Friday, March 30, 2012

It's Friday!

Friday is here! Cheers!

I'm laying here in my cozy bed. Just had hot pomegranate tea and dark chocolate....brought to me by Cam.

I'm feeling so very happy and so very lucky. I live in a beautiful place. I have an amazing family that I love immensely. Thank you Lord for all I have.

Kairos Moments

Mr. P telling me he loves me SO much.

Watching Baby George intently looking at children's picture books of Christ's crucifixion.

Busy Guy hugging me tight.

Tonight I held Sis (with freshly painted toenails) and tickled her back until she was asleep....and then held her a little while longer.

The look on Tuba's face as he sits in the window and watches for Mr. P to come home.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

True Identity

I bet you didn't know that Spider"man" is actually a girl.

Kairos Moments

If Mr. P sleeps in his top bunk Tuba will poke the bed and call for him. Most of the time they sleep together like this. Mr. P reads to Tuba with a book light. Very sweet.

Listening to a chorus of frogs with Mr. P and Baby George.

Hearing the birds singing away before it was light out. A beautiful way to wake up.

Sis telling me, "I wub my parents".

Looking at the snow covered mountains that surround my city on all sides.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Sibling Conflict

A nice loving sibling moment...wish they were all like this.

I'm about at my wit's end with sibling squabbling. Eeeek! It's a real pull your hair out kind of feeling when two of them go at it. When a few more of them get going it's a where is a giant piece of chocolate cake with some chips on the side kind of feeling.

I've decided to try something new. I talked to a friend of mine who has grown kids and she recommended that I intervene less. Let the kids figure it out. I can see her point.

I also read a great article recently. It said to pull one child aside and give them pointers on how to work it out. I can do that. The article also said it might require pulling the child out 5-6 times per argument at first. HaHA! Oh, they were serious. I cannot imagine the time it would take to do that with 5 kids.....times multiple arguments a day....times arguments with different siblings. I think it adds up to 3,583,298.  Too much.

Even so, I am using the advice. I've started telling the child (the tattler) to go back and talk to his/her sibling (the supposed wrongdoer). I tell them to say things like I don't like it when you say that or I want you to stop or can we figure out how to share that toy. Ya know what? Sometimes it works. Yeah!

We have always made encouraged the kids to say sorry to each other and also to extend forgiveness. It's one of our family mottoes. You have to say sorry even if you don't feel like it. We tell the kids that even Mom and Dad say sorry to each other....and sometimes don't really fell like doing it. But....and huge BUT, when you do it you end up feeling it too. A good lesson in humility.

One of the worst times the kids act up with arguing and fighting is in the car. I know, big surprise. We have a Dodge Caravan that seats seven. There are seven of us. Sardines.

The wee ones sit next to each other in the middle right behind me. I often wish (this means I pour over the Craigslist ads) we could get a used limousine. Not for the fancy style or the ability to serve champagne and caviar while driving but so I could use the sound proof roll up glass!! Yes! Oh, how I dream of the quiet. One flip of the switch and up would go the magic tinted (so I couldn't see what was going on either) glass. Beautiful.

Back to reality. We are stuck with the Caribbean....not a mistype....just our fun name for then Sardinemobile.

Yesterday on the way to church the middle rowers started acting up. Fighting....He put his shoe on me....She poked my ear...He stuck his tongue at me....He....She...louder and louder...and ARHHHH! Cam calmly told them to stop (or he was going to get off the freeway). :)

Then Cam told them they should say sorry to each other and hold hands. Sis very nicely said she was sorry and asked to hold her brother's hand. Baby George? Ummmm.....not ready. He scrunched up his face and shouted loudly, I DON'T WANT TO!  Sis once again said sorry in a very sweet voice (actually it was out of the ordinary sweet) and asked to hold his hand. Baby George? Shouted again, NO!

I was wishing for that limousine. I was also proud of Sis. After about 5 minutes of calming down BG was back to being best friends with his Sis again. A happy ending.

What do you do when your kids fight and tattle. Give me your secrets...pretty please? People with raised kids, people with little kids, people who teach and/or taught kids, people who were kids...C'mon!

Friday, March 23, 2012


In this neck of the woods sunshine can be say the least. We have a LONG rainy grey winter. LONG. I have written before how I suffer a bit from SAD. The lack of sunshine really does get to me. Around January I start to wonder what is wrong with me.....tired, crabby, lethargic, crabby, tired. Fun huh? ask Cam. By March I am so excited for more light....desperate is more like it.

