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Archive for March, 2009

and I do mean kid as in joke.  Because if we “kidded” all through the day,  I’d have a whole flock of children, not just a gaggle.  Dave and I have nick-named the children.  The complainer, the pouter, the screamer and the babies.  One of the bad things about being a twin is you always get lumped together.  I’m sure the babies will develop their own unique traits once they stop being cute and the apple of our eyes.

Mike is the screamer.  He’s six and he gets frustrated A LOT.  His default is to usually yell out a primal scream of frustration.  He’s trying to keep the ties with his primal self.  When he gets hurt, he screams. When he can’t figure out a video game, he screams.  When his sister bugs him, he screams.   Once the screaming starts it takes some creative parenting to calm him down.  Creative can take on so many different meanings.  It could mean picking rocks in the back yard or taking the ever dreaded nap, or losing a DS for a couple of days.  It can even mean your mom pulls out her camera to capture the moment for posterity.  You never know that fit might come back to haunt you at 8th grade graduation or your wedding.

Some days Mike wakes up screaming.  Those are the days that I think about drinking, or  at least wish he still willingly took a nap.   Some days everything bugs him.  He can’t find his favorite pants…scream.   Marshall is singing…scream.   McKayla is looking at him…scream.  The babies are touching his stuff…scream.   Someone else is eating cereal in the bowl he wanted…scream.   It makes me want to scream.   Sometimes I send him outside before I start seriously thinking about beating him.  I am angry

His new thing is crossing his arms.  When he’s stopped screaming he’ll cross his arms and start huffing and puffing.  He gets very dramatic with all of the huffing and pumping his little crossed arms up and down.  I think he crosses and huffs so that he can take a break from the screaming while still reminding the whole neighborhood that he has been offended.

I am NOT pouting!

Though he likes everyone to HEAR how angry his is, he doesn’t necesarily want it saved for all of posterity.  This picture was rather special because he was both screaming, pouting and crossing his arms all at the same time.  I know you really love the Ralph Lauren loafer shoes.  Mike does too.  He likes them better than any other pair of shoes.  He screams when he can’t find them.  He swears that someone “probably stole them” or at the very least his babies hid them.  He’ll scream and scream until some one finds them exactly where he left them.  I know you also like our weedy backyard.  We’re going for a jungle theme.  Actually, our weeds are so high because we are very green around here.  We’re trying to infuse oxygen into our atmosphere.  Our poor landscaping is really benefiting all of you.  You’re welcome.

sometimes you just have to give upThe great thing about being six is that you are still easily side tracked.  The camera comes out and you have to eventually smile.  After enough smiling you forget that you’re angry.  And the world is okay until someone irritates you again.

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the cutest, littlest ball player

My house looks like a baseball locker room has exploded in it.  At the very least, like the baseball equipment guy hid paraphernalia all over.  Theres a glove here, a cleat there, a bat under the couch  a baseball sock hanging out of the buffet, and balls on the stairs.

Baseball season means being out of the house for dinner almost every night.  It means my crockpot gets more use than the whole year combined.  It means banners and batting practice.  It means cocky winners and sore losers.  It means cheering loudly and sore backs from the bleachers.  It means washing uniforms often.  It means buying spray ‘n wash in bulk to get grass stains out of white pants.

Baseball season means that the babies get to live in their stroller and wagon 5 days a week.  They’re learning to cheer for their siblings and clap for any random kid up to bat.  Nathaniel itches to be on the field.  He tries to mimic the kids while the are practicing.  While Jacob is content to sit on the blanket stealing all the other toddlers snacks, Nathaniel would rather run onto the field.  He keeps me on my toes. Anytime a glove is left on the floor he immediately puts it on and goes searching for a ball.  If he can’t find it he’ll yell, “Mommy. Ball.”  As he yells, he mimes holding a ball, catching a ball, and throwing a ball.  The motions and words get more and more frantic and loud as time passes.  He likes to swing one of those souvenir bats around.  Of course he always holds it upside down.  No amount of correction from his siblings can convince him otherwise.  The kids think its the cutest thing ever to see him playing baseball.

