Tuesday, November 27, 2012

BLOG HOP!




                                                                              JOIN THE TEA PARTY!

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                                                                      Welcome to Tuesday's Tea Party!!!
We all know blog hops are a great way to gain more followers, meet other bloggers and help each other out. 

The Blogger: But I don't want to go among mad people.
 Alice: Oh, you can't help that. We're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad.
 The Blogger: How do you know I'm mad?
 Alice: You must be. Or you wouldn't have come here.

Meet the daydreaming host: 
Adventure Into Domesticland
 
and this weeks simply mad co-hosts: 
Funny Postpartum Lady
Busymee 



CLICK THE PICTURE BELOW TO LINK UP

Adventure Into Domesticland
 

Monday, November 26, 2012

memorable moments

Our family spent Thanksgiving in a hotel this year, a first for all of us.  Two of our daughters were in a cheerleading competition the Friday after turkey day, which required them to be awake and functioning at an illogical hour - so instead of getting up way too early and driving the morning of the competition,  we decided to use the opportunity to make a mini vacation.

We haven't taken a lot of family trips, mostly because of our schedules being already slam packed - oh and that fact that we have too many children to ever take advantage of family deals, yet not enough to qualify for a  group discount.

Also, traveling with 5 children is  a lot of work...unless you have 6 children, then its a piece of cake - or if you have multiple nannies, and your own tour bus...that sounds awesome.  Unfortunately we don't have either of those things, all we have is a van, with a tiny TV (that is NOT a TV, its a DVD player...which means I cannot "change the channel" - so stop asking kids!) and a broken remote control.

This time it seemed appropriate to take the children - I was going regardless, the discounted rate at the hotel was undeniable.  After all, it was their competition not mine (I was told this several time when trying to practice with them...) so I guess they had to come.  Oh yeah, and it was thanksgiving.

We made reservations at a shmancy fancy restaurant for Thanksgiving dinner, invited both grandmothers and had a few other surprises planned. 

I spent entirely too much time doing an AWFUL job packing the morning that we were scheduled to leave for our vaca...I think I had convinced myself that there would be a closet full of new clothes at the hotel - because I barely packed enough clean underwear for everyone.

We hit the road by noon Wednesday and made it to the hotel not too shortly after that.  The hotel, actually a resort,  was beautiful, 4 pools, several places to eat, 2 lobbies (which still doesn't make sense to me) , an arcade!! It really was fantastic.

The first thing my kids had to do was go swimming.  Regardless of the fact that it was 50 degrees outside.  Their dad took them down stairs, while I did all the guests a favor by not putting my bikini on.  I watched them through the window from the room, jumping into the pool and then running to the hot tub. They spent a good amount of time down there.  When they came back up, one of my girls had a huge gash on her nose.  I asked what happened, she said, that she had her eyes closed and didn't realize how shallow the pool was, scraping her face against the floor - ouch...and eww.  She had a competition the next day - hopefully they didn't take points off for appearance.

That night we decided to go downtown for dinner.  There is a permanant production of cirque du soleil in that area, which I had seen 10 years earlier when I was pregnant with my oldest daughter.  James surprised all of us by purchasing tickets to see the show while we were there.

While watching the show, I couldn't help but feel a little nostalgic.  My oldest sat a row in front of me with my mom and her two sisters, my son and youngest daughter were on either side of me.  I watched my children more than the stage.  I loved seeing their faces light up, the seriousness of their brow line, and the whispers of surprise and amazement.  I too felt those feelings, but for them.  It overwhelmed me to think of myself sitting their 10 years earlier and being at the end of my childhood- only 18 at the time.  Now as I sat there with my children, I felt the same joy, through them, and five times more significant. 

After we left, I asked the kids what they thought, they told me their favorite parts and how their grandma kept telling them to "listen to the music" - which they were trying to do...but she kept interrupting.  We laughed...and it felt wonderful to share that moment with them.

The next day, we had Thanksgiving dinner at a resturaunt not intended for children, after removing the 16 glasses and 8 steak knives from the table, my brood was on their best behavior. The food was delicious, and the service top notch.  It was another experience that I hoped my children would later appreciate.

On Friday the girls had their competition, which lasted 5 hours...no no they didn't cheer for 5 hours, their actual performance was literally two and a half minutes - however awards are at the END of the competition.  It was a long day.  They didn't place in the top five, which I would be lying if I said I wasn't a little relieved for cheerleading season to officially be over now.

One of my girls took it pretty hard, luckily we had another surprise planned for that night, which would hopefully take her mind off of the loss.

My son's birthday was the week before and we decided to celebrate it on our trip. 

