Cubs n’ Laundry

Well, the Cubs didn’t win but the boys had such a great time! They didn’t get home until after 11pm!! Ben said they fell asleep almost as soon as they got in the car. They were pretty groggy this morning but happy:) Our friend bought them ice cream in little cubs hats (I’ll have to take a pic) so that was a really special treat!

Today Samuel had his 8 year check-up. He is wonderfully healthy, skinny and tall:) I guess he’s only about 25% for weight and the dr asked like three times if he ate well. Seriously. These boys eat SO much; I have no idea how we’ll feed them when they’re teenagers!! She was glad that I made an eye appt for him to check his prescription since he’s struggled with headaches so much this month. Everything else checked out fine so we are assuming it is his eyes or possibly stress. It has honestly been a really difficult three months and I am not surprised at all at the thought of Samuel picking up on that. He takes after me, poor kid!!

I am only popping in to say hello! I just got back from Zumba and there are 4 loads of laundry on my bed begging to be folded before I can get some rest for my busy day tomorrow. I am wish now for a laundry fairy…..:)

Happy Tuesday!

Girl’s Night!

Miss Eliana and I have had a quiet girlie night together because….

Our boys are off to a Cubs game! A good friend of ours called Ben on Friday to say he had extra tickets and wanted to share with Ben and the boys! So I packed them a dinner and sent them off to enjoy their boys’ night:) This is a first for Zakkai! Ben and Samuel got to go to a Cubs/Reds game a couple of years ago and Samuel still has the ticket saved from that special memory. I am so happy for these guys and hope they’re having a great time!

Meanwhile, Miss E and I took a leisurely walk to the park, with Eliana’s play picnic basket in hand, and played for awhile. She got very serious and upset when she saw a little girl come over to inspect her toy but other than that, had a very good time. We met another little girl, a couple months older, who had glasses, too! Her glasses were a very stylish bright red:) We’ve said that Eliana can pick out her next pair by herself but I’m hoping she won’t pick such a bright color!

We walked home, or rather, I carried the Princess home, and then we had a quiet dinner, a bath and a fun story. Now I’m sitting here in the silence wondering what to do with myself!

I’m leaning towards quilting and watching a Shirley Temple movie….Choices, choices:)

Peaches N’ Cream!

 Everyone here is baffled by the October-like weather. 60s and low 70s at the end of July?? Unheard of! Usually we are trapped inside by extreme temperatures, racking up air conditioning bills and dreaming of popsicles!

We took a really long walk this afternoon and it was just perfect out. The boys rode their scooters and we convinced a tired, under-napped Missy Girl to ride in her stroller. We’ve been thinking that it would be so fun to save up for bikes and go on family bike rides. My bike got stolen right after we moved to Chicago and we haven’t had one since. I can just picture Ben riding in front with Eliana in a little attached seat, the boys in the middle on their bikes and me being the caboose. I guess they say you never forget how to ride a bike. I wonder if that’s true….:)

Zakkai got out his guitar recently and it’s been a big hit around here! Samuel wants Ben to teach him how to play. This poor guitar only has 2 strings left on it but Ben can still use it to play some mean blues! Eliana decided to sit down right by Ben as he was playing and strum on “her” guitar:) (everything that she touches is “hers.” think we should nip that in the bud?)

The Blues Master:)

Samuel got a B&N gift card in the mail this week for his b-day so I took the boys this afternoon. Samuel chose a balloon animal making kit and a space book. This was our first attempt at a giraffe! Don’t laugh. I know it looks a little like a Dachshund and a Giraffe mix but it’s not a bad start, eh? Samuel just loves making things like this. His last thing he saved up for was an Origami set, which he just loves. I admit, I think it’s fun, too!

And last but not least, we decided to use some of our fresh peaches to make peach ice cream this weekend! Wow. It was SOOO good! Homemade ice cream rocks. It is so much fresher and richer so less of it satisfies you. This has to be some of the best I’ve made yet. Tonight, the flavor was even better, which was hard to believe was possible! We are thinking of making a new flavor of ice cream each weekend for our treat. What flavor do you think we should try next?

Loving The Unlovable.

