Saturday, December 31, 2011

What's In a Name

Bringing home a new puppy is very similar to a new baby, except that the baby doesn't run, chew things, and poop on your rug.  Both wake you up at night, luckily for me it's the hubby's turn to deal with midnight wake ups. Both tend to be most alert at the exact time you want to sleep or get something done.  Both are pretty cute. But I have to say, I like babies more.  While Brandon is completely in love with his little girl, I come and go. She's very cute, love how soft and snugly she is, but I seem to only get to spend time with her when she is at her most wild.  Right now, I thought we would snuggle on the couch together, maybe watch a show while I sipped my coffee and enjoyed an hour at home with no kids.  Instead, Elsie bit the computer, bit my pajamas (yes, I'm still not dressed), jumped off the couch, and is currently chewing a cardboard box to pieces.

As Brandon left he said he was sure she was ready for a nap. Not so much.  She will probably fall asleep right when I get up to start working on the house. Then she will curl up in the nice warm spot on the couch and sleep away. Oh well, if worse comes to worse I can put her in her crate. Can't do that with a baby.

A couple of people have asked about her name, particularly her middle two names. So here goes.  Ever since we decided to get a new puppy, which was probably 1 day after Nemo died, I started thinking of names. I am always obsessed with names and would do the same thing through each pregnancy. This time, thinking of a girl name, seemed so easy. I really wanted Mae, because that was what I would have named a daughter, but that just didn't seem to work for a dog. I suggested Elsie and Brandon loved it, but the boys were not so convinced. Jack even said it was too fancy of a name.

Of course, Jack's only suggestion was "Henry", because that is what we name everything.  I explained that we would probably have a girl, and that Henry wasn't a girl's name.  So we suggested Henrietta, but not as a first name, because that is too hard to say. Or yell.  Once we picked Henrietta, Jack once again suggested another name. Ice-cream, because everyone loves ice-cream. Okay.

The day we went to get Elsie all we talked about was what her name should be. By then we had three names on the table.


Eva was suggested because the boys love Wall-E, but I could just see myself yelling, "Eeee-VAaaaaa" in my best Wall-E impersonation and I thought that might get old. Dory was offered to continue with the Pixar/Disney theme and name this new puppy the companion to Nemo's dad in the movie Finding Nemo. Both Brandon and I liked it, but the boys thought it was weird. So we took a vote. Several times, in fact. And, considering the only one who really understands voting is Jack, Elsie won with the most votes.

That is how this little puppy became Elsie Henrietta Ice-Cream Lonac.  

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

It's a .... GIRL!

Some of you may know that I have been having serious baby-lust lately.  When Finn turned 1, I thought that was the worst of it, but I was wrong. When he turned 2 and I realized we were leaving babyhood behind, I once again wanted another baby.

Crazy, I know.

Plus, living in a male dominated house, I really wanted a girl.  Change the ratio, just a smidge.  With each pregnancy I had prayed and prayed, not for a girl, but for the perfect addition to our family. And God provided. I would not change my family one bit. But that does not mean I do not long for a little pink here and there.

I have been told that puppies can help to fill in that space inside that always longs for a baby (you of course must like dogs).  I also know the only way to be 100% guaranteed of a girl was to adopt.

With that being said, meet the latest addition to our family:

Elsie Henrietta Ice-Cream Lonac

She is so tiny that she almost fits into her food dish.

We have already had a first bath, which was a little traumatic.  Elsie has pretty much been asleep since then.

The best part is how much the boys already love her. We had to say good-night to Elsie before we could go to bed tonight. Plus, hearing Finn say his version of her name is pretty adorable.