Well, this year I have felt so so so SO much better. You see, my new house gets a ton of natural sunlight. The whole house is full of really large windows and no shade. The old house? Surrounded by tall trees. All shade, all the time.

It has made an amazing difference to me having so much natural light. We haven't had any more sunshine than normal but I do still feel better. I get way more light with all the windows.

Plus, I am getting to sleep through the night (80%) for the first time in almost 9 years. Thank you children for staying in your beds ALL night. Thank you!

Kairos Moments

I was taking a cat nap on the couch and Sis came over and kissed me gently on the lips.

Daffodils blooming in the median of the Speedway.

My usually crabby kitty Shiloh sat on my lap, let me pet her and purred up a storm.

A little family of Robins flitting around together.

Pushing my kids on the swings and hearing them sunshine was shining on us.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Little Things

It's the little things that mean so much. I got up yesterday and stumbled to the kitchen. The first thing I do every day is put the kettle on for my tea. As I turned the burner on I noticed my cup. I was touched to see that Cam had prepped my tea. He knows which cup I like and which tea I drink. A small gesture. One that says, I love you and I'm thinking of you. A small thing that made me feel loved.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Group Shot

For Busy Guy's birthday we donned our green and headed out for dinner. Anytime we are all dressed up or dressed matchy is a good time for a group shot. Out comes the tri-pod and the timer....and a few groans from everyone but me.

Here's a Picture Story of getting the job done. I bought this cute banner from Etsy (my new favorite website) and I wanted us to stand under it for the photo. I had Tuba stand there so I could test the light. Hmmm....not good. Too much sun coming in the dining room windows. A rare sunny I won't complain.

Mr. P suggested the window seat in the living room. No, not good either. Still looking for a spot and trying to gather the kids....sort of like herding cats.

Finally, a good spot. Plus, the dad showed up to help wrangle those cats kids.

Timer set and say "cheese"....please. Not bad. I love the matchy thing.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Birthday Boy

My Birthday Boy is sweet happy ambitious caring energetic helpful self sufficient and smart!!

This guy turned 6 over the weekend. Whoa! It was a treat to have a birthday on the means Dad got to be here all day to celebrate with us. The request was for green pancakes with shamrock cut-outs and shamrock sprinkles. You see, it's also St. Patrick's Day too. Fun. Two things to celebrate.

After breakfast the boys went off to their TKD class. THEN it was home to re-group and head back to TKD for a party! Two hours of running, jumping, kicking, punching sweaty fun! The kids plus Cam and the school owner Jay (who I consider big kids) had a blast! After dinner we went out to eat. Pizza was Busy Guy's our favorite place. Greek flair Italian food for Irish Saint Day.

After dinner we had family movie night in our cushy family room.
Sunday we had church and then celebrated the Saint Patrick's part of the weekend with our annual Irish dinner. Beef stew and soda bread. I donned some green pj's for dinner. I. was. beat.

Let me tell you about our special guy. He is the brains behind the scenes. You can ask him where anything is and he can tell you. Cam and I often ask him where we left something. He stands still for a few seconds and you can see his brain mapping it out. Then he runs off and comes back with said missing object. He is my right hand man anytime I am fixing something or installing something. I can tell him a list of tools I need and he runs of to get them. He knows how to use all of them. I've already brokered a deal with him that when he's married I can just call him up when I need a repair or help and he'll help me.

This kid is consistently the first one ready in the morning. He does it on his own. He is always the first one in the car. The only one who always remembers what he needs. Library book? Check. Backpack? Check. Show and Tell? Check. No need for me to remind him. He is on the ball. Same goes for TKD. Always ready to go ahead of time.

The big exciting news is that he is READING! Yeah!! What a smart boy. We just got the kids' report cards and it was such a delight to see how well he (and his brother) are doing. Highest marks across the board. We are very proud. Not only is he smart but he is also a great friend and a delight to his teacher.

And...what a caring heart. This boy LOVES his older brother. He always shares his toys. When he was telling me what he wanted for his birthday he said he wanted Nerf guns, two of them, so that Mr. P would have one too. Very giving and thoughtful. He opened his gift and handed one right to his brother.

We could not ask for a better kid. We are so blessed.

Monday, March 19, 2012

In The House

We got to have our sweet niece (and her parents) here for two nights. So fun! A baby in the house is always exciting! It was really fun to see all my kids play with her. It made my mama heart happy to see how much they adore her. Everyone wants to have a turn making her laugh or helping her walk. Wow! Does she love to walk! G. Sue got to have all her grandkids and three of her four kids together for dinner one night. A rare treat for sure. Auntie Sara got her exercise walking too.

