Sunday, September 2, 2012

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Roman has cracked me up today, so I didn't want to miss a chance to preserve this memory forever.

We were in the car, and out of the blue he says "Mom, you're a baby making machine."  Then he says, "Wait, what's a baby making machine?", as if he is double checking himself.  I explained it's someone who has a lot of babies.  He sat there for a few seconds and then replied "Yes, that's what you are, a baby making machine."  Thanks for that.

Moments later, we were still in the car and we were listening to "Kids Place" on XM radio.  Some toddler song was playing and a verse in it was "Life is so easy...".  Without missing a beat, Roman says "Life is hard!"  He's five.  Really?!

Tonight, as I was clipping his fingernails after he got out the tub, he says "I can't wait to go show Daddy how gorgeous I am when you're done".  I giggled.  He says, "Wait, what does gorgeous mean?"  I explained that it is someone who is "handsome, good looking, cute".  He says, "Then why did you laugh??"  I had to inform him that he is gorgeous ALL the time, not just when he gets his fingernails clipped.  He accepted that reply.

My Mr. Personality!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Fire! Fire!

Today was the annual October H.D. Fire Safety Event and the boys had a blast making their own fire rescue helicopters, snacking, and playing on the local fire trucks. The weather was beautiful and it was the perfect day to be outside. Preston even made a new friend; they were both mighty fond of each other.  Check him out in the bottom pics...


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Do I regret having four kids?

That was the question my husband asked me the other night. The day that I totally lost it on our children. Thursday. In short, the answer is no. Absolutely not.  It has NEVER crossed my mind! Things have been so rough here lately. With three boys in school, myself in college, and a baby at my feet, afternoons, specifically homework time (3-6 pm), have been unbearable. No one ever wants to do their homework. Cullen's homework (in sixth grade advanced studies) takes him over three hours a night to do. He has to do it in his room because the rest of the house is so hectic and chaotic, and I honestly don't know what he is doing in there.  I have to sporadically check in on him, when I remember to.  At the end of the night, his answers are sometimes wrong, and they need to be erased and redone.  Aiden needs me to sit next to him and spell words out as he writes sentences (which he does not enjoy), and he needs to read to me.  Roman, well he needs someone to basically DO his homework at the age of four, as he is not great at finding objects in magazines, cutting them out, and pasting them in order correctly on the notebook page.  And then there's my homework!
The back talking, growling, hissing, fighting, fits, and everything else negative that is happening in this house, drove me over the edge Thursday.  I lost it on my children, yelled (and cursed) like an insane maniac.  I told them I could care less what they do with their life, they can fail and it's on them to repeat the grade, not me, and that I no longer would bother with trying to help them succeed (to put it all nicely).  I then called Jude at work, sobbing, telling him to come home before I did anything else stupid in the parenting department.  They won!  The little midget bullies in my home conquered me.  I was angry for the next 12 hours or so, though I did fit an apology in that evening to my poor, disturbed, children.  But, I have held a grudge the past four days and can feel a tiny distance between me and the boys.  I hate it.  I absolutely hate it. 
Jude was upset, concerned, and in desperate need of an immediate answer.  He tried talking to me that night, but it was of no use.  The following day, he came home early from work and informed me he had made an appointment with a family therapist; one to lead us in the right direction in this parenting saga.  I was a little upset at first.  In fact, it bothered me for days.  Until today.  Today was the appointment day and I sat in the office with my arms and legs crossed, sipping my Starbucks frap.  I wanted to see where this was going to go, but not necessarily "be there".  After 20 minutes of being in the room, I noticed my arms were unfolded, my drink was done, and I was talking.  Maybe being there wasn't such a bad idea.  The therapist had already suggested something I hadn't thought of in my time of desperation...a reward chart for doing homework.  The ol' positive reinforcement scenario.  She also said a few other things that made me look at it all differently.  I came home with a completely different attitude.  I made up a chart for all three boys that consisted of BEHAVIOR, CHORES, HOMEWORK, and EXTRA CREDIT.  We have a system!  We had a family meeting tonight following dinner, and after, I wrote up a contract.  They will sign this tomorrow.  There is a light at the end of the tunnel.  I will no longer reward my children, unless it is earned.  Everything will be earned and/or taken away.  I will not be treated with disrespect and tortured.  Homework fights are over.  So is the back talking, sibling rivalry, disobedience, and tantrums.  I am taking back over control!  One of the things Jude and I have to do for therapy homework is to write a list of what we consider to be a good parent.  Should be a piece of cake.  I may post that later when it is done.
I have a few underlying issues with Jude and his parenting role.  One is-he is way too lenient and does not correct our children like he should.  I am the disciplinarian.  He is the passive parent.  No one ever really listens to him, and he doesn't seem as bothered by it as I do.  I feel like I am always picking up his slack.  Two is-he says, way too often, that we don't spend enough time with our kids.  THAT drives me nuts!  My entire life is centered around my children.  There are cub scouts, football practices and martial arts, Monday through Friday.  Every Friday evening is family night, which consists of pizza and a movie, or some other fun family thing.  That's been in affect for over a year.  Bedtime stories are read 6 out of 7 nights a week, always have been.  Dinner is eaten at the table together EVERY night; all 6 of us.  We attend church together at the church THEY want to attend, plus catechism on Sundays.  We also will fit in a weekend family fun day almost every weekend.  I am on the PTO at both schools, a room leader for my Pre-K student, home every afternoon when they get home from school, and we still find time to interact and play with them.  Yet, he feels we do not spend enough "time" with them.  That is something he needs to work out within himself, and I hope he can knock that out during one of our future therapy visits.  I think we spend TOO much time with them.  lol  WE need more alone time! We are doing the best we can with four rambunctious boys, but every now and then, we all need a little help.  I guess that is sometimes hard to accept, like admitting you are not doing that great of a job, when performing the most important job you will ever have in your life.  I'm glad I have Jude by my side.  There is such a long road ahead...

