I am NOT an Alarm Clock!

*Warning: I did not take my own advice and I wrote this mad. It might not stay up very long if I have writer’s remorse.


Dear Family that I love so very, very much,


I have reached my limit with trying to get you all to wake up. Every single night you ask me to make sure you get up early and every single morning, I wake you up and NOTHING! You don’t move. You don’t acknowledge that I’m nicely waking you up. I gently say your name a few times. I tell you what time it is and remind you that you asked me to wake you up early. The response? Either a whole lot of nothing or you roll over and go back to sleep. Then I leave only to have to go and try to get you up ten minutes later. I really love when you open your eyes as if I am some crazy person yelling at you to get up for no reason. I am tickled pink when you yell back at me not to shake you awake because that is the only way I know you have actually heard me and will attempt to wake up.

Here’s a newsflash Gubenko Family:


The thing is, I don’t even care. It’s not a battle that I want to take on because we are all night owls over here. What I am going to say to you is that if you choose to stay up late, then you better damn well be able to get up the next morning and function. I go to bed later than all of you and still manage to wake up early enough to have this fight with all of you over the age of 3.

I’ve had it. Seriously had it. Things are going to change.

Leo: You have your own alarm clock. Set it and wake up to it. Every other week you have to take the boys to school. You know this. It does not take you five minutes to shower and dress and so help me God if you don’t get up early enough to take the garbage out on Tuesdays and not make the boys late, I will eat a whole bag of Oreos and a whole can of Salt and Vinegar Pringles on your side of the bed. I love you but you have some screwed up way of telling time that in 42 years has made you late more times than I care to count. If you think it goes unnoticed, you are wrong. Stop making everyone else late while saying, “I’m ready.”

Nico: Ughhh….Nico. Sweetheart, you set the entire morning. I know it sucks but you do. If you get in the shower late, everyone else does, too. It’s not fair to your friends that we take to school and it’s not fair to the twins who are trying to get ready for school. You are really close to getting a bucket of water thrown on you because besides buying a megaphone, I’m not sure what else will get you moving. Here’s the new deal: If you give me a hard time again and make my weekdays start off miserably, I am going to make it my job to make your weekends miserable. You know how you love hanging out with friends all day and all night on Saturdays? Roll over and ignore me one more time and you’ll be home all day and all night on Saturday. Obviously it will be to catch up on the sleep you so desperately need during the week.

Tommy and Belle: I’ll combine you two since I’ll say the same things. You guys go to bed too late. All of those episodes of Friends and King of Queens that you HAVE to watch? They are on the DVR. Watch one a day and you’ll still be able to get homework done and go to bed by 9. I’ve got news for you. You guys are about to be banned from the television. One more morning of you guys running out the door looking like orphans that stowed away on a boat to Ellis Island and it’s no more TV and bed by 8.

To all of you, you remember breakfast, right? It’s the meal you have after you wake up to start your day. If you wake up fifteen minutes earlier, you might enjoy it again. Or you might enjoy it sitting down with a fork instead of on the way to the bus in a package. Side note-if the PopTart is strawberry, it counts as a fruit, right?

You all love that I make your lunches so you don’t have to buy lunch at the cafeterias. I get it but why am I busting my ass to make all of you lunches to make your day a little easier when you are so difficult starting my day? I am going on strike. Until you start getting up when you are supposed to, I am not making lunches. I have bought you all alarm clocks. USE THEM! Nico, those birds chirping seem to keep you asleep. You need to pick a louder, more annoying one. Maybe a recording of me yelling, “GET UP! YOU ARE MAKING EVERYONE LATE!” Or how about “YOU’RE GROUNDED!”? That one seems to get you moving.

I love you, my dear family, but you are making me crazy and it’s only the first month of school!


A very tired and frustrated me

To all my readers: I’ll end this here since I have to go wake up Gia for school. Say a little prayer that she wakes up happy and not with her head spinning around spitting out pea soup.

Am I the only one that has a family like this? Please share.

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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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Some Tidbits on a Tuesday


There are a bunch of random thoughts floating around that really could be posts all by themselves but for now, they are landing in one post.

