16Sep

Of Hats and Milk Fat

Andrew went to the store for some more dairy products, (He was making ice cream and my yogurt was on sale – looked like quite a milk fat binge!) My fridge looks like this:

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But the hum of the ice cream maker at work is music to my ears…

Andrew also brought me a stack of home decorating magazines. We’ve made an offer on a house that will need some work, although we don’t have a signed contract or anything, so it’s a bit premature. But a girl’s gotta make plans…

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The kids are enjoying the reprieve from having to keep the house so spiffy. I’m pretty sure the minute we had a signed contract one of them walked over to the couch with its multiple accent pillows and threw each and every one of them on the floor. They’ve stayed there for two days. I’m content to leave them for just a bit longer.

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They’re also still obsessed with Newsies. They know every word to all the songs and I am ridiculously proud, except for when they burst into song in a restaurant. And because I can’t help myself when it comes to encouraging their love of musicals, I bought the boys each a Newsies cap.

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It is taking everything in me not to buy one for Finn and stage a photo shoot. They’re ridiculously adorable.

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Ian has one, too, but he’s still sporting a black eye from earlier this week and would rather not be photographed. Instead, I leave you with this image, which only true Newsies afficianados will appreciate. Sam has been practicing the little jump at the very end of the movie when the credits roll. I think he’s about got it.

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Happy Friday, y’all. Celebrate with a Newsies kick, will ya?

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Le Random

Here’s the thing: I’ve got a bunch of tee-tiny stories and pictures I want to show you and there’s no theme, no neat little way to tie them up in a bow. This is our life, In Random (but if you say it in French, it sounds classier.)

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These are the sort of photos I find if I walk away from my phone for too long. The kids put my sleep mask on Finn and took 80 pictures of him.

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Sam’s copywork involved a verse about loving one another and living together with tenderness. He wrote at the bottom of it “Boys are up. Girls are down. Boys rule!”

Yea, I totally made him copy that verse three more times.

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This is my Mira. She and Willa are really into coloring right now. That’s fine as along as they can’t find the markers…

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Finn has decided he’s a “sleep with his blanket over his head” kind of guy. I check on him incessantly, because we mommies are insane, but no amount of begging or rearranging his blanket will change his preference. He always wraps himself up like this by the time I come back. (And, yes, he can breathe just fine.)

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Andrew had an overnight trip this week and I needed to entertain the troops. Thanks to all of you Facebook friends, we managed a sock war and an indoor scavenger hunt. I tried to take pictures of the sock war, but the kids kept hitting me in the head with socks. I decided to be IN the moment… plus, I couldn’t let them BEAT ME.

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I introduced the kids to Newsies and we ate popcorn with chocolate chips in it. They’re still singing all the songs from the movie, which means that I have fulfilled my purpose as a mother. “I’m the King of New Yawkkkkkk!”

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We finished our fatherless-weekend with a doughnut run (and some Starbucks for Mommy.) Most of the kids were still in pj’s and nobody wore their shoes. That’s what makes it fun!

And speaking of fun, these are my people.

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I generally only get them all together when there’s food involved, so that’s when I snap the pictures. I love them. In all their Le Random glory.

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Veekend Videos

Velcome to Veekend Videos Vith The Vitafam.

Say that three times fast.

To me, weekend relaxing always means a movie (and usually chocolate.) I try to pick something fun for the kids to watch after they finish school. Sometimes the kids and I just wander YouTube (with discretion) and entertain ourselves with Cookie Monster videos.

So how about a (quick) video to curl up with and entertain your kids this Friday?

Sam loves to build tents and forts. You can’t walk upstairs without falling into one of his creations. I think he outdid himself this week when he built his own “HOSPITL.”

He made an adjustable bed (he called it an “adjusting table,” which made me think he had successfully integrated holistic and modern medicine) and an x-ray machine.

Here’s his tour. And please do enjoy my multicultural couch in the background.

Speaking of videos, my kids have really enjoyed watching the Olive Us kids online. I don’t know who this family is, but they make cute videos. (Fun Fact: They also had an episode on House Hunters International when they moved to France!) Maybe your kids will enjoy OliveUs, too.

So. Anybody else want to share a Veekend Video with us? Did you capture your kids doing something cute? Was there a YouTube video (family friendly) that we simply must see?