PS-I don't write this for you to judge me.  I write this to remember the hard times, so the good times will feel that much better.  I am not the only parent that has lost it on their children, and I hope this helps someone else maybe going through the same thing.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Summer Vacation 2011-Fun and Sun Found Us!

Day 3
A miracle happened overnight, and we awoke to the beautiful sun shining down on the gorgeous beach. The kids didn't fight ALL day. God must have been listening to my prayers. It was a glorious day! My friend Stacey and her family came over the latter part of the day and her four kids (ages 13, 10, 9, 8) and my three kids (ages 11, 6, 4) had a blast playing together, and I got to hang with my girl. We even had a nice Mexican dinner out and everyone was well behaved. Here are a few pics.

Tonight, we wanted to take the kids crabbing on the beach. At first we couldn't find any, then these nice kids came by and dumped their bucket full of crabs for the boys to catch. It was awesome! The boys had the best time, well, except Roman. He screamed and ran for higher ground. Then, he jumped on top of a beach chair, where he remained until Jude carried him back to the condo. The crabs freaked him out, and that is when you realize just what a baby he is. My little man!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Summer Vacation 2011--Finding Fun

Day 2
Today we woke up to more rain. Rain, rain, rain!

We ate breakfast and then tried to wait the rain out, all the while trying to make backup plans in case it stayed.

After my nice little morning workout (yay for me!), we chose to head to the movies at the Wharf,

with the kids kicking and screaming. Well, so did everyone else; more chaotic traffic. The movie ticket line was long, and in the rain might I add. After standing in line for a good twenty minutes, I had the bright idea to ditch the movies and head across the street to Laser Tag. A bright idea it was!

The boys had a great time, and so did we.

So much better than a packed movie, and for $88, about the same price. After, we went home for leftover pizza and stared out the window, wishing the clouds away. Around 4:30 pm, it semi-cleared up. It was windy and a bit chilly, but we were determined to play in the water. We went out to the beach and pool for about two hours and the boys had a blast. Although it rained basically the entire day, we managed to fit in some good, family fun and today was much better than yesterday. We ended the evening with Cullen getting his annual henna tattoo. He got two this time; the Monster logo and Fox motocross logo. Thank God that child can not get permanent tattoos at this age! He would be a walking billboard.
Anyway, if our days continue at this rate, the day we leave may be the best day yet:)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Summer Vacation 2011--Far From Perfect

