Mommy Guilt

Okay maybe I should have titled this blog post “The Curse of the Cavity” (you will understand if you just keep reading). I swear my kids can never catch a break with health issues. Yes, I am sooooo thankful that it is small issues. I know that it could be much worse. Trust me, I pray every night that their issues are minor and not life threatening. But man poor Ben. How come one kid gets so much thrown on him? And why does it all have to happen to the kid that can’t handle anything medical?

Ben was born with speckled lentigenous nevis (what??). Basically it’s a cluster of moles/freckles that form within one large mole. Well his large mole just happens to take up 80% of his right arm. So instead of all of those moles forming in one small mole, they now form all over his arm. He’s great about it and never complains, it’s just a part of him.  Right now it is all cosmetic but he has to get it checked yearly (oh wait now its every 6 months at his new doctor) to make sure nothing turns cancerous because you know it runs in the family (he can thank me for that one).

Here’s a picture. You can see how right above his hand the arm is darker all of the way up to slightly above his elbow. What you can’t see is that there’s about 100 freckles/moles in that space.

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The kid also has a small cataract and vision issues and needs glasses. I was so worried about them but he looks so damn cute in glasses and I love them. He hates sports goggles but we are working on it. It’s been a process but I can’t imagine him without those cute specs on his face

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Photo Credit: Photography by Jen Davis

Oh and did I mention that the kid also has epilepsy? Yeah throw that one in there too.

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The poor kid just can’t catch a break.

We have been going to the dentist for years but he has never cooperated enough for a real cleaning. So after switching dentists last year I knew that if they didn’t change we would have to consider laughing gas just for a regular cleaning. Thankfully last year he did great and I thought that we were over the hump. I was wrong. Very, very wrong.  I knew going to the dentist today was going to be rough. I noticed one of his molars was turning a shade of gray.  Which is never a good sign.

Both boys had appointments today but I wasn’t worried about Sean. He has great teeth, but I guess that I should have been worried. Ben doesn’t do medical stuff so it was a struggle just to get through the cleaning and the sealants on the molars. I had to stay with him the entire time calming him down. Thankfully Sean didn’t need me and breezed right through the appointment. Once both boys were done and I finally talked to the dentist, I thought that I was about to pass out from the final report. 6 cavities between the two of them. Sean had 4 and Ben had 2. What the hell????? I’m the one that brushes their teeth so I feel like I’ve let them down and failed them. I never let them do it on their own because they are young and I don’t trust their brushing. Well one of them is horrible at it and the other isn’t too bad. Well I guess that I am bad at brushing their teeth too. Or it could be the candy? Or that they refuse to floss? But I feel like I need to take the blame this time around. Mom guilt 100%

So now I have to figure out how to get Ben into that dentist chair next week for his fillings. Mommy and Daddy are definitely spending the extra dough for some laughing gas for that one.

Oh and Sean with 4?? What? He has the cutest, tiniest and whitest teeth on earth. He’s a great brusher and he has so much space in between his teeth that I never expected cavities. But I guess those pesky new molars are collecting all of his food. Which is surprising to me since he barely eats because of his ADHD meds.

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What a day. Thank goodness I have some wine left and my mom was here to help and to buy us all Chick-Fil-A after that bad report. After the appointments I just couldn’t concentrate because I felt horrible for them. Especially Ben because it’s just one more trauma that I have to put this kid through.

But like I said in the beginning it could be much worse and I am so thankful that it’s only a few cavities but man can the kid just catch a break please!!!!! Oh and because of our dental plan it’s going to cost a small fortune for these cavities. Add in the laughing gas and whew it’s overwhelming. I wonder if I can pay to get some of that gas too!!!??? Back when I was a kid I never had gas to get through cavities. I dealt with the needle.  These kids have the life! Laughing gas and simple flouride treatments. They don’t even have to suffer through the duck mask of the fluoride treatments. It’s so much simpler these days.

So I guess that our future will be filled with floss, brushing 20 times a day and less sweets!!! Oh and I wonder what the dentist will have to say about this kids teeth next month. I’m afraid to find out. He’s the one with the sweet tooth.

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Vacation Should Be A Four Letter Word

Vacation. The word sounds relaxing and exciting, right? When you think of vacation, you think of a warm beach, a crystal clear pool, a snowy ski slope and of course oceans of wine. Am I right?

As a kid I always remembered our vacations as a fun escape from school and fun with the family. It was a time to go somewhere fun and new and exciting. We always had great ones like Washington DC, Myrtle Beach, Skyline Drive, Disney, Williamsburg and Busch Gardens, and a million other ones in between. I guess that they were such a blast in my memory book because I was the kid and not the parent. I didn’t have to plan entertainment, plan for car rides, traffic, book hotels and figure out ways to pay for everything. Everything just always seemed to flow seamlessly as a kid. Now that we are adults and we have to plan these vacations with our own kids, vacations might as well be a four letter word. Because I have used a ton of them during the past few vacations. Vacations are tough.