School is starting tomorrow and to let’s just say I am ready and not ready all at the same time. I am not ready because I am still “back to school shopping” and I really wanted to have the kids’ closets cleaned out before it started. That’s not likely to happen since we have practices and pictures and picnics and friends coming into town. Remember the movie Multiplicity with Michael Keaton where he was cloned so he could be in more than one place? I need to be able to do that. Then I could get stuff done.

I took Belle to her middle school so that she could walk through her classes. She hasn’t been able to sleep and has been complaining of her nerves making her stomach hurt so I thought that would help and I have to say, and you know I am not one to toot my kids’ horns, I was so proud of her. Truly impressed and had a moment of “Who is this kid?” She practiced getting her locker open and when she got it open about ten times in a row, she breathed a sigh of relief. She chatted a little with the boy whose locker is next to hers and when walking away, said, “He’s really nice but I don’t even know his name. Should I ask him?” I encouraged her to but she wasn’t sure how to do it and asked if I could find out. I went up to the boy and asked him what his name was and after he said it, Belle jumped in and told him hers and started talking to him. She was kind and funny and their conversation was very natural. All she needed was a little push and she soared. From there she went to her classrooms and completely surprised me by going into the rooms and introducing herself to her new teachers. Again, she was confident and friendly and so sweet. I sat in awe of her and the little light that was shining in her. I looked at her for the first time and saw someone besides my daughter. I saw a girl growing into someone I am so proud of. For the first time in a long time, I didn’t dissect every single thing she was doing. I wasn’t waiting for her to blow her top or be difficult. I just sat back and watched her be her own person. It was a big moment for me and one I will never forget.

On that note, middle school is already proving to be a time when one minute everything is great and the next it is complete crap. Nico had a pretty easy transition but I can already tell that with the twins it is going to be a constant lesson in how to be a good friend and what to look for in friends. Part of the problem is that their brains in this stage are very fickle. One minute they like you and the next they don’t. It’s not personal, it’s hormonal. I think about myself as an adult woman and I still have moments when I have more tolerance for some people over others. And then I think about how once a month, I hate everyone. Put a bunch of girls in a room for any amount of time and you will end up with laughter, tears and drama. Guaranteed. And boys…boys are so competitive and at this age still sensitive so they aren’t exempt from the laughter, tears and drama. The tears just might be later that day while they are talking to their mom.

Gia loves laundry which is great. What is not so great is that she keeps unfolding the clean laundry that I’ve already folded and she keeps folding dirty clothes and mixing them with the clean clothes. Love the effort but it is making so much more work for me.

Buying your children new things (shoes and clothes) for school will result in them cleaning the house without you asking. This however does not apply to the teenagers in the house. I walked through the little girl section of Target yesterday and felt sad that Belle is no longer wanting to wear anything there. I know I still have Gia but it made me realize how fast time flies.

Gia absolutely hates when I am on the computer. The older kids go back to school two weeks before she starts so I might not be online too much during the day and will try to be online in the morning after the kids leave for school and she wakes up or at night after she goes to bed but I can’t promise that I’ll be able to form meaningful thoughts since I will only be half awake at both of those times. I think it’s going to be really good to spend some one on one time with Gia in the next two weeks, getting outside and exploring some new places. It is always refreshing to see the world through her eyes. Since she has spent most of her summer in carpool lines, I think she deserves that.

For all of you that follow my obsessively strange loyally interesting TV viewing habits, I have made some big changes. Thanks to my good friend Kimberly, I am now completely addicted to HGTV. My three favorites are Love it or List it, House Hunters and House Hunters International. I haven’t given up all of my odd shows like, Face Off, Ink Master, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Hoarding: Buried Alive, Hoarders, My Strange Addiction,  and Tattoo Nightmares. And of course I still watch Sister Wives (I can’t help but care about these people), Project Runway (I love this show and I love Tim Gunn) and America’s Next Top Model (thank you, Tyra for making it co-ed this year). How do I watch all of these? My DVR and the inability to sleep. And yes, it doesn’t escape me that it might be some of these shows that are keeping me up at night. It’s a vicious circle. As I watch HGTV, all I can think of is “Why have I not seen any of these before?” It bums me out that Love it or List it is only in Canada because I think we’d be perfect for that show. Leo sees great potential in this house and I think we have outgrown it. I’m not denying that it’s a nice house in a great area. I am just saying that I would like different things in my house now from what I did eight years ago.