Day 1
Today we left home for a week in the sunny state of Florida. "Sunny" being the key word! We even rented our condo from a lady named Sunshine. I was positive it would be a hot week of fun and sun. So, where is this beautiful thing called SUN?! We drove through tons of rain to get here. Rain, shine, rain, shine...sunglasses on, off, on, was annoying and traffic sucked. The kids aggravated each other the entire way here, which in turn, aggravated me. Lunch at our favorite travel restaurant, Cracker Barrel, was decent and a nice little break. By the time we arrived three states over, attitudes changed and everyone was happy...for about an hour. We unpacked, attempted some rainy memories at the beach and the pool, and then we went to eat at Lillian's Pizza. I was so stressed out by the time we ordered (and starved), I shed a few tears. Seriously. This isn't the "vacation" I envisioned. This was hell. I ordered a glass of wine, had yet another talk with the children about their behavior, and hoped for the best while leaving my 'perfect vacation week' expectations behind.
Walmart was next on the list and we were checking out at the registers at midnight. More misery. I tried to go alone, but every time I mentioned going somewhere alone, Jude would state "It's a family vacation and we do stuff together as a family". Aaack! I bought a good book titled "The Help" (I haven't read a fictional book since my teen years) and ended the evening lying in bed reading it, praying for a better tomorrow.

(*PRD is staying with Jude's parents this week. I miss him madly!!)

Friday, April 22, 2011

If I die before I wake...

Who in the hell is going to take care of my four boys?! (Well, Jude would have to have died too, of course.) Assuming Cullen's dad is still alive, he would want Cullen. That leaves three boys (whom I wouldn't want to separate in the first place). Jude and I have discussed this time and time again, and it's not that we don't agree on anyone, we just have no idea WHO to choose. It would be like a death sentence to whomever we picked. No winning! Both sets of our parents are in their mid-sixties and three out of four are handicapped to some degree from accidents or past surgeries. I feel as if we would be ruining their lives. I know we would. Jude is an only child, and I have one older sister. To say we are not close is an understatement. She doesn't even like to hold my boys at holidays because "they're germ carriers". She has one teenage son who is almost out of the house. She's done. So here I am, laying in bed, wondering about the worst case scenario. Both sets of our parents have said that they would want them, but how do you choose? When you do decide, do you tell the set that you didn't pick, or do you wait until you are dead and gone, then cause them more pain? How do you even start to create a custody arrangement on children YOU chose to have? Our parents would all be eighty-something before the last boy left the house. That's insane to think about! I'm looking for that magic answer and wasting time as the years go by with no legal plan. Any ideas or advice? Any takers? <---That was a joke!


Saturday, April 2, 2011

Me? A.D.D.?

And so it is so. Cullen gets it from his momma.
I started reading an AOL article about ADD, and it took off from there. I recognized so many of the symptoms in myself, that I decided to take some quizzes I found online. They all came back "You have ADD". I then decided to talk to my mom, who was sleeping over that weekend, and she said it wouldn't hurt to talk to my doctor about it. Apparently, many decisions in my past kinda make sense now when their is a medical reason to explain the impulsivity I had growing up. (I am still super impulsive now!) I talked to Jude about it, and when telling him the symptoms of adult ADD, his response was that all adults could fit in that category. He then took the quiz himself online, and he got "You are NOT ADD". My point proven. I understand that we can all be forgetful, impulsive, unorganized, habitually late, etc., but when you look back and realize it has affected your entire life, there is a problem there. As much as I would like to list all the "events" that took place in my life that make all this make sense now, I don't want to share with the world all my past failures and beat myself up in black and white. I was depressed for a few days when I figured this all out, with my self diagnosis, because I kept thinking of all the things I would have done differently, had I known all along that I had ADD. It took a few people telling me that I wouldn't be where I am now (in a VERY HAPPY PLACE) if I changed anything in my past. I get it now. It just hit hard the first few days.
So, I made an appointment with my family doctor and went in to talk to her about it. She told me she would like a psychological evaluation before we do anything to treat it, just to verify and be cautious. I then made an appointment with a psychologist and took the ADD test. While speaking in the psychologists office, she asked me to start with school and go on from there with how well or poor I did and what events took place in my life after. When we were done talking, I realized even more what a problem this has been in my life. Really. She diagnosed me with ADHD, with the symptoms of impulsivity and attention deficit. (I am not the hyper type, the term ADHD is the only one they use in the medical field now, followed with your symptoms, no more "ADD".)
The next step was going back to my family doctor and deciding what to do. I did, and I chose to give prescriptions a try. Cullen takes them (as I have blogged about previously) and I see them work in him daily. I am on day three at the moment, as this all went down in March. I am trying to get used to the effects of it.
Like I stated previously, I was a tad depressed when all this hit me, and I have gone back and forth on wanting to share this with the world. But, as you all know, I am an open book, and in being that way, I have connected with others going through some of the same issues I've faced. I decided to share this. You can judge me, talk about me, do what you have to do. I know I am making the right choice in my life right now and Jude is supporting me one hundred percent, which means the world to me. We will see how this first prescribed medication helps (or doesn't) and I hope to update everyone in a few weeks. Maybe I will have the attention capability to continue on with my blogging. We'll see.
Also, to my very close friends, past and present, if you have noticed any ADHD qualities in me in the past, please feel free to discuss them openly with me. I learned a lot about myself last month and all feedback is welcome, positive or negative. I told one good friend about my ADHD, whose response was "no way!". I told another good friend who said "I knew that about you already." The feedback is interesting;) Thanks!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Dancing with the Stars, Fifth Grade Edition

