Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Twins..Triplets and A Single..Getting Busy With Life!

I settled into bed on Sunday evening at an early hour.  The weekend was overwhelming and I think I ate most of my meals on the road.  It was not a family vacation or anything but rather the life of a chauffeur mom.  We sent everyone in for showers early on Sunday evening with the hopes of the house shutting down early.

We covered lots of highway miles, 5 hockey games, 2 baseball games, tennis practice, a 5k run and a date night on Saturday.  I laid down and got all covered up and cozy.  My intent was to let my eyes roll back in my head and drift into a deep slumber.  As soon as I hit the pillow my brain did the opposite.  What is ahead of me this week? 

Are all of the carpools set up? 
Is Colin's eye doctor appointment going to conflict with my volunteering in the classroom?  
Wait... is David working late any night this week? 
I need to order the mulch!  
Oh shoot I still need to send an email out about the hosting of the families at the homeless shelter.  
I really need to get the summer clothes out for the triplets.  
Did I change that last load of laundry?  

Needless to say I leaned over and told David, "I will be back later, I need to gather my thoughts for the week".  I needed to sit down and get the calendars out and write out all the requirements for the week.  I am still a little old fashioned in the spring when we are overbooked.  I keep everything in my phone on my calendar but there is something to be said about having it all written out so you can see the week in a glance and really see any gaps in the schedule.  Our biggest issue that now we have the triplets doing activities.  If everyone has an event on a single night I am just out of people.  It takes some patience and the ability to ask for help to be able to juggle and balance this interesting 6 week time period in the spring.  Liam plays baseball and the triplets also play baseball.  Eamon and Liam play spring hockey.  Mairin does swim and tennis.  Eamon and Liam also participate in the 7th grade tennis team thru school.  Some of the frustration comes with the overlapping of the seasons.  Baseball is wrapping up and swim tune up is beginning.  Spring hockey is ending but tennis has another week.
Spring dinnertime is rough.  I have to come up with dinners that can sit on the stove and pick items that the kids will eat warm or cold.  Taco pie and blueberry pie was sitting on the stove last night for all of the shifts coming and going.  By the time I arrived home half of it was gone and it was still being eaten.  I can't keep up with the stains on the clothes and the kids are spending their evenings running around during the baseball games or hockey games.  There is not a lot of home time for the triplets because they usually have to ride with me to the events.  They never understand why they can't watch TV before bed on the nights when we don't get home until dark.

I finish the organizing of my thoughts at the kitchen table around 11:30pm on Sunday night.  It was all I could do to make it back up the stairs and crawl into bed.  Monday proved to be a great morning because I had the week in a snapshot in my head and we ready to take on the week.

Monday night we had an amazing experience.  Our church hosts 35 homeless people from the South Oakland Homeless Shelter every year for a week.  We provide the food for 3 meals a day.  They sleep at the our parish and we provide everything they need.  Our parish volunteers to take the people to their jobs, schools or to the shelters during the day and they all come back in the evenings.  We decided to take on the dinner for Monday evening.  I grabbed 4 other families from our parish and we got together to make a taco night with all the fixings.  The mom's made the food but the kids all served the dinner, helped clean up and then entertained the kids for the evening.  It was so enjoyable for all of us and definitely something we will do again in the future.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Twins, Triplets and Single ....Deals and Dramas

We take up a whole row.  We need a bigger than average kitchen table.  We can’t take other kids with us because our vehicle is at capacity.  The benefits and the downfalls of a big family.  Family memberships to the zoo are beneficial to families like mine.  We can more than pay for a year membership in just a single visit.  Family discounts benefit us sometimes when they make prices lower after child number  4.  

Every time we go to sign the kids up for an event  and the price seems reasonable it is when you have to double or triple it and you start to get nauseous.  People always tell me about the cute little markets that they shop at and all the cool types of food they have.  I have walked into these stores and quickly remember why Costco and Sam’s Club are my trusty go to options.  I buy a dozen boxes of cereal when they are on sale because we are easily a box a morning.  I stop at the outlets on my way up north because Pepper ridge Farms has all of their bread next to the counter priced at 1.00 per loaf.  I will take bags of bread home and freeze.  I always say it is not so much the cost but the amount of storage needed for a big family.   I have a make shift pantry out in the garage where I can stock my dry goods and mostly it is stocked due to really good sales that I need to take advantage of. 