Now, I am off to fight Brandon for whose turn it is to hold her. He has claimed rights to Elsie, which I am good with as long as it involves taking her outside, feeding her, bathing her, and getting up with her at night. But when she is asleep and all snugly, then she is mine.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

And It's Over

 Currently I am laying on the couch in my post-Christmas stupor watching Top Chef. Reflecting on how this year went and already planning on how to make changes for next year.  Christmas is always such a blur for us, no matter how much we agree that this year we will slow it down. It doesn't help to have three very EXCITED boys who rip the paper off the gift before you can even blink. All in all it was a good Christmas, but I am so glad it is over!

So excited for the brother's gifts to each other.

Thanks Finn.

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Am I Foolish?

As I type that I can see some of you nodding before I have even finished the question. Brandon and I may be impulsive about cars, frantic trips to California, and needing another dog ASAP, but this time it is all me.

Last night Brandon was lamenting the fact that we can't put presents under the tree. I quickly pointed out that I had, just then, finished wrapping and put the presents under the tree. Won't the boys be into them? He asked me.  Hmm... I hadn't thought of that.

But I left them, because I wanted presents under the tree, and because I was tired of storing them in various places around the house. The presents weren't for them, I'm not that foolish! But I did think it might be a little tempting.

Update: Presents are still there and wrapped. No one has tried to open and re-wrap the presents like my sisters and I did. Oops.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Table for Two

Today I had the chance to go on a lunch date with Jack.  Last week, I took his brothers to McDonald's after a crazy day running Christmas errands.  I'll admit it was a bit of bribe for the last store. It was one errand too many, but it needed to be done, so a quick "be good and I'll take you to McDonald's" and we pushed on.  Errand accomplished, McDonald's drive-thru and we were home. But we had evidence of our trip with the arrival of two new happy meal toys in our house. And of course Jack noticed and commented on them.

Seeing as how this was Winter Break, I promised him a date with just mom at McDonald's. I thought he would like the idea of McDonald's, but I didn't realize how much he would like the idea of a date.  All day he kept saying, "when is it our date mom?" or "are you excited for our date?".

At the restaurant he told me we would sit in a both so we could look at each other and talk.  He choose the perfect booth, one that held exactly 2 people and was blue because that is his favorite color. Jack refilled his drink, got napkins, and requested extra ketchup, all by himself. The only thing he was too nervous to do was to ask for a new happy meal toy. We received a girl one, and that was not acceptable.  After getting in the car, I get a big hug and kiss, and I love you mom.

While I personally hate McDonald's, going and sitting with my first born was one of my favorite things we've done. Time with him is rare, especially alone time, and being able to sit (even if the conversation was a little stilted) was awesome.

I love this boy.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

Today we had an unexpected visitor to our house..... Santa and Mrs. Claus.  Micah had been very clear that he needed to sit on the pretend Santa's lap to tell him what he wanted for Christmas. Not the real Santa, because he is at the North Pole, obviously.

Our first ever Santa picture of all the boys:

Thanks Santa (and Mrs. Claus)! We love the treats and the great visit!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Party Like It's 1999

This weekend we had two holiday parties to go to.  The first one was Brandon's office party, which always has good food and an open bar. The second one was a 1960's sock-hop inspired theme for my Mom's 60th.

Both were fun, although in very different ways.  Friday night I was wearing nylons, heels, a dress, and sparkly jewelry.  The boys in my house said I looked pretty. Even with the nylons, I got a "still pretty" from my oldest. Not sure what he meant by that.  Tonight it was a jeans, sweater set, pearls, and headband kind of look. Apparently, my dress from the night before was a really big hit as my middle son asked why I did not wear it to grandma's party.

Friday night I laughed, and ate, and even drank some. I also asked a women when she was due, only to find out she had had the baby. Open mouth insert foot.

Saturday night I chased my boys, made small talk, and ate lots of caramel popcorn.  I tried to start the dancing, but shockingly no one joined in.

The best part of my weekend was arriving at a tent city and opening up the trunk of our car. We had so much food left-over from my mom's party, that we were joking we would freeze it for Christmas Eve. Instead, we gave corn, rice, chicken, and rolls to extremely thankful people at a local tent city.

