Death to the Imaginary Friends

I have talked about Gia’s imaginary friends before. None of my other kids ever had imaginary friends. I’m thinking it was because Nico had my undivided attention for the first three and a half years of his life and the twins had each other and Nico. With the age gap being so big between Gia and the twins, I have been known to tell Gia to go play or find something to play with. She must have heard find someone to play with because before I knew it, she was talking to someone named, Booty. And if that wasn’t strange enough, she added, Ella Bella and Allie.

Booty and Allie or Booty and Ella Bella? Image courtesy of Boians Cho Joo Young /

Booty and Allie or Booty and Ella Bella?
Image courtesy of Boians Cho Joo Young /

I’m not sure what is sadder: that Gia has three imaginary friends with those names or that I hate them so much.

Gia is the only person I know whose imaginary friends are mean. She’s always coming up to me complaining that one of them has hit, bit, kicked or scratched her. How am I supposed to handle that? I’ve asked her why they keep hurting her and she says they are mean. I have told her that she shouldn’t be friends with them and she says that they want to be friends with her so I find myself saying things like, “Booty needs to go home” or “Tell Ella Bella that you don’t like when she hits you.”

When I’d ask Gia to do something and she didn’t want to, she’d reply with, “Booty won’t let me.” I would call her to come eat and she’d be playing a game or watching TV and she wouldn’t come. I’d call her again and again and the last time wouldn’t be in my nicest voice and she’d stomp her foot and say, “I wanted to come but Ella Bella wouldn’t let me. She held me back.”

A big one was when I’d be a little firmer in talking to her. Not yelling but talking in a way that she knew I wasn’t happy or I was tired of asking and she’d start to cry. I’d tell her that there is no reason to cry, that she wasn’t in trouble but that she needed to listen to me or follow directions. Between sobs she’d say, “I’m not crying because of you! I’m crying because Booty tripped me (or hit me, or yelled at me)!” I would end up comforting her and the crying would stop and all was well again.

There was the standard, “Allie made the mess, not me,” “Booty spilled, not me,” and “Ella Bella made me eat the cookies.” I have to tell you…there were many times when I questioned my sanity for yelling at the imaginary friends and exhausted myself trying to explain to Gia that I knew that she was the one that did it, not her friends only to get into a “yes they did, “no they didn’t” argument.

My favorite was when I needed to get work done and she was whining that she wanted me to play with her or she didn’t have anyone to play with. I’d tell her, “Go play with Booty, Ella Bella or Allie” and she’d reply with, “You know, Mom, they aren’t real.” Ahhh…so they are real when they spill or make messes but when I need her to play with them, they aren’t. Got it.

Once, I used them to my advantage. It was late and way past a normal time for a preschooler to be going to bed. I was really frustrated trying to get some work done and exhausted from the bed time battles (with all four kids) and I ended up yelling at Gia. Believe it or not, I don’t usually yell at Gia. The other three know me as a yelling mom (I can’t change that but I am really trying) but with Gia, I have really tried to hold my tongue and have more patience. She, of course, was devastated and ran to her room as if I had broken her little heart. I felt awful. An idea came to me and I went to her and whispered, “Allie made me do it.” Was it the right thing to do? Probably not but she stopped crying immediately and nodded her head in understanding. Moment diffused.

Nothing, though, prepared me for how much I wanted to get rid of them after this incident:

Belle and Gia were looking at Instagram (the Devil’s playground) and one of the people who Belle follows reposted an inappropriate picture with a woman with her boobs blurred out so you couldn’t see them but clearly knew they were boobs. Belle panicked and changed it right away (yelling…because that won’t call attention to it or anything). Gia said, “They were having sex.” Belle, shocked, asked her, “How do you know about that?” Gia–my sweet baby that I want to stay a baby–answered,

“Booty and Ella Bella have sex.”

Belle was shocked and said, “Gia! That’s gross!” To which Gia replied, “Well, I didn’t watch or anything.” As if that made it okay. :( Once again, that Mother of the Year award escapes me. Clearly, a few changes needed to be made.

No more Friends episodes.

Only rated G movies.