Easter is always interesting.  Our church is never full enough to where you can’t find a seat but on Easter you have to make sure and get there early in order to grab a seat.  This is especially true for us because the 8 of us take up an entire row.  The holidays (no matter which one it is) is always exhausting because the amount of work that goes into getting everyone dressed and ready in their fancy clothes is quite an undertaking.  Eamon wears a different size than liam does and they both have different size jackets.  The shoes if not worn in awhile could be too small and as they are complaining that their feet are curled up at the end I am saying, “deal with it, we are out of options and I have to move on and get the triplets dressed”.  There are 5 ties to be tied and  putting together enough belts to match and fit is always a problem.  They always disappear.  Then it is just when you are walking out to the car and you notice that Liam  didn’t go to his dad’s drawer and get a pair of black socks but that he is sporting those flouresent Under Armor socks that are peaking thru the gap of his khakis that could argueably be almost too short.  We cannot get the triplets dressed to early because they will ruin their outfits in no time.  We came home from a 1st communion just the other  night and as I was washing the clothes I had 2 dress shirts with rips in the arms, 1 dress shirt with orange marker on it, a blazer with a missing button (grrrrrrr) and 3 pairs of dress pants with grass stains on them.  Another day…..

Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Spring Dance

The snow is melting and everything here in Michigan is looking grey and very drab.  Spring is around the corner but if you look outside you just can’t believe that it is close.  The only way to really begin anticipating spring is to see all the spring goods in the stores and take advantage of the increased hours of daylight.  Kids are starting their baseball season and everyone is scheduling around March Madness.  It is time for all of the spring sports to begin and for those of us hockey families, it is the beginning of the Spring Dance.  You would not understand it if you didn’t experience it.  You probably won’t believe me when I explain it. Those of you reading who are in hockey will get it and those of you who are not will question why in the heck do you participate in such craziness.    My husband calls it the Spring Dance and I think it is a very fitting name for what is about to occur.

We dedicate ourselves to a season of hockey that runs August through March.  We become friends with the other parents on our team because we spend more time together than we do with anyone else.  We are on the ice 3 days a week and often will add a game or conditioning session in there somewhere.  We all sit together and cheer on our boys.  It doesn’t take long to know each kid and know how they skate and what their number is.  You start to cheer on all the kids on your team and celebrate their victories as if they are all your own children.  Your heart drops when one gets injured and you feel like it is your own.  You spend weekends together either in hotels or locally waiting for the games to start.  Some rinks stink and leak and some are wonderful.  We enjoy finding restaurants that  will take a reservation for 40 after a tournament game.  I have witnessed hide and go seek in Meijers (just to kill some time in between games), skating parties on our pond or other man made arenas in backyards.  I have watched 12 year old boys say dumb things and make messes while showing off in front of their friends at a hockey dinner.  I have carpooled with different families and have visited many team members homes for team gatherings.   My boys have made so many friends throughout the years of hockey and we have learned to never burn a bridge as you will probably share a team with that person again in the future. 

We never dreamed we would be a hockey family.   We never played hockey and we really never had friends who played.  All it took was a neighbor who had a son 6 years older than my oldest who asked if they could use the pond in our backyard to skate on, one winter 8 years ago.  The boys put on their skates and watched the neighbor boy and it was over.  They learned to skate on our pond and wanted more.  We started with a tot hockey program and proceeded to play house for 2 years.  The boys improved and we decided to join the ranks of the crazy people and dove into a “beginner travel team”.  By beginner I mean “a glorified house team with more ice time”.  We never traveled very far and the cost was reasonable.  Most of all the boys loved it.  They always kept excellent grades and never ever complained about an early practice or having to miss something because of hockey. They love it, they crave it and they want more of it.  Eamon always says, “there is nothing better than a weekend with a hockey tournament and I can be on the ice all weekend” We don’t plan much in the winter months because hours are spent on the pond skating.  I usually snow blow while the kids are at school and then they come out after school and shovel so that the puck will skim across the ice. 