When my husband and I start planning out our next vacation will be, we go into it with as much excitement as a kid waking up on Christmas morning.  It’s fun trying to decide where we are going to blow our money each year. We used to take annual trips to Avalon, NJ but now we have been trying out a few new places. We have done Hershey Park, Rehoboth Beach and we were even going to attempt Disney.  We had the trip 75% booked, but then we ended up buying a house and couldn’t do the trip.  And as I look back I am probably happy that we didn’t go, who the hell wants to spend a 10 days in Disney with their kids?? Oh yeah, I guess a lot of people! We were definitely sad to give up the trip but we couldn’t pass up on upgrading to a new house.

This summer we did get to enjoy a few days in Lake George (with 2 out of 3 kids) and then Rehoboth Beach with all 3 boys. Lake George was awesome and so relaxing.  Then spending a few days at Rehoboth Beach boardwalk with all of the cheap rides, arcades, the beach and the hotel pool was great. I always like to take pictures of our trip and post them online. But not everything I post is as pretty as it seems. Yes, of course I post the fun, sweet pictures, but we all know that vacations can be pure hell with kids — especially 3 boys!  Does anyone else feel this way? Or is it just me? Why is vacationing with kids the most difficult thing in the world? I mean look at these sweet little faces from the summer, how could they cause so much trouble and drama?

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What you don’t see in the pictures that I post (and what everyone in the world posts online) is that 4 minutes before this one of them was screaming about sunscreen in their eyes and the other one was fighting with his brother because he splashed him.   It may look like we had a picture perfect trip, but trust me, we didn’t.  That’s the thing with online social media.  Everything seems perfect in everyone’s lives…. but it’s not. And that’s okay. I get it that no one wants to talk about the fighting that goes on before and after the perfect shot. But I don’t mind talking about it. Here’s our little story of our last vacation!

Lake George October 2016

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The boys had a four day weekend from school and we thought that it would be a great time to go on another trip. Four days away sounded nice. Like I said when we booked it, we were happy and thrilled to get away. We decided that we loved Lake George so much this summer  that we would go back again in the fall — with all three boys.

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Ben missed it over the summer because, well to put it nicely, we all needed a break. He definitely needed a break from us and his brothers.  Don’t get me wrong, mom guilt was with me the entire time we were away, but it was necessary and we all ended up having a great time. He wasn’t in 1/2 of our pictures because he wasn’t even with us for half of our trip.  Like I said, vacation is not always fun and exciting. It’s just like life but in a very expensive location.  Hey, he enjoyed time with his grandparents and we enjoyed some time with a little less fighting.  It was a win-win situation. Would I do that again, probably not but at the time in our lives, we all needed to regroup.

Well as this fall mini vacation got closer, I was becoming very nervous for a variety of reasons. The main being that the boys had lost their iPads the week before for bad behavior and there was no way that we were going to cave and give them back. We had done that one too many times and this time we had to stick to our punishment. So this meant 5 hours in a car (each way) with three kids and no electronics. This mommy had to plan. So when did I plan their in car entertainment???? ummmm 11pm two nights before our trip. Thank goodness for some great ideas from friends and for Amazon same day delivery.

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Well the day arrived, we were set to head up to Lake George! I was so sick to my stomach. Wasn’t vacation supposed to be exciting? Why was it such a hassle this time? But after we got on the road, something strange happened on the way up to New York – the kids were good. Sean read his book for almost three hours. And if you know this kid it’s not easy to get him to sit and read. He finally finished his very first chapter book! I was practically in tears. Owen watched some tv and then took a very long nap. And Ben worked on a Road Trip Journal and a few other mini activity books. He also spent a lot of time drawing pictures. It was strange but for almost 5 hours the car was silent. It was amazing. Of course I knew that this wouldn’t last the entire trip. So I sat there in silence and savored every moment of it.

A happy moment in the car vs. the moment his brother started to annoy him at the end of the trip by resting his feet up around his seat. See I can post the nice pictures vs. the reality.

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We finally arrived at our hotel (which is awesome by the way – The Holiday Inn) and then all hell broke loose. There’s just something about hotels that makes kids lose their shit. It must be the beds that they can jump across. Or the fancy bath soaps, or maybe it’s the key cards that they all fight over using. Who the hell knows but whatever air they pump into the rooms makes these boys turn into wild animals.  So after we unpacked and rested for a short time, we walked a bit around the hotel to show Ben all of the fun things.  Then we hopped in the car and headed to dinner.  This crew was hungry! We headed to one of our favorite spots in town Adirondack Pub and Brewery.  They have great beers and great food. We have hit this spot several times over the past few trips to Lake George. The kids were pretty good at dinner, and we still enjoyed some good old fashioned entertainment (Mad Libs, Word Searches, etc).  Thankfully the food was quick and we had a decent dinner! There was minimal fighting and we survived without the iPads. It was a Christmas miracle!

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The next morning we woke up and went down to the hotel for breakfast. So we ordered our yummy buffet while the kids devoured pancakes and chocolate milk! We decided to spend the day walking around in downtown Lake George. There are tons of stores, arcades, restaurants, etc. It’s a bit touristy but it’s fun. Our first stop of course was for mommy at the winery.  There’s a cute little tasting room for Adirondack Winery right on the main street. Over the summer we stopped in there for a quick tasting about bought a few bottles of wine.  This time around we found a front row parking spot so I got to run in without any children and do my sampling.  Delish!!! After a few samples, I purchased a bunch of wine for vacation and to take home. If you are ever in Lake George, stop by the winery! The barrel aged chardonnay is my favorite!