We had made reservations to a pirate dinner show (our family really likes to eat...and my son likes pirates...win win).  James purchased the "VIP" package for us that night, which included front row seats, interaction with the pirates, and special attention for the birthday boy.

When we arrived to dinner, we were swept away to a private room, filled with appetizers, a bar and a pirate who mingled with us.  It was very "VIPish".  James was asked to volunteer for the pre-dinner show, and was lead backstage.  As the pre-dinner show started, we all waited with cameras out for his big debut...but he never came out.  Even as we were walking into the dining room for dinner, he was M.I.A.  A server lead us to our seat, less James.  The server sat the children and their grandmothers front and center, and then showed me to my seat...away from the family!  I was livid...James was still missing.   Finally James appeared at the table, explaining that they had forgotten about him backstage, hence not including him in the show.  That was strike two...I was furious.  We got up to speak with the manager, and explained how they had separated our family - to the point that I could not even see my children, and kept James backstage for 30 minutes, missing out on part of the experience.  The manager was very apologetic, bought us a round, moved us closer together and ended up refunding half of our money.

The show starts,  I feel a lot better now, being able to at least see my children's faces.  The show is really bad....they tried tying Christmas in with pirates, with a horrible plot about a magical treasure chest and there was this female elf - Pixy, who was...well..."talented", she climbed the ropes with no hands...I'm pretty sure, her sole purpose was to entertain the dads in the audience.  As James and I are making innaproraite jokes, I look to see my children's reactions...they are completely enthralled.  They are all wearing pirate hates and the girls are singing pirate songs, my son is pointing at the ship and making gestures about going up on the stage.

Dinner is served next.  There is a woman with a cart dishing out steak, green beans and carrots.  When I say one of the grossest meals I have ever eaten, I am not exaggerating.   It was that bad.  My kids ate it all up, hoping for dessert and wishing to be part of the show.  Their wish was soon granted as a pirate came over and ushered them all up a ramp onto the prop ship. My son needed a little pep talk from his daddy, but once he was told that it was OK, he ran after his sisters, up the ramp as well.   They were given another opportunity later in the show to go on stage, and this time no pep talk was needed.

After dinner,  my son was presented with a "real" pirate hat and a birthday cake - which was rock solid frozen..and it wasn't icecream cake....he mostly licked it.

When the show was over, we had the opportunity to take pictures with the cast, which included santa...weird, yes...exciting for my kids though.  We then went into another room with a DJ, where we did the chacha slide, and someone stole my sons hat off of his head...don't worry though, we got him a new one.

Overall the night was, strange.  I personally would never recommend the place to anyone, but if you asked my kids, it was the highlight of their vacation.

Forget the 5 star resort we stayed at, the once in a life time restaurant, or the multi-million dollar - world famous cirque du soleil act that we took them too.  Their favorite moment was being on a pirate ship, and taking a picture with (a very poor attempt at) some guy dressed as santa.  And swimming....regardless of any injury, swimming is always thoroughly enjoyed.

Kids don't know better..for their own good.  They enjoy things that are worth enjoying,  and can't really appreciate a dollar amount.  We try to provide them with great stuff, when all they need is great moments. I am sure they will look back when they are older and say "wow we did some nice things", but more importantly they found the fun in the less nice, the less luxurious, and the company in which they had.  I am proud of my children, and a little disappointed in myself.  For a moment, I forgot that it isn't what we do, it's who we do it with, that makes a moment magical.

I hope you all made memories this Thanksgiving!

If you enjoyed my blog - please take a moment to vote for it.  You can vote once a day, and feel free to encourage your friends to vote too - or you could all get together and vote...that would be special :)  Just CLICK THE ICON BELOW and find BUSYMEE on the list Thanks!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Looking back, and moving forward

Tomorrow my son will turn 3.  My life has changed tremendously since getting pregnant with my my little guy.

A little over 4 years ago, I was a single mom, with one daughter...a different kind of mom.

I balanced things such as school, work,  and motherhood, and somehow still managed a social life.  I had been raising my daughter with the help of my family, for 5 years.  I embraced being a young, single mother...I loved it.  I loved being the "boss"....and knew that whatever I thought was in her best interest, was the path that we would take.  One on one time was our normal daily conversations, riding in the car or bath time, it wasn't something that was sought after, it was just there.

I met James over the holidays in 2008.  I was ready for a serious relationship, but I had no idea how serious we were about to get.

I still remember telling my friends that he was a widower with 3 little girls, and their jaws hitting the floor.  I had a "back up" plan for our first date, a party that a friend had invited me to, but we got along so well - with the help of a few "adult beverages"- that I invited him to the party with me.