Let’s talk more about the dance.  The season often ends mid March and it is not a week later that tryouts are upon us.  The spring hockey season is short..about 6 to 8 weeks.   It can be a critical time to make moves because you can better secure your fall spot if you choose that team in the spring.  You will see talent move from one team to another year after year.  I once heard a coach say that the best part of hockey was the end of the season when the coaches would fight and steal kids and the mystery and anticipation of what team will end up being the best.    Spring is the only time you can double roster and the coaches carry bigger teams.  You could also call it an extended tryout.  End of February and beginning of March is when everyone shuts down.  People don’t talk about what they are going to do.  There is no talk of staying on the team or leaving.  The funny part is that most people won’t ask others what they are doing either.  It is a very weird secret time in the hockey world.    This is when teams can fall apart.  There are times when groups get together and will all leave together..secretly.   There is also lots of talk about who is at tryouts.  You could happen to run into someone at a tryout who is on your team and it is usually an awkward moment.  People will often talk about who they saw at another tryout and everyone is always at tryouts to see who is showing up.  “Is there any new talent coming to our tryouts” is a common question among the men folk.   You will see a cluster of dads standing around acting like they have to be there for their kids tryout but secretly none of them let their wives take the kids because this is like a prime time social event, a presidential ball where your child is being presented on the ice and everyone is watching.  Don’t  let any dad fool you that they are not reliving their childhood and  experiencing an adrenaline rush just being there for their kids.  

After try outs everyone goes about their business and it is only until all the tryouts are closed and the rosters are posted do you really know what people are doing.  Every year we are usually blown away with some of the moves but I guess this is part of the game of hockey.     This is the part that stresses me out the most.  Some years we spend time deciding what to do and some years we don’t try out for any teams other than our current one.  This year was the year we chose to entertain some tryouts.   It brought back the stress and the anxiety.   The little’s are getting older and they are now doing their own sports and we were playing on a team that was a solid 30 minutes away.  We have 2 teams that are literally in our backyard and we wanted to check them out.   Spring is by far, the craziest time of the year for my family and requires David and me to coordinate schedules and be on our A game.   I have recently added all the upcoming events to my calendar and have realized that I will have to enlist a fellow driver to help us out this year.  There are too many evenings when we have 3 places to be.

In the end after several weeks of trying out and talking about things we decided that we will be making a move for spring to a team that might (and I stress might) be a little bit better than our current team and it is for sure a lot closer (11 minutes away).  We did the dance this year.   We made our commitment this past Sunday to a new team and although we disappointed some people and surprised others we are happy with our decision because it was right for our family.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Mystery Reader..Come On In

They stood quietly outside in the hallway waiting for their que to walk into Mrs. Clark's kindergarten room.  I picked them up from school early so they could make it over to the triplets school in time for this cool surprise.  I made them all dress nice for the day too. (they hated that part).  They were a little nervous and they were anticipating the excitement of their brothers when they would discover that Eamon, Liam and Mairin were the mystery readers for the day.  All of a sudden we heard our que.... The sound of 24 little nuggets yelling.."mystery reader ...come on in".  

The triplets were definitely surprised when their older brothers and sister walked into their classroom to read to them.  I think they were especially excited to share their older siblings with their fellow classmates.  Mairin read first and had her buddy, Finn sit next to her.  She did a great job and the class all listened.

Eamon went next and had Colin sit next to him.  Eamon sat up in front with confidence and seemed to have no issues.  Mrs. Clark asked them all questions before and during the books.
Liam ended the session with the popular "NO, David" book.  He did a nice job as well.  He was asking the kids questions during the book and I honestly didn't know the kid had it in him.  He has really overcome some of his fears of being in front of people he doesn't know.  It was very cute.
Mrs. Clark was also Eamon and Liam's kindergarten teacher so that made this visit even a little more special for the older ones.  Mairin didn't have Mrs Clark for kindergarten but she took off to say hello to her old teacher immediately following the reading.  I got to take all 6 home after school and it was a nice ending to a great day.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

I Couldn't Do It Without My "Bigs"

I couldn't do it without them. I couldn't raise my 6 kids without the help of the older 3.  Eamon, Liam and Mairin take on many roles in our home.  I mentioned long ago that when the triplets were born David suggested that we assign a triplet to each of the older 3.  This would be their lifelong buddy. The one that they look after and take hold of when needed.  The buddy that you grab when we are walking thru a parking lot.  When kindergarten homework comes home and mom is in a tizzie that is the buddy you grab to read with.  Eamon is the oldest so he took on Colin (the oldest triplet) then Liam with Declan and ending with Mairin and Finn.  Colin worships Eamon, Declan and Liam are just alike and let's face it...Mairin loves having someone to boss and mother.