So now I was happy and ready to take on the day with these clowns.  Our next stop was the arcade. The boys were dying to go all morning long.  So we finally strolled in and I knew right away that a meltdown from Ben was on the horizon.  One of the prizes was a Five Nights at Freddy’s toy. Well it was at least 750 tickets and after all four of us playing for an hour we still weren’t close even if we combined our tickets. Ugh! Finally after 20 minutes of convincing him that he would never have enough tickets, he settled on candy. Yes we spent an hour in the arcade and at least $50 so he could buy $3 worth of candy! Fun times. But Sean picked out a few small things and was a happy camper. That kid is easy to please. It was a fun time. I was happy that I could play skee-ball and the boys were happy running around just throwing quarters into random games. I would have snapped pictures of the meltdown but I couldn’t get out my camera in between talking Ben down from his breakdown on why he just couldn’t play for more tickets.

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After the arcade mommy and daddy needed some refreshments, so we stopped off at a nice little bar called the 163 Tap Room for a quick beer.  It was nice to sit outside on the main street and have a cold glass of some IPA. The kids were being good at this point – mainly because Ben spent 45 minutes eating all of his candy (thankfully he shared some with his brother).  After our beer we headed over to Adirondack Brewing for a late lunch. Probably not the smartest move after two of your kids just ate a ton of candy. But we were hungry.

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This is where the second of the major meltdowns occurred.  We sat outside since it wasn’t too crowded and I was hoping we could have another nice meal like our dinner the night before. I was wrong, very, very wrong. This is one of the meals where I never sat down, Owen wouldn’t sit in a chair, Sean wasn’t hungry and Ben was yelling because he didn’t have enough fries. I was crying of embarrassment. Let’s just say that the young couple that was seated next to us won’t be having kids anytime soon.  I don’t know if they were just tired or having a meltdown from the sugar overload. So we scarfed down our delicious meals and I took off for the car.  Back to the hotel so the kids could explore the hotel and pool again and to work off their wild behavior.

The hotel has so much to offer for kids – that’s why we decided to go back to this one instead of trying something new.  We just spent an hour or so walking around playing on the playground, the putting green, basketball and shuffleboard.  Ben even attempted chess. I think he was just trying to make patterns with the pieces but he was having fun outside!

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After playing outside for awhile, we decided to go to the pool for a little bit before dinner. The boys were in heaven, they now had Sean’s new ball from the arcade to play with and thankfully they all got along.  They made a friend or two in the hot tub, which quickly became their favorite spot. Even I got into the hot tub. It was outside and since it was in the 50s, it felt wonderful. I think Owen enjoyed it the most since it wasn’t as intimidating as the pool.  The meltdowns stopped and we had a great time.

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After the pool, we cleaned ourselves up for some dinner. Dinner didn’t go as smoothly tonight, but we survived.  Thankfully the restaurant was dead (since we spent a lot of time swimming and had a late dinner) and we didn’t scare away too many people.  That’s the thing about traveling with kids.  No matter how much you have planned, no matter how much you spend or where you go, there will be meltdowns.  It’s inevitable with three boys who don’t get along in the real world, so why would they get along on vacation.  Dinner took a lot longer than expected and we had a few impatient kids.  The massive amounts of question games and Mad Libs that we played while waiting just wasn’t enough.  By the time dinner was over we were all ready for bed.  But it was such a nice night and the fire pit was going so we tried to sit by it for a few minutes.  Over the summer Joey, Sean, Owen and myself sat there for at least two hours.  I think this time around we got 2 minutes.  Owen was running all over the place and Joey and I just couldn’t relax and deal with chasing them around.  Ben was screaming he wanted to go to bed, so off we went.  It was pretty for the two minutes that we were there.

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We all crashed that night and were ready for our next and final full day of vacation. Joey and I decided to drive down to Saratoga, which is only about a 30 minute drive away from the hotel.  During the car ride and once we arrived, Ben was being very rude and had a horrible attitude about walking around town. We went into a nice toy store and he had a meltdown because he couldn’t get a book.  I was going to buy it but Joey reminded me about his attitude that morning and we agreed it wasn’t right to reward him for his behavior.  Well you can see what happened next.  I spent the next 15 minutes trying to calm an out of control kid on the side of a gorgeous downtown main street while in front of a wine store!!!!! Why was it too early to drink???? AHHHHHH

After walking around for a bit we needed some lunch.  And since Ben was hangry and only wanted pizza so of course we had to stop into a pizza shop to feed him. I knew if he didn’t get pizza the day would just go downhill, especially since we were headed into a nice restaurant for lunch. I mean look how happy the kid was now that he had a few slices of pizza.

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The rest of us found a nice Mexican restaurant to enjoy our lunch and mommy finally got her glass of wine! AHHHHH The kids did well here (mainly because hangry Ben was full).  He spent our lunch drawing pictures in his notebook.

