The Family Bed

Yes, we did own a crib back in the day before we knew about the benefits of co-sleeping. It was a pretty nice laundry storage and stuffed animal storage for a while. Ezrah did sleep in it when he was a babe a little, but it was like he started out in the crib, then after his first night waking would just come to bed with Dan and I so I could nurse easily.
So, these days I pretty much have both girls in my bed. Our bedroom has become the family room. Storytime, naps, nursings and diaper changes all happen right here. In fact, Indigo was born on this bed! Sweet hubby takes the guest room (romantic, huh?) because he can't take the baby waking and is working 2 jobs and really needs his sleep. Although today I awoke with Ezrah in our bed too and yesterday Jack was in there horizontally. I decided to take action for reasons of comfort and I threw decorim out the window. Here's what our room look s like now....

That's Ezrah's old crib mattress I brought out from the shed. The floor bed is open to anyone who wants it. And the wanna-be interior designer inside me is cringing a little. No, it's not pretty, but neither is my naked tummy after 4 kids. But it makes me so happy to have all my kids feel welcome at night. It just feels right. I mean, who wants to sleep alone? Why do we expect kids and babies to sleep alone?


Finding Time to Sew?

So I finally stopped at Jo-Ann fabrics today in hopes of getting inspired to make Indy her first birthday party dress. I was thinking something frilly with lots of tulle, but my love of cordorouy took hold of me. There are the cutest cordorouy prints on sale right now at 40% off I just had to get some. Don't you hate though when you walk into Jo-Ann's so excited with your 40% off any regularly priced item coupon and nothing you want is actually regularly priced? I do.
So I fell in love with this print here. It's like a mauve pink and taupe. Kind of grown-up for a baby dress, but I think it's beautiful!

I am anti-pattern, well I became anti-pattern years ago because they are just so darn confusing. Then i ran across an adorable owl print that i want to use for a new dress for Madi Belle. I love that owls are so "in" right now because owls happen to be our school mascot. Owl cordorouy...love it.
I'll have updates on the dress progress once i get to it somehwhere around football practices, soccer practices, Odyssey of the Mind duties, breastfeeding, housework, laundry, & sleep (or lack therof). Time to make dinner...gotta go 


Sunday Sewing...maybe

Today is Sunday and my big plan for the day is getting clean clothes & enough socks in the kids drawers for the week. Exciting life, huh? I did an experiment last week, putting 5 pairs of socks in Jack's drawer to see if it could last him the school week. Didn't work - I have no idea why that boy needs more than 5 pairs of socks in 5 days. Total mystery.

My newest little freshie turns 1 on October 5. According to my Lillypie breastfeeding ticker up there, she is 11 months, 2 weeks and 6 days old today. And yes, she is still breastfeeding more than ever. We're not really having a big birthday party for her because of 3 of my kids being born in the month of October. I don't know how that worked out other than, I must be really fertile in the month of January. :)

We decided on just a family party on the real day and Dan's dad will be coming. Just our family alone makes for a decent party turnout. Part of me loves to do parties, the crafty Mama that I am,  but part of me just wants to do something big enough so we'll have pictures for her scrapbook of her eating her first birthday cake. We're going with the latter.

I thought I'd try my hand out in making her a first birthday party dress, being my attempt on her baptism dress didn't get finished and she ended up wearing madi's dress. I don't want her life to be a life of hand-me-downs for the big occassions. Perhaps I'll run out to JoAnn's today while my hubby is layed out on the couch watching football.


He Luvs Football

Well i've got a football lover. My 3rd-grader, Jack is in his first year of playing football. As a Mom, football wasn't my first choice, but my goal as a parent is let my kids make choices to be who they do what they want to do. My gut wrenches when I see him get tackled or tackle another kid, but I am happy he is on a team and is playing sports. I know that football is a lot about passion.

Passion is where it's at. If you aren't passionate about things, how can you experience true joy? I didn't realize Jack loved this game until I read his Coach's email today recapping this morning's game. Here's an excerpt...

"But the best highlight of the day for me was in the huddle. We run the Popcorn Trap with Ryker playing RG. He pulls to the left and gets to "trap" block the DE... undoubtedly one of the most fun and exciting blocks to do in football. Today, I called the trap in the huddle, and Jack was at RG. He got the biggest grin on his face. Ryker was on his way in to sub him (unfortunately)... but I loved the look on Jack's face. He couldn't contain his enthusiasm to crush the DE. He'll get his chance next week! I loved that look of thrill that came over his face when presented with an opportunity to crush and unsuspecting DE. It's at those moments when I know that "the love of the game" is sinking in on that player... and I know that I am doing my job.

So if he gets hurt, I will have to live with it. Not letting my 8-year-old play football in hopes of his little body staying safe is like not letting him ride a bike in fear of him falling down. It's like being afraid to love for fear of getting your heart broke. you just can't not let your kids live their life no matter how old they are. I'm so proud of my boy and he looks so darn cute in all his pads and helmet! Oh and another football Mom said that she read that if your kid plays sports and have dinner as a family just once a week, they are 70% less likely to do drugs. I can handle that.