I gave up doing showers about a year ago.  The big buddy grabs his little and they take their showers together.  We change it up a bit with Mairin and Finn.  Mairin just stands outside of the shower and helps.  When we go on vacation the buddy system is very handy.  You will often see our family walking 2 by 2 down the street with David and me bringing up the rear.

It is especially handy on a day of skiing when the trips have never tried the chair lifts.  I make them buddy up and show a Little how to do it.  When we go to amusement parks a Big rides with their Little.

We visited the movie theater this past week and although I love my children dearly...I just could not spend 90 minutes (that I would never get back) watching the Sponge Bob movie.  I got them all set up and the Big had to share a popcorn and pop with a Little.  I walked them all in and got them situated in their seats in the proper order and I headed out and sat in a lounge area right outside the movie with my girlfriend and I had my very own play date.  We had a wonderful 90 min chat while Sponge Bob played on.

It gets even better.... When I am in the middle of cooking dinner or laundry and they all want to go skating out on the pond.  I can sometimes negotiate a Big lacing up the skates of the their Little.  I try not to do this often but knowing it is an option can be the difference of me losing my mind or staying calm cool and collected.

The older Eamon and Liam get the more freedom they get from the rest of us.  I am letting them explore some of their own independence.  It is hard to let go though.  We are experimenting with them doing some babysitting and so far they are exceeding our expectations with their ability to get the trips all tucked into bed.  We still have to work on getting the house in order for when we arrive home but that too will come in time.  It really does take a village to raise a family and I am thankful to have many around to lend a hand.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Something that begins as a memory and continues as a tradition

Popcorn..We roll big when it comes to popcorn.  We buy it from Costco in the biggest container they sell.  I do it the old fashioned way.

My grandfather was a pretty amazing man.  He died when I was 7 years old but the memories he left me with are very vivid.  My sister and I spent a good amount of time with our grandparents. They lived in Edmore which was a town that bordered Stanton and just 10 short minutes away.  Morley was Superintendent of Montabella schools and Nanny (Colleen) was a kindergarten teacher.  Nanny is still with us (bless her heart) in a nursing home in St. Johns.  My grandfather used to have the biggest garden ever in his backyard and even as young as I was I remember spending lots of time out there while he weeded and picked the veggies.  I especially remember that he grew popcorn.  He always planted the same kind (called tender pop because it was tiny and tender.  It pops to about half the size of normal popcorn and is much easier on the teeth) and every year we would husk it and prepare it for popping  Your hands would get almost raw as you would wrap your hands around the small ears and twist in opposite directions until the kernels would loosen.
We would have a bowl full of kernels and lots of chaff.  He always waited for a windy day or he would pour the kernels from one bowl into the other in front of a fan and that would blow away all the chaff.   I can still hear the sound of the metal pan that he used moving back and forth over the electric stove.  He would just cover the bottom of the pan with oil.  It was actually shortening back then.  A large dollop to be exact.  I can still see the white dollop melting as I was allowed to stand on a stool next to stove.  He would add just enough corn to cover the bottom of the pan.  It had to be covered and then you waited to hear the popping start.  You had to be very careful at this point not to burn it.  This is why he would keep the pan moving over the burner and only stopping when he knew all the kernels were popped.  He always had the salt and some melted butter waiting next to the pan and would doctor up each pot after it was poured into the big bowl.  We would all get our napkins and be able to eat at TV trays in the living room with some sort of good television show.  It is one of my fondest memories of spending the night at Nanny and Grandpa's house.

I remember that my mom always popped popcorn the very same way.  She had a pan that she still to this day calls the popcorn pan because it is literally black.  It was ruined from years and years of burned grease on the outside of the pan.    I started doing it the same way years ago when I began having kids (my pan is also looking really bad).  My kids love popcorn and the mere thought of having to buy enough microwave bags to feed all 6 would keep David working at least another 5 years.

We have made some adjustments to our popcorn making by forgoing the shortening and using either olive oil or coconut oil and usually foregoing the butter.  The kids enjoy it with or without butter so I will  trade off depending on what kind of junk was eaten that day.  There are many nights when everyone votes for popcorn instead of dinner and I am usually in agreement with that request.  That is what happened tonight.  If you think for a minute that there is any left for the next day...You are sadly mistaken.