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On the ride back to Lake George, we decided to stop and visit this mountain drive that was right outside our hotel.  It’s called Prospect Mountain and was a great spot to see gorgeous views of the lake.  We were going to do it that morning but it was too foggy out.  It was mid afternoon so the perfect time to check out this spot. Now of course we had the typical Callaway boy reactions – Sean was all into it and Ben complained. At Prospect Mountain, you can either hike the trail or drive up to the top and then walk the last 1/4 mile up the trail or road.  We of course decided to drive up.  We are not hikers, Joey’s legs and back are still killing him and were not dressed to hike. Oh and from what I have read it’s steep in a few spots and not recommended for kids. Especially our kids who can barely walk to the car without complaining how far away it is.   The mountain is about 2030 feet above sea level and has the most gorgeous view of the bottom of Lake George.  There are three lookout spots to park your car and then you park at the summit. We walked up the road for the last viewpoint. Whew! Just getting up that hill was a hike. But we made it to the top and it was worth it.  Ben cried every step up the hill but he was in heaven when he saw the lookout viewer. Thank goodness I had a few quarters in my pocket to keep him entertained while we actually admired the view (and made sure that Owen didn’t walk off the cliff). Definitely worth a visit during the fall months.

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After Prospect Mountain we hit the pool and hot tub one last time.  You spend all of this money to go to a nice fun town and all the kids ever care about is the hotel pool. Oh well, I’ll take it. It’s one of the very few times where Sean and Ben get along so it was worth it.

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This time Joey took the kids to the pool so I could have a few minutes of quiet in the hotel room. And by quiet, I mean drink two glasses of wine without having to entertain the kids.

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Ahhhh just mommy and her wine which only lasted about 8 minutes until I was asked to bring Sean’s ball down to the pool! DOH!

Dinner that night was pure hell. The boys would not settle down. I thought that after a day walking around town, doing a mini hike and spending an hour in the pool that they would be a little tired! NOPE! Dinner was a disaster. We tried Mad Libs again but this time everyone had run out of adjectives. Well Joey and I had a few that we could use but probably not ones that were appropriate for the kids to hear.  Owen again wouldn’t sit still.  Next time no matter if the kids eat free or not, I might do room service! Worth the extra $15 in meals – haha!

I wanted to do the fire pit again but that lasted about 8 seconds. It was time to go back to the room again. After an episode of some kids show, they all fell asleep! FINALLY!

The next day it was time to head home.  We went down for a quick breakfast – which wasn’t so bad this time around.  The kids were happy to have their pancakes again and by this point we just wanted to get on the road.  So we loaded up the car and took a short drive to the west side of the lake to check out the views and the drive.  Then we jumped on that interstate and booked it home!

Vacationing with kids is so exhausting. Kids fight, people cry, someone doesn’t get their way but in the end, you do it all over again.  You do it because you do have those few moments where everyone gets along, where the view is absolutely amazing or you find a restaurant that everyone enjoys. Or maybe you just drink enough wine to get through the trip!  I guess in a way it’s just like childbirth…. it’s horrific at the time but you forget about all of the bad parts when you decide to have another child.  So when Joey and I start planning our next vacation, I pray that we forget all about the horrible dinners, the fighting in the hotel room, the bratty behavior when God forbid I force a kid to walk 1/4 mile and I remember that one special moment, that was captured in one picture, that showed me why we do this to ourselves as parents…….

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Complete Denial

I am 100% in complete denial that summer break starts tomorrow at 1:30pm. I don’t think that there is enough wine in New Jersey to get me through this summer. This will probably be the hardest summer home with the boys yet.  I really do want to be that mom that enjoys having my kids around all summer, I miss them when they are at school but when all three of them are home together, it’s a nightmare. I have 3 little minions who can entertain me and show me all of the joys of summertime that I have long forgotten but unfortunately, that’s not what happens in our house. I love them all to death, I would give my life for theirs, but man, summer is hard!  But we are going to try our best to have one awesome summer….just as long as the boys cooperate!

Sidenote…. now that school is ending, everything that my kids could possibly hoard at school has been sent home in their backpacks over the past week.   I have this endless pile of papers to go through. Time to reduce and recycle their gorgeous math worksheets. I have been pretty good about trashing things this year but they just quadrupled my pile of papers.  This is my project for the first week of summer vacation.

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The past few weeks have really been rough for us.  Joey has been dealing with a serious leg injury preventing him from doing a lot of things.  He has been resting that leg as much as possible.  The boys have also been giving us a hard time, we are at our breaking point with the oldest boys and I have never had so much anxiety about spending a summer with all three of them.  I really want to be able to do fun and exciting things with the kids but when all they do is act up, I refuse to reward them.  I attempt one or two things and if they misbehave then I just want to skip out on the rest of the fun.  It’s a nightmare.  Why should we even bother.  One of these days I hope that they realize all of the fun things that we could have been doing if they just stopped fighting and acting up.  One on one they are awesome and fun.  But put them together and it’s mayhem. I mean these boys got into a huge fight at the local Veterans Cemetery minutes before they placed flags on all of the graves.  Yes ladies and gentlemen, those are my kids.  It’s embarrassing and I can’t control them so that’s why I struggle taking all of the boys somewhere by myself.  It’s hard even when Joey is with us, I can’t imagine all by myself.  I give so much credit to those parents that venture out with all of their kids.  It takes a village but some days even the village throws up the white flag.