So there you go. Some Tuesday Tidbits.

What about you? Do your kids start school? Do your kids give you a hard time when you try to get things done online? Have you had one of those proud moments when you see your kids in a different light? What have you been watching on TV lately?

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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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Anger Issues: Part 2-The Joys of Raising a Tween Girl

Yesterday, I posted about how angry I was at Nico’s teacher but it isn’t the only thing making me angry these days. I love Isabella. I have loved her since the moment I found out I was pregnant with her. I used to look at her as a baby and say, “This is why people have a lot of kids.” Everything about Isabella was easy. She gave up the bottle easily. She didn’t have a hard time giving up the binky and she went to sleep like clockwork at naps and night. She potty-trained herself. She was so easy. Sometimes I would look at her with her mass of blond curls and her big green eyes and wonder how such a beautiful little girl ended up my daughter. She was/is helpful and so eager to please Leo and me and so affectionate always crawling up on my lap to kiss or hug me.

Her eyes started out blue but turned green when she was about 3. She is two in this picture.

Her eyes started out blue but turned green when she was about 3. She is two in this picture.

And then…

The tween years hit. I could see it last year that puberty was not going to be fun with her. I mean, it is never really fun anyway and sometimes being a woman sometimes sucks but I think I might be in for it when it finally hits here.  This leads me to my second reason I am angry these days:

I am angry that Belle and I can’t get to a place where we get along for longer than ten minutes. I heard from so many moms of girls when I was pregnant with her, “You are going to love having a girl!” “Little girls are so wonderful. They play quietly with dolls and they can sit still and color and read stories and don’t roughhouse” (I had already had Nico who was ALL BOY). “Little girls like to stay neat and clean.” “You will love having a mini-you”. All of you people who told me that…YOU ALL ARE BIG, FAT LIARS!!

First of all, why would I love having a mini-me? I am stubborn, hot-tempered and procrastinate with the best of them. Back in the day I was boy crazy (in the way that I thought a lot of boys were cute, not that I dated a lot of boys…big difference) and would rather dress comfortably than fashionably (okay, that last part is not just back in the day but very much to this day). I still don’t like being teased or criticized (does anyone, really?) and only now have learned to let things roll off my back so why would I like having to deal with all of those in another person? I don’t even like dealing with them with me. My mom got her wish. She used to wish that I’d have a daughter just like me and I do. Thanks, Mom. You know what’s helping me be less stubborn, less hot-tempered and helped me to let things go? Seeing all of that in another person…one that I love with all my heart and it’s not pretty.

Second of all, neat and clean?? When she wants to be, she is absolutely neat and clean. But when she doesn’t, my darling, beautiful daughter is kind of a slob. Her room is by far the messier one. She stomps her way to the shower complaining the whole time. Arguments about finding clean clothes are a daily battle. I can’t even get mad at her because again…a mini-me. I have told her that because she has trouble deciding on an outfit to wear, she has to do it at night. The problem with that is that something happens in the middle of the night where she wakes up that morning hating what she picked out so either she goes to school crying because I make her wear that outfit or she is frantic trying to choose another. NO WIN.

Third of all, quiet? Ummm…how do I say this nicely? How about just no. No. No. My darling child goes from 0-60 reaching a sound that breaks glass and only dogs can hear. And once she gets there, there is no turning back. It doesn’t matter if Gia is sleeping. It doesn’t matter if anyone is sleeping. It doesn’t matter if we are at a store or a restaurant. It doesn’t matter. What, you might ask, gets her to that point? Two things: Nico and Tommy.

This week has been rough. I curse our school with their week before spring break activities and assignments. Why? Why? Why must we cram everything in this week? They had a book report, a quick-write (I admit, I don’t know what that is but the kids were stressing over it), and the ever-loving Greek Day (I love you, my Greek friends. So much that I almost called on you guys to come here and dress my kids).