You know what bugs me, though? Commercials. We could be watching something like American Idol or The Voice and a preview for a show comes on and of course there is some glimpse of two people kissing wrapped in sheets. I don’t want to be one of those people who is up in arms about censoring everything. It’s my choice to have my kids watch those shows so I need to just deal with that situation as it comes up but the question arises: Are there any shows on network TV that we can watch as a family without having to yell, “Shut your eyes!” or getting into a big discussion about sex? I’m all for watching TV and using it as learning lessons but sometimes, I’d like to check out and watch a singing competition without having to be on alert.

After explaining to Gia that Booty and Ella Bella having sex was inappropriate (again, did I really have that conversation?), I thought that it might be time to get rid of the “friends”. I agonized how to do it and not damage her little psyche. I didn’t want her to end up on a therapist’s couch (fine, she probably will anyway but I didn’t want this to be the reason) saying, “My mom made me get rid of my only friends, Booty, Ella Bella and Allie.”

It turns out that I worried for nothing. Gia came downstairs and said, “I’m sick of Booty getting me in trouble and being mean. He’s gone and he’s never coming back.” This led to flushing Ella Bella down the toilet and scooping up Allie and throwing her outside. Gone. I have no idea if this was the right way to handle it but it feels a lot better hearing her take responsibility for messes and spills and dealing with her emotions because they are hers and not Booty’s.

And just when I was starting to like using them as reasons for my bad behavior…guess I’ll have to own up, too.

What about you or your kids? Any imaginary friends? Are they nice ones or mean ones?

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Happy 4th Birthday, Gia!

Time is flying. Completely whizzing by. I thought for Gia’s birthday this year I would do a post with pictures and videos.

2 days old

2 days old


Gia at 1.

Gia at 1.










Gia at 2.

Gia at 2.











Gia at 3. Picture by Jody Byas.

Gia at 3. Picture by Jody Byas.








Gia at 4.

Gia at 4.

Gia makes me feel like I am the greatest mom in the world. She is sweet and makes me laugh every single day. I make jokes all the time about being too old to go through all of the stages again but the truth is she is a gift. I love that I get a second chance to see life through the eyes of a child. I know the road ahead is a rough one since I’m on it with the other three. Raising tweens and teens is not for the weak, that’s for sure. It makes me appreciate this stage so much more. I know how fast it goes. Pretty soon she’s going to be in school all day, every day. They are only this little for a short time and I plan on soaking up every minute of it.

Hope you enjoyed the little glimpse into her life so far.

P.S. Is that really what my voice sounds like?

Which age was your favorite with your kids?

If you enjoy this blog, could you please click on the Best Mom Blogs button? I’m afraid I am close to getting kicked off from lack of activity. :) Thanks so much!

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Learning and Hoping

Sophomore Year

Sophomore Year


I am proud of Nico because he continues to show me that he has a good soul. He might save all the complaining for me but I am told he is a hard worker. When I think of my kids teaching me lessons, Nico teaches me that I can’t always be in control and more often than not, I am not in control at all. He teaches me that it is more important to listen than to talk. My hope for him this school year is that something stands out to him as what he would like to do when he grows up. He doesn’t need to decide this year but it would be great if a plan started forming of what he would like to do in the future. I hope that he continues to work hard to get good grades and it might sound silly but since he is a little girl. crazy, I’d like him to find a nice girl to date.

6th Grade

6th Grade


I am proud of Tommy because he is a self-starter. When there is a job at hand, he buckles down and gets it done. This makes him a pretty easy kid for the most part. He is an old soul that doesn’t have a mean bone in his body. Tommy teaches me that it is okay to make fun of yourself or not take yourself so seriously. He teaches me to stop and wonder how things are done or made and not skip over the little things in life. My hope for him this year in school is that the teachers see what a special kid he is and that he grows a thicker skin when kids aren’t very nice whether they are joking or not. He is so good at standing up for others that I want him to be okay with standing up for himself.