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Even tonight at Ben’s basketball evaluations, it was nonstop fighting.  The car ride over was a nightmare, then it rained and we were moved to another court, more fighting.  Then when we finally get there they are fighting and punching and kicking right up until Ben got called onto the court.  It’s NEVERENDING!!!!!!!

Now Owen, let’s talk about that little minion.  He’s cute but don’t be fooled by that adorable face and his cute, kind words.

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We will all be sitting outside on the deck or playing basketball and Owen will catch my eye, give me a smirk and then take off. And when he takes of he doesn’t stop or look.  This kid is going to give me a heart attack.  Everyone always laughs that I still keep him in his stroller, but I have a valid reason for it.  It’s not to make my life easier, it’s to keep him safe. But every time I chase after him, the other boys freak out.  Just last week, Owen took off up the sidewalk.  He was on his big wheel so I caught him only 2 houses away.  Well I ended up running into a neighbor and started chatting.  10 minutes later I walk back and Ben and Sean were in tears.  They thought that I got kidnapped.  So not only does Owen give me heart palpitations but he is causing his brothers to stress out as well.

I did finally sit down and book some camps for them {THANK GOD}. See my pile of medical forms, pickup authorizations, emergency contact forms, etc….

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They both will go to cub scout camp and a local summer camp for a few weeks. Sean will also do two weeks of basketball camp and Ben is going to play in a nighttime basketball league {which I mentioned started tonight}. Oh and Sean needs a little help with math so he is doing the school’s summer math program. I am glad that he will be getting some extra help, he’s not as excited about that camp as I am.  So Sean will be booked up pretty much the entire summer.  Ben, not so much. I am also hoping and praying that since Sean will be gone a lot, that the fighting will be minimal but I also need a ton of new ideas to entertain Ben when he isn’t at camp.  He really thinks that he is going to spend his entire summer on the iPad.  NOPE, NOT HAPPENING!!!!   He is not the easiest child on the planet so it will be a struggle but I plan on helping him with his handwriting, some math skills and some good old fashioned fun. Ben will regret not wanting to do more camps! But we do have a fun vacation planned, and I will squeeze in some bowling, slip and slides, swimming, play dates and sleepovers and some other fun activities. It won’t all be camps and work!

Mommy and daddy even have some fun plans this summer. We just saw Dave Matthew’s last week and are headed back again this weekend. I can’t wait to spend an evening out with Joey, our cousin and our friends. It should be a fun weekend.  We also are going to see Coldplay in August.  We saw them a long time ago at MSG in NYC and I absolutely loved their live show. I just hope that they are still as good as they were 12 or so years ago!

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So tell me guys, what are your plans for your kids this summer.  Tell me that I am not alone with my anxiety? I really do want to have fun with them, but they make it soooooo difficult????  The only thing that makes me super excited about summertime is that Big Brother starts tomorrow night!! WOO HOO!!!!

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Checking Off the Sacraments

My first born Benjamin is well on his way to becoming a smart, kind and holy little gentleman, at least according to the Catholic Church.  Now as I type this is he is definitely on my naughty list.  The kid has really been pushing the limits lately with his behavior.  Talking back, hitting his brothers, not listening when put in timeout, the list goes on an on.  He was having such a good streak lately but the past three weeks he has been quite the handful. He has been so disrespectful. Let’s hope he is just in the middle of spring fever and needs a break from school.  Just a few more weeks left.

Over the course of the school year, both Ben and Sean have been attending CCD.  I “think” that they are learning wonderful things in class but I can never tell.  The moment I pick them up from class, they always get into a full on fist fight in the car. EVERY. SINGLE. WEEK.  I always ask why they have to go nuts and attack one another while getting into the car in the church parking lot.  Why after an hour of learning about God and all of his wonderful creations, they have to tear each other down.  I can’t figure it out. But after all of these past few months of classes, it was time for Ben to continue on with two sacraments.

Back in February? March? I can’t even remember, Ben was scheduled to make his First Reconciliation. I kept joking that he would finally be free of sin and I wondered how long that would last. Stay tuned and you will find out….

The day of his Reconciliation he was terrified.  It was a very casual service but I completely understood his fear. He has the same anxiety that I have when doing something for the first time.  When we got to church he was a mess and his CCD teacher noticed.  So she helped us out and when it was time to confess those sins, she let Joey and I walk him over to the priest. Plus he was able to go at the beginning of his group so he wouldn’t have to wait long.  He looked so adorable and grown up sitting there talking to the pastor confessing those sins {i.e. I hurt my brother, I talk back to my parents, you know the standard 8 year old sins}.  I wish that I could have snapped a picture but it was confession and all so I couldn’t. I did snap this picture after mass but the lighting was terrible and my phone was the only camera that I had.

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P.S.  In case you were wondering, Ben was free of sins for approximately 8 minutes after his confession.  He got into the car and started running his mouth and talking back to us. But he was finally relieved that it was over with.  He also came away knowing that it’s not as scary as he thought.  He could bring his cheat sheet of prayers and he wouldn’t get in trouble.