The cuteness is what I hold on to.  I figure by the time my kids are grown, I will have watched close to 800 little league games.  That’s a lot of baseball.

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Volunteering

nathaniel has hair like a girlThis picture has absolutely no relevance to this post, but the cuteness of Nathaniel was too much not to share.

My name is Chanel, and I’m a volunteer addict.  Some people have a problem saying no.  What happens when you volunteer before you’re even asked?  That’s me.

Softball Coach:  Hi, this is McKayla’s softball coach.  I’m happy to have her on my team.  Blah blah.  Practice    is On Tuesdays.

Me:  Do you have a team mom?  I’d love to be team mom.  I have lots of team mom experience.

Repeat this for every thing that I’m involved in, or my kids.

I have lots of reasons why I volunteer.  Maybe it’s because I have high expectations.  Incredibly high expectations, high in the sky expectations for everyone, for myself, for my husband, my kids, my family, my friends, even acquaintances.  It’s not that I expect excellence, I don’t, I just expect a lot.  I know that I do.  If my kids or I am going to be involved in something I want it to be the best experience possible.  If I fork over $95 for softball I want it to be a good experience.  If I’m going to complain about it, it’s only after I’ve volunteered and it’s still been a bad experience.  I hate people who complain without trying to make a change.

I am a doer.  I’m not sure if I’ve always been a do-er, but I am definetly a do-er now.  I don’t wait around for others to do things.  I do them.  I’m probably a do-er because I like to be control.  I like few variables.  I don’t like things to go wrong.  I like excellence.

I see an opportunity, change, growth, and I jump in.  I jump in with both feet and offer to volunteer.  If there isn’t a head of the comitte, I’ll offer to head it myself.  I’m crazy like that.  I want to make a change, because mostly all of the change I make are diapers.  I want to make an impact, a visual, immediate impact.  Because the impact I’m making is with my children, and it’ll be awhile before I can see any sort of success.  Among all of the preteen angst and hormones, it’s questionable if I should even reproduce.

I volunteer because I am trying hard to make connections.  We move often.  It’s a running joke that it’s our tradition to move every summer.  As an adult, it’s hard to make friends.  When your a kid, your best friend is the kid who sits next to you in class, or the girl who has the same kind of shoes.  As you get older it’s the people who are in your classes or in your extra curricular activities.  You see each other every day.  They know you because their familiar.  As an adult, it’s hard to forge friendships!  It’s hard to turn casual friendships into substantial ones.  It’s hard to find someone who shares the same value system.

Some of my favorite people I’ve met through volunteering.  Maybe that could be the new joke, if you’re my friend I’ve worked really hard to meet you.  That’s kind of lame, maybe we’ll just stick to moving every summer.  Moving’s a lot of work though…

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plant cell

McKayla’s learning about cells.  She decided she didn’t want to draw the cells because that was too much work.  So she made an edible plant cell.  Then I told her she should make a key.  How dare I, that was so much work!   That was too hard!  She drew the cell and made a key to go along with it.  At the end of it, I got a cell drawing, even though I didn’t care about it any more.  It may have taken us twice as long to finish Science, but I’m going to say it was twice as fun.   I’m off to make little nucleus’ for lunch.  The joys of homeschooling, learning while you eat.

hey, i want the vacuole!

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Open Wide…

open wideI often hear things like, “Oh, four boys!  I’m sorry.” or “Wow!  Twin boys!  I feel sorry for you!”