No one in the family grows their own popcorn anymore so I went years without the tender pop but thanks to Aunt Myrna we found it again.  Myrna has found a stand down at the Eastern Market where we can all buy big jugs of it for a reasonable price.  I am always excited when she leaves a jug for me in an Easter basket or surprises me with a jug on a Saturday afternoon after returning from the market.  This is also one of the many reasons why I love going down to the market with her.

Something that begins as a memory but continues as a Tradition.

Monday, February 9, 2015

You have to admire his fortitude

It was a normal morning with the normal rushing around.  I finished packing the lunches and as the older 3 were walking out the door for the bus I was afforded a couple of minutes to sit down and chat with the triplets.  I grabbed Finn and stole a hug and a cuddle.  We started talking about swimming and he wanted to know if we were going to swim this summer.  I responded with a very excited yes but also explained that I remembered that he didn't like competing so he could just do the practices and no swim meets if he didn't want to.   Finn got very uncomfortable this past summer when the swim meet would get into full swing and all the noise, people and the attention was on him.  He wanted no part of the official racing. (he is probably the fastest swimmer out of the 3 too) but ok I did not push it.  We had the perfect agreement and everyone was happy.  So I thought.

When we finished our conversation about swimming he waited a couple of minutes and then came up to me and started to cry. "I'm not going to school today". I didn't know what to say so I asked why.  He answered with, "I don't like it when kids get into trouble at school".  We went back and forth for a few minutes and finally I understood that he had a substitute for several days and there were some kids (including my Colin) who were not listening and behaving like they would if the normal teacher was there.  The para professional in the classroom got frustrated a couple times and Finn did not like the change.  He was determined that he was not going to go to school on this particular day.  I assured him that the Mrs Clark was going to be back in the classroom but there was no changing his mind.  It came time to put our gear on and he did not move.  I tried counting to 5 and nothing.  I tried telling him that if he didn't get moving I would call his dad....Nothing.  He locked eyes with mine and didn't even blink.  He didn't smile or move.  He just said, "I'm not going to school today".  I began self coaching....."don't panic Heather we are cool.  He is not going to win this battle.  Crap what do I do now? This has never do I react".   I stayed calm and and I sent the other 2 out the door and then turned to look at Finn...He was still standing firm.  He had a mean stink eye directed right at me. (I'm a little intimidated at this point..I'm not gonna lie...What the heck is happening?  This kid is definitely doing things his way.  )  I mean short of picking him up and physically putting him on the school bus...he is at that age that things are a little different.  I immediately send him to his room so that I can gather my thoughts and call David.

"David your son will not go to school today and what do you suggest I do?" I whispered into the phone fearful that my 6 year old son might hear me and discover that his mother is not nearly as calm, cool and collected as he thinks.  David was blown away that he did this but said to give him the option of either going to school or staying in his room for the day.  Make it clear there will be No legos, no electronics and no TV.  "Ok, David I have this one.  I can handle this 6 year old.  Thanks for the input and have a great day".  (thank goodness for team parenting.  Between the 2 of us we can outsmart this little nugget) I gathered up a stack of books, pens and pads of paper and headed up to his room.  He was sitting on his bed and I offered to take him to school.  He stayed on course and refused.  I calmly explained that if he didn't go to school than he needed to stay up in his room. I handed him   a stack of books to read and some paper and pens so that he could write and practice numbers.  He seemed ok with it and I was calm and very matter of fact.  I left the room and still in awww of what was happening. I went downstairs and started my day.  I changed my plans since it was apparent that I was also staying home all day.  I ended up baking cookies and decorating for the day.  I even had another mom over to bake with me so that I could at least have some company.  Finn came down periodically and I let him have his morning snack at the kitchen table and then scooted him off to his room.  Keep in mind that at this point I was done being mad.  I was just simply treating him the way I told him I would and reminding him that he chose to stay home.   I wanted to be very careful and not give him lots of attention.  The last thing I wanted was for him to think when he stays home it is fun time with mom.  He never argued with me and upon completion of his snack I would hear the pitter patter of footsteps going up the stairs and the latching of his door.    He repeated the pattern for lunch and an afternoon snack.  He asked me when he could come out and I told him that when his brothers came home he could come out.  He seemed ok with that answer as well.  4:02pm came and Colin and Declan whip open the door with smiles and backpacks.  Finn heard the commotion and down the stairs he came.  He said, "mom can I come out now?".  "Yes, Finn you sure can".  I also told him. "You are going to school tomorrow" and he said "Yes mom I know".

