Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Blogger lost to facebook...

So Facebook has taken over my internet time. Which isn't really fair because it is nothing like blogging. It is not productive at all and does not help me to preserve memories of my kids in any way. Instead I play games, read what everyone else is up to and check out photos my friends post. Fun, but a major time suck.

But I was thinking today as I watched the three older boys at the pool that I really need to blog a bit (and then I really need to figure out how tp preserve blog entries in some sort of long term meaningful way... print them? copy and paste them into a photo book of some sort??)

We joined Lake Shore Athletic Club at the start of June and it has turned out to be a great investment. I have never done so much swimming in my life and neither have the kids. They were progressing well with their abilities in the pool and now after 8 days of lessons - they have really taken major strides forward. I can honestly sit on the sidelines and know that all 3 older kids can manage themselves in the pool -- even in the 11 foot deep diving area! They also can independently get themselves ready in the locker room and cleaned up and ready to leave afterwards and that too is new for us. It is so interesting to parent these suddenly older kids instead of constantly having to supervise / double check / worry about them all. When I have Teagan with me then he of course needs watching -- but it is so much easier with just ONE little one to watch instead of 2 or 3 at a time!

So I feel like (mostly for myself, because I am not sure who reads this) I want to write something about each of them... what I notice, how they are these days...

Andrew will be 11 in November. I am finding I don't really like this age much. He gets hyper and loud quickly; he is messy; he has all this STUFF that travels everywhere with him and clutters his room and the house -- papers, books, trading cards, nintendo games, magazines, stray socks, shoes, sandals...etc. It is not like the other boys don't also have stuff, but somehow the 10 year olds stuff is always more of a mess, harder to get cleaned up (because he is more resistant) and shows up in more places! But Andrew really does try to be the best 10 year old he can most days... I think it is a burden to be the oldest of 4 boys, with twin brothers and a younger brother who thinks you are a king! So he really does his best to keep the boys entertained with knowledge about Pokemon and video games, keep Teagan happy with games and piggy back rides and giving in to his every whim, and keep me happy also -- just because. I feel badly that he puts a lot of pressure on himself to be this great son, great big brother... and at times he cracks under the pressure and really loses it. We have these outbursts and tantrums out of the blue that are annoying and frustrating -- but that is just part of his dealing with learning to mature. And as I said already -- I am also not excited about the messiness of this one -- but I love him dearly all the same.

He is still a major talker -- he can talk your ear off on a wide variety of subjects. I feel badly in that as a parent I wish I could just sit and listen and really care about whatever it is he is talking about... but honestly, I get bored, have other things to do and really DON'T care. Which I a bummer for him I think... one of those things where if he was an only child he would have more of an audience from me, I think. But luckily, his brothers really do seem to care about what he goes on about... so he still gets to talk to his heart's content. :) At school, more than one teacher has commented on his "little professor" traits.

Connor really is still a challenge for me as well these days. He and Joe really mesh better at this stage of the game. He whines when he is tired, doesn't eat well and then complains later about being hungry, and he likes to really pout when things aren't going his way. I hate to start out negatively... and I hope he and I form a stronger bond as the years go by. He is gentle soul. He knows exactly how to get Teagan or his cousin Mary to smile. He is the first to come give me a hug in the morning (and of course is generally the first one up as well). He has gotten very into the video games which is a new thing as initially Andrew and Quinn were more into them than he was. He is a very good swimmer -- probably has better form than either Quinn or Andrew at this stage of the game, but doesn't have the same endurance (or body fat?) as they do so he usually peters out at the pool a bit earlier than the other two. He really doesn't like to be left out and is always wanting to know where everyone else is and keeps especially close tabs on Quinn... like tonight he was so worried Quinn wasn't walking out with us even though he was -- just slowly. Connor is the first to be ready if we are going somewhere -- he can pack quickly and efficiently.

Quinn is my super star this summer. If I had to pick favorites for the summer, he and Teagan would win. I know parents aren't supposed to do that -- but really at ever stage of the game / every new age, there are times when you have a favorite kid or a go to kid that is the most helpful, most cheerful, best choice to take shopping with you and not have to worry about drama. He is not without flaws though... (football camp day 1 comes to mind...) but he is such a summer kid. He likes being outside, has endless energy and endurance and just will play until he collapses into bed at night. He could swim for hours, has tried out diving off the side with no fear at all, was the first kid to try the diving board as well. He is still shy with new experiences and new people -- I was noting tonight that rather than say "excuse me" so he could walk around a group of kids to get in line for the diving board, he opted instead to jump back in the water and swim under the board to get over to the back of the line. That is just how he works! He is helpful around the house, probably the least whiney of the bunch and least picky in general -- in the car when we are running about he is always the first to say "I don't care, pick whatever" when I am collecting votes for where we will go eat or go play.

