Wednesday, August 31, 2011

School shopping

This was my head shot that I gave to the directors of the musical I auditioned for. (Still haven't heard if I have a part). But looking at it I thought,"Wouldn't it be great if I could take the kids school shopping today and look this serene and put together by the end of it?"

Then I doubled over laughing for about half an hour. Because lets be honest, I am not going to look like this:

I am going to look like this:

Please wish me luck. I will desperately need it.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

This, I want to remember

Nora is doing better. Her throw up is still sore. (that's what she calls her throat). So we give her the tylenol with codeine, and she gets sleepy, and then she climbs onto my lap and falls asleep.

It's adorable and sweet and completely immobilizing. I spent 45 minutes sitting in the office chair, trying to type with one hand because that's where she chose to fall asleep.

It could be the rough nights where she wakes up crying and can only go back to sleep if she squashed up against me, or with my arm around her.

Or it could be the way watching so many hours of tv drains you, even though technically you're doing nothing.

Either way, we're almost over the hump. And though it's been draining on all of us, and I wouldn't want to prolong her agony, I just know I'm going to miss her following me around and asking me to hold her.

As I carried her into her follow up appointment today, with her head on my shoulder and her blankie tucked under my arm, I had a sudden realization that we were about to move beyond this point.

Not just with her throat getting better, but with her life. The independence that comes with growing up, wanting to do things all by yourself. And there comes the day when mommy and daddy are no longer needed every moment. We're still needed, but not in the same way.

So as much as the near constant crying and crabbiness has been around here, I'm actually going to miss it.

What will, or do, you miss about your kids being little?

Monday, August 29, 2011


You know how I talked about 8 years going by in the blink of an eye with Anne Marie?

Well, the crazy thing is that it happened again. But this time it was 12 years!

Julia is 12. Julia is 12. Julia is 12. I keep repeating that so that I will actually start to believe it.

I mean, how could this be? She was just slamming the door to her room and yelling at me a few years ago. How could she now be this reasonable, lovely 12 year old?

(In our family, the stomping and door slamming happens around 9 and ends around 11. Lucky me, I know. Seriously)

When our children go into 7th grade, they get a phone. They finally are not the only one of their friends to not have one. We upgraded this year though, and gave it to her for a birthday present because we gave her a new phone with it. Kate got her's before her birthday because she just got my old phone. Hence, the happy, surprised look on Julia's face.

But the present she asked for was her very own, super shiny, video-taking....Camera!!

As Julia gets older, she DAILY becomes more and more wonderful. More spiritual, more mature, more lovely, more fun, and easier and easier. Like I said, I'm lucky.

Julia has a strong desire to always be better, to improve, to grow, to surpass her own potential.

She's pretty awesome.

And she has a uniqueness unsurpassed by anyone. One of the things she asked for this year was a lock box to hold her Halloween candy.(to keep it safe from the littler people around here). And to go in it? Milk chocolate chips. Don't ask me why. We stopped trying to investigate how that clever brain of hers works a loooong time ago.

Thanks Grandma and Grandpa Granger! And from Grandma and Grandpa Allen? Cold, hard cash. Money to spend on clothes, or jewelry, or more chocolate chips if she wanted. I wish I had a picture of the look on her face when she showed me the money!

And while I wish that we weren't a family of show stealers (alright, I don't always wish that), without that trait I wouldn't be able to show you this:

Or this:

He just needed a "gentle" reminder that it wasn't his birthday. It was something like, "Sit down Dad!!!!"

And from her cousins who know her better than anyone else, a hand made Harry Potter t-shirt. This girl loves Harry Potter more than anyone else I know. Unless of course you can find someone else who has read the Harry Potter series 12 times. Then maybe we'll have a contender.

And because I love her, and because I cleaned out my cake decorating kit hence feeling capable of decorating a cake again after a slight hiatus, I actually made a pretty cake for Julia. Homemade chocolate cake and frosting-best recipe ever from my friend Teresa-with 3 layers and flowers. Impressive, I know.

I think Julia liked it. And when she blew out the candles.....