As we drove away my oldest son who was still awake, said: "I've got an idea let's bring another meal tomorrow!" Made my heart swell; after two days of wonderful parties, celebrating this season with lots of food, drinks, music, friends and family, nothing compared to seeing the joy on the people's faces as we handed over pan after pan of food.

And knowing that my son (at least at times) recognizes how truly blessed we are.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

On Bullying and Knowing When to Step In

The title of this post makes it sound like I will have all the answers to this topic. I'll just tell you now that I don't, not even close.  So if you were excited to read this and find out how to handle bulling in your own child's life, then stop reading right now.  Just letting you know.

A little background: Jack has been riding the bus since the first day of school. In fact, he had wanted to ride the bus TO school but I said no. One of the few times I have put my foot down. I will drive my firstborn to his first day of school, sheesh.  But he did ride it home, and was the only one in his class who did. Since then we have had days where I've picked him up, for whatever reason, but the bus is his main mode of transportation.

And I love it. I love putting the younger boys in their coats and loading them into the stroller at 4:00 to walk to the bus stop. I love seeing the bus turn up our street and knowing it's Jack. I love greeting him at the bottom of the steps with a big hug and a kiss hello. (Complete honesty means I need to tell you that only happens sometimes, most days he gets off the bus with the question: What did you bring me to eat?)  Every time we start our walk to the bus, it makes me feel like I live in a small town. Silly, I know, especially since we cross a major road, but the act in itself reminds of where I grew up.

But soon after school started, the bus ride home became something of a problem. It seems that a couple of kids on the bus were not so nice to Jack. But they were fellow kindergarteners, including one from his own class.  They were kids he considered friends, and wanting to be included, he would always try to sit with them or near them.

At first it was 'little' things. Not giving Jack candy when it was being shared, or telling him he was evil, which in retrospect should have been when I stepped in. Instead, I tried to encourage Jack to sit somewhere else on the bus, find another friend, read a book, look out the window.  ANYTHING that would distract him from this group of kids. But everyday he would get off with another story, or the complaint that no one would sit with him even when he asked them too.

But then last night as we were snuggling in bed, he told me the kids on the bus had taken his stuff.  Even when he asked for his backpack and lovey back, they wouldn't return them.  As we left the room, Brandon told me that the day before the same kids had said to Jack they were going to kill him.

That was my breaking point. And yes, I know some of you may have stepped in earlier, but I always struggle with when to let Jack work things out and when to intervene.  This morning I stalked the teacher and her intern before school, literally.  We parked next to them and followed them into the school at which point I said I needed 5 minutes of their time.  This was increasingly awkward because last week I asked the student intern how old she was and if she was single. But that is another story.

The conversation went something like this:

Me: "Can (the intern) walk Jack to the bus after school?"
Teacher: "Sure, no problem."
Me: "Great because one of the students in this class said he was going to kill him"
Teacher: "WHAT! Oh, no, we have a zero tolerance rule to bullying. Let me tell you what will happen to those kids.
Me: Gulp
Teacher: And for the future, anything that happens that you are concerned about, either in class, or on the bus, please call me or email me right away. I am here, not only for your child, but to support you. There is no such thing as a 'small problem'
Me: I think I love you.*

*Just kidding, that would be really weird.

Within minutes the teacher was meeting with the principal to plan next steps for these children and their families.

I walked away, once again, questioning if I should have stepped in sooner. Did I cause Jack unnecessary stress by not taking the situation seriously? Should I have him stop riding the bus and begin to pick him up every day? How do I let him know he is an amazing boy who does not need to be treated that way by so-called friends?

A friend of mine said, "I want our kids to all be really young again!". And while, at that time I thought I was going to lose my mind, I agree with her.  When the biggest worry was protecting nap time, or how much TV is too much.

I would trade these problems for those, any day.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Makes Me Proud

Yesterday and today, Micah has created a new game for us to play.


He is the librarian, I am the patron. It is very serious business, being a librarian.