Back to Complete

My big boy arrived home safely and hungry! We had a little family party for him tonight and I made him a welcome home cake. Cheesy I know, but he & his brother & sister and cousin certainly enjoyed it! We bbq-d steak and Uncle Dave and Uncle josh came over too.

So, my kindergartner has not been eating much. She is so thin that I worry so. At school, she has no one to oversee her eating and her lunchbox has been coming home with untouched sandwiches. So I don't know how you all feel about bribing kids, but I need her to eat. She is really really skinny and some days I'm not sure if she ingests anything! So i promised her that every day she eats her sandwich at school, she will get a star. Five stars and she gets a small present. It is working. So today she earned her present. I got her a Teacher Barbie. Ugh - Barbies...that's a whole other issue, but she likes them.

While "Targeting" I wanted to get Ezrah a gift too, just because I missed him so much and got him a Lego set. Oh and then I have to get something for Jack. Such a vicious cycle. But hey we are partying tonight! Jack got a new version of Monopoly, a game he just loves, so we will be playing that tonight. My hopes are that it doesn't last as long as regular Monopoly!

So glad my big boy is home. I feel complete again!


I Almost Didn't Get My Hug!

He's gone. I got him everything he wanted to go on the Eco-Week trip and he's gone. Ezrah, my 5-th-grader, probably arrived at Pingree Park right now and is eating his lunch. I promised him I wouldn't put an "i love you" note in his lunch bag, but now I'm regreeting that decision. I promised him I  wouldn't put his favorite blankie inside his sleeping bag, and I'm regretting that promise too.

When I dropped off my kindergartener when the bell rang, I went to Ezrah's class to give him an official Mommy goodbye. Oh no! It was too late! The announcements had started and he was at his desk and all the kids were quiet and listening to the announcements with excitement on their faces. They all had their daypacks and a huge pile of luggage and sleeping bags were outside the classroom door. I went up to him and said quietly, "so can i have a hug goodbye?" I get a one-armed half hug from him. Not sufficient. So, I go to leave, but couldn't.

I was standing by the door and near Mrs. Carmody's desk and I whispered to her "He wouldn't give me a reaL hug goodbye". She screams out "Ezrah, go outside with your Mother!" We went outside and I got my hug! Yes, i was teared up, but didn't full out cry until I was walking back to my car. My boy is growing up and I need to accept it. I was worried about this trip changing him, but now I'm thinking that it's changing me.


EEK! -O-Week Trip for 5th-Graders

It's here! It is Eco-Week and in 2 and a half days, my baby son and the entire 5th grade at O'Dea Core Knowledge will leave for Pingree Park up in the Poudre Canyon.  They'll be gone for 2 nights and 3 days; that is 53 hours and 15 minutes without my Ezrah. My first baby is going on a 3-day camping trip WITHOUT Mom & Dad. EEK!
This trip is a 30-year tradition in the Poudre School District. The 5th-graders celebrate Eco-Week by going on a camping trip to give the kids a hands-on outdoor educational experience...without their parents. They have been preparing since school started. Because this is such a major independent thing,  the kids are sure to have a blast.  It will probably be so fun that I'm thinking this will be quite a transformative experience. I am a little beside myself as I am packing his stuff, realizing that Eco-Week is finally here and he leaves in 2 1/2 days and counting.

Will he Get Eaten by a Bear?
Pingree Park is part of Colorado State University. It is up in the Poudre Canyon and along the Pouder River. They will be camping, hiking, doing a ropes course and celebrating Eco-Week and more importantly, independence. 

Here's what the ropes course looks like...OMG...I'm just going to erase these images from my mind in hope of sanity while he's gone. But I thought I'd share because it IS kinda cool!

My heart is so full of pride as I watch my big boy growing up. On one hand, I am so excited that he is becoming a young man and on the other, I want to super glue him to me. I know, I know, the super glue is not the healthiest way to raise an independent, self-sufficient man. It was just a thought. I pray every day not to be a "helicopter" parent, but I tell ya, it is not easy. This is the longest he will be away from us. Will he miss me? Will he get car sick on the bus up all those windy roads? Will he be scared at night? Will he fall in the river? Will he & his friends sneak out at night and get eaten by a bear? God, I can't even fathom how it will be when he goes away to college.

Kids Table or Grown-Up Table?
No doubt, he is going to have a great memorable time. I just know it. Will this trip change him? I know it's going to be an experience like none other. I'm sure all the parents at O'Dea are feeling like me. Is our fifth-grader a big kid? A young man or young woman? A child? I know that battle; I remember it.
You are not a teenager yet, you are not a child. Those pre-teen years are hard, to say the least. You try everything you can to act grown-up and in my case, it was dumb choices, just to "show" my parents I was the one in control. (Note to self: Give healthy control to my kids as they grow to avoid that.) Play with toys?  Or go to the movies with your friends?  I can already feel and witness his battle in his behavior. The battle between being older and being a child.  It's kind of like not old enough to sit at the grown-up table and not young enough to sit at the kids table. Where am I? Who am I? What am I?

