Tuesday, September 30, 2008

a recent conversation with Katie about cheese

Kate: Mumma, I want cheese.

me: Okay, just a minute, let me finish sweeping and I'll get you some.

Kate: Mumma, what kind of cheese?

me: Cheese, just cheese.

Kate: Is it regular cheese?

me: yes

Kate: is it flat cheese not regular cheese?

me: no, it's just cheese.

Kate: is it big cheese?

me: I don't know? What do you mean big cheese?

Kate: I don't want little cheese and flat cheese. Just big regular cheese.
okay? okay, Mumma? okay? just big regular cheese? okay?

me: (finally losing it and shouting)IT'S JUST CHEESE! NOT FLAT OR SMALL OR REGULAR OR BIG! JUST CHEESE!!!!

Friday, September 26, 2008

cooking with kids...a comedy in three short acts

Today we made miniature pumpkin pies. This month the theme we are using for books, songs, and activities has been apples and pumpkins. Fall is the natural time for this particular theme and it lends itself nicely to oodles of cooking activities. We've make apple pancakes, apple muffins, apple sauce and apple pies. We have also made pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, pumpkin custard, pumpkin apple soup and pumpkin pies. These little projects are always fun and messy and full of chances to get their hands right into things. They also provoked some funnies.

When we made the apple muffins, which was our first apple cooking activity I gave the girls peeled apple slices and small cutting boards (which are shaped like little apples, how cute is that) and a plastic knife and let them cut the apples up into teeny tiny bits. After working away at this for a while Katie asked me what the apples were for and I reminded her that we were making apple muffins. She just stared at me for a bit and then resumed cutting her apples. I realized she was a bit confused but just let it go. When I returned to the table with some other ingredients I noticed she had started taking her piles of apple bits and started filling the mini muffin tins with them. No wonder she thought it a bit odd, she must have been trying to figure out how the apples morphed themselves into muffins.

When I cook with the kids I make sure to wash their hands first and watch them carefully to see if they need to rewash hands at any point during the cooking activity. So they know to keep their hands out of their noses and ears while we cook or if their hands are dirty not to touch the food stuff. When the pumpkin muffins came out of the oven and put on the counter to cool, the girls came over and climbed on stools to admire them. I reminded them not to touch them. They stood there practically drooling over their handiwork. I turned to put away the oven mitts and when I turned back, I found Katie licking the top of one of the muffins. I had to tell her there is NO LICKING FOOD till I say so. Some of the rules we have to come up with, I'm telling you. So every subsequent cooking project Katie reminds us all that we can't lick the food.

I'm sure if you're Martha Stewert, when you make pumpkin pie you'd go out to the field you grew your pumpkin in, cut it up and cook and puree it all yourself. I just buy the cans of pumpkin puree, Martha I ain't. As we got ready to make our pumpkin pies today I was putting all the ingredients on the table and talking to the girls about what we were making. Katie looked over all the ingredients and asked me "Where's the pumpkin Mumma?" I picked up the can of pumpkin puree and said "right here." She gave me a disbelieving look and said "how'd they fit the pumpkins in there. must be small pumpkins." I laughed and told her yes indeed they were small pumpkins, because we were making very small pumpkin pies.

Funny little girl. : )

Thursday, September 25, 2008

It's a girl thing

Back in my single girl living in the city days I would often go out for drinks with friends or dancing or to play pool. And while we always had fun and laughs galore, the one thorn in my side was using the ladies room. Any woman who has ever had to pee at a party knows what I'm talking about. The freaking line is always out the door. It was excruciating waiting for a stall to open up. I finally started using the men's room. I'd take a friend or two with me and one would stand guard as one went in to use the facility. Hey, not proud, but a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do. And you know what, that line for the ladies room, half the time that crowd of women are not even there to use the facilities. They are waiting for a friend or fixing their makeup, they're asking for or giving advice, they're just waiting for an obnoxious but persistent individual to go bother someone else. Why is it that we girls have to use the bathroom in packs. I'm guilty of taking up space in the minuscule bathrooms of Boston's bars even when I didn't need a toilet. I've done my share of hiding, gossiping, and giggling in the close confines of a public bathroom. But why? Obviously, judging from the amount of company I had in the bathrooms of Boston, this behaviour is widespread among us ladies. Where does this come from? While I can't seem to put my finger on the whys, I do know when it all begins.