 The next few months flew by, we introduced the children, faster than I ever imagined I would be doing so. All the girls got along, and it felt like every second we were all spending time as a "family".

When we found out that I was pregnant, we officially merged as one family.

It was my first time living on my own, away from my parents.

It was my daughters first real big change in 5 years.

The first year was so hard.  I missed the parent I used to be.  I wasn't the "boss" anymore, it wasn't just what I thought was right, it was what "we" thought was right.  My "young" daughter was now the oldest of 4 girls, and I had a difficult time grasping why they weren't all on the same page.   I had grown each year and learned to adapt to my daughters age, now I also had a 2,3, and 4 year old to adapt to. 

Being pregnant was harder than the first time, and with 4 kids in tow, it was beyond exhausting.

When my son was born, he was that missing piece of pie...he completed us.

The next year was even harder than the first, the baby got all of my attention, I had to protect him from the others...there were so many hands that wanted to touch, tickle and hold him.  He was (and still is) a very loved little boy.

We moved two more times from the time I got pregnant until my son was 2, the girls switched schools, and we went through a lot as a family.

I used to feel really bad, like I had lost who I used to be...so many things were changing, including me.

In  this last year, I have realized that while things have changed, it hasn't been a bad thing.  I have grown, and as my family grows we all change.

My one on one time with my first daughter, may not be as frequent, but it is still there, and cherished more than before.  I am a stay at home mom now, and though there are days that I wish I could go somewhere and interact with other adults, and have a reason to put on real clothes, I know that I am very lucky to be home with my children.

My priorities have changed,  I am a different mom.  I have lost some of who I used to be, but have gained so much more along the way.

The upcoming birthday of my son has shed so much light on my life now.  I still cannot believe I have 5 children.  My attention is shifting from the "baby" to my school aged children, and as each child goes through a different phase, so will I. 

I feel like my feet are finally planted, I am not spending so much time trying to plant my roots, and I can finally grow into who I am supposed to be.    

So while I am sad to see my son grow another year, become less of a baby and more of a child, I am so excited for his future, my future and my families future. 


If you enjoyed reading this post, please check out some of the others on my blog :)
I am currently in a contest for the top 25 family blogs - I would really appreciate your Vote.  Please click the button and find my blog BUSYMEE on the list! Thanks!






Saturday, November 17, 2012

K5 Learning - Review Opportunity

My kids are out of school for the next week....what to do...then I remembered that I was given an opportunity to review an online reading and math program!

My children are really good students, but with the long commute to and from school, and all the extra activities that we are involved in, we sometimes miss out on the extra enrichment.

The computer and ipad are a hot commodity in our house, and it is kind of an unspoken rule that they are only to be used for learning purposes...if they get caught using it for something else, it then becomes another person's turn.

I am excited to try out K5 learning, and see how it compares to some of the other websites and apps that our family already uses, I will try to update you along the way and give my full, honest review at the end of my 6 week trial.


K5 Learning has an online reading and math program for kindergarten to grade 5 students.  I've been given a 6 week free trial to test and write a review of their program.  If you are a blogger, you may want to check out their  open invitation to write an online learning review of their program. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Life IS fair.

November is the time of year that most of us count our blessings, say what we are thankful for and try a little harder to appreciate the hand that we were dealt - or the cards that we were fortunate to not have been given.

We are more aware of our health, our home, our family and our friends.

Facebook is full of "gratitude", store isles feel more friendly and the public has an eagerness to give.

On thanksgiving we say thanks for a meal that is hot, huge and mostly very tasty!

 November, is personally the beginning of my favorite time of the year.

I love the next few months that follow, we have several family birthdays in those months as well as Christmas and a new year, with new opportunities.

I wish the feelings that were created by the holidays stayed within people all year round, but unfortunately we tend to go back to our usual ways by the time February rolls around.

This year has taught me more about myself, my family and life in general than any other years of my being.  I have been so thankful in the past few weeks, even as things have not been easy, made sense or felt "broken". 

This time last year, I was sad, lonely and confused.  I couldn't understand why my life was the way it had become.  I felt as though I had made the best decisions, but was facing the worst consequences.  If someone had told me that things would be OK, I would say no they would not.  If I had been shown a glimpse into my future that is now, I would think the wrong tape was rolling.

I have a tendency to think things are unfair, and that has shielded me from seeing the beauty in things that only happen as a result of something else.  I am thankful for the good that comes out of even the worst situations.


When my daughter was born, I thought it was unfair that she had no father.