Oh, baby face. We miss you!

Kairos Moments

At church on Sunday I was listening to the homily and sitting on a pew (there are very few pews or seats in an Orthodox church) and I looked up to see this beautiful sight. The kids were all piled on comfortable. I love our parish. It feels like a big warm hug when I walk in the door. I think my kids feel the same way....especially sitting with their dad.

Watching my niece nurse. I miss those days.

Cam and I watched a big storm come in over the water. Standing in my warm dry bedroom watching it pour down from black clouds.

***I have much more to share. We had a BIG birthday/St. Day weekend. I'm exhausted but it was very fun. I'll get those photos up soon.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Ships in

How cool is this?! This is the USS Nimitz coming into port. The pic was taken from our house! That is cool! The kids had no school and we all gathered in the window to watch. The Coast Guard was escorting the ship in and a Navy Helicopter was flying overhead. Look closely at the photo...the little black dots lining the ship are the sailors. So COOL!! From the window bench in our bedroom we can see the port and the base. Each day the kids checked to make sure the ship is still there.

Kairos moment

My sweet Mr. P picked these out for me. I love tulips. They bring me moments of calm and joy each time I gaze at them.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


I need to correct myself. I was wrong. On my last post I said we saw some female eagles in a field. My friend Paula asked in the comments section what led me to think they were female? Ummm....they were wearing lipstick....wearing pink dresses....taking care of babies.....ummmm....No.

This sounds like I'm passing the buck but actually what led me to think they were females was my husband. :) When we turned around to get a better look at the birds (huge brown and white splotched birds) he said they were female eagles. I know what he was thinking. So many birds look different depending on the sex of the bird. Like Mallard Ducks. Males have the green head and females plain brown. Yes, I fact checked that bit of info to make sure I'm correct.

After I read Paula's comment I thought, how silly of me. Of course I know that Bald Eagles both male and female have the white heads and tails. So, I was back to wondering what the heck were those birds? I looked here and found out my mystery birds are juvenile Bald Eagles! Wow! Kid eagles and they were already HUGE! And that explains the two adult Bald Eagles that were circling overhead. The juveniles flew off the join them.

And that is your science lesson (and mine) for the day. To see some great photos of these majestic birds head over to Paula's blog. Beautiful.

Kairos moments:

Listening to Mr. P read a book to Baby George.
Sitting in front of the roaring fire with my family.
Rinsing Sis's hair and looking at her gorgeous curls stretch down her back.

For giggles: Here is Woo (that's what Sis calls her) getting "pigtails". Pretty!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Reading list

Tuba and my sweet niece (the one I got to deliver!). Getting so big. 

Book club selection this month is Lisa Scottoline's Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog. It is hilarious!! So funny. If you could use a good laugh....get it!

Last month we read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Wow! It was very good. Very Interesting. Very sad. Very moving. Very informative and all true. Read it!

I'm also reading Parenting With Love and Logic. It's good too. I'm trying to gain some new skills. Each new age brings new challenges....and each kid is so different. Why do they gotta be like that? So far I've learned that Helicopter Parenting produces kids who grow up and can't succeed and Drill Sergeant Parenting produces kids who can't think or do for themselves. They end up being teens who follow others. Not good. Not my plan.

I fall much more into the drill Sergeant category. Painful to read about and see myself in that light. The truth hurts huh. But, there is hope. I'm reading so I can learn new techniques to get my kids to do what I want (and what they need to do) without "Sergeanting" them. Letting go is hard. HARD. I am learning through this book how to let go and allow my kids to choose, act, succeed...and sometimes fail. Hard. For example....I sent a kid to school this week knowing that he did not have his homework done. I gave a reminder and he didn't follow through. Ouch. It killed me to send him off unprepared. So hard for me. I practically had to duct tape my mouth. The child? He wasn't bothered so much. Read on!

Kairos moments

Seeing my sweet dog Kali sleeping with a pile of Beanie Babies stacked up on her. She is so gentle and tolerant.

We were out for a country drive and passed some birds alongside the road. They were huge birds sitting in a yard. We couldn't figure out what kind of birds they were. We turned around to get a better look. As we pulled to a stop about 20 feet away the birds spread their wings and took to flight. The were female bald eagles. Whoa! They were HUGE! So cool to see so close up. I really love eagles.

