that #1 is independent and flexible enough to withstand her first week in middle school.  She is super-excited to sign up for as many extra-curricular clubs as she can.  Who’s child is this?  Oh yes, she is the daughter of Ever-Patient a.k.a. Mr. Popular.
  25. Today I am happy and grateful for #3’s infectious zest for life.  You can’t help feel excited to see what is going to happen next.

Have a great weekend.