Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hello, Bus 52? I'd Like My Child Back, Please

Apparently if I want comments I need to write about testicles. Not that I get tons of comments here, but six is double my usual two or three. I'm afraid my boys will give me more opportunities to write about testicles than I care to have, but feel free to throw me a comment even when I'm writing about other subject.

Like, oh, I don't know, not having the bus show up to drop off my child today.

That's right. I walked out to the bus stop with Sam and Alex a couple minutes before Amelia's drop off time. The bus didn't come and didn't come and didn't come. At 20 minutes late, I decided it was time to worry. We live less than a mile from the school and she's the first child off the bus.

I called her teacher, who confirmed that she had put her on bus 52. Jeff called the Transportation Department, and they radioed the bus and confirmed she was on board and would be dropped on in five minutes.

It wasn't five minutes.

Amelia's bus finally arrived a full 30 minutes late, and she was the only child left on the bus.

First, I was relieved she was there. Then I was annoyed, but willing to accept that she is on an alternate day schedule and mistakes happen. So I said to the bus driver, "Was there a problem?

"No, no problem," he replied. "She's an alternate day kid and I just forgot to make the turn."

WHAT? No problem? Believe me IT IS a problem.

No apology, no concern, just a laissez-faire attitude that it was no big deal that I didn't know where my five-year-old was for a good 20 minutes.

Then he said, "She wasn't upset or anything."

Gosh, that makes it all better then. So what that she's not upset? Her mama IS!

As he pulled away Amelia looked up at me and said, "Mom, I got on the right bus!" She was very concerned, and while she wasn't crying she was upset. When the other kids were all getting off she started to wonder if she was on the wrong bus.

Next call for me was to Transportation. After I explained the problem to the dispatcher, I told her I wanted to know how they were going to address the issue with the bus driver.

She said, "I guess I could talk to him."

You GUESS? Really? Apparently no one responsible for transporting our children to and from school really cares whether they get where they are going at all, let alone on time.

I took a pass on Ms. "I Guess I Could Talk to Him" and left a message for the District Superintendent instead. I asked him to call me back and let me know how this issue had been handled and to answer my questions about the policies that are in place to prevent this. We'll see if I get that call.

On the complete opposite end of the scale was Amelia's teacher, who called me back an hour after we spoke to make sure Amelia had gotten home safely. Mrs. M. asked if Amelia was upset, and assured me that from now on she would remind the bus driver that he had an alternate schedule child on board and she was the first stop. And she said she'd report the problem to the principal.

For her to even call me back was incredibly kind and very reassuring. Mrs. M. shouldn't have to remind the bus driver that he needs to drop Amelia off, but I'm grateful she's willing to do so.

Because apparently I can't count on the Transportation Department to do their jobs.

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

It's About Testicles

The other day Alex came down the hallway crying, "It hurts! It hurts!" When I reached him, I found him all upset with his hand in his pants.

"What hurts, buddy?" I asked.

"It hurts!" he repeated.

"Does your winky hurt?" I asked.

"The pig hurts!"

What? The pig? You're two and you've named it?

I took him into the bathroom and took off his shorts and underwear. I couldn't see anything, but then Alex lifted up his winky and said, "It hurts! Get it off."

And I found myself staring at a pig sticker stuck on his testicles. No parenting book in the world addresses that.

"How did this happen?" I had to ask.

"Isaac put it there," Alex responded. "Get it off!"

Really? It seemed like a good idea to pull your pants down and let your brother put a sticker there?!? Well, here comes a lesson in poor choices.

I didn't have time to soak the sticker off, so I decided to go the Band-Aid route: pull fast.

Alex roared, but having that sticker on must have hurt, because almost immediately he said, "Thanks, Mom." Then he pulled up his pants and headed back to play with his brothers.

But he has kept his pants on ever since.

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Victor Emerged, Resplendant in Pink

The other day two of my boys had a knock-down, drag-out fight over who got to wear the pink Barbie dress-up dress. It was complete with fisticuffs, wrestling and accusations about who had already worn it the longest.

At the time I was on the phone with Jeff who was reporting in that he was headed home. It's a call that I look forward to every day, and one that makes me heave a sigh of relief.

