WELCOME

You made it! Here it is... the blog where you get to sit back and laugh at - or be completely horrified by - life with 5 kids, 2 parents, 1 dog, 2 cats, 1 guinea pig, & 2 turtles (and those are just the creatures we know about).

8.30.2011

Chuck E. Cheese, or, Please Help Me!

I try to avoid Chuck E. Cheese's at all costs. Patrick had a birthday party there when he turned 4, and I've hated it ever since. It's a little slice of Hell on Earth.

Almost four years ago, Patrick's 4th birthday was hosted at Chuck E. Cheese's. Simultaneously, six other birthday parties were occurring. Envision a prison cafeteria scene from a bad movie, throw in screaming kids and some cake, then top it off with a performance by a giant, dancing rat. Close your eyes and picture it... that was the experience. I think I still suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Whenever the kids ask if we can go to Chuck E. Cheese's, I start to twitch.

So, I was pleasantly surprised last night. We had promised to do something fun as a little end to the summer. My husband suggested taking them to dinner at Chuck E. Cheese's. I tried to jump out of the car really didn't want to, but I knew the kids would love it. I have to say, going on a Monday night is a far different experience from a Saturday afternoon. It wasn't crowded, the staff couldn't have been more helpful, and it was very clean.

When we pulled into the parking lot - first convincing Patrick that we were going to be dining at the sushi place next door (he was not pleased!) - Sean sat up in his seat and said, "Oh Chuck E. Cheezits - I love it!" He's never been there (that he can remember), but he goes nuts everytime the commercial comes on. Aaahh, the power of advertising to impressionable children!

The kids had a blast. They ate pizza, played games and laughed so hard that they could barely breathe. I still don't love the idea of going there, but I do love watching the kids enjoy themselves immensely. Now that we're part of Chuck's e-club (& my husband has a coupon compulsion), I see more visits in my future. {sigh}

8.21.2011

Accidents Will Happen

Sean got his head stuck in a chair at dinner. It was one of those "everything happened so fast" dramatic moments. One minute, he was sitting at the dining room table at the beach house with the whole family. The next minute, he tilted his head back at just the wrong angle so as to get it stuck in the chair.


In the midst of an emergency, I'm very good at dealing with the situation. It's after the fact, when everything has settled, that things strike me as funny. Sean was screaming, his head was stuck, and PJ & I were working to get him free. Ditto ran in with the oil to lube his head in the hopes of slipping him out. My mother-in-law ran over and told us to just go ahead and break the chair. Which is exactly what PJ did. He snapped a piece of the chair off and got Sean's head out. Everyone started to relax. Except for my poor father-in-law, who needed his mother-in-law to fix him a martini after the event.


That's when I started laughing. In all of the chaos, everyone was trying to help. It turns out that most people were thinking lubrication. My sister-in-law, Julie, had brought in a tub of butter substitute. Our friend, Ditto, had run in with the oil. My father-in-law, in a state of panic, had arrived at the table with the vinegar. Apparently, he was unclear on which part of a salad will unstick toddler heads from random places.


In the end, everything worked out just fine. Sean was a little traumatized, but no worse for the wear. The chair was a lot little broken. My father-in-law was soothed by a good martini and we got a little chuckle at his expense. It's the kind of excitement that can only be caused by dining with our crazy gang.
Trust me. This will NOT remove toddler heads from furniture.

8.19.2011

Vacation

Two weeks out of the summer, we vacation at the beach. It is definitely the highlight of the summer. The days are an endless blur of sunscreen, sand and surf. At the end of the day, after bathing pounds of sand off my 5 kids, they're good and tired. Unfortunately, so am I. For some reason, vacationing at the beach seems to revolve around my 3 least favorite chores: sunscreen, baths, and laundry.


Spending days at the beach seems to go hand in hand with heavy, wet, dirty laundry needing to be done. There's nothing like turning on the dryer and hearing all the sand rolling around in there with the "clean" clothes and towels. My laundry pile is one of the reasons I'm on vacation in the first place. I was hoping that if I ran away it might disappear.


