Monday, December 20, 2010

Words to Cry By...

So as I am loading the dishwasher this morning Jack looks at me and says:

"I am going to wish for a maid for you Mom and she can put the dishes in the dishwasher and let the dog out."

Made my heart boil over to be sure but just when I thought it could get any sweeter I walk by the bathroom and hear Jack talking to himself.  He catches me catching him and says:

"I was just talking to Santa about your maid."

I love love love you Jackie.  Thank you for my Christmas wish.

Letter to Ben and Jack Re:Christmas Crazies

Dear Ben and Jack,

Have you noticed the house is buzzing right now?  Oh yes it is Christmas and well...your parents have some of the most interesting luck in the world.  My Mom always said you pay for the good with the bad.  Very true right now.

As I sit here waiting for the two of you to wake up I feel so very blessed in life.  Two awesome little boys, a good husband, a lovely home and we are all healthy and happy.  Quite a bit to be appreciative and happy for and I am!

The part that has made the past few weeks crazy is:

*Broken furnace
*Lost cell phone
*Mommy's flu
*Jack's flu
*Ben's flu x2
*broken vacuum
*the dog got fleas
*Car accident which may or may not have written off the car (everyone is ok so we will add that to the blessing list x10)

So please understand that if we seem a little crazy right now it has to do with dealing with copious amounts of vomit, cleaning the house top to bottom for fleas and negotiating the best price for a car all in the same morning and nothing to do with you guys.  However, and most important here is to maintain perspective because these are the little curves life throws at us and they pale in comparison to all the good things we have going for us.  It just sometimes takes us...ok maybe more your mother a bit of time to absorb it all and move on.

One promise I will make is that by Christmas eve it will all be settled and sorted so we are ready to suck in your joy on Christmas morning.

I love you both more than you will ever know.
Your Mom

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Melding of New and Old

For me Christmas traditions are what make the holiday.  This could in part be due to my Type A issues.   Truth be told I am a bit of a list maniac and so sometime in November you will see me planning my daily lists almost a month in advance and on this list you will find that I have carefully planned each tradition ensuring that all necessary materials are available with which to complete the tradition.

For example, on November 26th I purchased the foam Christmas houses that we make each year and I planned 4 days throughout December on which we would have time to complete them.  The same goes for paper snowflake making, cookie baking, Christmas cards, decorating, gift buying....well you get the picture.

My husband will tell you that I get Christmas crazy!!!!  Pretty sure I drive him crazy too but also I know he appreciates it because it makes the boys happy to do all of these Christmas things.  

This year we mixed an old tradition with something new and the result was nothing short of fabulous!  A true success all around, one I didn't anticipate would make everyone sooo happy.

We have our little neighborhood crowd which you might remember from Halloween and this year we had a Christmas cookie decorating party.  Yesterday 8 children piled in to decorate gingerbread and have a little gift exchange and it was a little piece of heaven.

The kids were all so excited (I even got a lovely handmade card from one thanking us for having them).  My boys were just thrilled they were having this event.  The Moms all brought Christmas snacks so the counter was loaded with treats.  Kids ran around the house playing until it was time for the decorating to begin.

You know those moments in life when you are just totally happy?  When all worries fade away and you are just in the moment?  Well I had one yesterday and it rocked-literally!  All the kiddies were working away on their cookies and a song came on the radio that all the kids knew.  It was turned up and there were little girls dancing in their seats and little boys singing in their chairs.  I took a moment and looked around and saw these wonderful women who have become like family and all of our children so happy together and I was overjoyed.  My heart swelled because I knew that everyone would carry this moment with them forever and it was a moment worth carrying around for years to come.

Then came the gift exchange which again was just awesome.  There were silly bands and McDonald's gift cards, beads, paints, cool balloon cars for the boys, and Christmas ornaments.  And so the play continued while Moms chit chatted about the things Moms chit chat about and at the end of the day things just felt nice. It was the kind of day that make Christmas awesome.  Which means that next year we have a date...don't worry I will mark it on the calendar.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Power of Little Girls

A lady I worked with who is now a very close friend had two little girls around the same time I had two little boys.  From day one jokes were made about how they would end up marrying one another.  Strangely enough the first time Ben and Georgia met they were dressed in the same outfit except one pink and one blue.

One day when they were maybe three years old we even had a play wedding with food and cake and dancing.  The thing you must understand is that my boys sort of crumble when it comes to these girls and pretty much fall all over themselves when they know they will be hanging out.

