Fabulous 5!

I just realized, pathetically, that I haven’t posted anything since JANUARY!  And, it’s not like there’s nothing going on around here!

Most importantly, our current baby, Andrew, has just turned 5!  It’s unbelievable how fast time flies.  His birthday was yesterday, but the year he was born it fell on Divine Mercy Sunday, which is today.  I remember, thinking what a divine mercy it was that he was finally being born!

He used to look like this:DSCN6974And, although he’s grown, he still sleeps like this!


Birthday started a bit early with dinner out on Friday night:

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Then, on Saturday, we had the real deal with a Batman cake and presents at lunch time!


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Even Cheerio got into the act:


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Big Game

Finally!  (Yes, that applies to me posting, but also to Luke’s Blackhawk’s game!)20150120_184656

If you’ll remember, Gran and Maddog sent Blackhawk tickets to Luke for his 10th birthday back in December.

He was SO EXCITED!!!

Well, the day finally came.  Dan took off work early and took Luke to dinner in the city before they headed to the game.


The Hawks CREAMED to Coyotes, 6-1.

To top it all off, it turned out to be Bobble Head Night!

Unfortunately, not being experienced game-goers, Dan and Luke didn’t know where or how to get a Bobble Head.  Thankfully, though, as they were leaving the game, an older woman noticed that Luke didn’t have one and gave him hers!



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To keep ourselves from crying during the Cowboy game yesterday (that call was total B.S.!), we played with the slo-mo function on my new iPhone.  LOTS of entertainment, there.  If you’re not sure about upgrading, do it!  The slo-mo feature makes it totally worth it.


I have a LOT more where that came from…

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Andrew was (appropriately) and elf for this year’s kindergarten/preschool Christmas show.

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Andrew and his girlfriend, Molly (who was a star)

DSC_0024hung out after the show.



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The Big 10

It’s hard to believe that this little guy


is 10 years old!

This year, on Luke’s birthday, the middle school was scheduled to perform a musical, so we made birthday plans around it.

On Saturday evening, we had dinner as a family at Red Robin (YUMMMMMMM!)IMG_0071

Then, because Tuesday evening was going to be mostly tied up with the musical, I suggested that Luke might like to open some gifts early, so he’d have time to enjoy them.

He opened the first gift on Sunday afternoon:


It’s an AnkiDrive – super cool!  You use your iPod or iPad to race cars on a special track.  It’s almost spooky how it works.  Thanks, Aunt Maggie and Aunt Caroline!

On Monday morning, he opened the next gift.  This one from Grandma and Grandpa (and us).


Of course, we had to put it together.  In the house.


Tuesday – FINALLY – was the big day.  Luke turned 10!  Dan took him out to breakfast and Andrew and I visited him at school for lunch.

After Dan got home, we all headed up to school for the musical.  Both Maria and Luke participated.  (Little did Luke know that Maria and I had conspired with the music teacher for a little after-musical surprise!)

Immediately following the musical, the music teacher announced a birthday in the fourth grade – LUKE’S!  Everyone followed by singing happy birthday.  And I mean everyone – kids, parents, teachers and siblings.


(His face is only beginning to turn red here!)

The grand finale gift and ice cream cake immediately followed upon our return home.  Luke was pretty excited about the gift he received from Gran and Maddog!

I think this birthday is going to be hard to top!

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This year, with the exception of Andrew, the kids all made their own costumes.  (With a little help.)

Jack was the Ranger from the Ranger’s Apprentice series of books.



Here is the first group of kids that went Trick or Treating together.



Emma was a Minion.  Maria was Cleopatra, Lucy was an indian, Luke was an FBI SWAT team member, William was a ninja, Sam was a cowboy, John was Obi-Wan Kenobi, Andrew was a fireman (at this time) and Annette was a fairy princess. (Names in bold are my kids.)

Earlier in the day, Andrew was Batman.


Toward the end of the evening, Andrew was visited by his fan club:


Unfortunately, he didn’t cooperate.  Too much candy.  (Oh, and check it out – Cheerio had to get in on it, too.)