*Sidebar-Second day of school and one kid called him the “wheezy kid” that can’t run a lap (I guess that is from a movie but I don’t find it funny). He thinks the kid knows he has asthma but doesn’t know he has CF and doesn’t want him to. This breaks my heart a little bit.  The same kid that told Tommy he must be poor since he always wears hand-me-down shoes saw him in the hall and said, “Here comes the kid with the shitty shoes.” When he looked down and saw Tommy’s new shoes, he shut up but not before Tommy was embarrassed. It’s wrong that I wanted to tell Tommy he could tell the kid to “Go to Hell,” isn’t it? I know–kill him with kindness, turn the other cheek, take the high road. I know. But some things warrant a “Go to Hell.”


6th Grade

6th Grade


I’ve already talked about how proud I am of Belle. Belle teaches me that patience and kindness go a long way. She teaches me that sometimes all you need to do is be present in a conversation to make a difference in someone’s life, that being heard is a step in growing confidence. She teaches me all the time about loyalty and how it is more important to do the right thing than do the popular thing. My hope for her is that she makes friends that she’ll have all through middle school and high school. My hope is that when confronted with something hard, she pushes through it instead of giving up. I hope that little light in her continues to shine.


Doesn't start school until after Labor Day and will probably get her own post.

Doesn’t start school until after Labor Day and will probably get her own post.


I think Gia knows she is going to be going to school soon. She is up my butt and under my feet 24 hours a day, every single day extra needy, teary and emotional. Her new thing is crying and telling me, “You hurt my feelings,” when I say no to her. I’ve been hurting her feelings a lot lately because she wants candy for breakfast, cookies for lunch and Pringles for dinner. She still has me wrapped when she cuddles up next to me before bed, rubs my cheek and then lets out a sigh of contentment and then immediately falls asleep.


What about you? What have you learned from your kids? What are your hopes for them this year in school?





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Funny Conversations Over Here

I need a tape recorder (do they still make those) to catch some of the conversations with my kids. I mean, we all do but I finally realized how funny it would be later on to replay them so the kids could see the topics they come up with and really, it’s not just the kids. Leo has a very selective memory so it would help to play back what he actually says. For instance, this was an actual conversation this past week:

Me: Did you talk to Mike? What’s going on with my car? (side note, it won’t accelerate making me feel like we are going to die each time I press the gas to go)

Leo: Yeah, it might be time. It’s the transmission.

Me (feeling pretty proud of myself): I knew it! I know nothing about cars but I knew that.

Leo: I always knew it was that. (of course he did) We are going to have to send an email to JB or talk to J and see about getting a new car. I mean, worse case scenario is that it breaks down on you and you are stranded somewhere.

Me: Well, there goes our Saturday. We are going to have to look for a new car. (I hate looking for cars. Hate it!)

Leo: Well, now it’s not an emergency or anything. (Seriously?! He doesn’t think me getting stranded and you know it will be with all four kids and when Gia has to poo is an emergency?!)

We spend a lot of time in the car. A lot. Some of the funniest conversations have been had in the front seat of my car. Here is what Tommy and Belle decided to discuss:

Belle: Do you know any guys that shave their armpits?

Tommy: Miley Cyrus

Belle: She isn’t a guy. I asked if any guys shave them.

Tommy: I know but she shaves them.

Belle: Did you not hear me say a guy? She’s a girl.

Tommy: But she shaves them.

Belle: I know but how do you not know that girls shave their armpits?

Tommy: I never said I didn’t.

Belle: Then why do you keep saying Miley Cyrus. Who

Me: You guys can find the smallest thing to argue about. Who cares who shaves their armpits?

Tommy was sitting in front and this little gem came from him:

Tommy: You know how we say twenty? We say twennie. Why don’t we say twenty? Twenty. Twen-ty. Twennie. Do we have an accent? Is that why we say twennie or is it because we don’t have an accent that we say it that way?

I’ll be honest. He had to repeat this part two or three times because one, I began zoning out and two, I didn’t know what the hell he was talking about.

I think I looked at him for a moment and then answered that we’ve always just said it like that.

Tommy: Do I have your hands?

Me (still in a haze from the last topic): What?

Tommy: Do we have the same hands? Let me see.

