Monday, August 30, 2010

This weeks calgon moment brought to you by...

... shirts, which were (unsuccessfully) flushed down the toilet (by a certain unnamed recently turned 3 year old...)
... plunger which (unsuccessfully) tried to get shirt to go down the toilet (manned by a certain unnamed recently turned 3 year old...)
... children, who upon screams of orders from mom to run and gather up towels, return with, "this is all we found, mom..." and hand over a couple of wash cloths
... towels, which (unsuccessfully) tried to mop up overflow from toilet before great gushes of water made its way down the crack in the doorway and seep into basement fire-alarm hole
... basement fire alarm, which upon getting wet, sets off ear-splitting shriek
... rest of house alarms, which like to play follow the leader and also set off ear splitting shrieks
... battery, which even though fire alarm has been yanked out of socked, still continues to power fire alarm-wetted shriek
... baby, who wants in on the action and crawls right into the scene

... and a mom who was frazzled already from a day of:

... up at crack of dawn to willingly submit to torture class (aka, cable class at the gym)
... loading all kids up on Joshy's maiden voyage out of the house in "big boy underwear"
... get to the gym, have joshy go potty (for which he gets buck naked. every time.)
... prepare for nutrition consult with someone who wants a 2 week menu of a diet that fits the following parameters:
 -- no white flour
 -- no sugar of any kind
 -- no sweets or junk food of any kind
    (the first and last I can handle, but absolutely no sugar??!  You try to find some recipes to meet that criteria for 2 weeks!)
... sit through 1/2 hour consult, which stretches into 1 hr and 15 minute consult
... return to kids gym and find that Joshy has again missed the potty mark
... reload clothes
... grab kids and run to friends for peach canning party (sorry we were late, Sarah!)
... got to friends house to realize that Joshy had yet again missed the potty mark (what, a whole 5 minutes in the car?!  Now that is some sort of talent!)
...taught friend mom's secret recipe for super yummy canned peaches with extra thick syrup (yes, it entails a LOT of sugar!!  ... and you wonder why I had a hard time finding sugar-less recipes??!)
... forgot to take over some supplies
... run back home, get supplies
... back to friends at 1:55, remember that I have to be across town to visit teach at 2:00.
... load up kids, run across town
... arrive late, stay late for the visit, (probably from spending time corralling all five kids and repeating, no you cannot lock her son out of his own room!) (Kalee, aren't you so excited for next months visit??!)
... staying late for first visit makes us late for the next visit
... spend most of next visit trying to keep Elizabeth from clutching the life out of their sweet dog and talk over her teridactal screams

So, if anybody needs me, I'll be
in the corner
in fetal position
rocking back and forth
mumbling incoherently...

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Who pushed fast forward??

For some reason, this summer zoomed by more quickly then most
Remember my big post about white space??  
Well, I found it.
I found it in a lack of ANY scheduled activity for the kiddos 
(except for one swimming lesson session, which about killed us after so much fun-unstructured time)
I found it in mornings spent lounging around the house reading books and playing games
I found it in crazy swimming pool afternoons
I found it in listening to the squeals and giggle from the yard as the sprinklers found their targets
I found it in late night family movies, complete with popcorn and snuggling
I found it in mini-getaways to the dells, parks, and libraries.
This summer was like one big Ahhhh.

And now, we are on our way back to the books
Back to the schedules
Back to early bed times
And early violin lessons
And crazy drop off and pick up routines
And homework assignments
And test stress-studying
And new friend finding...

But we did get to take one last moment,
thanks to super-uber talented friend (that would be YOU, Jolene!)
To relish in the final mix of summer and school...

Yes, she did lug this fun desk out into the beautiful green field
 to get some back to school shots of the kiddos.

And when I got the disk, I almost had to do a double take at how old my little ones have become.

... Where was I when they suddenly zoomed from toddling twos

to fun fashionistas??

Seriously, folks, who stole my little boy Ben...
... and replaced him with this suddenly too-grown-up-look-alike??

Joshy has been doing the pre-school-potty chant for a month now...
as in, "I want to go to preschool, so I go potty in my potty!"
... yes, this mama has resorted to threats ("Joshy, if you want to go to school like a big boy, you HAVE to go pee in the potty!!"), and treats (hey, in this household, three treats before breakfast is a GOOD thing... it means less mess for mom to clean up in places other than the toilet!)