In September at Jack's birthday party an about face occurred and I thought it had all come to an end.  The boys were all of the sudden anti girl and the girls were hurt.  Well tonight my girlfriend asked if the girls could come over while Mom and Dad were at a Christmas party and I have been assured that the girls still have their hold over the boys.  As proven by the following conversation between Ben and Jack:

"Come on Jack, let's go brush our teeth and fix our hair to get ready for the girls..."
"OK, but I am NOT brushing my teeth"

So off they went and got all spruced up in anticipation of the girls arrival.  Ben must have checked the window five times during dinner alone to see if they had arrived.

I also got to experience a glimpse into the future myself as Ben and Georgia took off into the basement which right now is under construction so all of the toys are upstairs.  After they had been down there for about 5 minutes I looked at Don and said:

"Don, what do you think they are doing down there?  There aren't any toys for them to play with"

Don laughed and said one day I would be asking the same question and telling Don to go get food from the freezer as an excuse to check on the activities going on in the basement.  A bit too soon for that!

Not sure if they will end up married but they sure are sweet to watch!  I shall spend the evening watching my little boys offer cookies to the girls, offering to dance with them, opening their juice boxes and being little tiny gentlemen.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Santa Could You Bring Me...

                   Tried to get a shot of Jack under the tree but the little poop kept scurrying away on me!

Some kids write a letter to Santa but not Jack.  He talks to him all the time.  Here are a selection of things I have heard this Christmas season.  The cutest is when he is alone in a room by himself and I hear start talking:

"Santa, could you please bring me a Playmobil train"

"Santa, could you please bring me a Wimpy Kid Book"

"Santa, could you please bring me a pack of Might Beans with this (points to a picture) Mighty Bean in the package"

Too Cute!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

What The Hecka is This?

Our big plan is to finish the basement in the New Year so that the boys have a hangout spot for them and their friends.  So I have been preparing the basement.

Step 1:  Remove six years of artwork from the walls.  I was so sad when I did this.  I look at it all the time when I am on my treadmill and had no idea I was so attached to it.  Some of it will have to be framed and brought back into the basement when it is done.

Step 2: Say goodbye to the race track on the floor.  Don and I painted this on the floor about four years ago and many a child has whizzed around our basement on a tricycle or plasma car or whatever vehicle was popular at the time.  You can see how worn the paint is on the sharpest corner.  It is proof of the traffic this race track has seen.  Don told Ben the paint fairy came and made it for Ben and Jack.  Ben has asked me if the paint fairy was real, haven't told him about that one yet either...  So hard to say good bye, more for me than the boys of course.

Lots of trouble letting go lately...hope I get better at it because at some point the boys are going to be irritated with when I try to go on their first date with them...

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Bad Day For Gingerbread!

I spent a few years wishing both of you were older at Christmas time.  Looking back I see now that that was the single most silly thing I could have wished for because now that I have my wish I want to take it back!!!  I wished you both were old enough to be crazy excited for Santa to come, old enough to absorb some of our Christmas traditions, old enough to really participate in all that is Christmas at this house.

I got my wish but what I din't count on was all the side effects of my wish.  For example, a neighbor reported the following statement from her son the other day...

"Ben and Jack are getting rocks for Christmas because they don't believe in Santa"

"WHAT" I asked?  How could this be.  However it is true, my Benny boy at 7 years old (soon to be eight) heard the nasty rumors on the playground.  You know the ones that go around every year around this time and then again at Easter.  The only thing is that this year he has given them some consideration.

I spoke with him and asked him if he believed and he looked at me and asked in a most serious tone,  one that made me feel he really needed the truth and he trusted me to give it to him,

"Well Mom, is there a Santa"

It was an awful moment because generally I try to be quite honest with my boys and if the question had been about anything else in the world I would have told him the truth.  

I didn't though.  I lied.  I lied so he could have one more year of magic.  So I could have one more year of magic.  I had no idea this might very well be the last year both of my boys believe.  I know that Christmas will still be super fun even if they don't believe but I just wasn't ready for it to be over.

So I have vowed this year will be Christmas overload!!!!

And so this week-end we indulged in some gingerbread cookie ornament decorating.  Oddly enough it really didn't go to plan.  I blew up the mixer before the frosting really got mixed which resulted in thick lumpy glue that the boys had a hard time piping onto the cookies.  Then after we hung the cookies on the tree they kept breaking on falling off the tree.  Blamed this on our little dog for the longest time until I realized what was happening because it has never happened before.