I was in complete shock that this kid spent the entire day in his room.  You can't help but admire his fortitude.  I decided to drop the topic and move on to bigger and better things.  Alright everyone time for homework, dinner, swimming and everything else we had to do for the evening.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Everyone Needs To Pitch In

There are so many people out there that I have run into who are scared of my life.  Scared of the amount of kids and quite frankly scared of the work required.  I get it...there are mornings when I wake up scared to face my to do list.   The other morning I was having my coffee and contemplating what the 2nd snow day (that we were blessed with) was going be comprised of.  I grabbed my post it notes and began writing out to do lists for everyone.

Liam- (widely known in our house as the organizer. Very detailed and loses nothing).  He got to do the basement organizing. Dump out all the mix matched toys in the bins and put the pieces all back to where they belong.  This is a big job and is done twice a year. He accepted the challenge with a smile.

Eamon- (known for a slower method of work but a deep thinker.  I always say he is just like his dad)  He was assigned his drawers in his room. Go thru them and pull out the stuff that is too small, stuff that doesn't have a match and the stuff that you will not wear.  Then shovel all snow off trampoline outside.  When the basement is clean please vacuum.  Eamon doesn't necessarily accept with a smile but he never gives me grief either.

Mairin - (be bops around the house and replies with yes to everything because she ultimately knows the end game. A play date  might be in her future. The boys often call her a show off because she can be so agreeable)  She gets to clean her room, go thru her drawers, vacuum family room and be my runner.

Colin (very obedient especially when a possible treat is involved) He was assigned the entryway clean up.  Then he was instructed to clean his room and make his bed.

Declan -( kind of a spaz so jobs need to be short in order not to lose him) He got to help clean his room and make his bed. He had to cleanup the garage (pick up all coats and boots and put them in bins). I had him bag the returnables and then he became my runner.

Finn - (another very organized dude and very eager to work).  He was assigned to be Liam's  right hand man and he liked that.

I had everyone off doing their jobs and as they finished I would assign more until everyone finished.  I cleaned the kitchen and folded laundry while sending little nuggets upstairs and down with things that needed homes in different rooms.  1.5 hours later we were rocking the cleanest house with a happy mom.  I offered a trip to  the sledding hill for everyone who wanted to go.

Many hands make light the work.  

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Early Mornings and Lots of Lunches!

What do your mornings look like?  I bet if you have children, you can relate to the crazy rat race of a morning.  I cannot even imagine what a morning is like with multiple children and a working mom.  I can at least run around and get everyone out the door and then go put myself together.  Working mom's out there...I have to hand it to you..You require even more organization and time management than I am exhibiting in this post.  Cheers to you!!!!!

I have been meaning to post pictures of my morning lunch production.

My alarm goes off at 6:30am and I head downstairs to prepare 7 lunches, 3 snacks and help out with 6 breakfasts.  I pack lunches for all 6 of my littles and my wonderful husband. I let the older 3 pick 1 day a week where they buy lunch.  My reasoning for packing lunches is because I fear that everyday they would pick junk for lunch.  There are so many lines now and so many junk options that my kids would be the ones who pick the chips and strawberry milk for lunch.  Not to mention a little bag of chips is 1.50.  It doesn't take long for those to add up.  What happened to the old lunch lines where you got into 1 line and got 1 option?  Anyway...I don't necessarily like packing lunches but it gives me peace of mind knowing what they are eating.   I am up anyway so why not be in my normal spot...the kitchen.

I have found that in the past couple years I have been able to send leftovers with the older 3.  I will cook chicken breasts for the week and send in chicken breasts with ranch (they love this and can it be any healthier????).  My theory on this is that if I send them a lunch and they are not crazy about a certain fruit or vegetable...if that is all there is ..they are sure to eat it if they are hungry.

This morning the older 3 got pork loin strips, roasted potatoes and carrots for lunch and it was all from dinner last night.  On days like this I throw in a Cheetos or CheezIt to make the lunch fun.  It is also a great way for me to cook at night and be able to spread out a meal into several.  The banging of the backpacks and grabbing of the lunches occurs at 7:15am when the 1st batch heads out the door for the bus.  The triplets gather their lunches and pack their bags for the bus by 8:15am.  The hour gap provides me with a break for a cup of coffee and time for any emergency that may arise.

