Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Dreamie Date Night

Last night Chris and I took a "vacation from parenting." For the first time in over a year we spent 22 hours by ourselves! Fortunately, Grandma and Grandpa took 15 hours (10 hours with sleeping kids!) and a babysitter took the remainder. We made the 1 1/2 hour commute down to Bloomington, Indiana to enjoy a nice dinner, a basketball game and the chance to sleep in! We had an amazing time.

It's funny after you have kids (especially four kids), what things you appreciate when you have time all alone. We ate at a restaurant that did not include a drive up window, plastic utensils or even a children's menu. While at the hotel, we watched TV shows that did not include animated characters or tween singing sensations. We went to a store and didn't worry about whether someone would knock over a mannequin or climb onto the sweater table (both have been done before).

The best part is we really had a chance to talk. We were both pleased to discover we actually had things to talk about other than our kids. The conversation flowed and at times we both laughed until our bellies ached. The kids were discussed some. The best part about talking to Chris about our kids is that he loves them just as much as I do. He'll listen intentenly while I shamelessly brag. And, I can freely spill sorid details about a child's misbehavior knowing in the end he's feelings haven't changed about that child.

Our babysitter, Denise, appeared to do great with the kids. She did say, "Caleb thought he was watching me all morning until I convinced him I was actually watching him." That's my strong willed child. I'm sure he smelled fresh meat and was hoping to take charge of the situation. Fortunately Denise is not one to cower to anyone, let alone a tough minded seven year old.

Chris and I agreed we should make more time for each other. It was a good reminder for me. Seems like most of my time get devoted to males under the age of eight. 38 year old boys need attention too!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Today is Sunday. I did one of my least favorite things today: take all four boys to church by myself. To make things more complicated, Caleb (7 yrs) had to go to "big church" because his Sunday School was on Christmas break. I got all the little ones dropped off in their classrooms, and Caleb and I found seats in the sanctuary. The service began great. We sang some beautiful Christmas hymns and Caleb snuggled up close to me. He finally whispered in my ear, "I wish Dad was here." I thought, how sweet he wants to enjoy this memory with his Dad too. He then finished his thought, "I wish Dad was here with his iPhone so I could watch videos on it." O.K., I guess that's not the sappy moment I was anticipating.

For entertainment, Caleb brought a stuffed duffle bug into the service. After the musical portion of the service ended we sat for the sermon, he then opened the bag. The first thing he retrieved from the bag was a full sized football. He whispered to me, "Do you want to play catch?" I said, "Caleb I was thinking you would bring in a coloring book or maybe a Bible, but a football?" I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.

A few minutes later I notice my number flashing on the paging system. Having your number flashed at church is never a good thing. They don't flash your number because they want to tell you how great your child colored a picture or how wonderful a child is sharing with his classmates. They flash your number because either:
a) Your child is vomiting;
b) Your child took a tumble and is bleeding profusely; or
c) Your child has done something really, really, really bad.

Of those choices I would prefer a or b. Unfortunately, Cooper (3 years) was paged for reason c or "acts of rebellion." He refused to participate in the church lesson and the craft. I was disappointed in his behavior and a little humiliated.

At that point I decided to call it a day, and retrieve all the kids from their classes. We went to pick up Connor (5 years) from his class. The class was in the middle of a lesson. I tried to slip into the classroom and I whispered to the teacher, "I need to pick up Connor early today." Caleb then proceeds to yell really loud, "Yah, Cooper had a meltdown and we had to leave early." I could feel my face turn redder as all eyes fell on our family. I grabbed Connor's arms and scurried him out of the classroom.

I snatched the baby from the nursery and the five of us made a beeline for the car.

Punishments were inflicted at home. He felt the most painful punishment was not getting the special lunch the others boys received after church.

I shed some tears again feeling like the worst mom in the world. Again, I was glad for nap time (a.k.a. "Mom's Mental Health Hour") to regroup and remind myself chances are he won't end up in jail; he is only three. I hope next Sunday goes better.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

December 26th. It doesn't really seem possible that Christmas has already came and went. Yesterday was a flurry of activity and fun. The boys awoke a little after six. They were under strict orders not to open the gifts from Santa until Chris (a.k.a. Dad) got home from his overnight shift. Starting at 6:30 a.m., Caleb (7 yrs) contintually called Chris on his cell phone. Chris's cell phone was off that morning, but Chris said the voice messages were hilarious. They went something like this:

Call #1: Dad where are you?

