Friday, February 29, 2008

only once every four years, right?

I just wanted to send you a little taste of our day. We got into the spirit of gardening, planted all our seeds in trays. I have a new spot designated for our future vegetable garden... :)
Anyhow, the kiddos were playing great together in the backyard, on the swings, and Fefe was staying with the older two. So, I went to the front yard to prune and deadhead some plants. I heard the kids take turns going inside to put on their swimsuits to pretend to swim... and about 5-10 minutes later... this is what I found.

I told them I was taking picture to incriminate them. That I needed their Daddy to see what mischief they were getting into. I don't think they believed me. I made a conscious decision to not punish them because I was mostly to blame... I was in the front. So, they had a very very long bath, including changing the bath water to get cleaner water in it!! Then pj's and we gathered all the pillows and blankets and watched "Mary Poppins".

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Hubbie just got home from work. I have had a long day discerning various levels of wants, needs, demands, cries, whines, pouts, and yes, a few laughs here and there.

I am working on a post about my experience with prayer that was mentioned briefly here.

It has been a lesson of trial and error for me, and will continue to be but I'll get to that soon.

Pray for this mama, please, that I can navigate through the end of March with Hubbie's insane work hours. I often feel like a single mom who has a bed warmer!! ;)
Yes, we're talking 14 hour Hard Day's Night, 8 days a week.

Yes, I'm a Beatles fan.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

old fashioned play builds serious skills

My Hubbie listened to this short story on NPR this morning and immediately brought it to my attention.

It seems that the era of playing with nothing, (also called, imaginative play) has ended. It ended with the dawn of the Mickey Mouse Club and advertisement for toys on a regular basis, not just once a year (Christmas.)

Almost overnight, children's play became focused, as never before, on things — the toys themselves.

"It's interesting to me that when we talk about play today, the first thing that comes to mind are toys," says Chudacoff. "Whereas when I would think of play in the 19th century, I would think of activity rather than an object."

Howard Chudacoff is a cultural historian at Brown University. I quite agree with him and when I think about my play time as a kid, I remember 3 toys: legos, blocks and baby dolls. The legos seamlessly transformed from food to a phone to medical equipment as my little sister and I played house, grocery store, doctor, library and school, to name a few. The blocks were telephones, stamps, dishes, etc. We didn't have the play food, play kitchen or play house. It was called a bedroom or a swing set. But in our minds' eye, it was a small house with 9 children sharing one bedroom. Or a schoolroom made up of monkeys, teddy bears, elephants and cabbage patch kids, all getting an equal chance to learn how to read.

Nowadays we fill our children's bedrooms with too many toys that limit their imagination and stifle their creative free play. I am at fault. I point my finger to myself as much as to anyone else who is still reading this post.

When we were trying to sell our home, we decluttered all the kids' toys. We stored everything except blocks, books, cars and barbies. They did not miss any thing else. They didn't ask where the fisher price little people and all their farms, castles, houses, zoos and trains went off to. They reinvented the blocks each time they sat down with them.

We know that children's capacity for self-regulation has diminished. A recent study replicated a study of self-regulation first done in the late 1940s, in which psychological researchers asked kids ages 3, 5 and 7 to do a number of exercises. One of those exercises included standing perfectly still without moving. The 3-year-olds couldn't stand still at all, the 5-year-olds could do it for about three minutes, and the 7-year-olds could stand pretty much as long as the researchers asked. In 2001, researchers repeated this experiment. But, psychologist Elena Bodrova at the National Institute for Early Education Research says, the results were very different.

"Today's 5-year-olds were acting at the level of 3-year-olds 60 years ago, and today's 7-year-olds were barely approaching the level of a 5-year-old 60 years ago," Bodrova explains. "So the results were very sad."

This study just serves to remind me that it makes little sense to rush off and enroll my 3 year old or my 5 year old in soccer or ballet. They will be fine if we wait another two years. They are gaining something much more important right now, the ability to self-regulate...and hey, it's a lifetime skill that I am still honing!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Well, the Beyond Cana retreat was a very fulfilling weekend, with 8 amazing couples. The team did a fantastic job, and I just think we had a positive experience on a whole during this go-round.

My Spikey and Fefe had surgery yesterday and that went well. Fefe had tubes though you would never know, she is acting like nothing happened. Spikey had his second set of tubes, plus adenoids out. He is a bit cranky these past two days, thankfully everyone is actually napping right now!

My valentines gift was a new computer which we finally unpacked and put together last night. YEAH!!! It is beautiful and slick and fast!! I feel so very modern now. ooh lala!