......I'm sure there was some amazing wish that was made. Swimming with dolphins? A giant lock box to hide in when she needs to get away? Paragliding? It's hard to say. With this girl, the sky is the limit.

We could not be more proud of this girl. I exaggerate not when I say that she is everything we could have hoped for when she was born. And honestly, we take very little credit. They come to earth with their personalities intact. You can tell when they are babies that they are different from their siblings. We have tried to provide a home where they can thrive, feel loved, and be taught good values. But who they are is all them.

Happy Birthday Julia! You are loved more than you know, appreciated probably more than we tell you, and gifted beyond belief.

You're a gift to this world. And we can't wait to see what you'll do.

Love you girl!!!

Friday, August 26, 2011


I have to admit it. When I have seen mothers yelling at their children in the grocery story, I have judged them.

I have thought,"Wow, if they are that angry in public, what are they like at home?"

And I would go on my merry way, convinced that they were probably mean mommies.

Fast forward to today. With 4 of my children in tow, the 4 youngest, I headed to the grocery store with my sister for some last minute items for Julia's birthday and for a get together tomorrow.

By the time we got to the check out line, I'm pretty sure I had grown horns on my head and that my tongue had turned into a whip of the lashiest kind.

I grabbed the arms of two of the children, (NOT the youngest two) , and with a not so quiet threat on my lips, I stuck them next to the cart and ordered them to not move or speak.

It was then that I realized that there were people around me. And that those people probably were thinking about me the way I used to think about others.

That's right, USED to think. Because right then and there I knew the truth.

It is NOT evidence of a bad mom when she yells at her children in public. It is evidence of a tired mom who left all of her patience on aisle 4 and all of her sanity in the aisle that just happens to have candy on one side and chips on the other. The chips being needed, the candy being ingredients for crazy town!

So to all mothers who have yelled at their children in public that I have judged: I AM SORRY!

But it has given me an idea:

Just attach it to your grocery cart, add children, and voila! Instant good mom.

Whadya think? Too much? Nahhhh.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Things that break a mother's heart

On Tuesday morning Nora had her adenoids and tonsils removed. Since she was going to be under anyway, our awesome doctor offered to removed 3 warts that we had been trying and trying to get rid of. For free. Yeah, I know, right?

The surgery was quick, and she woke up the way they all do. Thrashing, disoriented, dizzy and stronger than a baby bull. And then the pain set in. "My froat, my fumb, my finger!!!!"

Little miss was in a whole lot of pain. When we got home I gave her the nasty tasting tylenol/codeine combo. It takes the pain away, but getting her to take it is kind of like trying to wrestle with the previously mentioned baby bull. She DOES NOT like it. And then she glares at me like I'm the meanest mom around. I think it burns as it goes down, but then she can actually endure swallowing enough to eat.

So it's a toss up. Do I run the risk of having her hate me for half an hour after giving her the dose, or do I sit and watch and listen to her cry because her throat hurts her so bad because the regular ol' tylenol does nothing? So far I've taken the risk and had her mad at me. But it's not fun. We feel like we're torturing her because she acts LIKE WE'RE TORTURING her!

The only upside to all this, besides her nose not running and being able to breathe through her nose and not snoring and not having sinus problems later on, well the OTHER upside to this is that she has been so clingy. And while I'm tired of watching Dora and Diego, I love that she wants to be with me soo much. And it seems, the only way she'll take a nap is if it's on me.

The flip side to that is the fact that I couldn't even take a shower without her coming with me. If I went to the bathroom, she would cry for me to come back. She's better today. She's watching tv all by herself while I type away in here. But I'm just a cry for mommy away.

It's really all so sad. And heartbreaking, because she has absolutely no idea why she is in so much pain. She just knows that she went to sleep with promises of princess dreams and she woke up with her throat on fire. I'd feel a little put out myself.

It was reminiscent of Henry a few years back. But because of his experience, I thought to take her in when the wee lass' nose refused to stop running. Like, ever.

So now we're in the recovery stage. The ice cream, chocolate milk, bread-not toast, no chips or pretzels phase of this whole thing. And just like Henry's rashy cheeks cleared up within a week of his tonsils coming out, I am VERY optimistic that Nora's eczema will go away.