Call #2: Dad where are you?

Call #3: Dad where are you?

...Call #53ish: He's not answering. He must be on his way!

When Chris arrived home, he was greeted like a rock star. Present opening could commence. The boys wasted no time tearing off wraping paper, loosening boxes and then gasping at their new possessions.

The morning was magical and a little sad at the same time. Does Christmas really only have to come once a year?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Capers

Experiencing Christmas with kids is amazing; it's fun to see the Holidays through their eyes.

This year, there was lots of talk about Santa. My oldest (7 years) initiated a lot of conversation about the Man In Red. Today he pondered with his brothers the existence of Santa, or whether he was just a myth (his words). He then answered his own question by saying he had to be real, because he saw satellite photos of Santa's journeys on the Internet. I was a little relieved that he came to this revelation on his own. Frankly, I'm not sure if I'm ready to give up believing in Santa.

This evening we went to Catholic Mass with some friends. Our home church is Evangelical Protestant, but the Mass time fit best in our schedule, and our friends invited us to attend with them. My husband was raised Catholic and he is totally familiar with all of the nuances of the service. I, on the other hand, get confused quickly, and spent most of the Mass in the cry room where I felt like I was with "my people" (frazzled moms with screaming babies and toddlers).

In the cry room, I was sitting on the floor with baby Collin. An 18-month-old girl came up to see him. She had a mouth full of Goldfish. Just as she reached us, she let loose a massive sneeze right in my face. Chunks of Goldfish came hurtling at my face, drenching me with moist orange wads of baked crackers. Her parents were mortified! It felt like just another day to me.

The quote of the Mass was when Cooper (3 years old) exclaimed with wide eyes, "They even have a pool!" (Referring to the baptismal font). I think that alone would cause him to convert to the Catholic faith.

The boys are nestled into their beds right now with visions of Santa resting in their heads (at least for one more year!).

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Madness at the Mall

I actually braved the mall-fortunately with only two boys in tow. My mall experience began in the parking lot. I went to retrieve the stroller from the car trunk. The trunk door was stuck. I must have made quite a sight in the parking lot of our upscale mall. I had one foot on the ground and one foot on the bumper. My hands were grasping the handle and I must have yanked it a thousands times before I admitted defeat. The thought of entering the mall sans stroller sent chills up my spin. But, I though, if I can survive childbirth four times and potty training three times, surely I can handle a trip to the mall without the help of a little thing like a stroller. As I'm getting the kids out of the car, my three year old starts yelling repetitively, "Pee get out of my pants. " I was praying he was joking until I noticed the soaked pants. Another setback. But, I'm not a quitter. I'm not going to let a caged stroller and soiled pants stop our Christmas shopping.

We entered the mall, I'm sure we were quite a sight. Fortunately, I was able to purchase a new pair of pants from Baby Gap. I informed the cashier of the reason for the purchase and she acted like this was an every day occurrence (feeling a little better about that!).

Next we entered Banana Republic to exchange a sweater for my husband. I purchased a medium sweater for his birthday and he informed me that he is actually a large. Confidently I approached the cashier and requested the appropriate size. She asked, "Do you have the receipt?" I immediately displayed the sweater receipt. She informed me it was the wrong receipt. She asked, "Was it on my credit card?" No, actually it was on my friends. At this point she said I'd have to keep the sweater. Now I was mad. I was even more determined that ever to complete my mission. At this point I was seriously considering dropping the tight sweater snatching the right sweater and making a run for the door (the kids could catch up right?). All I wanted was the peacock blue crew cut sweater in a large. I was not asking her to divulge issues of national security, trade secrets or even her weight. Just give me the peacock blue crew cut sweater! I think she became aware that I was teetering on the edge of doing something completely insane when she offered me the emerald green crew cut sweater in a large. It was a deal.

Of course, we celebrating our victory with a mall cookie. The sweet taste of victory.