When Nico did Greek day, I sent him to school wrapped in white sheet. That’s it and he survived. I said this to Belle when she gave me a list of 50 things she needed for her costume and her answer was, “That won’t work. I’m a girl. I need more stuff.” So, for the last two weeks, I have been running to stores finding things that she can use to make her sheet look more “Greek”. I should have just bought the damn costume at Party City for $20. Oh, and she HAD to have a lot of stuff to sell at the Greek market. In short, she and Tommy drove me crazy about this. She, more than Tommy, because Tommy listened to Nico who said, “Dude, it’s not that big of a deal.”

All of the arguing came to a head Tuesday night.

While at a party on Saturday night, Belle texted me: Mom, my book report is due Wednesday and I haven’t even started and I left my book at school. Now, how would you have responded at 8:30 on a Saturday night? I replied: Don’t worry. We’ll figure something out.

On Sunday, I went to Barnes and Noble and bought the book she needed…the book I already bought once. I “helicoptered” in rather than taught her a lesson because she had a volleyball game on Monday and Belle is prone to loooong book reports needing constant encouraging that she is on the right path. Anyway, I suggested she do a diorama since she was doing Jim Henson. I gave her some suggestions and she shot them all down as if it was the dumbest idea ever. I suggested a time-line. She said no to that as well. I walked away saying that I made some suggestions, she didn’t like them so she should choose herself. She decided she wanted to dress up and where could she get a Muppet costume? I just stared in disbelief. She chose a time-line.

I told her to do as much as she could on Sunday and not to wait until Tuesday. Long story short (even though that ship sailed a paragraph ago), she was doing it Tuesday night. I told her that I would help her until 9 and then I was going upstairs to bed. She goofed around with the boys until about 8:50 and then came and asked me to help her. I did something I didn’t want to. I went against the grain as a Mama Bear and teacher. I told her to ask her dad and I went to bed.

Tears. Loud cries of unfairness. Stomping. Begging. It.Was.Ugly.

I heard her arguing with Leo trying to get him to help while he was watching a basketball game. I heard Tommy asking her why she waited until the last-minute (his was done on Saturday night) and Nico aggravating her by telling her she was “screwed for waiting ’til now” (yes, I’m so proud). She came upstairs hysterical several times saying Leo wasn’t helping her, the computer was frozen, she didn’t know how to do the lines on the poster board, she didn’t know how it was going to fit, she didn’t know how many pictures to use and so on. Each time I sent her back downstairs. I did go downstairs and ask Leo to help her and he said he tried and that she got upset. Is it wrong that I felt better knowing it wasn’t just me?

He ended up being her hero and he helped her until she was done. Two things happened on Tuesday night. Belle learned that when I say something, I mean it and I fell in love with Leo all over again for allowing me not rescue her again. Should we have let her go to school on Wednesday without her report done to teach her a lesson? Maybe but there is something to be said about a daughter knowing her dad is there to help her out. I remember when my dad would help me with something for school. It let me know he cared, took an interest and would be there for me when I needed him. I didn’t go running to him every time I had to do something but I knew if I really needed him, he’d be there.

I think waking up early after being up late doing it was enough of a reminder not to do that again. She was CRABBY and I couldn’t help but point out to her why and how to avoid it in the future. To say that she took those words to heart and didn’t at all stomp her feet, roll her eyes or snap at me would be a lie.

Getting ready for today’s Greek Day activities has been less than fun. She procrastinated taking a shower to get her hair ready and then expected me to do it at 10:00pm. When I did, it wasn’t the way she wanted. She has gorgeous hair (that I would pay good money at a salon to get) that I could really love fixing and playing with but it doesn’t work that way. She cries when I am doing her hair saying I am hurting her (just combing it causes her to say this) so I rarely do it anymore. She didn’t like the way I was draping the sheet. She didn’t want her butt to show (it didn’t because neither did I). She didn’t know what to wear under the sheet (ANYTHING). Finally, at 10:30 she went to bed happy and I went to bed satisfied that I made her happy. I was exhausted but satisfied.

