Monday, July 29, 2013

Summer Snapshots

I am not that much of a photographer.

I still don't have a smart phone.
I don't instagram.
My camera of choice is one of those point & shoot kind.
For this week's Listicles, Stasha asked for 10 Photos of Life with Kids.

They aren't all pretty.
They aren't all perfect.
Somehow the crazy insanity of our everyday has been captured.

1, Margo & Me 

2. All because I said, "No, not right now."
Three is so tough. 

3. Trying to get a seven month to sit still.

4. Silly face Mo!

5. Fun with goggles. 

6. Check out Maeve's mouth. 

7. Mo's first ribbon for swimming

8. Running through the waves

9. Margo's first beach trip

10. My favorite photo so far this summer. 

What has your summer looked like?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Family Ties

The sound of waves crashing on the beach find their way intermingled among the giggles and shouts of  "Watch Grammy". Back and forth they swim. Grammy in the deeper water, while Grammy with the Bracelets stands closer to shore.

"Watch me put my face in!" Maeve instructs.

Both grandmothers stare intently as she bobs her face into the cool water.

Immediately lifting her face, she waits for their responses and they do not disappoint, as a chorus of praise finds it way to Maeve.

Not wanting to be overshadowed by her little sister, Mo chimes in, "Gram, Grammy Bracelets watch me!".

Their focus turns to her, as Mo perfects her streamline, kicking her feet as fast as she can from one grandmother to the other.

They repeat the scene over and over, as Moira and Maeve spend an afternoon in the Atlantic with their two grandmothers.

I shift in the chair. Margo sleeping in my arms, as my feet find the towel. I watch in amazement, as four of my favorite ladies spend time together. I watch the generations ahead of me, and I smile.

My girls are lucky.

I have heard horror stories of in-laws, where tension exists and family events can be uncomfortable. Where grandparents feel the need to compete for the affections of their grandchildren. Or, worse, situations where grandparents ignore their grandchildren all together.

This is not the case with our family.

Strange as it may sound, we all get along.

Just last summer, my mom would join Moira, Maeve, and I for weekly pilgrimages to my mother in law's house. Together we would spend the majority of the day at the beach. Heading back to her house for a late lunch, we would sit and talk together before returning home.

Unlike the formality that many in laws seem to possess, they have developed a friendship and honestly enjoy each other's company.

And as grandmothers they are very similar. Together with my father, the three are the grandparents I would wish for every child, including myself.

They dote, spoil, and absolutely adore my children. They go out of their way to ensure the children's happiness.

Grammy Bracelets fills her candy dish with the girls favorites before every trip. Sharing sideways glances with Mo & Maeve as they sneak another gummy fish between giggles, the mutual adoration is evident.

My mom has perfected her Wicked Witch cackle, as she chases the girls around the dining room table. The chorus of "Chase me some more Grammy" echoes through the air intertwined with screams of delight.

While Popsie cannot enter the front door without requests for soccer, softball, football, walks, and promises of vanilla and chocolate ice cream in the event Mr. Frosty makes his way around. He knows the there is no rest time when he visits.

Bryan and I have often talked about our parents growing up. Obviously they did a great job, as we consider ourselves pretty great successes in life, contributing members of society and all that. However, in this role as grandparents, they have far exceeded themselves. They are my girls favorite people and they love spending time with them. They've got this grandparent thing figured out.

My kids are pretty lucky, and I realize so am I.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Shop 'til you.....CRY!

Mondays have been my day to grocery shop since I hung up my heels and became a stay at home mom. I find it only fitting that on my attempt to return to my favorite Listicles that this week's topic involve shopping.

Stasha and company have instructed us to share 10 Things You Buy Every Week. 

My shopping trips now have turned into controlled chaos, as usually Maeve sits in the seat of the cart, while Mo holds the side, and I have Margo strapped into the Ergo, eyes peeking out at the menagerie of shoppers around. Usually there is some bit of crying, most of the time it's not me.

I have been asked before why I would even attempt to shop weekly with my brood, and it's simple. I'd rather do it with them on Monday morning, then any other time of day. (See here for a more succinct explanation). And because of their presence a few of my weekly buys involve bribery. I'll make note of those on the list below.

10 Things I Buy Weekly

1. One cinnamon bun & One chocolate chip muffin 
 Bribery -The bun is for Mo, the muffin for Maeve, and they nibble along as we go.