My darling Teagan... man, I fear this is one of those summers I won't remember because when I think back, I have trouble remembering the other kids at this fabulous age. He is nearly 2, but still sweet, still funny, still figuring the world out. Not that he doesn't test limits, throw little tantrums, resist naps at times, etc. But I think when it is your youngest and you know what comes later, you can't help but laugh and smile and grin at him. He tries to be onery but usually it comes out as cute. We are having to work around his nap schedule this summer and I admit that I won't miss not having to worry abotu that some day -- but honestly, other than that, I would like to keep him little forever! He is so funny... trying to say new words and trying to boss his around. When he wants to get up and no one is listening, he will bellow "ANnnnDDDDrrreeeeww!!!" from his crib and big brother will come and rescue him. When he likes some game or favorite food, he signs and says "MORE... PLEASE" so nicely, you just have to give in. He can blow kisses, nuzzle noses and gives the BEST hugs of any kid I have ever met. He seems to be equally excited to see Joe or myself... or my mom! who he really adores and who makes a totally perfect replacement for mom or dad. And he really hates the day care at the gym... which does really bum me out.

Anyway, I have rambled on long enough. I need to think up a clever way to save all these bits and pieces because I have lost lots of other electronic things I had intended to save (e-mails from college, and the early years of my marriage, posts and pics I had set up on early family web sites, etc.)

Now... back to see if Facebook is online again or not! (I told you facebook wins!)

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Life with a Toddler

OK so I will admit it, Teagan isn't really a baby anymore (though being the youngest of 4 I am sure he will be called "the baby" well into his 50's). Even though he has been officially toddling since he was 9 months old, he seems more toddler-like lately. He "talks" meaning he has a few words and lots of signs and can get a long ways with grunting, pointing and yelling. He has very distinct likes and dislikes and now nods his head "ye"s and shakes his head "no" quite vigorously.

He is an adorable, easy child... not sure if it is all tempermant or just that by boy #4 you start to get the hang of things. He goes down to sleep more easily then any of the other 3 ever did and sleeps longer and more consistently than any of the others either. He also has a wonderfully varied diet, but I have this feeling that some of the others did also at this age and I know that somewhere around the age of 3 is when things may turn on me -- for now it is fun to watch him enjoy his food.

BUT... as wonderful as he is; he is also full of energy and is tall enough now and dextrious enough to get into more things and make bigger messes and generally cause more mayhem when he wants to. He is our first to not have any form of daycare other than being watched by my mom on Mondays and it is challenging for me to take on the stay at home mom role (while still working 24 hours per week -- plus extra meetings and things also). It is a good kind of challenge though and I know I will miss these days dearly when he is older.

The other boys are at good ages too -- but they are definitely caught up in the world of boys: video games, adventure books, Legos, playing tag, wrestling with each other... not really mom stuff (though I do like my Legos!) so I see how quickly it can all go by.

Anyway, I was feeling nostaglic about it all today watching my darling toddle around the neighborhood with me. Sorry to sound so sappy... life is good :)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Snow pictures

I must say I still find Facebook much easier these days for posting pics -- but we got a request from relatives to post some pics of the house, so I thought why not put up the pretty snow covered house pics!

The Christmas tree is now down and lights are off the house and kids were back in school today -- ahhh. It is nice to be back to more of our usual routine. We sitll haven't not sold our other house and it is depressing and frustrating... but I am hoping the new year and low interest rates and so forth will bring us a buyer. I am less interested in renting these days just because of everything that jas to go into finding good tenants and maintaining the property... I just don't have the time for it all.

So we'll see how it goes. The kids have all had chest colds as have Joe and I... but everyone seems to be on the mend now.

Teagan is more and more communicative these days which is really fun. He has lots of baby signs (sign language for babies) and a few word-like sounds. His most common one being "Dut duh da!!" for "There he is!" or "There it is!" when he is looking for an objest or when he is hiding, playing peek a boo or some other game that involves us calling out "Where is Teagan?" he likes to then come around the corner beaming with his "Dut duh da!"

He is pretty cute if I do say so myself. He likes to run around with only a onesie and his shoes on (with no socks) -- that is his outfit of chioce really, which is pretty silly and cute also.

Anyhoo... here are pics of the house and kids from the giant snow storm (we got over 13 inches right before Christmas -- a 59 year record!):

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Due to check in...

I have some dear friends not on Facebook that are still checking the blog, so I figured it was about time to check in again and write something.

No real news to report though. We are still paying two mortgages which really sucks and I am now listing the old house as a rental via craigslist. I have had a few hits, but nothing has worked out. I know I need to be picky about tenants so as to make sure they can really handle the rent and will take care of the place, but the temptation to lower my standards and just get someone in there is strong and hard to resist. Then again -- I will really regret it is we end up with an eviction snafu and a trashed house to deal with down the road, so I will stick to my guns.