I have a feeling I am in for a lot more exhaustion and I can only pray for more satisfaction. This was not meant to be a bash on Belle. I am working on a post that tells all of the reasons why I love her so much. This is a post for all of you moms out there that might be having the same issues with your tween girls. I don’t know about you guys but I am constantly asking, “Where is my little girl and why did she leave this tornado of emotions in her place?”

Final products of Greek Day costumes.

Final products of Greek Day costumes.


Edited to add that Tommy said the class talked the teacher out of the Quick-Write because of Greek Day.

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Nothing is Ever Routine

Ever since the note about 6th grade physicals came home, Tommy and Belle have been obsessing about them.

“How many shots do we have to get?”

“Do we have to give blood?”

“Does the doctor have to see me naked?”

“Do I have to pee in a cup?”

“How many shots?”

I put off telling them that our appointment was yesterday because I didn’t want to hear the complaining. Tommy, however, saw the calendar and saw the times with his name and Belle’s and outed me. Nevermind that Tommy has NEVER looked at the calendar…EVER. All of a sudden, Belle had a stomach ache. She thought she was coming down with what everyone else had that she escaped getting. Anything but having to go to the physical. I made the appointment for the morning and told the twins that we’d go to McDonald’s for lunch before I dropped them back off. That seemed to quiet the complaints a little. I think Belle set a new record for how many times she said, “I don’t want to do this” or “I’m scared.” Once in the waiting room, she flat-out said, “I’m freaking out.”

Not really that nervous.

Not really that nervous.

Super nervous

Super nervous












Let me take a moment to tell you that Gia was with us. Sweet, newly potty-trained, Gia was right there in the middle of everything.


Tommy’s appointment was first (they have different doctors, Tommy has the male doctor and Belle the female one) and it all seemed very routine until the nurse casually said, “Okay, now to the eye exam.” Then it was my turn to quietly freak out. See, I have glasses and I really don’t care if my kids end up with them. But having to go see another doctor when I feel like we see a slew of them right now sends my anxiety through the roof. Having to constantly remind any one of my kids to take care of their glasses or contacts will do that, too. What’s the big deal, you ask? You see, I am already fighting such a big battle daily, I don’t think I can take.one.more.thing. Tommy left and Belle immediately said, “I’m going to fail. I can’t see anything.” She then started to test herself with the magazines on the wall. She had completely psyched herself out which was freaking me out and I was already mentally trying to find room in our schedule for an eye doctor appointment.

By this time, Gia had peed and pooped three times. Seriously. No.lie. Big announcement to the nurses on her way in. It was hilariously embarrassing the first time…not so much the third time.

Tommy passed and while he waited for the nurse to come in with his one shot of Prevnar, Belle was having a slight nervous breakdown. I say slight because I had no idea what was coming. Tommy got his shot, the nurse said, “Stick around for a little bit to make sure he doesn’t have a reaction,” and she left. Tommy stood up to play catch with Gia and that’s when it all fell apart.

He quietly complained that he had a bad headache all of a sudden and his eyes hurt. I looked up at him and I noticed that all the color had drained from his face at the same time he said, “I don’t feel good. I’m dizzy.” I went and got the nurse and probably wouldn’t have gotten as scared as I did except the look on her face was fear. It was not good. She took his blood pressure and nervously said she was going to get the doctor. The doctor came in along with two nurses and said he had vasovagal response which is when the heart rate slows and the blood pressure drops and sometimes ends up with the person passing out. Thank God, he didn’t. But it was enough to scare everyone that was in the room, most of all…


If I thought she was having a nervous breakdown before, that was nothing compared to the conversation that followed Tommy’s episode. While he was on the table wincing in pain, Belle was circling the room. It sounded a little like this:

“Why? Why does that happen? Why?”

“Is that going to happen to me?”

“OhmyGod, that is totally going to happen to me.”

“We’re twins. Of course it is going to happen to me.”

“I don’t want it to happen to me.”

“I’m scared it’s going to happen to me.”

“Is it going to happen to me?”