Despite these little setbacks the boys had fun and I had fun doing it with them.  You know one day they will be teenagers and likely not so excited to decorate gingerbread so until that day comes I am going to absorb these moments, commit them to memory and take them with me into tomorrow and all the other days to come.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Found Treasure!

One package of water pencils equals lots of creativity.  Nice work guys!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Daddy Adventures, The Dinner Edition

Now that the Christmas tree is up we can no longer see the television from the kitchen table...oh the horror!!!!

Never fear because Daddy is here!  This was the setup at our house last Saturday afternoon after the distress call came,

"We can't see the TV!"

Daddy knows how to make the boys happy.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sucking It All In, The Christmas Edition

This year something hit me hard.  I really know now that you guys are getting older and I am acutely aware that the Christmas season we enjoy now is going to change as you both grow.  A couple years back Christmas was filled with crafting, wrapping, and baking.  Certainly these activities are still well enjoyed by you both but I detect a change in the excitement level.

Paper snowflake making just does not make you bounce off the walls the way it used to.  One year Ben, you made paper snowflakes for hours.  We covered the basement with them...this year you did it for a half hour before asking to stop.

Of course with this change in Benny brings change to Jack as well who this year mastered the art of snowflake making.  It was very exciting to see you open each snowflake with excitement to see what you had created.  You were also the one to roll about 50 shortbread cookies all by yourself...not bad for a five year old!

Perhaps this is where tradition takes over?  What we used to do because it was beyond exciting becomes the things we do each year to carry on our own little unique set of Christmas rules and regulations.  Yes, there is a movement towards the understanding of tradition and activities that occur each year as part of that.  This brings some comfort because even if the uncontrollable excitement is gone I can handle it as long as we still retain the group spirit in making Christmas happen.

So this year I am totally sucking the marrow from each step of Christmas preparation so my barrel of memories of the two of you will be full full full.  I have it all planned...paper snowflakes, foam houses (4 different varieties), baking, decorating, wrapping, Christmas bags for your school friends, gingerbread decorating party with your friends from the street, Play clay Christmas ornaments, foam ornaments...

Just promise you will let me do this for the years to come even if it does get a little lame.  In exchange I will stop planning parties to decorate gingerbread ornaments well before you are fifteen years old...because that isn't cool right?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Things I Know for Sure...I Think...

Time for another installment of things I know for sure.  It is good to have a few things you know for sure to offset the many things you haven't a clue about.  When questioning myself about the job I do as a mother so often I focus on the stuff I don't know.  Sometimes instead of tearing oneself down it is much wiser to build yourself up.  So lets focus on what I are the things I know for sure.

1. A Friday night party followed by a Saturday night sleepover are a sure recipe for tired and cranky boys.

2. Tired and cranky boys do not make good playmates and should not be left in the bathtub alone with one another along with a spray bottle full of cold water.

3.  This mother of tired and cranky boys will eventually lose her cool and look up at the ceiling while calling out "Santa did you just hear what "insert child's name here" said?" in a vain attempt to shock the boys.

4.  Tired boys (once calmed down) make THE BEST cuddlers in the world.

5.  I do not know how Whoville fits into a snowflake or exactly what 100 times the weight of an ant feels like.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Letter to Jack

Dear Jack,

I must make a confession.  I haven't taught you that number 13 exists yet.  Why?  Not because I am superstitious.  Simply because when I hear you count

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16....

it is just too cute and I don't want to lose this little bit of little that is left in you.

My sincere apologies and I promise that by the time you need 13 I will tell you all about it.


Monday, November 15, 2010

AC (Anatomically Correct)

And here is a lovely photo of Jackie working away on his Sponge Bob sandcastle.  We were hanging out with a new little friend and his parents.  Chit chatting in the ocean.  We stopped to watch the kids put the finishing touches on their work.  A seemingly lovely moment until you listen in to the conversation occurring right after this photo was taken....

Jack: "I am making a penis on Sponge Bob!"
Mom: "No thank you Jack"
Jack: "Hehehehehehehe I am MAKING a PENIS for Sponge Bob!"
Mom: "NO Thank you Jack!"
Jack: "Hehehehehehe"
Mom: "Take it off NOW Jack!"