The triplets are new to the whole lunch stuff since this is their first year at all day school. I am easing them into their lunches by packing mostly sandwiches or wraps.  I am still figuring how much to send for them and what they are willing to eat and what they are not touching.  Every kid seems to be a little different when it comes to eating away from home. I love hitting the dollar store and finding a cool container that will fit certain snacks.  I know..its all about the little things that keep you coming back for more.

There are the mornings when the 1st batch leaves and there is a lunch that is left behind but hey it happens.  There are the evenings when they tell me about a lunch option that I failed miserably at.  Most recently I made smoothies and put them in the silicon tubes and froze them.  I thought it would be great but the kids informed me that they melted before lunch and turned black and then they separated and tasted terrible.  Eamon had a day when his yogurt exploded in his lunch box..."Eamon go ahead and grab a hot lunch when that happens".  Liam will not look at his lunch ahead of time because he wants to be surprised.   Mairin is constantly hanging over my shoulders wondering what I am putting in her lunch.  Eamon is the picky one and informs me that he does not like pudding but he really likes the carrots with ranch.  "mom we don't have lots of time to eat so we need things we can eat kind of fast".  Good to know Eamon....good to know.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

5 Boys and A Girl

I received a wonderful email the other day from a super mom of 8 year old twin boys and another set of twin boys on the way.  She reached out to say how she enjoyed reading my blog but also to inquire about life with so many boys.   I was so excited for her and went on to respond to her with all of the wonderful things that a big family of boys offers.  I was blessed with 5 boys but I cannot completely relate because I was blessed with my Miss Mairin who is my mini me in every way.  I love her to pieces and she often gets thrown into the mess of boys but she never complains..well rarely.....

It really made me start to think about how my life differs from lets say...a family with all girls.  I have been to the play dates with the pretty girls.  The pretty dresses and the girls that sit nicely and quietly and color.  Mairin has friends over and you don't hear from them until they are hungry.  They are up singing in their rooms or making videos.  They make getting ready for bed a production and packing for a sleepover a monumental event.  The boys...not so much.

My 12 year old boys have friends over and all they want is some food that they can take to the basement along with cans of pop (not always allowed here..more for special occasions) and permission to rent an On Demand movie.  They want to pull out the couches and sleep down there and they really would rather the adults stay upstairs.  They are never doing anything bad (yet)  but if you do listen in you hear 12 year old boys talking lots of smack.  They don't care about special pillows or enough bedding for everyone.  They just want to hang.

The triplets and a play date..Watch out... It usually begins with a fight.  The fight is always over my 3 boys wanting the undivided attention of the friend. (no I don't usually have a friend for each of them or I would have 6 little 5 year old boys running that would send me over the edge.) These play dates are loud, busy and destructive.  Call me crazy but this is why I don't do a lot of triplet play dates.  My house becomes a maze of obstacles and making my kitchen and living room a circular track to run.  I am constantly suggesting activities outdoors.

The life of boys.....It happened today in fact!  I looked out the window to see 2 boys playing in the sandbox and 1 standing and peeing.  Boys just stand up..pee and then go back to playing.  Staying on topic...drips in the bathroom.  Boys are rough and quick.  They fly into the bathroom and they fly out.  They leave a trail where ever they go.  They brought me a snake the other day and spent a long time playing with it, making a home for it and holding it.  They named it "boney" because it felt like bones.  This is what I love about my boys because they do know how to take life back to the simplest form and run with it.

Dirty hands don't bother them and the more mud the better.  They have healthy appetites and someone is constantly hungry or thirsty.  I can always make a casserole and not have to eat it for a week.  We have dinner and then we have after dinner..dinner.  (This is really for the 12 year olds and especially after a long hockey practice).  

We never go anywhere quietly and usually when we do go out someone spills a drink or dumps something on the floor.  It costs just over $40.00 to hit the McDonald's drive thru for the 8 of us and the snack packs of 12 that you purchase at the store only lasts for a short minute.  My life revolves around....where are we going? how long will we be there? and if food and drink is needed to be packed.  Stopping off at restaurant or convenience store is not cheap for the Mott family.  I try to keep a case of water in the back of my vehicle and a box of various snacks in the glove box. Something to tide over a hungry or cranky kid can be priceless.

I love my broad of boys and my 1 little girl.  Mairin surely knows how to get dirty and she is rough and tough but she also loves getting dressed up and going out with mom.