When Cullen came home months ago with a paper from his school announcing they were doing a "Dancing with the Stars" type of class for the fifth graders, I was eager to sign the permission slip and get Cullen started. Cullen, on the other hand, was totally against it. I had a feeling when I signed the permission slip, it wasn't going to get turned in. I even threatened him, saying I was going to check up on him and this dancing at the parent/teacher conferences, to make sure he was attending. It is during the PE hour. Well, guess what, I didn't follow through. So, months go by, and one day Cullen slips up and says something like, "That's the time all the other kids go to dance."
Wait! Hold up! Back up!
"Cullen, you didn't do the dance class like I told you to?!" It had been a couple months in at this point. Oh, did he get an ear full! He was grounded from all the glorious things he liked. I knew that permission slip was going to disappear!
Within a few days, without me telling him to, and in trying to redeem himself, he approached the coach and professional dance instructor at school and tried weaseling his way in the class. He was successful, too. That boy! He is a permanent substitute, in case any kids miss class, but he has been learning the dances and catching on quick and...HE LIKES IT! Imagine that. My whole point in wanting him to sign up was to try something new and see if he would like it. I want my kids to be well rounded and learn all sorts of new things while they are young. Cullen is a fantastic soccer player, baseball player, he's figured out football is not his thing, nor basketball, he is in Jiu Jitsu, is an awesome artist, and he is learning a second language of Spanish. He can add ballroom dancer to that list now. I want to push them to experience the most out of life. One day, they will thank me. As for now, he is giving me great memories to cherish forever.
Cullen, and his friends

Here are the video links of his new found skill...
The Salsa
The Waltz

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A gift for you, a gift for me...

Cullen and Aiden's school had a Santa's Secret Workshop going on this week. That is where they bring money to school and shop for mom/dad/siblings/etc. on their own time. The gifts cost anywhere from $1-$15, or so. I gave them each $6 per family member, with five people to buy for, equals $30 each.
When I handed the boys their envelopes filled out, Aiden immediately asked if he could have some extra money so he could buy himself something. I explained Christmas is about giving, not receiving, blah, blah, blah. I asked him how he would feel if I bought myself a Christmas gift, and not him, which he answered he wouldn't like it. We had a good five minute conversation, which I thought ended with him clearly understanding what Christmas gifting is all about.
I walked to pick them up from school today and the first thing Aiden says is, "I bought myself something today. I had enough money!". "How was that possible?", I wondered. His answer, "I spent less on you all and I had money left over." I think we may need to have the whole "what Christmas is all about" discussion again! He was mighty sad when I told him it, too, was going under the tree with all the other gifts.
Cullen, on the other hand, informed me he brought his own birthday money he had left over from last month so he could spend MORE on us than what he was given. Awww, my baby! Goes to show you what a few years difference will do to a child's maturity level. Makes a momma proud!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Baby, it's cold outside!

It is really starting to feel like winter down here! The two little ones and I had been hiding in the house on Monday and Tuesday. Today, we decided to go have lunch and grab some ice cream. I love snuggling with my two small, silly, babies in this weather. It is a challenge to get out of our pj's.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

A few people that I am most thankful for...