Now just 3 weeks ago Benjamin celebrated his First Communion. It was a beautiful day. We were supposed to get rain all day but thankfully it held off until after our dinner.  Ben wasn’t as nervous for his First Communion as he was for Reconciliation. I think it’s because it wasn’t one on one with the priest like confession was. Mass was packed but we were able to get decent seats. We couldn’t see him perfectly but we were still able to get some pictures. And thank goodness for a few friends and family who sent me some other pictures that were much better!

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Not nervous at all. He found time to do a little dancing before heading off to Mass.

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He did everything beautifully {except that he forgot to make the sign of the cross aftewards but that’s okay}. Oh and he did not go into the line for wine.

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After mass our family headed back to our house to celebrate his big day.  We had a great afternoon, eating, relaxing and enjoying our time together.  Ben was in heaven because his cousin gifted him some of his older Pokemon cards from a decade or so ago! We were also able to celebrate my uncle’s 60th birthday and I was able to meet one of the newest members of our family, my cousin’s son.  It was a wonderful day!

So now Ben has completed 3 sacraments {Baptism, Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist}.  He has a few years off before his next one {Confirmation}. But next year, Sean will get to go through all of this as well.  I cannot wait for that.  I might need to monitor his confession.  God only knows what he will tell the priest.

Have a great weekend.

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Cub Scouts: Pinewood Derby Day

Over the past few months I have been deep into the world of Cub Scouts. Both Sean and Ben are now scouts.  Sean is a Tiger and Ben is a Wolf. I have also become a den leader for Sean’s den. I work with two other moms to prepare the schedule of achievements, activities and meetings. We have been meeting once a month as a den and then monthly all of the dens get together for awards and events.

It’s been a fun year so far. I really do enjoy all of the work that we’ve put into it.  It’s been exciting and fun. We have learned about fire safety, healthy eating, working together as a team, playing games and just having fun.  In the coming months we will be exploring a lot more outdoor stuff, plus rock climbing, banquets and a sleep in at the Liberty Science Center. It’s going to be great!

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The one Cub Scout activity that did make me a bit nervous was the Pinewood Derby.

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I knew very little about the Pinewood Derby and I didn’t have time to really research everything that goes into creating the right car. So I just tried to ignore it for as long as possible. It all seemed too overwhelming for me. I was going to pass this project along to Joey. In the end it was fun, very tiring, but it was also a great learning experience. We were amateurs going into it and now I think that we know what needs to be done for next year to be in competition for speed!

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The boys decided on car designs {Minecraft of course}. Then Joey took the wood blocks to a car cutting day that our pack provides.  We helped the boys paint and design their cars. It wasn’t easy and there were tears but they were finished in time for derby day! The wheels became our downfall as well as some weight issues, but both of the cars made it to the finish line. Even if they both were last place cars in each of their heats.

Here’s a pic of Sean’s Minecraft Creeper Car

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During the the trophy ceremony both boys felt defeated and wanted to go home. I explained to them that even though they weren’t getting 1st place trophies they should still support their friends. Well Ben was very happy that we stayed. The kid walked away with a best in show trophy for his Wolf Den. It was for 3rd place but he didn’t care. He still won a trophy!

Here’s Ben holding up his Minecraft Steve car along with his trophy 

 

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Next year I feel that we will be better prepared with design, weights, themes, etc. Bring it on!

Remember to enter my IllumiBowl giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Review & Giveaway: Illumibowl

A few weeks ago I was given an opportunity to test out this fun new product. Since I am a mom to three boys, I jumped on this one very quickly when I was approached.

One of my kids, who will remain nameless, still cannot figure out how to lift a toilet seat, aim or flush (which seems to be a common trait among boys/men). This child is finally getting up at night and using the bathroom. He never turns on the light and the night light isn’t close to the potty. So you can imagine what I walk into every morning. I am always Clorox wiping that bathroom! Well what if there was a cool product that would illuminate the toilet the moment that there’s any motion or movement nearby.

Well you are in luck. There is. It’s called the IlluiBowl  and it’s awesome. The color that I have it set to is red but you can change it. The boys love the red … It reminds them of the Star Wars Dark Side! Like I said I live with all boys. Everything is Star Wars!

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This gadget is awesome. You attach it over the side of the toilet and the moment that someone walks in the bathroom it illuminates. It’s even scared me a few times. I forgot that it was on there one night when I ran it to put towels away. But it works and even though I still have to clean the bathroom quite often, it definitely  hasn’t been as horrific.  Overall this is a pretty awesome product that I would recommend.  The only issue that I have had is the inside suction cup doesn’t always attach but it has had no effect on the use of the product.

IllumiBowl is:

  • Motion Activated
  • Easy to Clean
  • Splashproof

You can set your IllumiBowl to any single color or color-rotate (Red, Orange, Green, Teal, Blue, Purple, Pink, White). Your IllumiBowl color changing night light will make your toilet bowl glow every time you walk into your bathroom at night.

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Head on over here to order your very own IllumiBowl for just $19.99 or you can enter the contest below to win your very own IllumiBowl

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I did not receive any compensation for my review. Everything in my review above is based on my own opinions. I was given a free product to test but zero compensation.

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Christmas with the Callaways

This post is only 2 months late, oops!  I thought that I posted it back on New Years!

