Been ….a while….

4Boys

Sooooo its been an age, an eon, a while, a LONG DAMN TIME…since I have posted. I blame 4 boys, full-time job, house and anxiety….and video games…shhhhhhh (DAMN YOU SKYRIM!…AND FABLE II,III…AND WITCHER III….omg stop). But I’m getting back into it! SO lets see what has happened the last couple of years.

THE BOYS

Charlie

Charlie is now entering 2nd grade. This is kid is awesome at school. He loves gaining teacher approval, is good at listening and learning, can use some help with writing but just rocks at the school stuff. He LOVES Minecraft, Roblox and Pokemon cards. I’m trying to get him into a sport but he tells me he is not an athlete. So we shall see. He is my key helper. Helps with his brothers. Helps with housework. He also likes to be a pain in #2’s (Ethan’s) butt and taunts him, but also they are besties. He is convinced he is smarter than me ( and not even a damn teenager) because he is in school and I am not. Brat. But yeah, love em. Very laid back. Very eager to please.

Ethan

Ethan. oh Ethan. This kid is a charmer. He charms me, his gramma, his Uncle Jay, random strangers and waitresses. He just walks up to people sits next to them and starts talking to them. He starts kindergarten this year….it will be…interesting. He gives ZERO F*CK$ about what other people think, so is not going to be interested in making his teacher happy. If he is engaged and interested, he will do great. If not….he will do what ever the heck he wants. So … I’m worried. We shall see. Maybe the charm will help him out. He loves what his big brother loves. Minecraft, Roblox, Pokemon. He also loves to taunt and torture HIS little brothers. The Charm and the Adorbs go a long way, but working on getting his focus more in gear.

Miles

Miles …. my pretty wonderful sweetheart. This lil guys is shy, loves cuddles and loves his alone time. He is my lil introvert with a curly mop of hair. He smiles and just makes you calm. Miles loves books, loves Team Ummie Zoomie (Or however you spell it), and LOVES as in LOOOOVES cars. He sleeps with a lil matchbox limo my mom got him. He is crazy smart, knows his letters and how to shape them. Knows his colors, shapes, numbers. BUT has a bit of a speech delay. Some of his sentences come out “mama, blahbmamahdbablababa” and then some come out “mama, look car!” or “JackJack, my turn with the tablet” (YES WE TABLET! my house my rules) but I definitely think he is behind but with some more focused time, I think he will get some strong progression. He will be starting preschool with his brother this fall.

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Jack, Miles’ fraternal twin, like Ethan…is a charmer. He has DIMPLES! DIMPLES!!!!! They are so honkin cute. He is a little bossy pants. ” Mama, Finish your food!”; “Daddy, No, we watch SuperWhy!” ; “Charlie, Get down from the counter!”. But he is also crazy into cuddles. This kid will cuddle up w. me on the couch anytime. And my goodness is this kid smart. He can figure out mechanics, letters out of straws, puzzles. Also has a bit of a speech delay but not as pronounced as Miles. He has a Sourpatch Kids relationship with his twin. On one side, he bites his brother, takes stuff from him and then on the other side if Miles cries, he is first to bring Miles his blankie. He always asks for two snacks or treats so he can bring one to Miles. If someone is being mean or even telling Miles ‘No” he gets all bossy pants and tells that person off.

Twins

They are adorable lil twinsies!

So we have my husband and me with the kids but we also have our au pair. We had Michel from Germany for 2 years and he just left so now we have Renato from Brazil.

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Michel has become a huge part of our life, we are so sad to seem him go and I am making sure that he comes and visits later this year. He’s like a little brother to me now! And the boys adore him. He is back in Germany and starting school. We had many great adventures including him coming out of the closet while he was in America. It was great to witness his getting to know himself! Talked with him through that journey and different guys he dated, different heartbreaks. And we got to binge watch Lost and Game oF Thrones together…not to mention all the super geeky movies I made the poor guy watch.