There are cards to stamp, books to check out, books to make. And sometimes even books to buy.

Then of course you must always be vigilant about the noise level.

Quite please, he tells me, no sneezing in the library.

My library days are most likely over, but maybe Micah will carry on the tradition.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Day of Firsts

Today was a big day in our house. Full of many "firsts".

It started with the first (and hopefully only) time we had 5 kids to get ready for church. And not just any church, but the kids Christmas Program Sunday.

Showing off our gingerbread houses.
Then, for the first time in our family history, all 3 boys participated in the program! And by participated, I mean they made it on stage.  That was my only goal today, and we were successful! We even had some actual hand motions, and Jack sang a verse or two. In between winking at me, raising and lowering his eyebrows, and yawning, of course.

Watching his brothers 'perform'
Can you find Micah?
And there it is,  my three boys up on stage.  I was beaming! And sweating.

Continuing with our Advent activities, Brandon and I decided to do something crazy today. After a sleep-over, and a busy morning that started pretty early, we skipped naps and went to the movies.  For the first time as a whole family.

I think I laughed harder then the boys, but seriously when the chickens sang Cee Lo Green, I thought I was going to pee my pants.

Now it is 8:30, the boys are all passed out, and I am watching Once Upon a Time. Again. I seem to be addicted.

Happy Sunday to all of you!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

What Do You Do With 5 Kids?

Good question.  

How about gingerbread houses? Frosting, candy, a serious sugar-high, what could be better?

At least it kept them entertained for 20 minutes.

Plus I got to dip into the candy stash whenever the chaos overwhelmed me.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Still Sad

Even though we have had a dog (and at one time two) for the past 10 years, I would never call myself an animal lover.  Sure, I like puppies, but who doesn't. They are so cute, and small, and cuddly. But then they grow up and become dogs. Big or small, they are still dogs and the affection I felt for the puppy doesn't transfer to the dog.

So, it has come as a surprise to find how much I still grieve the loss of Nemo.  I still rush to answer the door before anyone can ring the doorbell and cause Nemo to bark and wake up Finn. I still open the door when we return home and expect to hear him give one of his full body shakes as he rouses himself from his nap.  I still walk carefully through the yard expecting to step on land mines that Nemo had left for us.

I still question if we did the right thing.

Today I read this.  We still miss Nemo, we still grieve the loss that seemed to happen so quickly, we still remember standing there holding him as we said good-bye, we still can't believe he is gone.

Saying Goodbye

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Writer's Workshop

A few weeks ago Micah asked me if he could have a desk like Jack. You see, this fall when Jack started Kindergarten, I rearranged his room and made him a desk where he could write, draw, create. He got a new little stool, markers, and big-boy scissors. It was very exciting.

When Micah asked for a desk I kind of ignored him. Sure, one day, I said, but really didn't give it much thought. Next thing I know he was carrying his little Ikea chair upstairs. When I asked what he was doing, he explained he was making himself a desk.  Apparently, Micah picked up on my hesitation to rearrange his room and create a desk area, so he took the task upon himself. He cleared out his nightstand, took out all the legos, books, pictures, and toys he had stashed in the drawer and cubby. He moved his chair right up to the nightstand and put his pencil and drawing pad in his drawer.  Then he sat there and drew pictures while Finn and I played. He couldn't take the time to play with us because he was writing. Just like Jack.

That was several weeks ago and I promised him we would paint the nightstand one day. This week I decided it was time. I still remember buying this nightstand, along with a dresser, at a garage sale when I was 13. I proudly painted it peach and moved it into my bedroom. When I got married, it came with me, still painted peach. It stayed peach until I decided it should look 'antique' and I very poorly distressed it. For the last few years it has bounced between bedrooms, playrooms, and basements, being used in a variety of ways. But now that it was Micah's desk, I felt that it needed to be painted, once again.