"Don't worry," I told him. "I've got a solution." Then I hung up and went to deal with the problem.

When he got home the boys were running around laughing and having Amelia's tights and leotards.

He gave me that look that said, "This is not a solution."




But let's face it, anything legal that buys us a half hour of happy with all four kids is not just a solution, it's a stroke of genius.

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Thursday, August 25, 2011

School Is in Session

Since the boys were a little upset that Amelia headed off to school on the school bus without them, I decided to capitalize on the situation.

Her first day of kindergarten was our first day of "school," too.

I'm not a teacher or any kind of expert in education, but I know that my boys will need to know shapes, colors, numbers and letters, as well as how to cut and glue in order to be ready for kindergarten. And I intend to send them to preschool the year before they head off to kindergarten, but that will be two years from now. In the meantime, they are interested in school and really want to do projects like they've seen Amelia bring home.

So, here we go. Mama's School is in session. I figure I can't screw this up too badly, since I'm pretty competent when it comes to the alphabet, numbers, shapes and colors, and I yield a mean pair of blunt-tipped scissors if I do say so myself. And luckily there are a million resources online that come from people who are educators or homeschoolers with some experience under their belts.

Our school sessions are short, about 10-15 minutes, though they can continue the day's activity longer if they want. My goals are to make it fun, to help them make some projects they can proudly show off to Daddy, and to take advantage of their desire to learn like Amelia.

Amelia's had three days of school, and so have we. We're working on the letter 'A' and circles this week. Here are some of our efforts so far, along with the books we've been reading in keeping with the 'A' theme.
 "Up, Up, Up! It's Apple Picking Time" and "Alligator Boy" with matching crafts. The apple cores are made out of white paper plates and the letter 'A' alligators are made out of foam sheets.

I've got a book titled, "Lots of Dots," for tomorrow's session, and we'll be having an active lesson where the boys will need to go around the house and find me things shaped like a circle.

So far school has been great. Yes, it's a little work for me to prepare something, but I do get to be a bit creative, which I like. And the boys are enjoying it, and are so proud of their "projects."

Now if I could just figure out how to keep them from eating the glue.

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wordful Wednesday: Go Fish!

We braved four little pairs of hands swinging poles with hooks on the end to take the kids fishing at the fair. All I can say is thank heavens for those poor volunteers. They hardly knew what hit them by the time we were done!

Everyone had fun fishing.

We even caught a few, except for Sam, though he didn't really care.

We tried to get the kids to hold their catches for the big photo.

Alex made a go of it. (Isaac apparently was successful, though I didn't catch the photo.)

And Amelia refused to touch the fish at all.

That's my girl!

Play along with Wordful Wednesday at:

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Bedtime Blues

Oh, bedtime. How I hate you.

I used to love you.

But not since the move to big boy beds. (THREE months ago!)

Bedtime used to mean a respite. A chance to recharge, and maybe do something for myself.

Now it means sitting guard over boys for at least an hour, often two.

On Sunday "naptime" involved the boys pushing a mattress to the floor. I walked in when I heard a thunk and crying, and they told me they were "diving into the pool." Alex ripped out the entire back end of his shorts during the time he was supposed to be sleeping in his bed.

We've rewarded, we've yelled, we've separated (temporarily, it's only a 3-bedroom house), we've encouraged, we've persuaded, we've soothed, we've given time no avail.

Now we've taken away the privilege of going to sleep in the big boy bed for the next couple of days. After a terrible nap and an even worse bedtime, Isaac has been relegated to the pack and play for a couple nights.

I have my doubts that will work, but even at the end of my parenting rope, I know we have to try something. It seems the lure of goofing around with the brothers is worth whatever punishment mom and dad might mete out, and I'm not sure how to change that.


I sure hope they outgrow this phase before they outgrow the pack and play!

(And believe me, I am thinking ahead to just how early I'll be waking them up when they are teenagers. You know what they say about paybacks.)

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Monday, August 22, 2011

When You've Got to Go...

One of the great things about being a multiple is that it can give you a little anonymity. You know, for those times when you do something that's funny now but will be embarrassing when you're 14, and your mom blogs about it.

The other day one of the boys went into the bathroom. I followed to see if he needed any help.