Even though we have an extremely hectic life we still have found some time to squeeze in some fun this holiday season. It’s not always ideal and there may be fights, kicking, hitting and throwing of iPads (note… by the kids not me LOL).

I am so thankful that we had Owen, for a variety of reason.  One of the perks of having another boy is that we were able to experience the live experience of Thomas the Tank Engine.  I really did miss going to Strasburg, PA to see Thomas.  It’s always a wonderful day, we have been there so many times and each time has been a great experience for the boys.  This year was Owen’s first time.  He loved it.  And the older boys had an awesome time as well. I think that they forgot how much that they really enjoyed riding the train, and the gift shop. Of course, they loved the gift shop.  The kids haven’t played with the trains since they discovered the iPad but this year they HAD to buy stuff.  Of course, we gave in.

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We also had a great day picking out our tree. The first few years we used an artificial tree but I really wanted the tradition of going to a tree farm and chopping down a tree. I love it. Joey may disagree since he has to do the dirty work.

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After decorating the house for Christmas, we had a wonderful night celebrating with Ben and the second grade class during their Snowflake Spectacular.  They did an awesome job singing holiday songs!

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One night, my friend Wendi and I took the kids over to Shadybrook Farms in PA to see their awesome Christmas lights display!  Considering that we have 5 WILD and CRAZY kids in the car they did behave pretty well.  Wendi and I came prepared.  She brought presents and treats and I had a scavenger hunt for light displays.  It was an awesome night.

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In the midst of it all I had my 20th High School Reunion.  The St. Mark’s Class off 1995 ROCKS!  An awesome night with great friends!  It really was a wonderful night.

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Finally, on the 24th we had time to go and visit with the best Santa Claus in the world.  He is so sweet and kind and caring.  We have been to him every year for the past  7 years (even though I have a year or two without pictures)

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The kids had a wonderful Christmas.  We got to spend time with our families and it was great.  Despite some minor fights, they did have a great holiday. I just love seeing the smiles on their faces on Christmas morning.  Worth all of the stress and hassle.

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New Year’s Eve

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The only one who could hang with me until midnight!!!!

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 I hope that everyone had a nice and safe Christmas and New Years {and now a happy Groundhogs Day, Valentine’s Day, President’s Day and all of the other holidays that have passed since I originally typed out this email}!

Oh and Ben also celebrated his 8th Birthday recently… I will try and get a post up about that one shortly {hopefully before we hit Memorial Day}. I also have some posts coming on our blizzard, Cub Scouts Pinewood Derby Day, and a few other small ones coming soon. So keep on reading and check in often. I am trying to get all caught up!

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Ben’s 8th Birthday Party

My baby is officially 8 years old now. I can’t believe it, he may still act 3 some days but other days he acts 45. Ben is one amazing kid. He’s doing great is school, scouts and is improving weekly at basketball. He is still obsessed with Minecraft and Pokemon. He loves Star Wars but that has dwindled a bit lately.

When it comes to planning kids birthday parties I am horrible at it. I procrastinate, especially with Ben’s. His falls so close to Christmas that I can never get things booked and invites out early enough. But this year I think that we pulled it off.

A few months ago he went to a neighbors party and they had the video game truck.  Ben has never really been into video console games {except for ipad games}. But after that party he was a little obsessed. He wanted to play our Wii more and he kept asking for Xbox and the minecraft game {which he did get for Christmas}. So for this years birthday we decided to do the game truck and a sleepover. We planned on having a few kids sleep over on his actual birthday weekend and then host his party the following weekend. But then we had a blizzard and had to postpone his sleepover.

 

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But it all worked out. We had a sleepover on Saturday. It was a success. Ben invited 3 boys over to spend the night. They made pizzas, ate brownies, played on the iPads and with the Pokemon cards. They even went to bed around 11pm. Okay, I went to bed around 11pm. Joey said one or two kids were up until about 1am.

Then Sunday afternoon after waffles and games, the game truck arrived.  We had about 21 kids come over to play, eat and party.

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The game truck was a bit behind schedule because of a tire issue. So we had an hour of trying to entertain all of those kids until the truck arrived. Thankfully it was nice out so some kids played basketball, some played light saber battles and others watched a little bit of the Goonies movie.

When the truck finally arrived the kids were so excited.  Ben was in heaven. He got to sit front and center and play minecraft for 90 minutes straight! The rest of the kids played NHL, Star Wars, Madden and a ton of other games that I never heard of before.

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After the truck left the kids enjoyed pizza and cake.

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It was such a fun {and exhausting} day. But definitely worth it seeing how happy Ben was afterwards! This will probably be his last big party for awhile so I hope we went out with a bang! Next year — low key party!

 

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Merry Christmas!

I wanted to wish all of my readers a very Merry Christmas this year.

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Thank you for sticking by my side even though I took a bit of a hiatus in 2015. I hope to be back in 2016 with even more crazy posts.  In the meantime take a look at these awesome pictures that my friend Jen (Photography by Jen Davis) took for me in our backyard.  I don’t know how she manages to capture these awesome pictures. Oh wait, it’s called talent (and my cute, but uncooperative kids).  Thanks again Jen.

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Life: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly….