2. Either half pound of ham or turkey and pound of American Cheese
At the deli counter, the girls get their free piece of cheese, while I get Maeve's lunch meat. The girl loves       her sandwiches with honey mustard.

3. Grapes, Bananas, & Apples
The three fruits Mo will eat, period.

4. Large Container of Spinach
Green Monster Smoothies, the breakfast of champions or mamas on the go!

5. Sprout, Happy Baby, & Plum Organics Baby Food
With flavors like "Sweet potato, Mango, & Millet" and "Sweet Potato & White Bean", I often wish these pouches came in adult friendly sizes. It sure would make meal time that much easier.

6. Yogurt
A tub of fat free plain for me, and a selection of choice for the girls.

7. Three boxes of Kashi Cereal Bars
One strawberry, one cherry vanilla, & one blackberry for the older girls breakfast every morning.

8. One gallon 1% milk, One gallon 2% milk, Two half gallons vanilla soy milk
Grown ups drink 1%,  Mo drinks 2%, and Maeve drinks soy. We're the house to stop by if you want to       mix up your dairy or dairy alternative consumption.

9.  Simply Orange juice
Yes, there are other cheaper orange juices out there, but nothing tastes as good as this.

10. Wegmans Brand Double Stuff Oreos
Usually the original variety of an item is superior, however, I challenge any person to a blind taste test.The Wegmans brand double stuff chocolate and cream cookies (I shouldn't use Oreos because that's the brand, not the cookie) are the best. The cream allowance is similar. It's the cookie part that wins. It is a more sturdy cookie, so when dumping them into the cookie jar, they stay in one piece. And we all know, when it's time to dunk your cookie in milk, it needs to be in one piece.

Off to the grocery store now!

What do you buy weekly?

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Zip it

Once upon a time, a very nice lady brought her three little girls to the local grocery store.

Aisle, by aisle, she was able to push her cart, fill it with groceries, and keep her children happy. All this was done without any stray comments from other shoppers.

She piled her lot into the car and made it home.

And they lived happily ever after, the end.

What a cute little fictional story, right? 

While I have been able to take my brood to the store and successfully manage to procure our weekly shopping without loss of limb, life, or sanity on a few occasions, the fiction in this story  is that rarely our presence will go unnoticed.

Apparently, my presence with three children in public gives permission for unwarranted comments, advice, nods, head shakes, and in one instance a suggestion to hire a babysitter, as the grocery store is no place for us. 

For the record, in the event I hire a babysitter, there is no way in hell I'm using that time to grocery shop. 

I thought being pregnant brought out the crazies, but it's nothing compared to the reactions I get when I'm out alone with three children. People I have never met before feel it is acceptable to comment and say things like:

Are they all yours? God Bless you!

You must have a lot of patience!

Are you going for the boy?

Ah, I'm sorry. Three girls? 

Wow! Aren't you brave to be here alone?

Don't you have any help?

I don't really get it?

Do I look that bad?
pissed off?

If I do now, it's because of these incessant comments. 

From my Facebook feed and in conversation with those who have three or more children, I realize I'm not alone, and we're in agreement. We do not want to hear it anymore. 

I like that I have three girls. I don't feel like I need nor do I want a little boy.  What I believe is even more surprising is after having two daughters, my husband actually preferred another girl to a boy.

Since I don't want to sequester my children in our home twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, I take them out to places ... alone!

If I'm hiring a babysitter, it's going to be for something good like a pedicure or night out, not to do necessary errands.

Yup, me and three kids hit up places like Target, the library, the local swimming pool, and even weekly trips to the grocery store, without another adult, and we survive.

My life is crazy, don't get me wrong.

I raise my voice a little too much. My house is a little messier than I'd like, and my sheets don't get changed nearly as much as they should. Things are usually loud, frenzied, and crazy. My life as a mother of three little girls five and under can be overwhelming. I dream of sleeping through the night, taking a lazy shower, and peeing with the door shut. I haven't been to the gym in two years, and I just had my first date night out without kids in close to a year this past Friday.

With all this being true, I don't need nor want to hear it anymore. Random ladies and men, keep your mouth shut and opinions to yourself.

Unless of course, you're telling me how my children are well behaved, because then, please, by all means, throw me the compliments. 

I do hope someday I can make through the grocery store without a comment, but until then a mama can dream?