And little Lizzy?...

... well, at the rate she's going, I wouldn't be surprised to see her follow 
the kiddos right into their classrooms come the first day of school!

As they gear up for the fun adventure of a brand new school year, I find myself already choked up a wee bit at the prospect of seeing this barrage of backpacks work its way out of our front door.

... so c'mon, fess up... which one of you ordered the super speedy summer to go this year??!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Melt my heart moments...

Most of the posts about Joshy usually contain some sort of picture like this...

... or like this 

But every single morning, I get to look at the top of the stairs and see this...

... and when he sees me, his face turns to this...

... and joshy then makes his grand entrance into the day.

... and a little bit deeper into my heart.

Love this little guy!!

(... even when I wish he had come with his own personal maid service... :) ).

Sunday, August 15, 2010

On your Mark...

... since moving into the new house,
... which has barely beige walls,
... painted in flat paint
... I have had many opportunities to clean these...

(okay, quite honestly, the only times I have really cleaned them are times when company is coming, and I suddenly look around and see all of the little 'handy' work of the kiddos on the walls)

... and I oftentimes chant to myself something my mom has told me before, "you will miss this when they are all gone... you will miss this when they are all gone..."

On one particular wall-wiping occasion, which took a bit longer than usual, thanks in part to our lovely Joshy, who by the looks of the walls was afraid he would forget how to find his way back up from the basement, so made himself a little chocolate hand trail to follow... I started thinking about 'leaving your mark on the world' and began a thought process that I will attempt to recreate here...

WARNING:  kind of weird, deep-thoughtish-not-completely-put-together thoughts coming through...
There.  Consider yourself warned...

I started thinking about the role of motherhood (which started out with something like, "really?  REALLY?!  Will I REALLY miss this when they are all gone?!)...

And I started thinking about how in today's society the actual role of mother is so knocked down.  Sure, people give it the 'lip service'  like saying, 'oh, motherhood is the hardest job of all'... or, 'every mother is a working woman'...

But, unless one has truly been in the trenches, day in and day out, reorganizing your schedule for the 97th time because you suddenly find yourself cleaning the completely dumped out bottle of sunscreen all over the floor, or fabric softener filling your purse, or get all the kids loaded into the car only to find the last one has had a major diaper blow-out, I don't think those lip service phrases mean anything.   There really is no way you can describe the role of a mother with any cliche or catchy phrase.

Mother hood is...
... simply indescribable.

In both good and bad ways.  It's tough.  It's awesome.  It's sweet.  It's stinky.  It's fun.  It's depressing.  It's enchanting.  It's lonely.  It's pretty much every emotion, every day, every minute showing one extreme change with some sort of emergency or fire to stamp out in some aspect.

... and then there are the moments of 'ahhh' when you can find an eye of the storm to just sit and be.
... but then you feel too guilty for simply be-ing.
... so you get up and get busy doing something
... because, c'mon, at the end of the day, you have to have something to show for all of your work.
... and dishes don't seem to count, you did those yesterday.
... and laundry, also a ditto from yesterday (although you would never know it as clothes have come from nowhere to build a replica of mt. everest in the laundry room).
... and vacuuming, well, you did it this morning, but no one could possibly tell because not one single vacuum line remains in tact.
... and the glistening toilets just hours before are now smoldering pots of sewage left by recently potty-trained-yet-not-expert-aiming users.
... and all the poopy diapers you changed during the day... well, those are just better left in the garbage.

... so what exactly is it that you have to show that you have actually made your mark on the world?

... I am so not an expert in this arena by any means, nor do I propose to have all of the answers.