So financially I am feeling really poor because I didn't really budget for this many months of double mortgage payments. I have now signed up to work an extra shift each week which has me basically working full time hours again for the next two months. I am hoping that will be enough to pay the extra mortgage, but until we sell or rent the other house, it won't be enough to dig ourselves out of the hole we are currently in due to buying stuff for the house and paying both mortgages. I should have probably upped myself to full time 2 months ago, but with soccer and school and all the stuff going on, it didn't even occur to me to do that.

Sorry to be such a downer.

One a happier note, Teagan is such a doll lately. He is at that magical age where he really does understand lots of what you are saying but hasn't yet learned to talk back ;) He is signing more and will follow simple instructions well like: "bring me your pajamas" "go get your shoes" "Where is your bear?" It is totally cute! He does not yet throw tantrums or get too worked up about much of anything unless he is totally exhausted and being picked up and held still fixes everything about 99.9% of the time.

I think I am enjoying him more than I did the other 3 boys because I know the ages and stages to come and know how fun this one is in comparison and how quickly it goes by. The older boys are fun too and it is nice to see them play together and help out and work out squabbles amongst themselves in a civilized way... they are definitely growing up!

Anyway, I am watching my niece today and she and Teagan are napping but it seems like they should be up at any minute, so I will sign off for now. :)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

First Haircut

So Teagan's first hair cut involved a bit of drama. He aws not thrilled with it all but got to be OK by then end. The pics tell the whole story.

I was thinking of waiting until after his 1st birthday to do it but got tired of cleaning food out of his hair!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Advantages of Twins

So 5 years ago when the twins were 7 months old I don't think I would have been able to foresee a time when having twins would ever feel easy. We were still in the midst of frequent night-wakings and I had just returned to work and was finding life to be exhausting. They weren't walking yet of course but were moving around enough that you couldn't simply put them down and expect them to stay put. Connor would scream with frustration because Quinn could crawl away and he could not yet. Every meal time was dreaded by me because of the need to clean up two high chairs. I found myself trying to come up with meals that were the least messy to deal with but then felt bad because nutritionally, they were sometimes lacking.

This year has been interesting because with the twins starting school, there are a whole new set of twin-like challenges. Strangely enough for the past couple of years I haven't felt like a mom of twins, just a mom of 3 boys (and recently of 4). Because Connor and Quinn are so different and have such different interests and because in general people don't spot that they are twins and just assume they are close in age. But now with them attending Kindergarten together, they seem very much like twins again. When I get the update in the afternoon about their day, one will start out explaining something they did and the other will finish the story.

They will look to each other about things like what the name of one of their friends is or what exactly it was they had for hot lunch. They sit and do their homework together, partly because I have them do it that way but mostly because if one is working on something for school, generally the other one wants to also (not always though ;))

I find the whole duplicate school folders/papers/announcements bit to be annoying and feel like there out to be a way to consolidate and conserve paper. I also find helping two non-reading kids work through their homework to be an all consuming task, which wouldn't be a big deal except that I often have an 11-month old pulling at my leg and a 9 year old asking for help with his homework as well.

But.. as the title promises... there are advantages as well. They are upstairs happily playing Legos at the moment. In general, they always have a built in buddy whether it be to walk with to a friends house when one of them is feeling too shy to go it alone, or to sit with on the school bus, or to play with in the house on a rainy day like today when their aren't any neighbor kids home to play with. At this age, Andrew was a bit lonelier and wanted to be out with neighbors all the time -- but most of the neighbor kids we had then were older and we didn't always let me hang out with them.

I went to let them know that Teagan was napping and I would be going downstairs and Quinn was literally trying to shoo me out of the room "Okay okay mom -- bye!" because they were so wrapped up in their make believe game. They had tried to include me earlier but I was opposed to the need for my Lego characters to have weapons (one of those things about boys that I don't get) so they decided I didn't need to play.

Ahhh... all good things must come to an end, Quinn is down here saying he is "bored" already... what a bummer!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Due for an update

So we are a lot more moved in. I still need to paint the boys' bathroom someday and the downstairs entry way / stair well, etc. I have paint for the bathroom but not the other. The boys are enjoying school. Teagan gets a bit sad when they leave but enjoys the trip out to the bus. He took a major fall 2 weeks ago when we were all heading to the bus and he decided to try and step off the front porch step on his own. I have pics from that day but should have gotten a good pic the next day when everything was scabbing over and looked much more grusome.

Here are the day of injury photos:

We celebrated my niece's 1st birthday. We had a mini celebration at mom & dad's house and then Mary had a big party with Angela's side of the family and more friends the next day.

She really didn't know waht to think of the cupcake mom made:
I love that she knows what to do with dollies -- so cute! She will also feed them bottles which seems funny for a kid who has never taken a bottle herself.

Teagan's 1st birthday is now right around the corner... I can't believe how fast this year has gone. I am already feeling sad to see him get big so quickly. But he is at the most delightful age, it is hard not to just enjoy it all.

I have more pics on facebook for those who are signed on. It is way easier to upload on that site, so check it out! :)