Using the bathroom as an extension of our social space starts very very early on. And, listen up, I have proof. I taught kindergarten for a number of years and before that preschool. Now in preschool, both boys and girls tend to sit and chit chat as they do their business. Many bathrooms in childcare centers are absolutely adorable with these miniature toilets all in a row. Usually just one was stalled off. Preschoolers, for the most part, aren't modest and many still need assistance so no real need for stalls. The kids loved to sit and talk about their snacks, pets, parents and even their poops. I had to shoo them out of there more often than not, girls and boys alike. By kindergarten though, you start to see a shift.

Again not sure of the whys here, but, the boys no longer seem to need or crave companionship in the bathroom. The boys go in and do what they need to do and zip up and they're out of there. The girls are a whole 'nother ball of wax. They still feel this need to chat and gossip and just loiter by the sinks. They call to each other through the stalls, checking to see if their BFFs are still two stalls down. There were numerous times the shrieks of laughter from the girls room could be heard all the way down the hall. They stay in there until they are sternly told to stop playing around and get back to class.

Now that I've toilet trained my own three, I've seen this same pattern of behaviour played out with them . And this is really where it all starts. Toilet training. We moms know that if we sit and keep our kids company and distracted by a book, they will sit longer on the toilet and perhaps, just maybe, they'll actually go. So we sit in the bathroom with our little ones for hours on end. And by the time they are finally trained, the idea that bathroom time is a group thing has been firmly entrenched.

So, Katie is newly toilet trained. While she is very independent in her use of the potty, she always requests company. Not mine usually. It used to be me. I would sit there with her when she was first training just waiting for her to go. We'd look at books and talk. Now however, she prefers her "girlfriends." Either her sister or her friend A who comes to our house Monday through Friday and is about a year older than Kate. If one of them announces she has to use the toilet, you can bet the other will too. And if she doesn't, she's usually invited to join the one needing the facilities. They skip into the bathroom asking whether it's #1 or #2, if they want to hear a story and what kind of underwear they have on. The one keeping company often tells a little story while the other does her business. They show off their pretty little undies and admire the size and color of each other's poops. They play in the sink while washing their hands and help each other out with a tricky pair of pants or stubborn skort. As I watch them giggle and chatter away with each other as they sit comfortably in the bathroom I realize I've seen this many times before. It's deja vu all over again. I just hope by the time my girls are partying in Boston the bathrooms in the city's bars have improved somewhat.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tagged again!

Me and My First Baby MEME

Jessica tagged me for this meme.

1. Were you married at the time? Yes.

2. What were your reactions when you found out you were pregnant? very very excited but also very very anxious

3. How old were you? 32

4. How did you find out you were pregnant? I was late so I went in to the dr's and had a blood and pee test done

5. Who did you tell first? well, after Joe...my father

6. Did you want to find out the sex? yes I did but we didnt' b/c Daddy did not want to know till he/she made his/her appearence

7. Due due: November 12th

8. Did you deliver early or late? I delivered 5 days before my due date so technically not early or late

9. Did you have morning sickness? nope

10. What did you crave? always late at night I wanted things like Bacon cheeseburgers or pizza with the works

11. Who irritated you the most? people who told me how difficult my life would be once I had the baby

12. What was your first child’s sex? male

13. How many pounds did you gain throughout the pregnancy? 45

14. Did you have any complications during your pregnancy? unexplained bleeding throughout the first trimester other than that none