“What if I pass out?”

“Do I have to pee in a cup?”

“Do I have to take the eye test?”

“I’m going to fail the eye test, pee all over my hand and pass out. I know it.”

“I think we should leave.”

“I want to leave.”

“Can we just go?”

“I’m freaking out!”

“You don’t even care that I’m freaking out!”


Let me just share with you that by this time, Gia peed and pooped two more times. I.kid.you.not.

When you are stuck at the doctor for 3 hours, taking pictures helps pass the time.

When you are stuck at the doctor for 3 hours, taking pictures helps pass the time.


Belle’s doctor came in examined Belle, and knowing her gave her a Sprite to sip on while she was doing it. The funniest part was that while Tommy was still on the table in pain and dizzy and sleeping, the doctor was trying to be all secretive about what happens to some girls that are Belle’s age. I finally told her that there was no such thing as privacy in our house and anything she was saying to Belle, Tommy already knew. Here’s where it all fell apart for Belle. Her doctor has a different view on vaccines and when they are to be given so Belle had to get two shots. Well, that completely set her off and she burst into tears. I really didn’t and still don’t like that two of my kids have different schedules for vaccines. Tommy’s doctor doesn’t believe in giving the TDaP until they go into high school. Belle’s believes in doing it now. Tommy’s didn’t say anything about Hep A, Belle’s recommended it.

After Tommy’s response, I said fine to the TDaP for Belle so she got the Prevnar and that one and was completely distraught with the added one. There was a long wait, so long that we thought they forgot about her and in that time, so much freaking out. I am actually proud of myself that I didn’t lose my patience with her stomping and yelling and crying. She got the shots and immediately said, “I think I’m fine. Wait…I have a headache but I hit my head on the window sill. It’s from that right? Not the shot, right?”

After drinking some Sprite and eating some candy (because both the nurses and the doctors told Tommy that “a little sugar would make him feel better”) and taking it easy, Tommy’s blood pressure went back to normal but the dizziness persisted so we had to stay for him to keep getting checked out. We got to the doctor’s office at 9:15 and didn’t walk out until 12:30. I’ll let all of you mothers that have ever had to be at a doctor’s office for a fraction of that shudder at that thought.

Deciding the twins were getting two much attention, Gia, herself felt a little faint.

Deciding the twins were getting two much attention, Gia, herself felt a little faint.

We went through a drive-thru and for the rest of the day, the twins used getting shots as a reason to have to eat a lot of sugar. Tommy slept the entire day only waking up to aggravate Gia a little. Belle complained the rest of the day that she didn’t feel good and was worse off because she couldn’t move BOTH her arms and Tommy could at least move his right arm.

I needed a nap, a glass of wine, and a Xanax after that morning but instead got playing with babies (her dolls), lemon water and an Advil for the splitting headache I had.

Why did I ever think that a routine physical with my kids was going to be just that? After 15 years at this gig, don’t I know better by now?

So what are your thoughts? Weird that two doctors in the same practice have different plans for vaccinations? Did your kids get the TDaP at 11 or high school? Did your kids get Hep A? Did you ever pass out from getting a shot?

Edited to add that I just called the middle school and TDaP is required. Darn the doctor for not knowing that and now I have to take him back. Crap.

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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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The Elf Revisited

God help me, the elf is back.

If you haven’t already read our first dealing with the elf this year, click here.

Belle was really struggling with knowing the truth and I have to hand it to her in going all out to keep believing. She came up with a way for her to still be able to believe. She wrote a letter to Santa. In the letter, she stated that I told her elves weren’t real and that she knows they are and he knows they are busy but could he please, please, please send her an elf that is 110% real? She wrote that she still believed in both him and the elves. She went on to ask if he could send her an elf that answers questions like her other elf (which she now knows was me) but in an elf way. Then my darling pre-teen daughter said, “P.S. Can I have my own elf because I wrote you a letter?” REALLY??? Then she added, “P.S.S. Also, if you want to write back, you can.” Great. Just great.