... but in this particular moment of time (of wiping down Joshy's chocolate trail home), somehow, somewhere, I found great satisfaction in knowing that I was (hopefully) making my mark in the hearts of 5 little souls that Heavenly Father has gingerly placed in my care.  Though I couldn't put any tangible name to the mark, I became acutely aware of just how important the 'Mother's Mark' is on the heart of every child who enters this world.
... I have felt my own mother's mark every moment of every day, in ways that I'm sure she will never be aware of.  Tiny things that as I look back on my own little lessons in life that I learned at her side, and that I now call back upon as I go through my own moments of wondering what in the world I should do at this particular juncture and can easily answer with a simple question, "what did my mom do in this type of situation?"
... more often then not, the answer is, "she always, always put the needs of her children first, made sure they were comfortable, fed, clothed, kissed, hugged, changed, etc etc before she took one thought for her own comfort or her 'alone' time"
... that is a mark that can never be erased in the soul of a child who learned the love of a Heavenly Father through the role of a mother.
... that is a mark that I will work everyday to re-create in the hearts of my own children
... will I be able to create the 'mother's mark' in my own children?
... I may never know in this lifetime...
... but one thing I do know - they have left marks in my heart that will last much, much longer than a chocolate handprint on the wall.

... and yes, I think I will miss those tiny prints guiding my kids back from their basement adventures once their adventures lead them outside the walls of my home and the grasp of my arms.
... so for now, I will be content to wipe off the wall marks, and try to etch in my own marks on their tiny precious hearts.

The End.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Waiting for the whistle...

... yes we have been sucking the marrow out of each and every summer day around these parts
(we have now been here long enough to know that they are truly fleeting)

this summer that has included about 234 trips to the pool...
... where there is a 'break' every hour on the hour 
(don't ask me why they do it... pretty much for the lifeguards to take a break and flirt with each other is about the most I can gather that is happening during this time...)

... and as the '5' minute (which usually turns into 10... but I'm not bitter at all!!) draws to a close, 
the kiddos get so excited, they can hardly stand the anticipation of the beloved beckon to re-enter the cool pool...

... I think they hit the water before the whistle finishes blowing!

... and this year they discovered that the pool had a concession stand...
(I made it almost to the end of the summer before this 'great' discovery...)
... but for .75, a 'super cook' slushy sickle seems to hit the spot, without breaking the bank :)

... and now we are off to our LAST day of the summer 2010 pool extravaganza before they close our super fun silver lake pool ...

Monday, August 9, 2010

When life gives you zucchini...

You make super yummy zucchini bread!!

Since our garden was non-existent this year, and our poor tomatoes that we tried to grow on the porch still look like mini granny apples, I thought our plentiful produce dining would be also non-existent.

Enter sweet friend, who also happens to be ultra green thumb, and our counters are suddenly overflowing with zany zucchini, sweet squash, and cool cucumbers.

And when I see zucchini, I pretty much turn into pavlovs salivating dog as I think about scrumptious zucchini bread fresh from the oven.

The dietitian in me always cringes at the sight of the recipe of such scrumptious bread, which usually includes about a bottle of oil and a carton of eggs...

So, after researching a few recipes and experimenting with many mushy/soggy/too-dry/too-wet/too-heavy/too-light versions...

I proudly present the yummy-not-kill-your-arteries-version of yummy zucchini bread:

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or white flour, or 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 white... you get the picture)
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 or 1 tsp salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 -1/4 tsp all spice
1 cup sugar
1 egg plus enough milk to make 3/4 cup
1 1/2 cup grated zucchini
1 tsp lemon extract (optional - can use vanilla here)

1.  preheat oven to 350 degrees spray one loaf pan (or 4 mini loaf pans - my preference...)
2.  Mix milk, egg, and sugar together for 7-10 minutes, add zucchini and lemon extract (or vanilla), mix.
3.  mix dry ingredients all together in separate bowl, then add and mix just until blended
4.  Pour into loaf pan(s) and bake 1 hour for regular loaf pan or 25-30 minutes for mini loaf pans
5.  Take out, flip onto cooling rack, wait as long as you can stand (hopefully cool enough so it doesn't burn your mouth), and dig in!!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

I scream, you scream...

But nobody screams quite as loud as the Folwell Friends when the big yellow truck comes around the corner...

... ahhh yes, that unmistakable jingle that comes rolling along the road

... I've never seen anything that can stop a kid in his tracks so instantaneously as that little jingle

... and with all of our neighborhood kiddos,
the ice cream truck hit the motherload on this particular summer afternoon...

Love that popcycle pucker...

... and even the fudge cycle slide...

...ahhh, love me some summer fun!!!