Yes I know that it is normally related to food. But what if her immune system is so busy dealing with mondoid sized tonsils, and adenoids so big that they are blocking her nose and neither of them doing their job properly, that her immune system is over-responding to other things and causing the eczema?

Time will tell. And I will let you know.

For now, I will be getting to know Dora the Explorer and her companion Boots a little better.

Have a great one.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Cheap labor

How I'm solving my "can't get a handle on my messy house" problem.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Anne Marie

Do you ever blink and then realize 8 years has gone by?

That happened to me yesterday. I blinked, and then a second later Anne Marie turned 8.

Tell me how that is possible when I am still 18? Well, inside at least.

It really was a birthday weekend for her. On Saturday Kate and Julia and I took her to the American Girl store that just opened here in Washington!! We were very excited!

Kate and Julia also love American Girl. They got to visit the Chicago store 5 years ago, so we were so thrilled to have one open here.

Here they are getting ready to leave.

Anne Marie in front of the store. Isn't she sooo dang cute? How do you like her new pixie cut? Pretty fab if you ask me.

This picture makes me cry. What mother wouldn't want three wholesome girls who love American girl and each other?

Kate tried to pretend she wasn't as excited, but then when she saw Addy's trunk, she became more animated than I've seen her in a while. And some outfits for Addy may have been added to her birthday list.

After the American Girl Doll Store, we headed over to Claires for another rite of passage. When our daughters turn 8 they get their ears pierced!!!

After such a great day, I only hoped that her actual birthday would measure up!
I tried. With pink frosting.

Grandma Granger was the lone grandparent. Thanks for coming Grandma!!

Anne Marie was more than a little excited about her presents. Clothes as presents! What a way to make a dollar stretch. Give them school clothes as presents.

Kate and Julia gave Anne Marie presents without any help from me. I love those girls.

But the highlight present? The present that got her more excited than any other? The box of 2500 sheets of paper from Grandma and Grandpa Granger. No. You don't understand. We constantly run out of printer paper because Anne Marie steals it all to draw, write notes, and whatever. She is obsessed with paper and all it's possibilities. I mean, just look at her face!

What a great girl she is. We appreciate how much she loves her siblings, how attentive she is to Henry and Nora. How willing she is to help. She is sassy wrapped in sweet wrapped in pink girly feathers with a tiara. She is awesome and we love her.

Happy Birthday sweet Anne Marie!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

All at once.

I had the opportunity over the past couple of weeks to see two old friends.
One from high school, and one of my old roommates from college.

It was super fun to catch up, to hear about their lives, to hug them and to feel so happy at seeing them.

Even though it had been twenty years since I'd seen Frances, and about 12 since I'd seen Chawntelle, their blogs have helped me feel caught up on their lives to some degree.

While talking with one friend, she lamented that the people that she knows now don't know her the way she was, ie; cute little dancer girl with lovely, curly red hair. Instead of the occasionally tired mom of 4 that she is now.

And my other friend, while she didn't say it, I think doesn't mind being thought of the way she was, but prefers who she is now.

This all got me thinking about how people see us. About everything that is behind who we are. We aren't simply just a mom or a dad, or an employee or boss. We aren't just our physical features.

There is so much more to all of God's creations than just what you get on a first glance.

When I see Chawtelle and Frances, I see them in my mind from the moment I first met them up until now. They are all those things-the dancer, the artist, the one with the fire-y spirit, the widow with wisdom and grace, the mum of 4 small children, the new girl in 4th grade, the girl who has no idea how beautiful she really is. They are all these things and more.

My in-laws have said that this is how they see their children. They don't just see them as the adults they are today, they see them from the time they were born all the way until who they are now. There almost isn't a beginning or an end, there is just love and happiness at who they were, and all that has lead to who they ARE. And as parents, we see it, all at once.

And I know this will be true, is true, of my own children as well. But sometimes I want to freeze frame their lives, so that I never forget the moments. The moments like this:

And this:

And this:

And this:

You didn't know we were so street at our house, did ya? Kate and Julia and Charlie weren't there for the pictures cuz they were at a break dancing competition. Ok, not really. But they weren't really interested in posing for me. So I get to show you these instead:

Life is short. Love who you are. Be who you are. Embrace all the experiences that have made you who you are.