I showed him my hand and he said, “Ugh, we do. If I’m as short as you, I’ll kill myself.” I wasn’t shocked since Nico said the exact same thing at that age.

Me: That’s great, Tommy.

Tommy: Sorry, Mom. That’s how I feel. I mean, you have other great qualities but just not your height. Do you really want me to have your height?

Me: Nico said the same thing when he was your age and all of his friends were taller than him and look at him now.

Not even skipping a beat he went on to say:

Tommy: You know, I’ve never exceeded my expectations.

Me (admitting again to sort of zoning out): Hmm.

Tommy: You know, I have expectations of myself and I never go above what I want.

Me (thinking it was funny that he used the word ‘exceed’ to begin with): So you are going to live a life of disappointment?

Tommy: No, I am just going to lower my expectations.

That made me laugh because instead of working harder to meet them, he was just going to lower them.

Me: Really? That’s the answer?

Tommy: No because even if I lower them, I’ll know I can do better so even if I meet them, I’ll be disappointed  that I didn’t do better.

Me: So what is the answer then? (Trying to get him to say working harder might work.)

He was quiet and I thought he was thinking about it but then he came up with:

Tommy (as we were passing huge houses): Why do people always go with stairs. I wouldn’t. I’d just build ramps.

I just looked at him wondering how his little brain works or does it work overtime.

Tommy: Wait. Nevermind. I’d do stairs.

He and Isabella then went into a long discussion about how they would put their bodies if they were in an accident and the air bags went off and I finally got about ten minutes of daydreaming to the radio.

I bet you wish you could go on long car rides with us. :)

We were at a restaurant when I had this conversation:

Gia: Do they have juice here?

Me: No. Just water.

Gia (very loudly): Aw, dang it!

As I heard the gasps and snickers all around, I knew right then that my Mother of the Year award was a lock in.

Kids getting along


How is your weekend going? Any funny conversations on your end?



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The Father’s Day Post

This is late but it’s not really my fault. This whole weekend was spent at games with us split between Tommy’s in Streamwood and Nico’s in West Aurora. Add in the girls and it was chaos supersized.

Some tidbits: Nico forgot his form for his tournament and then asked me half-way there if I had $30 because he had to give $30 to his coach. For the record, I RARELY have cash on me so it was a small miracle that I still had birthday money in my wallet.

Gia throwing a giant-sized fit so that I missed Nico’s game on Sunday.

Tommy finally being out of his slump and his team winning the tournament. (And me missing the whole thing because of Nico’s games and an uncooperative 3-year-old.)

I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off and forgot to call my brother-in-law, Santo for his birthday. Sorry, Bro.

We went to Gina and Deo’s for Father’s Day (after all the games) and it felt so nice to be with family. The kids swam, ate and played. We caught up I was reminded of how much I laugh with my family.

I am extremely lucky to have a lot of great men in my life: my grandpa, my dad, my husband and my brother-in-laws. We are a big, crazy family and it wouldn’t be the same without any of them.

I loved my Mother’s Day Post so I decided to have the kids write why Leo should be Father of the Year. Here is what they came up with:


My dad should be Father of the Year because he’s a loving father. He helps me with sports. He’s very supportive. He works hard to make us happy. I love everything about my dad.

This child is the reason for the delay. He hurt his hand and couldn't write and he takes forever to do things like this. He said it but I wrote it.

This child is the reason for the delay. He hurt his hand and couldn’t write and he takes forever to do things like this. He said it but I wrote it.



My dad should win Dad of the Year award because he is caring, helpful, smart, funny and loving. That makes the perfect Dad and my dad has all of that. My dad coaches all the sports I do and I love him as a coach and a Dad. He couldn’t do anything better to get this award because in my heart he by far wins it. I love my dad with all my heart and I hope he feels the same about me!

Don't you love how he signed it "Tommy Gubenko" as if it was a formal letter?

Don’t you love how he signed it “Tommy Gubenko” as if it was a formal letter?