Now we have Renato, also in the pic, to the left. Renato is from Brazil and the kids have taken to him wonderfully. I am looking forward to the family having great experiences with him as well as we get to know him and I get to regale him with all my 80 geeky movies all over again!

So that is what we have been up to. Last I posted we had just taken on Michel and we had recently moved to a larger house to accommodate the crowd. The boys share rooms in pairs, have a guest room, master, 2 offices and the au pair room. Au pair gets their own bathroom, mini fridge and the room is opposite the other rooms so some privacy as well.  The best part of the move is all the places to hike! Ill do a post on some of our hiking adventures soon. We are further into the country and I LOVE IT. Farms, farm fresh eggs and veggies, wildlife, trees…ohh trees!, wildflowers, exploring….oh so awesome.

More to come shortly…I PROMISE!

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Holy Cats….Unemployment for the first time in …15 years

BouncingBoysSo I lost my job. The company I was working for had to lay some of us off. It kinda sounds dirty…so you got LAID….off? you got OFF….of a job….? Yup My mind continues to operate in 12 year old boy mode. I blame my 4 boys. Well..5 if you include the husband….6 if you include Michel our 19 year old au pair from Germany…so its me in this house with ….6 boys…perhaps I need a blog name change?

On the upside..this is the first time I have been sans employment since I was 15 years old. Wow I have been working for the past 10 years…ok 15….OMG more than 15…I WILL NOT GIVE AN EXACT NUMBER! So this is actually turning out to be a much needed break. A time to reflect on what I really want to do. A time to grow my sk ills like using codecombat.com to grow my java skills. A time to level my WOW characters as they deserve! dammit.

OH YEAH AND I have kids…so I am using this time to hang with them and make myself queen in my household (not that I wasn’t already..just reinforcing my awesomeness) So Charlie (5) and Ethan (3) have been hiking a lot with me. The twins (almost 2…OMG) are now climbing out of their cribs..escaping their room…and WRECKING HAVOC EVERYWHERE. On a high note…since I have had the free time, Ethan has become potty trained. YAY!

But the twins continue to be the most biologically waste challenged children I have ever encountered. They poop in the tub EVERY TIME. They strip naked and throw their diapers like mardi gras  beads at each other EVERY MORNING AND NAP. They are FACINATED with the sand box that is the cats litter box and no matter how we hide/disguise/007 it, they FIND A AWAY!

Luckily they are cute. Luckily they are the most cuddly lil monkeys on the planet. Luckily they are my babies and I wont be having any more tiny ones. So they are forgiven…often…at least as long as I have wine in the house.

Luckily I also have our au pair, Michel. The dude is a freakin’ baby whisperer. They all adore him. He has that big brother vibe they all love and he is crazy about them.

So yeah, I cant complain too much, I am unemployed and I have a rockstar watching my kids 40-45 hours a week. So I really get a chance to relax for the first time in ages, get some projects done, look for a job and OMG SLEEP IN! HOLY CRAP! THE SLEEPING IN! I forgot how F’ING AWESOME THAT IS! Granted..my sleeping in is like 9 am…but its GLOORIOUS! Then I get on my job sites and my javascript/python apps to build on my skills…but that is in the comfort of my bed…with out the 4 adorable monkeys distracting the crap out of me. Its pretty damn glorious and definitely helps with the optimism.

Not to mention…its spring.

It was frakin 70 degrees today!

While my anxiety driven side is working my ass hard to find a good job…the part of me that knows I need this break is taking it all in! And I’m training…running …hiking..walking…its awesome and feels great!

 

The First 4boys Broken Limb

Ethan broke his arm a couple weeks ago…but I was CLUELESS. So I guess he was jumping from his dresser to his bed and fell on his arm. We had assumed that he just sprained his wrist. He would hold it and didn’t like it being moved. So we made him a sling out of one of my scarfs and waited to see how it felt the next day.

 

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Here is Ethan with his lovely yellow silk scarf sling…while babies climb on the table…and yeah I have NO IDEA what that is stuck to his back.