As previously mentioned, I have five kids. Bathing them is an enormous pain. There are just so many of them and they get slippery when they're wet! I'll be the first to admit that I don't bathe my children every night unless they've actually fallen into a mud puddle. After a day at the beach, however, it just has to be done. I can't feel good about myself sending my kid to bed covered in sunscreen with sand stuck in every crevice.


The chore of applying sunscreen on all of my kids (whose complexion resembles a glass of milk with freckles) is by far my least favorite. All those square inches of pale skin take forever to cover. It seems like hours before I've got them all greased up and ready to go. At which point I will, inevitably, miss some major part of my own body with the sunscreen. Who cares if I burn one leg?


Chores aside, this is still the highlight of the summer. We splash and play all day and head to bed - with a few new freckles - completely worn out and ready for another day of fun in the sun!


8.11.2011

Caffeine

I've always survived well on small amounts of sleep.  Ask any of my friends from college.  I was the queen of the "all-nighter" since I suffer from a hard-core case of procrastination-itis.  I should thank my lack of planning for preparing me for motherhood.

When you have a brand-new baby, everyone wants to know how the baby sleeps.  I've been blessed, 5 times, with really good sleepers.  Patrick, the oldest, was difficult to put to sleep, but would then go down for a solid 13 hours (where I would repeatedly make sure he was still breathing).  The others, as infants, were great, right from the start.

The problem, now, lies with the odds.  Odds are, one child won't wake up in the middle of the night too often.  Maybe once a week that child might wake up for a glass of water or to be comforted after a bad dream.  When there are five children involved, however, things change.  Somehow, there is some exponential shift in how many times someone will wake me up at night.

Someone wants a glass of water.  Bleary-eyed, I plod to the kitchen to honor the request.  Inevitably, no one else will wake up until I return to bed and make myself comfortable.  Someone else has just had a nightmare and can only be soothed by a glass of chocolate milk.  I curse you, Hershey's Syrup.

Situations like this go on all week.  Sometimes it's a nightmare or extreme thirst.  Sometimes someone just wants to chat at 3 am.  It doesn't help that I married a man capable of sleeping through Armageddon.  And I'm pretty sure the kids have orchestrated some evil plan to wear me down enough that I finally say yes to Chuck E. Cheese (oh, how I despise that place).  Whatever it is, there is one saving grace.

Coffee.

I get made fun of daily for carting around my EXTRA large from Dunkin Donuts.  My coworkers know that there is something wrong if that giant Styrofoam cup isn't in my hand.  Thank you to whomever decided to roast, grind and brew those little beans with hot water.  That and some good make-up allow me to function as almost human in society.

So here I sit, with my first cup of the day.  A steamy helping of survival.
This is what I bought to hang in my kitchen. Appropriate!

8.07.2011

At Odd Hours

That's when I get things done. Cakes in particular. If I attempt to work on cakes while the kids are awake, I end up with "helpers." I make buttercream frosting from scratch. No matter how many times I've told them it's all the same flavor, the kids still insist that they must try each and every color of frosting. This is why I do my best work VERY late at night or VERY early in the morning (sometimes both).


This weekend, we finally had Lucy's birthday party. It's almost 3 months late (I can't always get it together)! She did a google search for "funky girl birthday cake" images and found this from cakecentral.com:

This is was my interpretation (to the best of my abilities):
She loved it, but did make sure to tell me that I didn't put green stripes around the bottom of the layers.  Diva.  I'm just relieved that I talked her out of the Hannah Montana cake she had wanted for a while!

I also have to give Jackie from Metrowest Face Painting a TON of credit.  She did a wonderful job painting faces at the party! Here are just a few examples of her amazing work:




In all, the party was a hit.  Maybe she won't remember that we did her 6th birthday almost 3 months late - yikes!