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One Organized Mama

Despite the usual chaos of the morning, I brilliantly remembered to write Jack a note and give everyone after-school instructions.  Jack has a doctor’s appointment this afternoon, so I made arrangements for Maria, Luke and Sam, since Jack, Andrew and I wouldn’t be back in time to pick them up from school.

I wrote Jack’s note on the back of an index card:

Dear Mrs. M–––
Please send Jack to the office by 3:10.  He has a doctor’s appointment this afternoon.

I handed Jack the note, which he set down on the counter.  As we were backing out of the drive, I asked Jack if he had the note.  Of course not.  So, I ran back into the house to get it and then hollered after him as he exited the van at school to be sure to turn it in.

Soon after 8, I received a call from the school.  Ugh.

“Mrs. H?  This is Mrs. ––– at the school.”  (At the same time I was wondering what could have possibly gone wrong during the first 15 minutes at school, she reassured me that all the kids were fine.)

“You sent a note with Jack this morning?” she said.  “It says that his teacher should have him in the office by 3:10 so you can pick him up for a doctor’s appointment?”

“Yes…” I replied.

“Well, the children get out of school at 3…”

“Ummm… could you just throw that note away?” I asked.

She agreed to toss it and, compassionately, didn’t even laugh.

For those of you that don’t have kids at the same school, take note that the kids ALWAYS get out of school at 3.  EVERY. DAY.

Clearly, I have too much going on right now.


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I have no idea what I just bought.

You would think that with just one small child at home, I could make a phone call.  Ha.

I have spent an endless amount of time now researching how to get my internet/TV/phone bill down.  I do NOT need 3,579 channels.  I do not need a home phone – except for emergencies.  I DO need decent internet.  But that’s IT.  Apparently this is impossible to get for under $200 a month.

I, however, am determined to try.  So, I’ve researched online and finally decided to make a phone call.

Get this:  it would cost me MORE to downgrade to just 39 channels than to keep my current plan with 239 channels.  WTH?!?  I’m super tempted to just go off the grid.

Anyway, while some woman was explaining all this to me and offering a new promotion that will save me $10 a month, Andrew pulled a table over onto his foot.  And started SCREAMING.  (Clearly, having a gazillion channels is not keeping my child entertained long enough for me to have a conversation.)

Instead of hanging up, I just said “Uh, huh… yes… okay” as she talked a million miles a minute and I tried to apply pressure to stop the bleeding, Andrew hysterical.

I’m pretty sure before I hung up the woman told me what my new bill would be, but I have a feeling it didn’t go down as planned.  However, I had more pressing matters to attend to.  Dammit.

Andrew is now telling me he can’t walk, which means he can’t possibly go to school.  Which means I can’t possibly make another phone call to figure out what I agreed to.

This day is not working out as planned.  I’m going back to bed.

By the way, if you’ve read this far and have any brilliant ideas on how to get INEXPENSIVE Internet/TV/phone, I’m all ears.  Wait… you better email me instead.  That way you won’t hear the screaming in the background.

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The Power of Money

We gave him $5 to do it.

We are so mean.

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What a Night(mare)!*

Saturday was the Great Cub Scout Family Campout.  We have attended almost every year (if not every year) since we’ve been involved with scouts here in the Chicagoland area.  It gives the younger guys a chance to go on a “real campout”, something they don’t usually get to do.

I’m not sure why we keep going.  I guess it’s kind of like getting our family picture taken… after about a year, we forget how painful it was and sign up to do it again.  This year, however, I have finally learned my lesson.  I SWEAR.

Maria (apparently the smartest in the family) told me several weeks ago that she didn’t want to go on the campout this year.  She reminded me that none of her friends would be there.  I agreed.  Thankfully, her best friend was coming into town and I was able to save her from hell arrange for her to do something different.

In the meantime, Andrew was negotiating for the dog to come along.  He LOVES the dog.  We have never taken Cheerio camping, and other people bring their dogs, so I agreed.  She’d love it. He’d love it. How much trouble could it be?  Andrew couldn’t wait!