So the next day, which was New Years day, he still didn’t want to use his arm for anything and we decided it was time to get him checked out. He charmed the emotional pants off of every one there! The lady up front who was helping us, loved him. When we were done w. her and being sent back, Ethan said ‘Thank you Doctor!” and she was just tickled, and replied, “Well Im not a doctor, but your welcome!” Then in the observation room, the nurse walks in and Ethan goes up to her and says ” WOW PRETTY BLUE EYES!” OMG she melted.

The nurse checked him out, and verified that she believes its a break so they set up time in the X-ray. We go back to the X-ray, had him lay down on a table and the X-Ray up above started making some noises (which kinda freaked him out) and we had to keep him still for about 5 minutes…AKA ETERNITY. They were able to show us the pics right away and then the doctor came and explained what we were looking at. It was a small crack in the bone.

Image from: http://www.bonetalks.com/kidssupracondylar/

They believe when he fell he landed on his elbow, which caused the break.

The put him in a temporary cast, or splint, which was kinda cool, the took out of a large box, which had this material in a roll and measured the length of his arm and then the length of the material and cut it. They then opened the cloth and wrapped it around his arm, then wrapped THAT w. a wrap and put it all in a cute dinosaur sling. We had instructions to go see a pediatric orthopedist the next day for a real cast.

ethan dino sling

The next day we went to the ortho and they put the full cast on him. This cast was called a long arm cast since it went from the knuckles to the upper arm. It was made of plaster of paris. First the wrap the arm in thick fluffy cotton then wrap wetted plaster stripes around the cotton and let it dry in place. We had instructions to make sure it didn’t get wet…which made bathtime FUN! But other wise, he was totally cool w. it. He called it his big bandaid, and loved to use his broken arm as an excuse. “Ethan, clean your room” ” But mommy, broken arm!” “Ethan, Finish your dinner!” “But, broken arm!” and then would proceed to jump off the couch.  He defiantly didn’t let it get in his way, and he slept great even though he had that big honking think in the way.

About 3 weeks later he went in, had an X-ray and the doctor determined that the cast could be taken off! Yay! Although the break is still there, but much diminished, is still healing. SO my crazed 3 year is not allowed to bounce, jump, play, roughhouse or anything else that his crazy 3 year old self may want to do. Kinda wished they could have kept it on if thats the case! But I get that we had to take it off so his arm is being used as well.

SO that is the story of the 1st 4boys broken bone! Im sure there will be many more! But learned alot from the experience. A broken bone IS NOT OBVIOUS! If your kiddo isn’t using his limb, definitely bring him in to the ER to get checked out! I did not expect a broken limb when we went it, thought it would just be a sprain. He wasn’t in pain unless it got hit. He wasn’t misformed or arm in a funky way. So yeah…I was clueless. Learn from my inexperience dumbassery!

Step 1: Diet Changes

I’m attempting to go mostly Paleo this month. This last month I have been doing baby steps. I went full paleo last year for 4 months and lost 15 pounds, along w. 6 inches off my waist….but then Christmas happened and I fell off the Paleo wagon.

So last month I cut out Dairy and Gluten and started eliminating delicious calorie bomb beverages like soda, beer, lattes and my kids juice boxes (yes I LOVE THEM DAMMIT). I am keeping goat cheese very lightly and the occasional glass of wine…cuz yeah… I have 4 boys. My therapist (yes, I have a therapist, she helps me to not run away to Mexico) suggested the start w Dairy and Gluten due to a possibility of Leaky Gut Syndrome. I will post more on this later, but to reduce anxiety the first approach we are taking is to clean up my diet. We are going very holistic w. anxiety treatment. (I will probably do a post on this as well) My husband is VERY happy that I am cutting out dairy due to the evil noxious fumes that occur when I dare entertain a cheese pizza or pint of ice cream…yeah… its gross.