After a quick trip to Ace, we had our paint color, and yesterday I (with a little help from Micah) painted it

I love it. I was really worried when I opened the can of paint, but after 3 coats, I completely fell in love. It helps that Micah's room is blue with similar green accents. It, as Brandon would say, POPS. I love seeing the bright splash of color in the corner of his room.  I would take pictures of his room, but that would require cleaning it, hanging a new lamp, and actually attaching the knob. I just taped it on for the picture.

The best part is Micah loves it. When Brandon got home he was so excited to show him his new desk.  Now, if I could just teach them we draw on paper, not on walls, I would be good to go.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

An old nightstand

A sick kid

A favorite DVD

A crazy color
Finished project coming soon.....

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


I've got 22 minutes to write this blog post and return home.  I just spent 4 minutes unwinding the tangled mess that is my earbuds so I can use them. The coffee shop I go to is full and the conversations are distracting. With only 22 minutes I need to focus and write. So, earbuds in, Head and the Heart on, and now I am ready (I hope).

As I walked out of my house and shut the door behind me I was consumed with some serious Mommy-Guilt. I think you know what I am talking about. The guilt that consumes you whenever you think you've done something that hurts your child, when you make a tough parenting decision, when you choose yourself over your kids. And so on.

It started when my oldest stepped off the bus and immediately asked for a snack. I was on the phone with my sister, even though I knew I needed to hang up as soon as I saw the bus. I wasn't able to give Jack my full attention or the snack he so desperately wanted.  When we finally walked in the door he is an angry mess and I've got one foot out the door again.

Today is the day that I get to have 45 minutes to myself. A baby-sitter the boys love comes over after school and plays with the boys while I walk and get a cup of coffee.  After the trauma of not having a snack at the bus stop, Jack was really unhappy to see that the baby-sitter was here.

"I don't want you to go!" he cries.
I hug him, use my soft mommy voice to try to console him. And give him 3 Christmas cookies, because I really wanted to get back out the door.  3 cookies was not enough and more crying, and hugging, ensued.

"Mason wouldn't sit with me on the bus." he says as I am trying once again to pry his hands off of me.
Oh, honey, my heart breaks. I hate the bus and the kids on the bus. Maybe I should pick him up from school for the rest of year. Or, maybe I should keep him home from school so he will never meet a mean kid and deal with rejections.  Or, maybe, I should just hold him as he cries and tell him, what, I don't really know.

I look at the clock, I've got 30 more minutes before my baby-sitter leaves. I give Jack one more big squeeze and pick up my purse to leave.

"Don't go!" He cries.

And this is where the guilt comes in. The terrible soul crushing guilt. I give him one more hug and I leave. I walk out the door and shut the chaos inside.  Does this make me a terrible mother?

I could have stayed and started dinner while the baby-sitter played with two of the boys. I could have continued to sit on the floor and hold Jack. I could have made a million other choices. But I put myself first and I left.  Instead I have 11 more minutes to sip my hot coffee, to listen to my music, and to take a moment to breathe.  Jack will still be upset when I get home, Micah and Finn will still be hyped up on too much sugar and too much time inside, and I will still have dinner to make.

I will also have space within me to meet the needs of my boys. Tonight, I put myself first. I feel guilt for that. But I don't feel guilty for the complete moment of zen I am experiencing right now.  Good coffee, awesome, music, and no one needing me.

3 more minutes and I am back in the thick of it. Wish me luck.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Monday Blues

Tonight I am feeling completely uninspired. I've got some ideas but I can not seem to get the words from my brain to my fingertips.

Instead I am watching Once Upon a Time (which is a getting a little weird) and changing the background to my blog. I think I am finally happy with it (my blog, not the TV show), but who knows. I change the furniture in my house at least once a month.

I'll be back tomorrow, hopefully with more creative juices flowing, and a real blog post for you. But for now, I'll leave you with a new background and some pictures of my boys at the tree farm.  Why these pictures? Um, no reason, except I think my boys are super cute.