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The Ordinary Extraordinary

with apologies to Heather of the EO for toying with her name…

Another week that has me spinning like a top. But it’s full of all sorts of good things. Things that seem like such ordinary rites of passage for kids are happening and they feel pretty extraordinary in all their ordinariness.

Ellen is taking a ballet camp. Her head may explode with happy.

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We have our first house pets (since Samson), although they’re really just house guests. We’re baby-sitting our neighbors’ fish. Hours of entertainment for my little people and I don’t have to clean the fish bowl? Yes, please.

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Ian showed off his mad cooking skillz and made pita pizzas for lunch one day. He’s gonna make a great daddy since he can make pizzas smile.

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Sam is on another Lego kick. They’ve all been “inventing” things this week as we’ve studied Robert Fulton and his inventions. This is Sam’s latest pirate ship.

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Finn tried out a bath in the big bathtub. He hated it. Lesson learned.

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I finally bit the bullet and began potty training Willa. I know it’s a bit late, but I’ve been busy. I’ve got an extra set of hands here to help me this week because I still wasn’t sure how to balance nursing and schooling with running to the potty every five minutes.

Best decision ever.

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My little pixie far exceeded my expectations and not only stayed mostly dry, she even TOLD me when she needed to go. And she did the “major business” in the potty tonight, too. She earned herself a Reese’s Cup.

Mira wasn’t too pleased to learn she couldn’t have the same candy as her sister. I told her when she pooped in the potty, she could have one, too. Which would explain this little episode in hilarity:

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It didn’t get the result she wanted, but it sure made me smile.

These are the things that make my head spin and my heart full this week. What sort of ordinaries feel extraordinary to you tonight?

p.s. I didn’t forget Adam. He’s been under the weather for awhile now and, sadly, mostly sits and coughs. Stupid asthma. But he’s got a birthday coming. And I’m in PARTY PLANNING MODE. Gonna be fun!!!

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Mama’s Brag Book

Indulge me a little bragging, please?

Baby’s First Toy

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Finn is at the stage now where he reaches for things with his chubby little paws. Usually my hair, my necklace, Andrew’s nose, or the bird on his bouncy seat. I pulled out a new toy for him (he gets a brand new toy, even though I still have some from when the twins were babies) and he has fallen in love with the rattle sound. Plus, anything he can put in his mouth is a win-win for him. He holds it in his hands and wrestles it like a bear cub until he tosses it out of reach and then fusses at it until it returns to his grasp.

It’s fun the first forty times.

Boys’ First French

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Don’t laugh, we’re not getting so pretentious that we’re teaching our third graders French or anything. We’re studying Napoleon and their school assignment included learning five words of French. Andrew, fortunately, speaks French and gave them each a set of words. Otherwise, they would have been stuck with my limited knowledge, which included phrases like “Ooh la la” and the French chef’s song from Little Mermaid.

They took their words and used them to write a paragraph about Napoleon. Ian even showed off a little and wrote his paragraph in cursive. Sacre bleu!

Finn’s Happy Stretch

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See that crooked content grin on his face and his arms flung over his head? I managed to capture him doing the Full-Tummy Stretch of Happiness right after a meal. He’s done it since he was wee tiny, even in his sleep. That’s how I know I’ve got him good and satiated, when he stretches. It’s adorable. I hope he does it forever.

And finally, I managed to capture a giggle or two on video. In between screams, which is his new favorite skill to practice – loud squealing.

So – Gimme a brag from your week. What about your people makes you proud?

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Our Little Patriots

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Oh, it’s just been the BEST kind of day. One of those days where you’re together as a family and the stars align and nobody throws up or gets lost and you come home tired and happy.

Yea, that.

After a lazy morning, we dropped Adam off at his pirate camp and treated the rest of the brood to lunch and some fancy popsicles.

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Then we took our slightly diminished gang to the science museum downtown. We had several hours to kill until we picked Adam up, so we  let everybody linger over their favorite activities. Mira didn’t move from the water table for a good half hour.

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Ellen conquered a large fish. (She could teach Jonah a thing or two, I suspect.)

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Mira adored the aquarium at her eye level. She chased the fish back and forth, back and forth.

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Later, Sam and Ian did some engineering together. They were hilarious, talking over each move seriously, building and rearranging. Jenga!

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We rounded a corner on one floor and I heard my husband say in his “protective” tone, “My wife – turn around and go the other way.”