SO: NO MORE ICE CREAM! NO MORE PASTA! NO MORE DELICIOUS SOURDOUGH BREAD SLATHERED IN BUTTER! (instead its my cravings slathered in tears)

Regular beverage replacement has been pretty much water and tea, which is cool cuz I love both. Give me a cup of Earl Grey with lemon or Green Tea straight up and I’m a happy gal.

This month I am kicking it up another notch. I will be eliminating all processed foods (except the occasional protein bar for mornings I don’t have time to make breakfast…like this morning), taking out rice, potatoes, processed fruits and cereal. Big focus on upping my water intake.

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SO WHAT THE HELL ELSE IS THERE IN LIFE?

Breakfast: Today I had a protein bar and a cup of tea, so not perfect, but yesterday I had banana pancakes…as in 2 bananas and 2 eggs mashed up w a bit of cinnamon and fried up like a pancake…it was delicious!!

Lunch: Salad (I hate iceberg lettuce so I go w. fresh greens like arugula) w. pecans, chicken and a vinaigrette dressing

Dinner: Chicken roasted w. lemon slices and a side of asparagus and sweet potato hash.

IM BACK!

After months of laziness and not working out….IM BACK. I have been a total bump on a log, a bug in a bed…..conserving my energy for my crazy horde…has been my excuse…but I was just letting the anxiety and stuff take over for a while there and not focusing on the stuff that can make it go away!

Its crazy…like a catch 22….I KNOW exercise makes the anxiety go away..its makes me feel better…it makes me NOT FAT….it makes me a better mom….but once you fall out of routine its SO HARD TO GET BACK IN!

SO after months of saying I am getting back in…I am finally in..I rowed and did leg day yesterday and even that one time made me feel so better. I realized I MISSED the sore muscles! I MISSED the adrenaline rush. I MISSED the positive effects of working out!

BUT IM IN THE BACK IN THE GAME AND POSTS WILL START AGAIN!

Art….AKA Getting My Creative Side ON!

I recently read the book “Where’d You Go, Bernadette?” and there was a quote in there that really resonated w. me:

People like you must create. If you don’t create, Bernadette, you will become a menace to society.”

So…in efforts to not become more of a menace to society 🙂 and to have some fun ‘me’ time I have started back up in an old hobby of mine. Drawing. Might even do some watercolors, we shall see.  I set up a part of my office as a drawing station and even set up an area where the boys can color and draw as well. Charlie and Ethan love hanging out w. me and drawing. Its so sweet! I might take Charlie out sometime to draw some trees sometime soon!

Here are some of the sketches and drawings I have done over the last couple of weeks. Nothing fancy, mostly just sketches of photos and wildflowers I found on our walks at the forest preserve.

Pencil drawing of Queen Anne’s Lace

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Wild berry branch in colored pencil

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Black Eyed Susan in colored pencil

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Clover in colored pencil

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I have no idea what kinda plant this is…but it has been drawn!

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Doodling the flowers in ink

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OK I was gonna put in some sketches I did from some photos of the kids…but yeah..they are NOT good enough to post!

Masters of Science in Project Management….AKA Nope, not an MBA….

I have decided that instead of going for my MBA that I am going for MS in Project Management. YUP! I’m jumping in! I start next week.

So we this instead of an MBA? I have zero interest in finance, economics, accounting etc. and when it comes down to it, the two things I like the most about my career path is organizing data (Hey! Its not OCD its therapy for anxiety and chaos!) and managing projects. I want to strengthen the project side. And I just like school. And I want a pretty Master’s feather in my cap. And saying I am a MASTER OF SCIENCE… will just be F’ing cool. I will so introduce myself like, Hi…I am Chantal… MASTER OF SCIENCE! And then they will be all like, oh yeah, how do you make kryptonite..and then Ill be like, um, WRONG SCIENCE SUCKA! And they will be like, what kinda science? And I will be like…um Project Management…..ITS A SCIENCE! NAY.. AN ART! RECOGNIZE MY GLORIOUS FEATHER IN MY CAP!