As the weekend approached my friend organizing the campout was obsessively checking the weather forecast.  It didn’t look good.  Rain and storms were expected.  But… only “scattered.”

As we packed the car, the rain began.  Dan and I discussed ditching.  The kids wanted to go anyway.  We decided that Dan would take the older boys ahead and decide upon arrival.  If it looked bad, we’d stay for evening activities and then head home.  Otherwise, we’d pitch the tent and stay.  In the meantime, Andrew and I drove Maria to meet her friend.

When Andrew, Cheerio and I headed to meet the boys, the sky was clearing up.  However, by the time we arrived, it was raining again.  In spite of the rain, when we pulled in we found that the tent was pitched.  It looked like we were staying.

Unbelievably, the rain quit a few minutes later and the sky cleared up.  More and more people (apparently waiting on the weather) arrived.  It was gorgeous!  My dear friend Nancy gave us a second, smaller tent, and we put that up next to our larger one to give us a little more elbow room.  This was going to be GREAT!

After eating some dinner, we headed to the common ground area for activities.  The kids launched catapults for prizes and searched for gold.  We ended with a huge campfire and s’mores.  Everyone headed back to their sites to settle in, build fires and play Ghost In The Graveyard (or whatever it was they were playing).  It was lovely.

By 10, it was quiet time and the kids were settling down.  Dan chose the smaller tent with Andrew and Luke, while I went with Jack, Sam and Cheerio (!?!) into the larger tent.  Once we were all arranged as comfortably as possible (ha!) and the fart jokes were out of the way, everyone fell asleep.

Until midnight.  That’s when the thunder started.  And the lightening flashed.  And the torrential rains came.  And the wind rocked our tent.

I texted expletives to Nancy, the dog rearranged herself on top of me and Dan texted (he couldn’t be heard over the thunder, rain and wind) that he and the boys were in a puddle of water inside their tent.  Jack, my fearless all-weather camper, was begging to ditch the tent and head to the car.  Sam was hiding deep in his sleeping bag.  I had to pee.  There was NO WAY, however, we were going out in that storm.  We were getting dripped on, but it was better than OUT THERE.

I prayed and obsessively watched the storm radar on my dying phone.  We were in the middle of it.  I was SO GLAD Maria was not with us.  If she had been, I’d have been cleaning up vomit on top of everything else.  She freaks in a storm, even inside a house.

Finally, it was over.  I made a break for the bathroom and Dan and the other boys moved into our tent.  When I returned, I found that there was not enough dry space for everyone, so the dog, two boys and I hit the van.  Only, it was too packed with crap for all of us to fit. Sam took the Accord instead.  After and hour, Sam knocked on my window and complained about being alone.  It’s not like I was sleeping anyway, so I got out of the van, leaving Luke and Cheerio to snuggle together and headed to share the car with Sam.

It was a long, cold, MISERABLE night.  I have never longed for the sun to rise as much as I did that night.

When the sun came up, it was gorgeous (of course).  You never would have known that we barely escaped being blown away.  Or struck by lightening.  Or drowned.  There wasn’t a cloud in the sky.  After we all managed to find dry clothes, we headed over for donuts and (thank God) coffee.  I never thought I’d be warm again, but somehow the feeling eventually made it back into my fingers and toes.

We packed up in a hurry and headed out of the campground toward home.

Last night, I’d never been so happy to have a hot shower, a warm bed and a bathroom just a few feet away.  Screw camping.

My foolish little Andrew (who thankfully slept through most of it) can’t wait to go again.  With the dog.  Little does he know that by the time that happens, he’ll be able to drive himself and leave me out of it.

*Disclaimer:  this post in no way, shape, or form should reflect badly on my wonderful friend Nancy who organized and ran this campout.  She did an AWESOME job, despite the weather.  If it hadn’t been for her, it truly would have been a disaster.  Thanks, Nancy!!!  (But we’re still not going again next year.  I SWEAR.)

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