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Letter to Ben

Hi Benny boy,

Did you know we are both the oldest child in our family?  This means we both got to be the first to do most things in our families which is kind of cool.  This also means that our parents got to experience most of the firsts with us.  This means that my parents and your parents (me and Dad) were new at each experience.  Not yet seasoned with each stage a child goes through.

I know that sometimes I expect too much of you and that I don't always understand what exactly it is that I should expect from a seven year old boy but I'm trying my best.  Trying my best to be open to learning with you and trying my best to give you just what you need.  I know though that I don't always do the best job with this.

I hope one day you will look back and know that the times I pushed too hard or expected you to be too grown up were because you are my first and I am learning just like you.  Not because I was mean or because there was anything wrong with you.

I want to be the best mom I can be for you and I know you always try to be the best boy you can be for me.  It might not always feel like it but I think we are the best partners for each in other in this land of firsts.  I can't think of any other boy I would rather do it with, you are my first forever and always.

Your Crazy Momma

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Machine Gun Kisses

A new twist on the old.  You know how you blow a kiss to someone?  Well these two monkey's have figured out a much cooler way...instead of just blowing the kiss with one blow you do several short blows turning the kiss into a machine gun kiss.  Oh how I love these boys!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Daddy Adventures, The Sandcastle Edition

After spending a few days in Cuba we seemed to hit our stride, find our groove, or like old cows follow the same path each day-completely content to do so.  Our path was usually the beach in the morning followed by some pool time in the afternoon.  Not a bad way to live I gotta say.

Daddy loves to dig in the sand just as much (maybe even possibly sometimes more) as Benny and Jackie so each day involved some sort of building.  Think we garnered a bit of a reputation on the beach because people would pass and ask what we were building that day or comment on how big the castle had grown from the day before!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Pedicure a la Jack and Ben

Who has been asking me to paint my nails???  My Benny boy and how could I resist?  So I didn't!  Of course it helps a wee bit that the cold weather is here so no matter if I walk around with crazy toes for a season.  Benny worked very hard and his brother assisted.

 I think the end result was just perfect.

Friday, November 5, 2010


One thing this family loves is some Halloween fun! Every year we decorate the house inside and out. We started a few years back because we really wanted to have one of those houses that all the trick or treaters remember from year to year and look forward to going to year after year.

When I was a little girl no one really decorated the way they do now but there was this one house that had spooky music and I could not wait to get to it. I think that we are one of those houses in our neighborhood now. I say ONE of those houses because the competition is pretty hot and heavy in this sub-division. Though we were one of the first to decorate in a grand way we have most certainly been surpassed at this point!

I have to say that my two boys have definitely taken to this season just as we have. The spirit that fills this house is incredible. Picture two little boys ripping through boxes of decorations and setting up their own little spooky places. This year both of you even worked with us to choose the spooky background music giving thumbs up and thumbs down to the final selections.

I can picture you both doing the same with your children when you becomes fathers. Ahh what fathers you will be. Wonderful.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fish In A Bag

While away we got to do some snorkeling on a coral reef.  Totally awesome.  Benny loved it while Jack spent some time on the boat with the captain feeding the fish with chunks of bread lifted from the buffet.

The absolute highlight of this day wasn't necessarily the snorkeling but what occurred after the snorkeling was done.  I was still in the water when I heard the excited shrieks of two very happy boys!  What should I see but two boys who had caught a fish with a zip loc bag.  What the hecka I say.  A joint effort, Jack put the chunk of bread in the bag and Benny held the bag under water until an unsuspecting fishy swam in and was captured long enough to catch this perfect photo.

Good work boys!

Our guide was kind enough to take some underwater shots and send them home with us.  Thank you Michael!

The reef was beautiful of course.

Where The Heck Have We Been?

Ahh, let the Cuba chronicles begin.  Our first BIG vacation as a family was two weeks in Cuba with two amazing boys who are total pros when it comes to travel.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Dear Diary...

One of my favorite purchases this summer had to be your journals.  Again my friend the dollar store came in quite handy because I told you both to pick any journal you wished to select.  Isn't it fun when you get to pick anything you like without restriction?  There is something about that freedom that excites the soul.

Anyhow, Jack selected a cute journal with a puppy on the front and Ben went for one with a skull on it.  Over the summer you both used them to record your thoughts.  Jack in the form of pictures and Ben using words and pictures.  On this particular day we had purchased some new pencils for school so you both decided to give your journals another whirl.  Nothing I like better then to see you both at the table working away.