She showed me the letter last night and I assured her that Santa would see it if she put it under the tree. I told her I knew she was upset about the whole thing and then gently  told her I didn’t think she wanted an elf. I think she wants a pen pal and that even if Santa sent her one, she had to be prepared that it was one that came in and did what she was supposed to and left. I also said that Santa sends one elf per family because there are not enough real elves to go around. She looked at me in horror.

In case I haven’t been clear in past posts; I. HATE. THE. ELF.

But I love my daughter so there I was this morning typing a letter from Santa:


Dear Belle,

I have read your letter and I can see that it means a lot to you for me to send you the spirit of one of my real elves. Since you have been a good girl helping your mom so much with your sister, I am going to do that for you. I am sorry to say at this time of year it is very hard for me to send an elf that has a lot of time to answer questions. She might be able to answer one or two. We are very busy getting ready to bring all the children of the world their gifts. Be good. Remember, I am watching all the time.



Nothing like making Santa sound like a stalker. Plus I forgot to address the whole, “I want my own elf” thing. And I set out the elf but forgot to put a letter out from her. UGGGHHHHH!!!!

I am pretty sure I could have had an “elf free” season for one more year. Gia could care less. She is more in awe of the blow-up snowman in our front yard and the light up Santa that is twice as tall as she is.

I have to cut this short…I have to go write a letter from an elf before she wakes up and then try and hide the evidence that it was me that did it.

Our elf’s name is Kiki. We should have named her Chaos since that is what she is sure to bring this year.

What about you? Are you doing the Elf on a shelf? Does your elf bring presents (mine brings candy mostly which should make for a great Monday with Gia)  or cause mischief (mine does not…four kids are enough to clean up after)?


Edited to add that there were tears anyway. She didn’t want Kiki. That’s Gia’s elf. She wanted her own. She was crying and stomping and saying that she’s happy that she has an elf. I looked at her in complete disbelief and said, “You don’t look like you are happy. There are not enough elves for everyone to have their own.” She snapped at me that she knows. I. CANNOT. WIN.

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More Elf Drama

In case you missed last year’s elf drama check it out before reading further:

Elves and Cookies

Nico and Elf Drama

If you move around the site around that time, you’ll see a few other posts having to do with Santa and the elf. It was pretty much a nightmare. The end of the saga ended with Tommy finding a bag of gifts from Santa and in order to keep the magic alive, I said they were from the elf and that the elf wasn’t real. Belle was devastated but to be honest, I was happy not to continue the charade.

About a week ago, Gia and I were shopping at Target and she saw the Elf on a Shelf display. We began to discuss it with her telling me in a very aggravated voice, “I not a elf. I a people.” I was a little thrilled that she wasn’t into it but there was only one girl elf left so just in case, I bought it. There was only one elf movie so I bought that, too.  Yesterday, I was at Target again (I know…I am there too much but it was the St. Charles one and I was meeting my sister. I’ve been trying to shop a little each time for Christmas so it doesn’t seem so overwhelming) and my sister had this big conversation and what do you know…she wanted one. Great.

She watched the movie with the twins. She named the elf “Kiki” which I thought was pretty cute. I told her that for now the elf was just going to “play” with her and hide for her to find her. No mention of gifts. She and Tommy had a lot of fun with the whole thing. You could see Tommy being excited because Gia was. Living through her (isn’t that what we all do?).

Then this morning came and Isabella, Isabella, Isabella. She started in on the 100 questions of the elf and its magic. I made the tragic mistake of not watching the movie and so I had no idea what it said the magic was or came from or how it worked. She said she was confused because I bought it. I said, “Yes, well you can buy the elf and then in December, Santa sends an elf’s spirit to be your elf for the season.” She stared at me in horror because apparently that is not what the movie said. She gave me the sassy answer of “What are you TALKING about?” I remembered that I already told her that the elf wasn’t real last year and in trying to get them off to school, I really didn’t need to deal with that discussion sooo….

I pulled a Mom of the Year and said, “You already know, Belle, that the elf isn’t real. Why are you asking me all of these questions?” Devastation and tears followed. So did the moaning of “I didn’t want to know.”