15. Where did you give birth? In a hospital.

16. How many hours were you in labor? didn't quite make it to even an hour if you're counting only active labor-that was about 35 minutes, but I knew i was in labor about 5:30 in the morning and he arrived at 9:31 am

17. Who drove you to the hospital? the school nurse from the kindergarten I worked at

18. Who watched? Daddy, ob nurses and a midwife they found in the hallway when they realized the dr was not going to make it

19. Was it vaginal or c-section? vaginal

20. Medication? nope, there was no point since he was 3/4 of the way birthed by the time I got to the hospital

21. How much did your child weigh? 9 lbs 5 oz

22. What did you name him/her? Samuel

23. How old is your first born today? turning 8 in a month and a half

Hey Anne, Karla and Debra ! You're it!
For those of you who are new to tagging, link the Tagger (that would be Moi) to your Meme and then the links/names of the people you are tagging! Copy and paste and add you own answers. Have fun!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Tiny Dancer

Humoring me and posing for a picture before we go to the dance school.
Let's go already Mumma!!!
Such a good listener. This is what she did when told to put her hands on her hips. she'd just tuck them neatly behind her.
She's supposed to be sliding across the dance floor with her partner Meadow. But they ended up doing more pulling and pushing of each other than sliding gracefully. Katie was taken with this girl from the minute she walked in. Hasn't stopped talking about her since.
Skipping around the circle. She was one of two who was actually able to skip. She can thank Teresa for that. All the endless pretend dance classes at home actually did teach her a thing or two.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Happy Birthday Baby!

Katie is ever so fond of saying to anyone and everyone who will listen these days “I was a baby last week and now, I’m a big girl.” She says this with a cocky little twist of her head and a dismissive wave with her hand. And that’s exactly how it feels to me. She was a baby last week and now…she’s a big girl. And I have no idea how that happened.

Happy Happy Birthday to my Baby who is also such a Big Girl!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

the 50th...some formal pictures

the happy couple

all six girls with the scrapbooks

Mumma and her boys

And here we all are...all forty five of us

Mimi and Papa and the grandchildren...only one grandson is missing, he had had it with pictures

And so have the rest of us! I guess you can say they managed to pass on their sense of humor. Either that or we're just weird.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

tea with me

This school year I was a bit sad sending both big kids off to school for the whole day. I will tell you it's not been an easy transition for Teresa. She is having a tough time adjusting to being in school for the whole day. Sam has adjusted to the school time routine more easily. But me...I am sad for me. I miss spending time with them. I miss eating lunch with them. I don't get to experience all the ups and downs of their days anymore. And while I know this is how things go, at least for our family, it still takes some time to get used to. Jen over at listmama has inspired us to begin a new ritual that is helping to ease the transition somewhat. Thanks Jen!
Every day about 3:00 pm I put out the blue speckled teapot and some Japanese teacups and the heart shaped plate. Each one of these pieces is special to me. The teapot sat on top of my mom's stove for years until one day she just got tired of washing the grease off it and gave it to me. The teacups were a gift from a Japanese friend of mine. She and I had an afternoon teatime ritual too, way back when I was a new graduate from college and on my own for the first time in my life. I received them when she moved back to Hawaii and paring back to only what she could fit in her suitcase. And the heartshaped plate I unwrapped as a wedding favor from a very very dear friend. Although we didn't take tea together, we were usually sipping some beverage on our outings. ; )
The teapot rarely has tea in it. Somedays it's milk, regular, chocolate or pink and others it's apple or orange juice. The little plate is filled with goodies; muffins, nilla wafers, teddy grahems or homebacked bread with butter. I set up the table and listen for the bus.
Sam and Teresa run in from the bus, shed backpacks and sit themselves down at the table. I pour the tea so we can sit down and chat. We talk about the funny things that happened that day. I'll tell them how one of the daycare babies nearly caught and squashed the kitty and they tell me the games they played at recess. They tell me who they sat with at lunch and who their buddy was at mathtime. We talk about the times they felt mad or sad or frustrated. We take the time to connect. For some reason I never get the standard "nothing" when we chat over tea. They are full of the goings on of their day and seem eager to share it. And what's wonderful is we no longer feel so disconnected from each other's day.
My home can be a chaotic place, especially just after 3 in the afternoon. What with the kids coming in off the bus, little ones waking and needing snack and new diapers and parents coming to pick up their children. But those ten minutes Sam, Teresa and I spend sipping our "tea" and sharing our day are precious. We are able to celebrate and commiserate together and somehow no longer feel cheated of each other. Who knew so much could fit into a little cup of tea.