Growing up, all I ever wanted in life was to fall in love and live happily ever after. Seriously. I didn't dream of getting a big job position or earning a title in the business field. Money has never mattered to me. I'm not materialistic, though I do enjoy some modern things;) I remember a guy (some strange date once) asked me what I wanted out of life. I don't think I had given it much thought before that night, as I was young, eighteen. I vividly remember we were on the beach in Florida, it was late, and my answer was...a husband, a nice three bedroom house, two cars in the driveway, and a couple kids. Some might say that wasn't dreaming big, but I am a romantic at heart and all I hoped for was that perfect mate. Hoped. I dated many turkeys back in my time, and though I didn't always make the best decisions, I somehow always came out OK. (I must have had a guardian angel somewhere.) I learned from many of those experiences, and there were many experiences. lol No two relationships were the same. There were no patterns. I never had a "type". I liked tall, dark and handsome, but always found myself with guys very similar looking to Jude (not tall, not dark!). I think God was just preparing me for what was to come.
This Thanksgiving, I have so much to be thankful for. Jude is at the top of my list. HE is what I was always searching for. The day I met him, I knew he was the one, we just had many years added in there to build a friendship and get to know each other. My life was very messy back then. We took our sweet time getting to know each other and that is something I had never done before. Now, we have a relationship like no other. We were newlyweds the first five years of our marriage. That's a great start! I knew going into this marriage what I was looking for and he has fulfilled every hope and desire. You may have an impressive degree, the finer things in life, or a super duper fancy title...but I have all I have ever wanted right here at home: an amazing husband, and four handsome little men that I hope grow up to be wonderful husbands just like their father, as he leads by example. I believe everything happens for a reason! (I met this person, so I could meet the next person, and the next, and so on. I took this job instead of that job for a reason that led me to this time in my life, etc.) I can literally trace back all the steps to that night back on the beach talking to that guy, that led me to right here, right now. All my blessings in my life today have to do with family and friends. Thank you, Jude, just for being you. Thank you, God, for gifting him to me.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Erikk, The Elf on the Shelf

Attention parents: YOU MUST BUY THIS BOOK! $29.95
I can't believe I didn't know the story behind this book any sooner.
People have failed me!!
This book answers the age old question, "How does Santa really know if we are being 'naughty or nice?'".
The answer: a small pixie elf remains in your home for a few weeks until Christmas Day, acting as Santa's eyes and ears. He reports the children's behavior to St. Nick himself daily, and each year the elf returns to perform its assigned task.
The Elf (which the kids name) goes back to the North Pole every night while the kids are sleeping and gives Santa a daily report. Each morning, the kids have to find where the Elf is because he moves around at night. That's a fun game, too. If they touch the Elf, he loses his magic and Santa will think the kids forgot about him. Only parents can talk to the Elf. He has strict orders from Santa to not talk to the children. Whenever there is drama in our household, all we have to say are four magic words..."The Elf is watching!". For $29.95, you can't put a price on the peace and quiet it brings!
Jude is reading them the book, and Erikk the Elf is sitting on the window sill

Monday, November 22, 2010

Happy 11th birthday, Cullen!

The day I found out I was pregnant with Cullen, my life changed almost instantly. The year was 1999 and I was days away from turning twenty one. Looking back, I was definitely at the worst stage of my entire life, though I didn't realize it then. I was wild, carefree, irresponsible, partying, and had no true path in front of me. I met a boy in a bar in New Orleans and within months, we were in love, expecting, and married. I almost got whiplash from how fast things changed. From that point on, I knew I wanted to be the best mommy I could be, even if it meant being a single mother to provide a better atmosphere and household for him. Cullen and I have been through so much together. When I look back at his eleven years, I not only see how much he has matured, but I see how much I have, too. From the day I met Jude, my life only got better. We were an official couple on Cullen's third birthday, got engaged on his fourth birthday, and married by his fifth birthday. Jude and I, together, with God as our leader, are raising him the way I envisioned life should and would be. Today, Cullen has four loving parents, four sets of families that adore him, and though life isn't the perfect cookie cutter scenario, I can't imagine it any better with all the love and support he has.
Cullen always throws me the curve balls. By the time you have a second child, you kind of know what to expect with each age and stage of that next child. By the fourth child (in our case, fourth boy) I feel very sure of myself. But Cullen, he is almost like my experimental child. I am going through life trying to raise him with no experience, without knowing what to expect next and questioning myself all along the way. When I look at him and see that sweet, loving, sensitive, smart, artistic, well mannered, handsome child, I am reassured we are ALL on the right path...together. I can't ask for much more in life.
His little brothers have some big shoes to fill!
Happy birthday to my baby!

Cullen, his friend Christian, and Aiden