What I didn’t understand and still don’t is why, if she didn’t want to know the truth, why did she keep questioning me? I guess she wanted me to come up with an elaborate lie to help her still believe but in the rush of morning chaos, I couldn’t. Mom fail.

The sobbing. The crying. She just could not be consoled. How could I do this to her? How could I ruin this for her? When all of her friends are talking about their elf, she can’t contribute because she knows the truth so now she’ll feel left out. It’s all my fault. I am the worst mom ever.

I tried telling her that it will still be fun because we have Gia and many more years of her believing (God, help me) and they can help me hide the elf and they’ll still get gifts (God, help me again) because it is a part of her believing. That made her cry harder because she said she is not a good liar. Ugh.

Tommy looked at me sympathetically and said, “Even if she didn’t know this year, she’s going to find out next year so what is the big deal?” She yelled, “I’d have one more year of believing! I didn’t want to know!”

All before school.

I hate the elf.



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Some Tidbits: Massages, Leaves and a Video

It’s been pretty crazy around here. A few things going on over here have gotten lost in the shuffle so I figured today would be a good day to catch up.

I bought my first Groupon. I was so excited. It was $80 for three 1 hour-long massages.  Getting a massage is a treat for me. I usually get one a year so the thought of getting three made me giddy. I have a friend from high school that is a massage therapist and at our reunion he announced, “Massage is a necessity, not a luxury” and I always remembered that because it is so true. Anyway, I looked forward to the massage. I bought it in September and couldn’t get an appointment until the end of October. I kept thinking, this is going to be good if they are that booked up. I went last Tuesday and let me tell you…worst massage I have ever gotten. It was a lovely, small Russian woman who I am pretty sure might have killed people in Russia using her bare hands to dismember her victims. I told her in the beginning that I like a lighter touch. If that was her lighter touch, I shudder to think what the regular one was. I told her again that it was too hard and she adjusted for a minute and then went right back to tearing my limbs apart. I kept screaming in my head, THIS IS NOT RELAXING! Then I heard myself say out loud, “I just can’t seem to relax” and she took that to mean do it harder. The form asked if I had any aversions to touch (tickling) and I answered no. I didn’t know that I should have put I have an aversion to pain. Worst 55 minutes spent on a day that Gia was in school.

We have a very happy twin (Belle) and a very sad one (Tommy). We woke up at 4:15 am on Saturday to get Belle ready and to the Sears Centre by 6:15am for her cheerleading competition. Then I had to watch 64 cheer routines until we found out she got first place and a bid to State. So happy for her! Tommy went undefeated in the regular season but lost his game on Sunday meaning his hopes for a rematch with Bartlett in the Superbowl were dashed. It was a heart-breaking way to end such a great season. He was crushed but didn’t have much time to dwell on it because his basketball season started right after he lost the football game.

I got an email last week that the men in our neighborhood were interested in starting a bible study and that some of these men wanted to do service-type projects for the elderly, the sick, single moms or anyone that needs encouragement. They mentioned raking leaves as one of the things they wanted to do. When I read the email, I thought about how nice that was that the men were doing that. Imagine my surprise and horror when I get another email to me and the neighbor that sent out the original email about the men’s group that is from my dear husband saying, “I’ve been trying to get my kids to rake for 3 weeks and it still isn’t done. Send them on over.” I. WAS. MORTIFIED. I quickly responded with, “Nevermind. Leo and the kids are fully capable of raking our leaves. Let the men help those that really need it.” Then I sorta, kinda yelled at Leo asking him what he was thinking and he gave me some story about only seeing the title of the email and reading the last line or something as to how he misunderstood.  And yes, on Sunday, the men showed up and did my lawn. I was/am so embarrassed. Of course no one was home here to even go out and help them because no one is ever home. On the bright side, through my embarrassment, my yard looks the best it’s looked in a while. Thanks again, Men!

This little video makes me smile. You get a little of me actually saying no and sticking to it, a little of Gia’s funny expressions on her face and a lot of dancing. It’s a little long but cracks me up so I am sharing it (no one wants to be a Debbie Downer all the time).

YouTube Preview Image


What about you? What is going on in your world?

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