My Mom came up on Sunday and left today. She helped with the kids during the surgeries- basically took Kiddo off our hands for the whole day. They went shopping and to the movies and had such a good time that Kiddo threw a fit this morning she was so upset to see her Noni leave.

All is settling back into somewhat normal mode around these parts, except Hubbie will continue to work insanely long hours for the next two months, as the end of the fiscal year runs through the end of March. So... I may have to get online to rant and rave every once in a while. Just remind me that this will past.

With that in mind, I am going to go to my room and REST. Did you hear me?? I said, "rest!" I know, I know, it's an anomaly but I'm gonna try my darndest so as to keep my head on straight this afternoon when I am missing my Hubbie as the kiddos test me, try me and push me.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

my funny valentine

Tonight I am covered in glitter. Glitter is like sand. It gets everywhere. But what would a homemade valentine's card made by a 5 and 3 year old be without the sparkly dust???

Nevermind the kitchen table that has glue and construction paper and markers and LOTS of glitter covering the surface.

My son said it all when Hubbie asked him, "how do you show love to someone?"
He responded, "uh, you cook for them!"

water less

Last night, while working on our talk for the Beyond Cana retreat, we heard water gushing. It was running down our hallway and into Spikey's room!! Hail Mary! Luckily, the beach towels and bucket were accessible. Our washing machine flooded- a hose came loose and five gallons of water later...
This is fixable though and we will not be deterred!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

checking in

Hi there! Just checking in very very briefly to ask for your prayers. Fefe no longer has an ear infection!! Yeah!!

Please pray...

We are all healthy right now, and I pray that this continues.

Hubbie and I are preparing for the Beyond Cana marraige retreat this weekend. Please pray for the couples putting on the retreat and those attending.
Please pray for our families and any other obstacle that may come our way! St. Michael, pray for us.

Our computer is broken. We are trying to quickly find an affordable computer! Meanwhile, I am on hubbie's laptop that he makes available in the evenings.

Speaking of hubbie... he is working crazy crazy hours. Which means I am too. Please pray that we can continue to support each other, be patient with each other and cut each other some slack- all as we prepare for this weekend!!
Have I mentioned how much I am looknig forward to this weekend?!
God bless you!!!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

spikey on spiders

So Spikey and I were playing with his farm animals near the bookshelf when along came a spider and sat down beside her (Fefe). Naturally, I stomped on the eight legged monster that was threatening to my children.

Spikey looks at me with great big eyes (and in my mind I'm thinking he's going to be filled with admiration for his Mama who has no fear for such nasty hairy arachnids that threaten the very existence of her children) and says, "MOM! Doncha know that little spider eats all the mosquitos so I don't get bitten!!!???" And than he looked down in horror at the squashed messy remains of a little spider.

I truly felt bad.
So much for chivalry.

I promised a viewing of Charlotte's Web later on today. Truly, the best spider to live, ever.

it bothers me...

that my children know who the Jonas brothers are.
I've never seen these guys before in my life.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

keeping afloat...barely

please pray for us! Fefe has an ear infection (or two) and is inconsolable these last two days and nights. I am hitting my wall... of course, hubbie is working lots and lots of hours, too, so we're just running on empty with very little sleep. I guess it didn't help that Kiddo and Spikey were home these last two days because their preschool had parent/teacher conferences!
thanks for your prayers!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

odd odds sometimes bite

Hubbie took the older two kiddos to the museum this morning-

it's free, first Saturday of the month and they have some crafts set up especially for children.

Anyway, I stayed home with baby. I picked up a few things and than felt like it was just too gorgeous outside to stay in and clean. So I threw the babe in the stroller and went a walking.

Nice, it was a perfect crisp sunny blue day with 55 and climbing to 69. I LOVE this weather.

Fefe just babbled away, singing all kinds of songs to me...I opted not to take my Ipod, counting on some hit songs from this 15 mos old, instead. We stopped at the neighborhood playground, where I knew she would love to ride on the swings for a while.

She had a huge grin on her face and laughed as I pushed her on the swings. Next to us was a baby boy about the same size who was so sweet and happy- I could hear him laughing as we approached the park. Anyway, I got to talking to his mom and we figured the babies were about the same age.

"Her birthday is Oct 4, when is his?"
"Henry's is Oct 4, also!"
... Henry? Oct 4 too? my heart skipped a beat. That is the name of Fefe's twin.

I smiled and said something... I forget, but I was pretty lost after that. I just kept pushing Fefe, back and forth, back and forth.

And praying... Lord, guard my heart, Lord, guard my heart.
Thank you Jesus for my sweet children.

And why does grief find a way to bite you in the butt on such a perfect day?