Friday, December 25, 2009

How to get REAL smiles

Group pictures are always fun.

My kids love them.

But I don't have to tell YOU that. You can tell by the expressions on their happy little faces. Right?

By the way they all face the camera, open up their eyes and smile. Right?

I finally figured out a way to get them all to look at the camera and give me a REAL smile.

Slipping on the ice and falling on one's rear while backing up to take the picture - works like a charm. And yes indeed, I had the presence of mind to snap pictures on my way down. That's just how I roll. Actually how I roll, slip, fly through the air and land on my tush. WHILE taking pictures.

Even the snowman thought it was funny.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Alise La Li La

My girl has been singing lately. At the top of her lungs. "Alise La Li La. Alise La Le La!! Alise La Li La !!!! "
All of us keep asking her what she is singing. "Alise la li la mom! DUH."

Get it mom? Alise La Li La?

"C'mon. I know you know this song. Mom? Aleeeese La Leeee La!!"

We finally figured it out.

Feliz Navidad. Sung by my daughter who does not speak Spanish and does not celebrate Christmas. At least she got the tune right. Sorta.

Alise La Li La everyone!

Sunday, December 20, 2009


I don't have much to say that can't be summed up by Mr. O's early morning note:
We got 23 inches! Look at that pile on the deck!

And the snowplows made some nice piles in front of the house, the boys loved them - built forts, slid down the front, you get the picture.

Took a trip over to the lake to do a little sledding down the dam. Everything sure looks prettier with a layer of white stuff!

Had fun sledding! And yes, some of these are a little blurry because my waterproof case got a little bit COVERED in snow. But still worth sharing.

It's tasty too!

You want some mom? (That's ok, I'll pass.)

Heading home for some hot chocolate. Did I mention that it sure is pretty out there? Amazing what 23 inches of snow will do for the landscape.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

First Snow

One of the things we have been busy with this week - cleaning up our deck to be ready for the snow. I have to admit, I procrastinate on this job every year. I just really hate the way the deck looks when everything is tarped up. The deck looks so nice in the summer. Nothing fancy, just somewhere for the kids to play.
And our cabana for quick changes after swimming.

A place to eat watermelon. Hubby's bar. Green leaves ... whimper ... summer .. how I love ya.

But the time had come. With a forecast of 12-20 inches of snow, I could not put it off anymore. Umbrella had to be put away, bar tarped up, cabana cover taken off, everything piled into the cabana frame and then time to tarp that up with the biggest, most annoying, get yourself tangled in it tarp you ever saw. But I had some helpers.

Occasionally one of my helpers actually looks at the camera and smiles.

Here's the cabana now. Depressing, right? You can see why I leave this job to the very last minute, right? Bleh.

But the weatherman was right. We are getting walloped!! The boys went out in the storm and had a great time. Even tho they had snow coming off their eyelashes when they came in.

This middle one is smart, he wore his hood.

And here's a beautiful sight. No, I don't mean the lights on my neighbor's house. I mean the fact that my oldest son is about to start shoveling. Gotta love having big kids!

Last but not least, look who else loved the snow. She lasted all of 10 minutes out there, but that was fine with me. We'll get back out there when the storm is over, no need to get snow in our eyelashes, thank you very much.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Doctors appointments and haircuts for the boys yesterday. Torture. Not just for me. Someone does not do well with waiting. Someone finds the ear-checker-thingama-bob to be really tickly. Someone had to be held down in a crazy wrestling hold in order to finish his checkup. Someone really really really wanted a lollipop at the haircut place and his mean mother wouldn't let him have it.
Someone is still mad about the lollipop. And not too happy about waiting his turn. And check out his cute sister in her cute pony-tails. She didn't get a haircut. Well, ok, she did get a haircut. Sorta. Keep reading.

Someone was really happy to dump mom and get back to school. Looking pretty sharp with his new haircut, I might add. "Bye mom. Don't let the door hit ya on the way out." Yeah, I get the drift.

Someone apparently felt left out that she missed getting a haircut at Fantastic Sams and decided to give herself a haircut later that night. Rest in Peace, pony-tails, so glad I snapped that one last picture of you. Welcome to our circus, you sweet, sweet MULLET. You are just the thing to round out my girl's style - we like to call it hillbilly chic. Now I just have to find some too short pants, a stained up t-shirt that says Billy Ray on the front, and make sure my girl smiles and shows her missing bottom tooth. Yeah, she knocked that out a few months ago. She is rockin the hillbilly look.

Hair grows, right? Right?
Thank goodness for Posh Petals. Just the thing for disguising self inflicted mullets.

At least until it grows out enough so we can get a cute haircut. A SHORT haircut. A really really really short haircut. Pure torture.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Furniture Shopping

Just a quick post because this week has been super busy. I've been spending crazy amounts of time furniture shopping. Our family room has been in terrible need of new couches. Four messy kids + pretty cotton couches x 3 years = disaster. So new couches are on the list, along with some new shelves to accommodate our growing supply of books for homeschooling. Saw these pretty little shelves and the librarian inside of me started lusting after them but they are out of our budget. I may try to replicate this look with the cheapie Target shelves that I am settling for.
The Diva helped with trying out some sectionals.

Hmmm ... red leather ?? Naaah.

The guys helped too. Check out that big red sale sign! Macy's Friends and Family Sale!! Love a good sale!