My Dad should be dad of the year because he is the best dad ever! He is always there for me when I need him! He is so funny. Like when he makes funny faces or dances. He works every week so we could pay for food and clothes and all the stuff we do. He works for us all to do all the activities we do and of course he works for other reasons too. He loves me so much and I love him so much too. I love when we spend time together, for example when we go to the movies (that happened once but it still was a lot of fun) and when we go for walks. My Dad is the Best dad ever. I would never ask for a better dad! I love him so so so much! My dad deffenitly deserves the dad of the year award!

Spelling is a little rough and I love that she mentioned that he takes her to the movies and then clarifies that it was only once. :)

Spelling is a little rough and I love that she mentioned that he takes her to the movies and then clarifies that it was only once. :)



My daddy should be Father of the Year because:

he works,

he coaches,

he gives me kisses and hugs,

he goes for walks with me to get me ice cream,

he lays with me,

he loves me so much,

I love him so much because he plays with me, and

he always gives me lovin’s.


She had a lot of fun coming up with these and I didn't have to help her at all (except for the writing...she dictated and I wrote).

She had a lot of fun coming up with these and I didn’t have to help her at all (except for the writing…she dictated and I wrote).


So there you go. Right from the mouths of the Gubenko kids.

And Leo, if you are reading (and you will be because I am going to send this to you), you have far surpassed any expectation that I ever had of you being a dad. I know I give you a hard time for being a kid yourself but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Nico has your sense of humor and confidence. Tommy has your personality and the desire to be the best he can be. They are on their way to becoming great men just like their dad! Love you and Happy Father’s Day (plus I got him a hoodie that says World Series of Poker that he said he loves)!

I love this picture because he was on his phone looking for the places I wanted to go.

I love this picture because he was on his phone looking for the places I wanted to go.

This week, it wasn’t me that Poured My Heart Out, it was my kids. Thanks, Shell!


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Happy Mother’s Day! A Word From the Gubenko Kids

As I shuffle my kids and Leo out of the house to go visit Leo’s mom who is now home from Florida for the summer, the irony hits me. I love being a mom. Today is Mother’s Day and I am looking forward to a few hours to myself. Irony at its finest. I wrote a post for my dear friend Meredith over at The Mom of the Year about when I feel like Mom of the Year. To see that post click here. Chris from The Mom Cafe also did a post for Meredith and I loved how she did it. She let her kids decide why she should be.

I thought this sounded like a great idea so I asked my kids and they didn’t even fight me on writing their lists.

Nico’s: Nico letter

My mom would win the award because she is loving and cares about us. As much as I wish she would care less just so I can do more, I wouldn’t change her one bit. She is always there when I need her through tough times and good times. I love her so much and hope the blog can be the start to her writing career. Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.

(I punctuated and fixed the spelling so it would read easier. :) )

Belle’s letter:

Belle letter

Dear Mom, you should be mom of the year because you are always there for me. I tell you Everything! We have a special bond that I think is awesome. I don’t know what I would without you. I couldn’t ask for a better mom. you’re the best mom in the whole world. You’re my best friend. I love you so so so much. You definitely deserve mom of the year. I love you and everything I wrote is true.  You’re the best and I love you soooo much!

(Obviously we need to work on your and you’re.)

Tommy’s letter:

Tommy letter

My mom is the Best! I think my mom should win the mom  of the year by far! My mom has the love, the brain, the cooking, the cuddles, the help, the muscles, the beauty and of course more love. I love my mom with all my heart and soul and I hope she does, too. My mom is the Best mom I could ever have and that is why my mom should win the mom of the year!

(I feel lucky that he included the “brain” but not sure where the “help” is coming from.)

Gia’s letter:

Gia letter

Mommy is the best mommy ever because I love her. She is the best. She is beautiful. She is nice. I like cuddling with her. I like to eat candy with her. I like to play with her to do stuff: church, Barbies, towers and walks. I love Mommy so much.

(Gia dictated to Belle who wrote it down in case you were wondering whether Gia is a 3-year-old genius.)

I, of course, cried when I read them. It feels good to feel loved and to feel like through all the chaos and battles, they know that I love them.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you moms out there, to all the Godmothers, aunts, grandmas, moms with angels in Heaven and women who are mom’s in their heart but life hasn’t caught up yet.