As a result, my parents were extremely involved in her life, as well as mine.  Not having a father for the first few years of her life, provided us with an overwhelming amount of support from family and friends and to an extent, she became "everyone's child".

I think it is unfair that My 3 "step" daughters (I am only using the word step for story telling purposes)
lost their mother - and even though I never met her, I think its unfair that she passed away.

Although I would never want anyone to be lost or lose someone they that love, this woman created 3 beautiful children that I now get to be a part of.  I will forever be grateful to her for that.

When my relationship hit rock bottom, I thought it was unfair that we couldn't be happy together.
Without going through the things that we did, we wouldn't be able to be as strong as we are today.  Our love is more true than it has ever been, and we have a better appreciation for one another that we wouldn't have had without overcoming the obstacles that we did.

Recently, I have felt that it is unfair that we have not been granted the home, which we built.  The home that we put a lot of time and emotion into.  However, we have a home, a place to lay our heads, food in the fridge and family to love - and that is more than some can say.  Throughout the whole moving - or not moving process, our family has learned the importance of patience and being thankful for whatever you are able to have.  The emotional ups and downs of working with the builder, the mortgage company  and the school, has brought James and I closer, and has helped us learn to pick one another up.

I could give many examples of things that feel undeserved, I am sure we all have an equal amount of "why me?" moments in our life.

While I am thankful for the obvious, the things that go without saying, I am also thankful for the unknown, the unexpected and the unexplained.

After the holidays pass, I don't want to lose this feeling, I want to be as thankful in March, July or September, as I am right now.

Remember without rain, we would have no water, so be thankful always, even when life seems unfair.


Monday, November 12, 2012

Dog Days...

My worst behaved child is extremely hairy and pees in public...

Yes my 6th child, a dog, Duke, is the one who causes me the most grief.

For all of you who thought that I allowed my hairiest (human) child to pee in public...I'm classier than you assumed aren't I...and you know what they say about assuming...

If you aren't aware of my furry little monsters misbehavior's, you can read about them here  and here.

Duke likes to run around the neighborhood, the neighbors however do not like this.  A few months ago Duke got out...AGAIN...this time, the neighbor cried like a little baby....actually the neighbor screamed profanities at me, while I cried like a little baby. He claimed that Duke was being aggressive, if by aggressive he meant growling at him, then yes he was being aggressive.

Duke has never bit anyone, but I can see how he may be considered "scary".

I am scared of him, because he enjoys eating my shoes - and that frightens me...only a sick monster would enjoy destroying shoes..and leather ones at that!

The day after Dukes stroll around the neighborhood, I got a knock on my door from animal services.  The neighbor was pressing charges.  $700 in fines...that's more than I spent on back to school shopping for my kids!! If I complied with the courts requests, dog training, install a micro chip, and go "downtown" to watch a movie (I have a feeling popcorn and soda will not be provided), my fines would be less...but just so we are clear all of those things cost about double what the fines were originally.

This couldn't be real.  Doggy court? Was the judge going to be a k-9?

I kept thinking that I was too young to be dealing with this...I haven't even had time to rehearse the speech... "Duke, I'm not mad, I am just so disappointed in you...(silent stare)....(BIG sigh)...."

So we did what any good owners would do...we put Duke for sale on craigslist...

OK NOT really...we friggen hired a dog attorney.  NO JOKE.

I can hear it now, every time one of my kids gets in trouble..."MOM, you got the dog a lawyer, can't you just hire one for me!...ughh I knew you liked him more than me!"

In our defense, she was extremely affordable and was able to handle all the paperwork for us.

That was a horrible defense...please send any further questions to my attorney.

We also got Duke trained, which was entirely too expensive and lasted for about 3 minutes...we were informed that he is not aggressive but HIGHLY distracted, I have no idea where he gets that from.

This all happened a while ago, and frankly I forgot about the whole situation...

But I was reminded today.

Duke's lawyer called...wow that sounds rediculous.

I have to be in court this Wednesday, at 9 am, for my DOG!

I have yet to have him micro chipped, nor have I watched the movie about aggressive behaviors in animals...so tomorrow will be a day dedicated to getting those things done.

I would take temper tantrums, and dirty diapers over court any day...Duke has really done it this time.

He is family though, and hopefully the next time he has the urge to eat a pair of my favorite heels, he will remember who had his furry little back...

 

I hope you enjoyed reading about my busy - sometimes hard to believe life. If you enjoy my blog please vote for it (daily) in the circle of mom's top 25 contest

Saturday, November 3, 2012

do unto others...