The end.

Friday, August 19, 2011


As I told a friend this last week, I haven't blogged in a while because I'm trying to spend time with my kids more and be on the computer less. That's working out, um, ok.

But I think maybe a bigger reason I haven't posted, if I'm being completely honest with myself, is that I just can't act like everything is great and low stress for me right now.

I have a hard time hiding my feelings, and posting about some cute little thing would feel like a lie when in fact I can't stop thinking about where the money for multiple car repairs and a new car payment is going to come from, or where the money for school clothes is going to come from, or the fact that we have 4 children's birthdays coming up and still haven't figured out the afore mentioned where is all the money coming from problem. Or there is why my back hurts all the time lately leaving me unable to do much of what I want and need to get done or why as hard as I try I can't seem to get on top of my messy house.

But it's no fun to read about me feeling sorry for myself. Even though you just did. My apologies. So instead I'm reposting something that made me laugh. Because, today, that is what I really need.

Sassy mouth

*Post Edit*: I am not actually worried about Nora saying butt. I don't like the word, I think it sounds kind of crass. But I don't think it's pepper in the mouth kind of language. I just found it super funny that her teasing Henry sounded more like hairy butt. Sorry if you thought I was worried about this. I'm totally not.*

I was supposed to show you pictures of other things I've been working on.

But instead I have chosen to share with you my 2 year old's new found ability to torment her brother.

Yesterday, for some unknown reason, Nora started saying "butt, butt, butt, butt".

Now, we don't use that word in our house. We really don't. Well, sometimes I do, but I'm working on it, ok?! And I try not to let anyone hear me when I say it.

Anyway, Nora continued with her recitation of this "naughty" word.

It bothered Henry to no end.

In fact he tattled on her.

"Mommmmm, Nora is saying butt."

Me. "Nora, we don't say butt."

Nora. "Butt, butt, butt, butt"

But then she took it to new heights once she figured out that it caused a reaction. She started getting Henry's attention first by saying his name, followed by saying butt. Trying super hard to irritate him.

However, she does not pronounce Henry correctly yet.(she leaves out the N)

So it came out sounding more like "hery! butt! hery! butt! hery! butt!"

I could not make this stuff up if I tried!

What do you do when it is a two year old saying this stuff?

I didn't want to bring more attention to by making a big deal out of it, and laughing certainly wasn't helping.

So I just walked away, and Hery seemed to realize that ignoring it was the best bet as well.

And then I took their picture, which will always make the center of attention baby of the family completely forget everything else.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Childhood 101

Climbing trees is a necessary part of any childhood.
Of course, I prefer the trees that are barely above the size of the children climbing it, but they don't know I'm paranoid, now do they

They just know they're climbing a tree!

Monday, August 1, 2011

He's back, for a little while

We have a visitor at our house for a few weeks.

He used to actually live here, until my hubby decided it wasn't going to work between the two of them.

So my sister and her family took him. Allowing us visitation, but with the stipulation that we watch him when they go on vacation.

Well, they are on vacation, and we have the awesome job of babysitting....Lucky!

Yes, I'm vacuuming him. He is the hairiest dog in existence I've decided. Nothing a little vacuum wand can't handle.

But he misses his family. How can I tell? Because he follows me everywhere! If I move into another room, so does Lucky.

Obviously the guy isn't sure what's going on, so he's keeping the "Alpha dog" of the house in eyesight at all times.

And I vacuumed him. So he may just be keeping an eye on me so that I don't try anything else!

The best part about having Lucky here though (because obviously the worst part is all the hair) is taking him on walks with me in the morning. I feel so much safer with a big dog with me. Not that he would actually protect me. The guy is a big softy. But still, no one else knows that, now do they? So other dogs and creepos beware! Lucky will lick you to death if you're not careful!

And sorry Maile, I was not able to cure him of the aforementioned licking. Seems that nasty little habit is here to stay.

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