"Go 'way. I'm gonna go super dangerous."

Um. Excuse me? You're two and you're going to "go super dangerous"?

Where the heck did you get the idea that anything you do in the potty room could even be super dangerous?

Not that I'm not grateful for your willingness to do your business, super dangerous or not, on the potty. On the contrary. I am very, very grateful that anything you deem super dangerous happen on the potty and not in your undies where I will have to clean it up.

The boy was insistent, so I left and mostly closed the door.

At least he didn't ask for the newspaper.

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Tons of Fun at the Fair

Today we went to the fair.

We fished. We fed goats and sheep and pigs. We played mini golf. We climbed on tractors. We ate hot dogs. We ate cotton candy. We pretended to be farmers. We looked at 4-H projects. We watched acrobats. We rode the trolley. We held baby chicks. We ate ice cream.
And we did it all without a stroller! That is a major accomplishment. (And probably a major contributor to the sheer exhaustion that we ALL felt tonight.)

I was surprised at how many people still commented on the triplets, because they were busy, busy! True, the boys were wearing matching shirts today, but I could hardly keep track that there were three of them, so I was amazed anyone else noticed. Amelia also wore the team color, green, which made it easier on Mom and Dad.

All in all, it was a great day at the fair. In fact, we may even repeat it tomorrow...if Mom and Dad are feeling up to it!

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Friday, August 19, 2011

How To Make Foaming Hand Soap

Fridays are usually recipe days around here so here's a recipe, but this one isn't not edible. Unless, of course, you are talking back to mama or screaming like a banshee. Then you might just get a taste.

I recently learned how to make my own foaming hand soap. My Google search showed me lots of people do this because it's inexpensive, and I'm all about that. But, I must confess that the reason I did it was because I wasn't paying attention and bought a regular hand soap refill and then realized that it wouldn't work in my foaming soap dispensers. It's almost impossible to pump!

So, off to the Internet to see if I could salvage my twin pack bargain hand soap purchase.

Turns out that I can make tons and tons of foaming soap much cheaper than buying an actual foaming soap refill. Score!

Here's how you do it.

Foaming Hand Soap
1 Tbsp. regular (non-foaming) hand soap
Warm water
1 princess to shake the mixture

Pour 1 tablespoon of regular hand soap into your empty foaming hand soap dispenser.

Add warm water to fill, allowing room for the pump.

Insert pump and close, then have a princess shake to her heart's content or until combined.

If you don't happen to have a princess handy, I guess you'll have to do it yourself. Luckily for me, Cinderella stopped by my house today. She's very good at household chores!
Pump a few times to get the foaming action started, then congratulate yourself.

I figure I'll be able to make 320 refills from the 5 quarts of soap I bought. Not bad for about $10, and a mistaken purchase to boot!

You can bet this is the only way I'll refill my foaming dispensers from now on. Thrifty, easy, and fun. Heloise would approve.

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Message From The Universe?

Today was a beautiful day. Sunny, but not too hot. Perfect for a trip to the park, and a play date. 

Or so I thought.

I invited two friends to bring their kids and join us. 

They both turned me down for the EXACT same reason: "I have too much cleaning to do."

I thought perhaps that was a message from the universe since I'm a little up to my eyeballs around here in general, but especially after traveling 3,000 miles in under a month. 

(I did finally conquer the laundry pile from the last trip. It took 13 loads by the time I washed all the bedding, sleeping bags, towels and clothes. Camping generates A LOT of laundry!)

I decided to throw caution to the wind, ignore the universe and go to the park anyway.

We had a great time, and you know what? My cleaning was still here when we got home. (Although I was seriously hoping it wouldn't be!) 

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

First Day Success!

This morning Amelia headed off for her first day of kindergarten. She was beyond excited, and thanks to a two-mile hike and no downtime yesterday, she started out with a great night's sleep.

We ALL joined her at the bus stop.

Sam woke up crying, "I want to go with Ame-ya! I want to ride the 'chool bus!"

But, when the time came, Amelia bounded up the steps and the boys waved goodbye with a minimum of tears. 

Tearing up never really occurred to me. She was excited, and I was excited for her. Yes, I can't believe my baby girl is already getting on the school bus, but it was a happy event for all of us. (Except maybe Sam!) Maybe I'll feel differently when the boys head off to school and the house is quiet.