Enjoying a piece of my favorite dark chocolate with sea salt and almonds. Yum. Makes all the diet sacrifice a little sweeter.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Sweat it out

Look at these beautiful guys! I'm so blessed to have them in my life. Beautiful!! I love to look at their faces every day.

I'm working hard to get these extra pounds off. I'm not having fun. I lost less than one pound last week. ARRRRHH! I lost 0.8 to be exact. I have to keep telling myself that any weight lost is good. It's better than a gain. I was hungry all week and I hate to feel hungry. I worked hard at the gym four days too. So frustrating. I know, I know. Keep at it. I'm impatient. I'd like it to go QUICKER!

I tried something new this week. I ran. I usually walk on the treadmill. I walk fast and at an incline but I have been wanting to try running for a while now. I have a bad knee so I was afraid my knee couldn't take the impact from running (plus I was afraid I'd look stupid, I'd jiggle too much, I'd die). But, I finally tried it and it's been fine on my knee....and I didn't die. I did jiggle a lot but I just closed my eyes and pretended nobody could see me. Running has been great for increasing my heart rate....and getting my sweat on! Woo! I am starting out slowly with walk/run intervals on the treadmill. This morning I headed outside and did 40 minutes of walk/run in my beautiful neighborhood. It is cold and drizzly out but I feel better for doing it.

I read a couple quotes this week that I keep repeating....getting me through my day or my workout.

No amount of exercise can undo a bad diet.
Wow! That really puts it in perspective. Even when I work out hard it's not an excuse to eat too much.

Sweat is Fat Crying!
Yes! I like to think it is crying and DYING! Die fat die!! Muwahahahaha!

Send me your favorite diet/exercise quotes. I could use some more inspiration!

Kairos moments:

While driving I saw a huge eagle nesting in a tree overlooking the water.

Tucking Tuba into bed I was amazed at how beautiful his eyes are. The light was shining on his face and he was smiling his radiant smile.

Mr. P came up to my room and yesterday morning and asked to snuggle with me. His warm cuddly body was a nice was to start my Saturday.

This morning when I woke up I looked over at Cam and he opened his eyes and smiled at me. Another great way to start the day.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Skate Night

Last night was Skate Night for Mr. P and Busy Guy's school. I decided to take them. They had been skating one other time with Cam and I thought it would be fun to go. I hadn't been to the local skating rink in least almost 30 years! Wow!

I didn't plan to actually skate. No, no. I planned to sit and watch my boys and of course chat it up with the other parents. But, Mr. P was aghast. He exclaimed that he wanted to skate and hold my hand. Okay. Now who could resist that? Then Cam piped up to ask me how much longer that will happen. Okay, I said I'd skate.

With fears of broken arms, a sore hiney and bruised ego I set off with my boys to skate. It was fun to go back to the same place I skated as a kid. And let me tell you, not much has changed at that place. It looks good but it looks exactly the same as it did in the 70's and early 80's. They must make updates with new carpet and new exactly the same colors and patterns. The skates? The same. The disco ball? Still there. The music? Okay, clearly NOT the same. But it was upbeat music that all the kids loved. Personally I spent the whole time waiting to hear a Devo tune. Whip it....whip it good.

As I got my feet rolling and steadied myself I felt good. It was so much fun. I kept getting scolded by Mr. P for getting too far ahead of him. I tried skating and holding onto the boys hands. It was sweet while it lasted....1/8 of one second. Seriously. My boys were wobbling, jerking and dropping like they had been electrocuted. Not pretty. And, completely dangerous to be anywhere near. I kept my distance while I coached them. It helped a lot after I had their skates tightened up. The boys worked SO hard. They were a hot sweaty mess after two hours of skating. We were hot, tired and ready for a treat on the way home.

I think we will go back as a family soon. I'm planning to get some awesome knee high socks that glow in the dark! Yah-baby. Ya gotta look the part ya know. I believe in an outfit for every occasion. I'm also hoping the outdoor deck will be open. What is the Outdoor Deck you say? Well, when I was a kid we would skate out there to spy on all the teenagers making out. It was the Make Out Deck. I figure now that I have someone to make out with I should take the opportunity to use the deck! Oh Yah!

I also have a small confession. I was dying laughing (inside my head only) each time I saw someone fall. I know...bad me! But, it's hysterically long as they aren't hurt. I was cracking up, crying laughing (inside my head). My own children provided LOTS of material. It's funny how I don't remember falling as a kid? Parents, chime in here. I do however remember my Dad saying how hilarious it was to watch the kids skate while Another One Bites The Dust played loudly. Hey, that's another song I would have been happy to hear last night...and maybe some Madonna too....