The main reason that I started writing my blog was to share all of the fun and crazy times that we have with the kids. I wanted to share with my friends and family all of our silly pictures and stories since they aren’t aren’t always here to witness it all.  Plus no one would really believe half the stuff that happens with these boys if I didn’t take pictures and write about it. The blog has grown a little bigger then I ever imagined and I started to fall behind on posts. But I miss it so much. I miss sharing everyday stories with you guys. I have always promised myself that I wouldn’t hide behind the perfect Facebook pictures or Blog posts. I always wanted to be honest and share the good, the bad and the ugly. And when you have three boys … Trust me there’s a lot of ugly. That’s why I haven’t had time to blog as much as I normally do. Despite the craziness of LIFE, these boys are the light of my life and I couldn’t get through it all without them and the hubby.

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It’s been an emotional and crazy few weeks in our house. The kids have been super busy with school, Cub Scouts, CCD and now basketball season has started. I have been running around like a chicken with my head cut off most days. I used to be an extremely organized person.  But lately it feels like I’m walking around in a haze (and that’s not from the wine). Between the new house, school, Christmas shopping, remembering to move the elf, feeding kids, taking the boys everywhere and entertaining the little 2 year old, I’ve lost all of my organization skills. I need help finding them, but I know that they are just buried under a pile of papers on my desk. That’s one of my goals for 2016 — better organization.  My house is a mess and my mind is even messier.  I don’t know if having the third kid has finally caught up with me or what. But I’m struggling to keep up.  Just like most parents, I am trying to find a balance between it all.  That’s why this blog post will be all over the place as well.  MY BRAIN IS A JUMBLED MESS.

So here’s the latest happenings…

A few times a month we have Cub Scout events and since I am one of the co-leaders of Sean’s den, I have a little bit more on my plate. But that I can handle. It’s been a lot of fun working with a few of the other moms teaching our group of boys. Don’t get me wrong it’s a lot of work but it’s all worth it. I work so much on his den that I forget that Ben has projects too. In the next few weeks we will experience our very first pinewood derby race. The boys are designing Minecraft derby cars — obviously. So hopefully the boys will love working on their cars over the next 2 weeks. I just need the hubby to help them out a bit. I’m not very creative, so I rely on Joey for that.

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Basketball started a few weeks ago and I love going to watch them play.  Practices are now over and games start in early January. Ben and Sean are on the same team so that makes the schedule a lot easier.   There’s something about watching 1st and 2nd graders play ball. You have some kids that can’t dribble and then there are the few that are dunking the ball. I love every minute of it and so do they.

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CCD has been pretty hectic this year. I decided not to home school them this year, so I send them weekly to class. Ben makes two sacraments this year so I thought the in class instruction would be better for him. I am dying to see him make his first reconciliation. What is he going to tell the priest??

Homework and school have been pretty easy for Ben so far. He doesn’t put up a fight. He does his math, his words and we read together each night. He seems to have the school thing down. He loves his teachers and he always tries to be the teachers pet. He is my little brown-noser and I love it. We just need to work on that kids handwriting.

Sean on the other hand has been struggling.

He struggles with attention, reading, math and his behavior. Joey and I hate seeing him struggle so much. It just makes me so sad that school doesn’t come as easy for him as it does for Ben. Now riding a bike … that’s easy! Sean is pretty much the youngest kid in his class. He is a whole year younger than most of the other 1st graders. That’s what happens when you have an August birthday. So we know that his maturity level is still a little off from the other kids. He started off school just fine but after a few weeks I could see him starting to struggle.

We have been working with the school and now he attends a daily one-on-one reading class. He also gets extra math help a few times a week. His reading has improved tremendously. But something was still off with him. He cannot focus or sit still in class. His attention span is basically at an all time low and it was causing issues in class.  We knew that we had to do something before things got worse. So we had him tested for ADHD. I knew years ago that he had it. Mothers intuition. But now I have it on paper. After tons of long conversations, my husband and I decided to start him on medication. I know that this doesn’t work for all kids and parents but this was the best decision for us.

He just started it a few days ago. So we are still in the early stages. It’s been a struggle each morning getting him to swallow the pill but it does seem to be helping him. Even after just 3 days we have noticed a change. I’m curious to see what his teachers think.

I am really hoping that this helps him out. I get so emotional and cry when I see him get so worked up over a simple addition problem. First graders should not be shedding tears at homework time. Not when the problem is 2+3. He knows the answer. He just can’t figure out how to settle in his chair and write it down. We will do anything to help him out.

Have any of you other moms experienced this? Did you Medicate? Did it help? Please share your experiences with me! I know that we are doing the right thing for him but it’s not always easy.  As long as my Sean keeps the same sweet, crazy, funny, and goofy personality than we will be happy.  I just want him to enjoy life and school just a little bit more!

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Oh and in the middle of all of this my little guy turned 2 and the old man turned 40. I can’t forget about those two important milestone days! I will post a few pictures from their special days soon.

Christmas is almost here and I can’t wait to see the boys reactions on Christmas morning.  I will also be happy that I don’t have to move that darn elf anymore.  I was pretty good this year. I didn’t forget to move him once!

Talk to you all soon! Thanks for letting me share with you. Look toward to another post tomorrow. I have a Nuby bath toy review coming up!

 

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