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Six Thoughts for Saturday

When I use numbers, it’s easier for me to narrow down what I am thinking about. Otherwise, I’ll write like I talk and that is a lot.

1. I really, really love our dentist, Dr. Dykes and my kids’ orthodontist, Dr. Golden. I think they are the most trustworthy people in the dental field. Both could take us for a lot of money because what do I know about teeth? They never do things just because they can. They always do what is best for the patient. I will forever be grateful to Dr. Dykes for sending me to get my tongue looked at. It ended up a little bit of a nightmare but had I not gotten it taken care of, it could have been a lot worse. Belle and Nico both have cavities and need fillings but I am rest assured that they truly need them because he’s been watching those areas for a little bit and they haven’t gone away. Dr. Golden saw both Tommy and Isabella and said at this time, they do not need braces. I thought for sure that they were going to. Right there, $10,000 saved.

2. I am soooo behind on reading blogs. I am hoping to catch up tonight. I’m buying myself some wine to sit, read and enjoy. Please know that if you haven’t seen me around, it’s only because I am insanely busy. I try to read blogs from my phone while in carpool lines or dentist’s offices but can’t comment on them. I miss you all!

3. I need someone who has or had teenagers to please tell me how you get them to MOVE. I am very close to buying 5 alarm clocks and setting them myself to get Nico to wake up and get a move on. It is causing major issues over here, one being that I am mad at him all the time. Am I not supposed to say that? Is he going to read this years from now and feel bad? Um…I don’t really care because at the moment, he changes the atmosphere in this house. I can’t turn around and play Doc McStuffins with a smile on my face when I just finished yelling for Nico to get in the shower or do his treatment for the 5th time.

4. I need prayers that the surgeon can fit Nico’s surgery in sooner than the July 15th date they gave me. I see him on Friday and Nico sounds awful. I don’t know how to get him some relief. Meds aren’t working and unless I am up his butt, he doesn’t do what he is supposed to. In case you haven’t figured it out, Nico is a little exhausting these days.

5. We just got back from the ER. Yes, you read that right. Belle and Gia were running away from an ANT and Belle accidentally tripped Gia, who fell on her face. You know how they say the head and the mouth bleed a lot? They aren’t kidding. Blood everywhere. And after 15 years at this gig, did I stay calm? No, I did not. I panicked so much so that Nico, just like Leo kept telling me to stop freaking out and it was ridiculous to take her to the ER. Isn’t that lovely to hear from my 15-year-old when I am mid-panic? Plus I am getting no Mother of the Year award for not reassuring Belle that it was okay and was an accident. It would have helped if she didn’t call me or text me every two minutes while I was gone, with the nurse or with the doctor. When I finally talked to her and told her that it was okay and was an accident, she insisted that it was not. It was like banging my already throbbing head against a wall.

6. This week was a tough one. Leo was gone. Dentist appointments galore. Running around from one carpool to the next. Finding out the boys need surgery. A frustrated teen. Unexpected basketball games. A canceled birthday celebration (an example of walking the walk after talking the talk…your party, you help…you don’t help, no party). So, I decided that I am not going to go to any games this weekend. Leo is going to them all. And I don’t feel one ounce of guilt. Thank you L.B. for freeing me of it. My house looks like a battleground, I can’t remember the last time I washed my hair (yep, that bad of a week) and there is a headache lurking that I’m afraid if I go to any sporting events will develop into a full-blown migraine.

I’m looking forward to next week. Tomorrow is a new day with a fresh start. It seems strange already thinking of tomorrow’s fresh start when it is only 1:30 in the afternoon. Strange or sad?

What are some of your thoughts on this Saturday?



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This is fragmented because I am too tired to form complete thoughts.


I knew something was off when she woke up on Monday. Her eyes were glassy and she felt hot. She didn’t want to be put down.

The “Moms Together” at church that I looked so forward to wasn’t going to happen for me. Gia was sick.

Just a fever. 101.

I gave her Tylenol and Motrin.

She slept all day which is so unlike her. Falling asleep anywhere she could put her head.


She said her stomach hurt. I thought we were in for round 2 of the stomach flu that Belle had the week before.