Boys means lots of things.  It means I have more wheels in my house than GM.  There are constantly legos under foot. I get to hear all about farts and boogers.  Dirt is fascinating.  Baseball rules.  Mostly though, having four boys makes my life a little loud.  Who am I kidding?  It usually sounds like I’m living in the middle of a cymbal factory, at the very least, on the ground level at a Nascar race.  It’s loud.  It’s loud with the lots of random noises.  I’m not sure what is with boys and making noise for the sake of making noise.  It’s constant cacophony. Marshall sings constantly.  Of course, it’s off tune and the same half of a line repeated, over and over and over again. Sometimes he’ll vary it by saying it in a robotic voice, or a low voice, or a voice right in his brothers ear.  Mike talks just for the sake of hearing himself talk.  Many times he’s forgotten the end of the sentence before he’s even started the sentence.  He likes to blurt out answers even if he doesn’t know the question.  Then there is the constant screaming whenever he’s been offended, in any way, by anybody, at any time.  Sadly, the babies haven’t seemed to avoid the loudness.  They like to join in on the noise.  Sometimes we have impromptu concerts right in the middle of dinner and almost always while I’m reading to the other kids.

All of the noise is worth it for the small moments of quiet, for the sudden hugs and the quiet ‘i love you’s’.  The screaming and constant chatter seems to disappear when they remind me why I have so many boys.  Things like giving a Jacob giving the last bite of yogurt to Nathaniel.  Or reading Marshall reading to Mike late at night under the covers.  Or Mike playing with the babies for hours on end.  At those moments boys don’t seem so bad.  Especially after a day with a preteen girl.

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It’s amazing…

brokenIt’s amazing what kind of weight a little strand of spaghetti can hold.  McKayla was learning about stress and earthquakes and pressure and tectonic plates and all those other things that are important to know about earth science.  (Did that reassure you that I’m fully capable of teaching my children?).  We did a simple experiment.  How much weight can a strand of spaghetti hold.  We used pennies.  We guessed thirteen.  We grossly underestimated our little old strand of spaghetti.  He could hold 72 pennies.  We renamed him Hercules.  We repeated the experiment not believing the data, Hercules 2 could hold 64 pennies.  Amazing!

These last few weeks, I’ve felt like spaghetti.

This homeschooling thing is kicking my butt.  I’m enjoying it (for the most part).  I’ve learned all sorts of things in English that I never knew about.  Things like direct and indirect objects and prepositional phrases.  I’ve found out that Marshall reads like a crack addict with the right kind of motivation.  McKayla has moved up a level in math.  Mike has too.  Mike is a reader, but he just doesn’t want to admit it yet.  My boys are obsessed with Christopher Columbus.  The dots are starting to connect and it’s amazing to be there for that.

The babies are almost two.  This means that I have toddler twins who like to color on the furniture.  Does anyone know how to get marker off of a brand new couch? Toddlerdom also means potty training,  unsuccessful potty training.

Softball and baseball have started.  I shuttle kids to practice 5 days a week.  I’m the team mom for 3 teams.  Yep, three.  I’m making two team banners.  Yep, I said 2.  I’m ordering 15 team sweatshirts.  Collecting money for car washes and dinner dances.  I think I’m single handedly supporting Big 5 sporting goods.  Just pile a couple more pennies on me.

I am running a girl scout troop right in the middle of cookie season.  This means on top of the planning meetings and leader meetings and regular meetings with the girls we also are selling cookies in front of the store.  Does anyone want to buy girl scout cookies?  Throw a couple more pennies on the pile.

I’m also a den leader for Marshall’s cubscout den.  Let me tell you, nothing tires me out like 6 eight-year-olds that act as if they’re not allowed outside of the house. This one deserves a handful…

We have a dog.  A dog, that follows me around like I have a shadow.  I don’t need another shadow, I have five kids.  This dog also has the energy level of a sloth. What he doesn’t do in protecting us, he makes up for in shedding.  It’s amazing how much this dog sheds.

Dave’s been gone for 20 days.  He was home a few hours and now he’s working away again.  I was sure that this one would be the penny that broke the spaghetti.

But here I am, shuttling the kids to baseball and planning meetings and petting dogs and playing with babies and teaching the children.  I’m wondering when the heck do the pennies stop?  Or at least, I’m ever grateful for the strength given to me that let’s me bear all of these pennies.

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