"If you have nothing nice to say, then don't say anything at all", remember this being told to you as a child?  I know this implies to the way we treat others, but I also feel this way about my life right now...not all of it, just a small part that is taking up way too much of my time and energy.

I don't like to write when I am upset.

I don't like to complain about the same issue over and over.

And I  especially don't like when there is no solution to a problem....

I have not said much lately because of these reasons.

Well here goes, I am going to say something that may not be "nice".

I am angry, sad, disappointed, hopeless, defeated, and NOT OK with how things have turned out.

My family and I have been through more than most in the last few years, my children have learned to adjust to situations that are out of their control and have been resilient in doing so.  We have been patient, understanding and optimistic.

About 7 months ago we decided to build a home, and relocate the children to the school that was closest to that future home. We also signed the girls up for cheerleading, in an effort to make friends before the school year started.

During the building process we visited the home every day, purchased furniture to compliment the setting, allowed our children to "call dibs" on their favorite room, and received quotes for paint, and custom built ins.  We were building our dream house.

Dreams, are just that...a dream...at some point, you wake up. 

We are slowly waking up, and finding out that we may have to look for a new home.

We have done everything we can, I wont get into specifics, mostly because what I am angry about involves my personal specifics being shared with others in a hurtful way.

As you can imagine, our family is devastated, and we are now faced with the challenge of making sure that we can move closer to the school that our children now attend.

Yesterday afternoon, while stuck in traffic, 30 minutes late for picking up my children from school, I received a phone call from the principle of their school.

I assumed this would be a phone call regarding my tardiness, which I did make the office aware of, so I immediately told her that I was only a few minutes away.

It wasn't about that...it was about my children being enrolled in a school that we are not zoned for.  She "heard" that we had not closed on our home yet.  She informed us that "people gossip" and schools are already over crowded, she could not have children whom were not in her district taking up classroom space.

THIS is what I am angry about.  I can handle finding a new home, I can handle driving 45 minutes each way to my children's school, I can handle living out of boxes because half of our home is packed up, I can even handle the humiliation of people thinking that our house was never "our house".

I cannot handle people saying things with a purpose of hurting my family, while we are already hurt, while we are already aware that we have to fix the problem.

I cried when I received that phone call, James was so angry, and spoke to the principle for almost 45 minutes.  My heart broke into a million pieces because I do not want my children to be affected any more than they already are, by the things we are dealing with.  At the end of all the talking, our children will be able to stay in this school until we find a home.

I want to say to whomever felt the need to share that information, whatever your intent was, shame on you.  Shame on you for trying to hurt a child, and an entire family for no other reason than to be "gossipy". 

I was asked, by the principle, how I would feel, as a parent, if my children were being affected by the overcrowded classrooms because of students who did not belong in a specific district.  I was told "I must understand where a parent like that was coming".  NO, I do not. My kindergartner had to switch classes in the first few weeks of school because of overcrowding, she is doing great, excellent actually.  My children are affected by the overcrowding, and I can promise you some of the children who do not live within the district, will never live within the district. 

We have been honest with the school from day one, they have a copy of our contract, and are well aware that we do not live in the area yet.

"Over crowding costs the district thousands of dollars", I was told.  So does driving almost 50 miles a day to get to a school that will be in our district in the very near future. 

I just cannot understand how getting my children out of a school while we work out the kinks of relocating, to then re enroll them in the same district, will benefit the parent who felt the need to share this information in an attempt to have us removed.

I am so angry...I do not usually write when I am angry, but this was the straw that broke the camel's back.

As always though, I have learned something significant from this whole experience, two things really  First off, be careful who you share things with, even if what you are sharing is not wrong, inappropriate or unjust, because people can always find a way to turn things around.  Secondly, family is what makes your home, a school, a house, a whole community can be taken from you, but if you nurture your family, it will continue to grow strong. 

Our children are doing so well academically, socially and emotionally and my relationship with my partner is stronger than ever.  We are teaching our children about compromise, and that it is possible to find the good in each situation.  This school year James has driven the girls to school every day, this is the first year that we have had to drive, we previously walked.  He listens to disney radio with them (and has memorized and obscene amount of kids songs), treats them to breakfast sometimes and makes sure that they are always on time.  He has bonded with them a lot over the past few months.   I see the joy that this time has brought all of them, it is time that they will look back on and be thankful for, they won't remember the early wake up calls, or stop and go traffic. 

My family will be OK, I will not allow a house, gossip or circumstance to bring us down, but I had to get all of this off of my chest.

My compassion for others has grown immensely,  and I will always look back at this time in my life to remind myself that we need to treat others with the same understanding, that we expect.