It never came. The fever wouldn’t go away.

Motrin helped.

Nights were hard. A little hot body next to mine. Me staring at her to make sure she was still breathing. Helpless.

She slept all day and I do mean ALL day on Tuesday. School didn’t happen. Fever raged all day but would come down after Motrin. When she was awake, she was fighting taking the meds.

By 6:00 (of course after the doctor was gone for the day), her fever registered 104.7. Fear. Panic. Helpless.

I loathe the ER. I don’t trust them anymore.

I called my sister who is a peds nurse. She talked me off the ledge. Gave Gia Motrin. If it didn’t go down, I was heading to the ER.

A long hour later, 102. Take her? Don’t take her? She was eating. She was drinking. More helpless waiting. By 8:30, it was 99.

She fell asleep in her own bed. Good sign. I couldn’t wait to sleep.

But it didn’t come. 3 other kids.

Greek project, math homework, book reports.

Kids in bed. Finally sleep.

Mind racing. It’s midnight. Need to go to sleep. Eyes finally heavy.

1:00am, Gia’s up, crying.

No sleep…again. Helpless. Not knowing what is wrong. Knowing I need to take her into the doctor.

Temp 100 at 6. More sleep for her. 3 kids up needing to get out of the house.

Doctor appt set for 1:15. Gia woke up and had celery and cheese and cried that she didn’t want to go to the doctor.

Fell back to sleep until 12:00. Cried the entire car ride and until the doctor saw her.

Temp in the office: 103

Took 3 of us to hold her down to check her ears and do a strep test. Helpless.

Strep and an ear infection.

One dose of antibiotics and some Motrin and my little girl was almost back to normal.

Finally took a bath and screamed the whole time. Fell asleep on me after.

Moved her to her bed. She woke up at midnight. I didn’t even hear her with my body and mind needing to sleep.

She was burning up again. Tried giving her Tylenol (the only liquid I have) while she was asleep. Didn’t work. Had to hold her down.

Temp: 102 Helpless. Stayed up watching her breathe. Cradling her.

She’s sleeping now. 3 kids to get out the door and sleep that won’t come anyway.

Will it be a better day or will it be another day of feeling helpless?

How are you when your kiddies are sick? In control or panic? I like to think of myself as panicking under control. :)

P.S If your eyes are closed and you are horizontal in the bed, it’s considered sleeping…just sayin’.

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Memories Captured: Valentine’s Day

We had big plans for Valentine’s Day. We dressed up in our best Valentine’s gear:



We decorated cookies with one of our cousins and best buds, Vinnie:



And then stayed home while Mom and Dad went out for sushi:


And to top it off, all the complaining in the earlier post must have helped because I lost 4lbs.  I’ll shut up about it now. :)

The other three enjoyed a few new books and they each got an iTunes card. I would have included pictures but couldn’t pin any of them down. Nico and Tommy both had practice and Belle had dance. Hats off to Chrissy for making Valentine’s Day special for Gia. All I had planned was a day in our pajamas eating sweets. :)



Linking up with Galit at These Little Waves and Alison at Writing, Wishing:

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5 Things Making Me Happy Right Now

Happiness. After this week, I cannot wait for it to come to me. I need to go find it. I need to choose to be happy because it is weeks like this past one that do me in. Send me on a downward spiral. I’m not going to let that happen because I am going to focus on what is making me happy right at this moment.

1. Gia is potty-trained! Dear God in Heaven, if there is a silver-lining in that child being sick all week, it is this. I thought about it last night and wondered if I am sad at all at her reaching this milestone. She is still wearing diapers at night and Pull-ups for naps (though these days, the naps are far and few between) but am I sad that she is getting bigger and is no longer a baby? Hmmm….NOPE! Not this one. Just plain relieved and happy to have this one done. I keep thinking about how I am going to spend all the extra money now that we aren’t buying diapers as often and then I remember that I have 3 other money-suckers. :) I will not elaborate on this because before I dug my heels in and did it, I hated reading about other kids that were potty-trained. I felt like there was a 1000lb weight on me to do it with every announcement. I will just say, it wasn’t as bad as I thought.