PS...the pic is an old one from Crazy Hair Day but I thought it worked with my theme.

Looking Ahead

I'm always looking ahead. Planning and preparing for the future. I just registered the wee ones for pre-school for next year. It will be their second year at the school. Next year they will go four days a week for 3 hours a day! Whoa! Do you know what that means? It means more than twice the "free" time I have this year! Woot!! I can up my volunteering time at the big kids' school to once a week instead of every other week. My BIG plans include going to the gym and then coming home to an empty house to shower and dress....ALONE! I can't believe it! Four days a week I will have a shower without breaking up a battle or wiping a hiney! Amazingly awesome!

Other things I'm planning and working on are birthdays and holidays and vacation plans. St. Patrick's Day is getting close...a birthday and a Patron Saint celebration! Easter is getting close too. I bought the kids items for their baskets today and I spent yesterday ironing about a zillion dress shirts and pretty dresses. Getting ready for Holy Week and nicer weather. Vacation too! We get to go back to the ocean this summer and stay on our favorite beach. So much to look forward to. This summer is also Tuba's Sweet 16 birthday. I'm planning a big backyard party to celebrate. I'm thinking about themes and the menu but it will surely be all things Tuba loves. You know there will be a BIG bonfire!

Kairos moments from the last couple days.

Driving last night and looking up at the bright beautiful moon.
The same beautiful moon slipping behind the islands this morning.
The smell of Baby George's hair when I kissed him goodnight.
Watching a Robin carrying twigs to build a nest.
Hearing the frogs croaking in the yard.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Nocturnal Photos

I love to take photos of my kids while they sleep. Especially when they are as funny as Sis. She always has something in bed with her.
On this night she went to bed with her beloved Barbie and was brushing her hair...for about 2 seconds until she fell asleep.
Sunglasses are always a good idea at bedtime.
This night I let her have her precious Kali in bed until she fell asleep. Notice the freshly painted fingernails too. :)
This night she went to bed with satin gloves on. Notice the sequins around the wrists. Very fancy!

My Kairos moments this weekend.

1. At church on Saturday night my friend's son (and our priest's grandson) was venerating the icons and as he crossed the front of the church he got down on his knees and kissed the tile in front of the altar. So precious.

2. Also at church Saturday night. Sis was singing her heart out along with the choir. Love hearing that.

3. Driving in the car I was talking to Cam about getting old and Baby George overheard me. He exclaimed, "MOMMY! Don't get old! So sweet. It really touched my heart.

4. At church this morning Baby George fell asleep in my lap. It was so nice to sit and hold him and cuddle him while listening to our AMAZING church choir. Heavenly voices!

Friday, March 2, 2012


This morning Mr. P was talking about frog's legs and asking me if I've ever eaten them.

Mr. P: I don't want to eat animals. They are living creatures.
Me: What about chickens and cows?
Mr. P: Well, I just want to eat the tasty ones.

Yep. Me too.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Up and Down

If I'm not taking pounds off...I'm gaining them. That is the truth. It's one or the either. There just doesn't seem to be anything in me that can maintain a weight. Ugh. Sometimes it's up 5 down 5, or up 10 down 10. Right now it's a bit more than 10. Yuck! I really hate the take the pounds off part. Not fun. The put the pounds on that's fun.

I was at a party recently and turned down a glass of wine. My friend asked me why. I told her I was trying to take off some weight. She instantly wanted to know what I was doing to lose weight. I told I am eating less and moving more. Silence followed. Yep, it's this amazing diet that works.  It's called the Eat Less Move More Diet.

A gal at the party overheard me. She is a personal trainer and so we started talking about my magical diet secret. She added that as we age we have to Eat Less Less and Move More More. Wow. Now that is some good news. Wha-wha-wha. What a party downer.

Then today I was reading Self magazine at the gym....while doing the Moving More part of the diet. Here's what Self says,

40s to 50s Metabolism dips. Your cells aren't turning over as fast, and there's a decrease in muscle mass, reducing your calorie needs. Dr. Pavone says. If at 25 you weighed 130 pounds and ran 3 miles five times a week, at age 45, you need to run about 4.5 miles five times to maintain that weight and not diet.

Wow! More really good news. That is so inspiring. It made me want to get off the treadmill and eat a piece of cake. Ummhmmm.

The photo? My precious son taking in the view of our front yard. Kairos Moment when I saw him sitting there. Other Kairos moments today, hearing birds singing this morning as the sun came up, and watching BG talk and noticing his little lisp on words ending in s.


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