I had a tough day today. It started out fine. We got a call yesterday that the boys won raffle ticket prizes from their library summer reading program so I packed up all 4 kiddos and we walked down to the library. Samuel won a stencil set and Z won a t-shirt and patch to sew on. He’s already stained the t-shirt but he’s still happy so who cares, right?

Then everything went downhill during naptime. Some of the boys’ neighbor friends, a brother and sister, had some cousins over. When the boys saw them out playing, they ran over only to be told that they only wanted family time and didn’t want to play with anyone else. Okay, fine. No problem. The boys came in to tell me and I said I was sorry that they were sad but they could just play around our house. I wish that had been the end of the story.

The neighbor kids (the brother and sister and their two cousins) took over the whole yard. I’m talking a wild, screaming game of tag around the front and back of our apartment (they live in the building across from the front of our house but they chose to play around our building) and it was kind of cruel, I thought, to tell our boys that they couldn’t play with them but then to take up all the play space and not even by their own building!

So. They ran by and happened to pause by our back door and I stepped out and said to the brother  (who is 12 and a nice kid), “Hey, _ , I know you guys are having family time and that’s great but our boys want to play outside, too, and if you guys don’t want them to join, do you think maybe you could play on the other side of the building? Then everyone has play space and my boys won’t upset your mom. Thanks!” He said okay and walked away.

Okay, I should explain that their mother, whom we have not have had a lot of contact with other than “Hello” and “how are you”, has yelled at our boys a few times for playing in front of her apartment and has sent them inside to me in tears.  And she sits on her front porch when all the kids are around and has screaming cussing conversations on the phone, which my boys overhear. Yea. And oh yeah, she got mad when our boys and another neighbor build a worm house in the grass near her apartment a couple months ago and threw the worms all over our porch.

Just some background info.

I was very pleasant when talking to the brother but I noticed one of the older cousins run off and I had a sudden unpleasant premonition of trouble. I ran to the window in the front of the house and saw and overheard the girl gesturing towards our house angrily and lying about what happened. Oh yes, I heard her. I thought I should probably run over and explain what happened so the mother would know I hadn’t just yelled at her kids or something.

I don’t think I’m a very threatening person. I came over and stood at a distance and very politely said, “Hi! I just wanted to you let you know what just happened.” and I explained really quickly. She turned to me and it was like laser beams of death were shooting out at me. She opened her mouth and I almost took a physical step back (and I was already about 10 ft away) because of the venom spewing out of her. She said, “Do you own this place? Is this your yard? Are you telling MY kids where they can play? Are you restricting where MY kids can play?!” I won’t even repeat most of what she said because she was so incredibly angry and I was thinking in my head, “What the heck is happening here? Am I in the twilight zone? Am I making an enemy? How do I get out of this and still be loving and kind and not make this worse?” She spewed so much stuff at me, it was crazy. She kept contradicting herself, saying all the kids could play wherever they wanted (meaning her kids) and yet she kept pointing out patches of bald grass in front of her house, saying the kids (my kids) should go play by our house and not ruin “her” grass and play by her house. What??

She brought up the worm incident and that’s when I started to get a little ticked, although I kept my voice deliberately really calm. She ranted about how angry she was that she had to work so many days and hours (I have no idea what this had to do with anything) and then she comes out and there are 300 worms (there were around 20) in the grass in front of her apartment (it is a strip of grass that runs between two buildings and it DOES NOT BELONG TO ANYONE EXCEPT THE LANDLORDS. Just thought I’d make that clear.) And she raved about how angry it made her. I said, “They were just playing and you threw the worms all over our porch? That was.. rude.” (keep in mind and I’m not kidding, my voice was gentle even though I was frustrated.)  She retorted, “You would’ve done the same thing, too!” I shook my head in disbelief and said, “No, I wouldn’t actually. I would never throw worms on someone’s porch.” And she had the audacity to argue with me that I would and a whole bunch more nonsense.

That’s when I realized things weren’t adding up here. Why was this woman, with whom I’ve never had a decent conversation in my life, so incredibly angry?? So I asked her. I backed down and looked at her and said, “Why are you so angry with me?” She said, “ANGRY? You don’t know me! If I was angry, I’d be cussing at you and you’d KNOW I was angry! You don’t know me and now I’m an angry person.” And she turned away and started texting and muttering to herself.