On top of it all, I got to make another cake for this weekend, too!  Very early in the morning (to prevent any interference), I worked on a friend's daughter's cake for her first birthday.  Danielle, I hope those cupcake colors were to your specifications! ;)

All in all, it was a cake (& fun) filled weekend!  Now, if only I could inspire myself to get the laundry done at odd hours.  Then I wouldn't have a pile that rivals the height of Mount Washington.






8.05.2011

Eavesdropping

Kids are funny. And we've all heard that they say the "darndest things." I often overhear some very funny conversations in the course of a day. Yesterday, while driving in the car, this is what transpired between Patrick and Lucy.


Patrick: I just farted.
Lucy: Did you know that girls don't fart much?
Patrick: Just Sophie.
Lucy: Yeah, she's funny! Why is she so funny?
Patrick: I guess God just gives her all those ideas.


This conversation cracked me up. Sophie is funny. She's funny without even trying to be. I asked Patrick later what he meant about God giving Sophie her ideas. Apparently, he once asked Sophie why she's so funny. She shrugged and said, in a very matter-of-fact way, "I guess God just gives me all my ideas."


That's Sophie. A direct line to heaven for her comedic inspiration.

8.03.2011

Spelling Bee

This is a prime example of what can transpire in my house in the course of a day.  I watch my kids, I really do.  It is impressive, though, what they can get into in the course of a few minutes.  


Sophie has had a marker obsession from a very young age.  If any of my children were going to decorate themselves with a Sharpie, it would be Sophie.  That is a pretty classic two-year-old behavior and she did eventually grow out of it.  Now that she is four, however, she's learned that it's much more interesting to write on other people.  




I have to give her credit... she does know all of the letters of her brother's name.  But, really - if you're going to label Sean, can you at least try to spell it correctly?


I guess I know what skill we're working on next.

8.01.2011

It's all about the tone...

I have five children.  And before you ask, yes, they are all mine.


"Are they all yours?"


I get asked this question at least once every time I go out in public with the kids.  In and of itself the question is not offensive.  It's all about the tone in which it is asked.  Some people say it with a tone of amazement.  The underlying message is: wow, that crazy girl has 5 kids and they're all close in age!  Others seem rather impressed that I am out by myself and they're not running wild.  More often than not, however, the tone clearly conveys the horror of the interrogator.  "Are they all yours?" is asked while turning down the corners of the mouth and making a face that looks like you just smelled sour milk.


I'm not sure why these people feel so bothered.  My kids behave in public (what they do at home is another story).  I watch them, I feed them, I pay for them, and I even bathe them occasionally.


I've discovered that when you have one child, everyone wants to know when you'll have another.  I'm sure people who have an only child get peppered with questions about a future sibling all the time.  Once you pass the respectable two children, all bets are off.  I had my third child and people were a little surprised.  Although, some suggested I should "even it out."  When I had my fourth, some were a little dumbfounded, but they liked that I now had 2 boys and 2 girls.  Then... I went for number 5.  Now people watch me like a ticking time bomb because they're sure the arrival of the fifth child means I'm planning on having 20 and starting my own reality show.


My question is why? Why do people feel the need to approach a perfect stranger and give unsolicited opinions?  Sometimes, they're not even strangers.


The other day, I was at a memorial service.  A mother walked by me with a brand new baby in her arms.  I politely smiled at the little bundle she was carrying.  An acquaintance of the family, who barely knows me, walked up and said, "Don't even think about it.  You're done!"  Why?  Why does this person feel compelled to comment?  I didn't try to steal the woman's baby.  I didn't turn to my husband and tell him we need to go home and have another.  I merely smiled.  And, not for nothing, but this woman was a nun.  Is that a commandment or something?  Thou shalt give your opinions very obnoxiously in inappropriate settings.


Regardless, my husband and I chose to have a large family.  It's not as common nowadays, but it's not unheard of, either.  I'll continue to field the question.  Yes, they're all mine.  Who else in their right mind would take 5 kids to the grocery store if they didn't belong to them?