He had spotted the boa constrictor ahead and knew I would rather poke my eyes out than have a snake come into my line of vision.

He is a wise man.

Finn and I took a walk on the other end of the museum while the kids petted a Spawn of Satan. Hence, no pictures of snakes. Just a picture of me and my freaked out baby. Apparently he doesn’t appreciate snakes either.

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I did manage to capture the entire crew enjoying the wind tunnel later.

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Once we were reunited with our little pirate, we headed for home and enjoyed the traffic-free drive. Note to self: July 4th is a great day to head downtown to museums. Not crowded at all!

We let the kids picnic inside in front of a movie.  And then, because they were wiggly, Andrew sent them outside to jump on the trampoline for ten minutes.

Apparently, this tyranny awakened the rebellious patriots in the hearts of our children. They spent their ten minutes writing out their own manifesto of independence on the back porch.

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Happy 4th of July, Everybody! Hope your day was lovely!

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At Least They Do Their Fighting Outside of My Uterus Now

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Mama and Boys

I was in my room nursing Finn during the afternoon quiet time. The older kids are supposed to do their school work while the littles nap and I take a time-out. I had my door wide open to monitor them, so of course I heard the giggles and the snickers start and knew they were up to something. These snickers were quickly followed by the oofs and thuds as a full-on brawl broke out among the twins.

Then I heard a hit find its mark, a second of shocked surprise, and a wail soon followed. My boys aren’t cry babies, so they dried it up quickly and discussed it at higher and higher decibels until they came to me for a final ruling.

Ian complained first: “Sam hit me. I couldn’t understand what he was saying and when I didn’t answer him, he hit me.”

Sam piped in: “Why wasn’t he listening to me in the first place??? He heard me, I know he did. And besides, he hit me back. No really, ON my back. It hurts, Mommy!”

Apparently, Sam has some mouth sores that are causing him to talk a little funny. He asked Ian for the red crayon and Ian heard something about mayonnaise and their solution to this misunderstanding was to smack each other around a little.

I will never understand that part of the Y chromosome.

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Sam in a more sedate moment

I pointed out that they were BOTH in the wrong and unless they really wanted me to make a ruling on this dispute, they would be wise to run away.

They skittered out of my room before I was done talking and I cozied up to Finn and whispered, “You won’t EVER hit your brothers, right?”

He didn’t answer but kept right on eating. I think he’s bulking up so he can take on his brothers in a month or two.

Can you blame him?

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iPhoning It In

The days are so full and passing so quickly that I honestly had to pull up the pictures on my iPhone just to remember what is happening. Here’s what I found today:

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Finn is at the in-between stage where he will still sit around in a swing or a bouncy seat, but he’s also beginning to need a bit more stimulation. So there are now no less than seven baby implements wandering around the downstairs for his entertainment.

I pulled out the exersaucer and while Finn finds it a bit overwhelming still, the rest of my kids think its a fantastic toy… and it plays music. As if we need any more noise in this house. I spend on average 97 minutes a day reminding the taller kids “The exersaucer is NOT FOR YOU.”

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Sam’s obsession with acquiring money to acquire Stuff continues. If he finds something he simply must have, he finds odd jobs around the house to perform until he can buy it. His latest entrepreneurial brain wave came when he offered to kill the flies that come in the house from the millions of times the kids leave the doors open.

His fly-murdering ways earned him this snorkel set. Or, as he calls it, his “snort-hole mask.”

I had to make him quit wearing the flippers in the house before he killed himself. Or me.

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I posed Mira for this picture for an article I’m writing, but it reminded me of an “incident” from yesterday. She pooped in her diaper and removed it during nap time. I pulled her out of her bed and went into the bathroom only to discover that NONE of the lightbulbs in the kids’ bathroom work and nobody had mentioned it to the grown-ups. So I had to remove the poop from Mira in the dark.

Mira got a poorly lit shower, we soaked the bathroom, and I got drenched. Ten minutes later, she was dressed, I wiped her bed down, and we went on with life.

It reminded me of all the times the twins played in their poop while they were potty training and how many showers (albeit ones with lights) they endured. Funny, it used to make me crazy. And while I don’t really enjoy the poop now, Mira’s incident was barely a blip on my radar.

I’m not bragging about it. I say that to encourage all of us with the thought that some day, whether it’s because our kids grow up or because we have so many we get desensitized, but ONE DAY, all of the poop our people produce will not concern us.