Did you hear the news? I don't wear diapers anymore!

Did you hear the news? I don’t wear diapers anymore!

2. Watching Belle play volleyball. I know I was complaining that we added yet another sport to our already crazy schedule but I have now been to two games and I don’t care if she ever plays competitively, she glows when she is out there. She smiles as big as when she is on a field cheering or a stage dancing and she looks like she is having a blast. After years of the boys playing travel something with so much of the focus on win, win, win, it is so refreshing to sit in the stands and watch kids having fun.

It's a little blurry since she was supposed to be practicing and not posing for a picture for her mom's blog.

It’s a little blurry since she was supposed to be practicing and not posing for a picture for her mom’s blog.

3. Nico being grounded. While I am not happy about the reasons why, I am thrilled not to have to worry about what he is doing, who he is with, how he’s getting there, and how he’s getting home. I was worried that such a harsh punishment would cause him to stay angry and withdraw but it hasn’t. We’ve had some great conversations and though it isn’t all rainbows and happiness, I pray that he is learning that there are consequences for his actions and that we aren’t going to go back on our word. I have said it before and I’ll say it again, this is the hardest stage of parenting for me and I wish I had known then what I know now. I would have totally enjoyed the stages before (well at least before tweendom).

It's a little dark but he was being a good brother by sitting with Gia while she tried to fall asleep. If he wasn't grounded, no way he would have been there.

It’s a little dark but he was being a good brother by sitting with Gia while she tried to fall asleep. If he wasn’t grounded, no way he would have been there.

4. Tommy is a self-starter. He is my only one. Tommy might seem like he is off in “LaLa Land” but he has got a really good head on his shoulders. He comes home, gets his homework done (without any help), does his treatment and gets himself ready for practice all without being told (well, he might need to be told once but that is nothing compared to how much nagging goes on with the others). What is even better is that he’s figured out that if he pays attention in school and works hard there, he can have an easier time here at home and that taking tests is a breeze. With him being absent several days last week because he was sick, him being a self-starter makes me happy because it relieves a lot of stress in him catching up.


5. I have big plans this weekend. Normally, I am a “do nothing” kinda gal but after being cooped up in this house for so long, I am ready to get out and have some adult conversation. Leo and I are attending Chef’s Gala again this year with my sister, Gina and brother-in-law, Deo. I plan on throwing caution to the wind and eating my way through the night and starting my 17 Day Diet on Sunday. I was planning on wearing the same outfit I did last year but after reading about the shoes, I remember the pain and might have to find something else. On Saturday we are having dinner with friends of ours that I love, love, love that we don’t get to see very often because we have six kids between us at all different ages and doing all different activities. We grew up with them, vacationed with them all the time, spent almost every weekend with them when we were dating, married and had Nico and miss them terribly. Everyone needs  couples in their lives that knew them before the roller coaster of parenting hit and that no matter what life hands you or how busy life gets, if you need them, in a heartbeat, they are there and Adam and Lisa, if you are reading, you are one of ours. We cannot wait to see you guys!

This is going to be my "go-to" picture whenever I am excited about anything and I am excited to spend time with adults this weekend.

This is going to be my “go-to” picture whenever I am excited about anything and I am excited to spend time with adults this weekend.


I love starting my day thinking of what makes me happy instead of the 400 things I need to do and how I don’t want to do 399 of them. I forgot to add one teeny-tiny thing that is making me happy: Tonight is my Barnes and Noble night!!! Yahoo!

On a side note, those of you that comment, I am just wondering, do you have to subscribe to my comments in order to see my response to your comment or does it automatically come to you in your email? Those that might be shy about commenting because they aren’t sure how, you just have to put your name (any name, yours, your blog, a username you use), an email (and it doesn’t even have to be a real one and I am the only one that sees it) and you don’t need a website. In case you are reading and were unsure of how to comment, WP makes it easier to comment, I think. At least I hope I am one of the blogs that is easy to comment on. You guys will have to let me know.


What about you? What is making you happy today?


Feeling glass half-full and pouring my heart out with Shell :



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