Amelia came home just as excited as when she left, so I'd say her first day of school was a success. She told me the best part was riding the school bus. "Oh, and recess!"

The worst part: lunch. I encouraged her to eat school lunch, and she wasn't thrilled with the "corn stick" (also known as a corn dog). She was even less thrilled that she didn't get to sit next to her friend, which led to a few tears. In the end, she didn't eat a bite of lunch, but if you know Amelia, you know that missing a meal doesn't really mean much to her.

She went to bed tonight asking when she gets to go back to school, so all in all, it was a great day.

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

School Days!

Tomorrow is a big day in our house.

This little girl starts kindergarten!

Although I would swear she was just born yesterday.

Where the heck did five years go? (OK, at least one disappeared into a triplet-babyhood-induced fog, but the other four? Who knows?!)

So here we are, five years later and ready for school.

And yes, we are ready.

Amelia's excited to go, and she's so ready and excited that I'm ready and excited, too.

At least until tomorrow when I put her on the bus and wave goodbye.

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Another Thousand Miles

We logged another 1,000 miles this last week, to go to my family reunion.

It was fun.

And tiring.

We just got everything unpacked and the kids down to sleep.

Now we're planning to stay close to home for a while.

Traveling 3,000+ miles in a month with four kids five and under will make a homebody out of just about anyone!

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Friday, August 5, 2011

From My Kitchen: Sparkling Margaritas

Here's a good summer cocktail recipe from the May issue of Bettter Homes and Gardens. This is a classic margarita with a twist. Add a little sparkling wine or champagne, and yum!

I like sweet wines, so I used a moscato d'asti. You can make it to your taste, using your favorite sparkling wine or champagne. You can use any tequila, and it will taste delish, but the drink looks cloudy if you don't use white tequila. So if looks are important, go for the white.

If you can't find agave nectar I would suggest you sweeten this with a little simple syrup.

Sparkling Margaritas
1 cup white tequila
2/3 cup lime juice
1/3 cup agave nectar
Sparkling wine or champagne (about 1 1/2 cups)
Lime peel strips or very thin lime slices

In a cocktail shaker combine half the tequila, lime juice, and agave nectar with plenty of ice. Shake for 5 seconds and strain mixture into three glasses. Repeat with remaining tequila, juice and agave nectar. Top each serving with sparkling wine. Add a lime peel strip. Add additional lime juice to taste. Makes 6 servings.

Warning: Look at the ingredients in this, people. Trust me when I tell you it packs a wallop! Sip it, savor it, but drink it responsibly, and enjoy! 

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wordful Wednesday: The Boys?

Yesterday when Jeff came home he heard the kids singing and laughing. They were downstairs performing on the stage.

Jeff went down to check it out.

Then he came up and asked, "Where my boys?"

 Isaac, Sam, and Alex. They loved their "crazy legs."

I just chuckled.

See, once Amelia put on a pair of tights and a baby doll shirt that she insists is a dress, the boys wanted to wear tights and dresses, too.


They would have made such cute girls!

Play along with Wordful Wednesday at:

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Monday, August 1, 2011

A Very Special Birthday

Today we celebrated the birthday of a very special person.

 Amelia, Isaac, Sam, and Alex anxiously await a cupcake to celebrate Miss Ellen's birthday.

"Miss Ellen," as the kids call her, and I used to work together. She retired not long after I had the boys and she signed on to help with our 9:30 p.m. feedings.

God love her, she's been coming back ever since.

She came back to walk babies who wouldn't sleep. To feed babies who made an enormous mess of themselves and the person feeding them. To chase down toddlers who wouldn't listen. To teach the boys, "No fits, no fights!" To watch more episodes of Dora than any friend should have to bear. To break up wrestling matches and wrestle the kids down for naps.

Miss Ellen even came back after a recent afternoon when my boys refused to nap for her. When she said, "If you don't nap, Mommy won't let me come back and babysit anymore," the boys responded by naming off all their other babysitters.

She laughed. And later texted me, "Life lesson: Everyone's replaceable."

Thanks for everything Miss Ellen. We love you!

© Trippin' Mama 2011