The table is full of permanent marker and holes where crafting has gotten a wee bit over exuberant.  It is a spot where you can both be as creative as you wish which I hope you will continue to be.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

You Tubin' It

We all know about Jack's little obsession with trains or traiaiaiains in his little boy talk (which is sadly long gone).  So how does he feed his obsession?  Well, of course he has many train sets with which to play with but one major source of entertainment for him is You Tube.  You Tube has allowed him unlimited access to steam trains, passenger trains, cargo trains, and let us not forget talking trains, train simulators, you name it and he has seen it.  

You know how the site counts the number of views on each clip?  Pretty sure Jackie is responsible for thousands of them.  Ah the sweet sound of "Little Toys Trains" still runs through my head on the train track found on my very last nerve to this very day!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Momma Has Been a Little Crazy Lately...

Dear Ben and Jack,

I am sure you must sometimes notice that Mommy gets a bit nutty.  This is a nice way of saying that Mommy sometimes gets a wee bit cranky.  A little too focused on the details and forgetting to stand back and see the bigger picture.  I believe that all households go through hills.  Sometimes we are high up on the hill with everything running perfectly.  We cannot imagine even the possibility of a rotten day.  Other times we are in the valley and just getting through the day or week is enough of an effort.

Just want you both to be sure that even when Mommy is overwhelmed and yes CRANKY I still love love love you both.  Also want you to know that at the end of each valley is a new hill to climb.  The trick isn't to avoid the valley because they are what make the hills seem so high. We must instead become expert hill climbers for life is full of valleys but it is worth the climb my boys.  Now let's climb shall we?

Love Your Crazy Cranky Momma

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Halloween Practice

I wish I had pictures of this but I don't. Still a story worth sharing. Remember how I said we lived in the best neighborhood? Well we do and it was further evidenced to me just last week!

Picture it...Friday night and all the Moms and Dads have picked their little ones up from the bus and the usual street play is underway on the cul de sac.

Things take a dramatic change when one little girl decides to distribute a bag of candy to the rest of the children. I believe we counted 11 of them. One rule applied though, you had to have a bag to put the candy in. 11 children scurry around the cul de sac looking for bags so they can get their candy treat.

I think at this point there were a few girls who had been playing dress up but after the bags and the candy their little imaginations were just pumping! Ben and Jack came home and got bits and pieces of last year's Halloween costumes and before we knew it we had 11 kids running in a pack trick or treating!

As it happened that night about half of our neighbors were away so only the parents of the children on the street were at home. This meant that the kids had free reign to knock on every door in the cul de sac without fear of offending anyone.

Well, the parents who were visiting on the front lawns, enjoying a few drinks all caught the spirit of both their children and Halloween. We all scurried trying to come up with treats for this trick or treat session. I believe at the end of the night each bag contained:

* a Kool Aid jammer
* cheese slices
* gummy candies
* cheese and crackers

Perhaps the best moment of this mock session was when the neighbors across from us pulled in from getting groceries. All the parents were doubled over when we saw 11 children in a mob surround their car and come out with a big bag of cheesies!

Not a bad haul for the middle of September!

Jackie is Five!!!

Ah Mister Jack.  You are now five years old.  Hard to believe so much time has passed since we first met you.  You have been looking forward to this day in "Xtember" for months now and were simply thrilled to learn the time had arrived.

"Jack, your birthday is here."
"Is Xtember here Mommy?"
"Yes, it is Jack."

A train party was organized and the guest list made.  You delivered all of the invitations with a little hop in your step.  Kellie (my good good friend) did face painting at the party.  Thank you Kellie!  You supervised decor.

"Mommy, there aren't enough decorations in the hall for my party."
"Don't worry Jackie, we will get to it."

And get to it we did.  I bought tons of streamers and Ben and Jack coated the stairway with them.  Nice work boys, would hire you both in a second.

The cake was perfect!  Friends of ours from down the street created the most amazing cake.  The photograph doesn't do it justice but it is a steam engine with Jack photo shopped in as the conductor-complete with authentic Via Rail hat.  Thank you Ange and Steve!

My favorite part of the party was when you opened your gifts.  Some might rush this process, anxious to get to the next gift.  Not you though.  You had me read each card to you and each gift was opened with care.

Now you are five my boy.  Now quit growing already!