So yup, here we go. I decided to not go down the prestigious/expensive school path (Northwestern/UIC)…cuz people. And am going w. the online classes cuz with 4 kids I need to do this when I can. Like when they are asleep, or during lunch at work, or its a GREAT excuse for mommy time. “Honey, I need you to watch the kids for a couple hours…gotta study!” And w. online school…there are less people.

I just hope people don’t hear online school and think…oh thats not like REAL school…cuz according to my peeps that have done both ways, they are both pretty equal in the education/hard/homework/project department. So we shall see.

Also w. this path I will get my PMP which is something that says you are Queen of Project Management. So I will have all sorts of feathers and crowns, maybe a tiara.  And I will feel like a ROCKSTAR.

Wish me luck!

Bench Reupholstery….AKA PROJECTS!

I did another quickie project yesterday at the house and love how it turned out!

BEFORE BENCH REDO:

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I knew I would need a staple gun, scissors and fabric. Wasn’t sure what else so just grabbed a bunch of random stuff…

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Flipped the bench upside down (rubbed its belly before operating).

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The seat part came out like, crazy easy. I though I was gonna have to pry or unscrew or something, nope, just came right out.

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I started staples on the long sides first, pulling the fabric tight and pulling the trigger.

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As expected, the corners were a lil tricky, but I thnk I did a decent job.

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Continued stapling around the whole honkin thing…hand was SoRE

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Flipped if back over and TADA:

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Charlie Approves!

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Im debating painting the legs…maybe gray, gold or white…what do y’all think?

Ooo and I have some left over fabric so will probably make a couple pillows!

First Day of School…..AKA What to do When Your Lil Guy is Shy

I will preface this with, I should have planned better and got there good and early. Instead we got there right when the kids were lined up and walking in. Ugh.

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Anyway, So today was Charlie’s first day of Kindergarten! Last night we packed his backpack full of his supplies, picked out his outfit and got all excited about Kindergarten! This morning when he woke up, he was so ready! Wanted to get dressed immediately. Ethan wanted to go to, so dressed him up and got him his mini back pack and the 3 of us walked to school.

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It took a bit longer than I thought, even though its like, right around the corner, but my boys are slow walkers! We got there right at 8:15 when the kids are going in.

Charlie WOULD NOT GO IN. He went a corner of the building saying “Mom, I don’t want to go in. Its scary in there”

I tried coaxing him, telling him how brave he is, what a big kid, how fun kindergarten is going to be….nope! Wouldnt work. Some of the facility that was lined up outside tried to help out and talk to him, but he would have nothing to do w them! The social worker came and helped and he liked her right off the bat, but still wouldn’t go in. We showed him his classroom from the outside. I brought his backpack inside and put it in his cubby. NOPE!

So the social worker suggested that we go for a walk outside to the park.

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We went there, he played for a little bit while she chatted with him. Charlie warmed up to her and she convinced him to come to her office where she has a trampoline and toys and a cool bouncy chair for him to play on. This is where we parted. I gave him a kiss and hug good by and he went with the social worker to hang out.

She just called me and let me know she got him in the classroom! And he seemed to be loving it now!

Oh my shy guy! I am so sorry I didn’t think to get you there nice and early so you would have more time to warm up to it! I should have known better, I am the same way and I have seen him do this before. Ugh Mommy Fail!

I can’t wait to hear about his day when class is out though! I know he is going to love it.

SO, what I have learned for going to school with a shy introvert such as myself:

1) Get there early, like 30 minutes early, to allow for a warm up period

2) Maybe call the social worker ahead of time so that they have a heads up

3) Make sure lil dude gets to meet his teacher before hand and maybe try to hook up w. one of the other students in class so he can have a buddy.

4) Don’t make him feel bad for being shy, its totally ok and there is nothing wrong with it. I was very big on encouragement and letting him know his feelings were totally acceptable and that its important to communicate them.