Friday, September 12, 2008

through the years

My parents raised eleven children. ELEVEN! I have three and not a day goes by when I shake my head and wonder how my parents, my stay at home Mom especially, managed without going completely insane. Watch as the family grows from one to eleven.
The first born...little did they know they had opened the floodgates...no looking back now.

On the balcony of their little apartment in Germany. The little guy in my mom's lap fell off this balcony one day, three stories down onto the cement. We love sticking magnets to the screws of the plate he now sports in his head.
They arrived in Germany with three kids and left Germany with five children. My mom had to travel home, from Germany to Massachusetts with five children under the age of six and 6 months pregnant to boot, by herself. Have I mentioned she should be nominated for sainthood?
The clan now numbers six. And this is where things start to go to pot.
HUH??? We jump from six little ones to a bunch more, some full grown. That's what happens when you got so many, the picture taking falls by the wayside. There are now nine of us in the picture. We completely missed me and my younger brother and sister as babies. Oh well. My sisters loved to tell me I was adopted because of the scarcity of baby pictures of me. I'm the gorgeous child in the white dress. :)

In this picture we have extras...my Grammie, my aunt Sr. Teresa and my uncle Fr. Jim. Yep, a nun and a priest. Have I mentioned we're Catholic...oh yeah, eleven children...I guess you knew that. Only ten of the eleven here. Not sure where my oldest sister is, but this is the first with my youngest sister so technically the family is now complete. I'm the lovely girl on the far right.

And here we are in our uniforms. No, just kidding. We all ran in a road race called the Monster Dash. You ran in a costume. Well, we all didn't run in it but somehow we all ended up with t-shirts. Actually one of my older sisters is absent here. She was away at school. Notice a pattern . There always seems to be someone missing. Can you spot me here? I'll help out, almost smack dab in the middle.
Finally! It took till we were all grown but they finally got a picture of all eleven of us all at the same time. This was at my youngest sister's wedding. See how happy my dad looks...that's because he just married off the last of his girls.

And just for fun.....
This is all their fault. And as per usual people are missing. Can you find me now???

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

an endangered species

I am so good about making sure the kids clothing is current and in good repair. Their socks don't sport holes and they always have plenty of underwear. Why then, do I slack when it comes to my own clothing? I was in desperate need of new underwear. I was doing laundry more often, not because I am so on top of my domestic duties but just because I needed clean underwear for the following day.

The other night I was out running some errands at our local superstore and remembered the dearth of undies in my undie drawer. So I marched myself over to the intimate apparel and wandered through the maze of bras (thank god I don't need new bras at the moment!) and stopped in front of the long wall of underwear. And that's when I remembered why I'd been avoiding this unpleasant little task. There were briefs, bikini's, string bikini's, boxers, boy style, hiphuggers, thongs, girdles, boxer-briefs and g-strings. There were low cut briefs and hi-cut bikini's. There was lace and satin and ewww! polyester. Underwear in every shade and pattern. Black, pink, green, yellow (YELLOW?), red, floral, geometrics, cutesy prints, and even character sets (think underoos for grownups... which just begs the question, why???). And the sizing. Does underwear need to come in petites and talls? Because, I really don't think it does.