That’s something to hold on for.

What story is your phone telling YOU this week?

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Did Canada Invade?

Andrew works from home. We like it that way. I’ve learned to leave him alone and he’s learned to come running if he hears the right kind of screams. In general, I’m on my own during the day. Occasionally, though, I have to send him an SOS via text.

Today was one of those days. I needed to nurse Finn and he was letting me know at a rather loud volume. In the meantime, I needed to settle a dispute with the big kids. I texted Andrew as best I could with my bum hand (I’m wearing a wrist brace, which helps, but it makes me pretty dumb-fingered at the keyboard) and then worked on feeding my baby.

Whatever crisis I needed to solve got solved without me and life went on. I completely forgot about my panicked text.

Until Andrew arrived about half an hour later. “Um, did you need me for something?”

He’d been on the phone for work and couldn’t make heads or tails of my text. When he read it out loud to me, neither could I.

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Y’all. I laughed so hard I cried. Andrew confessed he couldn’t figure out how the Canucks came into play but he was mighty confused as to why I felt the need to wander the downstairs and wreak havoc.

I managed to pull from my addled brain that I intended to type, “Adam and Sam have done no work because they cannot find pencils.”

“Shoot” was my frustration boiling over with my fat fingers.

Then I tried to correct auto-complete by typing that “no” I mean “work.”

And the wandering around wreaking havoc? That was the children. Not me.

And it wasn’t any wayward Canadians, either.

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How To Clean Your Closets

The current obsession at our house is Playmobil. More accurately, the obsession has to do with Acquiring More Stuff. Even as Andrew and I are simplifying and culling out toys, the kids are rabidly collecting pennies, coins, or bills to purchase their own Legos/Playmobil/Insert-small-item-that-hurts-my-feet-when-I-step-on-it-here.

We currently don’t have an allowance system, but we will let them do the odd job about the house and pay them for it. (See: the story of the most expensive sweet gum balls in the world.) Andrew and I ran out of ideas for jobs a few weeks ago and I guess we were hoping they’d forget. They probably would have, too, since they really don’t enjoy the sort of jobs we think up.

Sadly, somebody showed them we can order stuff online, even toys that Wal-Mart doesn’t have. Even better, We have Amazon Prime. In the time it normally takes them to convince us to drive them to the store, they could have the toy of their choice delivered to the front door. Sam got excited about the possibilities and determined he was actually willing to work for some money.

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First, he approached me with an idea. He offered to clean up the laundry room (which also doubles as the girls’ closet) for just a dollar… maybe two dollars. I told him I would guarantee him one dollar and if he did a good job, I would pay more. Like a tip. BINGO. In half an hour, he’d organized the girls’ clothing bins (Ellen helped him a bit) and tidied up the floor of my ever-piled-high laundry room.

I paid him two dollars.

I think we both won.

A frenzy of closet cleaning began. Sam organized the shoe closet. Adam did the linen closet downstairs. Sam picked up my bedroom floor and vacuumed it. Sam actually offered to clean the disaster that is MY closet, but since every morning is a Postpartum Clothing Crisis right now, I’m even scared to tackle that disaster zone. I spared him the agony.

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This IS an improvement. The "before" picture is horrific.

We agreed on a minimum price beforehand and then I paid more if the job was exceptional. Sam wanted to clean his own closet (shared with his brothers.) I told him I wouldn’t pay as much since he was partly responsible for that closet on a normal basis. He agreed, mostly because he only needed 75 more cents to reach his goal.

Since Monday, I have ordered no less than four tiny Playmobil sets from Amazon. Sadly, we couldn’t use our Prime benefits for any of them and the boys had to pay shipping and now must wait THREE TO FIVE VERY LONG BUSINESS DAYS before their toys arrive.

I’m not sure who is more ready to see those little boxes on the doorstep. I’ve heard about nothing else but their plans for their toys, how they will use them, which one is the bad guy, who is on what team, and why the gold sword will be far superior to the silver sword.

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But I’m secretly proud of them, too. They’ve shown initiative. They didn’t quit because the job was distasteful. And they will get to reap the reward of their work.

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Ian earned just enough for his toy and then quit. He'd rather read than work. I'm with him.

And maybe some day, they’ll quit robbing the washing machine of all its spare change. Everybody knows that washing machine change belongs to the person who DOES the laundry. How else can I afford my chocolate habit???

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