Pre-Teen, Tween, Pre-Adolescent, What?
How do we treat our pre-teen? I think the word, pre-teen is not good to start with. It doesn't have a definition. It's before being a teen, but not a child. I hate the word, tween. We need a better word for ages 10-12. Any suggestions?

So how does a mom treat a 10-12 year old boy/girl/young man/young woman? I believe it starts with respect. No matter what age they are, it starts with respect. How to help them with the battle of who they are? Oh jeez, I am totally rambling right now.

Have to Focus on Packing
Okay, let's focus. Pack his stuff, buy new camping socks, sleeping bag, soap, toothpaste. Oh and get him a disposable camera so that he never forgets this amazing trip and experience he is about to have. I respect him to make good choices on this trip. I know he will. And if he doesn't he'll get eaten by a bear! That'll teach him! If that happen, he may just think twice before he sneaks out his bedroom window when he's 15 to go to a party. Talk about Pavlovian conditioning! Just kidding.
I can't say if he'll miss me or not. Hopefully he will be having too much fun. I know I will be counting the days, hours, and minutes until his return. I will be there with a smile and my arms open at 2pm on Friday.


Getting Nothing Done

Well I'm getting some things done, but I cannot seem to manage all my errands. Perhaps my list is too long, perhaps the morning nap with Indigo is not helping, or perhaps life with 4 kids is too much. Today I had on my list to get an oil change, buy shoelaces, batteries and coffee, get a library book for Jack, drop off donations, bring paperwork to lawyer...( oh have I mentioned I have a bench warrant out for my arrest because of a 4-year-old bill that never got paid to PVH? Really, I guess you can go to jail because of unpaid bills), stop at Trends, my neighbor's shop because I said I would.

Ok, what did I get accomplished? My first mistake was stopping at Target for batteries, shoelaces, and coffee. That took way to long because of course I have to stop at the clearance stuff. And while at Target, i added to my list of a birthday present for Carter from Madi's class from party we missed last weekend. Then I was like, okay, let me stop home so I can wrap it so I can bring it to his Mom when I pick up the kids at school. So here I am, blogging on that very trip. I got the present wrapped and now I'm at my computer with 23 minutes until the bell rings. I did get the library book though! Once I pick up the kids, I get nothing done. Tomorrow's another day, right?!


When Siblings are the Bad Influence

So, my daughter, Madi, who has absoluetly enjoyed every minute of her 2 years of preschool and is now at her peak of happiness in kindergarten and going to the "big kid's" school where her brothers attend. Her brother, Ezrah, 10 and Jack, 8 started out this way too. They loved going to school; even wanted to go to school on the weekends and on snow days. What happened? Somehow, at some point in time, they started to not like school and if it were up to them, they would rather play Mario Kart from 8:40 to 3:23. Not so much Ezrah, but Jack definately.
So this evening after football and soccer practices, it was homework time. I was delighted to see that Madi had her first reading homework for kindergarten. They attend a Core Knowledge school where most of their homework consists of reading, logging their reading minutes and summarizing. Oh, she's going to love the idea of homework -she's going to think it's so cool to be like her big brothers.
So the boys were gathering their folders and were sluggishly getting started when I said, "Madi, let's see your folder and see what your homework is". I got out her folder and saw that she has a reading log. She did the sound I absolutely hate. Jack invented it. Or maybe Marge from the Simpsons did. UUUUUHHHH. I said, I don't like that sound and if I hear it again, you won't be able to watch your show tonight. So I said, "ok, Madi can you read me one of your decodables? I hear her little munchkin voice.......UUUUUUUHHH. No TV tonight. Then I hear the thing I thought I would never hear uttered from my sweet school-loving 5-year-old. "I hate homework!"
I immedietly looked at the boys and said. 'BOYS!"
So what am I supposed to do? I talked privately with the boys about how their attitude with school and homeowork is affecting their sister's pure sweet soul. Ezrah, the smart boy that he is, says "So am I supposed to lie, Mom? And say I love homework?" "Well, yes", I said, giving him permission to squash his own feelings and lie. At least around his sister. Am I a good Mom? I don't know. I just want my daughter to enjoy her school before the transformation of not liking homework truly starts.


Tour De Fat in Fort Collins Tomorrow!

One of my favorite things about living in Fort Collins, Colorado is Tour de Fat. Fort Collins is the New Belgium Brewing Company's home and every Labor day weekend, they sponsor, the famous, infamous, incredible, memorable, life-changing bike parade, Tour de Fat. Fort Collins is where Tour de Fat all started and is now done in 13 US cities. But Fort Collins is the Tour de Fat mecca! This is not any old bike race or bike parade. This is the craziest thing you have ever seen and ever participated in. I can't even explain it. It is a life-transforming event. You just have to experience it. And we, of course, will be participating!
So all those decorations from madi's party are being recycled to our bike theme! I am decorating our bike and the girl's bike trailer and will post pics as soon as I have it all done. I have to get Jack to football practice, so gott go for now.....