I said, “I just came over to explain what happened. I didn’t mean to cause a problem. I’m really sorry.” And she said, “I am DONE with this conversation! I am done!” and turned her back on me. I apologized again and walked away. And then burst into tears and barely made it into the house before I started sobbing.

I don’t like confrontation. I don’t like when people are rude and angry for no reason. I don’t like being yelled at. I really don’t like walking away feeling like the bad guy when I was just trying to stick up for my kids and explain what was going on. Was it too much to ask for my boys to have a little space to play in our yard?

I called Ben on the phone, so upset I could barely talk and he calmed me down. But the sad tears came a little while later when my boys came up to me with tear-filled eyes after asking these neighbor kids if tomorrow would be a good day to play, only to be told that their mother had banned them from ever being friends with or playing with our boys again. Really??  You’re going to use your kids to hurt my kids? Because you’re mad at me?? Really??

Sometimes being a parent stinks. Sometimes doing the right thing stinks. Sometimes people stink. I told my boys that none of this was their fault. They didn’t do anything wrong and that the kids’ mother was an angry person and didn’t deal with things well and we were just going to stay away from playing in front of their apartment to keep the peace. And we will try to love and be kind. (even though it might be REALLY hard!)

So, I ask you, to please pray for me. I am so upset over this. I never ever wanted to create an enemy or cause some huge problem. I didn’t want my boys to be hurt. And I’m not sure how to fix this situation or if it even can be fixed. I just know I have to keep praying to love this angry woman and forgive her and figure out how to be kind even though I’m alternately hurt and sad and angry. Her words just keep running through my mind and I keep wondering if I should have handled it differently. I really think that I had the right to ask for my boys to be able to play outside. I was nice about it. I’ve never ever been rude to her kids and I hope I never will be, despite my feelings about what happened.

Loving people is really hard sometimes. Especially when they aren’t very lovable. But I guess that’s what being Christ-like is all about right? Loving people, like He loves us, even when they aren’t lovable. Ouch.

Three Little Sheep

We started our Thursday bright and early with the farmer’s market again. This week, thankfully, it was cool out for our early morning walk, rather than stifling! We are loving this weather!

And we love this sweet girl, too! Isn’t she pretty?

While the boys were out playing and enjoying the beautiful, cooler sunshine-y day, Eliana got herself all spiffied up and told me she was going to kindergarten! She went over to the door, all packed up and said she was ready to go:)

Then she changed it to preschool. Oh, I hate the thought of sending her off to preschool! It would be like admitting that she’s growing up and I’m not ready to do that:) Maybe next year…

Tonight, I got my family all set up with dinner and with my gracious hubby’s support, skipped out to a Cardio Boxing class at the Y! (I know, me, boxing??) I have been wanting to pick up another class for awhile but it’s so hard with our schedule being so busy, Ben not getting home til late some nights or having no car, etc. I have at least kept up with my Zumba once a week but I got brave tonight and went to this new class, which a fellow Zumba goer has been telling me about.

It was awesome! Crazy. Hard. Intense. Non-stop. And very fun! It was seriously one of the toughest workouts I’ve done. One whole hour of non-stop boxing, sparring, jogging, etc. Wow. I don’t think I’ve sweated so much…ever! Er, I mean “glowed.” 😉  I must be crazy because I am really hoping to go back again next week! It amazes me, despite how tiring exercising is, how much it energizes me.

We’ll see if I feel the same way once the soreness sets in:)

And the best part? I came home to three squeaky clean children, ready for bed. My boy sheep had even been shorn! They look so handsome when they get their shaggy fur cut off:) I will have to wrangle them down for a picture tomorrow. We’ll see if Samuel cooperates since he claims his hair is too short.

I’m off to check on my three little sheep before I go to bed….

Busy Days!

It was one of our busy days today! We had Baby C today and we all headed out for MOPS Bible study, which takes some doing with 4 kids! My boys took such good care of Eliana. When I came to pick them up from the classroom, the boys were standing on each side of her, holding her hands. Such a sweet picture:)

I was very late getting dinner on the table tonight so I let the kiddos get in their jammies/and or bathed and then watch a cartoon while they were waiting. They chose “Bugs Bunny,” which we got from the library the other day. They just love it so much! I told them it was what I used to watch when I was a kid. Cartoons are so weird these days!