I guess they considered us Family - I mean, why else would they have let the kids roll around the store on a furniture cart? Errr, well, maybe it was because riding on the cart was the only way to lower the volume on my crew? I think some of the Macy's staff had a headache by the time we were done with them.

Proud mommy alert. Look at my girl, she is not even afraid of Swine Flu. And yeah, I know. Ewwwwww.

At the end of a long search, here's what we got. This leather sectional in brown. Hubby really liked the "Terra Cotta" color but I pointed out that Terra Cotta is actually a super secret code name for ORANGE. And as much as I love orange right now, in 7 years the color may not be quite as popular. Going for the classic color instead of the trendy. And fooling myself into thinking that this sectional might actually last 7 years. Now THAT is the funniest thing I have posted in a long time.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Taste the Rainbow

I'm kinda crunchy. I mean, not totally over the top crunchy. We eat Doritos. And McDonalds. And yeah, I drink way too much diet Coke. But I try to avoid refined sugar. It is a quality of life thing for me. Yes, I know it is delicious and I could probably eat a whole bag of Starbursts, Twizzlers or pretty much any kind of chocolate out there. But I haven't eaten refined sugar in over 5 years. (Not on purpose, anyway.) My kids go bonkers when they eat sugar, and I do too. We get mean, mouthy and impulsive. We fight with each other and everyone around us. We lose focus, have night terrors and pretty much turn into monsters. It just isn't worth it.
Now that the older boys are homeschooling, it is a little easier to keep them on the straight and narrow. But the Big O is another story. For some reason, his teachers (and all teachers) seem to LOVE giving candy as rewards. This year I specified that the Big O was NOT to have refined sugar. Especially not Skittles. For whatever reason, Skittles are like crack for my kids.
But if you were 8 years old and you were in a classroom full of kids eating Skittles every day, would you be happy with fruit snacks? No, I didn't think so. And yeah, the fruits snacks have sugar too. The teacher and I conferred and she really really really wanted to give the Big O Skittles as a reward. I figured that since she was giving him garbage fruit snacks ANYWAY that a few Skittles wouldn't hurt. Right? Right ? Ummm ... right ?

WRONG. Since our conference, The Big O has been getting Skittles as a reward during his one on one Discreet Trial Training. We're only talking about 5 or 6 Skittles a day. Almost every day since, I have gotten notes from the teacher about him having an "off" day and just not doing well. Of course, she denies it is from the Skittles, but nothing else has changed.
I have also noticed that his obsession with Skittles has gotten worse. He comes home and looks up Skittles commercials on You-Tube. He prints out Skittles posters he finds online. He draws little pictures of Skittles and writes the word over and over and over and OVER again. And in the store, I can hardly control him. He bolts for the candy aisle and grabs the biggest bag he can find. Crappy camera phone picture submitted as evidence below:

Guess what? Mama is gonna have to have a talk with the teacher. And just wait until we try the Gluten Free Casein Free diet. She is going to really have fun with that.
I'll end this post with a note from The Big O, because it sums up exactly how I feel about Skittles right now. This is one of his obsessive notes, one of MANY, but the only one that he mis-spelled. Taste the rainbow.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

G - A - P spells ....

If you stick around and keep reading this blog, you are sooner or later going to notice something about the Big O. A certain something about his sense of style.

Rainman needed to get his boxers from K-Mart. The Big O, thank goodness, is not a K-Mart shopper. They say that the movie Rainman is full of stereotypes, but I have to say, in our case, that whole clothing thing is NOT one of them.

Can you spot that certain something? How 'bout that jacket? Yep, same one in every picture. And if you could see the rest of him, you'd see that the jeans are exactly the same, the shirt is exactly the same and the sneakers are exactly the same.


And don't even get me started on the pajamas. He's worn the same pj's for about 2 years now. They're just a teensy bit small on him, ya think?

Thankfully, after a few mistaken forays into the world of hand-me-downs, I learned a few lessons.

1. Always buy NEW for the Big O, and make sure that the quality is good. Because when he decides something is going to be his FAVORITE, you need it to last a few months, maybe a year. Cheap clothes start to look really ratty after they have been washed and dried 100 times!

2. Always buy something that is available in multiples. Fishing through the laundry for those blasted pajamas has added more than a few gray hairs to my head. And of course they are from my friend in Scotland, so I could never find a second pair. Lesson learned!

3. And always buy something that you can stand to look at for at least a year. Even after a year, I don't get tired of those Boden monster shirts!

But wait!! Recently we had a breakthrough. The Big O decided he wanted to go shopping. I spent the day with my buddy at the outlets and let him pick out some new things. I was shocked that he was willing to try new things, and pleased as punch when he picked out these new pajamas at the Children's Place. And yes indeed, I got two pair! Woohoo, they fit!

I was hoping he'd be just as adventurous when we talked about replacing his jacket. He has had an aqua Gap hoodie for the last 2 years. I love aqua, but I was getting excited thinking about him in something green ... or maybe red. He spotted the Gap outlet across the parking lot. He spelled it out. "G-A-P, mom! I see G-A-P!!" I asked him if he wanted to go there and get a new jacket. He replied, "YEssss."
Visions of green fleece danced through my mind. Maybe we'd get two colors! Orange? Red maybe? Bye bye blue hoodie!! Gap outlet here we come!!
And then he said it. I should have known.
"G-A-P spells BLUE JACKET."

Yes, it does, son. (Sigh) And you look fab in it.
Hey, at least he has good taste.