I stood there and did not know where to begin my search. All I wanted, call me boring, was some plain old white cotton bikini underwear. Not red, yellow, green, blue or even black and definitely no prints of any kind. Where was it hiding in this literal sea of bloomers? I started in the middle of the wall, not sure why, but realized I was getting confused and couldn't remember if I had looked at that particular floral pink pair of bikini style before or was that in the hi-cut low rise hiphugger? So I moved all the way down to one end and started over. Every so often I would get all excited because I'd see packages of all white cotton only to have my hopes dashed when I realized they were granny panties. When I arrived at the end of the wall of bloomers I still had buttkis. I slunk out of there with a package of three white cotton bikinis and three black. Not too bad, but not exactly what I wanted. Hmmmmm, maybe I should go back and stock up on them in case they become further endangered? I mean, I know it's not exactly what I wanted but what if they nix the white ones from the package altogether and I'm left with just black? What will I wear under my khaki's or whites? I think I may have to. At the very least it'll guarantee I won't have to shop for underwear for a while.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

pizza for dessert

My sister thanked us for watching her little guy this afternoon with dessert. Ice cream pizza. The kids couldn't wait to finish dinner and dig in. Neither could I. It came packaged in an authentic pizza box and looked absolutely delectable. So I sliced it and we dug in. Sam, my picky eater, decided he'd rather not, so it was just us girls.

Teresa sighed deeply after each bite. It was just that yummy.
Katie started at the top and worked her way down to the brownie crust, savoring every morsel of chocolate, each m&m and the fudge topping.
This was what Kate's slice looked like when she declared she was stuffed. She truly is my girl. As a child, I was infamous for licking the topping off my desserts and then proclaiming I was full. My brothers and sisters never miss an opportunity to remind me of this.
When she was about halfway through, Teresa dreamily pronounced "I am in LOVE!"
She stated my thoughts exactly.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Guess what we went and did?

Meet Benjamin Baadaabooty

Disclaimer: I in no way, shape or form, had any input on this little guys name. Teresa came up with his first name and Katie inisted on the Baadaabooty. She is such a fruitcake...but it has a certain ring to it, don't ya think?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

I'm an easy audience

A funny little Katie phrase...she calls tootsie rolls...tushy rolls. I just love it and ask her to say it 1000 times a day. And every single time I smile.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

that whole spoonful of sugar thing

All moms have cute little catch phrases we use when talking with our kids. Because we all know if we say something in a cutesy way, it will take the sting out of what's really being said. Let me translate for you; "sit like a pretzel" should actually be read as "SIT DOWN!" or "you get what you get and you don't get upset" is actually "too freaking bad, baby!" and "quick like a bunny" means "HURRY, the EFF UP!" I have used the quick like a bunny phrase since way back when I taught preschool. I use it now with all three of my kids. What's funny is none of my preschoolers ever interpreted it the way each of my kids have when they were each about three. I was hurrying Kate to the bathroom tonight saying, "quick, quick like a bunny!" and just like Sam and Teresa before her, she stopped running along and began hopping across the kitchen.

Monday, September 1, 2008

obligatory first day of school photos

Sam and Teresa started back to school last week. They are still at an age where this is exciting and looked forward to. They couldn't wait to meet their teachers and find out who is in their classes. Teresa decided she was going to pick out her clothing (and you all know how I feel about that) but she didn't do too badly. They are now going to school an hour earlier than they have in the past but handled the transition easily. And so did I. No one went to school naked, unfed or without a lunch. Katie was a bit lost without her friends. Actually the second day of school as I got the kids ready Katie asked me where they were going and when I replied school she asked incredulously "AGAIN!" But don't worry, a couple of our daycare friends are back from summer vacation so Kate isn't lonely. So here they are, all freshly scrubbed and ready for a brand new school year.

I have no idea what Teresa is doing here. She looks like she's ready to fall off the steps.
Sam, hands on hips, looking like a man about town.
Sam, smiling his snaggle tooth smile (I'll be so glad when that tooth finally falls out).
Ignore Katie's bedhead, it was all I could do to get the older two dressed and whatnot before bus time.