The nice thing about feeding kids is when I am lacking time to prepare an elaborate meal, they are thrilled with frozen veggies and noodles:) For B and I, I made up a quick salad with leftover grilled BBQ’d chicken from last night, some cut off corn on the cob (also from last night), cucumbers, egg and avocado on lettuce. Easy and delicious! (the goal motto of my life:)

I got these awesome cards from a toy store awhile ago that I keep in my purse for emergency distractions in public (a must with kids!). They are faces and scenes that the kids can fill in or decorate with a dry-erase marker. You wipe them clean and they are ready for use again! I love them.

I took a picture of this card because it was Eliana’s first attempt at drawing faces! I was so impressed with her drawing skills! (even if they look a bit like zombies:) The boys were no where near as skilled with coloring and drawing at 2 years old. It’s neat to watch kids’ progression of drawing and according to my mom, you can tell a lot about kid’s emotional development and sense of self through their drawings. I’m pretty sure Eliana is confident in her self-worth:)

The kiddos and I made a quick trip to Goodwill yesterday and scored an almost brand-new bread machine for $3.75! I decided it was worth checking it out since it was so cheap and made our first loaf of bread today. It turned out pretty good! It will take some getting used to since I loved my old bread machine so much. But beggars can’t be choosers and that was too good of a deal to pass up!

The weather has been absolutely gorgeous the past couple of days!! It has been in the 70s and cool enough to open the windows and enjoy fresh air. I really wish it would last! We also realized that school starts FOUR weeks from today. Yikes! I cannot believe how fast this summer has flown. It has been so busy and full. Part of me is glad that school will start because it is nice to have routine and structure to our days but part of me is sad. The boys have SO much fun spending hours playing outside with friends and it’s nice to have them around talking and giving extra hugs. Not to mention, playing with Eliana, who just thrives off of their company. I wouldn’t be surprised if she cried the first few days of school again, like she did last year. I may shed a tear or two myself…

Summer Doings

 We’ve had a “sort-of” break from the terrible heat the past couple of days (as in below 90 degrees but still hot!). This morning, the kiddos and I (being car-less) headed out on a walk to our little downtown area to hit (not rob) the bank and the library. Unbeknownst to me, I got interviewed by a reporter on the way! Yeah, after five minutes of me being questioned about some possible new land developments nearby, I started to get curious about what the guy was writing down in his notebook so furiously….

So I questioned him for a change and he admitted that he was a reporter for the Tribune! I’m really savvy, right? 😉

Anyways, we had a nice, busy morning. I let each of the kiddos pick out 4 books because I had to carry them all the way home in my backpack and that gets heavy fast! I am so thankful that all three love to read so much!

Early on in our marriage, Ben and I bought this 7-in-1 game set and we pulled it out last week for the infamous chess-crushing game (oh, I’m sorry, did I say that outloud??) and the boys have gotten into playing some of the game! We’ve had several rousing rounds of Chinese checkers (I used to play with my sister a lot!) and Checkers. Zakkai and I played Checkers this morning during breakfast and he was surprisingly good! It won’t be long before he’s crushing me….

Here’s my Moose helping me bake cookies on Saturday! It was her first time helping me cook and she loved it! I hope she loves to cook as much as I do someday.

Speaking of baking….we had to use up our fresh farmer’s market peaches and what better way than a Peach Cream Pie! Mmmm….

Here is the cookie recipe I promised you that I got off of pinterest, my new favorite place for recipes! These cookies were SO good and very easy!  Coconut Sugar Cookies. If you like coconut at all, you will love these. They were best fresh, the first day. Will definitely be making again!

Tonight, I was tucking my sweet girl in bed (for the second time) and she started telling me something that Samuel helped her with earlier in the day. She loves to tell me things when I lay her down now! I said, “Samuel is a good big brother. He takes care of you.” She smiled and said, “Yeah. And Zakkai takes care of Daddy.”

I said, “Oh, he does?” She said, “Yeah, and I take care of you!” She paused and added, “I will take good care of you, okay? You are so cute, Mommy!” Precious:)